Archive | February 20th, 2016

Nazi forces continue systematic crimes in oPt


Nazi forces continue systematic crimes in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt)


(11 – 17 February 2016)

  • ·Nazi forces continued to use excessive force in the oPt

–         6 Palestinian civilians, including 3 children and a young woman, were killed in the West Bank.

–         56 Palestinian civilians, including 13 children and a woman, were wounded in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.


  • ·Nazi forces conducted 81 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank and a limited one in the central Gaza Strip.

–         76 Palestinian civilians, including 19 children, were arrested. Twenty-one of them, including 14 children, were arrested in occupied Jerusalem and its suburbs.

–         7 Palestinian civilians, including 3 children, were arrested in the central and southern Gaza Strip while sneaking through the border fence into ‘Israel’ to look for work.

  • ·Jewish majority efforts continued in occupied East Jerusalem.

–         11 agricultural facilities in al-Eisawiya village, northeast of the city, were demolished.

–         Nazi  forces issued notices for the demolition of dozens of houses in al-Eizariya village.

  • ·Illegal Nazi Jewish Settlement activities continued in the West Bank.

–         35 dwellings, 41 livestock barns and 26 structures attached to them in Nablus and Tubas were demolished.

–         22 families consisting of 164 individuals, including 105 children, were rendered homeless.


  • ·Nazi forces turned the West Bank into cantons and continued to impose the illegal closure on the Gaza Strip for the 9th year.

–         Dozens of temporary checkpoints were established in the West Bank and others were re-established to obstruct the movement of Palestinian civilians.

–         4 Palestinian civilians, including a child, were arrested at military checkpoints.

–         A trader was arrested at Beit Hanoun “Erez” crossing, north of the Gaza Strip.



Nazi violations of international law and international humanitarian law in the oPt continued during the reporting period (11 – 17 February 2016).


Nazi forces have continued to commit crimes, inflicting civilian casualties. They have also continued to use excessive force against Palestinian civilians participating in peaceful protests in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, the majority of whom were youngsters. Occupied East Jerusalem witnessed similar attacks. During the reporting period, Israeli forces killed 6 Palestinian civilians, including 3 children and a young woman, in the West Bank, 2 of whom were killed in occupied Jerusalem.

In addition, they wounded 56 civilians, including 13 children and a woman; 46 of whom, including 11 children and a woman, were in the West Bank and 10, including 2 children, were in the Gaza Strip. Concerning the nature of injuries, 46 civilians were hit with live bullets, 9 were hit with rubber-coated metal bullets and a civilian was hit with a tear gas canister right to the face.


The full report is available online at:


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Syria: First UN report on ISIL

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Report of the Secretary-General on the threat posed by ISIL (Da’esh) to international peace and security and the range of United Nations efforts in support of Member States in countering the threat

I. Introduction

1. The present report is submitted pursuant to paragraph 97 of Security Council resolution 2253 (2015), in which the Council requested the Secretary-General to provide an initial strategic-level report that demonstrates and reflects the gravity of the threat posed to international peace and security by Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as Da’esh) and associated individuals, groups, undertakings and entities, including foreign terrorist fighters, provides information on the sources of financing of such individuals, groups, undertakings and entities, including through illicit trade in oil, antiquities and other natural resources, as well as their planning and facilitation of attacks, and reflects the range of United Nations efforts in support of Member States in countering this threat.

2. Security Council resolution 2253 (2015) was adopted at the meeting of the Council on 17 December 2015, which included the participation of Ministers of Finance from around the world. In adopting the resolution, the Council expressed its determination to address the threat posed to international peace and security by the groups and individuals and the importance of cutting off their access to funds, including the illicit trade in oil, antiquities and other natural resources, as well as their planning and facilitation of attacks. In the resolution, the Council decided that such groups and individuals will be subject to the measures imposed by Security Council resolution 2161 (2014); that the former Security Council Committee pursuant to resolutions 1267 (1999) and 1989 (2011) concerning Al-Qaida and associated individuals and entities will be known as the Security Council Committee pursuant to resolutions 1267 (1999), 1989 (2011) and 2253 (2015) concerning Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (Da’esh), Al-Qaida and associated individuals, groups, undertakings and entities; and that the Al-Qaida Sanctions List will be known as the ISIL (Da’esh) and Al-Qaida Sanctions List.

3. The report also contains recommendations on strengthening the capacities of Member States to mitigate the threat posed by ISIL, as well as ways in which the United Nations can support those efforts. As requested by the Security Council, the report has been prepared with the input of the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate, in close collaboration with the Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team established pursuant to Security Council resolution 1526 (2004) concerning Al-Qaida and the Taliban and associated individuals and entities of the Security Council Committee pursuant to resolutions 1267 (1999), 1989 (2011) and 2253 (2015), the Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force and other relevant United Nations actors and international organizations. Information has also been provided by some Member States.

II. The gravity of the threat posed by ISIL and associated groups and entities

A. The threat

4. The emergence of ISIL has been facilitated by the protracted conflicts in Iraq and the Syrian Arab Republic and the resulting political and security instability, as well as by the weakening of State institutions and the inability of the two States to exercise effective control over their territories and borders. In less than two years, ISIL has captured large swathes of territory in both Iraq and the Syrian Arab Republic, which it administers through a sophisticated, quasi-bureaucratic revenue-generating structure that is sufficiently flexible and diversified to compensate for declines in income from single revenue streams. ISIL has also benefited from its relationship with individuals and groups involved in transnational organized crime. It uses its financial resources to support ongoing military campaigns, administer its territories and fund the expansion of the conflict beyond Iraq and the Syrian Arab Republic, and it has developed an extremely effective and sophisticated communications strategy to ensure that its distorted vision of the world resonates with a small but growing number of disaffected individuals who are disengaged from, or no longer identify with, the core values of their societies.

5. Despite the efforts of the international community to counter ISIL through military, financial and border-security measures (which have recently inflicted substantial losses), ISIL continues to maintain its presence in Iraq and the Syrian Arab Republic. It is also expanding the scope of its operations to other regions. The terrorist attacks carried out in the final months of 2015 demonstrate that it is capable of committing attacks on civilian targets outside the territories under its control. The extent of its reach was notably demonstrated by the suicide bombings in Beirut on 12 November 2015, the coordinated attacks in Paris on 13 November 2015 and the attacks in Jakarta by an ISIL affiliate on 14 January 2016, which closely resembled the Paris attacks.

6. The recent expansion of the ISIL sphere of influence across West and North Africa, the Middle East and South and South-East Asia demonstrates the speed and scale at which the gravity of the threat has evolved in just 18 months. The complexity of the recent attacks and the level of planning, coordination and sophistication involved raise concerns about its future evolution. Moreover, other terrorist groups, including the Islamic Youth Shura Council and Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant-Libya Province (Derna) in Libya, the Mujahideen of Kairouan and Jund al-Khilafah in Tunisia, the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, Tehreek-e-Khilafat in Pakistan and Ansar al-Khilafah in the Philippines, are sufficiently attracted by its underlying ideology to pledge allegiance to its so-called caliphate and self-proclaimed caliph. ISIL has also benefited from the arrival of a steady stream of foreign terrorist fighters, who continue to leave their communities to replenish its ranks. The return of these fighters from the battlefields of Iraq and the Syrian Arab Republic and other conflict zones is a further major concern, as returnees can extend the presence of ISIL to their States of origin and use their skills and combat experience to recruit additional sympathizers, establish terrorist networks and commit terrorist acts.

1. ISIL outside Iraq and the Syrian Arab Republic

7. The growing threat posed by ISIL to international peace and security is reflected in its strategy of global expansion, the development of which may reflect a reaction to recent territorial losses inflicted in Iraq and the Syrian Arab Republic by international military efforts. As of 15 December 2015, 34 groups from all around the world had reportedly pledged allegiance to ISIL. Moreover, in view of its territorial claims of more “provinces”, it is expected that ISIL affiliates will increase in number and that its membership will grow in 2016. This is a matter of considerable concern, since these groups appear to be emulating ISIL’s tactics and carrying out attacks on its behalf.

8. In 2016 and beyond, Member States should prepare for a further increase in the number of foreign terrorist fighters travelling to other States on the instructions of ISIL. Many groups and individuals have pledged allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and the proclaimed “caliphate” since 2014, although only its affiliates in Libya and Afghanistan currently control territory of any significance. The ISIL presence in Libya is the affiliate that has received the greatest amount of attention, including support and guidance from the ISIL core. In Afghanistan and Pakistan, ISIL continues to develop a network of contacts and sympathizers who carry out attacks in its name. On 13 January 2016, the ISIL group “Khorasan province”, which operates in Pakistan and Afghanistan, issued a statement claiming credit for an attack on the Pakistani Consulate in Jalalabad, Afghanistan.

2. Grave human rights violations

9. ISIL continues to perpetrate appalling human rights abuses against populations under its control. Executions, torture, amputations, lashings, ethno-sectarian attacks and floggings in public places against “infidels” offer sobering testimony to the degree of barbarity to which it is prepared to descend to achieve its goals. ISIL systematically targets communities and members of communities who refuse to subscribe to its extremist ideology, including Christians, Yezidis, Shia and Sunnis. Since the emergence of ISIL, sexual slavery has been imposed upon women and girls as an instrument of terror to humiliate and subjugate entire communities. Sexual violence in conflict, when used or commissioned as a method or tactic of war or as part of a widespread or systematic attack against civilian populations, can significantly exacerbate and prolong situations of armed conflict and may impede the restoration of international peace and security. Against this backdrop, the sexual and gender-based violence used as a tactic of terrorism by ISIL has become part of its strategy for controlling territory, dehumanizing victims and recruiting new supporters. According to the Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, extremist groups like ISIL view female bodies as vessels for producing a new generation that can be raised in their own image, according to their radical ideology, and control over women’s sexuality and reproduction is integral to the nation-building aspirations of ISIL and its affiliates. The nexus between sexual violence and violent extremism is becoming increasingly evident, and combatting extremist groups is an essential component of the fight against conflict-related sexual violence. In its resolution 2242 (2015), the Security Council stressed the increasing need to ensure that the protection and empowerment of women is a central consideration of strategies to counter terrorism and violent extremism.

10. Thousands of children have also become victims, perpetrators and witnesses of ISIL’s atrocities. The group is systematically indoctrinating and grooming children as young as five years old to be future militants. The United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) continue to receive reports that ISIL has been forcibly recruiting and using children in military operations. Several videos posted on social media purportedly show recruitment and training of children in ISIL camps in Iraq and the Syrian Arab Republic. The systemic recruitment and abuse of children by ISIL and the reported emergence of youth training camps in several regions are cause for grave concern.

3. Humanitarian crisis

11. The international community faces a humanitarian crisis of unprecedented proportions. The Syrian conflict, the largest and most complex of the current humanitarian emergencies, has become an international crisis. In the Syrian Arab Republic alone, around 12 million people (including more than 4 million people who have sought refuge in neighbouring States) have been forced to flee their homes, and more than 13.5 million are in need of humanitarian assistance. The emergence of ISIL in Iraq and the Syrian Arab Republic has further exacerbated the humanitarian crisis. With no political solution in sight, and military confrontation continuing, the number of people affected by internal conflict in both countries is likely to increase in 2016. The presence of significant displaced populations also places a significant strain on the resources of States neighbouring the conflict zones.

