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ISIS Map of the world
Gopi Chandra Kharel reporting,
The Islamic State militants have drawn up a new map that shows the areas of the world that they seek to ultimately capture and control under its so-called ‘caliphate’. The map shows the hardliners’ chilling desire to annex major parts of the world, including all Arab countries, almost half of all African countries, many countries in Europe including Spain, and about 25% of Asia.
The Iraqi News has compiled the names of countries and areas that the ISIS planned to annex and announced the same via some Jihadist websites. These include: the Levant, Hijaz, Yemen, Khorasan, Kurdistan, the Caucasus, Anatolia, Europe, Andalusia, Abyssinia, and Maghreb.
The deadly Sunni Militant outfit also noted that the map of the Islamic ‘caliphate’ contains the division of the captured lands into several states (Emirates) with each state having a group of countries. For instance, the ‘state’ of Iraq would contain both Iraq and Kuwait, the extremist organisation claimed.
Similarly, the state of the ‘Levant’ would purportedly include Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Jordan and the Sinai, while the state of the Hijaz will have Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar, Bahrain and Oman. According to Iraqi News, the militants claimed the state of Yemen would remain unchanged and the state of Khorasan will have countries like Iran, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan and the Indian subcontinent.
The group made similar announcement back in the beginning of July after they formally declared the establishment of a caliphate, or ‘Islamic State’ in the vast stretches of the Middle East.
The extremist group, that has left much of the Western countries in horror with its crimes, have demanded allegiance from Muslims around the world while also recruiting new members from Western world who have lately fallen prey to the hypnotic luring of the dreaded organisation, who often try to attract people to join their cause by making promises of obscure things like ’72 eternal virgins in heaven’.
by Anastasia Forina.
European Union Commissioner for Energy German Guenther Oettinger speaks during a press conference after talks on energy security with Russian Energy and Ukrainian Energy Minister on Sept. 26 in Berlin. Russia warned Europe on Friday that Moscow could cut off its gas supplies because some European countries have been re-exporting gas to Ukraine to help Kiev through its latest energy war with Moscow. AFP PHOTO / ODD ANDERSEN © AFP
After a number of unsuccessful negotiations, Ukraine and Russia finally reached compromise at the talks with the European Union in Berlin on Sept.26.
According to the preliminary agreement, Ukraine will have to repay $2.1 billion to Russian Gazprom in October and another $1.1 billion by the year end while the price for gas will stay at $385 per 1,000 cubic meters, Energy Commissioner of the European Union Gunther Oettinger said at the press-conference after the talks, Interfax-Ukraine news agency reported. Oettinger also expressed high hopes for the agreement to be formalized soon by the governments of Ukraine and Russia.
“By the end of next week we can have a binding protocol,” Oettinger was quoted as saying.
Meanwhile, Ukraine’s minister of Energy and Coal Industry Yuri Prodan said that Ukraine is not happy with the way the price for Russian gas is formed. “This must be a commercial price, which is not dependent on the decisions of the Russian government,” Prodan said, according to Interfax-Ukraine.
Timothy Ash, senior analyst of emerging markets for Standard Bank in London is also skeptical about the deal.
“Its kind of interesting to see Oettinger eager to announce a gas deal, before an agreement has actually been signed and sealed – clearly the Europeans are desperate for Ukraine to accept almost anything so that West Europeans don’t freeze this winter,” Ash said in his note on gas talks.
Earlier today, just ahead of talks Russian energy minister Alexander Novak has warned EU states which reverse gas to Ukraine about cut-offs by saying that the contracts don’t foresee re-export.
The warning came after Hungary halted its reverse gas flows to Ukraine on Sept.25 citing technical difficulties. Earlier in September Poland also suspended gas imports to Ukraine. Russia cut gas flow to Poland by 45 percent and to Slovakia by 10 percent in September. Slovakia hasn’t stopped reverse supplies to Ukraine, so far.
