Voices from Russia

Sunday, 19 October 2014

19 October 2014. Politics Through a Cartoonist’s Eyes…

00 Don't Wake Up the Russian Bear. 19.10.14

The Bear doesn’t fancy being woken up from his hibernation…


00 Bob Englehart. Sharia Laws. 19.10.14

The US forces are making Afghanistan safe for Islamic law of the most retrograde variety (they do NOT represent mainstream Islam)… the American-backed junta there is as strident as ISIS is! What a luvverly thing “democracy” is, wot? Afghanistan was freer in 1965 and under the DRA, too… fancy that…


00 Rob Rogers. GOP Guide to Leadership. 19.10.14

Reagan and G W Bush used dictatorial ukases (“executive orders”) more often than B H Obama has… Obama’s the “threat to democracy!” I’ll check into Bedlam with Mr Scrooge…


00 Rob Rogers. NATO. He's Been Stuck Like That AInce the End of the Cold War. 19.10.14

NATO is as much of actual use as buggy whips in an age of automobiles. Yet, the USA wastes billions upon it for no good purpose… the GOP demands that we do so… Obama goes along, for if he doesn’t, the GOP in the Senate would filibuster him to death.


00 V C Rogers. North Carolina Republiccans. 19.10.14


It’s coming near Election Day… vote! Then, at least, you’ve got bitchin’ rights until the next time. Step up or shut up…



Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Iran CONDEMNS Islamist Atrocities in Iraq

00 Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his Iranian counterpart Ali Akbar Salehi. 06.12

Russia has Iran’s back in foreign affairs… the USA had best remember that…


Mohsen Naziri-Asl, Iranian Ambassador to the UN Office in Geneva, spoke on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement in denouncing ISIL crimes during a special meeting of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHCR) on Iraq. Naziri-Asl, whose country chairs the movement, expressed deep concern over the organised and widespread violations of human rights by ISIL terrorists, especially in Iraq. He said the massacre of women and children, religious and ethnic cleansing, as well as the destruction of religious sites by ISIL and its affiliated groups amounted to war crimes and crimes against humanity, saying, “The Non-Aligned Movement believes that the trans-border nature of the ISIL and other groups affiliated to it, and their crimes, pose a threat to regional peace and stability and that the persistence of such crimes will endanger regional and international peace and security”.

Naziri-Asl emphasised Iran’s respect for Iraq’s national sovereignty, territorial integrity, and independence, praising the Baghdad government’s fight against terrorism and extremism. He called upon the international community to help the Iraqi government fight terrorist groups and restore peace, stability, and security to the country. ISIL terrorists threatened various communities, including Shias, Sunnis, Kurds, Christians, and Izadi Kurds, during their advances in Iraq. They’ve committed heinous crimes in their area of control, including mass executions of civilians. The Iraqi army is fiercely fighting the ISIL militants to push them out of the captured areas. On Monday, the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) accepted a resolution to send an emergency mission to Iraq to investigate crimes committed by ISIL militants.

3 September 2014

Press TV



Earth to Rightwing Nutters in America… most Muslims OPPOSE the terrorists. OPPOSE. Much of the blather about “terrorism” is nothing but a figleaf to cover American aggression in the Middle East and to justify American support for repressive dictatorships in the region. Always check out a person’s agenda… the American Right supports the spread of untrammelled laissez-faire crapitalism throughout the world. Why? Well… many of them profit personally from sweated quasi-slave labour in Third World countries, that’s why. It’s quite that simple. Ergo, they oppose Iran as it opposes such exploitation. QED.


Saturday, 19 October 2013

19 October 2013. VOR Infographic. Wahhabi Training in Europe/Global Jihad: Religion, Politics, or Business?

00 VOR Infographic. Wahhabi Training in Europe. 19.10.13


Jihad has crept into the heart of Europe. Training camps of Wahhabism have long successfully existed in European countries, as well as all over the world. Lately, an increasing number of facts became known about the involvement of fighters with European passports in large terrorist attacks (specifically, the train explosions in Madrid in 2004), about their participation in the revolutions of the Arab Spring, as well as the civil war in Syria. Either, European governments don’t pay much attention to it, or intentionally hush it up. An investigation carried out by VOR confirmed that Jihad is already knocking on the doors of European capitals. Al-Qaeda, are you there? A 20-year old French woman tried to make contact with terrorists from the menacing organisation via the internet. It appears to be nothing serious… many searches are made via the global network on a daily basis. However, in this case, French police demonstrated their professionalism… they arrested the young woman in order to clarify why she’d tried to establish contact with al-Qaeda.

