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January 5, 2020 Special Dispatch No. 8461

Kommersant Observer Gurevich: Instead Of Inflicting New Prohibitions Each Week The Government Should Go Ahead And Ban Everything

January 5, 2020
Russia | Special Dispatch No. 8461
Kommersant observer Mikhail Gurevich, writing at the close of 2019, takes stock of the spate of restrictive laws passed by the legislature and signed into law by Vladimir Putin. Particularly irksome was the prohibition on the sale of smartphones and computers without domestic software, a law opposed by Russian producers and retailers. Gurevich in a column titled " The government is no longer prepared to even fake democracy" makes a modest proposals: Instead of having Russia's leaders invent new prohibitions each week and then turn somersaults in justifying them, Russia should take the restrictive legal spirit to its ultimate absurd conclusion. The legislature should ban everything. This by reverse logic will force the country's leaders to come up with new things that they will allow the country's citizens. A translation of Gurevich's column follows below: [1] Mikhail Gurevich (Source: Kommersant.ru) "In a Soviet anecdote an overly devoted mother calls her son yelling from the window 'Vasya come home!' The son screams in response: 'Have I already caught cold?' 'No– answers the parent – you are getting hungry'. The Russians' relation with their government increasingly recalls this old joke. "It is much simpler to communicate with us as with small children – to nurture and mentor largely however with the aid of prohibitions. The fundamental principle of global jurisdiction in our local reading has been altered from 'everything that is not prohibited is permissible' into 'all is prohibited except for what is permitted.' But here as well there are some nuances. At the start of the year, everybody laughed at the unexpected receipt of the right to gather twigs. But only at the end of 2019 did the news appear that we somehow were gathering it wrongly. Already the bureaucrats were publishing new regulations, issuing clarification and threatening fines. "The prohibitions are not the major novelty of the preceding year; simply over the past 365 days they have attained such previously unreachable heights that they have become mundane. The adaptation to this daily occurrence occurred on a strictly scientific basis at all its stages – denial, anger, bargaining, depression and finally acceptance. "It became a curiosity, what would the next law limit, and what rationale would they use for it. Of course it was generally for the people's welfare but the details are interesting. The restrictions on smoking on the balconies became the pinnacle of course. "More than anything else is what cannot be done on the internet. "And here the justifications actually defy the imagination – take the law on the sovereign internet alone! (that was passed in connection with the danger that Runet could be severed from the global web.) "To write this and seriously discuss it without laughing, you must have the degree of courage and exalted status of a State Duma deputy. "The only upsetting thing is that all these hilarious and unrealizable prohibitions, limitations, and regulations are most frequently accompanied by courts with subsequent fines and actual prison terms, while the charges with their murkiness take precedence over clarifications by [Duma] deputies. "For that reason I wish on everybody's behalf, that in the coming year they will decisively and mercilessly prohibit us everything. For this is the only way to abort this trend. Even the State Duma is unnecessary. A brief two-word presidential decree will do: All is forbidden, signature. And already after a couple of minutes the first buds of our new life will germinate: A decree on permission to breathe, blink, sit and stand – and everything will suddenly change. The officials and deputies will be racing and searching to initiate more and more options. Each day they will permit us something else. "Dream on you say. The main thing is that it is not forbidden. Happy New Year!   [1] Kommersant.ru, December 30, 2019.

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Jan 04, 2020
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Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to Family of Qasem Soleimani: Everybody Will Avenge His Blood; America's Evil Hand Will Be Severed from the Region

#7693 | 01:45
Source: Channel 1 (Iran)IRINN TV (Iran)

On January 4, 2020, Channel 1 (Iran) and IRINN TV (Iran) aired reports and footage from Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s visit to the family of Qasem Soleimani. He told the family that Soleimani’s service to Iran will not be forgotten and that Iran has the absolute right to avenge his blood. He said that the U.S. does not realize what a grave mistake it has made and that the consequences of this mistake will be seen by the U.S. in the coming years, but not immediately. In addition, President Rouhani praised Soleimani, saying that he had been such a great man that he was killed by the greatest terrorist in history, and not just by any terrorist. Soleimani’s daughter asked President Rouhani who will avenge her father’s blood, and Rouhani responded: “Everybody will avenge his blood. Don’t worry.”

Following are excerpts:

 

On Channel 1:

Reporter: The President said: "The services of the great martyr Soleimani for the security of the country and the region cannot be forgotten. America's crimes will join their greatest and most unforgettable crimes against the Iranian people. The right of the Iranian people to avenge General Soleimani's blood is appropriate and absolute."

President Rouhani: Inshallah, as the Jihad continues, when the day comes when we see America's evil hand severed from this region once and for all – that will be the day when we will have exacted real revenge upon them.

 

[…]

 

They do not realize what a grave mistake they have made. They will not see the consequences of their mistake today, but in the coming years.

 

[…]

 

On IRINN TV:

President Rouhani: The status of this great man was such that he was not martyred at the hand of a regular person or terrorist, but at the hand of the greatest terrorist in history.

 

[…]

 

May God protect you. May Got give you patience. May God reward you.

 

[…]

 

Qasem Soleimani's Daughter: Who plans to avenge the blood of my father?

President Rouhani: They will avenge it. Everybody. Everybody will avenge his blood. Don't worry.

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Jan 03, 2020
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Mohammad Marandi, Head of American Studies at Tehran University on Al-Jazeera: American, Western Citizens Should Leave the Region Immediately

#7692 | 02:04
Source: Al-Jazeera Network (Qatar)

Mohammad Marandi, the Head of American Studies at Tehran University, said in a January 3, 2020 interview on Al-Jazeera Network (Qatar) that the United States’ killing of IRGC General Qasem Soleimani earlier that day was at attack against the Iranian and Iraqi people, and he warned that Americans and Westerners in Iraq, in the UAE, or elsewhere in Southwest Asia should leave the region immediately. He said that the U.S. acts with impunity in Iraq, that it created Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, that it brought about 9/11, that it is responsible for the existence of Saudi-funded Wahhabi terror groups such as ISIS, and that it is guilty of destroying the Middle East. In addition, Marandi said that Israel is also guilty of supporting terror groups in Syria, and he added that the killing of Qasem Soleimani constitutes an act of war against both Iran and Iraq. Furthermore, Marandi warned that the countries that stand by America’s actions will pay the price.

