Saturday, December 7, 2019

MixedTimes - John Hayward

Dozens of Islamic State Terrorists Surrender in Afghanistan

Dozens of Islamic State Terrorists Surrender in Afghanistan

A group of 62 Islamic State fighters, including 30 Pakistanis and two Turkish nationals, surrendered to Afghan military forces in the Nangarhar area on Tuesday. The Afghan government, which is busy arranging extradition for captured foreign nationals, said the latest in a series of surrenders indicated ISIS is losing its ability to effectively resist the national military.

Iraq: Prime Minister Resigns After Two Months of Protests

Iraq: Prime Minister Resigns After Two Months of Protests

Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Madhi announced his resignation on Friday in an address broadcast on state television. He did not specify exactly when his resignation would take effect, but the Iraqi parliament will meet on Sunday to begin the process of choosing a successor.

China Passes U.S. in Number of Diplomatic Missions Worldwide

China Passes U.S. in Number of Diplomatic Missions Worldwide

A study published by the Lowy Institute of Australia on Wednesday found that China now has more diplomatic missions around the world than the United States, with a total of 276 posts to America’s 273.

Turkey to Resume ‘Operation Peace Spring’ in Northern Syria

Turkey to Resume ‘Operation Peace Spring’ in Northern Syria

The Turkish National Security Council issued a statement on Tuesday that “Operation Peace Spring,” the Turkish invasion of northeastern Syria, will continue despite cease-fire agreements brokered with the United States and Russia.

Iranian Internet Restored; Protest Videos Reveal Chaos

Iranian Internet Restored; Protest Videos Reveal Chaos

Iran’s week-long blackout of the Internet ended on Sunday, unleashing a flood of online videos that revealed chaos and repressive violence during nationwide protests over rising gas prices.

Iran Mobilizes Half a Million Paramilitary Fighters to Suppress Protests

Iran Mobilizes Half a Million Paramilitary Fighters to Suppress Protests

Iran on Tuesday claimed “calm has been restored in the country” following protests triggered by a massive hike in gasoline prices, but the Internet remained down and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) announced it was mobilizing half a million members of a brutal paramilitary force known as the Basij to control the streets.

Chinese Airlines Cut Flights to Hong Kong

Chinese Airlines Cut Flights to Hong Kong

Chinese airlines are dramatically reducing, or even completely halting, flights to Hong Kong due to civil unrest on the island. Hong Kong’s airport, which has been the scene of a few demonstrations over the past five months, was once the busiest hub in Asia and one of the busiest airports in the world.

Reports: Iranian Protesters Burn Down 100 Banks, Shops in Gas Protest

Reports: Iranian Protesters Burn Down 100 Banks, Shops in Gas Protest

Protests in towns and cities across Iran continued Monday despite the use of lethal force against demonstrators by the regime plus a nationwide Internet blackout. The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), a designated terrorist organization, threatened “decisive” action if the protests do not end soon.

Hong Kong Police Turn University Campus into War Zone

Hong Kong Police Turn University Campus into War Zone

The campus of Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) became the focal point of the protest movement on Tuesday, degenerating into a veritable war zone as police battled protesters, flooded the grounds with tear gas, fired rubber bullets, and rolled in a water cannon truck that splattered demonstrators with blue dye.

Erdogan to Discuss Syrian Kurds, Gulen Extradition in Talks with Trump

Erdogan to Discuss Syrian Kurds, Gulen Extradition in Talks with Trump

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday that when he meets with U.S. President Donald Trump this week, his agenda will include Turkey’s relationship with Russia, complaints about Syrian Kurdish militia forces remaining in the “safe area” Turkey wants to carve out near its border, and Turkey’s long-stalled extradition request for exiled cleric and Erdogan arch-enemy Fethullah Gulen.