Import of gas from Poland, Hungary and Slovakia already saved Ukraine $500 million during three months, Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk announced at the United Nations General Assembly meeting in New York on Sept 25. To survive during the heating season Ukraine needs around 33 billion cubic meters of gas. The country already has around 17 billion cubic meters of gas in underground storage and hopes to get up to 15 billion cubic meters of gas from the EU out of 25 billion it used to get from Russia.
If Russia stops gas supplies to EU countries, it can lead to price hikes on EU market and make it unreasonable for Ukraine to reverse gas from Europe, even in comparison with Russian gas, Oleksandr Narbut, president of the Kyiv Institute of Energy Studies told the Kyiv Post.
Russia raised its gas price for Ukraine in April to $485.50 per 1,000 cubic meters from $268.50 and in June suspened its gas flow to Ukraine after Ukraine stopped buying. In response to that Gazprom filed suit to Stokholm arbitration court over Ukraine’s 4.5 billion debt for gas. Ukraine also appealed to the court against Russia for making it overpaying for gas since 2010.
While, it may take up to a yer to get the decision from arbitration court, Oettinger suggested Ukraine repay Gazprom $3.1 billion without waiting for arbitrage decision. Yatsenyuk, however said the arbitrage court decision is important for Ukraine’s gas talks with Russia.
“I won’t make any comments before the agreement is put on paper. But I want to stress that Ukraine will under no circumstances recall its suit from the Stockholm Arbitration Court,” Yatsenyuk said on Sept.26, according to Interfax-Ukraine.
(Kyiv Post staff writer Anastasia Forina can be reached at email@example.com).
Major terrorist attack is ‘inevitable’ as Isis fighters return, say EU officials | #ISIS #Syria #Iraq #EU
EU’s 28 governments are said to be struggling to respond to threat of Islamist fighters coming back from Iraq and Syria.
Ian Traynor in Brussels.
Gilles de Kerchove, the EU’s counter-terrorism coordinator, said about 3,000 EU citizens were fighting in Syria. Photograph: Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty Images
A major Islamist terror attack in Europe is almost inevitable as European members of Islamic State (Isis) return from Syria and Iraq, according to senior EU officials familiar with the diplomatic, intelligence, and security planning taking place to try to counter the threat.
They said the EU’s bodies and its 28 governments were under intense US pressure to get to grips with the menace represented by thousands of European citizens fighting in Syria, but that Europe was struggling to develop coherent instruments to reduce the risk of an atrocity.
“It is pre-programmed,” said a senior official involved in the policy and security debate over the chances of an attack. “We have clear signals that this is what the foreign fighters are doing. This is the main threat we are facing.” Interior ministers from the 28 countries are to meet in Luxembourg in a fortnight to try to come up with a concerted policy.
“The home affairs council is very aware and very frightened of this … The colleagues in the police administration just don’t know how to cope. They all fear this could be totally out of control. It may already be too late,” the senior official told the Guardian and five other European newspapers.
In a separate interview, Gilles de Kerchove, the Belgian EU official who coordinates the union’s counter-terrorism policy, said executives from the big social media providers, including Twitter, Facebook and Google, would attend the interior ministers’ meeting in Luxembourg in an EU attempt to deprive Isis propagandists of their highly effective exploitation of the internet.
“We want these companies to develop a counter-narrative. There will be a big discussion with the internet players,” said De Kerchove.
He put the number of EU citizens fighting in Syria at around 3,000. “We don’t have harmonised statistics. But the flow of fighters has not dried up. It’s a significant number and it has not stopped,” he said.
Senior US intelligence and homeland security officials have been attending recent meetings of EU policy-makers, alarmed that some of the European fighters could be easily infiltrated into the US.
“The Americans are very worried about Europeans entering freely under the visa waiver programme. They are looking into this very seriously,” said De Kerchove.
In addition to the dilemmas posed by extremists returning to Europe, EU capitals and Washington are aghast not just at the brutal prowess shown by Isis in Syria and Iraq, but also at the claimed arrival in Syria of senior al-Qaida operatives from havens in Afghanistan and Pakistan grouped in the so-called Khorasan group. They are said to include the Saudi explosives expert Ibrahim al-Asiri.