We very much need preventative work amongst young people. However, some facts revealed that Islamists are increasingly more active in France. Whilst they investigate individual cases, European governments prefer to ignore the global problem… after each attack by terrorists they claim it’s just an isolated occurrence. Alain Chouet, an expert at the European Security Intelligence and Strategy Centre, supported this point of view, saying, “We’re talking about a criminal case that hit the news. Young people frequently search information about al-Qaeda on the Internet. At the same time, one mustn’t exaggerate the scope of this phenomenon… compared to the 5-million-member Muslim community in France, such cases aren’t numerous. Nevertheless, we’ve taken legal and administrative measures that allow us to act before real problems arise. We have a network of internal political investigators with a full understanding on what goes on in ‘at-risk communities’. The combination of legal capabilities and internal investigation allows us to watch closely those who could pose a threat in this area. It doesn’t mean that we’re talking about terrorists. Most likely, we’re talking about those who could be tempted to join the jihadists”.

Perhaps, in this case, the principle “we can’t see the forest for the trees” may be true. In any case, neighbouring Belgium views the French situation quite differently. Anne-Marie Lizin, honorary president of the Belgian Senate, said in an interview with VOR, “Whether in France or in Belgium, we observe the fact that the recruitment of young people, as well as middle-aged people, for operations in the name of jihad goes on. People fight for compensation… some countries pay for such operations. Extremist Sunnis conduct the recruitment. We believe that the countries that engage in such operations should immediately stop such actions. There’s no doubt that Saudi Arabia is involved in such activity. In this country, the dominant opinion is that they could continue to finance the recruiting even without American support, but I think that’s not true”.

Jean-Michel Vernochet, a French journalist, gave even more shocking detail in his new book (September 2013) Les «Égarés»: Le Wahhabisme est-il un contre Islam? (The “Strayed”: Is Wahhabism Against Islam?). He found out that over 400 Wahhabi fighters were trained in France lately, who went to fight for the Syrian opposition. Eventually, they’ll return home, but they’re unlikely to choose a humdrum ordinary life. Therefore, according to Vernochet, Jihad is already at Europe’s doorstep, but the authorities continue to pretend that nothing’s going on. In his view, moreover, in France, we aren’t talking about separate terrorist attacks. According to his information, Qatar, which like Saudi Arabia is a Wahhabi country, is gradually buying up France. Already, this tiny emirate, with the highest per capita income in the world, owns FC Paris Saint-Germain, has a stake in the financial giant Vinci, as well as a share in Total SA. Vernochet’s forecast resembles a scene from an anti-utopian dystopian novel… French people shouldn’t be surprised if in 10 years they’re driven out of their homes for Muslim prayers at gun-point, their vineyards cut down, and their wives and daughters forced to wear yashmaks. It’d be a new Wahhabi France.

The Balkans are another hot spot. According to some observers, the peninsula could become a real launching platform for the invasion of radical Islam into Europe. Montenegro caught the eye of the experts in the last few months. There’s been news about the activity of radical Islamists repeatedly coming from that quiet resort republic. A while ago, information was published about the arrest of a Serbian family, which adopted the Wahhabi ideology and customs. During the search, the police found guns and ammunition that belonged to the head of the family and his son-in-law. As it turned out, the men regularly “went to war in Syria”, supporting other Islamists in their fight against Bashar al-Assad. About the same time in northern Montenegro, not far from the border with Kosovo, a traditional Wahhabi meeting took place., taking place under the auspices of Turkey and Saudi Arabia. According to the latest data, a minimum of 200 followers of radical Islam now reside in northeastern Montenegro, which is primarily Muslim and the poorest spot in the country. It appears to be not too many. However, the rise of such moods worried the National Security Agency; it declared that the country is in direct danger.

In Bosnia-Herzegovina, often, Wahhabi fighters receive training in school gyms. All this takes place in spite of the fact that we’ve long known that such training camps and entire armed units acting under al-Qaeda guidance exist there. It’s a proven fact that fighters trained in Bosnia-Herzegovina were involved in the 2004 train explosions in Madrid. From that time, the situation appears not to have changed much… government troops frequently find Bosnian passports on the bodies of opposition rebels in Syria. The latest such case is from 27 September 2013. Macedonia is also familiar with radical Islamism. According to Ivan Babanovsky, a Macedonian expert in security issues, al-Qaeda training camps were located in the part of the country controlled by terrorists from the National Liberation Army. These units attacked Macedonia from Kosovo in 2001. By the way, even today in Kosovo, a large camp near Kačanik is run by veterans of the Liberation Army, they train volunteers to go to the war in Syria.

