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June 27, 2016 / 21 Sivan, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Assad’

Ya’alon’s Assessment of Obama’s Middle East Policies: Not Good

Wednesday, March 16th, 2016

It seems a very long time ago that President Obama dismissed ISIS as a gaggle of “junior varsity” terrorists who couldn’t present a serious threat anywhere. But it’s becoming increasingly clear that the middle schooler at the table when the wars of the world are being fought is none other than President Obama himself. Obama’s lack of comprehension came in for some serious, if indirect, criticism earlier this week by Israel’s Minister of Defense, Moshe Ya’alon.

Yaalon was speaking Monday afternoon at the Woodrow Wilson International Center in Washington, D.C. about the surprise announcement earlier that day by Russian President Vladimir Putin that Russia was withdrawing the bulk of its military commitment from Syria because it has now “largely” accomplished its objectives.

Putin was careful to say that Russia would not be leaving completely, but would leave a significant force behind. Presumably Putin has learned a lesson from the complete abandonment of Iraq by the U.S. That abandonment resulted in the loss of virtually everything the US gained by conquering that country under Obama’s predecessor, President George W. Bush.

Speaking as he was in the U.S. President’s back yard, Yaalon had little to say about the US abandonment of Iraq. But he had a lot to say about Syria – a country that borders Israel and with which Israel is still nominally at war. A Syria controlled by Islamists is a serious threat to the safety of the Jewish state. And he had some equally blunt warnings about Iran.

Vladimir Putin entered Syria with both feet back in September of 2015, over President Obama’s objection. No-one has been able to identify any negative consequences experienced by Russia, or its leader, from thus ignoring the red line painted in the sand by President Obama. Ditto for consequences to Syria’s Assad, who has been left completely unscathed even though he crossed another, very bold, red line drawn by President Obama.

Many will recall that, back in 2013, Obama explicitly and categorically demanded that Syria give up its chemical weapons or face the wrath of the U.S. Assad refused to comply. The silence from President Obama was deafening.

The Russians promised to take control over all chemical weapons. But Assad was accused of continuing to use such weapons only two days ago by the Syrian-American Medical Society, which recently issued a report on the subject, discussing the wide variety of chemical weapons and delivery systems used by Assad and by all of the numerous other, non-state fighters supporting and opposing him over the last five years.

As much as Israel might prefer stability in its neighbors, Yaalon said categorically that there would be no stability any time soon on the territory of what was, until 2011, the sovereign and undivided nation of Syria.

THERE IS NO WAY TO PUT HUMPTY-SYRIA TOGETHER AGAIN

Rather, as first reported yesterday by The Washington Times, Ya’alon opined that the nation of Syria no longer exists and won’t be coming back: “there is no way to unify Syria,” Yaalon explained. Putin claimed that Russia is leaving because his ally Bashar Assad again sits safely in power. But Ya’alon made clear that that was, at best, a fantasy. The country has been divided up into numerous enclaves each run by a different tribe, religion or warlord.

And at this point, after five years of intense, urban combat that has killed over a quarter of a million people and created many hundreds of thousands of refugees, “there is no way to unify” the country. The best that Assad and the Russians can hope for, Ya’alon explained, is an Alawistan, a Druzistan and other semi-autonomous areas that might, to a greater or lesser extent, leave each other alone.

Notwithstanding recent fitful efforts by Israel and Turkey to get along better, Ya’alon also predicted, or perhaps even called for, an autonomous region for Kurds — even though such a development would be anathema to the leaders of Turkey, who have fought the Kurds for decades to prevent them from attaining independence and escaping the Turkish boot.

IRAN AS A PRIMARY DESTABILIZING FORCE

Ya’alon also explained that the U.S.-driven Nuclear Iran deal has further destabilized the Middle East and created a threat not only to Israel but also to the Sunni-dominated countries in the region. Iran is over 80% Shia and has been run by Shia mullah-dictators since the Shah’s overthrow in 1979. Obama’s gift to the mullahs of $150 billion in cash is now being spent on terror, and ballistic missile construction and testing. No country in the Middle East except Iran and its proxy states can actually be happy about those developments.