4. Destruction and looting of cultural sites and artefacts

12. The large-scale, systematic destruction and looting of cultural sites that is also part of the ISIL strategy highlights the strong connection between the cultural, humanitarian and security dimensions of conflicts and terrorism. This has been recognized in numerous United Nations statements and declarations, including by the General Assembly in its resolution 69/281, entitled “Saving the cultural heritage of Iraq”, and notably by the Security Council in its resolution 2199 (2015), by which the Council established a ban on trade in antiquities illegally removed from Iraq since 6 August 1990 and from the Syrian Arab Republic since 15 March 2011 and which recognized illicit trafficking in antiquities as a potential source of financing for terrorist organizations.

5. Conclusion

13. ISIL represents an unprecedented threat to international peace and security. It is able to adapt quickly to the changing environment and to persuade or inspire like-minded terrorist groups in various regions of the world to facilitate and commit acts of terrorism.

14. In view of the gravity of the threat, the international community must also be adaptive in its responses, ensuring that they are consistent with the rule-of-law and international human rights and humanitarian norms and standards. Member States should adopt comprehensive approaches that incorporate security-led counter-terrorism initiatives and preventive measures that address the drivers of violent extremism leading to terrorism.

B. Sources of financing for ISIL

15. ISIL’s rapid and effective mobilization of vast financial resources in the service of recruitment and territorial expansion demonstrates the gravity of the threat posed to international peace and security by terrorist organizations that use techniques similar to those employed by transnational organized criminal groups, constantly adapting their financing strategy to changing circumstances.

16. ISIL is the world’s wealthiest terrorist organization. Its funding sources have been described in detail in a number of reports, including those of the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate, the Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team and the Financial Action Task Force. Its funds derive mostly from the exploitation of the natural and economic resources of the territories it occupies (including oil fields and refineries and agricultural land), as well as from bank robbery, extortion, confiscation of property, donations from foreign terrorist fighters and the looting of antiquities.

17. Numerous reports, including reports of UNAMI, estimate the income generated by ISIL from oil and oil products in 2015 to have been between $400 million and $500 million. ISIL uses income from oil sales to buy supplies, including weaponry, military equipment and ammunition. As a result of the international air strikes on oil refineries and tanks, the blocking of smuggling routes and the sale and purchase of oil, it is expected that ISIL’s oil income, both in total and as a proportion of its overall earnings, will gradually diminish in 2016. Other resources, including gas and phosphate sites, have also been subject to airstrikes. Moreover, further exploitation of existing resources would require expertise and heavy investment, which may not be readily available. However, ISIL’s degree of diversification is such that dwindling revenue streams can be quickly replaced by others. Data and imagery provided by Member States of potential routes of illicit trade in oil and oil products by ISIL cannot be independently verified by the United Nations. Moreover, the differences in the materials provided point to the difficulty in establishing exact routes and distribution networks, given the diversification and flexibility adopted by ISIL, and underscoring the fact that close coordination and cooperation among Member States is imperative. Such high-level coordination and cooperation was demonstrated by the passage of Security Council resolution 2253 (2015).

18. Over the past year, “taxing” and confiscation appear to have become another significant revenue source. ISIL has developed a sophisticated system for the confiscation of goods and property, including from banks (cash taken from 90 branches located in the Iraqi provinces under its control totalled $1 billion ($675 million from banks in Mosul alone), according to UNAMI). ISIL also confiscates the homes of officials and others who leave the territory and sells them in local markets, providing discounts to its members. ISIL also taxes economic activity by extorting the estimated 8 million people living in territories under its control. It attempts to legitimize this system by calling the “tax” a “religious tax” or “zakat”. The tax amounts to at least 2.5 per cent of the capital earned from businesses, goods and agricultural products, including wheat, barley, cotton and livestock; from services of contractors and traders in Iraq’s western and northern provinces and from trucks entering the territories under ISIL control. According to UNAMI, the tax on trucks generates around $900 million per year. In some cases the group extorts up to 10 per cent, on the grounds that “it is a nation in time of war”.

19. The Iraqi Government recently decided to cut off salary payments to workers in ISIL-controlled territory, with the aim of reducing opportunities for such “taxation”. However, it appears that remittances from relatives abroad are transferred using local “hawala”-type services that are very difficult to control. In the longer term, however, this taxation system will become more difficult to sustain. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), this is especially true in the agricultural sector, where the yield from wheat and barley crops is decreasing in ISIL-controlled territory due to poor seed quality.

20. Like transnational organized criminal groups, ISIL relies on laundering and smuggling techniques and smuggling networks to circumvent the international embargo. ISIL sells oil and agricultural products at discount prices using established historical smuggling routes in and out of Iraq and the Syrian Arab Republic. Once these goods have reached the countries of destination, it is very difficult to track their origin, particularly oil products. Convoys bring in basic food and raw materials for the population, and illicit merchandise is concealed within such convoys as they leave ISIL-controlled territory. ISIL imposes “taxes” and fees on anyone living in the territories under its control.

21. Numerous Iraqi and Syrian archaeological sites are under the close control of ISIL, which imposes taxes on the looters, based on a pre-appraisal of the value of what is taken, and it also grants licences for excavation. As reported by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the American Schools of Oriental Research estimates that around 25 per cent of archaeological sites in the Syrian Arab Republic (including over 21 per cent in ISIL-controlled territories) have been affected by the looting. The Syrian Arab Republic has seized, or obtained the restitution, of more than 6,000 artefacts (including 1,000 from Lebanon) over the past four years. UNESCO notes that, in view of the scale of the looting and its significant economic value, it is likely that many items are being stored by criminal networks. It is to be expected that, once the attention diminishes, criminal networks will begin to introduce additional laundered items into the market. According to preliminary information received by UNESCO from its member States, many small pieces, such as coins and statuettes, are generally smuggled and put up for sale on Internet platforms. It is therefore essential that police, customs and art market officials take the strongest possible measures to combat illicit trafficking in such items. UNESCO has also noted the vital importance of determining where and with whom such artefacts are stored and of identifying the smuggling routes.

22. In addition to the above revenue sources, ISIL continues to benefit from external donations and ransom payments by families of hostages, particularly from the Yazidi community. UNAMI estimates that these payments amounted to between $35 million to $45 million in 2014. It is believed that $850,000 was paid in January 2015 for the release of 200 Iraqi Yazidis. ISIL has used sexual violence to mobilize resources and fund its operations, including the ransoming and sale of women and girls through human trafficking and slave markets. It also receives voluntary payments from those seeking to free foreign terrorists fighters from the conflict zones. According to the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate and the Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team, revenue from foreign terrorist fighters represents another significant source of funding. Wire transfers, credit card withdrawals from the accounts of known foreign terrorist fighters and money transfers reveal a constant flow of funds in and out of ISIL-controlled territories. Further research is needed to better understand the financial networks operating in border cities, including the role of intermediaries.

23. In view of the considerable pressure being exerted by the international community, it is likely that ISIL will attempt to identify other funding sources. There is a need to achieve a better understanding of the financial mechanisms used by ISIL affiliates and by groups that have pledged allegiance to ISIL.

24. The Financial Action Task Force notes that ISIL and its affiliates continue to make extensive use of the Internet and social media to raise funds. Misuse of these technologies in a coordinated manner can generate significant funds, which are difficult to detect without the support of the Internet site providers. This is an area of particular concern, as it could enable foreign terrorist fighters returning from Iraq or the Syrian Arab Republic or local sympathizers to generate sufficient funding for recruitment and the planning of terrorist attacks around the world.

C. Foreign terrorist fighters joining ISIL and associated groups and entities

1. Recruitment

25. According to the Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team and other sources, the attraction of ISIL to potential recruits has risen to an unprecedented level. It is estimated that around 30,000 foreign terrorist fighters, coming from over 100 Member States, are actively engaged in the activities of Al-Qaida, ISIL and associated groups. This phenomenon clearly demands not only global and national solutions, but also urgent action at the local level. In view of the current situation on the ground, it is unclear whether the recent dramatic rate of growth in the number of foreign terrorist fighters will be sustained over the long term. It is also unclear whether the final destinations of most of the fighters will continue to be Iraq and the Syrian Arab Republic since ISIL has been encouraging potential fighters to travel to States outside the Middle East.

26. In both developed and developing States, significant numbers of young people are seriously considering travelling to areas where their personal security would be at great risk. The departure of so many young people to conflict zones has a profoundly destabilizing effect on their communities and, above all, on their families. In order to attract individuals to its cause, ISIL exploits socioeconomic grievances and feelings of alienation, marginalization, discrimination or victimization, precipitated by, among other things, a perceived or real lack of good governance, inequality, injustice and lack of opportunity. It pretends to offer potential recruits the opportunity to achieve “social status”, kinship, a sense of identity and belonging, fulfilment of a sense of religious duty and a purpose. Its ideology is predicated on a perverted interpretation of Islam that also exploits historical grievances (offering an opportunity not only to rebel against the corruption of the current political order, but also to eradicate the “artificial” border between Iraq and the Syrian Arab Republic).

27. The challenges faced by those seeking to identify potential foreign terrorist fighters and prevent their travel are exacerbated by the absence of a clear “personality type” that is more prone than others to engage in terrorist activities. Preliminary studies have shown that foreign terrorist fighters are motivated by a number of, social, economic and geopolitical conditions, combined with individual circumstances that appear at a particular moment in time and make individuals vulnerable to recruitment or engagement in violent extremism and terrorism. This appears to be the case for recruits located both inside and outside territories where ISIL and its affiliates have a large presence. The journey of each individual fighter into terrorist activity involves a unique combination of factors that differ in order of magnitude, depending on the local context.

28. According to the Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, ISIL’s recruitment messaging also includes the promise of access to women for young, single, economically marginalized men who seek status, power and sexual access not available in socially conservative contexts. ISIL also has a large team of dedicated “online groomers” whose job it is to identify individuals who express an interest in the group on online forums. The grooming of would-be sympathizers for terrorist activity locally or for travel to ISIL-held territory is based on information about the individual’s particular social and personal context.

29. Terrorist recruitment is not the exclusive preserve of ISIL recruiters. There is often an intimate and personal element. Studies on European foreign terrorist fighters8 show that peer pressure or support plays an active part in the final stages of radicalization, and that the role of family members, especially mothers, could be particularly relevant in countering such pressure.

2. Use of the Internet and social media as a promotional and recruitment tool

30. The threat posed by ISIL is made even greater by the group’s growing technological sophistication. ISIL increasingly turns to the Internet and social media to disseminate its messages to potential recruits. It appears that ISIL has been able, through information and communications technologies (ICT) in general, and social media tools in particular, to establish a low-cost and powerful system to broadcast its propaganda, identify potential recruits and allocate human resources to persuade targeted individuals to join its ranks. This has fuelled the growth in the number of foreign terrorist fighters travelling to Iraq and the Syrian Arab Republic. Prosecutors and law enforcement officials in many affected States increasingly report that foreign terrorist fighters and would-be fighters, and terrorists acting alone or in small cells, but without formal links to ISIL, consume its propaganda online and interact online with its members and sympathizers. Following action by Twitter to close down thousands of these accounts, ISIL has migrated to other social media tools, such as Telegram messenger. When Telegram, in turn, begins to close down ISIL-related channels, ISIL and its support base will likely migrate to new platforms.