“This guy seems to be one of the best bomb-makers in the world,” said De Kerchove. “This small group of veterans linked to al-Qaida is a concern. We know some flew from Afghanistan/Pakistan to Syria.”
Confronted with these dilemmas, EU interior ministry, intelligence and police officials are meeting regularly in various combinations. But the attempts to come up with a coherent policy and instruments are dogged by institutional, national and departmental rivalries and differing priorities, senior officials said.
The EU has been trying to come up with a counter-terrorism strategy for the past 18 months. The current emergency is jolting the process, but officials are intensely pessimistic that the results will be too little, too late.
Various schemes are under discussion, most notably an EU-wide Passenger Names Record (PNR) for all air travel within the EU supplying up to 15 parameters that are mixed in a computer algorithm to help identify suspects.
The scheme is opposed in the European parliament on civil liberties grounds as it would monitor millions of ordinary travellers. The Germans, sticklers for data protection, are also lukewarm on the idea but are keener on reintroducing tighter border controls within the passport-free Schengen zone.
“We think PNR is one of the few tools allowing detection of suspicious travellers,” said De Kerchove. “But many people think it’s a dangerous slippery slope, collection of data on the innocent.”
At recent EU meetings with his counterparts in the EU, Thomas de Maiziere, the German interior minister, has also been urging more rigorous screening of all passports and ID cards at airports, the officials said. The proposal was also opposed on the grounds that it would cause massive queues.
A police database known as SIS or Schengen Information System is also available as a tool for flagging up suspicious travellers and identities that have been entered into the system. The intelligence services, the sources said, are wary, however, of contributing information to this system for fear of compromising their material, thus rendering it less effective.
Britain, the source of around one quarter of the European jihadis believed to be in Syria, is not party to the SIS system because it opted out of all the instruments under the EU’s justice and home affairs portfolio and still has to negotiate what bits it will rejoin.
But according to De Kerchove, the British are nonetheless among the most active and insistent in pushing a tough concerted EU strategy.
“We should have the UK plugged into the SIS. That’s very important, but it has not happened yet. The Home Office says they want to be in. I was in London last week. They push and push. On counter-terrorism, the UK is one of the countries supporting us the most. They’re very, very committed and they have excellent information.”
A Foreign Office spokeswoman said the UK authorities believed “more than 500 UK-linked individuals have now travelled to Syria and Iraq since the uprising began. Obviously, it’s very difficult to give precise numbers on this.”
De Kerchove said he had asked Theresa May, the home secretary, and had not received precise figures. Nor was it clear how many had returned from Syria or Iraq to Britain.
According to the French authorities, the number of native jihadis in Syria and Iraq has soared from 555 to 932 this year. Of those, 118 have returned to France. According to experts consulted by European officials involved in the effort, an estimated one in nine of those returning represents a terrorist threat.
Officials point to the killing of four people at Brussels’s Jewish Museum in May as a portent of things to come and of the mishaps afflicting the Schengen system. The suspect awaiting trial in Belgium, Mehdi Nemmouche, 29, a French national of Algerian heritage, had spent a year in Syria. He flew from Turkey to Frankfurt in Germany. German customs officers identified him from the SIS system and alerted the French. He was allowed to travel further and allegedly came to Brussels where he is suspected of opening automatic machine-gun fire on the museum before being arrested later in Marseille.
The number of EU nationals fighting in Syria is put at 3-4,000. The senior official said that in post-9/11 Afghanistan there were an estimated 100 Europeans fighting with al-Qaida and the Taliban and that presented a big problem then.
Two Dutch nationals of Turkish origin were also arrested by the Belgians last month on their return from the Middle East, with Dutch television reporting at the weekend that they were plotting an attack on the headquarters of the European commission in Brussels. The officials said there was no evidence to support this.
On Thursday the mayor of Brussels, Yvan Mayeur, said the threat of returning jihadis “is not virtual for us, it is concrete, it is real”.
He said he was examining 14 files on the issue of suspected extremists from Belgium, which is believed to have the highest per capita rate in the EU of fighters in Syria.