Following are excerpts:

 

Mohammad Marandi: This [U.S. killing of Qasem Soleimani] is targeting the Iranian people, it is targeting the Iraqi people. In my opinion, Western citizens should leave the region immediately. If I was in the United Arab Emirates, in Iraq, or elsewhere, I would think of leaving as soon as possible.

 

[…]

 

Who is it that continues to act with impunity in Iraq and that murders Iraqi soldiers who are fighting ISIS? It is the regime in Washington. Who created Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan? Who created the menace that brought about 9/11? It was the United States. Who supported the extremist groups in Syria? Who destroyed Syria? Who is responsible for the rise of ISIS, Al-Qaeda, Jaysh al-Islam, and other such terrible evil groups that are Wahhabi-oriented and funded by Saudi Arabia, and who the Israeli regime allowed to be based alongside their borders with Syria, alongside the occupied Golan Heights, in fact…

 

[…]

 

So it is the Americans that are guilty of destroying this region.

 

[…]

 

The menace of Western countries in this part of the world – and the rest of the world – is nothing new. Colonialism, Eurocentrism, hegemony and empire have been a part of this reality that we are living. But how the United States has gone too far. They have carried out an act of war against a sovereign country – they have carried out an act of war against two sovereign countries. And those regimes that stand by the U.S. in this act of war will have to pay the price as well.

 

[…]

 

If I was an American in Iraq, I would leave now.  If I was an American in any part of Southwest Asia, I would leave immediately.

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Dec 25, 2019
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Hanna Isa, Sec.-Gen. of Islamic-Christian Council for the Protection of Jerusalem: Our Goal in ICC Proceedings against Israel Is to Convict Ordinary Israelis of War Crimes; Palestinians, PA Are Also Legally Exposed to Accusations of War Crimes

#7691 | 01:43
Source: Al-Alam TV (Iran)

Hanna Isa, the Secretary-General of the Islamic-Christian Council for the Protection of Jerusalem, said in a December 25, 2019 interview on Al-Alam TV (Iran) that the goal of the International Criminal Court proceedings against Israel is to reach an outcome in which the court rules that ordinary Israelis have committed war crimes. Isa said that the proceedings also leave individual Palestinians and the Palestinian Authority exposed to litigation and similar accusations of war crimes. He added that the Palestinian Authority is obligated to extradite any individuals whom the court requests be extradited.

 

Hanna Isa: The proceedings [of the ICC] take a long time. This does not mean that we did not win. As Palestinians, our basic goal is to reach an outcome in which [the ICC rules that] ordinary people in Israel have committed war crimes. A few things need to be considered here. This means that we, as a state, have responsibilities… We, as Palestinians, may be [sued] by private persons, whether on behalf of Israel as a state or on behalf of organizations or companies…

Interviewer: So we should be ready for their response?

Hanna Isa: Yes, they will be coming after us. They will start [suing]…

Interviewer: Do you think we are ready for such a response?

Hanna Isa: To this point, undoubtedly no. We are talking as if this is only about Israel and as if we will be left alone. This is not the case. We are exposed to this just like the Israelis, because of the attacks in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, the missiles launched from the Gaza Strip, or attacks that were carried out within Israel's 1948 borders, whether with weapons or shooting… Israel can [sue directly] or through its supporters. We are more exposed to investigation than Israel is, because we are signatories to the agreement. Wherever we go in the region, signatory states might arrest us, and say that we are war criminals who must be extradited to the ICC. Moreover, the Palestinian Authority is obligated to extradite [individuals]. If the court demands the extradition of this or that person… The PA has an obligation to extradite that person. On top of that, from the moment the case beings in court to the moment it ends, you are required to pay the cost.

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January 4, 2020 Special Announcements No. 859

Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor (JTTM) Weekend Summary: Week of December 28, 2019-January 4, 2020

