Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Turkish Music Video - Emrah Karaduman - Cevapsiz Cinlama ft. Aleyna Tilki

Video Report - Can #Turkey trigger international probe into #Khashoggi's murder?

Argentina pressed to probe Saudi prince over Yemen, Khashoggi

Human Rights Watch submits investigation request to Argentina ahead of Mohammed bin Salman arrival for G20 summit.
Argentina has been asked to investigate Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for possible war crimes in Yemen and the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
New York-based Human Rights Watch said it submitted the request to Argentina's federal judge Ariel Lijo on Monday.
HRW's Middle East and North Africa director Sarah Leah Whitson said the international rights group took the case to Argentina because Prince Mohammed, also known as MBS, will attend the opening of the G20 summit this week in Buenos Aires.
Argentina's constitution recognises universal jurisdiction for war crimes and torture, meaning judicial authorities can investigate and prosecute those crimes no matter where they were committed.
"We submitted this info to Argentine prosecutors with the hopes they will investigate MBS's complicity and responsibility for possible war crimes in Yemen, as well as the torture of civilians, including Jamal Khashoggi," said Whitson.
"There's an extremely strong basis for Argentina to closely examine a very broad record of documentation and facts. People around the world are desperate to see real accountability for people who are getting away with terrible crimes," she told Al Jazeera.
Neither Lijo's office nor the office of Argentina's public prosecutor responded to requests for comment.
Argentine media cited judicial sources as saying it was extremely unlikely authorities would take up the case against the crown prince, Saudi Arabia's de facto ruler.
The killing of Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist and a critic of the crown prince, at Riyadh's consulate in Istanbul on October 2 has strained Saudi Arabia's ties with the West and battered Prince Mohammed's image abroad.

World's worst humanitarian crisis

Cases taking advantage of universal jurisdiction have had success in the past, most notably in 1998 when Spanish Judge Baltasar Garzon was able to order the arrest in London of former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet.
"The crown prince's attendance at the G20 summit in Buenos Aires could make the Argentine courts an avenue of redress for victims of abuses unable to seek justice in Yemen or Saudi Arabia," said Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch, in a statement.
Since March 2015, the Saudi-Emirati led coalition has carried out scores of indiscriminate air attacks on civilians in Yemen, hitting homes, schools, hospitals, markets, and mosques. The alliance has also imposed a naval and air blockade on Yemen that has severely restricted the flow of food, fuel, and medicine to civilians.
The UN estimates about 14 million people, half the country's population, are facing famine.
The United States and other Western countries have increasingly called for an end of fighting to address the unfolding humanitarian disaster, the world's worst.

Senate grilling

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Pentagon chief James Mattis will brief US senators on Wednesday on developments related to Saudi Arabia.
Bob Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told reporters Pompeo and Mattis would brief the full Senate at 11am (16:00 GMT) in a closed-door session.
Corker said he also hoped Central Intelligence Agency Director Gina Haspel would attend.
Trump last week called Saudi Arabia a "steadfast partner" and said it was unclear whether Prince Mohammed was aware of the plan to kill Khashoggi.
With tensions high over Saudi Arabia and Yemen, Corker said it was crucial to "hear from the administration as to where this is going".
The briefing comes as liberal Senator Bernie Sanders moves to re-introduce a resolution, as early as this week, to end US participation in the Yemen war, months after his initial effort fell short.
Corker signalled it could have broader backing this time.
"I have a pretty good gauge on how people feel about Saudi Arabia right now, and I'd say we're in a very, very different place than when we kept this from happening" in March, Corker said.
"I'm considering what the options are to make sure that we deal appropriately with Saudi Arabia on multiple issues right now."
Republican Senator Marco Rubio also expressed concern, saying he had supported US involvement in the war as a check on Iran's influence and because he believed American technology sold to Saudi Arabia would help avoid the killing of civilians.
"Unfortunately, that hasn't played out that way," Rubio said.
Some US legislators have also called for a strong US response to Khashoggi's murder, including blocking arms sales and imposing sanctions.

#Tunisia - Hundreds of Tunisians take to the streets against Saudi crown prince

Anger at Mohammed bin Salman's visit palpable in Tunis, as protesters held banners decrying Jamal Khashoggi's murder and Yemen war.

