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Turkey Has Destroyed Russiaís Hope Of Western Cooperation: New Age Islam’s Selection From World Press, 25 November 2015

New Age Islam Edit Bureau

25 November, 2015

Turkey Has Destroyed Russiaís Hope of Western Cooperation

By Paul Craig Roberts

Europe is scared, and so are we

By Jamal Khashoggi

Paris attacks: Our victims, and their victims

By Diana Moukalled

After Paris: ISIL's strategy against the 'far enemy'

By Omar Ashour

Who brought foreign fighters into Syria?

By Abdulrahman al-Rashed

Dance of death on our roads

By Mohamed Ahmed Al-Hassani



Turkey Has Destroyed Russiaís Hope Of Western Cooperation

By Paul Craig Roberts

25 November, 2015

Turkeyís unprovoked shoot-down of a Russian military aircraft over Syria raises interesting questions. It seems unlikely that the Turkish government would commit an act of war against a much more powerful neighbor unless Washington had cleared the attack. Turkeyís government is not very competent, but even the incompetent know better than to put themselves into a position of facing Russia alone.

If the attack was cleared with Washington, was Obama bypassed by the neocons who control his government, or is Obama himself complicit? Clearly the neoconservatives are disturbed by the French presidentís call for unity with Russia against ISIL and easily could have used their connections to Turkey to stage an event that Washington can use to prevent cooperation with Russia.

Washingtonís complicity is certainly indicated, but it is not completely out of the question that the well-placed Turks who are purchasing oil from ISIL took revenge against Russia for destroying their oil tanker investments and profitable business. But if the attack has a private or semi-private origin in connections between gangsters and military, would Turkeyís president have defended the shoot-down on such spurious grounds as ìnational defenseî? No one can believe that one Russian jet is a threat to Turkeyís security.

Donít expect the presstitutes to look into any such questions. The presstitutes, such as the BBCís Moscow correspondent Sarah Rainsford, are spinning the story that the loss of the Russian aircraft, and earlier the airliner, proves that Putinís policy of air strikes against iSIL has backfired as Russians are not safer.

The responses to the shoot-down are also interesting. From what I heard of Obamaís press conference, Obamaís definition of ìmoderate Syrian rebelsî includes all the extremist jihadish groups, such as al Nursa and ISIL, that are the focus of the Russian attacks. Only Assad is an extremist. Obama, following the neocon line, says that Assad has too much blood on his hands to be allowed to remain president of Syria.

Obama is not specific about the ìblood on Assadís hands,î but we can be. The blood is the blood of ISIL forces fighting the Syrian army. Obama doesnít refer to the blood on ISILís hands, but even the presstitutes have told us the horror stories associated with the blood on ISILís hands, with whom Obama has allied us.

And what about the blood on Obamaís hands? Here we are talking about a very large quantity of blood: the blood of entire countriesóLibya, Afghanistan, Yemen, Syria, and the blood that Obamaís puppet government in Kiev has spilled of the ethnic Russian inhabitants of Ukraine, not to forget the Palestinian blood spilled by Israel using US supplied weapons.

If the blood on Assadís hands disqualifies Assad from office, the much greater quantity on Obamaís hands disqualifies Obama. And Cameron. And Hollande. And Merkel. And Netanyahu.

Throughout the entire Washington orchestrated conflicts in the Middle East, Africa, and Ukraine, the Russian government has spoken reasonably and responded in a diplomatic manner to the many provocations. The Russian government relied on European governments realizing that Europe does not benefit from conflicts generated by Washington and separating themselves from a policy that is against their interests. But Europe proved to be a collection of American vassals, not independent countries capable of independent foreign policies.

In its campaign against ISIL in Syria, the Russian government relied on the agreement made with NATO countries to avoid engaging in the air. Now Turkey has violated this agreement.

I will be surprised if the Russian government any longer places any trust in the words of the West and any hope in diplomacy with the West. By now the Russian government and the Russian people will have learned that the Wolfowitz doctrine means what it says and is in force against Russia.

From the Ukrainian attack on Crimeaís power supply and the blackout that is affecting Crimea, the Russian government has also learned that Washingtonís puppet government in Kiev intends further conflict with Russia.