January 4, 2020
Special Announcements No. 859
The following are some of this week's reports from the MEMRI Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor (JTTM) Project, which translates and analyzes content from sources monitored around the clock, among them the most important jihadi websites and blogs. (To view these reports in full, you must be a paying member of the JTTM; for membership information, send an email to jttmsubs@memri.org with "Membership" in the subject line.) Note to media and government: For a full copy of these reports, send an email with the title of the report in the subject line to media@memri.org. Please include your name, title, and organization in your email.   EXCLUSIVE: Head Of Asa'ib Ahl Al-Haq Militia: The Punishment For Killing Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis Will Be The Complete Elimination Of The American Military Presence In Iraq The following report is now a complimentary offering from MEMRI's Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor (JTTM). For JTTM subscription information, click here. Responding to the death of Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis, deputy-head of the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), and Qassem Soleimani, head of the Qods Force in Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), who were killed January 2, 2020 by missiles fired at their vehicle, Sheikh Qais Khaz'ali, heads of the Asa'ib Ahl al-Haq militia, threatened that the price for the death of Al-Muhandis would be the complete expulsion of the Americans from Iraq, and that the price of Soleimani's death would be the complete demise of Israel.   EXCLUSIVE: Al-Naba' Article Counsels ISIS Fighters To Exhaust Their Enemies By Forcing Them To Remain On High Alert On December 19, 2019, in light of Iraq's state of alert due to ISIS attacks, an article was published in Al-Naba' titled: "A State of Intense Alert Is Also A Goal of The Mujahideen." According to the article, ISIS fighters should keep the organization's enemies in a constant state of defensiveness and high alert in order to exhaust them, thus causing their collapse and preventing them from initiating attacks against ISIS.   EXCLUSIVE: Afghan Taliban Spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid: 'The Islamic Emirate Has No Intention Of Declaring A Ceasefire' The following report is now a complimentary offering from MEMRI's Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor (JTTM). For JTTM subscription information, click here. On December 30, 2019, Associated Press (AP) reported that 5,000 Taliban prisoners will be freed as part of a deal between the U.S. and the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (the Taliban organization).  The AP report, quoting a Taliban official familiar with the U.S.-Taliban talks in Qatar, states that the release of the Taliban prisoners "has been written in to the peace agreement," which is to be signed sometime soon.   EXCLUSIVE: Jihadi Social Media – Account Review (JSM-AR): Facebook User Near Arizona Border Posts Content From Jihadi Clerics And Interacts With Fellow Jihadis On Facebook Platform: Facebook   EXCLUSIVE: Formerly Incarcerated ISIS Supporter Originally from Philadelphia, Praises ISIS, Abu-Bakr Al Baghdadi On Facebook Online Incitement - Account Review The following information is based on a general overview of a social media account demonstrating an affinity for the ideology of the Islamic State. Platform(s): Facebook   EXCLUSIVE: New Video From Its Supporters Depicts ISIS Urban Warfare Raid And Retreat Tactic A pro-Islamic State (ISIS) Telegram channel has released the first in a series of videos titled "The Temporary Capture of Cities as a Modus Operandi for the Mujahideen."   EXCLUSIVE: In Part I Of New Da'wah Series, Al-Qaeda Leader Al-Zawahiri Presents Detailed Arguments Against Atheism On December 27, 2019, the media arm of Al-Qaeda released a video featuring the group's leader Ayman Al-Zawahiri presenting a lengthy argument against atheism, which he describes as an "ancient phenomenon that seeks to undermine Islam and its creed."   Al-Qaeda Commemorates 9/11 Attacks In Its 'One Ummah' Magazine On December 31, 2019, Al-Qaeda’s media wing, released the third issue of its One Ummah [Ummah Wahidah] magazine. The 110-page magazine, released in PDF format on Al-Qaeda channels online, is dedicated to the commemoration of the 19th anniversary (according to the Hijri calendar) of the 9/11 attack.   Al-Shabab Releases The 18th Installment Of Its 'Punish Them Severely In Order To Disperse Those Who Are Behind Them' Series, Documenting Raids In Lower Shabelle On December 30, 2019, the Al-Qaeda affiliate in Somalia, Harakat Al-Shabab Al-Mujahideen (Al-Shabab), released the 18th installment of its video series "Punish Them Severely In Order To Disperse Those Who Are Behind Them," documenting three separate raids on what it describes as military bases of the "Western-backed Somali government militias," in Lower Shabelle, which is in southern Somalia.   Al-Shabab Takes Responsibility For Mogadishu Bombing That Killed Dozens Of Bystanders, Apologizes For Harming Muslims But Clarifies: Protecting Islam Is More Important Than Preserving Human Life Following the deadly December 28 bombing in Mogadishu, Somalia by the Somali Al-Qaeda affiliate Al-Shabab Al-Mujahideen, the group took responsibility for the attack and apologized for killing "Muslims" but vowed to continue its jihad and emphasized that protecting Islam takes precedence over protecting lives.   Financial Distress Of Hurras Al-Din Revealed In Confrontations With Hay'at Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS) Mid-December 2019 saw another outbreak of tensions and confrontation between operatives of Hurras Al-Din, which is affiliated with Al-Qaeda, and operatives from Hay'at Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS), which culminated in mutual arrests by the two organizations.   ISIS Operative Documents Jihad In The Philippines Several messages, pictures, and videos describing the situation of ISIS fighters in the Philippines were published on an account believed to be managed by an ISIS media operative claiming to be in the Philippines.   Niger Arrests Two Turks Coming From Istanbul Via Turkish Airlines On Charge Of Supporting ISIS On December 25, 2019, Al-Arabiya published a report saying that Niger's National Security Service arrested "three terrorists," including two Turkish citizens and a local collaborator, flying from Turkey on Turkish Airlines.   ISIS Claims Rocket Attack On US Base In Eastern Syria On December 27, 2019 the Islamic State (ISIS) claimed responsibility for a rocket attack on a military base of the US-led international coalition near the Al-Omar oil fields in Syria's Deir Ezzor province.   ISIS Creates New Blog To Distribute Official Material On December 9, 2019, the Islamic State's (ISIS) official media outlet began to post its material on a new blog created on the popular Blogger platform.   New Pro-ISIS Media Operation Focuses On ISIS News From West Africa On December 24, 2019, an Islamic State (ISIS) supporter shared a message in French, English, and Arabic on several channels of the ISIS Rocket.Chat server, inviting fellow supporters to follow a new account dedicated to the activity of the Islamic State in West Africa on an open-source social media platform.   Pro-ISIS Media Group Releases Video Highlighting Multiple ISIS Attacks Against Israel    On December 31, 2019, a pro-Islamic State (ISIS) media group released a video highlighting multiple attacks carried out by ISIS affiliates in Sinai against Israel. According to the video, titled "The Allegations of the Agitators Under The Feet Of The Monotheists," which was published on the encrypted chat applicant Riot, this video was meant to refute the claims that ISIS did not carry out attacks against the State of Israel.   Ahead Of New Year's Celebrations, Pro-ISIS Media Outlet Threatens Attacks In New York City On December 30, 2019, a pro-Islamic State (ISIS) media outlet published a poster on Telegram showing an armed fighter walking in what appears to be Times Square in New York with a Christmas tree on his right and bloodstained text reading: "Kill them whenever you find them."   ISIS Media Operatives Launch New Group On Facebook Messenger As part of their attempts to bolster the Islamic State (ISIS) presence on the internet, ISIS media operatives are making intensive efforts to launch groups on various online platforms. In recent days the ISIS's official news agency, which disseminates ISIS publications, launched a group on Facebook Messenger.   Afghan Website: ISIS Fighters Move From Eastern Afghanistan Into Herat Province Along Border With Iran On December 24, 2019, an Afghan news website reported that Islamic State (ISIS, or Daesh) fighters from ISIS's Khorasan Province have recently moved into Afghanistan's north-western province of Herat after they were defeated by the Afghan security forces in the eastern provinces of Nangarhar and Kunar.

