Showing posts with label Syrians. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Syrians. Show all posts

October 29, 2019

Trump Plans For Syrian oil, What is Up With That?

President Trump is renewing his push for U.S. control of Syrian oil. But experts say there's not much oil there, and what there is belongs to the Syrian government. 
Still, the idea of controlling the oil fields is one that has long appealed to Trump. And it may provide a rationale for maintaining a U.S. military presence in Syria, reversing the president's promise of a full withdrawal. 
"We are leaving soldiers to secure the oil," Trump told reporters on Sunday, while announcing the death of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. "And we may have to fight for the oil. It's OK. Maybe somebody else wants the oil, in which case they have a hell of a fight. But there are massive amounts of oil." 
In fact, in the best of times, Syria produced only about 380,000 barrels of low-quality oil per day. And production has fallen more than 90% during the country's long civil war. Last year, Syria ranked 75thamong countries in the world in oil production, with a daily output comparable to that of the state of Illinois. 
"Syrian oil was never important to the world market because production was so small," said energy expert Daniel Yergin of IHS Markit. "But it was very important to the Assad regime before the civil war because it produced 25% of the total government revenues."
Trump on Sunday floated the idea of modernizing Syria's productive capacity with help from a major oil company. 
"What I intend to do, perhaps, is making a deal with an Exxon Mobil or one of our great companies to go in there and do it properly," he said.
That would be a costly undertaking, according to Joshua Landis, who directs the Center of Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma.  
"What I intend to do, perhaps, is making a deal with an Exxon Mobil or one of our great companies to go in there and do it properly," he said. 
That would be a costly undertaking, according to Joshua Landis, who directs the Center of Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma. 
"This whole oil region needs to be rebuilt," Landis said. "So if America is going to get in the business of retaining these oil fields, it will have to invest hundreds of millions of dollars, in theory, to make them exploitable." Trump has argued for years that the U.S. should seize Middle Eastern oil fields to recoup some of the cost of its military operations in the region — an idea that experts say violates international law and would only fuel criticism of American intentions.
"In the old days, you when you had a war, to the victors belong the spoils," Trump told ABC News in 2011.
Emory law professor Laurie Blank says that notion is outdated. "International law seeks to protect against exactly this sort of exploitation," Blank told Reuters. 
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. — who bitterly criticized the president's abrupt decision earlier this month to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria — seized on the oil fields as an argument for a continued American presence in the region. 
Saudi Arabia Says Iran 'Unquestionably Sponsored' Attack On Oil Facilities
Saudi Arabia Says Iran 'Unquestionably Sponsored' Attack On Oil Facilities
"By continuing to maintain control of the oil fields in Syria, we will deny Assad and Iran a monetary windfall," Graham said in a statement last week that echoed Trump's own language. "We can also use some of the revenues from future oil sales to pay for our military commitment in Syria."
That position appears to have struck a nerve with Trump.
"I spoke with Lindsey Graham just a little while ago," Trump said Sunday. "Where Lindsey and I totally agree is the oil."
 I love the Rusos! I love White American..Gays too but only young and in secret
For Graham and others, the oil fields may be a way to appeal to the president's transactional instincts and overcome Trump's aversion to an open-ended deployment in Syria.
"There are many elements of our foreign policy establishment that want to roll back Iran and want to stay in Syria for the long haul," Landis said. "Throwing the oil wells in front of President Trump was a way I think they believed that they could reanimate his interest in staying in Syria."

March 5, 2017

Mr. Gay Syria (A Film by Syrians)

Ayse met Mahmoud in 2011 as she was reporting on the Syrian refugee crisis at the Turkish border. Before accepting to become her fixer, Mahmoud told her: “I’m gay, are you ok with that?”. They struck up a friendship instantly.

As they returned to Istanbul, Mahmoud told Ayse about an ambitious plan: to organise a secret competition to elect - among the refugees in Turkey’s iconic city - a Mr Gay Syria who would then travel to Mister Gay World contest.

Mahmoud’s goal was obviously not to simply pick a good-looking peer but rather to put a spotlight on his community : Syrians who had to run away from war and homophobia, finding themselves in a place that did not accept them either.

