Saturday, November 1, 2014

Oil-Gas Pipeline War On Iran, Syria And Russia

 

Oil-Gas Pipeline War On Iran, Syria And Russia

 

Although I mostly comment on international affairs, but sometimes on internal policies of various countries too, including India. After all, foreign policy of a country secures the internal and external objectives of the nation.

 

I have been an anti-Modi analyst since 2002 and therefore have watched his various moves, policy statements and actions, both on external and internal fronts, since he became PM. As far as foreign policy is concerned, he has done well, because he got in India a major emerging economic power. You can then implement foreign policy objectives much more freely. Unfortunately for this country during the Congress led thoroughly  and brazenly corrupt regime during the last ten years ,led by IMF pensioners formulating and implementing India's foreign policy, always looked behind the shoulder--how would Washington react !. Modi has no such baggage and with his self educating visits as Chief Minister to China and Japan gave him a different perspective on economic growth and foreign policy options.

 

As far as Modi's internal policies are concerned, hopefully he would dilute if not remove the influence of RSS and other lunatic fringe organisations, if he wants to be the Prime Minister of the whole country. So far he has not given concrete impressions of curbing the lunatic fringe, depending on the electorate which snubbed them in bye-elections. After decades of Jat misrule and the last one under a thoroughly corrupt regime in my home state of Haryana , BJP's rise was assured .BJP has not done badly in Maharashtra, which is good as it would diminish or dilute the fanatic Shiv Sena postures and policies. He must go after the corrupt leaders of NCP ie Pawars and Patels ,as he has himself accused them of .

 

BJP or Jan Sangh's and its ideological arm the RSS with leaders like Golwalkar and others have very little to show compared with the Indian Congress led movement in the struggle for India's independence. In fact, the Hindu right-wing did not want India to be independent. The worst tragedy was when an RSS fanatic Nathu Ram Godse assassinated Mahatma Gandhi, resulting in the banning of RSS by Sardar Patel himself, who was then Home Minister. Modi is now trying to also  appropriate Sardar Patel and his legacy. It is okay, but trying to submerge the sterling qualities of late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, no doubt one of the greatest leaders of India ,by choosing the day of her assassination to promote Sardar Patel is an unworthy attempt.

 

Let me now revert back to the title of the article written by William Engdahl on the sudden fall of oil prices brought by the West in league with Gulf patrol pumps led by corporate house of Saud. It is a vain hope that this U.S.-led West, which is on fast decline ,will be able to achieve these objectives ie of weakening Putin and or Iran and its progeny ,the Shia ruled Baghdad  .Yes ,they all depend to a large extent on revenues from export of energy for their GDP. Both these countries are too big, clever and have indirect support from China, even India and other countries to counter Western and Saudi Bandar machinations. Look how Putin has outclassed Obama on Ukraine .It is West Europe which is suffering from counter sanctions and itching to get away from Washington's clutches , specially Berlin.

 

Moscow and Tehran are not Saddam Hussein's Iraq, which after he had taken out the poison from the expanding Shia revolutionary forces of Iran ,was cornered by Washington ,UK and Gulf sheikdoms, when foolishly Kuwait, encouraged by the British and even Iran ,the Kuwaitis not generally admired in the Gulf , squeezed Iraq's oil income. Of course, as usual, the lying Western leadership encouraged Saddam into invading Kuwait .

 

Remember how the West had supported Iraq's long war against Khomeini's Iran. The US had granted loans to Baghdad worth billions of dollars. Amid high tension between Kuwait and Baghdad over common oil wells, two islands, and the return of a $10 billion loan, Iraq threatened Kuwait with war. A few days before the Iraqi invasion on August 2, 1990, US Ambassador April Glaspie told Saddam Hussein that his dispute with Kuwait was a bilateral Arab affair. This was never clearly refuted by the US and Ambassador Glaspie disappeared from view. The Western media never pursued her as they do others, and allowed themselves to become a handmaiden of the Western propaganda machine.

 

Meanwhile, all attempts to find a peaceful solution to the Iraq-Kuwait row by Arab nations, led by King Hussein of Jordan and later joined by King Hassan of Morocco, were rebuffed by the US, as was Kuwait's offer of indirect negotiations. Feelers for negotiations by the Saudis were drowned in Western cacophony. Saddam's reported offer to the UN secretary general to withdraw from Kuwait, made just before the US retaliation, was brushed aside. Efforts by Mikhail Gorbachev, who had just unraveled the USSR, were treated with disdain.

For the countries of the region, the war resolved nothing. Instead, the US made Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and other allies pay through the nose, weakening them by an estimated $100-$150 billion. Iraq was bombed into the Middle Ages. Its enemy Iran, a member of the "Axis of Evil", was the major gainer. To guard his back, Saddam in 1990 had agreed to the old boundary with Iran in the Shatt-al Arab waterway, disagreement over which had led to the Iran-Iraq War.

 

Below is the excellent article by Engdahl on the doings of the Gulf states, in collusion with Washington and its allies, the so-called international community, which means US and its poodle UK ,one or two from the litter of  the Anglo-Saxons and some odd islands in the Pacific.

 

K.Gajendra Singh ,Delhi. 1 November, 2014.

The Kerry-Abdullah Secret Deal 
Oil-Gas Pipeline War On Iran, Syria And Russia


By ​​​​F. William Engdahl

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article40089.htm

October 29, 2014 "ICH" -  The details are emerging of a new secret and quite stupid Saudi-US deal on Syria and the so-called IS. It involves oil and gas control of the entire region and the weakening of Russia and Iran by Saudi Arabian flooding the world market with cheap oil. Details were concluded in the September meeting by US Secretary of State John Kerry and the Saudi King. The unintended consequence will be to push Russia even faster to turn east to China and Eurasia.

One of the weirdest anomalies of the recent NATO bombing campaign, allegedly against the ISIS or IS or ISIL or Daash, depending on your preference, is the fact that with major war raging in the world's richest oil region, the price of crude oil has been dropping, dramatically so. Since June when ISIS suddenly captured the oil-rich region of Iraq around Mosul and Kirkuk, the benchmark Brent price of crude oil dropped some 20% from $112 to about $88. World daily demand for oil has not dropped by 20% however. China oil demand has not fallen 20% nor has US domestic shale oil stock risen by 21%.

What has happened is that the long-time US ally inside OPEC, the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, has been flooding the market with deep discounted oil, triggering a price war within OPEC, with Iran following suit and panic selling short in oil futures markets. The Saudis are targeting sales to Asia for the discounts and in particular, its major Asian customer, China where it is reportedly offering its crude for a mere $50 to $60 a barrel rather than the earlier price of around $100. [1] That Saudi financial discounting operation in turn is by all appearance being coordinated with a US Treasury financial warfare operation, via its Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, in cooperation with a handful of inside players on Wall Street who control oil derivatives trading. The result is a market panic that is gaining momentum daily. China is quite happy to buy the cheap oil, but her close allies, Russia and Iran, are being hit severely.

