— The Erimtan Angle —

Archive for March, 2014

Obama Talks in Brussels: Ukraine, the Crimea and Russia

March 26, 2014. Obama highlights Putin threat to EU during keynote speech in Brussels. President Obama delivers an address that touch upon the U.S.-European relations amid the ongoing crisis in Ukraine. U.S. President Barack Obama highlights Russian tensions during keynote speech in Brussels. Obama urges greater NATO presence in states bordering Russia.

(LATimes) BRUSSELS — President Obama is urging European and North Atlantic Treaty Organization leaders to bolster the military alliance’s presence in countries in Eastern and Central Europe near Russia, part of an effort to ward off further Russian aggression in the wake of its annexation of Crimea from Ukraine. Speaking after a meeting with European Union leaders, Obama said he has suggested that European leaders review and update their “contingency plans” at an April meeting. He said the alliance needs to “do more to ensure that a regular NATO presence among some of these states that may feel vulnerable is executed.” Obama’s made the remarks before meeting with NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen at the midpoint of his European trip this week. The president’s visit has been dominated by the crisis in Ukraine, and by the attempt to craft a unified U.S.-European strategy to deter Russian President Vladimir Putin from another land grab in the former Soviet republic. The president has ruled out U.S. military involvement in the dispute, noting that Ukraine is not a NATO member and not covered under the treaty. Still, he has had to reassure other NATO members in Eastern and Central Europe that NATO stands ready and prepared. The White House said Obama would push NATO to step up its efforts with more visible training and exercises in the region, as well as initiating the review of defense plans and improving the readiness of the NATO Response Force. On Wednesday, Obama made an appeal to unnamed member countries that have reduced defense spending in tight economic times, taking a toll on the 55-year-old alliance. “If we’ve got collective defense, it means that everybody’s got to chip in. And I have had some concerns about a diminished level of defense spending among some of our partners in NATO; not all, but many. The trend lines have been going down,” Obama said. “The situation in Ukraine reminds us that our freedom isn’t free and we’ve got to be willing to pay for the assets, the personnel, the training that’s required to make sure that we have a credible NATO force and an effective deterrent force.”

ISIS Crucifies a Man in Raqqa

‘The Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham have publicly crucified a man in Raqqa, Syria, for “purposefully killing a Muslim to take his money”. Before the crucifixion ISIS shot the man in the head from point blank range, the execution being just the latest extreme act of violence carried out by the group as they implement their fundamentalist laws (24 March 2014)’.

Ummahan Özpınar talks to the BBC

‘Afyonkarahisar’ın Değirmenayvalı kasabasında CHP’den Belediye Başkanlığı’na adaylığını koyan Ummahan Özpınar, altı dil bilen, cemaatin içinden yetişmiş bir hafız. BBC Türkçe’den Çağıl Kasapoğlu, Özpınar’la CHP-cemaat ilişkisini, projelerini konuştu (24 Mart 2014)’.

Mahmut Efendi Cemaati” Mahmud Efendi Hazretleri insanları sadece sözüyle değil, hâliyle de ilme ve ibadete teşvik etmiş, başladığı hiçbir ibadeti bırakmamış ve istikametiyle görenleri gayrete getirmiştir. Farz namazların evvel ve âhirindeki sünnet namazların hâricinde teheccüd, işrak, kuşluk, evvâbîn, tahiyyetü’l-mescid ve abdest şükür namazı gibi nevâfili hiç terk etmemiş hatta bir defasında “Kuşluk namazını terk edeceğine Mahmud ölsün daha iyi” buyurmuştur. Pazartesi-perşembe orucunu, ramazanın son on günü îtikâfı terk ettiği görülmemiştir. Hadîs-i şeriflerde zikrolunan nâfile namaz, oruç ve zikir gibi ibadetlere devam etmiş, Müslümanları da teşvik etmiştir.  Üstad Hazretleri’nin unutulmuş sünnetleri diriltmesi, sünnetlerden mâadâ edeplere bile farz gibi riayet etmesi Müslümanlar tarafından sevilip takdir edilmesine vesile olmuştur. Türkiye’de “Takva” denilince, “Sünnet-i seniyyeye ittibâ” denilince akla gelen ilk isim olması bu dikkatinin netîcesidir. Bir ara cemaatinin “Mahmudçular” ismiyle zikredildiğini duyduğunda çok üzülmüş ve cuma hutbesinde şunları söylemiştir: “Mahmudçular diyorlar. Allâh aşkına! Ben yeni bir din mi îcad ettim?! Rasûlüllâh (Sallâllâhu Aleyhi ve Sellem)in günlük hayatta tatbik edilen dört bin küsur sünneti vardır, dördünü terk ettiğimi gören arkamda namaz kılmasın.” . . . Mahmud Efendi Hazretleri şer-i şerîfi bütün olarak gördüğü için sadece ilimle meşgul olup ibadette, zikrullâhın medresesi mesâbesinde olan tarîkat vazîfelerinde, dîni tebliğ etmekte ve emr-i bi’l-mâruf nehy-i ani’l-münker yapmakta gevşeklik gösterilmesini asla tasvip etmezdi. Bu mevzû ile alâkalı sarf ettiği şu sözleri zikretmek O’nun yolunun bir nebze olsun anlaşılmasına yardımcı olacaktır. “Yatmadan evvel biraz ders (tarîkat virdi) ile meşgul olalım. Teheccüd namazından sonra devam edelim. İşrak vakti bitirelim. Ondan sonraki bütün vakitlerimizi ilme harcayacağız.”  “Zikrullah, Efendimiz (Sallâllâhu Aleyhi ve Sellem)e en büyük ittibâdır. Rasûlüllâh (Sallâllâhu Aleyhi ve Sellem) zikirsiz durmazdı. ‘Rasulullah (Sallâllâhu Aleyhi ve Sellem) bana zikri emretti ben de zikrediyorum’ demeli ve sabah akşam durmadan Allâh-u Teâlâ’yı zikretmeli.” Emr-i bi’l-mâruf ve nehy-i ani’l-münker yapılması gerektiğini beyan ederken şöyle derdi: “İstanbul’un bütün evleri medrese olsa emr-i bi’l-mâruf ve nehy-i ani’l-münker olmasa bir değer ifade etmez. Allah aşkına acıyın bu insanlara. Sel gibi cehenneme akıyorlar.” Üstadı Ali Haydar Efendi’den şu sözü çokça naklederdi: “Dîn-i Mübîn-i İslam’ın devam ve bekası emr-i bi’l-maruf ve nehy-i ani’l-münkerin devam ve bekasına, Dîn-i Mübîn-i İslam’ın inkırâzı (yıkılması) ise emr-i bi’l-mâruf ve nehy-i ani’l-münkerin terkine bağlıdır”.[1]