Ya’alon explained that Iran and its clients are now “exploiting the [U.S. Iran] deal now to gain hegemony.” He continued: “for sure they are hegemonic in Tehran. In a way they are hegemonic in Baghdad through the Shiite government [there]. They are hegemonic in Beirut regarding Hezbollah, and now they are going to be hegemonic in Damascus.”

Ya’alon reminded his listeners that Iran has been supporting Houthi rebels in power in of Sa’ana, the capital of Yemen, and he explained the danger of Washington’s willingness to allow Iran to participate as an important negotiator in the talks over Syria.

“To leave us with an Iranian-dominated Syria — we can’t agree with it,” he said.

The hardheaded leaders of Israel and Russia, Ya’alon made clear, are facing the realities on the ground in light of the force structures, and tribal loyalties, that are actually motivating the actors there.

Ya’alon’s discussion of those realities was pessimistic. But it was based on facts and reflected the clear sight and deep knowledge of the neighborhood that Israel’s leaders absolutely must display. It was in stark contrast with President Obama’s opinions, ladled out to Jeffrey Goldberg and printed without much challenge in the Atlantic a few days before. There President Obama explained that his Middle East policies would work well “if only everyone could be like the Scandinavians.”

Lori Lowenthal Marcus

Netanyahu: Israel Cautiously Welcomes Ceasefire in Syria

Sunday, February 28th, 2016

By Jonathan Benedek/TPS

Jerusalem (TPS) – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cautiously welcomed on Sunday, February 28 the ceasefire that began in Syria on Saturday, February 27 between the Syrian government and a number of rebel groups.

“We welcome the efforts to achieve a stable ceasefire in Syria that is long-term and substantive,” Netanyahu said after the weekly cabinet meeting. “First and foremost, from a human vantage point, anything to stop the horrific killing there is important.”

Netanyahu, however, expressed the need to be prepared for any aggression against Israel from Iran.

“At the same time, it is important to be clear that any settlement in Syria must include an end to Iranian aggression against Israel from Syrian territory,” stressed Netanyahu.

Through Syria, Iran has supplied weaponry and support to Hezbollah, a Lebanese terrorist organization that has captured Israeli soldiers in the past and launched rocket attacks on Israeli territory. In that light, any Iranian transfer of advanced weapons to Hezbollah poses a national security threat to Israel. Israel also has concerns that Hezbollah is building up a base of operations in Syria.

“We will not agree to the supply of advanced weapons to Hezbollah from Syria and Lebanon,” added Netanyahu. “We will not tolerate the creation of a second terrorist front in the Golan.”

Israel’s absolute rejection of an additional terror front in Syria or Lebanon has been demonstrated by the number of alleged recent Israeli strikes on weapons transfers to Hezbollah, according to foreign reports.

“These have been the red lines and will continue to be the red lines of the State of Israel,” Netanyahu said.

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Rouhani: Muslims Must Improve Image’ but not Forget ‘Zionist Crimes’

Sunday, December 27th, 2015

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Sunday that Muslims must improve the image of Islam in light of the evil of the Islamic State (ISIS) that has stained the religion as violent, according to foreign news agencies.

The report on Reuters omitted what was headlined in the Iranian regime-controlled Mehr News Agency, which headlined:

Ignoring Zionist crimes in Islamic world implausible – Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani slammed disappearance of addressing and broadcasting violence and crimes of Zionist regime in the Islamic world.

Rouhani was speaking at an international “unity” conference, which he said he hopes will help unify Muslims.

He called on Muslims “to follow a fair, moderate tone of discourse which is far from any kind of extremism, which he said results in violence.”

Iran is fearful of the Islamic State (ISIS), which has the same objective of the Tehran regime by wanting to create a Caliphate in the entire Middle East, for starters, before conquering the rest of the world.

The real difference between Iran and the ISIS is who calls the shots, or in their case, who swings the knife or tightens the noose.

Rouhani implied the rest of the world should have listened to him two years ago when Iran proposed the “World Against Violence and Extremism” to the United Nations. “Although seemingly passed unanimously by Muslim and non-Muslim countries, no measure of good faith was taken in practice,” he said.

Ignoring the “Zionist crimes,” which means the existence of Israel, the Iranian president referred to Islamic civil war and added:

If the world wants peace, all have to work together against extremism, violence and terrorism.