The deal

According to Rashid Abanmy, President of the Riyadh-based Saudi Arabia Oil Policies and Strategic Expectations Center, the dramatic price collapse is being deliberately caused by the Saudis, OPEC's largest producer. The public reason claimed is to gain new markets in a global market of weakening oil demand. The real reason, according to Abanmy, is to put pressure on Iran on her nuclear program, and on Russia to end her support for Bashar al-Assad in Syria.[2]

When combined with the financial losses of Russian state natural gas sales to Ukraine and prospects of a US-instigated cutoff of the transit of Russian gas to the huge EU market this winter as EU stockpiles become low, the pressure on oil prices hits Moscow doubly. More than 50% of Russian state revenue comes from its export sales of oil and gas.

The US-Saudi oil price manipulation is aimed at destabilizing several strong opponents of US globalist policies. Targets include Iran and Syria, both allies of Russia in opposing a US sole Superpower. The principal target, however, is Putin's Russia, the single greatest threat today to that Superpower hegemony. The strategy is similar to what the US did with Saudi Arabia in 1986 when they flooded the world with Saudi oil, collapsing the price to below $10 a barrel and destroying the economy of then-Soviet ally, Saddam Hussein in Iraq and, ultimately, of the Soviet economy, paving the way for the fall of the Soviet Union. Today, the hope is that a collapse of Russian oil revenues, combined with select pin-prick sanctions designed by the US Treasury's Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence will dramatically weaken Putin's enormous domestic support and create conditions for his ultimate overthrow. It is doomed to fail for many reasons, not the least, because Putin's Russia has taken major strategic steps together with China and other nations to lessen its dependence on the West. In fact the oil weapon is accelerating recent Russian moves to focus its economic power on national interests and lessen dependence on the Dollar system. If the dollar ceases being the currency of world trade, especially oil trade, the US Treasury faces financial catastrophe. For this reason, I call the Kerry-Abdullah oil war a very stupid tactic.

The Kerry-Abdullah secret deal

On September 11, US Secretary of State Kerry met Saudi King Abdullah at his palace on the Red Sea. The King invited former head of Saudi intelligence, Prince Bandar to attend. There a deal was hammered out which saw Saudi support for the Syrian airstrikes against ISIS on condition Washington backed the Saudis in toppling Assad, a firm ally of Russia and de facto of Iran and an obstacle to Saudi and UAE plans to control the emerging EU natural gas market and destroy Russia's lucrative EU trade. A report in the Wall Street Journal noted there had been "months of behind-the-scenes work by the US and Arab leaders, who agreed on the need to cooperate against Islamic State, but not how or when. The process gave the Saudis leverage to extract a fresh US commitment to beef up training for rebels fighting Mr. Assad, whose demise the Saudis still see as a top priority." [3]

For the Saudis the war is between two competing age-old vectors of Islam. Saudi Arabia, home to the sacred cities of Mecca and Medina, claims de facto supremacy in the Islamic world of Sunni Islam. The Saudi Sunni form is ultra-conservative Wahhabism, named for an 18th Century Bedouin Islamic fundamentalist or Salafist named Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahha. The Taliban derive from Wahhabism with the aid of Saudi-financed religious instruction. The Gulf Emirates and Kuwait also adhere to the Sunni Wahhabism of the Saudis, as does the Emir of Qatar. Iran on the other hand historically is the heart of the smaller branch of Islam, the Shi'ite. Iraq's population is some 61% majority Shi'ite. Syria's President, Bashar al-Assad is a member of a satellite of the Shi'ite branch known as Alawite. Some 23% of Turkey is also Alawite Muslim. To complicate the picture more, across a bridge from Saudi Arabia sits the tiny island country, Bahrain where as many as 75% of the population is Shi'ite but the ruling Al-Khalifa family is Sunni and firmly tied to Saudi Arabia. Moreover, the richest Saudi oil region is dominated by Shi'ite Muslims who work the oil installations of Ras Tanura.

An oil and gas pipeline war

These historic fault lines inside Islam which lay dormant, were brought into a state of open warfare with the launching of the US State Department and CIA's Islamic Holy War, otherwise known as the Arab Spring. Washington neo-conservatives embedded inside the Obama Administration in a form of "Deep State" secret network, and their allied media such as the Washington Post, advocated US covert backing of a pet CIA project known as the Muslim Brotherhood. As I detail in my most recent book, Amerikas' Heiliger Krieg, the CIA had cultivated ties to the terrorist Muslim Brotherhood death cult since the early 1950's.

Now if we map the resources of known natural gas reserves in the entire Persian Gulf region, the motives of the Saudi-led Qatar and UAE in financing with billions of dollars the opposition to Assad, including the Sunni ISIS, becomes clearer. Natural gas has become the favored "clean energy" source for the 21st Century and the EU is the world's largest growth market for gas, a major reason Washington wants to break the Gazprom-EU supply dependency to weaken Russia and keep control over the EU via loyal proxies like Qatar.

The world's largest known natural gas reservoir sits in the middle of the Persian Gulf straddling part in the territorial waters of Qatar and part in Iran. The Iranian part is called North Pars. In 2006 China's state-owned CNOOC signed an agreement with Iran to develop North Pars and build LNG infrastructure to bring the gas to China.[4]

The Qatar side of the Persian Gulf, called North Field, contains the world's third largest known natural gas reserves behind Russia and Iran.

In July 2011, the governments of Syria, Iran and Iraq signed an historic gas pipeline energy agreement which went largely unnoticed in the midst of the NATO-Saudi-Qatari war to remove Assad. The pipeline, envisioned to cost $10 billion and take three years to complete, would run from the Iranian Port Assalouyeh near the South Pars gas field in the Persian Gulf, to Damascus in Syria via Iraq territory. The agreement would make Syria the center of assembly and production in conjunction with the reserves of Lebanon. This is a geopolitically strategic space that geographically opens for the first time, extending from Iran to Iraq, Syria and Lebanon.[5] As Asia Times correspondent Pepe Escobar put it, "The Iran-Iraq-Syria pipeline – if it's ever built – would solidify a predominantly Shi'ite axis through an economic, steel umbilical cord."[6]