31. ISIL has also demonstrated the capacity to tailor its online messaging to its audience. Over the past two years, videos of ISIL have shown: acts of war (30 per cent); interviews with mujahideen (25 per cent); images showing ISIL as a functioning and utopic “State” (18 per cent); and executions (15 per cent). Purely religious themes are less common. Videos are often well edited and inspired by action movies and videogames. This approach seeks to attract not only young men looking for action, but also professionals such as doctors, engineers, ICT specialists and women and girls. ISIL’s branding and marketing campaigns are accompanied by individualized radicalization and recruitment campaigns conducted by well-trained groomers using live chat applications, videoconferencing and other ICT tools.

32. It has been shown that ICT plays a crucial role in the travel preparations of foreign terrorist fighters to join ISIL and its affiliates, the training and sharing of “effective practices” and the planning of attacks. ISIL online forums discuss best ways to avoid detection while crossing borders by using routes that will not raise suspicion and through States perceived as having inadequate border controls. The use of ICT to demonstrate how to build improvised explosive devices is also well documented. This matter has been raised by the Security Council in its resolutions 2161 (2014) and 2178 (2014) and could be exploited by ISIL and its affiliates. Prosecutors and law enforcement officers have expressed their concerns about the routine use of encryption technologies by ISIL terrorists. ISIL-related forums on the “dark web” regularly inform their members about the most effective encryption tools and recommend the adoption of new products when ICT solutions are considered to be compromised.

33. A further challenge is the complexity of the global ICT framework, which raises several difficult jurisdictional issues in terms of the applicability of domestic laws and the powers of States to enforce them. Private corporations must find ways to deal with conflicting domestic laws in their international operations. Facebook, for example, has established guidelines for cooperation with law enforcement agencies worldwide, including for the preservation of data and emergency requests. Many private corporations already enforce their own terms of use and can either remove ISIL content or terminate the accounts of users violating those terms. Such measures are taken by corporations in the context of terrorist activities such as recruitment and incitement to terrorism. Most large corporations proactively and voluntarily moderate content uploaded by their users or remove content that is contrary to their terms and conditions.

34. The online sale of Iraqi and Syrian antiquities continues despite the worldwide prohibition on their trade, as set forth in Security Council resolution 2199 (2015). Illegitimate sellers of such antiquities, who may have direct or indirect links with ISIL, use social media platforms to find customers for illicitly obtained and exported artefacts. UNESCO has been raising awareness of this phenomenon for a decade. The global ICT community should take the necessary countermeasures, following established good practices.

D. Travel of foreign terrorist fighters

35. Foreign terrorist fighters from many States continue to reach Iraq and the Syrian Arab Republic through neighbouring countries. In some instances, this is facilitated by linguistic similarities and the lack of visa requirements. ISIL has shown itself to be effective in identifying and circumventing countermeasures put in place by Member States. It has also proven adept at informing potential foreign terrorist fighters of any vulnerabilities, using the Internet and social media. Even if one State detects a vulnerability that facilitates the cross-border movement of foreign terrorist fighters, the same vulnerability may be easily exploited by ISIL in a neighbouring State. The international community must therefore develop a more effective way to determine which vulnerabilities are being exploited by ISIL and to share this information with other States that are adversely affected by such measures so that collective responses can be rapidly implemented.

36. ISIL has recently issued Internet guidelines to help facilitate the travel of foreign terrorist fighters to Iraq and the Syrian Arab Republic. Those guidelines clearly indicate ISIL’s awareness of the techniques commonly used by Member States to identify foreign terrorist fighters, as well as systemic shortfalls in existing measures to track their travel patterns. It is also evident that ISIL is well aware of the difficulty of identifying foreign terrorist fighters prior to their departure. Many potential fighters are not persons of interest to law enforcement officials in their States of origin or residence and are therefore not subject to monitoring. The ISIL guidelines also include detailed information about the most easily penetrable travel routes, those to avoid because of stepped-up controls and the best modes of travel to be used to reach territories under its control. Member States have reported to the Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team that foreign terrorist fighters travel to conflict zones in Iraq and the Syrian Arab Republic by air, maritime and land routes through European and neighbouring States.

37. ISIL has also exhibited a growing interest in, and capacity for, launching attacks outside the territory it controls. These attacks are carried out not only by home-grown terrorists, but also by individuals who have received training abroad, including in ISIL-held territories. This demonstrates the urgent need for Member States not only to ensure that foreign terrorist fighters do not travel from their country of origin to ISIL-held territories, but also to curtail the flow of such fighters from ISIL-held territories to third States where they can facilitate terrorist attacks. Concerns have been raised about the potential for foreign terrorist fighters to use the massive inflow of asylum seekers into Europe as a means of transporting its operatives into Europe.

38. With regard to refugees entering third States through the resettlement schemes organized by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), it is highly unlikely that ISIL will attempt to take advantage of these programmes to move terrorists abroad. Given the extensive screening measures and background checks adopted by most States accepting refugees for resettlement, and the lengthy waiting periods associated with these checks, resettlement would not appear to be an attractive avenue.

E. Planning and facilitation of attacks by ISIL

39. ISIL’s dissemination of propaganda through the use of ICT forms part of its military strategy to destabilize States outside Iraq and the Syrian Arab Republic by provoking a confrontation between “believers” and “apostates”. Since its acquisition of territory in 2014, it has changed its tactics, notably during the second half of 2015 when it began to expand the geographical scope of its attacks. This led to a series of attacks perpetrated by ISIL sympathizers acting alone or in small cells (including attacks at: a museum in Brussels; a café in Sydney, Australia; a museum and resort in Tunisia; a train bound for Paris; and the San Bernardino County Department of Public Health). The main characteristic of these attacks was their low level of complexity.

40. Recent attacks, including the attacks in Paris and Djakarta, reflect a significant shift towards large-scale operations perpetrated outside the Middle East. It is very likely that attacks by terrorists acting alone will also continue. The November 2015 attacks in Paris, in particular, bore the hallmarks of a classic Al-Qaida attack: long-term preparation, multiple targets, several planned waves of attacks and the involvement of a coordinated multi-cell structure directed on the ground by an operational leader and led by planners located in the Syrian Arab Republic and facilitators located outside France. The combination of home-grown small cells and terrorists who travel back and forth from Iraq and the Syrian Arab Republic represents a new and complex challenge. Evidence gathered since January 2015 reflects the existence of effective operational connections between ISIL and its militants abroad. These attacks also point to the existence of distinct capacities to: identify large-scale targets (including restaurants, sport stadiums, tourism infrastructure and concert halls); advise on evasive travel patterns; organize logistical support; provide training in the use of communications, weapons and explosives; remotely manage a roster of potential attackers; and call upon a global network of sympathizers to facilitate such operations.

41. The ability of ISIL and its affiliates and its self-proclaimed members and adherents to communicate internationally by means of sophisticated technologies, including mobile telephones and encrypted tools, to transfer funds, to provide logistical support (for example by renting apartments and cars, purchasing weapons and constructing explosive vests), and to use evasive travel patterns in preparing attacks demonstrate their capacity to mount operations outside the territories under their control.

42. ISIL’s shift towards the use of suicide attackers outside areas under its direct control represents a significant increase in the gravity of the threat it poses to international peace and security. Even though these attacks do not rely on the use of sophisticated weapons (relying essentially on automatic rifles and explosive vests), their effectiveness is reflected in the very real death tolls and the sense of instability and insecurity instilled into civilian populations. There are indications that ISIL may be seeking to develop a long-term capacity to use more sophisticated weapons, including chemical and biological weapons, in such attacks.

43. A further significant concern is the growing capacity of terrorist groups to recruit assailants from a roster of foreign terrorist fighters selected and trained specifically to carry out such attacks. These individuals may have known one another for several years, been detained in the same prisons, travelled to the Syrian Arab Republic together, speak the same language and/or belong to the same country of origin or community. This ensures cohesion and increases their chances of success.

44. The complex nature of many recent attacks suggests that ISIL militants are adapting to the law enforcement and security measures taken against them. Against this backdrop, judicial authorities, law enforcement and security agencies are often at a disadvantage in cases that involve terrorists who act alone or who are more insulated from detection. This is especially true for law enforcement and intelligence agencies that rely on human intelligence sources. Empirical evidence suggests that, in general, while there are people who know about an offender’s grievance, extremist ideology, views and/or intent to engage in violence in the lead-up to most lone-actor terrorist events, they do not report such information to the relevant authorities. Consequently, opportunities to identify a perpetrator or obtain information in advance of an attack are reduced.

F. Returnees

45. The threat posed by foreign terrorist fighters for ISIL returning from the battlefields of Iraq and the Syrian Arab Republic and other conflict zones is another major concern for many States of origin. In general, returnees serve to extend the presence of ISIL into other States and to set up networks for future attacks, planning and facilitation. It is currently unclear how many foreign terrorist fighters serving ISIL are likely to return to their home States (rather than remaining in conflict zones or travelling to third States) and how likely they are to engage in terrorism upon their return. However, as they become disillusioned, there is a high probability that many will return to their home States. Empirical evidence suggests, however, that even though very few ISIL foreign terrorist fighters appear to engage in terrorist activity after their return, attacks carried out by trained foreign terrorist fighters are more likely to be successful and lethal. It should also be noted that returnees are a potentially valuable source of information, and that they may use their experience to persuade others not to become involved in terrorism, including through effective counter-messaging campaigns.

III. The range of United Nations efforts in supporting the efforts of Member States to counter the threat of ISIL

46. The primary responsibility for countering the threat of ISIL lies with Member States. However, the United Nations and other international organizations, which have a critical role to play in supporting their efforts, have already taken a number of measures, including conducting assessments of the threat, and of the capacity of States to counter it, formulating recommendations for addressing identified shortcomings and developing and implementing capacity-building programmes. However, in view of the increased gravity of the threat posed by ISIL, the United Nations and other international organizations must adopt a more comprehensive, concerted and coordinated approach.

47. The Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team has produced a series of reports assessing the global threat posed by foreign terrorist fighters, the threat from ISIL and the Al-Nusrah front, including to the Middle East region, and the terrorism threat in Libya and Afghanistan posed by ISIL and other terrorist groups. The Monitoring Team has made a number of recommendations for mitigating the threat.

48. The Counter-Terrorism Committee has conducted an assessment of the ability of Member States to stem the flow of foreign terrorist fighters, focusing on the States most affected, and has provided Member States with recommendations on ways to address the gaps identified in its assessments. The Counter-Terrorism Committee recently held an open briefing in New York on “The role of women in countering terrorism and violent extremism”, a special meeting in Madrid on “Stemming the flow of foreign terrorist fighters”, and a special meeting in New York on “Preventing terrorists from exploiting the Internet and social media to recruit terrorists and incite terrorist acts, while respecting human rights and fundamental freedoms”. The special meeting in Madrid resulted in a set of guiding principles for detecting, intervening against and preventing the incitement and facilitation of foreign terrorist fighters; preventing their travel; criminalizing and prosecuting them; cooperating internationally; and rehabilitating and reintegrating returning foreign terrorist fighters.