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ISIS Touts Its Recent 'Revenge' Campaign, Claims It Has Exposed Failure Of 'Unbeliever' Intelligence Agencies, Promises 'Perilous' Future Raids

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January 3, 2020


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The Cyber & Jihad Lab

The Cyber & Jihad Lab monitors, tracks, translates, researches, and analyzes cyber jihad originating from the Middle East, Iran, South Asia, and North and West Africa. It innovates and experiments with possible solutions for stopping cyber jihad, advancing legislation and initiatives federally – including with Capitol Hill and attorneys-general – and on the state level, to draft and enforce measures that will serve as precedents for further action. It works with leaders in business, law enforcement, academia, and families of terror victims to craft and support efforts and solutions to combat cyber jihad, and recruits, and works with technology industry leaders to craft and support efforts and solutions.

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Jihadi Social Media – Account Review (JSM-AR): South Carolina-Based American ISIS Supporter With Texas Connection Sends Jihadi Sermons To ISIS Widows In Syrian Camp – And Weds One Of Them

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January 3, 2020


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The Cyber & Jihad Lab

The Cyber & Jihad Lab monitors, tracks, translates, researches, and analyzes cyber jihad originating from the Middle East, Iran, South Asia, and North and West Africa. It innovates and experiments with possible solutions for stopping cyber jihad, advancing legislation and initiatives federally – including with Capitol Hill and attorneys-general – and on the state level, to draft and enforce measures that will serve as precedents for further action. It works with leaders in business, law enforcement, academia, and families of terror victims to craft and support efforts and solutions to combat cyber jihad, and recruits, and works with technology industry leaders to craft and support efforts and solutions.

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Jihadi Social Media – Account Review (JSM-AR): Formerly Incarcerated Tennessee ISIS Supporter Originally from Philadelphia, Praises ISIS, Abu-Bakr Al Baghdadi On Facebook

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January 3, 2020


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The Cyber & Jihad Lab

The Cyber & Jihad Lab monitors, tracks, translates, researches, and analyzes cyber jihad originating from the Middle East, Iran, South Asia, and North and West Africa. It innovates and experiments with possible solutions for stopping cyber jihad, advancing legislation and initiatives federally – including with Capitol Hill and attorneys-general – and on the state level, to draft and enforce measures that will serve as precedents for further action. It works with leaders in business, law enforcement, academia, and families of terror victims to craft and support efforts and solutions to combat cyber jihad, and recruits, and works with technology industry leaders to craft and support efforts and solutions.

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January 3, 2020 Special Dispatch No. 8460

