2019 AUG 15 EGYPT; Jennifer Lopez Boycotted in Cairo After Refusing to Cancel Performance in Israel

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2019 AUG 16 ISRAEL & EGYPT: Are & Human Rights Equally Disregarded in Israel and Egypt

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2019 APR 27 Egypt: Church Closed after Muslim mob beats up priest, scares 200 Sunday school children onlookers

2019 APR 27 Egypt: Church Closed after Muslim mob beats up priest, scares 200 Sunday school children onlookers https://www.jihadwatch.org/2019/04/egypt-church-closed-after-muslim-mob-beats-up-priest-scares-200-sunday-school-children-onlookers …  THE TOLERANT RELIGION PIGS FLY 🐷 🐷 🐷

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UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) Members Review: Egypt

RANKINGS HELD 2018:


• OPEN DOORS RANKING [17/50]
Fifty Most Dangerous Countries To Follow Jesus.1)Open Doors World Watch List (ranked 1 to 50) (1 = Worst)

• FREEDOM IN THE WORLD 2018
. STATUS: Not Free
. FREEDOM AGGREGATE [26/100]
Aggregate Score 2)Freedom in the World 2018 Table of Country Aggregate Freedom Score {0 = least free, 100 = most free}


• ADL-GLOBAL ANTI-SEMITISM INDEX [75%]
(0% = least – 100% = most)

ISRAEL’S TOP TEN ANTI-SEMITISM NATIONS LIST [0/10]


US Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor
Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2017


EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

According to its constitution, Egypt is a republic governed by an elected president and unicameral legislature. Domestic and international observers concluded the 2014 presidential election was administered professionally and in line with the country’s laws, while also expressing serious concerns that government limitations on association, assembly, and expression constrained broad political participation. Domestic and international observers also concluded that government authorities professionally administered parliamentary elections in 2015 in accordance with the country’s laws, while also expressing concern about restrictions on freedom of peaceful assembly, association, and expression and their negative effect on the political climate surrounding the elections.

Civilian authorities maintained effective control over the security forces.

A three-month state of emergency (SOE), subsequently renewed for an additional three months, was imposed following the Palm Sunday terrorist attacks on Coptic churches in April. Two days after the expiration of the second SOE in October, a three-month SOE was imposed. By law SOEs may only be renewed once.

The most significant human rights issues included arbitrary or unlawful killings by the government or its agents; major terrorist attacks; disappearances; torture; harsh or potentially life-threatening prison conditions; arbitrary arrest and detention; including the use of military courts to try civilians; political prisoners and detainees; unlawful interference in privacy; limits on freedom of expression, including criminal “defamation of religion” laws; restrictions on the press, internet, and academic freedom; and restrictions on freedoms of assembly and association, including government control over registration and financing of NGOs. LGBTI persons faced arrests, imprisonment, and degrading treatment. The government did not effectively respond to violence against women, and there were reports of child labor.

The government inconsistently punished or prosecuted officials who committed abuses, whether in the security services or elsewhere in government. In most cases the government did not comprehensively investigate human rights abuses, including most incidents of violence by security forces, contributing to an environment of impunity.

Attacks by terrorist organizations caused arbitrary and unlawful deprivation of life. Terrorist groups conducted deadly attacks on government, civilian, and security targets throughout the country, including places of worship and public transportation. Authorities investigated terrorist attacks.


FULL REPORT PDF COPY – Pages 56


BACKGROUND RESOURCE:

a. US Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor: state.gov

b. Freedom in the World 2018  Table of Country Aggregate Score: freedomhouse.org

c. Top anti-Semitism nations ranked 1-10 Jewish perspective: timesofisrael.com

d. ADL-Global 4,161,578,905 Total adult population of countries surveyed: global100.adl.org

e. Executive Summary Source: state.gov

References   [ + ]

1. Open Doors World Watch List 
2. Freedom in the World 2018 Table of Country Aggregate Freedom Score

The Most Honest Arab Muslim On Planet Earth Egyptian TV Host Youssef Al-Husseini (Egypt June 19, 2017)

Egyptian TV Host Youssef Al-Husseini Following London Mosque Attack:

The Muslims Have Contributed Nothing but Terror, So Why Do You Expect Them to Love You?

Youssef Al-Husseini

Following the vehicular attack outside a London mosque on June 19, Egyptian TV host Youssef Al-Husseini said:

“Why do they hate us?! If they didn’t, there would be something mentally wrong with them.”