Shortly after signing with Iran and Iraq, on August 16, 2011, Bashar al-Assad's Syrian Ministry of Oil announced the discovery of a gas well in the Area of Qarah in the Central Region of Syria near Homs. Gazprom, with Assad in power, would be a major investor or operator of the new gas fields in Syria. [7] Iran ultimately plans to extend the pipeline from Damascus to Lebanon's Mediterranean port where it would be delivered to the huge EU market. Syria would buy Iranian gas along with a current Iraqi agreement to buy Iranian gas from Iran's part of South Pars field.[8]

Qatar, today the world's largest exporter of LNG, largely to Asia, wants the same EU market that Iran and Syria eye. For that, they would build pipelines to the Mediterranean. Here is where getting rid of the pro-Iran Assad is essential. In 2009 Qatar approached Bashar al-Assad to propose construction of a gas pipeline from Qatar's north Field through Syria on to Turkey and to the EU. Assad refused, citing Syria's long friendly relations with Russia and Gazprom. That refusal combined with the Iran-Iraq-Syria gas pipeline agreement in 2011 ignited the full-scale Saudi and Qatari assault on Assad's power, financing al Qaeda terrorists, recruits of Jihadist fanatics willing to kill Alawite and Shi'ite "infidels" for $100 a month and a Kalishnikov. The Washington neo-conservative warhawks in and around the Obama White House, along with their allies in the right-wing Netanyahu government, were cheering from the bleachers as Syria went up in flames after spring 2011.

Today the US-backed wars in Ukraine and in Syria are but two fronts in the same strategic war to cripple Russia and China and to rupture any Eurasian counter-pole to a US-controlled New World Order. In each, control of energy pipelines, this time primarily of natural gas pipelines—from Russia to the EU via Ukraine and from Iran and Syria to the EU via Syria—is the strategic goal. The true aim of the US and Israel backed ISIS is to give the pretext for bombing Assad's vital grain silos and oil refineries to cripple the economy in preparation for a "Ghaddafi-"style elimination of Russia and China and Iran-ally Bashar al-Assad.

In a narrow sense, as Washington neo-conservatives see it, who controls Syria could control the Middle East. And from Syria, gateway to Asia, he will hold the key to Russia House, as well as that of China via the Silk Road.

Religious wars have historically been the most savage of all wars and this one is no exception, especially when trillions of dollars in oil and gas revenues are at stake. Why is the secret Kerry-Abdullah deal on Syria reached on September 11 stupid? Because the brilliant tacticians in Washington and Riyadh and Doha and to an extent in Ankara are unable to look at the interconnectedness of all the dis-order and destruction they foment, to look beyond their visions of control of the oil and gas flows as the basis of their illegitimate power. They are planting the seeds of their own destruction in the end.

William Engdahl is author of A Century of War: Anglo-American Oil Politics in the New World Order.  www.engdahl.oilgeopolitics.net 

Notes:

[1] M. Rochan, Crude Oil Drops Amid Global Demand Concerns, IB Times, October 11, 2014http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/crude-oil-drops-amid-global-demand-concerns-1469524

[2] Nihan Cabbaroglu, Saudi Arabia to pressure Russia Iran with price of oil, 10 October 2014, Turkish Anadolu Agency, http://www.aa.com.tr/en/economy/402343–saudi-arabia-to-pressure-russia-iran-with-price-of-oil

[3] Adam Entous and Julian E. Barnes, Deal With Saudis Paved Way for Syrian Airstrikes: Talks With Saudi Arabia Were Linchpin in U.S. Efforts to Get Arab States Into Fight Against Islamic State, Wall Street Journal, September. 24, 2014, http://online.wsj.com/articles/deal-with-saudis-paved-way-for-syrian-airstrikes-1411605329?mod=WSJ_hp_LEFTTopStories

[4] POGC, North Pars Gas Field, Pars Oil and Gas Company website,http://www.pogc.ir/NorthParsGasField/tabid/155/Default.aspx

[5] Imad Fawzi Shueibi , War Over Gas–Struggle over the Middle East: Gas Ranks First, 17 April, 2012. http://www.voltairenet.org/article173718.html

[6] Pepe Escobar, Why Qatar Wants to Invade Syria, Asia Times, September 27, 2012,http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article32576.htm

[7] Ibid.

[8] F. William Engdahl, Syria Turkey Israel and the Greater Middle East Energy War, Global Research, October 11, 2012, http://www.globalresearch.ca/syria-turkey-israel-and-the-greater-middle-east-energy-war/5307902

http://www.engdahl.oilgeopolitics.net/

 

 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Brazil President Dilma Rousseff Re-elected

Brazil President Dilma Rousseff  Re-elected

 

Very little notice has been taken by India's ill-informed media on international affairs about the re-election of Pres of Brazil, Dilma Rousseff, whose pictures with the recently elected Prime Minister Narendra Modi, holding each other's hand were regularly flashed recently on our TV channels during the Indian PM's visit to Brazil for the Brics Summit and other bilateral and multilateral meetings.

 

The re-election of Dilma Rousseff is a major event signaling the well-being and strength of the nations opposed to the overwhelming neoliberal US and Europe, led empires. Brazil is a huge country in Latin America and full of resources .Along with half a dozen other Latin American States Brazil has managed to get out of the clutches of US imperialism and blatant exploitation. Dilma's victory is not only important for Latin America, but also for all formerly colonized and exploited nations of the South. Brazil would remain a keystone in the creation of economic and monetary bloc of the Brics states to which hopefully other oppressed and exploited nations would also be admitted sooner than later.

 

So three cheers to Dilma and the electorate of Brazil, who in spite of Western propaganda and the usual Yankee tricks has been re-elected for the next four years. Hopefully she will be able to consolidate her position and policies against the marauding neo-liberal imperialist bankers, financiers and corporate interests of USA and European states.

 

After a brief write-up on Dilma Rousseff, I have great pleasure in reproducing below an excellent write-up on the elections in Brazil by my favourite journalist Pepe Escobar, who happens to be a Brazilian.

 

Dilma Vana Rousseff (born 14 December 1947) is the 36th and current President of Brazil. She is the first woman to hold the office. She was previously the Chief of Staff of the President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva from 2005 to 2010.

 

 The daughter of a Bulgarian entrepreneur, Rousseff was raised in an upper middle class household in Belo Horizonte. She became a socialist during her youth, and following the 1964 coup d'état joined various left-wing and Marxist urban guerrilla groups that fought against the military dictatorship. Rousseff was eventually captured and jailed between 1970 and 1972, where she was reportedly tortured.

 

After her release, Rousseff rebuilt her life in Porto Alegre with Carlos Araújo, who would be her partner for 30 years. Both helped found the Democratic Labour Party (PDT) in Rio Grande do Sul, participating in several of the party's electoral campaigns. She became the Secretary of the Treasury of the City of Porto Alegre in the Alceu Collares Administration, and later the Secretary of Energy of the State of Rio Grande do Sul under both the Collares and Olívio Dutra  Administrations. In 2000, after an internal dispute in the Dutra cabinet, she left the PDT and joined the Workers' Party (PT).

