Friday, November 17, 2017

People of Tabqa City, Syria, Scared of SDF’s Recruitment of Their Young People

Image accompanying article
Ah, yes... everyone’s favoured fighters. Poor, poor victims of US perfidy. Forcibly recruiting Children 

There cannot be one of my long term readers surprised to read this latest news- I've covered forced child recruitment by YPG/PKK many times.
Enab Baladi interviewed a number of the city’s people, concerning the absence of young people from the streets, most of them refused to speak about the area’s management.

Nevertheless, a few of them expressed fear for their youths, who are being recruited and the penalties imposed on those refusing or escaping from recruitment. Some of them mentioned how they have been stopped at the checkpoints of the military police, spreading in the city.
 ‘A Distant Project’

“We view SDF as a distant project in terms of idea, practice and even leadership,” says Hussein, a 21 years old young man from al-Tabqah, who provides for his family. He justifies his refusal to perform military service saying that, “[I’m not] convinced of the eligibility of those who raise Öcalan and Kurdish leaders’ pictures in the offices and streets.”
Gee, I wish the gullible western dupes would be much more circumspect.. "careful to consider all circumstances and possible consequences"

The young man considered that the strictness of such laws, (like ISIS?) “will push many young people to migrate, stressing, “We do not want to be tools and weapons again in the hands of a new organization.”

Although he stressed the quasi-stable situation created by the administration of the city’s Civil Council, which functions under SDF, he said that “this is not enough.”

The widespread poverty and lack of job opportunities “will put great pressure on young people, which might force some of them to join [SDF], the way it pushed others to go into the arms of extremist groups,” he said.
Some Young People Justify Enrollment
Qassem a 25 years old young man attributes his enrollment in the ranks of SDF to “the poor conditions of living that force us to do many things that we do not want.”

He confirmed the disappearance of many young people who have been informed of the need to perform compulsory military service in the city.

He told Enab Baladi that SDF didn’t force anyone to enroll; “we must protect our homes and cities, which is better than totally counting on the Kurdish forces then criticizing them.”
He said that many youngsters and people work with the civil administration and other parties for different reasons, either for money or for the refusal of going back into the arms of Assad.
A Chasm between the City’s People
There is a clear division between the people who want to live and others who believe in democratic governance. There is a chasm between the people who prefer to stay in their regions and perform military service and those who refuse to abide by the de facto authority which governs the city with laws that might end with poor results.

Abu Abdullah, a 46 years old man displaced from Deir ez-Zor and a resident of al-Tabqah, believes that most of the young people in Raqqa and rural areas reject forced conscription. “All who work for [SDF] voluntarily or unwillingly know that their job is limited to serving its agenda and project, without having a leading or an active role in that agenda.”
Abu Abdullah talks about the rift between SDF and the Arab social incubator in its areas, saying that “SDF is becoming increasingly widespread, and its actions are igniting the fire under the ashes and might lead to a popular movement against them.”
He attributes the law of forced recruitment, issued by SDF, to “its need for more recruits to cover the large areas under its control and to benefit from these young people in consolidating its rule.”

The towns and villages under the rule of the Kurdish Self-management Forces witnessed popular demonstrations and sit-ins from civil and political bodies, which included Arabs and Kurds, refusing to impose the military service on young people.
Abu Abdullah stresses that the demonstrations, due to the law of recruitment and similar decrees, “are expanding against SDF, despite the repression they are facing.”
Defense and Self-protection Authority in Kobanî, in control of Raqqa city and its countryside, has issued a statement through which it demands that civilians in the region should necessarily perform compulsory service and resolve their situation, under the name of self-defense duty.

Each family, according to the sources of Enab Baladi, was forced to take part in the duty, including males between 18 and 30 years old while females were voluntarily enrolled. As for the exempted, they include “families of martyrs, parents with a single child, people with disabilities and patients with chronic diseases.”
SDF is facing the people’s refusal of forced recruitment in its areas of control since the beginning of the imposition of the law on civilians in the Jazira Canton, as it calls it, in late 2014, while the Syrian Democratic Council considers the military service a social and moral duty towards society.
Reminds one so very much of the Israelis... 
Relinking a few previous posts covering our Kurdish heroes & child recruitment - No heroes of mine

Flashback:The forgotten child soldiers recruited by Kurdish militants in Turkey and Syria


Flashback: Syrian Kurd self-immolates after son recruited by PYD/ PKK

Flashback: Lion Cubs of the caliphate? Who is really recruiting children?