Claiming that the Muslims have contributed nothing to the West except slaughter, massacres, and terror attacks, Al-Husseini said: “And you still expect them to love us?!” His address aired on ON TV on the day of the attack.


TRANSCRIPT1)https://www.memri.org/tv/egyptian-tv-host-following-london-attack-muslims%20contributed-terror/transcript

Youssef Al-Husseini:

The terror attack that unfortunately took place [in London] was a vehicular attack.

This time, it was near a mosque, if you follow the news.

How can anyone decide to carry out a terror attack near a place of worship – near a mosque, a church, or any temple where God is worshipped?.

In all the previous vehicular attacks, at least in 2016 and 2017, the “heroes” were, unfortunately, Muslims. And then people wonder why they hate us.

Why do they hate us?!

If they didn’t, there would be something mentally wrong with them.  

[We] use weapons all the time, slaughter people all the time, flay people all the time, burn people alive all the time, run people over all the time, and plant explosive devices and car bombs all the time.

Why do you still expect them to love you?

[…]

Tell me what the Muslims have contributed to the world throughout the 20th century?

Nothing.

What have the Turkish Muslims of the Ottoman state contributed to the West?

Slaughter, massacres, the impaling of Europeans on spears…

It’s true.

That’s what the Turks did in Europe in the 16th and 17th centuries.

What did the Muslim Turks do to their Arab neighbours, most of whom are Muslims?

They enslaved them, tortured them, imposed inflated taxes upon them.

They made their lives unbearable.

What did the Muslims contribute to the West in the 19th and 20th centuries, except for the theories of Maududi, Sayyid Qutb, Abu Bakr Naji, and Osama Bin Laden?

What did the Muslims contribute to the West?

Don’t say to me: “The literature of Naguib Mahfouz and the science of Ahmed Zewail.”

The [achievements] of these people cannot be attributed to their being Muslims.

[…]

What have the Muslims shown [the West] other than the bombing of their capital cities?

What have the Muslims shown them other than vehicular attacks?

What have the Muslims shown them other than shooting at them?

What have the Muslims shown them other than burning them alive in cages?

They burn other Muslims alive as well.

They all claim to have a monopoly over Islam.

What have the Muslims shown [the Westerners] to make them love them, and welcome them in their countries?

[…]

After all this, you still ask me why they hate us?!

And then people invent new terms, like “a global conspiracy against Islam.”

Man, a global conspiracy against Islam would mean that the Muslims are being massacred around the world.

The opposite is true.

It is the non-Muslims who are being massacred. Am I right, or what?

Then you say to me: Have you considered the Muslim minorities in India or Mali?

To tell you the truth, what I see is Muslims perpetrating massacres against Christians and other majorities across the globe.

[…]

The Muslims are constantly whining, lamenting, and wailing: The West is conspiring against us.

Fine, let’s assume that the West is conspiring against you and only sees your negative image.

Where is your positive image?

The Muslims of the Abbasid state presented a positive image.

They exported scientific research through the so-called “Muslim” scholars, most of whom, by the way, were not from the Arabian Peninsula.

None of them were from the Arabian Peninsula.

They were all from North Africa, and from what are now called the former Soviet Islamic republics of central Asia.

[…]

What have the Arab countries contributed to the world?

Nothing.

What have the Islamic countries contributed to the world?

Nothing.

What have they contributed in the field of scientific research?

Two, three, four, or ten scientists in the course of 1,435 years? C’mon, man!

Let’s forget about 435 years and keep just one millennium.

Ten important scientists in 1,000 years?!

• Who invented the airplane?
• The missile?
• The space shuttle?
• Centrifuges?
• Quantum mechanics?
• The Theory of Relativity?

Who?

Where did the most important philosophers come from?

Not from here.

And you still expect them to love us?!

And then you say: “Terror-sponsoring countries like Britain deserve…”

Nonsense!

People do not deserve to be killed, slaughtered, or run over by a car.

[…]

PDF Copy of Transcript

References   [ + ]

1. https://www.memri.org/tv/egyptian-tv-host-following-london-attack-muslims%20contributed-terror/transcript

Egypt’s “Security Threat”: Churches

Islam vs. Christianity

• Whenever Christians attempt to repair, renovate, or build a church — all of which contradict Islamic law — the same chain of events follows. Local Muslims riot and rampage, and local (Muslim) officials conclude that the only way to prevent “angry youths” from acts of violence is to ban the church, which is then declared a “threat” to security.