Why are we so silent in the face of all the killing and bloodshed? Do we help those who are the main cause of crimes? Is it not a disgrace to the Islamic world that innocent Muslims with their small children, with women, travel during the harsh winter, inside the river or sea with boats to seek refuge in non-Islamic countries?

We have to eliminate the negative interpretation of Islam in the virtual and real world; the great injustice is not only upon Muslims and the people of Libya, Syria, Iraq and Yemen; it is also the greatest injustice in the face of Islam.

His thesis tried to distance Islam in Iran from ISIS. Rouhani asked, “Did we ever think that, instead of enemies, an albeit small group from within the Islamic world using the language of Islam, would present it as the religion of killing, violence, whips, extortion and injustice?”

Reuters did not ask if “the religion of killing, violence, whips, extortion and injustice” also exists in Iran but took care to call Rouhani “a relative moderate” who supports Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who also is trying to defeat the ISIS.

Assad also continues to use chemical weapons and raid civilian population centers with barrel bombs.

“Rouhani the moderate” as secretary of Supreme National Security Council in 1999, stated in a pro-government rally during student protests, “At dusk yesterday we received a decisive revolutionary order to crush mercilessly and monumentally any move of these opportunist elements wherever it may occur. From today our people shall witness how in the arena our law enforcement force . . . shall deal with these opportunists and riotous elements, if they simply dare to show their faces.”

Since taking office as president, more than 600 people have been executed, usually by hanging, which for Rouhani may be a more moderate type of Islam than the ISIS practice of beheading.

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

Israel Allowing Russia to Fly Over Israeli Skies

Saturday, November 28th, 2015

Israeli-Russian understandings allow Russian jets to fly over Israeli air space and implicitly let the Israeli Air Force bomb weapons headed from Syria to Hezbollah in Lebanon, according to Amos Gilad, senior IDF Reserve officer and director of the Defense Minister’s political-security department.

The JewishPress.com previously reported here last month that Russia and Israel have maintained highly secret weekly talks for cooperation that allow both countries air forces to take actions without interference from the other side.

Russia often crosses into Israeli air space while bombing Islamic State (ISIS) and Syrian rebel sites, and Israel last week reportedly bombed Syria to prevent the flow of Iranian weapons to Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Russian president Vladimir Putin said last week that relations with Israel are “excellent.”

The coordination is aimed at preventing an incident such as Turkey’s downing a Russian jet earlier jet last week, an incident that has severely damaged relations between the two countries.

Gilad said on Saturday:

Russian pilots sometimes cross into Israeli air space. Thanks to excellent security coordination, which began with the meeting between Netanyahu and Putin, limits were drawn up.

The IDF and the Russia army agreed on security priorities. If there is an incident of infiltration, we know what to do and how to prevent incidents what would cause indecision.

Freedom of action is preserved for the Air Force to prevent Iranian weapons from getting into the hands of Hezbollah.

As for the Turkish downing of the Russian jet, Gilad said that President Recep Erdoğan “has every reason to be sorry” for the action.

Gilad also said that Syria is a “dead country” and that President Bashar al-Assad “collects his salary but does not control the country except for perhaps one-quarter of Syria.

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

ISIS Suspected of Using Mustard Gas

Saturday, November 7th, 2015

The Islamic State (ISIS), which has reached dangerously close to Israel’s Golan Heights border, appears to have obtained and used chemical weapons, according to a Reuters report quoting the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).

ISIS was not directly accused of using mustard gas that killed two people, one of them a baby, but the gang of beheaders is the obvious suspect.

Reports of disappearing stockpiles of the Assad regime’s chemical and biologic weapons, banned by the Chemical Weapons Convention, surfaced before the government said it removed them.

Assad’s forces have deployed chemical weapons several times, but even more frightening is the ISIS getting its hands on them.

The OPCW report stated that mustard gas was used near Aleppo in August. A source told Reuters that either ISIS has been able to produce mustard gas or has captured part of Assad’s chemical weapons that the regime still holds.

Other reports also point to the probability that ISIS is using chemical warfare. It was accused by Kurdish officials of firing mortar shells with a mustard agent in clashes in northern Iraq.

The Obama administration on Friday expressed its concern over the possible use of chemical weapons.

