Saturday, August 02, 2014

Syria’s war has started to shake Turkey badly - Hurriyet

According to the Turkish Interior Ministry, the number of Syrians that have come to Turkey since the outbreak of the civil war in 2011 has reached 1.385 million. This is a figure close to 2 percent of Turkey’s population....

In the southern province of Kahramanmara┼č, where the first street fights between locals and Syrian refugees started three weeks ago (which were later repeated in some other cities near the Syrian border), the number of refugees is 49,000, more than 10 percent of the city’s population of 420,000....

Another problem is in the field of economy and trade. Before the Islamist militants’ capture of Mosul and their declaration of sovereignty in parts of Syria and Iraq, Turkish exports to Iraq were second only to that to Germany at $12 billion in 2013. It has been decreasing sharply now.

Answering a question by Mevl├╝t Dudu, an MP from the social democratic opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), Nihat Zeybekci, Turkey’s economy minister, has ruined the urban legend that claimed that most of the exports went to Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) of Iraq.

Zeybekci said 80 percent of exports were actually to the predominantly Shiite-populated southern parts of Iraq and that the Kurdish route was only to change (some 60-70 percent of the) trucks; that explains the kilometers- and days-long queue at the Habur gate with Iraq. Now Turkish exporters are looking for emergency routes to the south of Iraq and other Gulf markets through Iran. ...

-bth: Turkey has over 1000 IS fighters it can call its own and who are beginning to show themselves in Turkey.  Then there is the 80% trade with Shiite southern Iraq that becomes increasingly problematic and 1.3 million Syrian refuges in Turkey (I wonder how many Iraqi's there are) and fighting breaking out between refugees and overtaxed local hosts. Much to ponder  by those that love a moderate and free Turkey.

AP-GfK poll: Public ready to close book on 2 wars - AP

— Three in four Americans think history will judge the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as failures, according to an Associated Press-GfK poll that shows that about the same percentage think it was right to pull forces from the two countries.

Americans surveyed in last month's poll were not optimistic about the chance that a stable democratic government will be established in either country. Seventy-eight percent said it was either not too likely or not at all likely in Afghanistan and 80 percent said the same about Iraq.

Roughly three out of four Americans polled think that in hindsight, each war will be deemed as an outright "complete failure" or "more of a failure than success."
 A majority of those polled, or 70 percent, said the United States was right to withdraw American troops from Iraq in 2011 and pull most U.S. forces out of Afghanistan by December. The two conflicts have consumed the nation for more than a decade and claimed the lives of 6,800 U.S. troops....

More than 1,000 Turks fighting for the Islamic Caliphate

... The number of Turkish citizens fighting under the umbrella of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) is slightly more than 1,000, according to Turkish officials, who admit that they are unable to learn the exact number. The estimated number of armed ISIL fighters is around 12,000 to 15,000, which shows that Turks make up just less than 10 percent of the jihadist group. ...

-bth: it strikes me as a common mistake for governments to think he can control extremist fanatics they let out of the box to run loose in a neighbor's yard.

ISIL storms Mosul University - al Shorfa

The "Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant" (ISIL) stormed Mosul University and destroyed the contents of the faculties of law, arts, management, economy and education, the university said Thursday (July 31st).

"We were told yesterday that ISIL stormed the university complex which houses nine faculties and destroyed the contents of five of them under the pretext that they are not needed and that they violate sharia," Mosul University media office director Hassan Bardan told Al-Shorfa.

"ISIL only spared the faculties of engineering, medicine, dentistry and veterinary medicine," he said.

"ISIL hung a sign on the university gate reading that males are to be separated from females," Bardan added.