From earlier today:

What did South Africa Know About the Zimbabwe Coup?

What did South Africa Know About the Zimbabwe Coup?

 The other day we entertained the idea of China being involved in this post.. Forfended! Did China Influence the Military Take over in Zimbabwe?

But we have have other wielders of influence involved- South Africa and England/UK.. ala the glory of the commonwealth - South Africa Returns to the CommonWealth
 "The Queen and John Major sent congratulatory messages to President Nelson Mandela, who issued a statement declaring himself 'delighted'. He said the Commonwealth's decision was 'a tribute to the momentous changes that have taken place in our country as well as a challenge for South Africa to play its part in the worldwide quest for a peaceful, harmonious and caring world"
Just what did South Africa Know About Zimbabwe's Coup?
Some believe the South African government knew in advance about Zimbabwe's coup d'etat caption

In July 2013, when South African diplomats struggled to persuade Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe to delay an election that would terminate five years of a fractious unity government, they sought a number of assurances. A smoothly run election was a primary concern but South Africa also wanted a guarantee that the Zimbabwean army and police would end their open support of Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party.
These concerns were born of experiences in previous elections.

On the eve of presidential elections in 2002 and 2008, Zimbabwean generals said they would not salute a leader who had not fought in the battle for independence.

It was a direct attack on Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of the largest opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change-Tsvangirai, who had not fought in the liberation struggle. Tsvangirai and others in the Zimbabwean opposition have long accused the military commanders of working to ensure that Zanu-PF remains in power.

Now, four years after South Africa sought those assurances, the army has intervened directly in the Zanu-PF battle to succeed Mugabe, coming out in support of ousted deputy president Emmerson Mnangagwa.

President Jacob Zuma has sent Minister of Defence and Military Veterans Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula and Minister of State Security Bongani Bongo to Zimbabwe to meet Mugabe and the Zimbabwean Defence Force.

In a statement released on Wednesday, Zuma reiterated a call for calm and restraint and for the defence force to ensure that peace and stability are not undermined. The statement further noted that Zuma had spoken to Mugabe, who indicated that he was confined to his home.

Sithembile Mbete, an international relations lecturer at the University of Pretoria, said, because of the large movement of Zimbabweans between the two countries and the two governments’ close relationship as liberation movements, South Africa has an interest in ensuring peace and stability in Zimbabwe.

“This is something that has been planned and thought out. I don’t think it could be done without the knowledge of the South African government,” Mbete said of this week’s events.

She said Mnangagwa was allowed to enter South Africa after he was fired and was then allowed to return to Zimbabwe after the military made its move on Tuesday, suggesting that South Africa had some knowledge of the developments.

Flashback : Mugabe under "house arrest" Emmerson Mnangawa, Man of the Hour


Although the South African government has often been criticised for its apparent strategy to maintain the status quo in Zimbabwe, Mbete said the Southern African Development Community (SADC) would not have been happy to have Mugabe’s wife, Grace, succeed him.

“It’s unlikely that SADC leaders are behind the Grace faction [in Zanu-PF] more than any other Zanu-PF faction,” she said.

Meanwhile, the chairperson of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, urged everyone involved to deal with the situation in accordance with the Constitution of Zimbabwe and the instruments of the AU.

The head of the AU, Alpha Condé, said in an interview with French journalists in Paris: “We demand respect for the Constitution, a return to the constitutional order and we will never accept the military coup d’etat.

“We know there are internal problems. They need to be resolved politically by the Zanu-PF party and not with an intervention by the army,” added Condé, who is also Guinea’s president.

Speaking in the House of Lords on Wednesday, British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson suggested that the fall of the Mugabe regime may open the door for Zimbabwe to rejoin the Commonwealth. “Wouldn’t it be wonderful to see Zimbabwe become part of the Commonwealth again? It would be an absolutely wonderful thing and that’s what we should work for.”