• Repeatedly, Christian leaders accuse local officials of inciting Muslim violence against churches. Muslim leaders then point to this violence to deny the church a permit on the grounds that it has attracted violence.

On February 1, Tharwat Bukhit, a Coptic Christian member of Egypt’s parliament, announced “there are approximately 50 churches in Egypt closed for reasons of security.”

When the “Arab Spring” broke out in 2011, Egypt’s Christians compiled a list of 43 churches that had been shut down by local authorities over the years. This list was given to the prime minister of Egypt at the time, Dr. Essam Sharaf, who said that the churches would be opened as soon as possible. Yet since then, according to Bukhit, “Today, the number of closed churches has grown to almost 50.”

Why are Christian churches being “closed for reasons of security”?

Whenever Christians attempt to repair, renovate, or build a church — all of which contradict Islamic law1)According to the Conditions of Omar, a Medieval Muslim text that delineates the debilitations Christians must accept in order not to be killed by an Islamic state, Christians are commanded Not to build a church in our city—nor a monastery, convent, or monk’s cell in the surrounding areas—and not to repair those that fall in ruins or are in Muslim quarters; Not to clang our cymbals except lightly and from the innermost recesses of our churches; Not to display a cross on them [churches], nor raise our voices during prayer or readings in our churches anywhere near Muslims… See Crucified Again, pgs. 24-30– the same chain of events follows. Local Muslims riot and rampage, and local (Muslim) officials conclude that the only way to prevent “angry youths” from acts of violence is to ban the church, which is then declared a “threat” to security.

Such events have occurred repeatedly throughout Egypt. For instance, Abdel Fattah Sisi, Egypt’s president, agreed to build a memorial church in the village of Al-Our, which was home to 13 of the 21 Christians beheaded in February 2015 by the Islamic State in Libya. The families of the victims still live there. After Islamic prayers on Friday, April 3, 2015, Muslim mobs from Al-Our village violently protested Sisi’s decision. They yelled that they would never allow a church to be built. They chanted, “Egypt is Islamic!” and then attacked a Coptic church with Molotov cocktails and stones. Cars were set on fire, including one belonging to the family of a Christian beheaded by the Islamic State. Several people were seriously hurt.

In Sohag City, a similar chain of events took place. After waiting 44 years, the Christians of Nag Shenouda were issued the necessary permits to build a church. According to a 2015 report, local Muslims rioted and burned down the temporary worship tent. When a Christian tried to hold a religious service in his home, a Muslim mob attacked it. Denied a place to worship, the Christians of Nag Shenouda celebrated Easter 2015 in the street.

The Christians of Nag Shenouda, Egypt celebrated Easter 2015 in the street after local Muslims rioted and burned down their temporary worship tent, and attacked their religious service at a home.

In a separate incident, also after waiting years, the Christians of Gala’ village finally received formal approval to begin restoring their dilapidated church (see pictures here). Soon after, on April 4, 2015, Muslims rioted, hurling stones at Christian homes, businesses and persons. Christian-owned wheat farms were destroyed and their potato crops uprooted. The usual Islamic slogans were shouted: “Islamic! Islamic!” and “There is no God but Allah!”

In July 2015, Muslims suspended prayer in a church in the village of Arab Asnabt. They called for the church to be demolished as part of an effort “to prevent Coptic Christians from practicing their religious rites.”

Repeatedly, Christian leaders accuse local officials of inciting Muslim violence against churches. Muslim leaders then point to this violence to deny the church a permit on the grounds that it has attracted violence.

More recently, a church under construction in the village of Swada was attacked by a mob of at least 400 Muslims, possibly incited by local officials. After the attack, the church was closed by the same officials who had previously granted the necessary permits required for its construction. The 3,000 Coptic Christians in Swada, who make up approximately 35% of the population, do not have even one Coptic Orthodox Church to serve them.

This year, on February 1, the same day as Coptic Christian MP Tharwat Bukhit said nearly 50 churches had been shut down, the priest of St. Rewis Church described how, on the first day Christians met to worship in a fellow Christian’s home that he had transformed into a church, “Muslims prevented them so that the church was closed on the very day it was opened.”

On February 2, Father Lucas Helmi, an official of the Franciscan Order in Egypt, explained how “the closure of St. George’s Church in the village of Hijazah in Qous [shuttered 25 years earlier] goes back to tensions between Coptic and Muslim families in the village, especially the Muslim neighbors around the old church, which is still unfinished because they refused to allow it to be rebuilt after it was demolished.”