Hong Kong Police Pepper-Spray Pregnant Woman, Drive Motorcycle into Crowd

Hong Kong Police Pepper-Spray Pregnant Woman, Drive Motorcycle into Crowd

A Hong Kong police officer was caught on video Tuesday repeatedly blasting a pregnant woman in the face with pepper spray for no apparent reason. Another police officer was suspended over a viral video from Monday that showed him deliberately ramming his motorcycle through a crowd of protesters.

Chinese State Media Urges Hong Kong Police to ‘Shoot Down the Rioters’

Chinese State Media Urges Hong Kong Police to ‘Shoot Down the Rioters’

Communist Chinese media on Tuesday praised the Hong Kong police for their “restraint” in dealing with “radical protesters” - even though the island is currently boiling with outrage over the death of a student and the caught-on-video shooting of a protester - and urged police to “shoot down the rioters,” with assistance from the People’s Liberation Army if necessary.

Xi Jinping: China's Communist Party Needs Tight ‘Grips’ on Military

Xi Jinping: China's Communist Party Needs Tight ‘Grips’ on Military

Chinese President Xi Jinping on Sunday told his Central Military Committee (CMC) that it will be essential for the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to keep tight “grips” on the military as it grows and decentralizes to deal with the fast pace of modern military challenges.

Assad: Syrian Opposition ‘Staged a Play’ with Fake Chemical Weapons Victims

Assad: Syrian Opposition ‘Staged a Play’ with Fake Chemical Weapons Victims

Syrian dictator Bashar Assad said during an interview with Russian television on Monday that accusations of him using chemical weapons were a frame-up concocted by his opponents and hostile governments like Saudi Arabia, who allegedly “staged a play” with fake victims to fool the international community.

Mexico Offers Asylum to Bolivia’s Evo Morales After Resignation

Mexico Offers Asylum to Bolivia’s Evo Morales After Resignation

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador and his administration on Sunday offered asylum to former Bolivian President Evo Morales, who resigned amid public fury over the election fraud that nearly gave him an unconstitutional fourth term in office.

Hong Kong Police Shoot Protesters at Close Range

Hong Kong Police Shoot Protesters at Close Range

Hong Kong police fired both tear gas and live rounds at protesters on Monday. One of the protesters was hit in the chest or abdomen by a live bullet fired at point-blank range by a uniformed police officer, resulting in immediate public outrage and even more energetic protests.

All-Female Syrian Village Evacuated as Turkish Forces Advance

All-Female Syrian Village Evacuated as Turkish Forces Advance

The village of Jinwar in northeastern Syria, an unusual community consisting entirely of women and children, was reportedly evacuated on Monday as Turkish forces continued to advance despite a cease-fire agreement.

Syrian Christians Take Up Arms Against Turkish Invasion

Syrian Christians Take Up Arms Against Turkish Invasion

Kurdish news service Rudaw reported on Tuesday that Syrian Christians living near the Turkish border are taking up arms to protect their villages from invading Turkish forces and their Syrian allies.

Iraq: Protesters Storm Iranian Consulate in Karbala

Iraq: Protesters Storm Iranian Consulate in Karbala

The Iranian consulate in Karbala, Iraq, was stormed by dozens of protesters on Sunday, who threw Molotov cocktails, climbed over the walls, took down the Iranian flag, and replaced it with the Iraqi flag.

Kayla Mueller: The American ISIS Chief Baghdadi Kept as His Personal Slave

Kayla Mueller: The American ISIS Chief Baghdadi Kept as His Personal Slave

Kayla Mueller was one of the four Americans whose murder by the Islamic State (ISIS) President Donald Trump described as “especially heinous” on Sunday morning when he announced the appropriately cowardly demise of the man who ordered them tortured and murdered, Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

China Detains Reporter for ‘Making Trouble’ After Covering Hong Kong

China Detains Reporter for ‘Making Trouble’ After Covering Hong Kong

Chinese reporter Sophia Huang Xueqin was arrested in the city of Guangzhou on October 17 after returning from a summer of covering the Hong Kong protests and charged with “making trouble and picking quarrels,” the Chinese Communist Party’s all-purpose charge for incarcerating inconvenient people.