All signs indicate that Shaheen will beat Brown for US Senate in New Hampshire. 
  • July 16, 2014 A second poll in a week shows that Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen leads Republican former Sen. Scott Brown in a possible U.S. Senate general matchup, but the latest one has the margin a bit tighter. A new NBC/Marist poll conducted July 7 to 13 that included 1,342 registered voters had Shaheen leading Brown 50 to 42 percent. The poll has a margin of error of 2.7 percent. Women strongly preferred Shaheen over Brown, 59 to 34 percent. For the full poll results, click here. Last week’s WMUR Granite State Poll showed Shaheen leading Brown, 50 to 38 percent. In the NBC/Marist poll, 52 percent of those polled viewed Shaheen favorably, while 39 percent viewed her unfavorably. Brown was viewed favorably by 40 percent, while 39 percent viewed him unfavorably. Brown held a commanding lead in the GOP primary breakdown, winning the support of 61 percent of 556 likely Republican primary voters surveyed, compared to 16 percent for former U.S. Sen. Bob Smith and 10 percent for former state Sen. Jim Rubens.
  • Shaheen leads Brown 50 to 38% with 12% undecided as of 6/18/14

Massachusetts Governor’s Race Election Polling Summaries as of August 2, 2014

Recent survey results listed in reverse chronological order.

General conclusions are that Coakley will win the primary by a wide margin and then have a narrow victory over Baker likely hinging on women turnout.  Kerrigan will be her Lt. Governor and probably Healey will be Attorney General presuming she wins a close primary contest.
  • July 29, 2014. Boston Globe 7/29/14. “...Attorney General Martha Coakley continues to enjoy a gaping lead in the three-way Democratic primary, despite ceding some ground to Treasurer Steve Grossman recently. Coakley garnered 45 percent support among people who intend to participate in the Democratic primary, down from 50 percent from two weeks ago, while Grossman climbed from 16 percent to 20 percent during that time, meaning that Coakley’s lead had fallen by 9 percentage points.Former federal health care administrator Don Berwick continued to trail, with 5 percent support, essentially unchanged over two weeks.There was better news for Coakley in the general election matchup. After Charlie Baker, the leading Republican candidate, pulled within 3 points of her two weeks ago, Coakley has since widened her lead, opening up a 42 percent to 32 percent advantage over Baker.Part of Baker’s retreat is owed to declining popularity with women, among whom he has dropped 5 points over the last month. During the second week in July, Baker appeared to brush off the importance in Massachusetts of a Supreme Court ruling affecting birth control insurance.” This article also has some interesting special issue survey data on Mass.
  • July 17, 2014. Coakley and Baker near dead head. Coakley significantly ahead of other primary contenders. Boston Globe 7/17/14 article/survey. “Democrat Martha Coakley has seen her edge over Republican Charlie Baker nearly erased in the last several weeks and is now virtually tied with Baker in a potential general-election matchup, according to a new Boston Globe poll. Coakley leads Baker 39 percent to 36 percent in a hypothetical November contest. The 3-point edge is within the survey’s margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points. Four weeks ago, Coakley held a nine-point advantage over Baker. The gap between the two is now the narrowest it has been in the seven weeks since the Globe began polling.”...”With less than eight weeks until that election, the attorney general holds a 34-point lead, 50 percent to 16 percent, over her nearest rival, state Treasurer Steve Grossman, who has dropped 2 percentage points over the last two weeks. Former federal health care administrator Don Berwick was at 6 percent in the poll.Coakley, despite coming in second to Grossman at the state Democratic convention in June, has remained above 50 percent in the poll every week for the last seven weeks. Grossman and Berwick, meanwhile, have not seen any significant shift in their standing. The findings indicate Grossman has been unable to translate his convention victory into broader support from likely Democratic primary voters. And Berwick, despite emphasizing his liberal credentials, has not generated widespread enthusiasm among the Democratic electorate.”
  • July 11, 2014. Insiders Poll in Boston Magazine 7/11/14. “The insiders’ best collective guess is that Martha Coakley, Warren Tolman, Deb Goldberg, and Steve Kerrigan will be the next Governor, Attorney General, Treasurer, and Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts. But those predictions are hardly set in stone.” This is a very interesting survey with nuance not found in normal random polls.  In the Governor's race Democrats are favored 51/48% in the general election. Among Democratic candidates Cokley is favored 58%, 30% Grossman, 12% Berwick.  In the Attorney General’s race Democrats are favored to win the general election 90% and in the primary Healey is favored by insiders 53% over Tolman 47%.  In the Treasurer’s race Democrats are favored in the general election at 83% and among Democrats in the primary Goldberg is favored 41% over Feingold 33%, and Tom Conroy 26%.  At Lt. Governor Steve Kerrigan is favored 54% over Mike Lake 31% and Leland Cheung 15%.

