by Leith Fadel, Al-Masdar News
The Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham (ISIS) has had a rough week in eastern Syria, as the loss of ground and men have demoralized their forces in the Homs, Al-Hasakah, and Deir Ezzor Governorates. The recent losses for ISIS marks the first time since ISIS’ emergence in Syria that they are on the defensive against both the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and the People’s Protection Units (YPG) in certain areas; this has also caused issues for their militants fighting Iraq due to their forces stretching too thin. Continue reading ISIS Suffers Devastating Losses in Eastern Syria This Week
)- Foreign-backed militants suffered heavy losses in confrontations with the Syrian army in Quneitra and Homs provinces.
The army soldiers attacked the hideouts of the rebels in al-Madajen, Tal Mazhara, al-Bohouth, al-Elmiyah, and Rasm al-Khawaled areas in Quneitra and killed huge numbers of them during a series of operations.
Continue reading Syrian Arab Army Strikes Major Blow at Takfiris in Quneitra and Homs
by Ahmad Jamaleddine, Al-Akhbar English
It seems clear that the ties between Egypt and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), with the exception of Qatar, are evolving dramatically in economic and military matters, at a time when the unrest in Yemen and Egyptian concerns over the continued chaos in Libya are leading to a profound military cooperation between the two sides.
Cairo – An Associated Press report published earlier this week, quoting Egyptian and Gulf officials, said that Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Kuwait were discussing the creation of a military pact to take on extremists in the region, particularly in Libya and Yemen, with the possibility of creating a joint force to intervene around the Middle East. The report said this alliance would operate separately from the anti-ISIS coalition led by the United States. Continue reading The emergent Egyptian-Gulf alliance: Libya and Yemen in the crosshairs
by Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich, Global Research
Iran Trip: September – October 2014
Marcel Proust said: “The voyage of discovery is not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.” During the past two decades, I visited Iran on numerous occasions staying 10-14 days at a time. This time around, I stayed for 2 months and heeding Proust, I carried with me a fresh pair of eyes. I discarded both my Western lenses as well as my Iranian lenses and observed with objective eyes. It was a formidable journey that left me breathless.
Part I – Women of the Islamic Republic of Iran
It is hard to know where to start a travel log and how to describe a newfound world in a few pages. However, given the obsession with the status of women, it is perhaps appropriate to start with the women in Iran as I perceived them.
Western media with help from feminists and Iranians living outside of Iran portray Iranian women as being “oppressed” — foremost because women in Iran have to abide by an Islamic dress code – hijab. Yes, hijab is mandatory and women choose to either wear either a chador or to wear a scarf. But what is crucial to understand is the role chador played in pre 1979 versus the post Revolution era. Continue reading Discovering Iran: Women’s Rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran
by Martin Chilton, The Telegraph
The film version of Animal Farm was released to acclaim 60 years ago. There was a gala launch at the United Nations in New York and the film was praised by national newspapers. “The British out-Disney Disney” was one headline.
George Orwell’s novella remains a set book on school curriculums, and his satire has lost none of its relevance in the modern age (“All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others”). The story of how his book was turned into Britain’s first animated feature film is fascinating, not least because the movie was funded by America’s Central Intelligence Agency. Continue reading How the CIA brought Animal Farm to the screen
by Leith Fadel, Al-Masdar News
The 18th Tank Brigade of the Syrian Arab Army’s 3rd Infantry Division, backed by the National Defense Forces and Liwaa Al-Qalb Al-Suqour Sahra’a (Syrian Arab Army Special Forces), have captured the remaining gas fields of Jabal Al-Sha’ar (Poet Mountains) in east Homs. This marks the 2nd time in 4 months that this mountain area in the Homs Governorate has been recaptured by SAA and their allies. Continue reading ISIS Suffers Their Biggest Setback in Syria; Jabal Al-Sha’ar Captured by the Syrian Arab Army
NEW YORK (JTA) – The Anti-Defamation League’s new national director will be social entrepreneur Jonathan Greenblatt — a special assistant to President Obama who earlier in his career co-founded the bottled water brand Ethos.
Greenblatt, 43, will succeed Abraham Foxman, who announced in February that he would be stepping down effective July 2015. Foxman, 74, has been the ADL’s national director since 1987. Continue reading White House aide Jonathan Greenblatt to succeed Abe Foxman as ADL chief
Belgian police and a few hundred protesters, including many dockers, clashed in central Brussels on Thursday after a largely peaceful march against reforms and cost-cutting measures of the new centre-right government.
Several cars were overturned or set on fire and assorted projectiles thrown at the lines of police, who responded with pepper spray and water cannon. Police finally cleared the area with a charge late in the afternoon.
A police spokesman declined to say how many people had been detained and how many police and protesters injured.
Around 100,000 Belgians had earlier marched through central Brussels in protest against the new government’s savings measures. It was the first in a series of demonstrations and strikes planned over coming weeks. Continue reading 100,000 Belgium protesters clash with police after austerity march
by Nahed Hattar, Al-Akhbar English
Ever since Washington put together an international anti-ISIS coalition, the situation in Syria and the region has become more ambiguous and blurry. The Syrian position has been to accept US airstrikes against the terrorist group as a fait accompli, while Iran continues to object to them and Moscow criticizes them sharply. What is happening inside the Russian-Iranian-Syrian alliance?
The question would disconcert most diplomats, let alone Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem, who usually weighs his word very carefully. But, to my surprise, the minister spoke unreservedly, and at the end of our meeting, he told me, “Publish whatever you see fit from what I said. I will let you judge the situation.” Thus, I will have to choose what may be published from a long conversation with Syria’s top diplomat that was not meant for publication, but for “comprehension.” Below is what I judged to be appropriate to publish. Continue reading Syrian foreign minister: our diplomatic priorities are to ensure resilience, secure more arms