We’re running this crowd funding campaign to finish our film and share the important stories of people surviving the greatest humanitarian crisis of our times.

We wanted to show a side of the migration crisis that is rarely portrayed, steering away from the depictions of nameless masses by certain media and politicians. We made a film that could be understood at a human level - getting to know our characters' dreams and aspirations as well as their daily struggles.

For the past three years, we have been following our characters in Turkey, Malta, Germany and Norway.

Please help us finish this documentary so we can share it far and wide.


Ayse Toprak, the director of this film, worked for many years at Al Jazeera reporting from Turkey. On her assignments, she met countless of people, but no one marked her quite as much as Mahmoud Hassino. He was the first LGBT blogger in Syria and her interpreter whilst on assignment at the Turkish-Syrian border.

He is Syrian and openly gay. Being open about your sexuality is an inherent risk in the region. Mahmoud knew the dangers and accepted them, he wanted to show the world that his community matters. That they deserve a voice and representation.

Mahmoud introduced Ayse to Husein, a 23-year-old gay Syrian refugee from Aleppo, now living in Istanbul. Husein's dream was to finally show his true face to the world, to remove his mask. This is why he decided to participate to Mr Gay Syria.

Last but not least, Mr Gay Syria is a proud French-German-Turkish coproduction:

Paris-based Antoine Simkine has been producing films for more than 15 years. His latest release Summer of Sangailé premiered at Sundance and Berlin Film Festival in 2015.

Christine Kiauk has been running Coin Film with fellow producer Herbert Schwering for several years. They've been at the forefront of indie filmmaking in Europe ever since.

Ekin Çalisir is a Turkish filmmaker and journalist based in Istanbul.

  Shot from Mr. Gay Syrian
for their film: learn more on their websiteVideo by  Ayse Toprak

March 3, 2017

Gay Syrians Use Pride & Movies to Fight Homophobia, Intolerance

                                            © Les Films d’Antoine, Coin Film, Toprak Film
                                         Mahmoud Hassino in 'Mr. Gay Syria'

The documentary 'Mr. Gay Syria' looks at the plight, and persecution, of homosexual refugees in the Middle East.

Can you fight ISIS with high heels and a mankini?
Mahmoud Hassino thinks so. Angered by the violent abuse against gay men in Syria —ISIS killed countless homosexual men by throwing them off buildings —the Berlin-based journalist and gay-rights activist decided to use pride to fight prejudice.
He organized a competition —complete with cat walk, dance numbers and, yes, tight-skinned leather mankinis — among Syrian refugees in Istanbul to elect a “Mr. Gay Syria” to represent the war-torn country in the Mr. Gay World beauty pageant.
The idea was to raise awareness of the persecution of gays in the Middle East (Donald Trump's travel ban for seven Muslim-majority countries provides exceptions for persecuted religious minorities, but makes no mention of people facing persecution for their sexual orientation.)
Scene from 'Mr. Gay Syria': a contestant selects his outfit before the show. 
Hassino's story, and that of Husein, the 23-year-old who won the title (and in so doing came out to his family), is told in Ayse Toprak's Mr. Gay Syria, a documentary being produced by France's Les Films d’Antoine and Germany's Coin Film.
The film, made on a shoestring budget, celebrates the struggle and bravery of men who face real and daily persecution.
“Husein's father has threatened to kill him since he came out,” director Toprak told The Hollywood Reporter. "And two of the men in the film have actually been murdered in hate crimes since we finished filming.”
Scene from 'Mr. Gay Syria': Turkish police break up Istanbul's Gay Pride Parade. 
With no support from the Turkish government, which doesn't approve of the subject matter —Turkish police regularly harass gay men and events like Istanbul's Gay Pride Parade are often disrupted by riot police— the filmmakers have turned to crowdfunding — on online funding site kisskissbankbank —to finish post-production. They have so far raised more than $18,000 of the $37,000 they need.
“The support we've received has been incredible,” says Toprak. “Every comment, every retweet, has been inspiring for us. We are going to finish this film, no matter what.”
Story by by Scott Roxborough
This page was originally posted on The  Hollywood reporter

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