49. Following the establishment of an ad hoc inter-agency working group on foreign terrorist fighters by the Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force, a capacity-building implementation plan for countering the flow of foreign terrorist fighters was developed in close consultation with the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate and the Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team. The development of this plan was called for by the Security Council in its presidential statement of 29 May 2015 (S/PRST/2015/11).

50. The plan sets out priority recommendations for addressing the capacity-building assistance needs of the most affected Member States, based on the assessment of the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate, and includes a prioritized list of capacity-building and technical assistance projects submitted by entities of the Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force, to be implemented over the next 24 months. It represents the first attempt to develop a more concerted, coherent approach to capacity-building.

A. Countering the financing of ISIL

51. The Global Programme Against Money Laundering of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime has collated good practices in disrupting the financing of terrorist and organized criminal groups. According to the Global Programme, a “Financial Disruption Workbook”, produced and used for operations in Afghanistan, has reduced the Taliban’s annual budget in Southern Afghanistan by over a third. UNODC also plans to launch an initiative on enhancing the operational capability of countries in the Middle East and North Africa to counter terrorism financing in the context of foreign direct fighters.

52. The Organized Crime and Illicit Trafficking Branch of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime recently launched a new global programme, entitled Building Effective Networks against Transnational Organized Crime, which aims to strengthen interregional criminal intelligence exchange and international cooperation on transnational organized crime and terrorism. This will be achieved through the “Networking the Networks” initiative, which has established a network between existing international and regional law enforcement centres and entities to promote criminal intelligence exchange and multilateral operations targeting organized crime. The second focus area is the establishment of a network of law enforcement training institutions to promote professional training. The third key area will be strengthening capacity to conduct financial investigations.

53. In order to counter the looting and illicit trafficking of cultural property during conflict, UNESCO will further strengthen its cooperation with the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL), the World Customs Organization, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, the International Institute for the Unification of Private Law, national specialized police and customs units, the International Council of Museums and other key partners, such as museums and art market operators, for the tracking, authentication, seizure, conservation and restitution of stolen and illegally exported objects.

54. INTERPOL has launched a programme, with the support of the European Union and in collaboration with the Common Markets of East and Southern Africa, to develop capacities to prevent criminals and terrorists from exploiting financial institutions. The programme will enhance cooperation between financial intelligence units, law enforcement officers and criminal-justice officials in prosecuting those who engage in money-laundering and terrorist financing, whether through the formal banking system or through hawala-type services.

B. Criminal-justice responses to the terrorist threat

55. Several United Nations entities are actively engaged in supporting the efforts of Member States to provide an effective criminal-justice response to the threat posed by ISIL. The recently established Working Group on Legal and Criminal Justice Responses to Terrorism of the Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force brings together the main United Nations bodies dealing with this issue. United Nations entities are devoting considerable effort to identifying specific good practices and assisting Member States to criminalize, investigate, prosecute and adjudicate terrorists, including foreign terrorist fighters. They are also supporting the efforts of States to develop prosecution, rehabilitation and reintegration strategies for returnees. The Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate assists the Counter-Terrorism Committee to monitor States’ implementation of the criminal-justice requirements of the relevant Security Council resolutions and facilitates related technical assistance activities, in cooperation with United Nations and international and regional partners. The Terrorism Prevention Branch, for example, has launched a five-year initiative on criminal-justice responses to foreign terrorist fighters for countries in the Middle East, North Africa and the Balkans, in cooperation with the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean and the International Institute for Justice and the Rule of Law.

C. Preventing and disrupting travel by foreign terrorist fighters

56. The United Nations Counter-Terrorism Centre, acting in close cooperation with the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate and several other partners (including the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), INTERPOL, the International Organization for Migration, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and the World Customs Organization), has developed a project to raise awareness of and gather information about the challenges faced by the most affected Member States in implementing advance passenger information systems. It will conduct the first in-depth study on this topic during the first quarter of 2016. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime is extending its Airport Communication Project to the Middle East and North Africa region, with a view to strengthening law enforcement capacities at international airports to detect and interdict suspicious travellers, including foreign terrorist fighters.

57. INTERPOL continues to develop its global database on foreign terrorist fighters and to help Member States to intensify and accelerate the exchange of information. It will further exploit data on foreign terrorist fighters and produce, on demand, more analytical reports, with a view to identifying new routes, travel patterns or evasive tactics they are using in travelling to and from conflict zones. INTERPOL will continue to work with its member States to update and strengthen its databases and will extend its system of Special Notices and databases (including the foreign terrorist fighter database) to frontline immigration and border control officials. INTERPOL is also assisting its members in the development of a “layered system” of screening to apprehend foreign terrorist fighters who successfully evade border checks.

D. Countering recruitment and preventing/countering violent extremism

58. On 15 January 2016, I presented the Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism to the General Assembly. The Plan, which takes a practical and comprehensive approach to addressing the drivers of violent extremism, includes more than 70 recommendations for concerted action at the global, regional and national levels, based on five key priorities: (a) prevention; (b) principled leadership and effective institutions; (c) promoting human rights; (d) an all-out approach; (e) and United Nations engagement. The Assembly will hold a formal debate on the Plan in the coming months and an international conference, to be co-organized by Switzerland and the United Nations, will be held in April 2016. The General Assembly’s fifth review of the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, to be held in June 2016, will offer a further opportunity for Member States and the United Nations system to consider the recommendations contained in the Plan of Action.

59. The Counter-Terrorism Committee and the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate continue to facilitate regional and national workshops on developing comprehensive approaches to countering incitement to commit terrorist acts and violent extremism, in accordance with Security Council resolutions 1624 (2005) and 2178 (2014), including workshops held in Kenya and Tunisia in 2015. The workshops have served to develop the concept of strategic partnerships in this area between a broad range of Government ministries and non-governmental actors, including community and religious leaders, civil society organizations, and women’s and youth groups.

60. The United Nations Counter-Terrorism Centre has developed a project aimed at enhancing the understanding of foreign terrorist fighters in the Syrian Arab Republic, including the motivation of individuals joining extremist groups in Iraq and the Syrian Arab Republic, understanding key influences on their thinking and gaining insight into the reasons why they return to their home States. The project, which will be completed in 2016, is intended to support States in developing policies to dissuade potential foreign terrorist fighters from travelling, provide material for strategic communications and assist in the design of effective rehabilitation and reintegration programmes.

61. The United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN-Women), acting in close consultation with the Counter-Terrorist Committee Executive Directorate, is developing a global research programme on the drivers of recruitment, particularly the recruitment of women, to ISIL and other terrorist groups. The programme will also strengthen the capacity of women’s civil society groups to engage in preventing extremist violence and ensure that women and girls in areas impacted by violence have access to comprehensive and integrated strategies. Within the framework of the United Nations Integrated Strategy for the Sahel, UN-Women will support a number of initiatives, in partnership with relevant United Nations agencies, to politically and economically empower rural women.

62. The United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI) is gathering a series of lessons learned and promising practices and conducting table-top exercises to engage Member States in the development of action plans to counter violent extremism and address the challenges posed by returning foreign terrorist fighters. These activities will be implemented at the regional level to encourage the sharing of experiences and knowledge. UNICRI is also developing a programme for foreign terrorist fighters who are detained and/or imprisoned upon their return.

E. Disrupting the planning and facilitation of attacks by ISIL

63. INTERPOL has developed a project, code-named “Watchmaker”, to analyse and disseminate information, including biometrics, collected on improvised explosive devices worldwide. It will continue to work with the Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team and other United Nations partners to identify the networks responsible for building these devices, to develop the capacity of Member States to prevent attacks using improvised explosive devices and to investigate the individuals responsible for such attacks. Joint INTERPOL-Security Council Special Notices will continue to be an important global counter-terrorism tool and INTERPOL will continue to work with the Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team to strengthen the Special Notices, including through the inclusion of biometrics.

IV. Strategic responses

64. The resolution of ongoing conflicts, including the Syrian conflict, would have a direct impact on the driving forces behind the recruitment of foreign terrorist fighters by ISIL. The responses of Member States and the United Nations must therefore be strategic and consistent in addressing the underlying political and socioeconomic causes of both the Syrian conflict and the recruitment of foreign terrorist fighters and in ensuring justice and accountability for human rights violations. The response should be multifaceted and focus on short-, medium- and long-term objectives.

65. In order to address the grave threat posed by ISIL, including the influx of foreign terrorist fighters to Iraq and the Syrian Arab Republic and ISIL’s extensive financing activities, it is essential to identify a political resolution to the Syrian conflict. This process will require sustained and determined international commitment and effective implementation of Security Council resolution 2254 (2015), which sets out a path towards formal intra-Syrian negotiations on a political transition process pursuant to the 2012 Geneva communiqué and a parallel nationwide ceasefire. It will also require that all States expeditiously implement Council resolutions 2178 (2104), 2199 (2015) and 2253 (2015). The process should also address the grievances exploited by ISIL to gain support for its presence from among certain local communities.

66. A strategic, rule-of-law-based approach to reducing the number of foreign terrorist fighters while continuing to choke off ISIL’s funding could help advance the implementation of the relevant Security Council resolutions, including those that seek to achieve sustainable peace through the inclusion in international political processes of local actors (for example, women and youth) with an intimate understanding of the conflict’s dynamics.

V. Recommendations

67. The following recommendations are submitted for the consideration of Member States and the entities of the United Nations system.

A. Strengthening the capacities of Member States

1. Countering the financing of terrorism

68. Member States are encouraged to take action to counter the financing of terrorism as set out below:

(a) ISIL’s rapid and effective mobilization of vast financial resources reaffirms the urgent need to strengthen measures to prevent and disrupt terrorist financing in all regions of the world. In order to implement effective policies to counter terrorist financing, we must understand the nature of ISIL financing as it evolves. I therefore call on Member States to take steps to monitor and address the threat and to share information on an ongoing basis with the relevant international assessment bodies, including the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate, the Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team, the Financial Action Task Force and regional bodies styled after the Task Force, so that they can understand the gravity of the threat and formulate effective global and regional responses;

(b) I also call on Member States to implement fully, and with renewed urgency, the sanctions regime introduced by the Security Council in its resolutions 1267 (1999), 1989 (2011) and 2253 (2015). In accordance with the latter resolution, Member States should continue to propose names of individuals, groups, undertakings and entities participating by any means in the financing or support of the activities of ISIL, Al-Qaida and associated individuals, groups, undertakings and entities for inclusion on the ISIL (Da’esh) and Al-Qaida Sanctions List. In accordance with resolution 1373 (2001), States should also freeze terrorists’ assets without delay, as a preventive measure to disrupt terrorist activity, rather than relying upon the provisions of national criminal law;

(c) Even though terrorism and transnational organized crime are distinct phenomena, Member States are encouraged not to rely exclusively on the international counter-terrorism instruments in countering terrorism financing. They may call on other relevant international instruments, including the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime of 2001 and its Protocols, the United Nations Convention against Corruption of 2004 and the relevant conventions on drugs. All these tools can and should be utilized to facilitate effective international and regional cooperation;

(d) I urge Member States to take immediate steps to strengthen their relationships with the private sector in countering the financing of terrorism by ISIL, including financial institutions (banks, money-value businesses of all types and other financial businesses and professions), the antiquities sector, and Internet service providers. Member States should partner with the relevant international institutions and the private sector to ensure the coherence and effectiveness of counter-financing of terrorism initiatives to prevent ISIL and its affiliates from accessing the international financial system;

(e) The timely exchange and use of financial intelligence are crucial, not just in the investigation of terrorist attacks, including those committed by ISIL, but also in disrupting the planning and facilitation of attacks. Member States should prioritize the active sharing of financial information (domestically, regionally and internationally) and adopt a holistic, whole-of-Government approach to the exchange of financial information by all relevant institutions. The gathering and use of financial intelligence, as with any other form of intelligence gathering, should be carefully regulated by law so as not to unduly infringe upon human rights, particularly the right to privacy;

(f) Lastly, Member States should ensure that they have the capacity to counter ISIL financing in a manner commensurate with the gravity of the threat in order to ensure that illicit financial flows to ISIL are effectively cut off.