Washington has made it clear from the beginning that Washingtonís focus is on overthrowing Assad, not ISIL. Despite the alleged attack on France by ISIL, the US State Department press spokesperson, Admiral John Kirby, said that Russia cannot be a member of the coalition against ISIL until Russia stops propping up Assad.

To the extent that the shoot-down of the Russian military aircraft has a silver lining, the incident has likely saved the Russian government from a coalition in which Russia would have lost control of its war against ISIL and would have had to accept the defeat of Assadís removal.

Each step along the way the Russian government has held strong cards that it did not play, trusting instead to diplomacy. Diplomacy has now proven to be a deadend. If Russia does not join the real game and begin to play its strong cards, Russia will be defeated.

Dr. Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal. He was columnist for Business Week, Scripps Howard News Service, and Creators Syndicate. He has had many university appointments. His internet columns have attracted a worldwide following. Roberts' latest books are The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism and Economic Dissolution of the West and How America Was Lost.


Europe is scared, and so are we

By Jamal Khashoggi

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Europe is scared, worried, apprehensive and looking for a solution to its crisis with ISIS which can strike anywhere. And we are also worried and scared.

For as much as ISIS poses a threat to Europe and the world, it threatens us too. Just like its moral sense has completely collapsed and it has started attacking soft targets that are impossible to protect around the clock, it is doing the same thing in our world and attacking mosques. Just as it targeted civilians in Stade De France because they voted for their government and are hence partners with it in the war, it would target civilians in Jawharah Stadium because the Saudi people support their government against ISIS. It is the same logic and it is just a matter of time. To have access to weapons and explosives and to manage to be overlooked by security; once these two conditions are met, the bombing will happen.

ISIS is not Baghdadi

Yet while Europe fears only ISIS, we fear – along with it – that the state of chaos and collapse that our world is experiencing will reach us. Our victims in the Middle East are greater in number. We can draw many pictures with their images just like the French media did with the images of the Paris attack’s victims. Our victims are more; their murderers more diverse – not just ISIS. They also include the oppressive regimes whom ISIS claims it has come out to avenge. The endless list of our victims stirs in us a fear of the future, but this fear is a fuel for the extremists among us who use it to recruit new supporters under the banner of revenge.

This is why there has to be a European alliance with the countries of the region not only for the war on ISIS but also for the war on the prevailing state of chaos which will continue to secrete more ISIS unless we stop it. But Europe, particularly French President François Holland, is still focused on the direct apparent enemy, ISIS – headquartered in Raqqa and cells spread around Europe, and wishes that the U.S. and Russia would put aside their disagreements and unite to face the organization. It is clear that under the shock of the attacks, President François is leaning towards adopting the Russian interpretation of the crisis: “fight ISIS”, and this is why there is a need for a different approach that is broader and more comprehensive. One that aims to fight the causes that produced ISIS in the Middle East and not just an extremist speech that can be handled by eliminating a school curriculum, preventing a “scholar” from visiting France or even by a raid that destroys the “Caliph” Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. There is no doubt that the latter would make amazing headlines for a French newspaper, followed by a speech in which Hollande – waving his hands – says, “we won.” But ISIS is not Baghdadi. They have a good stock of bearded men who memorize a few Quranic verses and Prophetic sayings and are ready to climb the podium and declare themselves the Caliph of the Caliph.

ISIS is the state of chaos, failure and political and social collapse that the Middle East is experiencing extending as far west as Libya. It is the regime of Bashar al-Assad who has been killing his own people for four years and whom Hollande has declared, on more than one occasion, to have lost his legitimacy but did nothing to stop him. It is the regime’s explosive tanks that are falling on the Syrians in their markets and destroyed neighborhoods. It is the sectarian militia from outside Syria that came to fight sons of the majority who are rejecting the rule of the minority. It is Iraq’s Sunnis who fear that Baghdad’s sectarian government and its extremist crowd will expand, control their areas, humiliate them and attack them. It is the prisons that contain tens of thousands of detainees. It is the abolition of civil rights. It is the shooting of the peaceful demonstrators. It is the deceit of the media that converts the judiciary system from a refuge for the oppressed to a tool for tyranny and oppression. In short, it is the confiscation of the hopes of the Arab people that arose in the Arab Spring four years ago wanting democracy, justice and decent living.