A small number of Russians have braved public disapproval and possible arrest to stand against Moscow’s actions in Ukraine. RFE/RL’s Russian Service spoke to some of them.
A man holds a sign during a protest against the conflict in eastern Ukraine in the centre of Moscow on 28 August. The sign reads: “No war” Photograph: Sergei Karpukhin/Reuters
The Afghanistan veteran
Vladimir Barabanov is a veteran of the Soviet war in Afghanistan and heads a local branch of the Union of Afghanistan Veterans in Russia’s western Bryansk Oblast. Barabanov, a senior reserve lieutenant who served in Herat and Kabul between 1986-88, held a protest with fellow veterans on 5 September. A second demonstration is scheduled for 13 September.
“We remember perfectly how Afghanistan started. We don’t want those events to repeat themselves,” Barabanov says. “They told us, the last Soviet soldiers, that the war in Afghanistan war would be the last – that our losses weren’t in vain, that our colleagues died so that such wars would never be repeated. The war that is currently going on in Ukraine with Russia’s participation nullifies those losses”.
How will we look Ukrainians in the eye tomorrow?
“Authorities need to distract people from social problems using a small victorious war. I think that the reason for the war is social. People are unsatisfied, both in Russia and in Ukraine. They’re looking for someone to blame for our bad lives. All this looks like a special operation – as former soldiers, we can see that perfectly well”.
“How will we look Ukrainians in the eye tomorrow? The war will end, and a Ukrainian will ask: ‘And where were you, why didn’t you say anything? Didn’t your son fight against mine?’ The blame will be on all of us. Those of us who are going out on the square want to say that we have no relations to this filth. Why do they hide the loses of the Russian forces? The same thing happened in Afghanistan. There are a lot of analogies.”
(Interview by Arslan Saidov, read in full in Russian).
The retired geologist
Muscovite Irina Epifanovskaya, 59, is a retired geologist who now spends much of her time engaged in civil activism. She was arrested in central Moscow after she stood alone and holding a small sign reading “No war with Ukraine”.
Muscovite Irina Epifanovskaya was arrested in central Moscow Photograph: Irina Epifanovskaya.
“A lot of people simply walk by when you’re protesting. But since I’ve spent my entire summer doing this, I can say that I’ve seen an enormous shift since June and July,” Epifanovskaya says.
“In recent weeks, people have come up to me and shaken my hand two or three times; some thanked me or said they supported me. There wasn’t anything like that before. It’s because this undeclared war has entered a new stage, one whose traces are already clearly visible – the ‘cargo 200’ coffins [believed to transport Russian soldiers killed in Ukraine].”
“I’ve already lived most of my life. All of my basic needs are attended to. My children are grown. I had a profession, I had things I loved to do, and I still do. I’m beyond being afraid of what might happen to me when I protest. It hit me so hard, in the deepest part of my soul, that permission was given to send troops to Ukraine! It should be clear to any sensible person that Russia can’t fight with the nation that’s closest to it. I look at it as my personal affair and my personal grief.”
(Interview by Lyubov Chizhova, read in full in Russian)
Aleksandr Osovtsov is a former lawmaker and director of the Open Russia fund. He offers free legal assistance to Russian soldiers who refuse to participate in military operations in Ukraine. He details the right of conscientious objectors under Russian law in a post on his Facebook page.
“I believe what’s going on right now is an absolutely full-fledged war,” says Osovtsov. “Maybe the parties have yet to use their full forces and means, but the United States didn’t use its full force in Vietnam or Iraq, and no one was arguing that the phrase ‘Vietnam war’ had no right to exist. It was a war, and it’s the same thing here. As soon as Russian military units were located on Ukrainian territory and engaging in hostilities, it was a war.
At the moment the chance of an anti-war movement in Russia is very small
“It’s legally possible for those who want to refuse to serve in Ukraine to do so. Every person should decide for himself. That, of course, won’t stop the war, but it can give people the chance not to participate if they don’t want to – and moreover to do it on an absolutely legal basis. I know of quite a few cases when Russian soldiers refused to participate in fighting in Chechnya, and not one of them faced criminal liability as a result.
