Tu Yuan Yuan, the mascot for CCTV’s 2023 Spring Festival Gala Photo: VCG
After the Kurds placed a hanging Erdogan doll in front of the Turkish embassy in Sweden and sparked protests from Turkey, right-wing extremists in Sweden are now burning the Quran, which is not only the best election campaign aid for Erdogan, who brought the elections forward to May 14, yes, the whole Arab world was outraged. Putin will be happy because the right-wing extremists in Sweden and vice versa, the Gray Wolves, apparently do not want NATO northern expansion and membership, are fueling the clash of civilizations and Erdogan himself is still threatening with a the conflict with Greece at the anniversary of 100 years of the Lausanne Treaty and 100 years of secular, pro-Western Kemal Attatürk Republic. A veritable NATO crisis may be imminent, and it may also become the breaking and tipping point for Turkey’s NATO membership. It is possible that Erdogan is now turning his focus to the west after the events in Sweden, the stagnati ground offensive in northern Syria and the likely fruitless talks with Assad and Russia over Syria. But perhaps he is too weak economically to refrain from doing so for the time being, even though he wants to channel Turkish nationalism through another foreign policy adventure in view of the unresolved refugee and the economic crisis. In addition, the question is whether the population in the elections after the charges against the Istanbul CHP mayor, who sometimes presented himself as more religious than the more strictly secular CHP chairman and the campaign against supermarket owners as „terrorists“ which the Gülen movement would controll (although his own wife runs a supermarket chain A 101 as does his son-in-law Bayrakar drone factories, and since he has claimed that this was the exception in this particular case due to currency manipulation by the US dollar). But the burning of the Quran is very helpful for Erdogan´s election campaign.
While the Ukrainian offensive comes to a standstill, Scholz wants to delay the delivery of German Leopard tanks, while Baerbock declares that Poland and other states should then deliver without his and Germany’s consent, Scholz is even celebrated as a hero in the Russian media after he had previously been declared a typical German Nazi, The United States is currently arguing about the debt ceiling, the borders are closed and Biden is visiting the Texas border for the upcoming presidential election campaign, it remains to be seen whether a NATO crisis will also occur in the polycrisis world as it is called by the WEF in Davos. Conversely, this will support the PKK and YPG Kurds, some forces in Israel and the US forces around Daniel Pipes, who have long been calling for Erdogan-Turkey to be excluded from NATO and are currently still running a campaign against the F 16 deliveries to Turkey.
But it’s not just about Turkey, because while Charlie Hebdo’s new Khamein cartoons drew no criticism in the Muslim world, with the exception of Iran, Hezbollah and pro-Iranian forces, burning the Quran is an insult challenging the hitherto fragmented Ummah, which plays into the hands of Islamists in all Muslim countries, especially since accusations of Islamophobia, anti-Muslim racism and such questionable Western freedom of expression that allows such hate speech and demonstrations characterized by the will to annihilate, such as book burnings, while in Russia and China, because of their dictatorships, such actions cannot take place, while even before the Quran burning Kadyrov speaks of the West as a satanic force against which a Jihad had to be organized. Especially since some Muslim countries are now turning more to Russia and China, most recently Saudi Arabia. In addition, a delegation of Sunni clerics recently visited the People’s Republic of China and Xinjiang and like many other Muslim states, approved the Uyghur policy of the CP China, while the West sometimes raises accusations of „genocide“.
The new Israeli right-wing government with right-wing radicals and Jewish religious extremists should also be grist to the mill and will revitalize the Palestinian question, especially since it relativizes the secularism of Zionism and threatens to annex the West Bank, theratens to exclude Arab Israelis and propagate a purely Jewish state , which also calls into question the extension of the Abraham Accord. And such an attack on the Quran can then bring the question of the Holy Places in Jerusalem back on the agenda, especially since Ben Gvir’s first official act was to visit the Temple Mount as a provocation like Sharon did back then and because he wanted to trigger storms of protest from Muslims, yes, The Jerusalem Post reports that even Jordan is now taking a harder line against Israel.
„Action by some right-wing extremists: Arab countries condemn burning of the Quran
A far-right politician burned a Quaran in front of the Turkish embassy in Stockholm. There are protests around the world – Sweden is also sharply criticizing the “Islamophobic provocation”. Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson has sharply condemned the burning of a Quaran in front of the Turkish embassy in Stockholm. Freedom of expression is a fundamental part of democracy, but burning books that many people hold sacred is a „deeply disrespectful act,“ Kristersson wrote on Twitter. He expressed his sympathy for all Muslims who felt offended by the action.