China Promotes Xinjiang Sweatshops as Future of ‘Made in China’

China Promotes Xinjiang Sweatshops as Future of ‘Made in China’

China on Thursday rejected accusations of human rights violations from the United States and other countries, insisting that the Muslims of Xinjiang province have emerged from their re-education camps as happy and productive citizens eager to work in Chinese factories.

Nigeria Signs Military Cooperation Pact with Russia

Nigeria Signs Military Cooperation Pact with Russia

At a meeting in the Black Sea resort of Sochi on Thursday, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari signed agreements with Russian President Vladimir Putin for military cooperation and economic development, including Nigeria’s oil and gas resources.

Russian Forces Flood Kurdish Cities in Syria

Russian Forces Flood Kurdish Cities in Syria

Russian ground troops and military vehicles poured into key Syrian Kurdish cities on Wednesday and Thursday as part of Russia’s deal with Turkey to conduct joint patrols of the “safe zone” they are establishing along the Turkey-Syria border, and also to prevent Turkey from attacking deeper into Syria.

Russia: No Timetable for Turkish Withdrawal from Syria

Russia: No Timetable for Turkish Withdrawal from Syria

The Russian Foreign Ministry said on Thursday there is no fixed timetable for Turkish troops to withdraw from northeastern Syria, even though the objective of their invasion has ostensibly been met.

Russians Help Turkey Push Kurds out of Northern Syria

Russians Help Turkey Push Kurds out of Northern Syria

The Kremlin issued a warning to Kurdish forces on Wednesday that they must withdraw from the Turkish border region immediately, or else “Syrian border guards and Russian military police officers will have to pull back,” leaving the Kurds to be “run over by the Turkish military machine.

China’s ‘Pig Ebola’ Epidemic Leads to Increased Demand for Dog Meat

China’s ‘Pig Ebola’ Epidemic Leads to Increased Demand for Dog Meat

China’s devastating outbreak of African swine fever, nicknamed “Pig Ebola” by outside observers, has compelled the destruction of millions of pigs and created a shortage of pork severe enough to put dog and rabbit meat back on the menu in rural areas.

Canada Election a Deadlock After Trudeau Blackface Scandal

Canada Election a Deadlock After Trudeau Blackface Scandal

Polls are extremely tight going into Canada’s elections on Monday, with no clear frontrunner after incumbent Prime Minister Justin Trudeau weathered a corruption scandal and the discovery of several photos and videos that showed him wearing blackface.

Kurds Claim Turkish Forces Immediately Violated Ceasefire Agreement

Kurds Claim Turkish Forces Immediately Violated Ceasefire Agreement

The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) reported on Friday morning that Turkish forces violated the five-day ceasefire agreement announced on Thursday afternoon almost immediately, as Turkish-allied ground forces continued to attack the town of Ras al-Ain with Turkish air and artillery support.

Report: Iraq Used Iranian Militia Snipers to Kill Protesters

Report: Iraq Used Iranian Militia Snipers to Kill Protesters

Two unnamed Iraqi security officials told Reuters on Thursday that snipers from Iran-backed militia units were employed to kill civilians during the massive protests that erupted in the first week of October.

Pro-Democracy Lawmakers Chase Hong Kong Chief Out of Legislature

Pro-Democracy Lawmakers Chase Hong Kong Chief Out of Legislature

Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam attempted to deliver a policy address to the legislature, known as LegCo, on Wednesday, but pro-democracy lawmakers heckled her so aggressively that the meeting was adjourned and Lam was literally chased out of the building.

Hayward: Democrat Debate Filled with Illusions, Obfuscations, and Lies on Syria

Hayward: Democrat Debate Filled with Illusions, Obfuscations, and Lies on Syria

War-torn Syria is one of the murkiest and bloodiest places on Earth. Little clarity could be found on the subject during Tuesday night’s Democrat presidential debate, during which the candidates energetically criticized President Donald Trump, but grew vague and evasive when asked to describe the situation in Syria or explain how they would handle it.