2. Countering the recruitment through and the use of the Internet in countering radicalization and violent extremism

69. Member States are encouraged to take action to counter the recruitment through and the use of the Internet in countering radicalization and violent extremism as set out below:

(a) The Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism includes recommendations for action to be taken at the global, regional and national levels to address the drivers of violent extremism. Implementation of the Plan will help promote comprehensive implementation of pillar I of the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, on conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism and thereby help prevent recruitment by ISIL. I invite Governments to develop national plans of action to prevent violent extremism and I particularly encourage grass-roots initiatives undertaken within this framework, including, in particular, those that promote the inclusion of women and youth;

(b) It is essential to strengthen preventive and proactive action through education. The education sector can play a critical role in countering the appeal of ISIL by strengthening relevant education and training programmes, mainstreaming the prevention of violent extremism through ministries of education and developing guidelines and practices for teachers and other educators on identifying and addressing violent extremism in formal and non-formal settings;

(c) I also encourage Member States to establish effective diversion programmes for youth to reduce their susceptibility to recruitment and abuse by ISIL and its affiliates. Member States with high migrant populations from areas of conflict should develop inclusion activities targeted at children and youth;

(d) I urge Member States to adopt effective strategies to counter the threat of online radicalization by ISIL. This will require that Governments take action in addition to legislative and law enforcement measures, including engaging with communities and industry. In order for such campaigns to be effective, the private sector should be an active participant;

(e) I urge Member States to review their domestic legal frameworks to strengthen their capacities to bring to justice alleged perpetrators for criminal use of ICT in support of ISIL, in compliance with international human rights law.

3. Preventing and disrupting the travel by foreign terrorist fighters

70. Member States are encouraged to take action to prevent and disrupt the travel of foreign terrorist fighters as set out below:

(a) It is essential that Member States criminalize travel by foreign terrorist fighters, in accordance with the relevant resolutions of the Security Council, and to take measures to strengthen their border-management regimes in order to address the most serious vulnerabilities exploited by ISIL to facilitate the movement of foreign terrorist fighters to and from territories under its control. This urgent need has recently been reaffirmed by instances in which high-profile terrorists have succeeded in travelling undetected;

(b) I call on Member States to ensure direct access by immigration officers to all relevant INTERPOL databases available through its I-24/7 global police communications system, including Special Notices, nominal data, the Stolen and Lost Travel Documents database, and the Foreign Terrorist Fighters database;

(c) I call on Member States to assess the travel routes used by foreign terrorist fighters on a continuous basis and to share their findings with a view to introducing specific measures to detect and prevent such fighters from travelling to join ISIL utilizing such routes. I urge Member States to designate dedicated and/or clearly identified points of contact within relevant law enforcement, intelligence, security and immigration departments, and their counterparts at airlines, so as to facilitate the prompt exchange of passenger data on a 24/7 basis, with the aim of disrupting travel by foreign terrorist fighters.

4. Disrupting the capacity to plan and facilitate terrorist attacks in the name of ISIL

71. Member States are encouraged to take action to disrupt the capacity of terrorists acting alone or in small cells to plan and facilitate terrorist attacks in the name of ISIL as set out below:

(a) I call on Member States to employ the full range of human rights-compliant tools at their disposal, from “soft” intervention measures to criminal-justice measures, in order to thwart attacks by terrorists acting alone or in small cells in the name of ISIL. Member States should strengthen cooperation and information-sharing between intelligence and security agencies and the prosecution and develop a proactive approach to the investigation of offences committed by foreign terrorist fighters with a view to identifying them and preventing such attacks;

(b) Generating evidence against foreign terrorist fighters is a complex and multifaceted task. Member States should consider reviewing national legislation to ensure that evidence collected through special investigative techniques or from States of destination, or evidence collected through ICT and social media, including through electronic surveillance, may be admitted as evidence in cases connected to foreign terrorist fighters acting for ISIL while respecting international human rights law;

(c) I encourage Member States to take steps to ensure effective inter-agency coordination, including by developing multi-agency task forces and liaison officers, in order to ensure a collective response to countering ISIL. Member States should also consider establishing appropriate laws and mechanisms that allow for the broadest possible international cooperation, including effective joint investigations, the appointment of liaison officers, police-to-police cooperation, the establishment of 24/7 networks for cooperation, the transfer of criminal proceedings and the transfer of sentences.

5. Treatment of foreign terrorist fighters returning to their countries of origin

72. Member States are encouraged to take action to address the treatment of foreign terrorist fighters returning to their countries of origin as set out below:

(a) The employment of rigid prosecution policies and practices against foreign terrorist fighters can be counterproductive to the implementation of comprehensive strategies to combat their activities and to combat the violent extremism that can lead to terrorism. Member States should also consider alternatives to incarceration, as well as reintegration and possible rehabilitation of ISIL returnees, prisoners and detainees;

(b) I urge Member States to ensure that their competent authorities apply a case-by-case approach to ISIL returnees, based on risk assessment, the availability of evidence and related factors and to develop and implement strategies to address specific categories of returnees, in particular minors, women, family members and other potentially vulnerable individuals; providers of medical services and other humanitarian needs; and disillusioned returnees who have committed less serious offences;

(c) Returnees can be especially effective in counter-messaging campaigns, due to their credibility based on personal experience in conflict zones. Member States should consider promoting their active involvement in prevention programmes, as appropriate.

6. Protection of cultural heritage

73. Members States are encouraged to take action to protect cultural heritage as set out below:

(a) I call on Member States to assist in strengthening the ability of affected States to prevent and mitigate the loss of cultural heritage and diversity resulting from the conflict in Iraq and the Syrian Arab Republic by developing institutional and professional capacities for reinforced protection. I encourage Member States to keep UNESCO and INTERPOL informed of all seized antiquities so that these organizations can help ensure their safe return in accordance with Security Council resolution 2199 (2015);

(b) I urge Member States to strengthen customs controls and to regulate the art market by improving implementation of due diligence principles and strengthening criminal investigations, with a view to detecting possible links to ISIL in the seizure of Iraqi and Syrian antiquities within their territories.

B. Strengthening the United Nations response

1. Countering the financing of terrorism

74. As noted in my report of 21 May 2015 on the threat of terrorists benefiting from transnational organized crime (S/2015/366), there is room to enhance the United Nations response to the threat of terrorist financing and its links with transnational organized crime as it pertains to countering ISIL and its affiliates. The response of the Organization needs to be more systematic, comprehensive and multidimensional, particularly at the field level, where United Nations peacekeeping operations and special political missions are already confronting these challenges:

(a) In addition to the work already being undertaken by agencies such as the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate, INTERPOL, the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Centre, UNESCO and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, more research and analytical work should be conducted on the nexus between ISIL’s terrorist activities and transnational organized crime, specifically on the way in which transnational organized crime funds ISIL’s terrorist activities. Relevant United Nations entities with a field presence in areas of major ISIL operations should strengthen their understanding of new security threats and the way in which they are funded, and should report regularly to the relevant United Nations counter-terrorism entities;

(b) I shall take steps to ensure that the United Nations prioritizes this crucial cross-cutting issue and supports Member States that require and request technical assistance in building capacities to counter the financing of terrorism. I shall consider a number of options, including: the establishment of a system-wide approach against transnational organized crime and terrorism financing, which will ensure that tackling terrorist financing remains a strategic priority; that there is strategic oversight, within the United Nations, of the links between transnational organized crime and terrorism in order to ensure a coordinated and holistic response from all relevant agencies; and that Member States have the capacity to tackle financial crime, including terrorist financing.

2. Countering recruitment through and the use of the Internet in countering radicalization and violent extremism

75. The adoption of the “One-UN” approach, mobilizing all relevant United Nations agencies, funds and programmes, both at Headquarters and in the field, will enable the Organization to comprehensively support Member States in implementing the Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism:

(a) I intend to establish a high-level action group to prevent violent extremism, under my direct leadership;

(b) The United Nations system must mobilize to engage a wide range of actors, including women and youth, in developing strategies for countering recruitment and radicalization to terrorism. Relevant United Nations entities, including UN-Women, my Envoy on Youth and my Special Envoy for Youth Refugees are committed to supporting the vision put forward by the Security Council in its resolutions 2242 (2015) and 2250 (2015) on the role of women and youth in contributing to international peace and security;

(c) More specifically, it is essential to ensure that relevant offices are equipped with the dedicated expertise and other relevant and appropriate structures/mechanisms required to specifically consider the gender dimension of recruitment, radicalization, and the financing of the activities and operations of terrorist groups, primarily ISIL. UN-Women and the Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict are ready to provide support in that regard. I invite United Nations offices to support the efforts of Member States to develop new ICT tools to facilitate cooperation between investigators and prosecutors involved in terrorism cases;

(d) United Nations entities, including the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Centre, should support efforts to strengthen the capacities of law enforcement agencies to use ICT to counter ISIL. I invite all United Nations entities to work to empower civil society worldwide to confront the narratives disseminated by ISIL through the Internet and social media.

3. Preventing and disrupting travel by foreign terrorist fighters

76. The United Nations will take action to prevent and disrupt travel by foreign terrorist fighters as set out below:

(a) I invite the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate and UNHCR to encourage border guards, intelligence services and immigration and asylum authorities of the States concerned and other States located along travel routes, as well as relevant international and regional organizations, to cooperate in assisting in the early identification of terrorist suspects;

(b) I encourage the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate, the Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force and the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Centre, together with IATA, ICAO, INTERPOL and the World Customs Organization, to conduct a series of activities during 2016 and 2017 aimed at encouraging Member States to require that airlines operating in their territories provide advance passenger information to the appropriate national authorities in order to detect the departure from their territories, or attempted entry into or transit through their territories, of foreign terrorist fighters;

(c) I invite the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate, in cooperation with relevant Member States, to identify systemic and country-specific capacity-building needs in stemming the travel of foreign terrorist fighters attempting to join ISIL. High-priority needs identified within this framework should be shared as a matter of urgency with the Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force, the Global Counter-terrorism Forum, donor States and other entities tasked with providing technical assistance to States.

4. Protection of cultural heritage

77. In order to protect the cultural heritage of affected States, I urge the Security Council to incorporate such protection into United Nations humanitarian action; security strategies, including action to counter terrorism; and peacebuilding processes.