Yes, ISIS does not want democracy nor freedom, but it is the only alternative for some angry men seeking “good governance” and who imagine it to exist in ISIS after they were denied all other alternatives and had their options limited to tyranny, detention, immigration to Europe on a death boat or ISIS – which doesn’t deserve to be an option for an Arab Muslim. It is an abhorrent idea that will remain with us in its different “Salafist Jihadi” forms but must not spread with this force nor enjoy all this gravity which is only happening due to the state of chaos and descent of our world.

Terrorists and refugees

Europe made the modern Middle East – which is now crumbling – a hundred years ago. It is time for it to go back to it and collaborate with the powers that are in a position to fix it, not because it is responsible for it which is no longer the case and no one wants a return of the twentieth century imperialist, but because the Middle East is the one that is turning to it in two forms it does not desire: terrorists and refugees.

There are two powers in the Levant that are capable of the required comprehensive reform: Saudi Arabia and Turkey. But they are suffering from “American hesitation” just like Europe. Forming an alliance between these three powers can guarantee ending the American hesitation and bringing the U.S. to a global plan to eradicate ISIS – one that starts with an accurate reading of history and is based on respecting the people’s desire for freedom, security and political participation. This will entail ceasing to protect a minority oppressive regime like that of Bashar Al-Assad and helping the Syrian people in forming a national government whose men will be the power needed to destroy ISIS on the Syrian territory without the need to send French or European soldiers to the Syrian lands against their wish. It will also save France the cost of air raids on ISIS’s fortress which will not terminate it but could rather kill innocent victims whose tragedy will be used by ISIS to fuel another cycle of violence in the streets of Paris.

Saudi Arabia has called for democratic secular ruling and elections in Syria which seems strange to some since Saudi, from their point of view, is neither democratic nor secular. However, the problem is not in Saudi Arabia but in Syria. The Kingdom realizes that a pluralistic country whose people have revolted for freedom will not accept a Salafist Islamic government which some groups are calling for there, nor will the people accept a minority oppressive ruling. Both are recipes for a state of instability as the rest of the components of the population will reject this narrow factional vision. The solution is in a pluralistic democratic government which everyone can find a place in. Syria and the rest of the Levant deserve better alternatives than Bashar and ISIS.

Europeans must realize that their and our real enemy is not ISIS but the state of chaos and breakdown in the Levant.

Jamal Khashoggi is a Saudi journalist, columnist, author, and general manager of the upcoming Al Arab News Channel. He previously served as a media aide to Prince Turki al Faisal while he was Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the United States. Khashoggi has written for various daily and weekly Arab newspapers, including Asharq al-Awsat, al-Majalla and al-Hayat, and was editor-in-chief of the Saudi-based al-Watan. He was a foreign correspondent in Afghanistan, Algeria, Kuwait, Sudan, and other Middle Eastern countries. He is also a political commentator for Saudi-based and international news channels.


Paris attacks: Our victims, and their victims

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Diana Moukalled

A Twitter user recently sent me a message criticizing my grief over the victims of the recent Paris attacks. He wrote: "These are infidels who we do not pray for to rest in peace regardless of whether it's permissible to kill them or not."

Of course, I did not feel any desire to engage in a discussion with him or to respond to such logic. Unfortunately, this logic has been manifested in many reactions around us and has reflected confusion regarding shifts in emotions and sympathy based on countries, religion, sect and race.

The situation certainly seems disappointing, especially when we feel surrounded by all this pain and bloodshed in the region to the extent where we've become deprived of basic primitive feelings, such as rejecting the murder of civilians even at a time when many civilians from our own countries often become murder victims.

Barely anyone was spared from being criticized for voicing solidarity with the victims of the terrorist attacks committed by ISIS. Most people took to social media and posted comments, images and flags of the countries targeted by ISIS in order to condemn all their attacks, particularly the Paris attacks. Facebook introduced a tool to add the French flag filter to profile photos, and many users used that tool to voice solidarity with the victims. However many were angered and confused by this move. Some created a similar tool to include the Lebanese flag filter and criticized how France received more global solidarity than Beirut, which had witnessed ISIS suicide bombings a day before the Paris attacks.