Hundreds of Tunisian protesters marched through the capital Tunis in opposition to a visit on Tuesday by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, urging justice over the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and the war in Yemen.
The crown prince is on a tour of the region, one that won't include Morocco, after its king reportedly snubbed the Saudi leader.
Bin Salman has faced a global backlash since Khashoggi's murder, which the CIA reportedly concluded the crown prince was responsible for.
'We refuse to turn Tunisia into a destination to whitewash war crimes'
- Sakina Abdel Samad, secretary-general of the National Syndicate of Tunisian Journalists
In Tunis, demonstrators shouted "Go away assassin!" and held placards with slogans including "The people want bin Salman to be judged", "No to the killer of Yemeni children" and "You're not welcome".
It was the second protest in as many days against the de facto Saudi ruler, who flew into Tunis from Egypt on Tuesday for talks with President Beji Caid Essebsi.
Essebsi welcomed the crown prince on arrival at Tunis airport, the presidency said, and the two went into talks shortly afterwards at Carthage Palace.
The crown prince told Tunisian state television that Saudi Arabia has long had good relations with Tunisia. "I cannot come to North Africa without visiting Tunisia ... Tunisia's president is like my father," said bin Salman, also known as MBS.
A Tunisian presidency statement issued later said MBS and Essebsi reviewed ways to improve cooperation on the "economy and finance, investment promotion and security and military cooperation to counter extremism and terrorism".

Criticism over Yemen war

However, the mood on the streets of Tunisia was far less welcoming.
Khashoggi's murder has also led to increased scrutiny of Saudi Arabia's role in Yemen's devastating war.
"It's inhuman to see an Arab leader killing his brothers in Yemen, and the murder of a journalist is the icing on the cake," said Basma Rezgui, a teacher brandishing a red-stained saw.

On Monday, an inquiry into bin Salman's possible involvement in war crimes was opened in Argentina, ahead of the G-20 summit the Saudi crown prince is expected to attend there later this week alongside other world leaders.
Saudi Arabia has faced intense global criticism over the killing of Khashoggi in its Istanbul consulate on 2 October.
The Saudi loyalist-turned-critic was reportedly dismembered in what Saudi officials have described as a "rogue" operation. The CIA has pointed the finger at the crown prince, concluding he ordered the murder.
MBS's visit to Tunisia was the first by a Saudi royal to the North African country since the 2011 revolution deposed longtime ruler Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, who fled to Saudi Arabia.
It was also short-lived, as the crown prince left Tunisia on Tuesday evening after only a few hours, Al Arabiya television said. He is expected to fly on to a G-20 summit in Argentina.

Revolutionary Tunisia

Under the title "No to polluting revolutionary Tunisia", Tunisian journalists and 12 civil society organisations held a press conference on Monday at the headquarters of the syndicate, condemning their government for hosting bin Salman, whom they held responsible for Khashoggi’s death.
“The consulate should have been a safe refuge for any journalist, irrespective of their affiliation,” Sakina Abdel Samad, secretary-general of the National Syndicate of Tunisian Journalists, said at the news conference.
“We refuse to turn Tunisia into a destination to whitewash war crimes,” she said.
The Saudi crown prince has also held talks in the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt on his first foreign tour since the Khashoggi affair erupted.
Yet another demo right now in downtown Tunis against announced visit of MBS. War in Yemen a bigger issue in signs/chants than Khashoggi. Huge security presence on Bourguiba Ave as demo marches in direction of MoI
View image on TwitterView image on TwitterView image on TwitterView image on Twitter
Video of the march downtown Tunis. Chants include calling for "salvation of Yemen" and "Tunisia is free, MBS go away" pic.twitter.com/iccceWKyBI
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In Cairo, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi praised the "unshakable strategic alliance between Egypt and Saudi Arabia" during bin Salman's visit, the state-run newspaper al-Ahram reported on Tuesday.
"The stability and security of Saudi Arabia is an integral part of Egypt's security," Sisi was quoted as saying.
However, the crown prince is set to skip a visit to Morocco during his tour of the region.
Moroccan media have speculated on the reason for the decision, with Morocco World News quoting a government source as saying Morocco's King Mohammed VI had declined to meet with the Saudi leader, citing a “busy schedule”.
According to the source, the Moroccan king decided his country was not ready to host the crown prince "at such a critical juncture", the report said.

#Khashoggi - Mohammed bin Salman is a modern-day Saddam. He must go

The western justification for backing Saddam Hussein is now being employed to rationalise propping up the Saudi crown prince.

