Middle East

KIwi al Qaeda sympathisers fighting in Syria

Andrea Vance reports on Kiwi al Qaeda sympathisers fighting in Syria, or attempting to fight in Syria.

New Zealand passport holders have been identified fighting alongside anti-Government forces in Syria, Prime Minister John Key says.

In some instances, the Department of Internal Affairs had cancelled their passports – some were dual nationality, including Australians, he said.

A small number also had their documents confiscated before they were allowed to leave for the civil war-torn Middle Eastern state, the prime minister said.

Rebel factions have been battling to topple President Bashar al-Assad since 2011.

Key refused to say how many Kiwis have been fighting, or give any details.

He knew of no prosecutions, saying “it was handled in a different way”.

The revelation comes after weekend reports that Australians were “flocking” to the front line. Across the Tasman, the government fears the fighters will return as hardline radicalised Islamists, ready to launch domestic terror attacks.

“Yes, there is likely to … have been a small number of New Zealanders who have fought with the rebels in Syria,” Key said today.

“There are a small group of people that have gone to Syria to fight. There’s a small group that were going to Syria that we stopped … we have physically stopped some and we are clearly aware of others who are in Syria.”  Read more »

Clapped out Iranian Navy ships ‘threaten’ US shores…snigger

Clapped out Iranian ship 'menacing' US shores

Clapped out Iranian ship ‘menacing’ US shores

Some ships from the Iranian Navy are currently marauding in the Atlantic Ocean in a deployment that is a supposedly response to U.S. naval deployments near Iran’s coastlines and they are sending a message.

In other news the Afghan Air Force are going to fly their stealth bombers to the edge of US airspace just to add to the tension.

This must be a worrying time for the seppos,  we should offer our air combat wing in case they need some back up.

Iranian warships dispatched to the Atlantic Ocean will travel close to U.S. maritime borders for the first time in a bid to send ‘a message’ to the White House.  Read more »

Muslims, always seem to find new and interesting ways of shortening their followers lives

The religion of peace doesn’t seem too keen on wanting women to live….making it hard for paramedics to attend to a heart attack victim.

A Saudi university student has died of a heart attack after male paramedics were prevented by authorities from entering the women-only campus to treat her for more than an hour.

Thousands of people took to twitter to vent their anger at the treatment of Amna Bawazeer and blame the kingdom’s segregation rules for her death.

She collapsed at King Saud University in the country’s capital Riyadh on Wednesday at about 11am but did not get seen by the ambulance crews until 12.45pm.

When they were finally allowed to care for the victim she had died, it was reported.

The university’s rector, Badran Al-Omar, denied the report, saying there was no hesitation in letting the paramedics in. He added that the university did all it could to save the life of the student.   Read more »

Global Warming strikes the Middle East

For the time in more than 100 years snow has fallen in Egypt, and in Jerusalem.

Global Warming strikes again.

It’s a festive scene that’s adorned countless Christmas cards… and, for once, the Holy Land actually became a snow covered winter scene.

The ancient city of Jerusalem, which normally basks in fierce heat, was dusted with a light covering of snow during a freak blizzard.

And snow fell on the streets of Egypt for the first time in 112 years as one of the worst winter storms to hit the Middle East in living memory set in.

The rare sight of pristine white precipitation greeted stunned residents of Cairo this morning who took to social media to express their shock at the unsettling weather in the usually sweltering capital.

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Obama doesn’t want America to be the World’s Police

It is clear that Obama doesn’t really want to go to war over a bunch of bad wogs in Syria. THere are no good options in battling in Syria.

Andrew Sullivan comments:

The money quote for me, apart from the deeply moving passage about poison gas use at the end, was his description of a letter from a service-member who told him, “We should not be the world’s policeman.” President Obama said, quite simply: “I agree.” And those on the far right who are accusing him of ceding the Middle East to Russia are half-right and yet completely wrong. What this remarkable breakthrough has brought about is a possible end to the dynamic in which America is both blamed for all the evils in the world and then also blamed for not stopping all of them. We desperately need to rebuild international cooperation to relieve us of that impossible burden in a cycle that can only hurt us and the West again and again.  Read more »

Some sensible thoughts on Syria

Stephen Franks blogs about a discussion in his office over Syria, especially over the Onion satire piece about Syria.