Then, the series of bids for solidarity escalated.

The Paris attacks were met with campaigns of solidarity and grief in western countries. However in our Arab world, they mainly stood out as points of controversy and dispute - which seem to be the only thing we are good at. Sympathy among us seemed to be conditional and many well-known media outlets were at some point directly involved in reinforcing these reservations, by adopting a malicious approach towards the event, its victims and perpetrators. Since absurdity has no limits, many fell into the trap of circulating the news of the murder of 147 students in Kenya and commented on the news with a demand that those sympathizing with the Paris attacks not to ignore Africa. Of course, it was clear that those who circulated this news on Kenya did not double check their information as the news had happened seven months ago. Unfortunately, only a few people bother to double check information amid this social media storm.

Perhaps those who are concerned the most here are the Syrians, who cannot feel that any pain matches theirs, and the Lebanese people who've become used to explosions. The Iraqis have also gotten used to bombings for over a decade now. Meanwhile the Yemenis struggle to end the negligence towards their victims. Of course we're not placing all these groups in one category according to identity or nationality. However there's certainly a frantic state of dispute regarding reactions to their crises. This implies we have not learned much from the abundant death tolls which have exhausted us as countries, individuals and societies.

The belief is, those who are slain overseas are not our victims, and those who are slain here are not their victims. We are incapable of agreeing that a victim is a victim regardless of his/her nationality. Within our bias towards those victims is our declaration that their murderer is one and that we, too, are his victims.

Diana Moukalled is the Web Editor at the Lebanon-based Future Television and was the Production & Programming Manager with at the channel. Previously, she worked there as Editor in Chief, Producer and Presenter of “Bilayan al Mujaradah,” a documentary that covers hot zones in the Arab world and elsewhere, News and war correspondent and Local news correspondent. She currently writes a regular column in AlSharq AlAwsat. She also wrote for Al-Hayat Newspaper and Al-Wasat Magazine, besides producing news bulletins and documentaries for Reuters TV.


After Paris: ISIL's strategy against the 'far enemy'

Omar Ashour

24 Nov 2015

"The directive that came to us so far is not to target the West and America from al-Sham [Syria and other parts of the Levant]. And we are committed to the directive of Dr Ayman [al-Zawahiri] may God protect him. But if this situation [air strikes] continues, I think that there will be consequences which are not in the favour of America or the West," said Abu Mohammed al-Golani, the leader of the Nusra Front in May 2015 in an Al Jazeera Interview.

"Maybe al-Qaeda organisation attacks from elsewhere, but not from al-Sham. This is an order we received," he continues. The words, taken at face value, seem to contradict the new strategy of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant group towards the West, highlighted this month by the deadly terrorist attacks in Paris. The attacks came after a gradual escalation in ISIL rhetoric, narrative and tactics against the "far enemy".

New tactics

Before 2015, the geostrategy of ISIL primarily aimed at capturing territory, cleansing it, controlling it, and proto state-building within it according to its vision, and then expanding into surrounding territory by attacking nearby enemies - who ranged from the Nusra Front to Bashar al-Assad's Syrian regime, and the Iraqi government.

This started to gradually change from the summer of 2014, especially after the Iranian and United States air strikes began in June and August 2014 respectively.

Based on open sources, ISIL affiliates and sympathisers have allegedly conducted no less than 25 plots and attacks against Western citizens and interests since October 2014.

This compares with only two alleged plots and one attack before that date: An alleged "Mumbai-style" plot in London for which a man was cleared in October 2013, the alleged Riviera plot in France in February 2014, and the Brussels Museum attack in May 2014.

Although the last attack was committed by a militant who allegedly trained in ISIL camps, the ISIL connection in most of these cases is a declared support for the organisation and not a directive form a high-level ISIL commander.

In the last two issues of ISIL's multilingual magazine, Dabiq, the focus was more on attacking the West - a definitely different take compared with the earlier issues. Before that, the focus was on legitimising ISIL's rule, de-legitimising rivals and enemies (including al-Qaeda and the Taliban), and calling on Muslims to migrate to ISIL-controlled territory.