Posted in SyriaComments Off on Syria: First UN report on ISIL

PCHR Publishes New Report in January 2016 as Part of the Closure Reports’ Series


Birkenau Entrance Today


The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) published a new report as part of the series of the monthly “Closure Reports” addressing the latest developments of the state of the Gaza Strip border crossings in January 2016. The report documents the impact of the ongoing Nazi-imposed siege on Palestinian civilians, which affects their economic and social conditions. It also refutes Nazi’s claims that it has eased the closure of the Gaza Strip for the eighth consecutive year.

Furthermore, the report highlights that the continuing Nazi measures aim to the institutionalization of the closure and making the illegal restrictions imposed on the movement of persons and goods acceptable on the international level although they violate the international law, including the international humanitarian and human rights laws.

During the reporting period, Nazi closed Karm Abu Salem, which is the sole commercial crossing, for 10 days (32.2% of the total period). On the days it was open, Nazi regime allowed the entry of 18,594 truckloads, an average of 600 truckloads daily.

Concerning the exports, Nazi forces continued to impose a ban on the Gaza Strip exports to the West Bank, Nazi and abroad with exception of limited quantities. During the reporting period, 274 truckloads were allowed for exportation to the West Bank, including 246 truckloads of agricultural products (tomatoes, cucumbers, sweet and hot peppers, garlic, eggplants, summer squash and mints), a truckload of spices, 4 truckloads of fish, a truckload of furniture, 2 truckloads of cloths and a truckload of scrap. The rate of the Gaza Strip exports for December constitutes 4.5% of the exports before June 2007.

As for the movement of persons, the Gaza Strip population has been denied their right to the freedom of movement and has been suffering due to obstacles imposed on their movement at all crossing border

During the reporting period, Rafah International Crossing Point was closed for 31 days as a result of the Egyptian internal situation and the deteriorating security situation in north Sinai. This unveiled the reality of the situation in the Gaza Strip under the policy of collective punishment and the Nazi closure imposed over all border crossings, especially Beit Hanoun crossing.

The number of Palestinians, who registered for traveling via the crossing and are waiting for their turn to travel, was over 25,000, including hundreds of patients, university students and holders of residence visas in countries abroad, according to the Ministry of Interior in Gaza.

In January, Nazi forces continued to impose additional restrictions on the movement of Palestinians via Beit Hanoun (Erez) crossing, the only crossing between the Gaza Strip and West Bank, including occupied Jerusalem and/or ‘Israel’. As a result, 2 million persons were denied their right to travel. However, Nazi forces allowed limited categories to travel via Beit Hanoun crossing 1,464 patients accompanied by 1,385 persons; 8,116 businesspeople; 2,416 persons for personal needs; 576 workers of international humanitarian organizations; 365 persons travelling via al-Karama crossing; 215 relatives of prisoners in the Nazi camp and 737elderly persons to perform prayers in al-Aqsa mosque.

In the report’s recommendations, PCHR called upon the international community, particularly the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, to immediately intervene to compel Nazi authorities to open the Gaza Strip crossings and put an end to the grave deterioration of humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip.

Posted in Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZI, GazaComments Off on PCHR Publishes New Report in January 2016 as Part of the Closure Reports’ Series

Erbil: Western Propaganda and Two Parallel Realities


Image result for Western Propaganda PHOTO

By Andre Vltchek

I thought about writing this essay when I was working in Iraqi Kurdistan, not far from the city of Mosul, one of the areas overrun by ISIS.

Since my last visit at the end of 2014, the entire “Kurdistan Region” has been collapsing. Unemployment has been on the rise, unofficially reaching 50%, poverty is rampant, official numbers are massaged. Salaries have not been paid for months, and the influx of refugees arriving from Mosul are often in near starvation, relying only on their relatives and friends for help.

But the West has been singing the praises of this obedient part of Iraq. It is because – like several countries in Africa or Indonesia – the Kurdistan Region has been willing to sacrifice its own people. As long as Western and Turkish corporations could fill their coffers here and as long as they were satisfied, why bother with the local people and their misery?

There is one reality – one that could be seen and confirmed, one described by the local population, if one would bother to listen.

The second reality is that constructed by Western propaganda. Here, the Kurdistan Region has been portrayed as safe, secular, democratic and friendly towards the West.


At night in Erbil, I tried to watch the news. I could not find any familiar channels: RT, PressTV or TeleSUR.

The Syrian army was finally liberating the city of Aleppo. Russia was providing air support. Hope was slowly returning to a country that has been totally ruined by Western, Turkish and Saudi interests and by several, directly NATO manufactured, terrorist groups.

Thanks to the Syrian-Russian coalition, more than one million internally displaced people have already been able to return home.

I got this information first hand, because I am based in Lebanon and work all over the Middle East.

And I can testify that the coverage provided by the best “alternative” media outlets, such as the RT, has been consistently detailed and objective.

Now, being stuck in this extremely uninformed pro-Western enclave, I was in need of an urgent update. But my hotel only allowed those official propaganda outlets of the Empire like CNN, Fox and the BBC – outlets beaming their vitriolic propaganda 24/7.

Both CNN and BBC were blasting visuals from the Syrian-Turkish borders. The narrative was the same on both channels: people are fleeing Aleppo, trying to cross into Turkey to save their lives. Turkey “does all it can to help”.

Syrian and Russian gains were portrayed as a disaster, a true calamity.

These two television stations are influencing billions of people worldwide, dictating how the most important events should be perceived on all continents. They are manufacturing one uniformed narrative, one dogma.

As I gazed at the screen, it suddenly occurred to me that the world now has two realities: a true one, consisting of human stories and testimonies, and one “hyper reality”, twisted and manipulated, but increasingly dominant.

No good deed, no objectively positive event could bring optimism and joy to the people of our planet, if it is against the interests of the Empire. The propaganda media would simply bathe it in filth and nihilism, as well as dark sarcasm.

Images of a group of refugees at the Syrian-Turkish border, with a perfectly tailored propaganda narrative repeated again and again by the BBC announcer, are so tailored as to convince the world that the Syrian and Russian initiatives have not been saving Aleppo, the most populous Syrian city, but on the contrary, they have been destroying it!

After two minutes of watching the “news” on the BBC, I began to feel unwell.

The contrast between Reality as I have witnessed it with my own eyes, and the farce, was too great.

I wondered, how those journalists and reporters who serve the Empire, can face themselves in the morning, looking into the mirror.

I turned off the box and opened the RT site on my computer. It was so easy. It was still so easy! At least for me and for those who were still not contaminated!


You come to Ecuador, a country on the rise, with its brilliant public places, medical posts and endless cultural institutions, but you are soon told that the nation is corrupt and unwell. You reply that you knew it before, decades ago, when it was like Peru, racist, depressing, dirty and totally against its own people. They still insist: it is a failure; immediate change is needed!

You go to Brazil, to the Amazonia. You talk to people in the jungle and in what used to be appalling urban slums. People tell you that things are now good, that they are much better off than before, with a socialist government in place for so many years. But then you turn on O Globo at night, and it is all shit once again.

You are in Zimbabwe, where you are told to expect filth and misery. You come from pro-Western Nairobi where over 50% of people live in horrible slums. In Harare, Zimbabwe’s capital, there are almost no slums, but there is culture and public projects, as well as the highest literacy rate in the entire African continent. The city is clean. But you read the Economist and almost all other major British publications, and you are told that the country is in ruins.

You go to China… Everything is upside down from what you would expect, reading the Western press. In the PRC you see clearly an extremely forward-looking Communist nation, with much more intellectual and artistic freedom than what you would encounter anywhere in Europe, and also with many more possibilities. But when you return to Paris or London and speak of what you really saw, you are laughed at.

Pseudo reality has won. Especially in the West, almost everyone is hooked on it, stoned by it.

Humble and genuine reality is spat on, humiliated, ridiculed, and not only by the media and propaganda outlets, anymore. The great majority of those common people of the West are now submissively and self-righteously volunteering: they feel that they have to demonstrate their allegiance to the narrative of the regime. They do it, while bragging loudly about democracy, freedom and liberties in their part of the world. Paradoxically, the more brainwashed, servile and un-free they are, the louder they promote themselves as the true and only flag carriers of democracy.

It all feels so fascist and hopeless!


Two realities: one genuine but beaten into silence. The other one – loud, aggressive, supported by billions of dollars, but based on lies, manipulations and Machiavellian goals.

To use the words of my dear friend Eduardo Galeano: What can those who still have some dignity left, philosophers, reporters, writers and filmmakers with passion for that beautiful lady called Reality, do?

They can, they should, and they are obliged, to repeat again and again what is obvious even with an unarmed eye. They have to tell the truth, even if the indoctrinated masses would relentlessly spit in their faces.

It is not so difficult, and it goes like this:

Iraqi Kurdistan betrayed the Middle East and it is now collapsing, abandoned by its Western handlers.

Syrian forces and Russia are, right now, liberating the great Arab city of Aleppo.

Latin American revolutions are injured mainly from the outside, and also by those 5th columns inside their own countries. But many of them are still standing, solid. We will fight and defend them until our last breath. And we will speak about and write about them, with passion, relentlessly.

Jaroslav Seifert, a Czech poet, Nobel Prize laureate and author of some of the most beautiful lyrical verses written in the 20th century, once shouted at his fellow authors:

“A writer is the conscience of his nation … If anyone omits the truth, it could be seen as a strategic maneuver. If a writer omits the truth, he is a liar!”

Writers and true thinkers are obliged to defend reality: that real one, that shy and genuine one.

And the truth is, there is only one reality! What the Empire and its propaganda has managed to manufacture as the “second” or “parallel reality”, is nothing less than a destructive narrative, which is there to prevent people from thinking, comprehending, and most importantly, from dreaming about a much better world that is based on humanism, truth and justice.


Posted in IraqComments Off on Erbil: Western Propaganda and Two Parallel Realities

Saudi Zio-Wahhabi Al-Qaeda seize southern Yemen town


army soldiers and tribesmen loyal to the army gather on a tank in front of the local authority compound in the city of Zinjibar, Yemen after they retook the city from Saudi Zio-Wahhabi al-Qaida militants, Thursday, June 14, 2012. (File photo: AP)

Saudi Zio-Wahhabi Al-Qaeda tersest took control of the southern coastal town of Ahwar inYemen on Saturday, the Arabic website of Al Arabiya News Channel reported.

According to local residents in Ahwar, al-Qaeda rat’s were deployed at the eastern entrances to the city and mounted the roofs tops of government buildings, where they fought with Popular Resistance Units loyal to President Abdrabbu Mansour Hadi.

“At dawn this morning the al-Qaeda gunmen clashed with the Popular Resistance forces, killing three of them. They attacked the sheikh in charge of the area and after he escaped set up street checkpoints and planted their black flag on government buildings,” one resident said.

The coastal city and surrounding district, in Abyan province, is home to over 30,000 people and is an important geographic link between the major port city of Mukalla to the east and the smaller town of Zinjibar, both of which Al Qaeda seized months ago.

Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) has recently been making advances in Yemen as the Saudi Zio-Wahhabi led coalition forces, which backs the internationally recognized government, fight Houthi militias.

The government, based in Yemen’s second largest city of Aden in the southwest, has also been fighting the advance of the militants, even in areas close to the presidential palace.

Residents in Aden’s Mansoura neighborhood said heavy explosions reverberated on Friday night as gunmen launched shoulder-fired rockets in a failed attempt to take over a container port.