On Saturday, right-wing extremist politician Rasmus Paludan burned a copy of the Quran in front of the Turkish embassy in Stockholm. He had registered the action as a demonstration and had been supported by supporters of the right-wing populist party Sweden Democrats, who support Kristersson’s minority government. Paludan leads the Danish anti-Islamic party Strict Course and holds both Danish and Swedish citizenship. Only a few participants were present at the performance, which according to media reports took place under police protection.
Turkey: heinous attack on holy book
Numerous states and organizations in the Islamic world reacted sharply to the provocation. The Organization for Islamic Cooperation (OIC) called on the Swedish government to punish those who committed this „heinous act“. The provocation is aimed at Muslims and violates their values. It shows that Islamophobia has reached an „alarming level“. The Saudi government called for rejecting hatred and extremism while respecting the values of dialogue and tolerance. A statement from the United Arab Emirates said actions like Stockholm are eroding trust and stability. Other Arab countries, such as Morocco, Jordan and Kuwait, also condemned the burning of the Quaran.
Turkey’s Foreign Ministry said it condemned in the strongest possible terms the „heinous attack on our holy book.“ It is not an act of freedom of speech, but a hate crime and is another indicator of the alarming extent of Islamophobic, racist and discriminatory tendencies in Europe. In front of the Swedish consulate general, members of the right-wing extremist Gray Wolves burned a Swedish flag. They called for a boycott of Swedish products and the severing of all relations with Sweden. Turkey had already summoned the Swedish ambassador in Ankara on Friday to condemn the „provocative action, which clearly constitutes a hate crime,“ according to diplomatic sources.
It was the second call-up within a few days. The Turkish government recently took this step after a video from Sweden with an Erdogan doll hanging upside down was published. A group of Kurdish activists had claimed responsibility for the action. Ankara had previously canceled a visit by Swedish Defense Minister Pål Jonson planned for January 27. In Ankara, Jonson wanted to ensure that Turkey gave up its opposition to Sweden’s NATO accession. Ankara is blocking NATO expansion and is demanding, among other things, that Sweden must extradite people with connections to the banned Kurdish Workers‘ Party PKK and the Gülen movement. Turkey and Hungary are the only ones of the 30 NATO countries that have not yet agreed to Sweden’s membership of the military alliance.
Meanwhile, the Iranian regime has launched a widespread wave of repression with death sentences and mass arrests, shutting down the internet for 2 days fearing further protests. It’s hard to say what the actual status of the revolutionary mass protests in Iran are like, which broke out right on time after the SCO summit and Iran’s new membership in the SCO as another important geopolitical element of China’s New Silk Road in the Iranian Kurdish regions.
So far, the German-green taz has complained of disagreement and division, at least about the opposition in exile:
„Iranians in Exile: Struggling for Unity
The wish for an end to the Islamic Republic in Iran is also great among members of the opposition in exile. But there is no alliance yet. It was actually just a tweet at the turn of the year: „2022 was a glorious year of solidarity for Iranians* of all faiths, languages and orientations,“ said the text, which several prominent Iranian opposition figures posted at almost the same time. „With organizing and solidarity, 2023 will be the year of victory, freedom and justice.“ The action was quickly understood as an announcement of an Iranian exile coalition, because among those involved were several well-known opposition members from the diaspora. But it didn’t take long for the denials to follow: „We hadn’t met before or after the tweet,“ said Canadian-based activist Hamed Esmailion in an interview. It is not about forming a coalition.
The debate about an alliance of exile opposition to support the freedom movement in Iran is not new. Since the protests began more than four months ago, there has been a controversy on social media about what it could and would achieve and who could play important roles. Three people are often mentioned, they represent different political and social groups.
One of them is the activist Masih Alinejad, a loud voice from the USA. Many expect her to coordinate the opposition. The journalist and women’s rights activist is best known for her commitment against the compulsory veil in Iran. She is also considered an important figure for the survivors of the so-called Bloody November 2019. Even then, the regime cracked down on protests against high petrol prices. Alinejad herself said in an interview with Iran International, a London-based TV channel that is close to the opposition, that she wanted to accompany the revolution organizationally. Criticism of Alinejad comes from left-wing activists and reformists from Iran, among others. They are bothered by their proximity to the West and the USA. Alinejad is well connected abroad, she regularly meets with influential politicians and urges them to put more pressure on Iran.
