Some of the countries in it, either in major or minor roles:
USA, UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Lebanon, Libya, Mali, Jordan, UAE, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Iraq, Israel, Syria, Turkey, Kurdistan, Yemen, Nigeria, France with (Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger and Chad ) Germany, Italy, Czech Republic, Albania, Estonia, Hungary, Belgium, Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland, Austria, Japan, Republic of Korea, Ireland, Spain, Slovakia, Norway, The Netherlands, Luxembourg, Bulgaria, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Novorussia, Ukraine, Russia, Chechnya, Somalia, Iran, India, South Korea, North Korea, Central African Republic, Kenya, Tunisia, The Philippines, Egypt, Albania, Serbia, China, Sudan, South Sudan, Bukina Faso, Palestine, Georgia, Chad, Spain, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Indonesia, Nepal, Congo, Uganda, Romania, Mexico, Gambia, Haiti, Cameroon, Chad.....
http://t.co/qk6UbDr9cN Libya hotel attack signals growing reach of Islamic State
— LibyaSketch (@LibyaSketch) February 1, 2015
A North Carolina-based firm says it employed the three military contractors who were shot to death earlier this week in Afghanistan.
Praetorian Standard Inc. of Fayetteville identified the men slain Thursday as Walter D. Fisher of North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; Jason D. Landphair of Fayetteville, North Carolina; and Mathew E. Fineran of Summerville, South Carolina.
The release issued Saturday by Thomas Lujan, an attorney for the company, says another employee, Bradley A. James of Atlanta, was wounded but expected to survive.....
Houthis Reach Out as They Cement Power in Yemen
Abu Raad strutted through the streets of the Yemeni capital as if he owned them. His obvious glee, at a time of crisis in the country, bordered on naïveté. But he had his reasons to be happy.
Growing up as a Houthi in the northern province of Saada, he experienced years of war and brutality while fighting for the rights of his Zaydi sect, an offshoot of Shiite Islam, against the government. He described being tortured by military captors who dragged his clutched fists over splintered wood, pushing the sharp pieces under his nails. He was a teenager then.
But now, he was the one in power, embraced by many of the uniformed men who once gave their allegiance to the state.......
Protests erupt over British decision to open military base in Bahrain
Human rights groups say Britain is being rewarded by the Gulf state's monarchy for its silence over political jailings
Britain’s decision to open a major naval base in Bahrain despite concerns over the country’s human rights record has been met with protests by opposition groups and human rights activists.
Hundreds of protesters were filmed marching through the town of Sitra, a Shia opposition stronghold, calling for the removal of the British ambassador, Iain Lindsay, after the decision was announced.
Activists said Bahrain’s decision to largely fund the base was a “reward” for Britain’s recent silence over the jailing of opponents to the Sunni monarchy.
International groups also objected to the decision. “As Bahrain pursues brutal crackdown, what better time for UK to build military base there?” said Kenneth Roth, Human Rights Watch’s executive director.
The decision to reopen Britain’s first permanent base “East of Suez” since the drawdown of Empire was announced by Philip Hammond, the Foreign Secretary, on the sidelines of the Manama Dialogue, a conference organised by the International Institute for Strategic Studies, on Saturday.....
Activist Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei has had his citizenship revoked after protesting against the King of #Bahrain !... @hrw http://t.co/LUJwRfauNv
— Tamer Yazar (@tameryazar) February 1, 2015
Best information on present Syria statistics I have read lately. Worth a read in entirety.
The Political Geography of Syria’s War: An Interview with Fabrice Balanche
As one of the leading French experts on Syria, Fabrice Balanche has an unusual focus. His field of study is political geography, chronicling the interplay between power, community, and territory. As an assistant professor of geography at the Université Lyon 2 and the director of its Groupe de Recherches et d’Etudes sur la Méditerranée et le Moyen-Orient, or GREMMO, he frequently appears in French media, where his early opposition to the idea that Syria could have a peaceful transition or that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was about to fall raised some hackles......
......The Orient XXI figures were based on the military situation in early summer 2013 and much has happened since. Could you give us your best estimates of how much territory and population is under the control of the different parties today?
First of all, there has been a great refugee exodus out of Syria. The UN refugee agency (UNHCR) currently puts the number of Syrian refugees at around 3.7 million, but we can probably add one million others who have not been listed as refugees, because they’re wealthy enough to avoid it or because they have crossed the border clandestinely.
In Syria, there now remain around 18 million inhabitants who have not perished in the war or fled the country. They are distributed thus: 3–6 million in rebel-held areas, 10–13 million in government-held areas, and 1–2 million in the Kurdish region.....