During a 25-minute interview on Arabic satellite TV, Bishop Agathon revealed2)In his May 2015 interview, Bishop Agathon made many remarks accusing the Egyptian government of being behind the persecution of Christians in Egypt—including the rampant kidnapping of Christian children. A translation of his remarks can be read here. how, after an official council meeting with government leaders on the possibility of building a church, one of the authorities contacted the Islamic sheikhs of the village. The official asked the sheikhs if they stood “with the Coptic church or with the State?”

The sheikhs apparently told the Muslim households to each send one family member to protest the building of the church. Security officials could then point to the “rioting mob” and, as usual, on grounds of security, ban the church.

February 15, 2016 | by Raymond Ibrahim | http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/7433/egypt-churches "Egypt's "Security Threat": Churches"

References   [ + ]

1. According to the Conditions of Omar, a Medieval Muslim text that delineates the debilitations Christians must accept in order not to be killed by an Islamic state, Christians are commanded Not to build a church in our city—nor a monastery, convent, or monk’s cell in the surrounding areas—and not to repair those that fall in ruins or are in Muslim quarters; Not to clang our cymbals except lightly and from the innermost recesses of our churches; Not to display a cross on them [churches], nor raise our voices during prayer or readings in our churches anywhere near Muslims… See Crucified Again, pgs. 24-30
2. In his May 2015 interview, Bishop Agathon made many remarks accusing the Egyptian government of being behind the persecution of Christians in Egypt—including the rampant kidnapping of Christian children. A translation of his remarks can be read here.

Middle East Strategic Outlook, February

Map: Middle East feature

• The EU-Turkey agreement of 25 November, which provided Turkey with 3 billion euros over two years in order to stop the flow of refugees to Europe, has not achieved that goal. Speaking privately, EU officials complain that Turkey has not taken any concrete measures to reduce the flow of refugees. In our assessment, Turkey will continue to prevaricate on steps to stem the flow of refugees as pressure on the EU to give more concessions.

• During the coming year there will certainly be further terrorist attacks that will push European public opinion further to the right.

• We assess that Iran will continue in indirect channels with a parallel nuclear program, realized long before the 10-year target of the JCPOA.

• The demand for unification of Kurdistan — Iraqi and Syrian — will also begin to be heard. It is highly likely that Russia will take advantage of the trend and support the Kurds, effectively turning an American ally into a Russian one.

The announcement by the IAEA that Iran has fulfilled its obligations according to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) has triggered “Implementation Day” and the removal of the nuclear-related sanctions on Iran.

The JCPOA, however, did not deal with Iran’s ballistic missile program, and the sanctions related to it are still nominally in force. These sanctions are minor and will not have any real effect on the Iranian missile program. The missile program will mature during this period and will include Ghadr missiles with ranges of 1,650-1,950 km, which may be capable of carrying nuclear warheads.

The question now is: whither the Iranian nuclear program? After the lifting of sanctions, and taking into account the impracticality of “snap-back” of sanctions, we assess that Iran will now initiate a parallel nuclear program.

This will, of course, be far slower than the program that was dismantled by the JCPOA, but it will be realized long before the 10-year target of the JCPOA. One possibility for Iran to continue its nuclear program is through North Korea.

The wording of the JCPOA is ambiguous on nuclear Iranian nuclear cooperation with other countries that are not a party to the agreement. North Korea could produce the whole chain of nuclear weapons and put it at Iran’s disposal in return for Iranian funding.

North Korea would certainly profit economically from such collaboration and would not risk further sanctions.

Such cooperation would be difficult to detect, and even if detected, may not reach the threshold of a material breach of the JCPOA.

The most immediate reward that Iran will receive is the release of frozen Iranian funds ($100-$150 billion).

In addition, Iran may now market oil stored offshore in tankers (about 50 billion barrels) and is preparing to increase its production by 500 thousand bpd (from 2.8 million bpd). It is doubtful that Iran can truly increase its production as planned. Even if it does, the addition of Iranian oil is likely to drive prices down even further, counterbalancing much of the potential profit.

Sanctions relief also is not a quick fix for the Iranian economy.

While it removes legal impediments for investment and business in Iran, the risks that Western companies will face due to residual non-nuclear sanctions (that may be enhanced and enforced by a future American administration), lack of government protection, corruption, and the weakness of the Iranian market cannot be removed by decree. Therefore, European banks and investors may not hurry to invest in Iran at the levels needed to jump-start the Iranian economy after years of sanctions.