 

In 2002, Rousseff joined the committee responsible for the energy policy of presidential candidate Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who, after winning the election, invited her to become Minister of Energy. In 2005, a political crisis triggered by a corruption scandal led to the resignation of Chief of Staff José Dirceu. Rousseff took over the post, remaining in office until 31 March 2010, when she stepped down in order to run for President. She was elected in a run-off on 31 October 2010, beating the candidate of the Partido da Social Democracia Brasileira (PSDB), José Serra and re-elected on 26 October 2014 with a narrow second round victory over Aécio Neves, also of the PSDB.

 

In her victory speech after she won the closest Brazilian presidential election in more than a century.

Dilma Rousseff said that she recognized the need for change and added that her second term would be characterized by dialogue, and that her priority would be political reform – particularly campaign financing and greater representation for women.

 

"Every election has to be seen as a form of change, especially for us who live in one of the largest democracies in the world," she said. "The heat released in the dispute must be transformed into constructive energy."

 

This humble message sounded like a sensible way to reunite a nation after a divisive and often bitter campaign. But it was also remarkably similar to the conciliatory language the president used last year to placate the million-plus protesters who took to the streets in a wave of demonstrations against poor public services, corruption and police brutality.

 

Back then, her promises to reform the political system quickly proved illusionary. Within days, congress in effect killed the plan. The limits on the president's powers were all too apparent.

This time, she is hoping to bypass that obstacle by calling for a plebiscite. "With a referendum, we will find the power and the legitimacy required at this time of transformation," she said.

 

A meaningful revision of the Brazilian system of governance is long overdue. Although this young democracy has been vibrant since the end of the dictatorship in 1985, the system is entwined with social inequality, impunity and rampant corruption.

 

There is a widespread desire for a cleaner, more efficient government, but it has long proved elusive. Argelina Figueiredo, a professor at Rio de Janeiro State University, said: "The government needs to go slowly. They are always proposing political reform, but nothing passes. It's all talk." If anything, the hurdles seem even higher than at the start of her first term in 2010.

 

Let us be optimistic.

 

K.Gajendra Singh, 28 October, 2014.Delhi


THE ROVING EYE
And the loser in Brazil is - neoliberalism
By Pepe Escobar 
Atimes 28 Oct 2014
http://www.atimes.com/atimes/World/WOR-01-281014.html

 

Sun, sex, samba, carnival and at least until the World Cup hammering by Germany, the "land of football". And don't forget "vibrant democracy". Even as it enjoys one of the highest soft power quotients around the world, Brazil remains submerged by cliches. 

"Vibrant democracy" certainly lived up to its billing as President Dilma Rousseff of the ruling Worker's Party (PT) was re-elected this Sunday in a tight run-off against opposition candidate Aecio Neves of the Social Democracy Party of Brazil (PSDB). 

Yet another cliche would rule this was the victory of "state-centric" policies against "structural reforms". Or the victory of "high social



spending" against a "pro-business" approach - which implies business as the privileged enemy of social equality. 

Exit cliches. Enter a cherished national motto: "Brazil is not for beginners". 

Indeed. Brazil's complexities boggle the mind. It starts with arguably the key, multi-layered message a divided country sent to winner Dilma Rousseff. We are part of a growing middle class. We are proud to be part of an increasingly less unequal nation. But we want social services to keep improving. We want more investment in education. We want inflation under control (at the moment, it's not). We support a very serious anti-corruption drive (here's where Dilma's Brazil meets Xi Jinping's China). And we want to keep improving on the economic success of the past decade. 

Rousseff seems to get the message. The question is how she will be able to deliver - in a continental-sized nation suffering from appalling education standards, with Brazilian manufacturing largely uncompetitive in global markets, and with corruption run amok. 

Those ignorant, arrogant elites
Brazil is now mired in dismal GDP growth (0.3%). Just blaming the global crisis doesn't cut it; South American neighbors Peru (3.6%) and Colombia (4.8%) are definitely going places in 2014. 

And yet the numbers are not that shabby. Job creation is up. Unemployment is down (only 5.4%). Investment in social infrastructure is picking up. From 2002 to 2014, the minimum wage more than tripled. GDP per capita is up, reaching roughly $9,000 while the gini coefficient of social inequality (2012 data) is down. 

Industrial production is back to the same level before the 2008 financial crisis. Brazil paid all its debts to the IMF. The proportion of debt in relation to GDP is falling - reaching only 33.8% in 2013. Workers have more purchasing power - and even with rising inflation, that mirrors better income distribution. 

Social programs have benefited 14 million families - roughly 50 million Brazilians. These policies may arguably be derided as too little, too late Keynesianism. But at least that's a start - in a nation exploited by immensely ignorant, arrogant and rapacious elites for centuries. 

Rousseff's first stint as president may also be blamed for too many concessions to big banks (extremely profitable in Brazil), powerful agribusiness interests and Big Capital. What happened, in a nutshell, is that the center-left Workers' Party swung to the center - and was compelled to make unsavory oligarchic alliances. The result is that a significant section of its social base - the metropolitan working class, now heavily indebted to sustain its brand new consumer dream - ended up flirting with the right as a political alternative. 

Add to it the PT's not exactly brilliant management skills. True, the fight against poverty is a lofty ideal. But in such an unequal nation, that will take at least until 2030 for really serious results. Meanwhile, serious planning is in order - such as building a high-speed rail between the two megalopolises, Rio and Sao Paulo (the Chinese would do it in a few months). And seriously tackling Brazil's oligopolies; banks, corporate media, construction/real estate conglomerates, the auto industry lobby. 

And the loser is - neoliberalism
Unlike the US and Europe, neoliberalism in Brazil has been repeatedly knocked out at the ballot box since 2002, when Lula was first elected president. As for the "social democrat" opposition, there's nothing social, and barely democratic, about it. The PSDB's pet project is turbo-neoliberalism, pure and simple. 

Team Neves had everything going for them. Their key constituency was in fact 60 million mostly angry Brazilian taxpayers - over 80% living and working in the wealthier southeastern seaboard. Life is tough if you are a Brazilian salaried professional or the owner of a small and medium-sized enterprise. The tax burden is on a par with the industrialized world, but you get virtually nothing in return. 

No wonder these irate taxpayers are desperate for decently paved roads, urban security, better public hospitals, a public school system they can send their children to, and less red tape and bureaucracy - which add to the nefarious, universally known "Brazilian cost" (as in no value for money). These are not Workers' Party voters - although some of them were. What they want is galaxies beyond the everyday tribulations of the new, large lower middle class created by the social programs first implemented by Lula. 