But AQAP has also suffered setbacks, losing its leader and several top officials to U.S. drone strikes.

Posted in YemenComments Off on Saudi Zio-Wahhabi Al-Qaeda seize southern Yemen town

America Is Now Fighting A Proxy War With Itself In Syria


Confusion in the Obama administration’s Syria policy is playing out on the ground as U.S.-backed groups begin battling each other.

A YPG fighter stands near a wall on the Syria-Turkey border. Delil Souleiman / AFP / Getty Images

ISTANBUL — American proxies are now at war with each other in Syria.

Officials with Syrian rebel battalions that receive covert backing from one arm of the U.S. government told BuzzFeed News that they recently began fighting rival rebels supported by another arm of the U.S. government.

The infighting between American proxies is the latest setback for the Obama administration’s Syria policy and lays bare its contradictions as violence in the country gets worse.

The confusion is playing out on the battlefield — with the U.S. effectively engaged in a proxy war with itself. “It’s very strange, and I cannot understand it,” said Ahmed Othman, the commander of the U.S.-backed rebel battalion Furqa al-Sultan Murad, who said he had come under attack from U.S.-backed Kurdish militants in Aleppo this week.

Furqa al-Sultan Murad receives weapons from the U.S. and its allies as part of a covert program, overseen by the CIA, that aids rebel groups struggling to overthrow the government of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, according to rebel officials and analysts tracking the conflict.

The Kurdish militants, on the other hand, receive weapons and support from the Pentagon as part of U.S. efforts to fight ISIS. Known as the People’s Protection Units, or YPG, they are the centerpiece of the Obama administration’s strategy against the extremists in Syria and coordinate regularly with U.S. airstrikes.

Yet as Assad and his Russian allies have routed rebels around Aleppo in recent weeks — rolling back Islamist factions and moderate U.S. allies alike, as aid groups warn of a humanitarian catastrophe — the YPG has seized the opportunity to take ground from these groups, too.

In the face of public objections from U.S. officials and reportedly backed by Russian airstrikes, the YPG has overrun key villages in the northern provinces of Aleppo and Idlib. It now threatens the town of Azaz, on the border with Turkey, through which rebel groups have long received crucial supplies. Over the weekend, Turkey began shelling YPG positions around Azaz in response, raising another difficult scenario for the U.S. in which its proxy is under assault from its NATO ally.

Yet as America has looked on while Russia and Syria target its moderate rebel partners, it has failed to stop the YPG from attacking them too. “That is a major problem,” said Andrew Tabler, a Syria specialist at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. “It’s not just that it’s a nonsense policy. It’s that we’re losing influence so rapidly to the Russians that people just aren’t listening to us anymore.”

Othman, the Furqa al-Sultan Murad commander, said the YPG tried to seize two areas of Aleppo under his control, resulting in firefights that left casualties on both sides. He had captured seven YPG fighters and was holding them prisoner, he added.

Othman’s group receives weapons from the U.S. and its allies, including TOW anti-tank missiles, he said, and fights Assad as well as ISIS. The aid is part of a long-running CIA effort approved by Congress and coordinated from an operations room in Turkey with participation from international allies of the rebellion such as Saudi Arabia. Othman said he was in regular contact with his American handlers about the problems on the ground. “The Americans must stop [the YPG] — they must tell them you are attacking groups that we support just like we support you,” he said. “But they are just watching. I don’t understand U.S. politics.”

New recruits take part in a training session at a camp in a rebel-held area of Aleppo before fighting along with opposition fighters. Karam Al-masri / AFP / Getty Images

Officials with three other groups — the Northern Division, Jaysh al-Mujahideen and a coalition called Jabhat al-Shamiya — that have received support from the operations room also said they were now battling the YPG in northern Syria. “There are many groups supported by [the operations room] that are fighting the YPG right now,” said the Northern Division’s Col. Ahmed Hamada, who added that some of his fighters had received U.S. training in the past.

An official with the Turkish government criticized the U.S. for what he described as a Syria policy gone awry. “The YPG is taking land and villages from groups that are getting American aid,” he said, speaking on condition of anonymity due to the sensitive nature of the subject. “These are groups that are not only getting American aid. Some of them also got training from the Americans.”

The official added that U.S.-backed Arab rebel groups had seen their support dwindle of late, while the YPG was benefiting from a surge of interest from both Washington and Moscow. “The Americans are not giving the moderate rebels enough material. They are not providing any political support,” he said. “And they did not stop the YPG from attacking them.”

“They said we are not in control of the YPG in [those areas],” he added. “That’s the official answer. It doesn’t make any sense to us. What can I say?”

In an emailed statement, Col. Patrick J. Ryder, a spokesman for the U.S. Central Command, which oversees support for the YPG, said he had no information to provide “regarding potential friction between various opposition groups.”

“Syria continues to be a very complex and challenging environment,” he said. “I can tell you that we remain focused on supporting indigenous anti-[ISIS] ground forces in their fight against [ISIS].”

A State Department official acknowledged the increasingly problematic situation. “We’ve expressed to all parties that recent provocative moves in northern Syria, which have only served to heighten tensions and lessen the focus on [ISIS], are counterproductive and undermine our collective, cooperative efforts in northern Syria to degrade and defeat [ISIS],” he told BuzzFeed News, likewise speaking on condition of anonymity.

A spokesman for the YPG declined to comment. Yet the group appears to be battling Islamists and U.S.-backed moderates alike, said Faysal Itani, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. “The YPG has also been physically capturing territory [around] Azaz, amid Russian bombing and regime progress further south in Aleppo province,” he said. “I see these moves as opportunistic, capitalizing on the insurgent losses in the province to increase YPG territory.”

The YPG is the Syrian branch of the Kurdistan Worker’s Party, or PKK, the insurgent force warring with the Turkish government in the country’s restive southeast. Both Washington and Ankara list the PKK as a terror group. Yet to Turkey’s increasing anger, the U.S. has sought to differentiate between the PKK and the YPG, promoting the latter as a key partner. In late January, Brett McGurk, President Obama’s special envoy to the anti-ISIS coalition, paid a visit to the YPG in the Syrian town of Kobane, which U.S. airstrikes had helped the group defend from ISIS last year.

The YPG fits well with the Obama administration’s growing hesitance to confront Assad: it has long maintained a détente with the Syrian government, focusing instead on pushing back ISIS and other extremists from Kurdish land.

As part of its embrace of the YPG, the Pentagon has propped up a new YPG-dominated military coalition called the Syrian Democratic Front (SDF) and encouraged smaller Arab battalions to join. In October, the U.S. government air-dropped a crate of weapons to the SDF in Syria, and it has also embedded special forces advisors with the group. This is both a bid to give U.S. support to the YPG some political cover and a nod to the reality that driving ISIS from its Sunni Arab strongholds will require significant help from Sunni Arab fighters.

A Department of Defense official sought to distance U.S. efforts from recent YPG offensives around Aleppo. He said the U.S. was supporting the group east of the Euphrates River, in its fight against ISIS, but not in its new campaign against rebel groups to the west. “Some of the Kurdish groups west of the Euphrates” have been “engaging with some Syrian opposition groups,” he said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

“What’s important here is that we are not providing any direct support to these groups,” he added. “Our operations have been focused on the SDF east of the Euphrates as they fight ISIS.”

The battle between America’s two proxies reflects the competing impulses of the Obama administration’s Syria policy. “The SDF model is meant to replace the failed [operations room] model,” said Nicholas Heras, an analyst at the Center for a New American Security.

Yet he noted that groups like Furqa al-Sultan Murad are battling ISIS as well as Assad — and still considered a bulwark against the extremists by the U.S. “It is a front-line combatant against ISIS,” he said of the battalion.

The recent clashes could make it difficult for the U.S. to build the crucial Arab component of its ISIS fight, the Washington Institute’s Tabler said. “If this continues, the U.S. is only going to have one option it can work with, which is the YPG. It’s not going to have the Arab option,” he said. “Which would be fine if the Kurds were the majority of the Syrian population, but they’re not. We need Sunni Arabs to defeat ISIS.”

Posted in USA, SyriaComments Off on America Is Now Fighting A Proxy War With Itself In Syria

Nazi regime holds more than 700 Palestinians without charge

Palestinians call for the release of Mohammed al-Qiq, a Palestinian prisoner on hunger strike, outside the Red Cross building in Jerusalem on February 18, 2016
More than 700 Palestinians are currently being held by the Nazi regime without being charged or put on trial, the Palestinian Prisoners Club said on Friday.

The number of prisoners held under Nazi controversial administrative detention law has spiked because of a series of arrests since a new wave of violence began in October, the prisoners club said in a statement.

Under the administrative detention law, Nazi regime can hold suspects without trial for periods of six months renewable indefinitely.

The system is again under the spotlight because of a hunger strike by journalist Mohammed al-Qiq, who has gone without food for 87 days in protest at being detained without trial.

The system has been criticised by Palestinians, human rights groups and the international community.

The United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Nickolay Mladenov, raised the issue of administrative detention on Thursday in a speech to the UN Security Council.

He said that anyone held under the system should “be either charged or released immediately”.

He also said he was “deeply concerned about the deteriorating condition” of Qiq.

Nazi regime says administrative detention, a policy it inherited from the British rule in Mandatory Palestine, is an essential tool for preventing attacks while allowing to keep sensitive information secret.

More than 7,000 Palestinians are currently in Nazi camp’s, including those under administrative detention, according to the prisoners club.

Among them are around 30 people who have been in jail since before the signature of the 1993 Oslo Accords.

Zionist puppet Ab-A$$ has made their release a condition of the resumption of frozen peace talks with Nazi regime.

Posted in Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZI, Human RightsComments Off on Nazi regime holds more than 700 Palestinians without charge

Why is Europe following Obama and washing its hands of Palestine?

Israeli nuclear blackmail

By Alan Hart

My headline is a response to recent comments made by German Chancellor Angela Merkel at a joint press conference in Berlin with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and the decision of the Cameron government in the UK to make boycotting goods from “Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank” by publicly-funded bodies, including local councils and universities, a criminal offence.

Much to the delight of Netanyahu, who has rejected a French initiative to convene a regional conference to try to get a peace process going, Merkel said: “Now is certainly not the time to make really comprehensive progress.”

She added:

The European Union, and Germany as a member state, is very concerned about seeing things realistically. (My emphasis added). We know the threat of terrorism that Israel has to endure. We believe, on the other hand, that we have to advance a process of peaceful coexistence, and this, according to our opinion, is ultimately built on a two-state solution.

European disingenuity

In my view Merkel’s words were, to say the least, disingenuous.(my dictionary definition of that term is “not frank or open; merely posing as being frank or open; crafty, devious”).

If Merkel and all other European leaders and their governments had any interest in acknowledging the reality on the ground in Israel/Palestine, they would refrain from describing the attacks by individual Palestinians on Israeli Jews over recent months as terrorism.

To qualify as an act of terrorism an attack has to be motivated or driven by the need and determination to achieve a political goal. In the case of the Palestinians that would be ending Israel’s occupation and securing an acceptable amount of justice.