From 21stCenturyWire blog:
Truth Revealed: McCain’s ‘Moderate Rebels’ in Syria ARE ISIS
....On Tuesday during his State of the Union address, President Barack Obama touted great strides in “halting the advance of ISIS” with US-led airstrikes in Syria and Iraq. Today, US Ambassador Stuart Jones announced that “Coalition Airstrikes” (US airstrikes) have killed 6,000 ISIS fighters. How the US is able to conjure up such incredible Jack and the Beanstalk-style numbers (all but impossible to verify) is beyond anyone outside of Washington. You just have to take his word for it. Just like we just had to take US Ambassador to the Ukraine’s word for it – when Geoffrey Pyatt Tweeted a few random Digital Globe images claiming that the Russians invaded Ukraine, again. After six or so ‘Russian Invasion’ false starts, we’re still waiting for evidence beyond Twitter.
The lies and creative accounting have been palpable since the beginning of the US airstrikes in Syria. Early strikes weren’t actually against ISIS, but rather against a number of impressive empty buildings, and buildings which were curiously evacuated days before the US conducted the raids. How interesting.
This brings us to the issue of who ISIS really is, and how did ISIS build up to the level they are at today. It’s a particularly embarrassing thing to admit, because when you allow this fact out of the bag, then skeptics start asking more questions, and if there’s one thing that politicians hate more than anything, it’s facts and questions. ....
....President Benigno Aquino has declared Friday a day of mourning for the 44 police commandos who were slaughtered in a cornfield Sunday when their top-secret mission - to kill or capture one of the world's most wanted militants - went badly wrong.
The killings have sparked growing calls for retribution. Analysts warn this threatens the peace process aimed at ending a decades-long armed conflict that has claimed tens of thousands of lives in impoverished regions of Philippines.....
Africa agrees to send 7,500 troops to fight Boko Haram
African leaders agreed to send 7,500 troops to fight the Boko Haram insurgency in northeast Nigeria, an African Union official said Saturday, as the international community, including long-time foes the U.S. and Iran, rallied in support of Nigeria against the militants.
The move came after the council urged heads of state to endorse the deployment of troops from five West African countries to fight the terror group, said the head of the African Union's Peace and Security Council, Samil Chergui........
Peace talks on Ukraine have broken up after more than four hours with Kiev's envoy accusing separatist envoys of undermining the meeting by making ultimatums and refusing to discuss plans for a ceasefire, according to reports.
Ukraine's representative, former president Leonid Kuchma, was quoted by Interfax news agency as saying that the two separatist officials present had delivered ultimatums and refused "to discuss a plan of measures for a quick ceasefire and a pull-back of heavy weapons".
He also reproached the two main separatist leaders in eastern Ukraine, who signed key agreements in Minsk last September, for failing to attend Saturday's follow-up meeting of the "contact group", which also involved a Russian envoy and an official from the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe......
Hezbollah fires missile salvo, killing 2 Israeli soldiers
The Lebanese militant Hezbollah group fired a salvo of missiles at an Israeli military convoy in a disputed border area Wednesday, killing two soldiers and triggering deadly clashes that marked the most serious escalation since the sides' 2006 war.
The flare-up, which also left a U.N. peacekeeper dead, added to the regional chaos brought on by neighboring Syria's civil war. Hezbollah indicated the attack was in retaliation for a deadly Israeli strike on its fighters inside Syria earlier this month.
The violence sparked fears in both countries of yet another crippling war between the two foes. Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Israel would respond "forcefully," and the military fired artillery shell barrages that struck border villages in southern Lebanon. Hezbollah responded with rocket fire on Israeli military positions.....
Spanish peacekeeper in Lebanon is the latest example of Israel killing United Nations personnel https://t.co/AYE8Mi2ApD #ICC4Israel
— Everett Coldwell (@EverettColdwell) January 30, 2015
Islamic State says it has beheaded second Japanese hostage Goto
Islamic State militants said on Saturday they had beheaded a second Japanese hostage, journalist Kenji Goto, after the failure of international efforts to secure his release through a prisoner swap.
The hardline Islamist group, which controls large parts of Syria and Iraq, released a video which seemed to show the beheaded body of Goto and threatened further attacks on Japanese targets. Japanese Defense Minister Gen Nakatani said the video appeared to be genuine......
Over 50 dead in Pakistani Shiite mosque bombing
A bomb blast ripped through a Shiite mosque in southern Pakistan as worshippers were gathering for Friday prayers, killing 56 people and wounding dozens more, officials said.
The blast was one of the deadliest sectarian attacks to hit the country in years and comes as Pakistan is already struggling to contain a surging militancy following the horrific Peshawar school attack that killed 150 people, most of them children, in December.
The Sunni militant group Jundullah claimed responsibility for the attack, which took place in the city of Shikarpur in Sindh province, roughly 500 kilometers (310 miles) north of Karachi......