Yet with a mediocre candidate like Neves - he even lost in his home state, where he was governor - neoliberalism does not need enemies. 

Neves predictably billed himself as the dragon who would slay what Wall Street derides as "statism" - cutting government spending and "liberalizing" trade, code for privileging corporate US interests. At the same time Neves has never been able to capture the vote of an overburdened black woman in the favelas. 

With Neves, Brazil's future finance minister would have been Arminio Fraga, a slick operator who, among other things, ran high-risk funds in emerging markets for George Soros and is also a former president of Brazil's Central Bank. Some of his shenanigans are detailed in More Money than God: Hedge Funds and the Making of a New Elite, by Sebastian Mallaby. Fraga would have been the point man of a Soros-inspired government. 

Fraga is the proverbial Wall Street predator. With him at the Finance Ministry, think JP Morgan controlling Brazil's macroeconomic policy. The road in fact was already paved by PSDB's eminence, former president Fernando Henrique Cardoso, who met with key global investors - via JP Morgan - in New York last month. 

Fraga was keen on destroying the Lula and Rousseff administrations' "hyper-Keynesian bet on demand" and replace it with supply, via a new "capitalist shock". Predictably, his prescription was amplified by the enormous echo chamber of conservative Brazilian media, and drowned everything else. 

And as perception is reality, contamination ensued - pressuring public spending downwards, installing major confusion among private investors, and leading Western credit rating agencies to confirm the supposed lack of credibility of the Brazilian economy. 

And it's the US against the BRICS
Brazil is slowly but surely moving from the semi-periphery to being closer to the center of the action in international relations; because of its own regional geopolitical relevance and mostly because of its leading role among the BRICS. This is happening even as Washington could not give a damn about Brazil - or Latin America for that matter. US Think Tankland, by the way, abhors BRICS. 

Politically, a victory for the Cardoso/Neves neoliberals - a ghost of the social democracy they once practiced - would have thrown Brazilian foreign policy upside down; not only against the way the historical winds are blowing, but also against Brazil's own national interests. 

As Rousseff argued at the UN last month, Brazil is trying to fight a global crisis marked by increasing inequality without provoking unemployment and without sacrificing workers' jobs and salaries. As ace economist Theotonio dos Santos stressed the decadence of the West still exerting substantial influence over the Global South via their extensive network of collaborators, he also went one up; the key fight, as he sees it, is to control Brazilian oil. 

Dos Santos is referring to Brazil's top corporation, Petrobras, currently mired in a bribery scandal - which must be fully investigated - that obscures the Holy Grail: the future revenues from "pre-salt" oil - named after the billions of barrels of oil capped by a thick layer of salt lying several miles below the south Atlantic floor. Petrobras plans to invest $221 billion up to 2018 to unlock this treasure - and expects to make a profit even if oil trades around $45 to $50 a barrel. 

Politically, in a nutshell, Rousseff's narrow victory is crucial for the future of a progressive, integrated South America. It will reinvigorate Mercosur - the common market of the South - as well as Unasur - the union of South American nations. This goes way beyond free trade; it's about close regional integration, in parallel to close Eurasia integration. 

And starting in 2015, Brazil may be on the road to renewed economic expansion again - largely boosted by the fruits of "pre-salt" and compounded with accelerated building of roads, railways, ports and airports. That is bound to have a ripple effect across Brazil's neighbors. 

As for Washington/Wall Street, the Empire of Chaos is certainly not happy - and that's a major euphemism, especially after betting on the wrong horse, Marina Silva, a sort of Amazon rainforest-born female counterpart to Obama's "change we can believe in". The fact is as much as the Brazilian model of income distribution is against the interests of big business, Brazilian foreign policy is now diametrically opposed to Washington's. 

On a lighter note, at least some things will remain the same. Like "Dilma's diary" - an apocryphal, satirical, ghost written take on the President's busy schedule published by top Brazilian monthly Piaui, a somewhat local version of The New Yorker. Here's a typical entry: "I watched a whole pirate copy of Homeland. Awesome! We stayed up late, me and Patriota [the former Minister of Foreign Affairs]. He found the whole thing extremely believable!" 

Who said a "vibrant democracy" can't also be fun? 

Pepe Escobar is the author of Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War (Nimble Books, 2007), Red Zone Blues: a snapshot of Baghdad during the surge (Nimble Books, 2007), and Obama does Globalistan (Nimble Books, 2009). 

He may be reached at pepeasia@yahoo.com.
 

Yedizis of Sanjar: Victims of US, Sunni Allies & Gulf Gas pumps

 

 

Yedizis of Sanjar: Victims of US, Sunni Allies & Gulf Gas pumps

US  Stirred –up  Muslims  Still Carry on Mayhem around the World

 

When questioned if he had any regrets in supporting Islamic fundamentalism in Afghanistan during 1980s, Zbigniew Brzezinski in a January 1998 interview with Le Nouvel Observateur, Paris, replied, "What is most important to the history of the world? The Taliban or the collapse of the Soviet empire? Some stirred-up Moslems or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the cold war?"." Nonsense--" responded Brzezinski when asked "If Islamic fundamentalism represents a world menace today." Brzezinski was President Jimmy Carter's National Security Adviser

 

 

In 1977, I was somewhat puzzled when a Shah era high-powered Iranian delegation I was associated with left behind a Silver Peacock gift for me at a time when newly rich petro-Arabs gifted themselves and others gold Swiss watches. I had no idea what the Silver Peacock signified .I forgot all about it, but carried it around with me to Africa, Europe, Middle East and Turkey. Now it is with my granddaughter Tara Breuer in Brussels.

 

When I was posted to Turkey a second time in 1992, I learnt about the religious symbolism of Peacock (Melek Taus ) a figure of utter reverence and worship by a somewhat obscure and not so known religious sect of Yedizis /Yadizis. Although I had travelled extensively in Turkey during my first tenure in 1969- 73, the overall impression given was that Turkey's population was mostly composed of Turks from Central Asia, although when I visited East and South-East Turkey in places like Diyarbakir, Bingol, Lake Van etc it was quite clear that there were other nationalities and sub-nationalities  apart from Turks; like Kurds ,Laz ( along east Black Sea coast) , and even miniscule Armenians mostly hidden in north east or in Istanbul and of course the Jews. Not all the inhabitants of Turkey are Sunnis; there are Alevis, Alawites, Suryanis and other ancient Christians. Asia Minor /Anatolia were the crucible of earlier Christianity and a bridge to Europe.