If we gather all these facts together, the position of the European capitals and Washington becomes clear. So-called “Independent Kosovo” is a project of the USA and its allies; it’s unlikely that anything goes on there without the knowledge of its patrons. Dr Hans Krech, an expert from Germany, pointed up in a VOR interview, “Unfortunately, Kosovo is only one place in the wide landscape of Western-financed terrorist training camps. There’s a very interesting report on this subject prepared by the respected American magazine Defense and Foreign Affairs Strategic Policy Journal, which came out a couple of months ago. If one is to believe that report, American intelligence prepared 3,000 fighters in Jordan for deployment to Damascus. They’ve tried to do that once already, but they got stuck in fights with other groups of rebels, which didn’t allow them to move forward. Perhaps, it part of the American operation for the employment of chemical weapons. I’ve read in Arab magazines that French intelligence agencies are also involved in the training of rebel units”.

The Eastern allies of the NATO European partners don’t lag behind in the preparation of fighters. Stanislav Tarasov, a Middle East expert and a political analyst, said in a VOR interview, “The latest events, specifically, the conflict in Syria, due to its geography involves the interests of those countries even more. Turkey didn’t admit the presence of terrorist groups on its territory. However, as events evolved, they started to infiltrate the border regions, specifically Hatay Province. Then, the American, European, and, finally, Turkish press acknowledged that there were camps in the border regions, to train rebels or as transit camps from which they were transported from various countries, specifically from Lebanon and Turkey. Now, that the Russian-American agreement on Syrian chemical weapons is in effect, it forced Ankara to admit their presence, a “boomerang effect”. Just a few days ago, Turkish Interior Minister Muammer Güler admitted that Turkey conducted over a hundred operations, capturing more than 300 brigands, a hundred of whom were al-Qaeda.

Activists from Human Rights Watch also gathered facts confirming Ankara’s involvement in the preparation of fighters. It called on the Turkish government to take tougher measures, Lama Fakikh, an expert on Syria and Lebanon, admitted to VOR, “We managed to find out about a group of people involved in those crimes, who killed 190 civilians and took over 200 as prisoners. It consisted of foreign fighters, who, in our opinion, got into Syria via Turkey. We called upon the Turkish government to strengthen the guard at their border in order to limit the access of those fighters into Syria. We’ve also found out that some who financed those operations did so from the Persian Gulf countries. We’re calling upon those countries to make sure that their residents don’t send money to terrorist groups in Syria”.

It’s interesting, but how is the initiator of all this mess going to continue to hush things up, in such a dangerous situation? Thanks to generous financing, terrorist groups centred on al-Qaeda and its regional branches literally got a second wind. Mohammed Yasin al-Jilasi, a political analyst from Tunisia, said, “Syria became a real testing ground, to check out recruits in combat conditions. From the very beginning of the Syrian crisis, organised recruiting of fighters started in a few countries. The so-called centres are numerous in Libya and Tunisia, from which fighters are sent to Syria via Turkey and Jordan. There are thousand of fighters from Tunisia. According to the Minister of Internal Affairs, about 2,000 have already been killed in Syria. Why do people, especially young people, go there? The motives differ. Usually, they’re promised money, and if they aren’t interested in money, they’re promised power. If that isn’t of interest either, they’re offered instant entry into Heaven and supper with the Prophet. The majority of the fighters are members of such terrorist organisations as Ansar al-Sharia and al-Tayar al-Salafi. Well-equipped bases are set up in Syria, where rebels go through a complete course of training. Al-Qaeda members who come from Algeria teach them”.

The slogans that the Wahhabi use in their war are traditional… “Fight the Infidel” and “Create the Global Caliphate”. It’s understandable… a movement has to at least create an illusion that it fights for some ideals. Sergei Goncharov, president of the International Association of the Veterans of the Alfa Anti-Terrorist Unit believes, “In reality, the majority of today’s ‘Islamist fighters’ are ordinary hired guns. Who then fights in Syria? A huge number of hired guns that got there from all over the world. Really, they’re hired fighters who primarily fight for compensation. If somebody tries to convince me that people adopted Islam to go to Syria to fight for ‘some pure faith’ against al-Assad because he’s a bad guy, I can hardly believe that. Let me tell you, these hired fighters fight only for their own wellbeing”. There’s much proof of this point of view. In the Balkans, it’s well-known that the Wahhabi recruit their supporters primarily in the poorest provinces. They give them a “salary” of sorts… specifically, they receive pay for observing Wahhabi traditions. They’re paid 100 Euros per month for wearing a traditional closely-trimmed beard.