Voters See Illegal Immigration As Bigger National Security Worry Than Russia, Gaza - Rasmussen Reports

U.S. voters rate the latest immigration crisis as a bigger national security problem for this country than Russia and the renewed fighting between Israelis and Palestinians. A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 37% of Likely U.S. Voters, given these three options, consider the growing illegal immigration problem to be a bigger national security concern for the United States. Thirty-one percent (31%) view Russia as the bigger problem. Twenty-three percent (23%) think the situation in Gaza is the bigger danger facing the country. (To see survey question wording, click here.)


Belief U.S. Is Winning War on Terror Falls to 10-Year Low - Rasmussen Report

Belief that the United States is winning the War on Terror has plummeted to its lowest level in over 10 years of regular tracking.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that just 27% of Likely U.S. Voters now believe the United States and its allies are winning the War on Terror. That’s down eight points from 35% in April  and 47% a year ago. This figure hit a high of 62% in February 2009 just after President Obama’s inauguration, then steadily deteriorated until the killing of Osama bin Laden in May 2011 when it rebounded into the 50s.

Thirty-six percent (36%) think the terrorists are winning that war, the highest level of doubt since the late Bush years in 2007. Twenty-nine percent (29%) say neither side is winning. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

In April, 39% said the United States is safer than before the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, but 41% disagreed. It was the highest level of doubt in three years since just before the killing of bin Laden.

Thirty-nine percent (39%) of voters now consider terrorist attacks a bigger threat to the United States than economic or military attacks. That’s up from 30% in October of last year despite the Boston marathon bombing just a few months earlier. Fifty-one percent (51%) still view economic attacks as the bigger threat, but that’s down from 60% last fall. Just three percent (3%) regard military attacks from other nations as the bigger threat to this country. ...

Friday, August 01, 2014

How has Vladimir Putin made his $40billion fortune? - Truthloader

Germany brokers secret deal with Russia to end Ukraine crisis - UK Independent

The Independent can reveal that the peace plan, being worked on by both Angela Merkel and Vladimir Putin, hinges on two main ambitions: stabilising the borders of Ukraine and providing the financially troubled country with a strong economic boost, particularly a new energy agreement ensuring security of gas supplies.More controversially, if Ms Merkel’s deal were to be acceptable to the Russians, the international community would need to recognise Crimea’s independence and its annexation by Russia, a move that some members of the United Nations might find difficult to stomach.Sources close to the secret negotiations claim that the first part of the stabilisation plan requires Russia to withdraw its financial and military support for the various pro-separatist groups operating in eastern Ukraine. As part of any such agreement, the region would be allowed some devolved powers.At the same time, the Ukrainian President would agree not to apply to join Nato. In return, President Putin would not seek to block or interfere with the Ukraine’s new trade relations with the European Union under a pact signed a few weeks ago.Second, the Ukraine would be offered a new long-term agreement with Russia’s Gazprom, the giant gas supplier, for future gas supplies and pricing. At present, there is no gas deal in place; Ukraine’s gas supplies are running low and are likely to run out before this winter, which would spell economic and social ruin for the country.As part of the deal, Russia would compensate Ukraine with a billion-dollar financial package for the loss of the rent it used to pay for stationing its fleets in the Crimea and at the port of Sevastopol on the Black Sea until Crimea voted for independence in March. -

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