Reactions To U.S. Killing Of IRGC Qods Force Commander Qassem Soleimani – Part I

January 3, 2020
Iran, Iraq | Special Dispatch No. 8460
The following are January 3, 2020 reactions to the killing early that morning of IRGC Qods Force commander Qassem Soleimani and PMU deputy commander Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis in a U.S. airstrike at Baghdad's international airport. The reactions are from Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, and Palestinian terrorist organizations. Reactions In Iran Iranian TV Announcement About U.S. Killing Of IRGC Quds Force Commander Qasem Soleimani: He Met His Creator With Gratitude For Years Of Jihad On January 3, 2020, at 6:00 AM, IRINN TV (Iran) announced the assassination of Soleimani. The anchor said: "The soldier of the Jurisprudent Ruler and of the Islamic nation, the military commander of Islam, the Revolution, and Iran, Hajj Qassem Soleimani, has been martyred in an attack by American helicopters [after] a life full of jihad." Explaining that Soleimani had "hastened to meet his Creator" with gratitude for "years of jihad that were full of pride and honor," he added that Soleimani had been "awarded martyrdom" along with Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis. To view this clip on MEMRI TV, click here or below Worshippers Burst Into Tears When News Breaks Of Soleimani Killing; Preacher: He Was An Agent Of Unity Between Muslims And Jews During a live broadcast of morning prayers in the Iranian city of Rahim Abad in Gilan Province, January 3, 2019, on Iran TV's Channel 1, the preacher broke the news about the Soleimani's killing, and the worshippers burst into tears and chanted "Death to America." The preacher congratulated Soleimani for achieving what he had wished for. and told the worshippers that Soleimani had been an agent of unity between Sunnis and Shi'ites and among Muslims, Christians, and Jews. To view this clip on MEMRI TV, click here or below IRGC Spokesman Gen. Sharif Bursts Into Tears, Adds: Before Long, The Joy Of The Americans And Zionists Over The Killing Of Soleimani Will Turn To Grief On January 3, 2020, Shahram Farhadi, a reporter for Iran's IRINN TV, spoke with IRGC spokesman Gen. Ramezan Sharif on the "martyrdom" of Soleimani. Farhadi said: "As a reporter and as an Iranian, I have a lot to say, but I will remain silent and say nothing, because all our people know who the real terrorist is. It was clear and now it is even clearer." Gen. Sharif said: "…Allow me to congratulate and send condolences to our dear people, to the great Leader of the Revolution, to the Hidden Imam, to the heroic public of Islamic Iran, the resistance front, the families of the martyrs who defend the Sayyidah Zaynab Mosque in Damascus, and all the free men and people who fight injustice... "In all certainty, it will not be long before the momentary joy of the Americans and the Zionists will turn into grief. The IRGC and the wise people of Islamic Iran and of the resistance front all over the geography of the Islamic world think about nothing other than exacting revenge for the blood of this proud martyr whose only thought was how to bring pride and glory to the Iranian people and the Islamic nation, and how to liberate Jerusalem…. "We in the IRGC were very sorry to hear this news. However, our resolve to exact revenge from criminal America and the occupying Zionists will grow stronger. This will definitely happen. We embarked on a path 40 years ago. We have sacrificed many IRGC generals for the ideals of the Islamic Revolution and for the security of the Iranian people. In this very hall, we announced a few years ago the martyrdom of General Tehrani Mughaddam [the head of Iran's missile program]. He was a man who thought about annihilating Israel. He made steps that allowed us to advance most of the way on this path." The two men began weeping copiously, and Farhadi explained, "Our crying is due to excitement over the martyrdom of this country's great divine man." He added: "If I see his body, I will kiss it, but for now, I will kiss this sacred garment on General Sharif's side. I'd like to thank my colleagues in this broadcast. I leave you in the hands of God Almighty. We will continue to be at your service with our programs on the international news channel." To view this clip on MEMRI TV, click here or below Reactions In Iraq Iraqi President And Prime Minister: "We Call On Everyone To Exercise Self-Restraint"; "We Condemn... The U.S. Administration's Assassination Of The Two Martyrs" Iraq's president and prime minister both harshly condemned the U.S. assassination of Soleimani and Al-Muhandis. In an official statement, President Barham Salih called on all parties to "show self-restraint": "We call on everyone to exercise self-restraint, to let the voice of reason and wisdom prevail, and to place the highest national interest above all interests." He added that the U.S. airstrike had targeted senior security commanders who are part of the Iraqi military institution, and commended both Soleimani and Al-Muhandis for their "significant and decisive role in defeating ISIS."[1] Iraqi President Salih's statement On his part, Iraqi Caretaker Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi strongly condemned the U.S attack, calling it "aggression against the country," and added: "We condemn with the utmost condemnation the U.S. administration's assassination of the two martyrs, Haji Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis and Hajj Qassem Soleimani, and other Iraqi and Iranian figures. The two martyrs were great symbols in achieving victory against the terrorist ISIS. The assassination of an Iraqi military commander holding an official position is an aggression against Iraq, the state, the government, and the people." He went on to state that Iraq considered the U.S. attack a "violation of the conditions that regulate the presence of the U.S. forces in Iraq and its role, which is limited to training Iraqi forces and fighting ISIS within the international coalition forces and under the supervision and approval of the Iraqi government... [C]arrying out an elimination operation against Iraqi senior figures or those from a brotherly country [Iran] on Iraqi soil is a flagrant violation of Iraqi sovereignty, a blatant attack on the dignity of the country, and a dangerous escalation that ignites a devastating war in Iraq, the region and the world." In conclusion, Abdul-Mahdi called calling for an extraordinary Iraqi parliamentary to "coordinate the Iraqi official position and take legislative decisions and necessary measures."