It appears that the main financiers of jihad refuse to learn from their own mistakes or mistakes of the others. The first Islamist group was formed with the support of the USA back in the times of the war in Afghanistan in 1979-89. A few dozens of thousands of Arabs, as well as Pakistanis, fought against the Soviet Army with active support from the Western and Middle Eastern intel agencies. After the withdrawal of the Soviet troops, the local authorities started to send home from Afghanistan and Pakistan the so-called “Afghanis”. Mujahidin who gained combat experience returned home and tried to change the normal order of life. It led to a sharp rise in violence… terrorist attacks took place in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Algeria, and Morocco. Then, 9/11 in September 2001 in the USA followed, then, the explosions in Madrid, London, as well as the recent terrorist attack in Boston. Nevertheless, the West is still convinced that the “new Mujahidin” are puppets in its skilled hands. The West doesn’t notice that the strings have long been torn. The former servants don’t recognise their owner, and after coming back from Syria, they’ll try to re-shape their “motherland” in accordance with their own notions.

15 October 2013

Igor Siletsky

Voice of Russia World Service



Sunday, 8 September 2013

Egypt’s Largest Christian Community Threatened as Islamists Take Over Town

00 Dalga EGYPT. looted Coptic Church. 08.09.13


Editor’s Foreword:

THIS is what the Islamists wish to do in Syria. THIS is why we shouldn’t intervene in their civil war. Don’t we have enough blood on our hands, already?



The Coptic Orthodox priest would only talk to his visitor after hiding from the watchful eyes of the bearded Muslim outside, who sported a pistol bulging from under his robe. Therefore, Fr Yoannis moved behind a wall in the charred skeleton of an ancient monastery to describe how Islamists torched it and then looted it when they took over this southern Egyptian town following the ouster of the country’s president. Fr Yoannis told us, “The fire in the monastery burned intermittently for three days. The looting continued for a week. At the end, not a wire or an electric switch was left”. The looters stripped the monastery’s 1,600-year-old underground chapel of ancient icons, and they dug up the grounds as they believed that there was buried treasure. Fr Yoannis said, “Even the remains of ancient and revered saints were disturbed and thrown around”.

A town of some 120,000… including 20,000 ChristiansDalga has been outside government control since hard-line supporters of the Islamist Mohamed Morsi Isa al-Ayyat drove out police and occupied their station on 3 July, the day that the Egyptian military removed the president in a popularly-supported coup. It was part of a wave of attacks in southern Minya Governorate targeting Christians, their homes, and their businesses. Since then, the radicals imposed their grip on Dalga, twice driving off attempts by the army to send in APCs by showering them with gunfire. Their hold points to the power of hard-line Islamists in southern Egypt, even after Morsi’s removal… and their determination to defy the military-backed leadership that’s replaced him. With the army and police already fighting a burgeoning militant insurgency in the Sinai Peninsula, there are growing signs that a second insurgency could erupt in the south… particularly in Minya and Asyut Governorates, both Islamist strongholds and both home to Egypt’s two largest Christian communities.

The takeover of Dalga was disastrous for the Christian community in the town, located 270 kilometers (160 miles) south of Cairo in Minya Governorate, on the edge of the Nile Valley near the cliffs that mark the start of the desert. In the initial burst of violence, the insurgents ransacked and set ablaze the town’s only Catholic church, like the Monastery of the Virgin Mary and St Abraam, and they looted the Anglican church. Since then, Fr Yoannis said that some 40 Christian families fled Dalga. According to local Minya activists, Islamists attacked nearly 40 Christian-owned homes and stores. Bandits from the nearby deserts joined the looting and burning. To ensure the spread of fear, the attackers torched houses in all Christian neighbourhoods, not just one or two. Amongst the homes torched was that of Fr Angelos, an 80-year-old Orthodox priest who lives close to the monastery. His Muslim neighbours spared Fr Yoannis’ home from a similar fate. The rebels dragged down and killed a 60-year-old Christian who fired from his roof to ward off a mob. Fr Yoannis said, “Even if we had firearms, we’d be reluctant to use them. We can’t take a life. Firing in the air may be our limit”.