These issues also bore the headlines "From the Battles of Al-Ahzab to the War of Coalitions" and "Just Terror". The first headline was comparing the anti-ISIL US-led coalition in 2014-2015 to a tribal coalition formed by pagan Arabs against the Prophet of Islam in 627.

The second headline was justifying Paris terrorist attacks. The only Dabiq issue that equally focused on attacking the West was the fourth one entitled "The Failed Crusade". It came out, in October 2014, right after the coalition air strikes began: "At this point of the crusade against the Islamic State, it is very important that attacks take place in every country that has entered into the alliance against the Islamic State, especially the United States, United Kingdom, France, Australia, and Germany."

ISIL, however, makes this a secondary choice in issue 9 of Dabiq: "Either one performs hijrah to the wilayat [provinces] of the Khilafah [Caliphate] or, if he is unable to do so, he must attack the crusaders."

Overall, aside from the three aforementioned issues, calls to attack the West make a tiny proportion of the contents of Dabiq, compared for example with Inspire magazine issued by al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). This was especially the case before October 2014.

New objectives

If there is a significant change in ISIL strategy, towards prioritising attacks against the West after the coalition air strikes, then what does ISIL aim to achieve with such attacks?

The tactics of wreaking havoc in Western cities did not work well for al-Qaeda. After 9/11, the organisation lost its bases in Afghanistan. Its principal host - the Taliban - lost a state it controlled almost entirely.

And most of al-Qaeda's commanders were killed or captured, including Osama Bin Laden. Still some of al-Qaeda's affiliates believe that by bringing US troops to Afghanistan and Iraq, they have brought the far enemy nearby and, therefore, are able to inflict significant damage.

They also believe that they have spoiled the US objectives in both countries. This perception of course does not take into consideration any costs incurred.

The ISIL leadership could be aiming for either a similar scenario or for "deterring" the West from attacking the territories it controls. In either case, it has many more resources, capacities and experiences compared with those of al-Qaeda before 2011.

These are not only demonstrated by ISIL's control of territory stretching from parts of Aleppo in Syria to parts of Salah al-Din province in Iraq, in wich about 10 million people live, but also by the capacity of ISIL to strike in areas where they do not have that control.

AQAP has been trying to bomb Western airlines, most notably the so-called Christmas Day plot in 2009. But all of its attempts were luckily foiled. ISIL, however, was able to bring down a civilian passenger airline at its first attempt on October 31, killing 224 civilians in the Sinai Peninsula.

Such a potential change in terror strategy, coupled with the significant capacity behind it, represents a formidable challenge to Western leaders, who will have to make strategic plans for a scenario in which ISIL adopts al-Qaeda's pre-2011 strategy of using its resources to primarily go after the "far enemy".

Omar Ashour is Senior Lecturer in Security Studies at the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies at the University of Exeter and an Associate Fellow at Chatham House.


Who brought foreign fighters into Syria?

By Abdulrahman al-Rashed

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Iran’s Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani once defended his country's intervention in Syria by stating that they only intervened after fighters were “200 meters” away from Damascus. However, my topic today is not about Iran's intervention as its aims are widely known, but is instead about Syrian rebels who arrived in Damascus long before extremists entered Syria.

Around two years ago, there were only a few hundred extremist fighters in Syria and most of them were present in southern areas close to Iraq.

It is known that the oppositional Free Syrian Army (FSA) was created in 2011, following peaceful protests in Daraa and Damascus, for the purpose of confronting the brutality of the Syrian regime. The FSA quickly expanded in Aleppo, Hama and other governorates but it did not raise sectarian or religious slogans. Its demands were purely patriotic.

Most of those who joined it were citizens from different social classes. Their motive was to get rid of terrifying security institutions and to end the practices of the inside circle linked to the president which resorted to thuggery and persecution.

Two years later, the FSA had seized several areas. However, during this phase, media campaigns were launched against it and against those who supported it. These campaigns doubted the FSA's patriotic intentions and raised questions over its loyalty to Western countries, as well as the funding it received and its leaders. Truth be told, the arming and support of the FSA was carried out under the knowledge of the international community and supervision from several parties in what was known as "military rooms" in which representatives of Western countries were also involved. But unfortunately, as the FSA progressed, two significant developments changed the power struggle.