Late one evening in the summer of 1988, my mother received a phone call at our residence in Iran, already under heavy security. My father was in Brazil at the time.
Her panic was inexplicable at the time, but I later came to learn that Brazil’s national intelligence agency had foiled an “imminent” assassination attempt against my father, a leading opponent of Iraq’s Baathist regime. 
He was attending an Iraqi opposition summit hosted by the government in the capital Brasilia. Armed with sniper guns, silencers and a slew of other tactical gear, a team of Iraqi assassins were arrested in the vicinity of the conference venue, carrying pictures of their intended target. 

Maniacal mindset

Shocking as it was, the botched attempt on my father's life didn’t come as a surprise to my family for two reasons. Firstly, Saddam had assassinated countless Iraqi opposition figures, including my father’s uncle and many of his friends and colleagues. Secondly, he had been sentenced to death in absentia by Baathist revolutionary courts, an accolade reserved only for Saddam’s most influential opponents. 
This incident brought home the regime's maniacal mindset and its audacity in trying to eliminate critics and dissidents on foreign soil, in broad daylight. 
It’s now clear that Mohammed bin Salman is just as reckless and unreliable, and just as brutal as his Baathist doppelganger
When Saudi intelligence agents abducted and killed Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, my first thought was: we have another Saddam on our hands. Saddam was a demonic figure who haunted the lives of millions of Iraqis - and beyond - while Mohammad bin Salman, the de facto Saudi ruler, appears to be a modern reincarnation. 
Intoxicated by youth, money and power, the Saudi crown prince has been on a killing spree ever since he emerged as the victor in the gruesome “red wedding” of the House of Saud in 2017. 

Getting away with murder

The brazen and unapologetic nature of Khashoggi’s assassination shows that the Saudi crown prince feels he can act with total impunity, and literally get away with murder. He could have killed Khashoggi the same way he eliminates all other dissidents, such as Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, the slain leader of the country’s three-million-strong, repressed Shia minority. Or recently Turki Bin Abdul Aziz al-Jasser, another dissident Saudi journalist who apparently also was tortured to death, barely a month after Khashoggi.
That rulebook was simple enough: order a "rendition" to Saudi Arabia, put him on trial on trumped-up charges of terrorism or even "disobedience of the king", then crucify him in public to a cheering flock of Saudi journalists and pundits. Instead, Mohammed bin Salman chose to tear up the standard rulebook and wear the mask of a younger, more powerful Tywin Lannister. He was making a statement.
The use of brute force and hard power is, after all, Mohammed bin Salman’s signature policy. Evidence can be found in Syria and Lebanon, but particularly Yemen, which the United Nations has dubbed the world’s worst humanitarian catastrophe, thanks to more than three years of a Saudi-led onslaught - the brainchild of the crown prince. 
While the Saudi monarchy, much like Baathist Iraq, has always been a brutal autocratic regime intolerant of any criticism, Mohammed bin Salman has cemented this image by controlling his people through fear and intimidation, treating them as subjects rather than citizens while demanding that the world look the other way.
Canada’s timid criticism of the regime's human rights abuses led to a full-fledged diplomatic crisis with the Saudi regime this past August.
For a long time, Western powers saw Saddam Hussein's regime as a “stabilising force” and a counterweight to Iran’s "expansionist moves". Only after Saddam crossed too many red lines did it become apparent that he was none of that. His barbarity became evident in his use of chemical weapons, countless mass graves and savage suppression, a legacy that later perpetuated the bloodbath following the US invasion in 2003. 

Propping up the Saudi regime

If the western justification for backing Saddam Hussein sounds familiar, it’s because the same rhetoric is now being employed to rationalise propping up the Saudi regime. The difference is that while Saddam executed and assassinated tens of thousands of people, the world could plead ignorance. Khashoggi changed all that: it’s now clear that Mohammed bin Salman is just as reckless and unreliable, and easily as brutal as his Baathist doppelganger. 
When Western officials and business leaders backed away from the much-hyped “Davos in the Desert” conference, the crown prince addressed Russian and other remaining delegates, saying: “Now we know who our best friends are, and who our best enemies are.”
The seeds of his rebellion from his traditional Western allies have been sown. It took Saddam decades before he renounced his backers, while Mohammed bin Salman is already suggesting a “my way or the highway” approach, showing no signs of remorse. Remember, he is just 33, and all this is yet to come.
Mohammed bin Salman has been touted as the country’s last hope for reform. While the Trump administration is hedging its bets on that dream, it will never materialise. The Saudi crown prince will disappoint his allies, just like Saddam. 
As a victim of the latter’s barbarity and witness to the former’s ruthlessness, I have no doubt that the two are cast from the same authoritarian mould. My father survived the assassination attempt in Brazil, but countless other dissidents weren’t so fortunate - nor was Jamal Khashoggi. If we are to prevent Mohammed bin Salman from following in the footsteps of Saddam, he has to go. 

