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Iran General Sees U.S.'Game' In Islamist Surge In Iraq

The stunning assault this week in Iraq by the al-Qaeda-linked Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is bad news for Iran, which has been a staunch ally of Iraqi Prime Minister (and fellow Shia Muslim) Nouri al-Maliki.

But beyond condemning the Sunni foes from ISIS, some in Tehran are pointing the finger at Washington. Iranian Revolutionary Guards General Mohammad Reza Naqdi said yesterday that "American leaders are showing they are really idiotic and incapable, by repeating their failed experiences in Iraq."

Iran has blamed the West for opening the floodgates to regional terrorism by initially backing the rebellion against Syrian Leader Bashar al-Assad. In past years, Iranian media also accused the United States of fomenting violence in Iraq after its 2003 invasion, as a pretext to maintain its troops there.

Without elaborating, General Naqdi seemed to imply that Western agents were behind the recent ISIS strikes in Iraq, including taking the city of Mosul. He told a gathering in the town of Saravan that "America has been tricked again, thinking that with the games it has started in Iraq it can continue its rotten ... policies in the region," the leftist daily Kar va Kargar reported. "This game will cause it such regret it will forget its defeats in Syria and Lebanon."

The "defeats" were a reference to the West's inability to topple Assad. A conservative parliamentarian separately said Western states had "armed and supported" extremist Sunni groups in Syria and were now sending them back to Iraq "to die" and save themselves "problems" associated with the militants' later return to other countries.

"In other words, they have sent them to the slaughterhouse," Iranian Parliament member Hossein'ali Haji-Deligani told Mehr news agency. He said ISIS would try and "dismember" Iraq and "take its revenge" on Iran for its defeat in Syria. But "the West has ... created the conditions for the destruction of Salafist groups in Iraq," which he said would be their "last bastion."

— Ahmed Shayegan

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The Unsustainable Future Of Fish Farming — On Vivid Display In Turkish Waters

Currently, 60% of Turkey's fish currently comes from cultivation, also known as fish farming, compared to just 10% two decades ago. The short-sightedness of this shift risks eliminating fishing output from both the farms and the open seas along Turkey's 5,200 miles of coastline.

Photograph of two fishermen throwing a net into the Tigris river in Turkey.

Traditional fishermen on the Tigris river, Turkey.

Dûrzan Cîrano/Wikimeidia
İrfan Donat

ISTANBUL — Turkey's annual fish production includes 515,000 tons from cultivation and 335,000 tons came from fishing in open waters. In other words, 60% of Turkey's fish currently comes from cultivation, also known as fish farming.

It's a radical shift from just 20 years ago when some 600,000 tons, or 90% of the total output, came from fishing. Now, researchers are warning the current system dominated by fish farming is ultimately unsustainable in the country with 8,333 kilometers (5,177 miles) long.

Professor Mustafa Sarı from the Maritime Studies Faculty of Bandırma 17 Eylül University believes urgent action is needed: “Why were we getting 600,000 tons of fish from the seas in the 2000’s and only 300,000 now? Where did the other 300,000 tons of fish go?”

Professor Sarı is challenging the argument from certain sectors of the industry that cultivation is the more sustainable approach. “Now we are feeding the fish that we cultivate at the farms with the fish that we catch from nature," he explained. "The fish types that we cultivate at the farms are sea bass, sea bram, trout and salmon, which are fed with artificial feed produced at fish-feed factories. All of these fish-feeds must have a significant amount of fish flour and fish oil in them.”

That fish flour and fish oil inevitably must come from the sea. "We have to get them from natural sources. We need to catch 5.7 kilogram of fish from the seas in order to cultivate a sea bream of 1 kg," Sarı said. "Therefore, we are feeding the fish to the fish. We cannot cultivate fish at the farms if the fish in nature becomes extinct. The natural fish need to be protected. The consequences would be severe if the current policy is continued.”

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