Creating an opposition

Competitive motives, narrow interests and the idea that Damascus' fall was near, lead to increased competition. This is why some countries attempted to create an opposition that was loyal to them. They therefore supported the establishment of local extremist organizations and encouraged foreign extremists to enter Syria to fight. Meanwhile, when Iran saw the FSA fighting around Damascus, it did the same thing and sent Hezbollah militias there. It also assigned generals from the Iranian Revolutionary Guards to establish similar extremist groups from Iraqi and Afghan organizations, among others, and sent them to Syria. This is how Syria became the arena for the biggest war among terrorists in the region.

Any cooperation with extremist groups in the confrontation against Assad’s regime thugs and Iran's militias was a huge mistake, because ISIS had already considered all parties to be its enemy and it even fought the FSA more fiercely than it fought Assad's forces. Those who supported extremist groups thought that ISIS and al-Nusra Front were a useful, destructive weapon against Assad and a convenient means to follow the FSA to Damascus.

Unfortunately, this strategy is being repeated in Libya where extremists were depended on for the same reason. The result is one and the same: riding on the back of the beast does not make beast obedient.

Other political parties who sympathize with the Syrian people were alarmed at an early phase and voiced their concerns about the FSA and the leadership of Syrian National Coalition, which includes all sects and ethnicities.

Fear of regionally reviving organizations like al-Qaeda does not only threaten Syria but it also threatens countries like Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Jordan. A Saudi source told me that Riyadh has issued warnings to citizens traveling to Syria, adding that high-ranking Muslim scholars were asked to cancel calls regarding the obligation of "jihad" for Muslims. He added that concerns have reached the extent of Saudi Arabia informing Turk officials that they can arrest any Saudi citizen who crosses the 36th parallel north circle of latitude, as there are no touristic or commercial areas there, and those who cross that point most probably want to sneak into northern Syria.

Saving and rehabilitating the Assad regime is impossible and has become a faraway prospect; however, the regime has succeeded at one thing, which is to destroy the post-Assad era in Syria. The Syrian regime is not the only party to blame. Those who were dragged behind misconceptions and behind unrealistic and illogical theorists and visionaries are also to blame.

Abdulrahman al-Rashed is the former General Manager of Al Arabiya News Channel. A veteran and internationally acclaimed journalist, he is a former editor-in-chief of the London-based leading Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat, where he still regularly writes a political column. He has also served as the editor of Asharq al-Awsat’s sister publication, al-Majalla. Throughout his career, Rashed has interviewed several world leaders, with his articles garnering worldwide recognition, and he has successfully led Al Arabiya to the highly regarded, thriving and influential position it is in today


Dance of death on our roads

Mohamed Ahmed Al-Hassani

Nov 25, 2015

MOST of the so-called ‘death roads’ owe their moniker to the bloody accidents occurring on them. These are single two-way streets that have only two lanes going the opposite directions. That’s when the danger level increases as vehicles come face to face with because those who try to bypass other vehicles use the opposite lane which already has plenty of vehicles on it.

But if all main roads connecting cities and provinces have been developed to have double lanes for each direction, do you think the tragic accidents will end and the roads will become streets for the living and not the dead or the accidents will continue killing thousands and injuring tens of thousands?

The reality of the situation confirms that the cause of disasters on is not just streets but also the unique drivers. Even if roads had four lanes for every direction, they will still have reckless drivers who would maneuver and move from one lane to the other suddenly and sometimes the driver might lose control of the car to find himself in the other direction hitting other cars moving peacefully. He would end up killing himself and others. This normally happens everyday on the Makkah-Jeddah Expressway.

This type of drivers cannot be trusted even if each road had ten lanes for every direction. In fact, maybe having expanded roads might encourage them to do more crazy things and drive at higher speeds as if they were in international racing tracks.

If these drivers truly respected themselves and gave the road its rights they would be committed to driving in the specific lanes and follow the speed limit. But they refuse to do so and insist on being arrogant and spoiled so no wonder road accidents are still happening no matter whether the roads have become bigger or not.

If every driver practices good driving behavior then with the protection of Allah we will be safe from accidents even if the road was a single two-way lane. But!


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