Hong Kong Protesters Don NBA Jerseys for Anti-LeBron Basketball Game

Hong Kong Protesters Don NBA Jerseys for Anti-LeBron Basketball Game

In the wake of basketball star LeBron James bowing to Communist China and criticizing Houston Rockets Manager Daryl Morey for speaking up on behalf of Hong Kong, protesters there decided to stage a cheeky demonstration on Tuesday night in which they will put on NBA jerseys and play street basketball.

Police Fire at Protesters amid Ongoing Mask Ban Marches in Hong Kong

Police Fire at Protesters amid Ongoing Mask Ban Marches in Hong Kong

Hong Kong saw more huge protests over the weekend, many of them explicitly directed at the new emergency law forbidding demonstrators to wear masks. Police fired at protesters in the Mong Kok district, a frequent scene of large protests.

Hayward: The Case for Kurdish Statehood

Hayward: The Case for Kurdish Statehood

Turkey is a legitimate nation-state with long-standing memberships in major international organizations like the U.N. and NATO. The Kurds are stateless actors, a large ethnic group broken into many factions and spread across several different countries.

Turkish Invasion Brings Syrian and Iraqi Kurds Together

Turkish Invasion Brings Syrian and Iraqi Kurds Together

The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), the semi-autonomous Kurdish provincial leadership in Iraq, expressed solidarity with the Syrian Kurds on Thursday, denounced Turkey’s invasion of northeastern Syria, and criticized the United States for failing to prevent the Turkish operation.

Hong Kong Student Protester Accuses Police of Sexual Assault

Hong Kong Student Protester Accuses Police of Sexual Assault

A female student at Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) on Thursday spoke out at a public forum on campus, removing her mask and revealing her name to accuse Hong Kong police officers of sexually molesting her during an arrest.

Five Things You Should Know About the Kurds

Five Things You Should Know About the Kurds

Turkey’s invasion of northeastern Syria to drive the Kurds away from the Turkish border is bringing more Western attention to the Kurds than they received during the long and bloody Syrian civil war, where they played a key role in defeating the Islamic State.

Hong Kong Police Officer Caught Disguised as Belligerent Protester

Hong Kong Police Officer Caught Disguised as Belligerent Protester

The acrimonious relationship between Hong Kong protesters and police took a turn for the worse on Tuesday night when an undercover police officer disguised as a protester was caught on video behaving in a highly belligerent manner toward bystanders.

Carrie Lam Teases Chinese Takeover of Hong Kong Protests

Carrie Lam Teases Chinese Takeover of Hong Kong Protests

Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam said on Tuesday that she will not rule out asking the mainland Chinese government for help if “limitless and lawless” violence continues in her semi-autonomous city.

Hayward: El Salvador's Millennial President Warns U.N. May Go the Way of Blockbuster, Takes Selfie

Hayward: El Salvador's Millennial President Warns U.N. May Go the Way of Blockbuster, Takes Selfie

President Nayib Armando Bukele of El Salvador began his address to the U.N. General Assembly on Thursday by pulling out his cell phone, snapping a selfie, and sending it to the “new world” that could not be present in the chamber but was accessible via “the largest network in the world, a network where billions of persons are connected in real-time and share almost every facet of their lives.

Hong Kong Braces for Fifth Anniversary of Umbrella Movement

Hong Kong Braces for Fifth Anniversary of Umbrella Movement

Hong Kong police on Thursday gave their approval for a rally on Saturday to commemorate the fifth anniversary of the Umbrella Movement, until now the most vigorous pro-democracy demonstrations since control of Hong Kong passed to China.

Crown Prince Discusses U.S. Troop Boost to Saudi Arabia with Defense Secretary

Crown Prince Discusses U.S. Troop Boost to Saudi Arabia with Defense Secretary

Discussions within the administration, and between Washington and Riyadh, continued this week as the U.S. considered how many troops to send to Saudi Arabia.The assessment comes in the wake of Iran’s attack on its oil facilities, and how those troops should be deployed.