[1]“MAHMUD EFENDİ KS CEMAATİ” facebook. https://www.facebook.com/mahmudefendi.cemaati.

RT Conspiracy: Liz Wahl’s Resignation and the Neocons’s Cold War Obsession

As a reminder, I would like to quote the Guardian‘s Rory Carroll, who earlier this month reported from Los Angeles that an “American anchor for the Kremlin-funded news channel RT has quit on air and accused the network of “whitewashing” Moscow’s military intervention in Crimea. Liz Wahl, a Washington-based correspondent for RT-America, part of the network formerly known as Russia Today, told viewers on Wednesday she was resigning because of its coverage of President Vladimir Putin’s actions in the Ukrainian region. Veering off script, Wahl said: “I cannot be part of a network funded by the Russian government that whitewashes the actions of Putin. I’m proud to be an American and believe in disseminating the truth, and that is why, after this newscast, I’m resigning.” As the daughter of a military veteran and the wife of a military base physician the network’s coverage of a potentially explosive crisis presented ethical and moral dilemmas, she said. Wahl cited another RT host, Abby Martin, who made headlines on Tuesday [, 4 March] when she declared: “Russian intervention in the Crimea is wrong.” In a tweet she later called Martin “my girl” and commended her for going “spectacularly off-message”. Wahl, a self-described “Filipina-Hungarian-American”, also alluded to Moscow’s bloody intervention in Hungary in 1956. “Just spoke to grandparents who came to US as refugees escaping Soviets during Hungarian revolution. Amazing to hear amid new Cold War fears,” she tweeted”.[1]

And now that the dust has somewhat settled, ‘RT’s Sam Sacks reports on . . . new developments . . . [in the case surrounding] ‘Liz Wahl’s [spectacular] on-air resignation from RT gained her praise across the mainstream media, but there are now questions being raised in a piece by Truthdig.com over her resignation. Alleging this a part of a neocon plan by the Foreign Policy Initiative and James Kirchick to demean Russia and discredit RT, the piece connects the dots between the affiliations that question Kirchick’s and others impartiality’.

On its dedicated website, the Foreign Policy Initiative states that the “United States–and its democratic allies–face many foreign policy challenges. They come from rising and resurgent powers, including China and Russia. They come from other autocracies that violate the rights of their citizens. They come from rogue states that work with each other in ways inimical to our interests and principles, and that sponsor terrorism and pursue weapons of mass destruction. They come from Al Qaeda and its affiliates who continue to plot attacks against the United States and our allies. They come from failed states that serve as havens for terrorists and criminals and spread instability to their neighbors. The United States faces these challenges while engaged in military operations across the globe, including in Iraq and Afghanistan. The sacrifice of American lives and significant economic expenditure in these conflicts has led to warnings of U.S. strategic overreach, and calls for American retrenchment. There are those who hope we can just return to normalcy–to pre-9/11 levels of defense spending and pre-9/11 tactics. They argue for a retreat from America’s global commitments and a renewed focus on problems at home, an understandable if mistaken response to these difficult economic times. In fact, strategic overreach is not the problem and retrenchment is not the solution. The United States cannot afford to turn its back on its international commitments and allies–the allies that helped us defeat fascism and communism in the 20th century, and the alliances we have forged more recently, including with the newly liberated citizens of Iraq and Afghanistan.  Our economic difficulties will not be solved by retreat from the international arena. They will be made worse”.[2]