But he insisted it would be up to Zimbabweans themselves to determine their fate.

“All Britain has ever wanted for Zimbabweans is to be able to decide their own future in free and fair elections,” he said.

The United States embassy in Harare has also called on Zimbabweans to resolve their differences through peaceful means.

“The US government does not take sides in matters of internal Zimbabwean politics and calls for an expedient transition to democratic, civilian order,” a public statement said.

The situation is still confused and misinformation is rife. The only thing that is clear is that there is considerably more political turmoil to come.
 Hmmmmmmmm.......... 
From Tuesday:  Zimbabwe Coup in Process?

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Saad Hariri Accepts Exile in France? Or Not?

Link
"Lebanon's Saad Hariri is seeking exile in France after being detained in Saudi Arabia. Hariri resigned from his post as prime minister unexpectedly last week. Lebanon's President Michel Aoun accused Saudi of detaining Hariri against his will. Saudi denied keeping Hariri captive or forcing him to resign"

Free to Leave Saudi Arabia “when he pleases”
Not a prisoner?

"But Al-Jubeir told reporters in Riyadh that Hariri was free to leave "when he pleases".

“Al-Hariri lives in the Kingdom by his own will and he resigned; regarding his return to Lebanon, it is up to him and his assessment to the security situation (in Lebanon)", Jubeir told a joint news conference with French Foreign Minister Jean Yves Le Drian"

 Hariri Meeting Macron in France
Hariri and Lebanon's Former Colonial Leadership...

"The Elysée Palace says Lebanon’s recently-resigned prime minister will meet French President Emmanuel Macron during his scheduled trip to Paris this weekend (November 18).

Saad Hariri accepted the invitation after meeting French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian in Saudi Arabia, where he has remained since announcing he was stepping down.

French officials say they don’t know how long Hariri will stay, but he is said to be returning to Beirut after the trip. Once back, Hariri is expected to hand in his resignation in person – President Michel Aoun has otherwise refused to accept it."

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Forfended! Did China Influence the Military Take over in Zimbabwe?

Forfended: To fend, ward off or avert
Instead of using preemptive.

There was information that I’d come across that made me ponder the influence of China in Zimbabwe... Was there a concern that this influence might be challenged?

ZIMBABWE’S military chief behind the coup may have sought China’s approval during a trip to Beiing last week, it has been revealed.

China’s Foreign Ministry tried to dismiss the visit as a “normal military exchange” on Wednesday, after the army seized power in the African country.

Zimbabwe's military took control targeting "criminals" around president Robert Mugabe but gave assurances on national television that the 93-year-old leader and his family were "safe and sound".

Mr Mugabe remains under house arrest but is, for the moment, still President of Zimbabwe while the army’s generals now hold power.

General Constantino Chiwenga met Chinese Defence Minister Chang Wanquan in Beijing on Friday, where Chang expressed a willingness to promote relations with Zimbabwe, China's Defence Ministry said in a short statement last week, which has sparked concerns over the influence China may have over the former British colony.
The ministry showed a picture of the two men, both wearing military uniforms, shaking hands, and an officer from both countries sitting opposite each other holding a meeting at the People's Liberation Army headquarters in Beijing.

Asked whether Chiwenga had briefed China on plans to seize power, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said the Defence Ministry had already released information about his trip and that he didn't have an understanding about the specifics of his reception in China.
Mr Geng said: ”I can only tell you that his visit to China this time was a normal military exchange mutually agreed upon by China and Zimbabwe, referring other questions to the Defence Ministry, which has yet to respond to a request for comment.

He added: ”As a country that is friendly with Zimbabwe, we are paying close attention to developments of the situation in Zimbabwe"
"Maintaining peaceful and stable development accords with the fundamental interests of Zimbabwe and regional countries, and is the common desire of the international community. We hope the relevant parties in Zimbabwe appropriately handle their internal matters."
China and Zimbabwe have a close diplomatic and economic relationship and Beijing has stood with Mr Mugabe's government in the face of Western economic sanctions.