[2] Prime Minister Abdul-Mahdi's statement Iran-Backed Iraqi Shi'ite Asa'ib Ahl Al-Haq Militia Leader Qais Khaz'ali: The Punishment For The Spilling Of Al-Muhandis's Blood Is "The Complete Elimination Of The American Military Presence In Iraq" And For Spilling Soleimani's Blood Is "The Complete Elimination Of 'Israel'" The leader of the Iran-backed Iraqi Shi'ite Shi'ite Asa'ib Ahl Al-Haq militia, Qais Khaz'ali, said in a handwritten statement: "In the name of Allah the Compassionate and the Merciful... The natural [destiny] of the commander Hajj Qassem Soleimani and the commander Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis is martyrdom, [whereas] the natural end of the U.S. and Israel is perdition. The punishment for [spilling] the blood of the commander Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis is the complete elimination of the American military presence in Iraq, and the punishment for [spilling] the blood of the commander Qassem Soleimani is the complete elimination of 'Israel.' "All the mujahideen of the resistance must stand ready, for we are on the cusp of a great, imminent victory. It may require [suffering] torment, but you must trust in the promise of Allah... "Your brother, "Qais Al-Khaz'ali, "January 3, 2020." Qais Khaz'ali's handwritten statement Iraqi Sadrist Movement Leader Muqtada Al-Sadr: Soleimani's Assassination Will Not Damage Our Jihad Senior Iraqi Shi'ite leader Moqtada Al-Sadr, who heads the Iraq-based Sadrist movement, tweeted the following on January 3: "In the name of Allah the Compassionate and the Merciful... We belong to Allah, and to Allah we will return. I console myself and the Islamic Republic of Iran – on the level of the source of authority, the commanders, the people, and the government – on the martyr's death of the mujahid Hajj Qassem Soleimani and of the [Muslim] believers who were with him. "It is known that the damage done to him, by the global arrogance [i.e. the U.S.], is like damage to jihad, the resistance, and the global revolutionary spirit – but they will not damage our determination and our jihad. "If only Allah would distance the danger from the region and keep our beloved Iraq [safe] from dangers and disasters. I hope that everyone will act wisely and with common sense? "As the one in charge of the national Iraqi resistance, I order the mujahideen to be ready, particularly the Jaysh Al-Imam Al-Mahdi and the Liwa Al-Yawm Al-Muwad ["the Promised Day Brigade," that is, Judgment Day, an armed Islamic Shi'ite Iraqi organization established by Muqtada Al-Sadr in 2008] and all the national factions that are carrying out our mission?, in order to be fully ready to defend Iraq. "The mujahid "Muqtada Al-Sadr" Twitter.com/Mu_AlSadr/status/1212993817500168192, January 3, 2020 Iraqi Grand Ayatollah Ali Al-Sistani: "Exercise Self-Restraint, Act Wisely" A statement by Iraqi Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani that was read out by his representative Sheikh Abdul-Mahdi Al-Karbalai in the Friday sermon in Karbala, Iraq at the shrine of Imam Hussein called on all parties to exercise self-restraint and act wisely in the aftermath of U.S. airstrike that killed Soleimani and Al-Muhandis: "We call on the parties to exercise self-restraint and act wisely. We raise our palms to pray to Almighty Allah to protect Iraq and its people." Warning that Iraq is sliding into "difficult conditions," the statement called the U.S. strike a "brutal attack," and continued: "Events are accelerating and crises are escalating, and the country is going through the most dangerous junctures – from the sinful attack on the positions of the Iraqi forces in the city of Qaim, which led to the martyrdom and wounding of dozens of our fighters, to the unfortunate incidents in Baghdad during the past days, to the brutal attack near its international airport last night. They all represent a blatant violation of Iraqi sovereignty and a violation of international conventions." The statement then described those killed in the strike as "heroes in the anti-ISIS fight," and commended those killed in the December 28, 2019 U.S. aerial attack on the Hizbullah Brigades positions in Anbar province, Iraq. It concluded with a prayer that Imam Ali habitually uttered when preparing for confrontation. Worshippers attending the sermon chanted "No No America." Sistani's statement, from his official website (Source: Sistani.org/files-new/Archeives/1441h/7-5-1441h.pdf) Screenshot of Sistani's representative reading Sistani's statement in Karbala. The subtitles state: "Iraqis chant 'No No America' in response to the U.S-Israeli crime of assassinating Qassem Soleimani and Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis." (Source: the pro-PMU satellite Alanwartv2, January 3, 2020) Reactions In Lebanon Hizbullah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah: It Will Be The Responsibility, Duty, And Action Of All Resistance Fighters And Mujahideen Throughout The World To Take Harsh Revenge Against Soleimani's Criminal Killers Following Soleimani's death, Hizbullah secretary-general Hassan Nasrallah announced: "...In the name of Allah, the Entirely Merciful, the Especially Merciful... Given that the beloved brother and great leader Hajj Qassem Soleimani has fulfilled his ultimate hope by achieving noble martyrdom, he truly became the master of the martyrs in the resistance axis. "We offer our condolences to our master and Imam, master of the time, may God Almighty hasten his relief; to His Eminence the Leader, Grand Ayatollah Sayyed Khamenei, to our great religious references and dear brothers and officials of the Islamic Republic in Iran, especially the leadership of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard and the great and resisting Iranian people, to each and every member in Hajj Qassem's noble and resisting family in particular. "I extend the warmest condolences to them all on the loss of this brave and ingenious role model and compassionate father of all resistance fighters and Mujahideen in our region. "I congratulate him [and envy him] for this great martyrdom and for arriving to the high status in the school of (Imam) Hussein and Zainab, peace be upon them. This is what the scene is like for us. "This is how we perceive the scene and the situation. "Concerning us who remained after him, we will pursue his path and work night and day to achieve his goals. We’ll carry his flag in all arenas, fields and fronts. The victories of the resistance axis will increase with the blessing of his sacred blood, just like these victories grew with his perseverance and tireless struggle. It will be the responsibility, duty, and action of all resistance fighters and mujahideen throughout the world to take harsh revenge from his criminal killers who are the worst villains of this world. "The U.S. killers, God willing, will not be able to achieve any of their goals with this huge crime. Rather, all of Hajj Qassem's goals will be accomplished owing to the greatness of his soul and blood. (The goals) will be accomplished by his brothers, children, and students of the resistance from all the peoples of our nations that reject humiliation and submission to the imperialists and tyrants. "Glory, honor, and high ranks be to the great martyr leader Hajj Qassem Soleimani, and to all the dear Mujahideen who were martyred with him, especially the great martyr leader Abu Mahdi, may Allah be pleased with them."