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Canada

Canada begins invalidating passports of citizens who have left to join extremist groups

Posted September 20, 2014 by Postmedia News

The government has begun invalidating the passports of Canadians who have left to join extremist groups in Syria and Iraq, Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander has said in an interview. The minister told Postmedia News his department had also […]

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Canada

Former PM Jean Chretien tells CBC Iraq mission ‘a done deal’

Posted September 20, 2014 by The Canadian Press

OTTAWA — Former prime minister Jean Chretien says the federal government’s decision to send special forces to northern Iraq to help fight an extremist group could pull Canada into further commitments in the region. In an interview with CBC radio, […]

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Commentary

Turkish prime minister says 49 hostages held by Islamic militants have been freed

Posted September 20, 2014 by Associated Press

ANKARA, Turkey — Dozens of Turkish hostages seized by the Islamic State group in Iraq were freed Saturday, resolving a serious crisis which Turkish officials had long cited as a reason to avoid moving aggressively against the violent militant group. […]

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General

Obama’s Speech on War with the Islamic State

Posted September 12, 2014 by Ian Welsh

Let’s just quickly point out the obvious: air power only works if you have effective ground troops backing it up, or your enemy is easily dissuaded from war by losses of infrastructure. Otherwise it wrecks great destruction, and does little more. To put it simply, this strategy will certainly help those fighting the IS, but [...]

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General

Israel & Gaza: Tectonic shift in past 24 hours

Posted August 26, 2014 by CuriosityCat
Israel’s embattled prime minister

The Egypt-brokered truce agreement just struck has resulted in two shifts in the underlying political forces in that area.

The first shift is a de facto recognition by Israel of the pan-Palestinian government that Abbas had set in place, as Zvi Bar'elwrites in Haaretz:

But this is just a preliminary agreement. The important agreement will come in another month, when both sides return to Cairo to negotiate over core issues like a port and airport, prisoner releases and Gaza’s reconstruction. Over the coming month, the cease-fire’s stability will be tested, and that is the innovation in yesterday’s agreement: The truce is of unlimited duration. 

Thus for the first time, Israel has agreed to a confidence-building process with the Palestinian government to which Hamas and Islamic Jihad are also parties.

The negotiations won’t be direct, but this is clearly a pan-Palestinian agreement with Israel. 

Thus Israel has not only recognized the Palestinian unity government, but also acknowledged that Gaza and the West Bank can no longer be separated. Without these two facts, neither yesterday’s deal nor those to follow would have any practical meaning. Effectively, Israel has recognized Hamas and other Palestinian militant groups as an inseparable part of the Palestinian polity with which it will also have to conduct broader diplomatic negotiations in the future.

The second major change is that the Israeli cabinet is not united around the truce itself. Some reports suggest that the Israeli prime minister did not call for a vote on the truce from cabinet members because it might not have passed.
This is the take of Attila Somfalvi in Ynet News:

Political rumblings began within the Israeli government Tuesday evening after a long-term ceasefire with Hamas went into effect at 7pm local time and Economy Minister Naftali Bennett called for a Cabinet vote on the decision, citing that ministers hadn’t been consulted about the deal.
According to Bennett, the decision had been made exclusively by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Cabinet members were only updated on the decision by telephone.
The Cabinet appeared to be split on the deal, with Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, Interior Minister Yitzhak Aharonovich, and Economy Minister Naftali Bennett, and Communications Minister Gilad Erdan opposing the decision, and supporting further military action in Gaza.

If the ceasefire does not result in peace, the Israeli prime minister will find his political career under attack. A significant breach of the truce could lead to a new prime minister.
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General

It seems the Kurds had to retreat because they ran out of ammo

Posted August 10, 2014 by Ian Welsh

No, really. Maybe instead of giving weapons and ammo and money to the Iraqi army so they can abandon it on the field to ISIS (now calling themselves the Islamic State), the US should be supplying the Kurds, who will actually fight. Just a thought. As for Iraq, the government policy of trying to fiscally [...]

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Allan's Perspective

What to do about Hamas?

Posted July 8, 2014 by Allan W Janssen

Dear Readers: There isn’t anything that is going to solve the problems in the Middle-East anytime soon since some Arab States are committed to the destruction of Israel, and the Jews are committed to populating the West Bank with settlements to the point where the Palestinians are forced out! BUT! The problem with Hamas is […]

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Allan's Perspective

Ford the Junkie?

Posted July 3, 2014 by Allan W Janssen

Folks, all the local and national media outlets in Canada are suggesting that it’s time for Rob Ford to get out of politics ……….., but let’s face it, deep down they’re really glad he’s back! (Rob also said yesterday that he has tried a lot of different drugs, but never did heroin. Well, let’s face […]

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Allan's Perspective

Kardashian speak with forked tongue!

Posted June 24, 2014 by Allan W Janssen

Dear Readers: Your ever humble, and much maligned reporter weeps for society! POLITICAL CORRECTNESS has gripped our land and the nuts are running the show kids! Reality TV star Khloe Kardashian has sparked outrage online after sporting a traditional Native American headdress to her niece’s lavish birthday bash.Listen boys and girls, if some asshole can […]

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Allan's Perspective

I’m not at all confused about Saturday morning!

Posted June 14, 2014 by Allan W Janssen

Nope, everything is as “right as rain” if you will pardon the expression. Yesterday was the famous “Friday the 13th” motorcycle rally in Port Dover, Ontario, and as usual, tens of thousand of bikers gathered for the event. Even the rain didn’t seem to deter the hard-core bikers, as the streets of Port Dover filled […]

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Aliens

I’m sorry Dave, but I cannot allow you to jepardize the mission!

Posted June 9, 2014 by Allan W Janssen

Yesterday, at a University of Reading demonstration in London, a computer convinced human judges that it was actually a 13-year-old Ukrainian boy. By convincing one-third of the judging panel of its humanity, it became the computer ever to pass the famous Turing Test. ` The Turing Test is a controversial test invented by Alan Turing […]

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Allan's Perspective

Not all holes are assholes, but some are!

Posted May 29, 2014 by Allan W Janssen

Kimberley Big Hole – South Africa – Apparently the largest ever hand-dug excavation in the world, this 1,097 meter deep mine yielded over 3 tons of diamonds, before being closed. Folks: These holes are not only amazing, but some are really terrifying – Especially the final one ! The sheer scale of these holes reminds […]

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