In August, Zimbabwe's government said a Chinese company planned to invest up to $2billion to revive operations at Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Company (ZISCO), which ceased production in 2008 at the height of Zimbabwe's economic meltdown.
That same year, China vetoed a proposed Western-backed UN resolution which would have imposed an arms embargo on Zimbabwe and financial and travel restrictions on Mugabe and 13 other officials, saying it would "complicate", rather than ease, conflict.

China, which has displaced Western rivals to become Africa’s largest trading partner and is a major investor in Zimbabwe, notably declined to call for Mr Mugabe’s restoration yesterday, despite his long ties to Beijing dating back to the Cold War.
Also interesting when thinking about the coup in Zimbabwe:
hattip anonymous commenter! Two specific links are included below anon's comments for you to read
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/dec/22/zimbabwe-to-make-chinese-yuan-legal-currency-after-beijing-cancels-debts
The Gupta scandal reaches British banks

https://www.ft.com/content/074ef562-bfea-11e7-b8a3-38a6e068f464

South Africa Jacob Zuma survives no-confidence vote

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-40869269


https://www.reuters.com/article/zimbabwe-russia-platinum/update-1-russian-firms-to-develop-3-bln-zimbabwe-platinum-mine-idUSL6N0RH4RL20140916

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2014-09-15/russia-zimbabwe-to-jointly-operate-platinum-mine-in-darwendale

http://www.sajr.co.za/news-and-articles/2014/05/14/who-is-yaron-yamin-meet-r.-berland%27s-funder-

Gold, Diamonds and Platinum

 Reuters

HARARE, Sept 16 (Reuters) - A Russian consortium including arms conglomerate Rostec have partnered to develop a $3 billion platinum mining project in Zimbabwe, the single biggest investment in the country since independence in 1980.
The government of President Robert Mugabe has been shunned by the West for over a decade over alleged human rights abuses and it has turned to China, Russia and other emerging powers for aid, trade and investment.
Aside from the mining deal in the country with the world’s second-largest platinum reserves, there was talk of weapons.
Who is Yaron Yamin

Tracking Yaron Yamin’s career

Yamin remained under the media radar for many years, going about his business of making his billions and growing his mining empire and influence in Zimbabwean business and government circles without making too much noise about it.
Last October, however, the elusive Mr Yamin came out of the shadows and was widely reported on in the Zimbabwean media.

Israeli investors forge partnerships was the headline on a SOUTHERNEYE.co.zw story last October: “A group of Israeli investors have forged a consortium — Yaron Goldstone Mine — with local entrepreneurs to develop two gold mining and processing projects in Bulawayo and the Midlands valued at $5 million,” wrote the website.
 Breslov - Yaron ex Chronicle
On 23 October, the CHRONICLE published a similar story, headlined: “Israeli investors keen on Zim” which included this picture. The caption read: “Israeli investors watch Qubani Ndlovu and John Moyo demonstrating how they sieve gold during a tour of Goldenstone company in Shangani. Among them are from left the company chairman Mr Yaron Yamin and chief executive officer Ms Henrietta Rushwaya (third from left)”
Then Yaron Yamim branched out into diamond mining, bringing other Israeli investors to the party. On 2 December 2013, ROUGH & POLISHED, an international diamond industry news website published “Israeli miner eyes Marange diamonds.”
Quoting the linked article from the Daily news, among other sources, Rough&Polished said: The Israeli mining investor Yaron Yamin and his local partners are on the verge of tying a deal with the Zimbabwean government to mine diamonds in Marange. The state-owned Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC) was required by law to control at least half of shareholding in any operation in Marange. Daily News reports that Yamin… currently engaged in gold mining, had lined up two of Jerusalem’s ‘largest’ diamond miners to invest in the venture.”

This just keeps getting more and more interesting............

Mugabe under "house arrest" Emmerson Mnangawa, Man of the Hour

 Following up from last night- Zimbabwe Coup in Process?

From earlier today: BBC Tells "Raqqa's Dirty Secret"

Related to..