 

Very little material was available on Turkic Central Asia, which was then part of the Soviet Union. In fact, a prominent Turkish leader, late Col Alp Aslan Turkesh, told me that he met with Turks from Central Asia for the first time only when posted in New Delhi and invited by Indira Gandhi for receptions for delegations from Soviet Union, which invariably had members from Turkic speaking Central Asian republics like Uzbekistan etc. Turks from Turkey and Central Asian Soviet republics could not meet each other because of rigid restrictions. Many Turkic republic Soviet members of delegations or diplomats always replied that they were from Moscow.

 

However, it must be remembered that in Turkey's population , those who came from Central Asia is no more than 15%, the rest are original inhabitants of Anatolia/Asia Minor and of course the Kurds and others. The Central Asian Turks were very Catholic in their outlook and secular. Most of them are Alevis who are now treated badly by the dominant converted Sunni Turks. Stubborn central Anatolians resisted being converted to Christianity and then Islam and easily hid inside cavernous underground cities and moonscape like chimneys very popular with tourists in Cappadocia .They form the backbone of Islamist Development and Justice Party (AKP), now going astray.

 

During my 1992-96 tenure, the flow of Turkic people and information from Central Asian republics was much more .Further stay of 2 years as a journalist was helpful. Although there were some limitations, but I was able to visit east and south-east of Turkey and met with Kurds, Alevis, Suryanis and even Yedizis.

 

On my trip in Turn Abdin , apart from visiting some old Christian monasteries, Armenian and Greek Churches mostly in ruins , places of Suryani worship, I passed by some  villages which were mostly inhabited by Yedizis. Thanks to some friends. I even visited a village of Yedizis .I even took some photographs of a Yedizi family members and inquired about their religion and beliefs. I was told that Muslims and others wrongly described Yedizis as devil worshippers. They claimed that Yedizi Arch -angel (Melek Taus) was a reformed devil...When I asked them where the religion had come from; I was told that most probably from India. Probably because of its Indo-Aryan Zoarastrian linkages.

 

From the top of the city of Mardin I could see miles of the plains of the valley of Euphrates and Tigris spreading towards the Gulf .It was my wish when posted to Amman, Jordan in 1989 that after settling down I would be able to hop over to Baghdad and having visited remains of Mesopotamian civilisation and Holy places like Najaf and Karbala earlier, would be able to visit north Iraq ie ancient Nineveh and Sanjar, the Jerusalem of Yazidis and other ancient spots.

 

Alas on 2nd August, a frustrated and cornered Saddam Hussain invaded Kuwait and instead, apart from members of Indian Mission and Indians in Iraq and most of the Indians in Kuwait, in all around 140,000 passed through Amman ,by air , by buses , cars and other means .Half of them had to be transported , housed , fed and later half in relief camps and all sent by air flights after fulfilling unnecessary formalities .The worst were the official delegations which made life miserable .They included crude rude , drunken and smuggler members , wanting 24 hours attention and hospitality and making undue and unreasonable demands from a very helpful Jordan administration . I was left to hang dry by the External Affairs ministry and the two governments of VP Singh and PV N Rao.

 

http://tarafits.blogspot.in/2014/10/indian-citizens-committee-kuwait-april.html

http://www.atimes.com/atimes/South_Asia/DL13Df01.html

 

Watch this space.

 

Before the explosion in the means of commutation by books, telephones, wireless, air travel, people had curious ideas about each other. During my first tenure in Ankara, even educated Turks still thought that there were large number of Buddhists in India .India was a land of snake charmers  and Maharajas .Turks in central Asia were secular and open to all religions ,some even followed Buddhism in Central Asia before they were invaded by Muslim troops and generally forcibly converted to Islam. Sufism, which has emerged from Central Asia and not Arab lands, includes many aspects of Buddhism.

 

Let us now turn to Yedizis

 

While the British encouraged Muslims in India and succeeded in creating Pakistan, in Arab countries like Egypt, London crated the Muslim Brotherhood to first counter nationalist parties under King Farouk and later against Col Abdul Gamal Nasser, as did the Israelis Hamas against Arafat .Since 1979 end there has been a continuation of Nexus between, US/UK/Israel-Riyadh/Wahabis-Rawalpindi/Islamabad which has destroyed the peace and prosperity in South West Asia, West Asia and north Africa.

 

Yedizis are one of the oldest of believers like many others in the region who have and will continue to suffer from terrorist activities led and sponsored by Washington and its allies.

 

The Yazidi (also Yezidi, Êzidî, Yazdani, ایزدیان, Եզդիներ, Езиды) are a Kurdish-speaking people who adhere to a branch of Persian religions that blends elements of Mithraism, pre-Islamic Mesopotamian/Assyrian religious traditions, Christianity and Islam. In addition to Kurdish, there are significant Yazidi communities who speak Arabic as their native language. Their principal holy site is in Lalish, northeast of Mosul. The Yazidis' own name for themselves is Êzidî or Êzîdî or, in some areas, Dasinî (the latter, strictly speaking, is a tribal name). Some scholars have derived the name Yazidi from Old Iranian yazata (divine being), but most say it is a derivation from Umayyad Caliph Yazid I (Yazid bin Mu'awiya), revered by the Yazidis as an incarnation of the divine figure Sultan Ezi. Yazidis, themselves, believe that their name is derived from the word Yezdan or Êzid "God". The Yazidis' cultural practices are observably in Kurdish, and almost all speak Kurmanjî with the exception of the villages of Bashiqa and Bahazane, where Arabic is spoken. Kurmanjî is the language of almost all the orally transmitted religious traditions of the Yazidis.

 

The religion of the Yazidis has many influences: Sufi influence and imagery can be seen in their religious vocabulary, especially in the terminology of their esoteric literature, but much of the theology is non-Islamic. Their cosmogonies apparently have many points in common with those of ancient Persian religions. Early writers attempted to describe Yazidi origins, broadly speaking, in terms of Islam, or Persian, or sometimes even pagan religions; however, publications since the 1990s have shown such an approach to be simplistic.

 

Yazidis have five daily prayers:

 

Nivêja berîspêdê (the Dawn Prayer), Nivêja rojhilatinê (the Sunrise Prayer), Nivêja nîvro (the Noon Prayer), Nivêja êvarî (the Afternoon Prayer), Nivêja rojavabûnê (the Sunset Prayer). However, most Yedizis observe only two of these, the sunrise and sunset prayers.

 

Worshipers should turn their face toward the sun, and for the noon prayer, they should face toward Laliş. Such prayer should be accompanied by certain gestures, including kissing the rounded neck (gerîvan) of the sacred shirt (kiras). The daily prayer services must not be performed in the presence of outsiders, and are always performed in the direction of the sun. Wednesday is the holy day, but Saturday is the day of rest. There is also a three-day fast in December

 

Festivals;

The Yazidi New Year falls in Spring (somewhat later than the Equinox). There is some lamentation by women in the cemeteries, to the accompaniment of the music of the Qewals, but the festival is generally characterized by joyous events: the music of dehol (drum) and zorna (shawm), communal dancing and meals, the decorating of eggs.