The Iranian regime’s goal is not only to block the path to the reformists or reformist-minded, but also to the extremists on the right to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. Such a balance could help the Iranian system maintain its “centrist” orientation and guarantee the continuity in the event of Khamenei’s death and the appointment of a new successor (or a triumvirate of several potential leaders).

It will also facilitate the eventual takeover of the regime by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) after the demise of Khamenei. The backing that the Guardian Council received from the Supreme Leader for the results of its vetting process, in the face of Rouhani’s condemnation of the disapproval of almost all reformists, is also indicative of the balance of power in the regime.

The Iranian seizure of two US Navy patrol boats on January 12 and the publication of drone pictures of a US Navy aircraft carrier underlined the sense of immunity that Iran has achieved.

These actions should be seen in the context of Iran’s attempt to change the rules of the game in the Persian Gulf, while testing the waters of American tolerance and sending to Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States an indirect message that Iran is ready and willing to risk conflict with the US and that the US is a paper tiger that cannot be relied upon in a confrontation between the Gulf States and Iran.

In our assessment, Iran will continue with shows of force such as seizing of naval vessels of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States, stop and search operations of commercial vessels en route to the Gulf States, naval exercises — including missile tests close to Gulf sea-lanes and to the territorial waters of the Gulf States — in international waterways that implicitly interrupt and threaten shipping in the Gulf, “spooking” of Gulf aircraft and even false flag operations of mining, piracy or attacks by proxies in the Gulf and the Red Sea along the Yemeni coast.

We may expect as a result possible frontier skirmishes on the shared littoral borders of Iran and Saudi Arabia, gas fields and disputed islands and in the international waters of the Gulf.

The Iranian seizure of two US Navy patrol boats on January 12 underlined the sense of immunity that Iran has achieved.

Saudi Arabia is drawing up its own map of interests and areas of influence that it is projecting as “no-go zones” for Iran — a Saudi “Monroe Doctrine” for the region.

The most critical of these are:

Yemen (due to the potential for threatening the Bab al-Mandeb Straits), subversion in the Gulf States (primarily Bahrain), the Strait of Hormuz and the international waters of the Gulf.

To this list one must add the obvious: any Iranian-inspired or -planned attack on the Saudi homeland itself — government facilities, oil installations etc. — would be perceived as crossing a red line.

While neither Saudi Arabia nor Iran is interested in direct conflict, and both would prefer to continue to work through proxies and in areas outside their respective sovereign territories, the dynamic nature of the situation can easily lend itself to misreading of such red lines and such miscalculation may lead to direct confrontation between them.

While all-out direct war between Iran and Saudi Arabia remains a low probability, this assessment should be revisited again in the near future.

In Syria, American positions have undergone a strategic shift that reflects the new balance of power created by the Russian intervention.

On the military side, the Russian presence imposes a heavy constraint on the American activities, and U.S. officials caution that the success of the Ramadi operation will not be followed by a concerted effort to roll back the “Islamic State” in the Syrian theater.

In regards to a political solution, the US has accepted the Russian-Iranian four-point-plan that envisages Bashar al-Assad remaining in office during a transition period and being allowed to run for President in “internationally supervised elections”.

In our assessment, the Syrian opposition and their Arab supporters cannot accept any blueprint that would leave any doubt regarding Bashar al-Assad relinquishing power before any process begins.

These developments will only feed the sense of the Sunni Arabs that the United States has turned its back on them and is supporting Iranian-Russian hegemony in the region.

On this background, the prospects that the Syrian “peace talks” in Geneva will achieve any progress towards resolution or even mitigation of the civil war are close to nil.

Last month’s visit by Chinese President Xi Jin Ping to Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Iran was the first such visit of a Chinese President in the region since 2002, and the first foreign head of state to visit Iran since the announcement of “Implementation Day” of the JCPOA.

The Chinese emphasis in all the visits was on economic cooperation, development and stability, but above all — in an implicit stab at the US and Russia — emphasizing that China does not seek proxies, to fill a power vacuum or hegemony in the region.

The leitmotif of the visit was the integration of the Middle Eastern partners (i.e. the Arabs in general and Iran) into China’s “Belt and Road Initiative.”

In spite of the inclusion of Iran in the visit, President Xi took care not to offend the Arabs.

The agreements with Saudi Arabia included nuclear cooperation in a scope far greater than that which was offered to Iran, and the joint statement reflected the Saudi position on Yemen, stating, “both sides stressed support for the legitimate regime of Yemen.”