US-backed “SDF” aka PKK/YPG seize Syria’s second largest oil field al-Tanak


BBC Tells "Raqqa's Dirty Secret"

BBC Tells “Raqqa’s Dirty Secret”

Oh wow, did you know that the US, Britain and their Kurdish lackies conspired to transport "ISIS" safely out of Raqqa!?!? The BBC presents their report as if it's something shocking, but, necessary. The entire article stinks of damage control!
I read the so called report, but really didn’t need to-


As my readers had been duly informed- 

October 08/2017: US Commander:Final Assault to Take Raqqa From ISIS Begins Sunday

"ISIS"(PKK/YPG/Assorted special ops and a veneer of Arabs) is converging in one convenient location where they will be loaded up covertly and transported to Deir ez Zor. To fight SAA and allies.
 After all a stadium is convenient location for an irregular army to converge for ease of transport. This move can easily be obscured by darkness. The presence of other troops. Distracting/frightening gunfire sure to keep the curious away. What a great way to hide from civilians and other prying eyes while covertly moving fighters from one place (Raqqa) to another (Deir ez Zor)
Prior to ISIS being shipped out of Raqqa

Following up with this post just after: US Backed Forces Take Raqqa After ISIS "surrenders"


What was set to occur was as obvious, as obvious, could be!  I certainly did not need the BBC to “ tell dirty secrets” that were totally apparent nearly 6 weeks ago.  If this is journalism??
 I can see why journalism is in such a sorry state. Sorry BBC, had you told me two months ago, I might have thought “wow that is journalism”, but a whole month after the fact and nearly 6 weeks after the obvious was stated here, all that can be seen is damage control!

Notice the dramatic narration?:




From earlier:

Mugabe under "house arrest" Emmerson Mnangawa, Man of the Hour

 Following up from last night- Zimbabwe Coup in Process?

Yesterday:

US-backed “SDF” aka PKK/YPG seize Syria’s second largest oil field al-Tanak

Mugabe under "house arrest" Emmerson Mnangawa, Man of the Hour

 Following up from last night- Zimbabwe Coup in Process?

Wondering how this overthrow fits into the grander scheme of things?

 Mugabe confined to his house:

Robert Mugabe
 Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe is confined to his home in Harare but is otherwise fine, said President Jacob Zuma
Zuma, who is also chairperson of the Southern African Development Community, spoke to Mugabe earlier on Wednesday after the country’s armed forces seized power in a move it says is needed to stave off a violent conflict.

Perhaps his wife isn't?

Grace Mugabe, the wife of Zimbabwe president Robert Mugabe, has fled the country for Namibia, according to reports.
Mrs Mugabe is said to have left Zimbabwe following a night of unrest which saw her and her husband seized by troops.

Robert and Grace Mugabe

 Link
An ambassador to SA from the official opposition political party in Zimbabwe says all indications are that Zimbabwe is heading to military rule.
In the past week the country’s war veterans and its white farmers have come together as unlikely allies in a new battle: to unseat President Robert Mugabe (93) and curb the ambitions of his wife, Grace.
Together with the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) — led by the recently sacked vice-president Emmerson Mnangagwa — and with what is thought to be the backing of the armed forces, the farmers and war vets have vowed to form a transitional government whose aim will be to return Zimbabwe to its past glory.
Emmerson Mnangagwa seemed to be the benefactor of the coup, that was discernible just browsing through a dozen or so news articles last night
Man of the moment: Emmerson Mnangagwa is being touted to lead the country

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Zimbabwe Coup in Process?

Explosions in the street- 

 Explosions echoed across central Harare and soldiers took over the headquarters of state broadcaster ZBC in a dramatic escalation of a dispute with President Robert Mugabe over political succession.
The former vice president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, had long been tipped as most likely successor to the 93-year-old president, but Mr Mugabe's 52-year-old wife Grace is now vying for the job.
A Reuters reporter witnessed six armoured personnel carriers on thoroughfares on the outskirts of the capital, Harare, and soldiers told passing cars to keep moving.
The presence of troops, including the movement of armoured vehicles from a barracks northwest of Harare earlier in the day, sparked rumours of a coup against Mr Mugabe, although there was no evidence to suggest Zimbabwe's leader of the last 37 years had been toppled.