Those who remain pay armed Muslim neighbours to protect them. Fr Yoannis said that his brother paid with a cow and a water buffalo. For weeks, most Christian businesses remain closed. One can see armed men in the streets, and nearly every day Islamists hold rallies at a stage outside the police station, demanding Morsi’s reinstatement. Most Christians remain indoors as much as possible, particularly during the rallies. They say they’re routinely insulted on the streets by Muslims, including children. Christian women stay home at all times, fearing harassment by the Islamists, according to multiple Christians who spoke to the AP. Most requested that we not publish their names for fear of reprisals. Local rights activist Ezzat Ibrahim said, “The Copts in Dalga live in utter humiliation. They live in horror and can’t lead normal lives”.

None of the town’s churches held services for a month, until Wednesday, when Christians held one in one of the monastery’s two churches. About 25 attended, down from the usual 500 or more. Fr Yoannis said of the hard-liners now running Dalga, “They don’t want to see any Christian with any power, no matter how modest. They only want to see us poor without money, without a trade or a business to be proud of”. Like other Christians in town, he said that police and the authorities were helpless to intervene, noting, “Everyone keeps telling me that I should alert the police and the army, as if I hadn’t done that already”. At intervals, the 33-year-old father of three would stop talking, move carefully to the edge of a wall, and stick his head out to check if someone was coming. His big worry was the bearded Muslim at the gate, Saber Sarhan Askar. Dalga’s Christians say that Askar, skinny with hawk-like hazelnut eyes, took part in torching and looting the monastery. Outside the monastery that day, Askar told priests that he was there to protect it. However, the orders he yelled to other priests left no doubt who was in charge. He barked at one priest, “Bring us tea!” soon after, he screamed at another, “I need something cold to drink!”

A day after the Islamists took over, school teacher and part-time entrepreneur Kromer Ishaq fled Dalga. Already, the Islamists accused his father in a family blood feud… a charge that could prompt the killing of Ishaq. Then, on the night of the takeover, someone broke into and looted Ishaq’s gold shop. The son of a wealthy family, Ishaq fled with his extended family all the way to the Nile Delta north of Cairo, where he’s now looking for work. By telephone, Ishaq said, “I used to employ people, and, now, I’m looking for work. I once lived in a house I owned, and, now, I live in a rented apartment. You ask me what life is like? It’s like black tar”.

Dalga is the most radical example of Islamist power in Minya… no other town is under such extreme lockdown. However, in general, the province saw a surge in Islamist violence since the coup against Morsi. In the province, Islamists attacked 35 churches, including 19 completely gutted by fire. They destroyed at least six Christian schools and five orphanages, along with five courthouses, seven police stations, and six city council buildings. In addition, they looted and ransacked a museum in the city of Mallawi. On 11 August, policemen thought to be loyal to Morsi stormed the provincial police headquarters in Minya city. They dragged out the province’s security chief and his top aide from their offices and ordered them both to leave the province. They did.

Minya was the epicentre of Islamic militant insurgency against the rule of autocrat Hosni Mubarak in the 1980s and 90s. It remains a stronghold of Islamism, including the extremist al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya  group. It also has the largest Christian community of Egypt’s 29 provinces, 35 percent of Minya’s 4 million people, compared to around 10 percent nationwide. Over Egypt’s past 2½ years of turmoil, Islamist strength grew. Hundreds of jailed radicals who purportedly forswore violence… though not their hard-line ideology… were freed after Mubarak’s 2011 fall and given the freedom to recruit. The south saw a flood of heavy weapons smuggled across the desert from neighbouring Libya. A top Interior Ministry official in Cairo said the Minya police suffered large-scale infiltration by pro-Morsi Islamists. Today, the Ministry’s investigating the local force. The official spoke to us anonymously, as the probe was still underway. On Wednesday, the Interior Ministry replaced the Minya security chief who fled the province, as well as two top aides, for what it called failure to maintain law and order. In the security vacuum, Christians largely paid the price.

Christian businessman Talaat Bassili recounted how, on 15 August, dozens of men, some armed, stormed his home in Mallawi, not far from Dalga. For three hours, with no police or army in sight, the attackers made off with TV sets, washing machines, mobile phones, jewellery, and cash. The attackers descended on the house from scaffoldings on a mosque next door. In footage from Bassili’s security camera, men in robes and boys in sandals tried to force their way into the house, then, finally, blasted away the lock with Kalashnikov assault rifles. Some loaded their loot into a donkey cart. Later, the footage shows Bassili, his wife Nahed Samaan… in a nightgown and robe… and son Fady leaving to take refuge with a neighbour. A week later, Bassili said that a man called him on his mobile phone to ask whether he wanted to buy some of his stuff back, saying, “I said no”.

6 September 2013

Hamza Hendawi

 Associated Press

As quoted in NBC News



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