RT’s editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan came out and wrote this in the aftermath of the Liz Wahl debacle: “These days it takes a lot of courage to work for RT. Never before have I seen RT and its journalists bullied like this. See for yourselves what they did to poor Abby. First, she openly voiced disagreement with Russia’s stance on air – and was virtually made an American hero. But then Abby reminded everyone how much she disagrees with America’s stance as well, adding she takes pride in working at RT, where she is free to express her views. Less than an hour passed before Abby had her name dragged through something I have difficulty finding a decent name for this late at night. The US mainstream media even went as far as claiming we had orchestrated the whole thing as a publicity move. They labelled Abby a conspiracy theorist, bringing to light her past as an activist. In less than 24 hours, they first sang her praises and then excoriated her. All of this in front of her colleagues, including Liz Wahl. How do you think they felt watching that? . . . This is all typical of a media war. We’re not the first and we will not be the last to go through this. During the Arab Spring, Al Jazeera staff in Lebanon made headlines by resigning en masse. Their Egyptian colleagues followed suit. Over twenty journalists resigned citing disagreement with the channel’s editorial line. That this happened without any pressure from the world mass media was due to the fact that, throughout the Arab Spring, Al Jazeera was completely in tune with the global mainstream. So no one sought to criticize the channel, on the contrary, everyone praised its coverage. A couple of minutes after Liz made her statement, we found all the major news media in the world – as our exhausted spokeswoman put it, “CNN, NYT, pretty much everyone” – glowing with schadenfreude, as they lined up for official feedback from RT. This included those who had ignored the news of the Ashton-Paet phone leak revelation, as if it didn’t happen. A rival media anchor’s resignation is certainly much more newsworthy and more relevant to the Ukraine crisis than two European leaders saying opposition henchmen may have been killing people”.[3]

[1 Rory Caroll, “Russia Today news anchor Liz Wahl resigns live on air over Ukraine crisis” The Guardian (06 March 2014). http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/mar/06/russia-today-anchor-liz-wahl-resigns-on-air-ukraine.

[2 “Mission Statement” The Foreign Policy Initiative. http://www.foreignpolicyi.org/about.

[3 Margarita Simonyan, “About Abby Martin, Liz Wahl and media wars” RT (06 March 2014). http://rt.com/op-edge/about-liz-wahl-media-wars-126/.

Afghanistan Minerals Today

‘Afghanistan is estimated to have $3 trillion worth of mineral deposits, which through years of insecurity have remained unexploited. Gold, iron ore, copper ore, emeralds, lapis, rubies as well as natural gas are all found in the north of the country. Now with help from advisors from the US Task Force for Business and Stability Operations (TFBSO), the Afghanistan Geological Survey is gaining the skills it needs to explore and exploit the country’s resources. Geologists and drillers are being trained to investigate sites to test for the presence of resources (10 March 2014)’.

As long ago as 2011, I already posted an entry on Afghanistan’s underground wealth,[1] and last year, Al Jazeera reported that the “US estimates that Afghanistan could be sitting on deposits worth $1 trillion. That includes gold, iron ore, uranium and precious stones, including emeralds. But for now, agriculture remains Afghanistan’s biggest export earner with fruit and nuts, tobacco and wool topping the list’.[2]  The Vancouver-based journalist Kerry Hall added last year that “Afghanistan hopes to rely on its natural resources to support the national economy following the pull-out of NATO forces in 2014. Current mining revenue in the country is estimated at $146 million annually. By 2024, the finance minister estimates mining will contribute $4 billion to the government and $20 billion to the overall economy”.[3]

[2] “Afghanistan pins hopes on natural resources” Al Jazeera (01 Feb 2013). http://www.aljazeera.com/news/asia/2013/02/20132115352982835.html.

[3] Kerry Hall, ” Afghanistan mineral deposits estimated at $1 trillion ” Mining (09 April 2013). http://www.mining.com/afghanistan-mineral-deposits-estimated-at-1-trillion-dollars-82470/.

Listening Post: Control, conflict, conglomerates & Tayyip Erdoğan

‘In a special edition, we unpack the Turkish prime minister’s relationship with the media landscape in which he operates (8 March 2014)’.

Breaking the Set #339: Ukraine, Crimea, Abby Martin and the New Cold War

‘Abby Martin Breaks the Set on the Media Craze over RT, the Dangers of Pesticides, Academy Award Distractions, AIPAC 2014, and a Small Victory for Barrett Brown (6 March 2014)’.