 

Similarly, the village Tawaf, a festival held in the spring in honor of the patron of the local shrine, has secular music, dance and meals in addition to the performance of sacred music. Another important festival is the Tawûsgeran (circulation of the peacock) where Qewals and other religious dignitaries visit Yazidi villages, bringing the senjaq, sacred images of a peacock made from brass symbolising Tawûsê Melek. These are venerated, taxes are collected from the pious, sermons are preached and holy water distributed.

 

The greatest festival of the year for ordinary Yazidis is the Cejna Cemaiya "Feast of the Assembly" at Lalish, a seven-day occasion. A focus of widespread pilgrimage, this is an important time for social contact and affirmation of identity. The religious center of the event is the belief in an annual gathering of the Heptad in the holy place at this time. Rituals practiced include the sacrifice of a bull at the shrine of Şêx Shams and the practice of sema.

Pilgrimage

 

Tomb of Sheikh Adi ibn Musafir (Şêx Adî) in Lalish

 

The most important ritual is the annual seven-day pilgrimage to the tomb of Sheikh Adi ibn Musafir (Şêx Adî) in Lalish, north of Mosul, Iraq. A sacred microcosm of the world, as it were, it contains not only many shrines dedicated to the koasasa, but a number of other landmarks corresponding to other sites or symbols of significance in other faiths, including Pirra selat "Sat Bridge" and a mountain called Mt. Arafat. The two sacred springs are called Zamzam and Kaniya Sipî"The White Spring".

 

If possible, Yazidis make at least one pilgrimage to Laliş during their lifetime, and those living in the region try to attend at least once a year for the autumn Feast of the Assembly which is celebrated from 23 Aylūl (September) to 1 Tashrīn (October). During the celebration, Yazidi bathe in the river, wash figures of Tawûsê Melek and light hundreds of lamps in the tombs of Şêx Adî and other saints. They also sacrifice an ox, which is one reason they have been connected to Mithraism, in addition to the presence of the dog and serpent in their iconography. The sacrifice of the ox is meant to declare the arrival of fall and to ask for precipitation during winter in order to bring back life to the Earth in the next spring. Moreover, in astrology, the ox is the symbol of Tashrīn.

.

Purity and Taboos

The Yazidis' concern with religious purity, and their reluctance to mix elements perceived to be incompatible, is shown in not only their caste system, but also various taboos affecting everyday life. Some of these, such as those on exogamy or on insulting or offending men of religion, are widely respected.

 

The purity of the four elements Earth, Air, Fire and Water is protected by a number of taboos, e.g. against spitting on earth, water or fire. Some discourage spitting or pouring hot water on the ground because they believe that spirits or souls that may be present would be harmed or offended by such actions if they happen to be hit by the discarded liquid. These may also reflect ancient Iranian preoccupations, as apparently do taboos concerning bodily waste, hair and menstrual blood.

 

Too much contact with non-Yazidis is also considered polluting. In the past, Yazidis avoided military service which would have led them to live among Muslims, and were forbidden to share such items as cups or razors with outsiders. A resemblance to the external ear may lie behind the taboo against eating head lettuce, whose name koas resembles Yazidi pronunciations of koasasa. Additionally, lettuce grown near Mosul is thought by some Yazidi to be fertilized with human waste, which may contribute to the idea that it is unsuitable for consumption. However, in a BBC interview in April 2010, a senior Yazidi authority stated that ordinary Yazidis may eat what they want, but holy men refrain from certain vegetables (including cabbage) because "they cause gases".Yazidis refrain from wearing the colour blue (or possibly green as stated in Soldier Poet and Rebel by Miles Hudson). The origins of this prohibition are unknown, but may either be because blue represents Noah's flood, or it was possibly the colour worn by a conquering king sometime in the past. Alternatively, the prohibition may arise from their veneration of the Peacock Angel and an unwillingness to usurp His colour.

 

Customs

Children are baptized at birth and circumcision is common but not required. Dead are buried in conical tombs immediately after death and buried with hands crossed.

Yazidi are dominantly monogamous but chiefs may be polygamous, having more than one wife. Yazidi are exclusively endogamous; clans do not intermarry even with other Kurds and accept no converts. They claim they are descended only from Adam and not from Eve.

A severe punishment is expulsion, which is also effectively excommunication because the soul of the exiled is forfeit.

In 2007, an incidence of honour killing—the stoning of Du'a Khalil Aswad—made world headlines.[45]

 

Folklore

The tale of the Yazidis' origin found in the Black Book gives them a distinctive ancestry and expresses their feeling of difference from other races. Before the roles of the sexes were determined, Adam and Eve quarreled about which of them provided the creative element in the begetting of children. Each stored their seed in a jar which was then sealed. When Eve's was opened it was full of insects and other unpleasant creatures, but inside Adam's jar was a beautiful boy child. This lovely child, known as son of Jar grew up to marry a houri and became the ancestor of the Yazidis. Therefore, the Yazidi are regarded as descending from Adam alone, while other humans are descendants of both Adam and Eve.

 

The bulk of the Yazidi population lives in Iraq, where they make up an important Iraqi minority community. Estimates of the size of these communities vary significantly, between 70,000 and 500,000. They are particularly concentrated in northern Iraq in the Nineveh Province. The two biggest communities are in Shekhan, northeast of Mosul, and in Sinjar, at the Syrian border 80 kilometers (50 mi) west of Mosul.. 

 

Historically, the Yazidi lived primarily in communities in locales that are in present-day IraqSyria, and Turkey, and also had significant numbers in Armenia and Georgia. However, events during many recent decades have resulted in considerable demographic shift in these areas as well as mass emigration. As a result, population estimates are unclear in many regions, and estimates of the size of the total population vary.

 

During the 20th century, the Shekhan community struggled for dominance with the more conservative Sinjar community. The demographic profile has probably changed considerably since the the Iraq War in 2003 and the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime.

 

 Yazidi in Syria live primarily in two communities, one in the Al-Jazira area and the other in the Kurd-Dagh. Population numbers for the Syrian Yazidi community are unclear. In 1963, the community was estimated at about 10,000, according to the national census, but numbers for 1987 were unavailable. There may be between about 12,000 and 15,000 Yazidi in Syria today, though more than half of the community may have emigrated from Syria since the 1980s. Estimates are further complicated by the arrival of as many as 50,000 Yazidi refugees from Iraq during the Iraq War.