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Had US used its economic power over Pakistan in 1971, Asia could have avoided a war

Until now, the United States has seldom used its economic leverage to shape Pakistan’s behaviour.
Following a Twitter spat with Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan, US President Donald Trump reiterated last week his decision to slash aid to Pakistan by $1.66 billion. Trump’s claim that the Pakistanis “don’t do a damn thing for us” predictably sent the latter into apoplexy. Not least because it was a reminder of Pakistan’s grim economic situation as well as its dependence on the United States, especially to secure a bail-out from the International Monetary Fund. But the episode should also remind us that until now, the United States has seldom used its economic leverage to shape Pakistan’s behaviour.
Perhaps the most egregious, yet little known, instance of American unwillingness on this front was during the 1971 Bangladesh crisis. Had the United States used the economic levers at its disposal, the subcontinent might well have avoided a colossal humanitarian disaster and the ensuing war.
The Pakistan Army launched its brutal crackdown on the Bengalis on the night of 25 March 1971. Just over 10 days later, a group of Pakistani officials came to Dhaka to examine East Pakistan’s economic situation. They quickly realised that the devastation wrought to the eastern wing would have serious consequences for Pakistan’s economy. Above all, export of jute from the province, which contributed to just under half of Pakistan’s overall export earnings, had come to a standstill. This crisis drastically aggravated a liquidity crunch that Pakistan was already facing—the most serious one in its history.
Owing to the military regime’s mismanagement, Pakistan’s foreign exchange reserves had plummeted to $164 million in March 1971 from $343 million in March 1970. This figure included capital assets such as gold and foreign securities that are usually not liquidated to meet current requirements. At this point, Pakistan’s short-term liabilities stood at $263 million. Against the backdrop of the continuing crisis, projections by the ministry of finance suggested that Pakistan’s reserves would be down to $20 million in September 1971. In consequence, General Yahya Khan’s regime announced on 24 April a moratorium on repayment of debt for six months.
Pakistan had taken a grave step. External assistance was crucial to the Pakistani economy for bridging both its savings-investment gap and its export-import gap. A bulk of this aid was provided by the Aid to Pakistan consortium—a grouping managed by the World Bank but effectively controlled by the United States. Following a quick assessment by its regional experts, the Bank concluded that “if Pakistan’s economic collapse is to be prevented, action will have to be taken quickly and the amounts of external assistance required will be large”. Yet, these experts also pointed out that the key to recovery lay in Yahya’s willingness to cease military action and reach a political accommodation with the Bengalis. The military regime was not open to attempting any such thing. Instead, Yahya sent his economic adviser, M.M. Ahmed, to request the Nixon administration for assistance. After meeting Ahmed, Nixon instructed his aides to ensure “that the Bank understood that we feel strongly that it and other aid donors should do what they could to be helpful”.
The Bank’s president, Robert McNamara, told Ahmed that “political constraints were the dominant obstacle” to securing an aid package. He emphasised that “only the Government of Pakistan could remove these constraints” by swiftly showing that “it was seeking a political, rather than a military solution to the problems of East Pakistan”. On 1 June, a joint IMF-World Bank team reached Pakistan to take stock of the situation. The Pakistanis presented a Panglossian forecast of economic activity, including in East Pakistan, and resisted calls for realism in drawing up their submission. At a meeting on 21 June, the Pakistan consortium agreed to continue disbursing aid against existing commitments but refused to consider providing new aid to Pakistan.
When Yahya complained about the outcome, Nixon promptly assured him that there was a misunderstanding. The consortium’s meeting was informal and there was no unanimity about the suspension of future aid. What’s more, the White House publicly announced that notwithstanding opposition in the US Congress, fresh economic and technical aid to Pakistan would only be withheld till Pakistan submitted a revised plan. Meanwhile, the existing pipeline of $82 million would continue to flow and the administration would request Congress to approve $188 million in aid to Pakistan in 1972. National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger was aware that Pakistan’s proposals “may well not satisfy either the World Bank/IMF or the other aid donors.” Indeed, when Pakistan reached the end of its moratorium in October, “the US may well be alone in proposing support”.
Nixon and Kissinger’s refusal to “squeeze” Yahya stemmed from the latter’s key role as a conduit in the secret opening to China and Kissinger’s forthcoming trip to Beijing via Islamabad. In the wake of that trip, Nixon and Kissinger would justify their continued “tilt” towards Pakistan by insisting that the United States’ credibility with China would be destroyed if it was seen as going against a long-standing ally.
In fact, Pakistan’s economic crisis gave Nixon and Kissinger an opportunity to shape the Yahya regime’s behaviour without overtly being seen as undermining their ally. Had they made it clear in June 1971 that come October they would be unable to bail out Pakistan, the military regime may well have been stopped in its tracks. Kissinger himself had noted that “US economic support—multiplied by US leadership in the World Bank consortium of aid donors—remains crucial to West Pakistan. Neither Moscow nor Peking can duplicate this assistance”. Nixon and Kissinger’s unwillingness to use this leverage effectively reinforced Yahya’s intransigence in dealing with the Bengalis, multiplied the enormous human costs of the crisis, and eventually lowered united Pakistan through the trap-door of history.
Pakistan can now, of course, count on China and Saudi Arabia to help shore up its parlous finances. Yet the United States wields important economic levers with which to influence Pakistan’s behaviour at this juncture. Whether Trump’s bluster translates into sustained policy remains to be seen.