[3] Nasrallah also released an announcement in reaction to the killing Al-Muhandis, congratulating him on his martyrdom and extending condolences to senior Iraqi officials, the Iraqi people, and the Hashd Al-Sha'bi commanders. He added: "The dear Iraqi people and resistance factions will prove their great and sincere loyalty to these martyr leaders and all the martyrs and to their noble goals. They will not allow these pure Husseini blood that was shed unjustly to go to waste. But the blood of Hajj Qassem, Abu Mahdi and those martyred with them and all the memories of jihad and sacrifices of these two great leaders, will constitute a strong incentive for them to continue their march, carry the flag and achieve the goals and hopes for a free Iraq, dear, independent, strong, prosperous and free from occupation and terrorism..."[4] Writer In Lebanese Daily Al-Akhbar: The U.S. Will Pay Dearly For The Assassination Hassan Aliq wrote in the Lebanese Hizbullah-affiliated daily Al-Akhbar: "...The assassination at dawn was not a complex security operation, but in terms of the political and military [power] balance, this operation is the harshest blow dealt to the [resistance] axis, at least since the death of Hajj 'Imad Mughniyeh, and at a broader level. It is a vicious blow that opens the gates of madness in the region. Whoever made the decision to assassinate him is a fool who does not understand what he is doing, or perhaps – and more likely – he opened the gates to a war for which he has already prepared. "With this decision, the U.S. sought to convey a message to the resistance axis: 'Your deterrent capability has deteriorated, and nothing will prevent us from thwarting your [plans] to expel us from the region. We will target all your leaders and all your strong points.' "This is a zero-sum game, and the resistance axis  must approach it only out of the duty to avenge [Soleimani's] death – not for vengeance, but to rebuild the resistance's deterrent capability and to consolidate its achievements of the last few decades. The assassination of Hajj Qassem Soleimani, commander of Iran's IRGC Qods Force, and of Abu Al-Mahdi Al-Muhandis, deputy head of the PMU, in Baghdad, just before midnight on Thursday-Friday [January 2-3, 2020] cannot be overlooked as if it were some passing incident in the region.  "Soleimani is the famous Iranian general who partnered with Hajj 'Imad Mughniyeh in defending Lebanon in July-August 2006. He was the chief supporter of the Iraqi resistance against the American-British occupation of Iraq, the architect of the lines of defense of Damascus, and Assad's partner on the ground during the greatest of the battles in Syria (such as the battle to retake Aleppo). It was he who persuaded Russian President Vladimir Putin to intervene in Syria, and who was the partner of Turkish intelligence chief Hakan Fidan in the arrangements in northern Syria, and so on. He was the main liaison between Iran and the Palestinian resistance factions. "During his time, the IRGC Qods Force became a massive regional power providing military and logistic support in regions from Yemen in the south to territories north of Iraq, through Lebanon, Syria and the Palestinian [territories] – and especially in Gaza, where he played the leading role in developing the capabilities of the resistance. The Israeli intelligence and operational [forces] followed his movements in Syria and Iraq to prevent him from transferring game-changing weapons to these two countries, and from replicating the Lebanese resistance [i.e. Hizbullah Lebanon], which Israel considers an existential threat, in each of them... "The assassination of Soleimani and Al-f is not a passing incident. It was a decision made by the American administration in order to ignite the region, or at least to attempt to turn back the clock and eradicate the results attained by the steadfastness of the resistance axis in Lebanon, Syria, Yemen, Iraq, and Palestine. Likewise, it strove to escalate the aggression whose goal is to destroy all the cumulative achievements of this [resistance] axis. Even without a scrap of information from any 'authorized' source in the [resistance] axis, its reaction can be expected. The assassination of Soleimani crosses the red lines, and it will be carried my more than one side. Therefore, the U.S. will pay very dearly."[5]    Reactions By Palestinian Terrorist Organizations Hamas Military Wing: Soleimani Devoted A Great Deal Of His Efforts To Aiding The Resistance in Palestine; His Blood "Will Be A Curse On The Murderers And On The Zionist Occupation" The 'Izz Al-Din Al-Qassam Martyrs Brigades, the military arm of Hamas, also released a statement in response to Soleimani's killing. It stated: "In Iran's [Islamic] Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC)... we remember the history of [Soleimani's] life and the great and extensive role he played in the Palestinian cause and in supporting the resistance. He devoted much of his efforts and his jihad to bring about an end to the Zionist entity and to uproot it from the land of Palestine, and he acted to present all types of support for the resistance in order to confront the Zionist enemy. There is no doubt that the great role that he played in this way made him an important target for America and the Zionist enemy. "The Martyr 'Izz Al-Din Al-Qassam Brigades extend the warmest condolences to the brothers in the Islamic Republic of Iran for the loss of this great commander, and emphasize to the Arab and Islamic nation that we, as the resistance in Palestine, will continue in our path against the Zionist enemy, the source of evil in the entire region. We are certain that the blood of Hajj Qassem Soleimani will be a curse on the murderers and on the Zionist occupation..."[6] The Al-Aqsa statement PFLP: The Assassination Demands A Response Against The Americans And Zionists In The Region In a statement, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine said: "The PFLP emphasizes that the U.S. administration's and the Zionist entity's lawlessness and unrestrained aggression in several Arab countries, most recently the aggression and assassination in Iraq, demand a coordinated and comprehensive response by the resistance forces and by all patriots in the region where Americans and Zionists and their interests are found. The Palestinian people is not forgetting its prominent and pioneering role in consolidating support for the Islamic Public of Iran, its rights, and its struggle against the Zionist enemy, and its support for the resistance forces and the development of their capabilities."[7]   [1] Presidency.iq/Details.aspx?id=8505, January 3, 2020. [2] Pmo.iq/press2019/3-1-202001.htm, January 3, 2020. [3] English.alahednews.com.lb/51113/385; Alahednews.com.lb, January 3, 2020. The original English has been very lightly edited for clarity. [4] English.alahednews.com.lb/51115/385, January 3, 2020. The original English has been very lightly edited for clarity. [5] Al-Akhbar (Lebanon), January 3, 2020. [6] Alqassam.net, January 3, 2020. [7] Pflp.ps, January 3, 2020.