 

The Turkish Yazidi community declined precipitously during the 20th century. By 1982 it had decreased to about 30,000, and in 2009 there were fewer than 500. Most Turkish Yazidi have emigrated to Europe, particularly Germany; those who remain reside primarily in their former heartland of Tur Abdin.

 

 Population estimates for the communities in Georgia and Armenia vary, but they too have declined severely. In Georgia the community fell from around 30,000 people to fewer than 5,000 during the 1990s. The numbers in Armenia may have been somewhat more stable; there may be around 40,000 Yazidi still in Armenia. Most Georgian and Armenian Yazidi have relocated to Russia, which recorded a population of 31,273 Yazidis in the 2002 census.

 

This mass emigration has resulted in the establishment of large diaspora communities abroad. The most significant of these is in Germany, which now has a Yazidi community of over 40,000. Most are from Turkey and, more recently, Iraq and live in the western states of North Rhine-Westphalia and Lower Saxony. Since 2008 Sweden has seen sizable growth in its Yazidi emigrant community, which had grown to around 4,000 by 2010, and a smaller community exists in the Netherlands. Other diaspora groups live in BelgiumDenmark,FranceSwitzerland, the United Kingdom, the United StatesCanada, and Australia; these have a total population of probably less than 5,000.

 

In August 2007, some 500 Yazidis were killed in a coordinated series of bombings in Qahtaniya that became the deadliest suicide attack since the Iraq War began. In August 2009, at least 20 people were killed and 30 wounded in a double suicide bombing in northern Iraq, an Iraqi Interior Ministry official said. Two suicide bombers with explosive vests carried out the attack at a cafe in Sinjar, a town west of Mosul. In Sinjar, many townspeople are members of the Yazidi minority.

 

The Salafist militant group Islamic State, which considers the Yazidi devil-worshippers, overtook Sinjar in August 2014 following the withdrawal of Peshmerga troops, forcing up to 50,000 Yazidis to flee into the nearby mountainous region. Threatened with death at the hands of militants and faced with starvation in the mountains, their plight received international media coverage, leading American President Obama to authorize humanitarian airdrops of food and water onto Sinjar Mountain and US airstrikes against militants in support of the beleaguered religious minority. The humanitarian assistance began on 7 August 2014.

Savage ISIS Attacks on Yedizis

In the beginning of August , media reported  that Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) which had conquered large swathes of land in Iraq and Syria , went after a relatively tiny Yazidi community has been left stranded in Sanjar region of north Iraq amid talk of "genocide" against them. As many as 40,000 civilians, many of whom are Yazidi, were trapped on the barren top of Mount Sinjar, facing a grim choice between engaging the ISIS army and starvation or dehydration if they remain.

"There are children dying on the mountain, on the roads," Marzio Babille, cried the Iraq representative for the United Nations Children's Fund. "There is no water, there is no vegetation; they are completely cut off and surrounded by Islamic State. It's a disaster, a total disaster."Prince Tahseen Said, "the world leader of the Yazidis," and other Yazidi leaders have been left begging for help from world leaders.

"I ask for aid and to lend a hand and help the people of Sinjar areas and its affiliates and villages and complexes which are home to the people of the Yazidi religion. I invite [you] to assume [your] humanitarian and nationalistic responsibilities towards them and help them in their plight and the difficult conditions in which they live today," Said wrote in an appeal to the region's leaders, as well as Europe, the U.N., and the U.S.

In an impassioned speech, Vian Dakheel, a Yazidi member of the Iraqi parliament, took things a step further. Collapsing in tears, she directly said her people were facing "genocide" and would be "butchered" unless ISIS were stopped.

"As we speak there is genocide taking place against the Yazidis," Dakheel said, "My people are being slaughtered!"

The Sinjar section of the Nineveh Province in northern Iraq.There are only perhaps 200,000 to 300,000 Yazidis worldwide, according to the Encyclopedia Iranica, a collaborative academic project based at Columbia University, and they are overwhelmingly concentrated in northern Iraq. Less than 5,000 Yazidis are in the U.S., the encyclopedia said. 

This misunderstanding is partially due to the "Malak Ṭāʾus" figure's other name, which is similar to the Koran's word for "Satan," according to LookLex, another encyclopedia focused on the Middle East region.

"The reason for the Yazidis' reputation of being devil worshipers is connected to the other name of Malak Ta'us, Shaytan, the same name as the Koran's for Satan," the encyclopedia said.

These accusations of devil worship, combined with the powder keg of religious tension in the region, have left the small community of Yazidis in a vulnerable position. ISIS has a particularly brutal policy toward such religious minorities, Theodore Karasik, director of research at the Institute for Near East and Gulf Military Analysis.

"[The militant policy of] either convert or be killed is a very powerful message," Karasik said. "This group is going to be creating more refugee flows as it moves in different directions within the multi-ethnic structure of Iraq."

But persecution of the Yazidis goes back centuries. The Ottoman Empire is said to have slaughtered hundreds of Yazidis. In the modern era, when the nearby Kurds, Sunnis, and Shiites are engaged in violent conflict after the U.S. largely withdrew its military from Iraq, things have only grown worse for the sect.

"Everyone considers us infidels," said Samir Babasheikh, whose father is the Yazidis' spiritual leader. "Sunnis and Shiites are killing each other even though they are both Muslims, so imagine what they will do to us, people from a completely different religion."

RT.com stated that extremists from the Islamic State have killed at least 500 people, including women and children. Some of the victims were buried alive.The killings reported by Iraqi Human Rights Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani to Reuters adds to a long list of atrocities...

"We have striking evidence obtained from Yazidis fleeing [their ancient home city of] Sinjar and some who escaped death, and also crime scene images that show indisputably that the gangs of the Islamic State have executed at least 500 Yazidis after seizing Sinjar," Sudani said.

The ISIL militants offer people living in territories they control to either convert to their faith or face death.

 

Islamic State militants claim the capture, enslavement and sale of thousands of Yazidi women and children had been ordered by God in a magazine purportedly published by the terror group.

The latest issue of Dabiq attempted to justify the militants' snaring of thousands of innocent Yazidis during an assault on the Iraqi city of Sinjar in August.

 

Explaining why Yazidis have been sold into sex slavery while those from other groups have not, the magazine claims Islamic Sharia law allows the enslavement of innocent 'polytheists and pagans' but not of those the militants regard as simply heretical. Tens of thousands of Yazidis were forced to flee for their lives - many of them into the nearby Sinjar mountains and then into Kurdish-held regions of northern Iraq. 

However many were captured by the militants, resulting in the massacre of hundreds of men and the selling into slavery of women and children, after they were first divided up between ISIS fighters