A Rasmussen poll released Friday shows that the chaos in Syria has leaped into one of the major worries of Americans, spooked by ISIS beheadings and growing Islamic radical violence in the United States.

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

Iran Claims Russia Bombed Rebels Near Golan Heights

Tuesday, October 27th, 2015

 

 

 

Russian warplanes bombed Islamic State (ISIS) and rebel positions near Golan Heights this week for the first time since Moscow directly sent its aircraft to defend the Assad regime, according to the Iranian regime-controlled Fars News Agency.

Fars, which is a propaganda tool, added:

The Russian fighter jets’ attacks have an important message for Israel while Tel Aviv is trying to pretend that it has reached an agreement with Moscow on Syria’s Southern skies.

That may or not be true.

Israeli and Russian defense officials have been meeting quietly on a weekly basis to coordinate aerial activities and prevent each air force from downing a plane from the other side. Israel has made it clear to Russia it will fly into Syrian air space if a mission is needed to bomb weapons being smuggled into Lebanon for Hezbollah.

Neither Moscow nor Jerusalem wants a conflict, and although no one will admit it, Russia’s attacks on Al Qaeda and ISIS positions near the Golan Heights Syria gives Israel a better sense of security, at least in the short-term.

Since the Russian Air Force began carrying out bombing attacks in Syria, gunfire and mortar shell attacks on the Israeli side of the Golan Heights have dropped sharply.

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

Assad Flies to Moscow to Thank Putin

Wednesday, October 21st, 2015

Dateline, Moscow, Syria – Syrian President Bashar al-Assad flew from Damascus to Russia Tuesday night to thank president Vladimir Putin for saving his life and keeping in power, for the time being.

Assad has not left Syria since the Arab Spring swept through the country in 2011. He rode out the storm for a couple of months, backed by the Obama administration and then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton who called him a “reformer,” before his heavy hand of suppression boomeranged into civil war.

So far, the alternative to Assad is a worse barbarian.

President Barack Obama says there will be no peace in Syria so long as Assad is in power. Fortunately, what he says means less and less in the world, especially in the Middle East and particularly in Syria, where Putin has outfoxed and out-smarted President Obama to fill the vacuum of power.

Putin’s massive military support for Assad, ostensibly to attack the Islamic State (ISIS) but in reality to protect the Assad regime from revel groups, Al Qaeda and a host of other enemies, has erased the overdone predictions that Assad is about to disappear, one way or the other.

Everyone has been saying that for four years, including Israel’s then Defense Minister Ehud Barak, who public stated that he would be toppled within six months. That was three years ago.

News of Assad’s visit was kept secret until Wednesday morning, when the Kremlin released a transcript of the Putin-Assad meeting. The Syrian president may have returned to Syria already.

Moscow is just about the only place on earth he could have visited without fearing that he might never return to Syria, unless in a coffin, if he were lucky.

The world’s “most dangerous man,” as Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Joel Brinkley once described Assad, was given a royal welcome by Putin, for whom Assad is a pawn.

Assad said during the visit:

First of all I wanted to express my huge gratitude to the whole leadership of the Russian Federation for the help they are giving Syria.

If it was not for your actions and your decisions the terrorism which is spreading in the region would have swallowed up a much greater area and spread over an even greater territory.

Putin stated:

We are ready to make our contribution not only in the course of military actions in the fight against terrorism, but during the political process

The United States is the big loser in the Middle East chess game. It lost credibility long ago with the make-believe “peace process” that has left Kerry somewhere on another planet.

It remains to be seen whether Russia one day will be sorry for trying to be in charge of the Syrian-Iranian axis if the eternal Muslim hatred of outsiders trying to tell them what to do explodes in Moscow’s face.

For the time being, strange as it seems, Israel is a winner, despite the constant threat of Iran’s nuclear development that Russia has helped fund.

Assad is a butcher, dictator, a despot and corrupt, just like almost every other Middle East ruler. However, it was clear from the fall of Hosni Mubarak that the alternative of anarchy is even worse.

If Assad can remain in power, especially if Putin calls the shots, Israel can feel more secure that the Syrian his hatred of Israel and his threats to capture the Golan Heights will remain rhetoric.

Another bonus is that with Russia in charge, the United States will make less trouble.

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/assad-flies-to-moscow-to-thank-putin/2015/10/21/

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