A second name that comes up frequently is Reza Pahlavi. The 62-year-old is the eldest son of the last Iranian shah, i.e. the former crown prince. After the fall of the Pahlavi dynasty in the course of the 1979 revolution, many monarchists were expelled. Today, the members of the Faraschgard (“revival”) network, which was founded in exile in 2018 and see themselves as new Pahlavists, see it as an alternative to the Islamic Republic. Because of his prominence, Pahlavi gets a lot of media attention. But for feminists, who are central to the current protests, the calls for a return of the dynasty are an expression of patriarchy.
Pahlavi is also viewed extremely critically by members of Iran’s ethnic minorities – Kurds, Baluchs and others. He repeatedly associates it with „separatism“, although in the regions dominated by ethnic minorities, hardly any pro-independence slogans can be heard in the current protests. The slogan „Neither monarchy nor leadership! Democracy! Justice!” has been shouted in the provinces of Sistan and Balochistan for weeks. „Reza Pahlavi is my lawyer“ is the name of a campaign that his supporters have started in the past few days. It is supported by the television station Manoto TV, which is based in London and celebrates the former ruling dynasty of the Pahlavis (1925-1979) as Iran’s best period. In an interview there on Monday, he again accused Iran’s ethnic minorities – without naming names – of separatism and emphasized that the country’s territorial integrity was not up for debate. He will not form a coalition with separatists. Contradiction came promptly:
Abdollah Mohtadi, chairman of the Kurdish-Iranian party Komala, which has its headquarters in neighboring Iraq, accused Pahlavi, also without naming him, of stirring up fear of separatism and conveying the real message of the revolution, i.e. unity to ignore. The Iranian-Kurdish forces in particular tend to oppose centralized forms of government and Iranian nationalism. Because the country with its almost 90 million inhabitants is a multi-ethnic state and the so-called ethnic minorities together make up the majority of the population, their voice carries weight, especially in the current insurgency movement.
The protests had started in the Kurdish areas of northwestern Iran, which is also the hometown of Kurdish woman Jina Mahsa Aminis, whose alleged killing in police custody sparked the protests in September. There were also numerous protests in the provinces of Sistan and Balochistan in the south-east. Unlike Reza Pahlavi, Masih Alinejad is now popular with many Kurds. Since the protests began, she has emphasized their central role in the freedom movement: „We have to admit that it was Kurdistan that stood behind the women,“ she said in a TV interview on Iran International in September. In a discussion with Komala leader Abdulla Mohtadi in early January, Alinejad again emphasized the role of the Kurdish regions in the fight for a free Iran.
A third name that is often mentioned is Hamed Esmailion. The Canadian-based dentist is the best-known representative of the bereaved families of the victims of the crash of the Ukrainian passenger plane PS 752, which was shot down with rockets by the Revolutionary Guards in Tehran in January 2020. Esmailion founded the „Association of the Families of the Victims of Flight PS 752“ initiative, which campaigns for the investigation of the incident and for justice. Last October, Esmailion also called for a large-scale demonstration by Iranians in Berlin. Around 80,000 people followed his call. Like Alinejad, Esmailion also shows solidarity with the Kurds. He ended a tweet he tweeted in Kurdish on Monday to the father of a young man killed during protests with the words: „Long live Kurdistan, long live Iran.“ So far, however, Esmailion has rejected a leadership role in the opposition: he himself is a political person. However, the victims‘ initiative he founded is not a political organization, he said in an interview with the BBC’s Persian service.
At least there now seems to be some kind of unification effort, although this is also controversial. In the meantime, the Shah’s son seems to be claiming the leading role in the opposition in exile, initially as a „spokesman“ who has railed against separatists from time to time. The shah is dead, long live the shah, or will a constitutional monarchy come about if the mullahs are overthrown, or „We want our Kaiser Wilhelm back?“.