[The Onion is ] Funny as usual.

However, jokes aside, I think it buys into a misunderstanding about what is going on there.  The pieces just don’t fit the public narrative. Although, I must acknowledge “John’s Law” –  those who think it is a conspiracy don’t understand the power of the plain old  f—   up.

I don’t agree with the portrayal of Assad as in the least insane.  Only a few years ago he was being feted (and, ahem,  wined and dined)  by pretty much everyone as a practical reformer, trying to bring Syria out from under his fathers murderous shadow (remember, his father had a whole town liquidated to quell a rebellion).  Acts of horror abound in the Middle East, where strength and lack of pity are virtues.  Read more »

Things are bad when the French man up and you don’t

There are two rules of French Warfare.

1. The French only win when not led by a Frenchman.

2. The French only win when the Americans do the fighting.

Something is badly wrong though when the French man up for stoush in the Middle East and the Poms cower in their parliament.

France stepped firmly into Britain’s newly vacated role as President Francois Hollande promised to punish the “chemical massacre” by joining a US strike on Syria.

Without any need to seek parliament’s approval for a military operation,Mr Hollande made clear his readiness to order French forces into action alongside their American allies.

Yep the Americans are going to do the fighting.

Now the pom press are in on the act of mocking.

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Damned if they do and damned if they don’t


I am noting with some irony the left-wing calling for the West (which basically means the US) to “do something” in Syria.

These are the same people who without exception see the US as evil especially over the recent spying furore, and yet they want the US and Obama to “do something” about Bashar al-Assad and the use of chemical weapons.

Last Wednesday, in the hours after a horrific chemical attack east of Damascus, an official at the Syrian Ministry of Defense exchanged panicked phone calls with a leader of a chemical weapons unit, demanding answers for a nerve agent strike that killed more than 1,000 people. Those conversations were overheard by U.S. intelligence services, The Cable has learned. And that is the major reason why American officials now say they’re certain that the attacks were the work of the Bashar al-Assad regime — and why the U.S. military is likely to attack that regime in a matter of days.

But the intercept raises questions about culpability for the chemical massacre, even as it answers others: Was the attack on Aug. 21 the work of a Syrian officer overstepping his bounds? Or was the strike explicitly directed by senior members of the Assad regime? “It’s unclear where control lies,” one U.S. intelligence official told The Cable. “Is there just some sort of general blessing to use these things? Or are there explicit orders for each attack?”   Read more »

The world’s reserves of shale gas will frack the Middle East

We’re on the cusp of a geopolitical watershed.

The oil states of the Middle East will lose their guaranteed cash cow as world-wide stocks of shale gas are both plentiful and wide spread

Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, the billionaire Saudi investor, made a telling intervention in his country’s domestic politics last week, with an open letter arguing the U.S. shale gas revolution threatened its economy.

His point was a simple one, and well made. If America needs less Saudi oil, that can only be bad news for the nation exporting the stuff. It better start diversifying into other industries — and fast.



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Morsi ousted, as predicted

Back in February 2011 the left wing were all agog at the so called people’s uprising in Egypt and the subsequent election of Morsi to run Egypt.

At the time I pointed out that Egypt had only a thin veneer of democracy and that the Army is always in control. Martyn Bradbury exclaimed his support of the overthrow of Mubarak…this si what i wrote about that at the time.

Bomber hasn’t witnessed history, he has watched the army take control of Egypt again. He hasn’t witnessed freedom, watch what happens now. And Facebook and Twitter haven’t overcome tyranny, they just made it visible. The tyranny will smack down hard in the days to come now the army is in control.

They of course forget that the military have been in control, either at the pointy sharp end or in the background since 1952 when Nasser overthrew the monarchy. They forget that Egypt has never, not even for one year either before 1952 nor since had a democracy.

I wonder what they will say when Egypt turns to custard as Islamist nutters try to grab control of the country. They won’t even for a minute consider having a democracy. Rather they will try to impose a theocracy.

While Bomber and other useful idiots celebrate a military coup I will make a prediction. There won’t be a democracy, fledgling or otherwise in Egypt. The army will take total control and they won’t relinquish it. They already run vast amounts of the Egyptian economy, so they will see this as a licence to run more.   Read more »