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January 3, 2020 Special Dispatch No. 8459

Turkish Government, Press Respond To U.S. Killing Of IRGC Qods Force Commander Qassem Soleimani: 'The Bandit U.S. Is Pursuing A New Order In The Middle East,' U.S. And Israel 'Will Drown In The Clean Blood Of [Soleimani] And All The Martyrs'

January 3, 2020
Iran, Turkey | Special Dispatch No. 8459
On January 2, 2020, the U.S. Defense Department announced that the U.S. military had killed Qassem Soleimani, leader of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force. News outlets reported that Soleimani had been killed in a drone strike at Baghdad International Airport.[1] While the reaction of the government was mild, other political figures and the press, including the press affiliated with the government, responded harshly to the killing. Turkish Government Response Slow And Mild: "We Are Inviting All Sides To Act With Common Sense And Restraint" On January 3, 2020, Turkey's Foreign Ministry said in a statement: "We feel a deep concern over the escalating U.S.-Iran tensions in the region. We forcefully emphasize again the warning that the conversion of Iraq into a battle zone will harm the peace and stability of both Iraq and our region. In this context, it is clear that the U.S. air operation carried out in Baghdad this morning against a convoy carrying Iranian [sic] Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Forces Commander Qassem Soleimani and those with him will increase the insecurity and instability in the region. It should be known that these escalating steps, which threaten the stability of our region, will increase the spiral of violence and that all sides will be harmed by this situation. Turkey has always been against external interventions, assassinations, and sectarian efforts in the region. For this reason, we are inviting all sides to act with common sense and restraint, to avoid unilateral steps that will endanger the peace and stability of our region, and to give priority to diplomacy."[2] Turkish news website Birgün.net commented on the slow response of the Foreign Ministry, which apparently released its statement ten hours after news of the strike became public.[3] Responding, before the statement was released, to another writer's comment about the delay, Turkish journalist Can Dündar joked: "It is expected that Erdoğan will make a statement, saying: 'And we captured Soleimani's wife but we didn't make a big fuss about it.'" Dündar included a link to an article titled "President Erdoğan: We Captured Al-Baghdadi's Wife, Sister, And Female Relative," following the death of Islamic State (ISIS) leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi in the course of a U.S. operation in October 2019.[4] Can Dündar, who had previously been imprisoned for his reporting related to Turkish intelligence shipments of weapons into Syria, now lives in Germany and a "capture resolution" has been issued for him in Turkey.[5] Harsh Reactions In Media To Soleimani's Killing: "The Bandit U.S. Is Pursuing A New Order In The Middle East" – "The Imperialism Of The U.S. And The Zionism Of Israel Will Drown In The Clean Blood Of [Soleimani] And All The Martyrs" Other Turkish politicians and writers commented on the strike. A January 3 article in Turkish pro-government daily Yeni Akit, titled "The Bandit U.S. Is Pursuing A New Order In The Middle East," quoted "West Asia expert" Barış Adıbelli, who said: "It is the biggest attack or action that the U.S. has made against the region in recent times. It was a big throwing down of the gauntlet to the Middle East... We had been talking about how the U.S. and Iran may be able to sit down at the table [to negotiate]. Now Iran has left the table and will return to the scene in a different way. Iran may take steps to create chaos in the region... Iran may take a number of actions in countries in the region that support the U.S... For example, it may assassinate prominent political and military leaders in Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf countries. It may attack the U.S.'s diplomatic staff. Iran has strategies for intensifying crises."[6] Doğu Perinçek, leader of the nationalist political party Vatan Partisi, tweeted: "Iranian [sic] Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force Commander General Qassem Soleimani and Hashdi Shahabi Deputy Commander [Abu Mahdi Al-]Muhandis are martyrs of the front of humanity stretching from the Black Sea to the Arabian Sea." Utku Reyhan, general secretary of Vatan Partisi, tweeted: "We as the Vatan Partisi conveyed our condolences by visiting the honorable Mohammad Farazmand at the embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran in Ankara. What we determined together [is that] 'the end of the U.S. has come.' We also signed the condolence notebook. You can see our signature below." An image accompanying the tweet reads: "Great soldier and revolutionary General Qassem Soleimani, you are the martyr not only of Iran but of the whole Islamic world and of the oppressed nations. The imperialism of the U.S. and the Zionism of Israel will drown in the clean blood of you and all the martyrs. Down with U.S. imperialism! Long live Turkey-Iran friendship! Martyrs never die! Utku Reyhan, Vatan Partisi general secretary." The official account of the Iranian ambassador to Turkey retweeted Reyhan's tweet.[7] Mehmet Ali Güller, who writes for the Turkish daily Cumhuriyet, tweeted: "Islamists and liberals have joined up and they are happy that Qassem Soleimani was killed in a U.S. terrorist attack! Shamelessness! After all, Soleimani was someone who resisted U.S. imperialism and Israel. I am sorry for the loss to the anti-imperialist world."[8] Without taking a clear position on the killing, Ismail Saymaz, an author and journalist for the Turkish daily Hurriyet, tweeted: "Qassem Soleimani was not any ordinary soldier for Iran. He was a commander whose posters are hung in the streets and squares of Tehran, who we could call Iran's Che Guevara. Iran will certainly respond."[9] Opposition To Soleimani As Enemy Of Turkey, Killer Of Sunnis Şamil Tayyar, a member of parliament representing Gaziantep for the AKP, tweeted: "The death of Qassem Soleimani is a loss not only for Iran but for the terror organization PKK and YPG. During the solution process he tried to stop the PKK from disarming and he tried to sabotage Euphrates Shield, Afrin, and Peace Fountain [i.e., the Turkish invasions of northern Syria]. He was the biggest patron of the PKK. The water jug broke on the waterway [this is a saying approximately equivalent to 'who lives by the sword, dies by the sword']."[10] Prominent Turkish religious leader Ahmet Mahmut Ünlü colloquially known as Cübbeli Ahmet Hoca, tweeted: "With the hand of the unbelieving tyrant America, [Allah] took revenge on Qassem Soleimani, whom [Iranian Supreme Leader] Khamenei considers a 'living martyr' but who, for us, is a dead nonbeliever, and his men."[11] Writer Bülent Şahin Erdeğer wrote: "Qassem Soleimani, the butcher of Syria, was killed. A wry smile spread across my face when I heard the news. I remembered our children whom he had slaughtered in Houla, Tireymse, Bayda, and Aleppo. I wish we could have judged you for the crimes you committed against humanity. May he be in lots of fire [in hell]."[12] One Twitter user tweeted a comic and wrote: "Iranian media are commenting on Iranian general Qassem Soleimani, who died yesterday, as a warrior who made jihad in the path of Allah. And how many unbelievers did he kill?"[13] The comic he tweeted shows a Shi'ite leader waving his finger at U.S. President Donald Trump and saying: "Listen here, don't make me angry, or I'll go and bomb all the Sunnis!" A Shi'ite leader tells President Trump: "Listen here, don't make me angry, or I'll go and bomb all the Sunnis!" İbrahim Karagül, editor-in-chief of the Turkish daily Yeni Şafak, tweeted: "The killer of Aleppo... Qassem Soleimani was killed by the U.S. There was no savagery that he did not commit for his war of 'Armageddon within Islam.' He was a war criminal. He did in Syria what the U.S. did in Iraq."[14] Yeni Şafak columnist İsmail Kılıçarslan tweeted a picture of Soleimani and wrote: "He has the blood of tens of thousands of innocent people on his hands. May his abode be hell."[15]   [1] Defense.gov/Newsroom/Releases/Release/Article/2049534/statement-by-the-department-of-defense, January 2, 2020; Cnn.com/2020/01/02/middleeast/baghdad-airport-rockets/index.html, January 3, 2020. [2] Mfa.gov.tr/no_2_-kasim-suleymani-nin-abd-hava-saldirisi-sonucu-hayatini-kaybetmesi-hk.tr.mfa, January 3, 2020. [3] Birgun.net/haber/saray-in-kasim-suleymani-sessizligi-uzun-surdu-282584, January 3, 2020. [4] Twitter.com/candundaradasi/status/1213045047442255874, January 3, 2020; Tr.euronews.com/2019/11/06/cumhurbaskani-erdogan-bagdadinin-esini-kiz-kardesini-ve-enistesini-yakaladik, November 6, 2019. [5] Bolgegundem.com/can-dundar-kimdir-can-dundar-nerede-yasiyor-564820h.htm, September 29, 2018; Sabah.com.tr/gundem/2018/12/06/son-dakika-can-dundar-hakkinda-yakalama-karari, December 5, 2018. [6] Yeniakit.com.tr/haber/haydut-abd-orta-dogudan-yeni-duzen-pesinde-991138.html, January 3, 2020. [7] Twitter.com/Dogu_Perincek/status/1213058501053825025, January 3, 2020; Twitter.com/UtkuReyhan_/status/1213051075063943168, January 3, 2020; Twitter.com/MhdFarazmand/status/1213054461838548993, January 3, 2020. [8] Twitter.com/MaliGuller/status/1212999241641140224, January 3, 2020. [9] Twitter.com/ismailsaymaz/status/1212941906180792322, January 2, 2020. [10] Twitter.com/samiltayyar27/status/1213001400604614656, January 3, 2020. [11] Twitter.com/c_ahmethoca/status/1213026009169244160, January 3, 2020. [12] Twitter.com/Ebu_Nidal/status/1212990826747432960, January 2, 2020. [13] Twitter.com/davran12selami/status/1213067022038372354, January 3, 2020. [14] Twitter.com/ibrahimkaragul/status/1212991092754391042, January 3, 2020. [15] Twitter.com/kilicarslan_is/status/1212960708914225152, January 2, 2020.

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