„Iranian opposition: ‚The crown prince is the leader of our revolution‘
More than 300,000 people have signed a petition calling for the ousted Shah’s son to take on the role of spokesman for the opposition. Criticism comes from anti-monarchists. In the Iranian diaspora, support for Reza Pahlavi, the son of the Shah who was deposed in 1979, is growing as the leader of the opposition. In just a few days, more than 300,000 people have signed an online petition giving him powers to speak on Iran’s future on behalf of the opposition during a transitional period pending a referendum. Signatories include prominent opponents of the Islamic Republic, including singers and actors, as well as Dubai-based soccer player Ali Karimi. Other leading opponents, such as Toronto-based activist Hamed Esmailioon, human rights activist Nazanin Boniadi and women’s rights activist Masih Alinejad, have yet to speak out. The Iranian opposition has not spoken with one voice since the latest wave of protests began on September 16. Last Monday, Reza Pahlawi, born in 1960, was asked in an interview with the Persian-language exile broadcaster Manoto TV why he wasn’t taking the lead. He made this conditional on him being given confidence and powers to speak for the opposition. Then, together with other leading figures, he could appear stronger and more determined at the international level as a representative of the opponents of the Islamic Republic. This requires clear legitimation. In a first joint action, he and other representatives called for the Revolutionary Guard to be classified as a terrorist organization.
„The Crown Prince is the leader of our revolution“
In Iran, protests have leveled off as a result of violent repression that has killed more than 500 people. At the rallies that have become known in Tehran or the provincial cities of Zahedan and Izeh in the past few days, the shouts „I give the crown prince full powers“ and „The crown prince is the leader of our revolution“ were chanted. Anti-monarchists criticize this new development. Abdullah Mehtadi from the Kurdish Democratic Party called for a broad front against the Islamic Republic instead of focusing on the crown prince. Others criticize that the crown prince’s campaign is once again promoting a personality cult, that it is continuing sole rule and is directed against the spirit of solidarity among all opponents of the Islamic Republic. Reza Pahlawi responded to these fears on Saturday. He wrote on Twitter that he recognizes and fights for only three principles: for Iran’s territorial integrity, for a secular democracy based on human rights, and for the right of the people to decide on the next political system in free elections. He had always refrained from reviving the monarchy in Iran and gave priority to a democratic system.
Meanwhile, the CCP, which after its own mass protests has now lifted the no-Covid lockdown policy in favor of the other extreme of complete freedom of travel within the country and abroad and thus a super-spreader migration, now fears for the lives of its citizens in Afghanistan on the Chinese New Year as Taliban- Afghanistan should also become an important building block for the New Silk Road and The CCP also demand an „inclusive integration of political forces“ in the country, whereupon the Taliban, who just banned all women from working due to the then complete collapse of the aid organizations and NGOs partially allowed the participation of women in the short term again send warm New Year’s greetings to the Chinese Communist Party, especially since China emphasizes its non-interference in internal affairs and does not allow the burning of the Quran in its country.
“Chinese FM talks with Afghan acting FM over phone, urging Afghan side to take strong measures to ensure safety of Chinese personnel, institutions
By Global Times Published: Jan 21, 2023 09:09 PM
China Afghanistan Photo:VCG
China’s Foreign Minister Qin Gang held a phone conversation with Amir Khan Muttaqi, acting foreign minister of the Afghan interim government, on Saturday, stressing that China hopes the Afghan side will take strong measures to ensure the safety of Chinese personnel and institutions in Afghanistan.
Qin said that China attaches great importance to the safety of Chinese personnel, institutions and projects in Afghanistan as the Spring Festival approaches, hoping the Afghan side will take strong measures to ensure the safety of Chinese personnel and institutions in Afghanistan.
Muttaqi sent Spring Festival greetings to Chinese people. He said that Afghanistan will never allow any force to use its territory to conduct activities that harm Afghanistan-China friendship and undermine China’s interests. He noted that Afghanistan will resolutely combat terrorism in all forms and will take strong measures to ensure the safety of Chinese personnel and institutions in Afghanistan.
Qin said that China attaches great importance to developing good-neighborly, friendly and cooperative relations with Afghanistan and always respects the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Afghanistan.
He pointed out that China respects the independent choice made by the Afghan people, their religious beliefs and national customs. China never interferes in Afghanistan’s internal affairs, nor seeks any selfish gains in Afghanistan or the so-called sphere of influence.
According to Qin, China supports the Afghan interim government to build a broad and inclusive political structure, pursue moderate and prudent domestic and foreign policies, fight against all forms of terrorist forces, and establish and develop friendly relations with other countries, especially neighboring countries, he stressed.
„China sympathizes with the suffering of the Afghan people and is willing to provide more assistance to Afghanistan’s economic and social development and improvement of people’s livelihoods,“ Qin said.
Muttaqi said that the Afghan interim government adheres to the one-China principle, supports China in safeguarding national sovereignty and territorial integrity.
He stressed that Afghanistan welcomes China to play a more important role in international and regional affairs and hopes to strengthen exchanges and cooperation with China.