Aleksandr Osovtsov is a former lawmaker and director of the Open Russia fund Photograph: RFE/RL
“At the moment the chance of an anti-war movement in Russia is very small. I really don’t want to think like this, but logically I can’t imagine another situation. It will take the ‘Cargo 200’ and ‘Cargo 300’ – code for dead and wounded – before people start to think and realise that no one normal needs this war.”
(Interview by Mark Krutov, read in full in Russian)
The film director
Film and theatre director Vladimir Mirzoyev was among the signatories of a recent open letter published in Novaya Gazeta protesting the war in Ukraine and what they called Russia’s self-isolation and the restoration of totalitarianism.
“I understand that our population is deeply traumatised by the entire 20th century,” Mirzoyev says. “These are people who can easily fall into a state of maniacal euphoria and patriotic psychosis, and just as easily fall into depression. It’s a bipolar disorder, where people react to generally frightening things in a completely inappropriate way. They deny that a war is being waged. It’s possible, of course, to say that Russians are a victim of TV propaganda, but after all it’s still not that hard to get on the internet to find alternative information to compare and contrast the facts. But they don’t want to compare anything, they can’t accept the thought that their country, their homeland, is the aggressor.
Our population is deeply traumatised by the entire 20th century
“Of course, the catastrophes of the 20th century aren’t lost on the population. All these traumas have been absorbed by families, recorded in the memories of entire generations, and these people aren’t healed. Now that they’ve started pouring salt and sulfuric acid on the wounds, they’re breaking down completely. People are very sick. And so they’re giving an inappropriate response.”
(Interview by Andrei Shary, read in full in Russian)
Mikhail Lashkevich is a researcher at the Institute for Theoretical Physics in the town of Chernogolovka, outside Moscow. He was detained by police in August after standing on a busy Moscow street holding a poster reading “Why is our country led by a raging idiot?” on one side, and “It’s not your war, but your children are going to die in it!” on the other.
“I oppose the war precisely because it’s Russia that’s unleashing it, because it’s so obviously a war of aggression,” says Lashkevich. “I recently read a definition of aggression that is used at the United Nations, and of the seven points, there’s only one that Russia hasn’t violated. There’s one aggressive action that it hasn’t taken – it hasn’t allowed its territory to be used by a third aggressor. But it’s done everything else. It’s annexed territory, it’s introduced its own troops, it’s supported terrorist groups on the territory of a neighbouring country, and so on.
Mikhail Lashkevich was detained by police in August. Photograph: Mikhail Lashkevich.
“I don’t discuss my views at work. I talk about it only with colleagues that I’m close to. It’s a fairly liberal situation in this sense. There’s no trouble at work.”
(Interview by Lyubov Chizhova, read in full in Russian)
Natalya Tsymbalova is a founding member of St Petersburg’s Straight Alliance, a human rights organisation that aims to rally heterosexual activists behind the fight for equality for Russia’s LGBT community. On Ukrainian independence day on 24 August, she was berated by a hostile crowd for standing on a central street carrying a sign reading, “Petersburg congratulates Ukraine on Independence Day.” She has since applied for asylum in Spain following after receiving threats of violence. She spoke to RFE/RL before leaving Russia.
There’s a feeling that the battle is hopeless and that it’s only going to get worse
“What’s happening now shows that we were right – this was never limited to gays. [Authorities] honed their technology of manipulation and propaganda on the LGBT community… and now exactly the same thing is happening with regard to Ukraine… they’re all ‘banderovtsy’ and ‘fascists’. It’s an absolutely virtual concept that has nothing to do with reality,” Tsymbalova says.
“A lot of people in our circles are thinking about leaving [Russia]. Even that small minority who have always said that this is our country and we’ll fight to the last are thinking about emigration. There’s a feeling that the battle is hopeless and that it’s only going to get worse… It’s all very dangerous and unpleasant, and the main thing is there’s no hope, no hope at all.”
(Interview by Dmitry Volchek, read in full in Russian)