State broadcaster taken over

Soldiers took over the headquarters of Zimbabwe’s ZBC state broadcaster in the early hours of Wednesday, two members of staff and a human rights worker said, compounding speculation of a coup against 93-year-old President Robert Mugabe.
Some ZBC members of staff were manhandled when soldiers occupied the premises, the sources said. However, staff were told they “should not worry” as the soldiers were merely there to protect the site, one source added.
Military seen outside of Zimbabwe Capital: 

HARARE, Zimbabwe -- At least three explosions were heard in Zimbabwe's capital early Wednesday and military vehicles were seen in the streets after the army commander threatened to "step in" to calm political tensions over 93-year-old President Robert Mugabe's possible successor. The ruling party accused the commander of "treasonable conduct."
The Associated Press saw armed soldiers assaulting passers-by in the early morning hours in Harare, as well as soldiers loading ammunition near a group of four military vehicles. The explosions could be heard near the University of Zimbabwe campus.
Those developments came several hours after The Associated Press on Tuesday saw three armored personnel carriers with several soldiers in a convoy heading toward an army barracks just outside the capital. For the first time, this southern African nation is seeing an open rift between the military and Mugabe, the world's oldest head of state who has ruled since independence from white minority rule in 1980. The military has been a key pillar of his power.
Mugabe last week fired Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa and accused him of plotting to take power, including through witchcraft. Mnangagwa, who enjoyed the military's backing and once was seen as a potential president, fled the country and said he had been threatened. Over 100 senior officials allegedly supporting him have been listed for disciplinary measures by a faction associated with Mugabe's wife, Grace.
The first lady now appears positioned to replace Mnangagwa as one of the country's two vice presidents at a special conference of the ruling party in December, leading many in Zimbabwe to suspect that she could succeed her husband. Grace Mugabe is unpopular with some Zimbabweans because of lavish spending as many struggle, and four people accused of booing her at a recent rally were arrested.
On Monday, army commander Constantino Chiwenga issued an unprecedented statement saying purges against senior ruling ZANU-PF party officials, many of whom like Mnangagwa fought for liberation, should end "forthwith."
"We must remind those behind the current treacherous shenanigans that when it comes to matters of protecting our revolution, the military will not hesitate to step in," the army commander said. The state-run broadcaster did not report on his statement.
Showing a generational divide, the ruling party's youth league, aligned with the 52-year-old first lady, on Tuesday criticized the army commander's comments, saying youth were "ready to die for Mugabe."
On Tuesday night the ruling party issued a statement accusing the army commander of "treasonable conduct," saying his comments were "clearly calculated to disturb national peace and stability" and were "meant to incite insurrection." It was not clear whether the commander still had his post.
State broadcaster Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation read out part of the ruling party statement late in the nightly news, which was led by a report on regional tourism.
The army spokesman was not immediately available for comment.
"Yes, given the past two weeks' political events, it is tempting to speculate that there is a connection between the deployment of military personnel and the comments of the army chief of staff on an 'intervention' -- but there are very real dangers of violence breaking out as a result of rampant and unfounded speculation," African Defence Review analyst Conway Waddington wrote Tuesday evening, saying there appeared to be no other signs of an "organized coup" and that it could have been an act of intimidation instead.
ZANU-PF posted a statement on Twitter assuring the public "there is NO coup happening in Zimbabwe. Please continue with your lives and face up to your own problems."

Mugabe in the past has warned military commanders from interfering in succession politics. "Politics shall always lead the gun, and not the gun politics. Otherwise it will be a coup," he told supporters in July.
Frustration has been growing in once-prosperous Zimbabwe as the economy collapses under Mugabe. The country was shaken last year by the biggest anti-government protests in a decade, and a once-loyal war veterans association turned on the president, calling him "dictatorial" and blaming him for the economic crisis.
"Mnangagwa was held out by many as the best hope within ZANU-PF for piloting an economic recovery," analyst Piers Pigou with the International Crisis Group wrote Tuesday.
Now, "Mugabe will have to employ all his guile if he intends to ensure continued accommodation with the armed forces."
 These are just a few early news articles reporting on what is occurring presently 8:20 pm  est