Despite expectations, Pakistan gets just $1.5b in foreign loans

The disbursements of foreign loans still remains low, as Pakistan has received only $1.5 billion in the first four months of this fiscal year, amid expectations that inflows may improve in the coming months on back of support from China in shape of foreign commercial loans. From July through October of fiscal year 2018-19, international creditors disbursed $1.46 billion loans, according to officials of the Ministry of Finance. Last month, Pakistan received another short-term commercial loan facility of $160 million, this time from Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB), said the officials.
It was the second commercial deal in last as many months. Earlier, Pakistan contracted $170 million commercial loan with a consortium led by Credit Suisse AG. The commercial loans are becoming expensive due to increase in London Interbank Offered Rate (Libor) interest rates. Most of these loans are signed at floating Libor plus 3% rates, said the officials.As against $1.46 billion worth disbursements in the first four months of this fiscal year, the lenders had given $2.3 billion in the same period of last year, reflecting a reduction of nearly 37%. The $1.46 billion loans are exclusive of $1 billion Saudi Arabian facility that Pakistan received this month. But this will not be reflected in November’s disbursement data, as the money will be placed with the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) as deposit.
The foreign loans are not sufficient to meet Pakistan’s growing financing needs. The finance ministry authorities are expecting a boost in inflows in the next couple of months, as the modalities for Chinese commercial loans are being discussed, said the officials.
China has not yet extended any commercial facility in the current fiscal year. In past two fiscal years, Chinese financial institutions had provided nearly $4.8 billion commercial loans, excluding the SAFE Deposits.The Ministry of Finance and the SBP have jointly assessed Pakistan’s external debt repayments in the current fiscal year at $11.7 billion. About $7.7 billion of these loans will mature in the second half of the year. The government’s efforts to secure a bailout package from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have so far remained unsuccessful.
In October alone, the lenders disbursed $469.2 million, including $160 million in commercial loans. Bilateral and multilateral lenders did not release funds for a majority of projects funded by them due to slow progress on these schemes. The cut on Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) is affecting the overall disbursements against these projects due to a lack of local funding component.
However, China in October released another $102 million for the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project, taking its contribution to $528 million in the past four months. In this fiscal year, China has given $266.8 million for Sukkur-Multan motorway, $65.7 million for Havelian-Thakot project of CPEC and $185 million for the Lahore Orange Line project. The $528-million Chinese loans were equal to 36% of the total economic assistance that Pakistan received from July through October, according to the officials. The multilateral lenders provided $470 million or nearly one-third of the total loans. The commercial loans made 27% of the total disbursements.
Amid a steep decline in the foreign currency reserves, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government has been trying to persuade Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and China to deposit money in the SBP’s reserves for soothing panicked markets. Saudi Arabia was the first country that promised to give a bailout package worth $6 billion to help Pakistan avert a default-like situation. Saudi Arabia also gave $16.5 million for project financing in the first four months.
Loan disbursements by multilateral creditors remained very low in the first four months. The country received $139.4 million from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) as against $160 million in the last fiscal year. The World Bank disbursed $79.3 million as against $146 million in the same period of the previous year. The Islamic Development Bank disbursed $279 million during the first four months including $273 million on commercial terms for oil payments.