That has not been the motivation or drive of any of the Palestinians who have attacked and sometimes killed Israeli Jews in recent months. The attacks were and still are motivated/driven by total despair: the abandonment by individuals of all hope for an end to Israel’s ongoing and ever-expanding colonisation of the occupied West Bank and all it means in terms of the theft of more and more Palestinian land and water and the destruction of more and more Palestinian homes.

In other words, the individual Palestinian attacks on Israeli Jews over recent months are best (most accurately) described as understandable responses to Israel’s brutal repression.

My other reason for describing Merkel’s words as disingenuous is that she knows, as all other European leaders and their governments know, that the two-state solution is dead, killed by Israel’s ongoing colonisation of the occupied West Bank.

All Western leaders also know that even if they summoned up the will to use the leverage they have to try to cause Israel to agree to bring the concept of a two-state solution back to life as the way to peace, there could never be such a solution to the conflict because no Israeli government is ever going to initiate a Jewish civil war to make the space for a viable Palestinian mini state.

Residual options

The problem for all European leaders and the American president (Obama at present and whoever succeeds him after the November election) is that they can’t acknowledge that the two-state solution is dead because to do so would leave them with only two options.

One would be to go for a confrontation with Zionism and its monster child and use all of their leverage to try to bring about a one-state solution with equal political, other civil and human rights for all. (Yes, that would mean the de-Zionisation of Palestine.)

The other would be to say (as Obama has said more than once) that they can’t want peace more than the parties themselves; and that, of course, would be the cover for indicating without saying so that they were washing their hands of Palestine and leaving the fate of its Arabs to be determined by Zionism.

Agent Cameron doing Israel’s bidding

On the subject of the Cameron government’s decision to make boycotting goods from Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank by publicly-funded bodies a criminal offence, I agree with a comment made by Glenn Greenwald in a recent article. Cameron was, he wrote, playing his part in a very coordinated and well-financed campaign led by Israel and its supporters to destroy the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. (In Jerusalem on 15 February, at the annual conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organisations, retired Israeli Brigadier General Yossi Kuperwasser described BDS as “anti-Semitism” and “terrorism”. I imagine he’s deluded enough to regard all and any criticism of Israel’s policies and actions as both.)

Hillary Clinton, still it seems the most likely next president of America, has been advancing this Zionist campaign to de-legitimise and outlaw the BDS movement for many months.

She and others who are dancing to Zionism’s tune are not concerned that they are, as Hanan Ashrawi and Saeb Erekat put it in a Palestine Liberation Organisation statement, “perpetuating injustice and empowering occupation”.

Succumbing to Israeli nuclear blackmail?

Now back to Merkel’s statement that the European Union, and Germany as a member state, is “very concerned about seeing things realistically”.

There is actually a great and little known truth hidden behind those words.

It is to do with the real reason why Israel possesses nuclear weapons.

As I explain in detail in my book Zionism: The Real Enemy of the Jews, those Israeli leaders who insisted that anything should be done to enable their state to possess and develop nuclear weapons never believed they were necessary as a part of Israel’s defence against the Arabs. (In fact Ariel Sharon was the leader of those who were opposed to Israel acquiring nuclear weapons. Behind closed doors he argued that if Israel had them, the Arabs at some point would also acquire them. And if that happened, he said, Israel’s ability to impose its will on the Arabs with conventional/non-nuclear weapons would be seriously compromised.)

The possession of nuclear weapons is Zionism’s ultimate blackmail card.

That was indicated to me in 1969 by Moshe Dayan, Israel’s one-eyed warlord. He assumed that a day will come when just about the whole world, governments as well as peoples, would lose patience with Israel and subject it to immense and possibly irresistible pressure to end its defiance of international law and denial of justice for the Palestinians.

At a point I said to Dayan: “What you seem to be saying is that if ever such a day comes, Israel’s leaders will say to the world, ‘Don’t push us too far or we’ll use these things.’”

Dayan gave me a big smile and replied: “You’re understanding me.”

(Three days before Israel went to war in June 1967 I asked him what he thought the coming days would bring. He smiled, made a gesture with a finger to illustrate what he was about to say, then, directly to the camera, he said: “The desert is beckoning.” That told me Israel was about to strike. In a report to ITN on the evening of Sunday 4 June I speculated that Israel would go to war the following morning. It did. And that’s why I had no problem believing what Dayan indicated to me in 1969.)

The conclusion I draw from everything I have learned from nearly half a century of engagement in various capacities with the conflict in and over Palestine that became Israel is that there are two main reasons for the refusal of the major Western powers to confront Zionism in order to provide the Palestinians with an acceptable amount of justice..

One is the influence (declining a little but still awesome) that the Zionist lobby in all of its manifestations has in the corridors of power together with unlimited funds to buy politicians.

The other is fear that if pushed further than they were prepared to go, Israel’s leaders would press a nuclear button or two and more if needed.

This fear is no doubt reinforced in the minds of those Western leaders who are aware of what Prime Minister Golda Meir once said to me in an interview for the BBC’s “Panorama” programme. As readers of my book and one or two of my blog posts over the years know, she said that in a doomsday situation “Israel would be prepared to take the region and the whole world down with it”.

To those who are clinging to the hope that Europe will take the lead in pressing Israel to be serious about peace on terms the Palestinians could accept I say this: It won’t happen.

Posted in USA, Europe, ZIO-NAZIComments Off on Why is Europe following Obama and washing its hands of Palestine?

Execution of Palestinian in Jerusalem ‘VIDEO’



Maureen Clare Murphy Rights and Accountability 

The apparent execution of a Palestinian in occupied East Jerusalem was caught on video by Al Jazeera on Friday.

Israel says that the young man was carrying out a stabbing attack on Israeli Border Police officers when he was killed at the Damascus Gate to Jerusalem’s Old City.

But video of the incident released by Al Jazeera indicates that the young man did not pose an immediate threat to anyone’s life when massive lethal force was used against him.

The video shows a Border Police officer shooting at the man, who falls to the ground. Then several other heavily armed officers shoot dozens of bullets into the body of the man as he lies on the ground and as passersby hurry away from the scene:

The video is a shocking display of Israel’s routine and reflexive use of lethal force, which has resulted in the slaying of approximately 170 Palestinians, including dozens of children, since a new phase of violence began in October last year.

Al Jazeera media workers who were at the scene to film a field report told the Ma’an News Agency that “six Israeli officers on site surrounded the Palestinian and ‘fired almost 50 bullets’ after he had already been shot twice and fallen to the ground.”

An Israeli police spokesperson told Ma’an that the Israeli forces opened fire on the young man after he drew a knife on them. Two officers were lightly wounded after being stabbed in the upper body and taken to hospital.

Palestinian media reported that a Palestinian bystander was wounded by shrapnel in her foot and was taken to hospital for treatment.

Image result for Muhammad Abu Khalaf PHOTO
Muhammad Abu Khalaf (via Quds)

Israeli media circulated a photo of the ID belonging to the man killed during the incident, identifying him as 20-year-old Muhammad Abu Khalaf from the Jerusalem-area town of Kufr Aqab.

The Quds news network stated that at least 10 Palestinians have been slain at Damascus Gate since October, and that 11 alleged attacks have been waged at the main entrance to the ancient walled city.

Two Palestinians were shot and killed there on Sunday after an alleged armed attack on Border Police and three other youths were slain there two weeks earlier during a similar incident.

Israeli forces killed two more Palestinians on Friday.

Khaled Yousif Taqatqa, 21, was shot during confrontations between protesters and the Israeli military in the village of Beit Fajjar near the West Bank city of Bethlehem.

The Palestine Red Crescent Society told the Ma’an News Agency that medics were prevented from treating the young man at the scene and that he died of his injuries at a hospital in Jerusalem.

An image of Taqatqa circulated on social media after his death:

And in the West Bank village of Silwad, near Ramallah, Israeli forces shot dead a Palestinian man who allegedly attempted to ram them with his car.

No Israelis were injured during the incident.

The slain man was identified by Palestinian media as Abed Raed Hamad, 22, a student at Birzeit University focusing on journalism and media.

Photos of the incident show the man’s car crushed into a military jeep:

An image of Hamad circulated on social media after the incident:

Israeli forces killed two other Palestinians in Silwad last December, both of whom were allegedly waging car-ramming attacks when they were shot dead.

But investigations by journalists and a human rights group suggest that one of those killed, Mahdia Hammad,was not attempting any attack and was trying to get home to feed her baby when soldiers opened fire at her.

Meanwhile in Washington on Friday, the State Department condemned a stabbing attack in a West Bank settlement on Thursday in which a US citizen was fatally wounded.

The Tel Aviv newspaper Haaretz reported that Tuvya Weisman, who lived with his wife and infant daughter in Maaleh Michmash settlement, was a soldier in Israel’s Nahal Brigade and was off duty when he was stabbed and another Israeli moderately wounded.

An image of Weisman in his uniform circulated after the incident:

The two Palestinian attackers, Omar Rimawi and Ayham Subih, both 14, were shot by a bystander and are reported to be in serious but stable condition in separate hospitals in Jerusalem.

An image circulated on social media shows Rimawi on the right and Subih on the left:

An image of the scene appears to show the two on the ground and bleeding:

Israeli media published a video of Israeli soldiers apparently raiding and documenting the boys’ homes to prepare to demolish them.

The pair are the youngest to have killed an Israeli since October, according to Ma’an, referring to data compiled by Israeli intelligence.

Nearly half of the more than 200 attacks the Shin Bet says have been waged since October were “committed by assailants aged 20 or under.”

The alleged attacks, mostly involving knives or car-ramming, have largely taken place at Israel’s settlements and military checkpoints in the West Bank – symbols of the occupation.

Approximately 30 Israelis and two US citizens have been slain during such attacks.

Posted in Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZI, Human RightsComments Off on Execution of Palestinian in Jerusalem ‘VIDEO’

Book: Overt and Covert: ‘The Brothers


By Stephen Kinzer

The Brothers is a riveting chronicle of government-sanctioned murder, casual elimination of “inconvenient” regimes, relentless prioritization of American corporate interests and cynical arrogance on the part of two men. John Foster Dulles and his brother, Allen, were … lawyers, partners in the immensely powerful firm of Sullivan & Cromwell. John Foster Dulles served as secretary of state from 1953 to 1959; his brother ran the C.I.A. from 1953 to 1961. In his detailed, well­constructed and highly readable book, Stephen Kinzer … shows how the brothers drove America’s interventionist foreign policy.

Kinzer highlights John Foster Dulles’s central role in channeling funds from the United States to Nazi Germany in the 1930s. Sullivan & Cromwell floated bonds for Krupp A. G., the arms manufacturer, and also worked for I. G. Farben, the chemicals conglomerate that later manufactured Zyklon B, the gas used to murder millions of Jews. 

For the Dulles brothers, and for much of the American government, threats to corporate interests were categorized as support for communism. There are also reminders in Kinzer’s book of dark events in the history of American intelligence. Sixty years ago, Frank Olson, a C.I.A. officer, was reported to have jumped to his death during mind-control experiments “in which psychoactive drugs were administered to unknowing victims.” But last year, Kinzer reports, Olson’s family filed suit, claiming he had actually been murdered after visiting secret C.I.A. prisons in Europe.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing intelligence agency corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.

Posted in LiteratureComments Off on Book: Overt and Covert: ‘The Brothers

Shoah’s pages


February 2016
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