The “Arab Policy Paper” published on the eve of the visit stresses China’s commitment to “non-intervention and opposition to interference in the affairs of other countries”.

This is seen by the Arab policy communities as a sign of implicit Chinese support for their position vis-à-vis Iran’s activities in the region, though they would have welcomed more explicit statements of support.

There is no expectation in the region that China is going to play the “Big Power” card in the region. Taking sides in this conflict would be out of character for China.

Saudi Arabia and the other Arab states will attempt to convince China to refrain from demonstrations of rapprochement with Iran and to support the Arab positions vis-à-vis Iranian provocations in the Gulf, Syria and Yemen.

While China may show a slight implicit leaning towards the Arab position on these issues, it is not likely to take a clear anti-Iranian/pro-Arab position in the near future.

The European Union-Turkey agreement of 25 November, which provided Turkey with 3 billion euros over two years in order to stop the flow of refugees to Europe, has not achieved that goal.

Speaking privately, EU officials complain that Turkey has not taken any concrete measures to reduce the flow of refugees.

In our assessment, Turkey will continue to prevaricate on steps to stem the flow of refugees as pressure on the EU to give more concessions.

Turkey has already signaled that the sum will not suffice for the task of maintaining the refugees inside Turkey alone, and certainly not for other security measures such as blocking the border with Turkey to prevent passage to and fro of “Islamic State” foreign fighters.

Aside from the 3 billion euros, the EU commitments will also not be easily implemented; visa waivers for Turkish citizens in general will encounter massive opposition within the EU.

The road to Turkish accession to the EU must also go through complex negotiations on various aspects of compatibility of Turkey to the standards of the EU.

All these discussions will encounter a veto by Cyprus, pending a peace deal with Turkish-occupied Northern Cyprus. This veto may be resolved if a referendum on unification of Cyprus takes place and supports reunification later this year.

However, the real obstacle towards Turkish accession is not technical or due to the Cyprus question; it revolves around the shift in European public opinion towards absorption of immigrants from Muslim countries.

During the coming year, there will certainly be further terrorist attacks that will push European public opinion further to the right. Under these circumstances, Turkish accession or even visa waiver will be very unlikely.

In our assessment, the trend towards Kurdish independence will eventually lead to an independent Iraqi Kurdistan.

The events in Syrian Kurdistan will also affect the pace and direction of the independence movement in Iraq’s Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).

Unification of the parts of Syrian Kurdistan in the face of Turkish opposition and under Russian protection will give impetus to the demand to create a political fait accompli of independence in Iraqi Kurdistan.

As the principle of Kurdish independence in Iraq gains more and more support and becomes a reality, the irredentist demand for unification of Kurdistan — Iraqi and Syrian — will also begin to be heard.

This is the fulfillment of the Kurdish nightmare that Turkey has always feared.

With the deterioration of relations between the AKP government and the Turkish Kurds inside Turkey, such a political reality of independent Kurdistan will add fire to the flames of the Kurdish rebellion in southern Turkey.

It is highly likely that Russia will take advantage of the trend and support the Kurds, effectively turning an American ally into a Russian one. If this happens, the US will have lost an important potential ally in the new map of the Middle East.

The large number of players on the ground that may take a part in the campaign for Mosul will only complicate the campaign further and — if the city or part of it is retaken, will increase the chances of internal fighting between the components of the ad-hoc alliance of Iraqi government forces, Shiite militias, Sunni militias, Kurdish Peshmarga, Turks and American forces.

On this background, the Syrian “Peace Talks” in Geneva started (29 January) as “proximity talks” in which the UN representatives shuttle between the rooms of the opposing parties.

The Saudi supported High Negotiations Committee (HNC) of the Syrian opposition ceded their original conditions — cessation of the attacks on civilians — though they refuse to meet with the regime representatives while the latter refuse to meet with “terrorists”.

The Syrian regime representation is low-level as an indication that there is no intention to hold real negotiations. Furthermore, the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), whose military wing, the YPG, is the most effective fighting force on the ground against the “Islamic State,” were not included in the opposition delegation because of the Turkish threat to boycott the Geneva negotiations if it participates.

Under these conditions, the prospects that the talks will achieve any progress towards resolution or even mitigation of the civil war are close to nil.

February 7, 2016 | by Shmuel Bar | gatestoneinstitute.org "Middle East Strategic Outlook, February"
Dr. Shmuel Bar is a senior research fellow at the Samuel Neaman Institute for National Policy studies at the Technion in Haifa, Israel, and a veteran of Israel’s intelligence community.