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May 26, 2016 / 18 Iyar, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Baghdad’

Three Americans Abducted by ‘Militiamen’ in Baghdad

Monday, January 18th, 2016

Three Americans, widely believed but not confirmed to be contractors, were abducted from war-torn Baghdad, Iraq on Friday, Jan. 14.

The missing Americans were taken from the Dora neighborhood of southern Baghdad. That area has become an increasingly Sunni Muslim neighborhood in recent years.

The spokesperson for the U.S. Embassy in Iraq, Scott Bolz, confirmed on Sunday that several Americans had “gone missing.” Bolz said “We are working in full cooperation with Iraqi authorities to locate the missing Americans.”

U.S. State Dept. Spokesperson John Kirby also acknowledged to an Arab media outlet on Sunday, Jan. 16, that the U.S. government is aware of reports that three American citizens are missing in Iraq.

“The safety and security of American citizens overseas is our highest priority.‎ We are working with the full cooperation of the Iraqi authorities to locate and recover the individuals,” Kirby said.

An Iraqi security official told CNN that two of the three missing are dual Iraqi-American citizens, and that the third is an American. The same official also said that the men “were grabbed by a group of gunmen from an apartment” in Dora late Friday afternoon.

The abducted men were reportedly taken away in a several-vehicle convoy.

“A company filed a report Sunday about three of its staff going missing two days ago. They are American contractors. We are looking into this report,” the Iraqi security official said.

An Iraqi police official told AFP that he was informed that the kidnappers were “militiamen wearing military uniforms.”

Over the course of the past several months, dozens of foreigners have been kidnapped in Iraq. ISIS as well as Shia and Sunni groups have carried out the kidnappings. In addition to the abduction of foreign nationals, Iraqi citizens have also been kidnapped recently, although most of those incidents appeared to have criminal rather than terroristic motivations.

Lori Lowenthal Marcus

Russia Takes over Syrian Civil War, Hits Rebels with Missiles

Thursday, October 8th, 2015

Moscow is becoming the de facto capital of Syria, if not Iran.

Russian cruise missiles bombarded positions of rebels fighting the Assad regime, which is totally dependent on Russia and is virtually owned by it.

Iran also might find itself under the thumb of Russia. USA Today reported Thursday that Tehran pressed President Vladimir Putin to become directly involved in the Syrian civil war, which has left the country disintegrated.

Basher al-Assad has held on to power only through the generous supply of weapons from Russia. Now he has the Russian Air Force pummeling rebel positions.

Iranian Revolutionary Guards and the Tehran-backed Hezbollah terrorist army has been fighting alongside Assad’s soldiers but have suffered a huge number of casualties.

The Associated Press reported that the commander of Iran’s special elite forces travelled to Russia in August to convince Putin to join the fray, and the counties now operate an intelligence center in Baghdad.

Russia is the only major power that has had the guts to move into Syria. President Barack Obama backed off his threat earlier this year to intervene after there was proof that Assad was using chemical weapons.

Russia intervened and worked out a sleight-of-hand act by which Assad handed over his chemical and biological stockpile to international inspectors. The Obama administration easily swallowed the tale that Assad handed over all of the weapons, many of which were in Syria courtesy of none other than Russia.

Iraq has been disappointed with the American-led strike force’s inability to pulverize the Islamic State (ISIS), and Russia has used ISIS as the perfect excuse to move into Syria, set up an air force base and stake its presence as the power broker in the region.

Whether or not President Obama and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry really believed Putin’s promise that Russian forces are in Syria only in order to wage war on ISIS, their illusion that their words speaker louder than action has left them too paralyzed to do anything about it. It was clear from day one that Moscow’s real objective is to save Assad.

Four Russian warships launched 26 missiles against rebel forces as wells ISIS on Wednesday in addition to aerial attacks that have allowed Assad’s foot soldiers to try to take over more territory.

NATO Secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg said that Russia’s military actions are “troubling escalation” and added:

My concern is that the Russians are not mainly targeting ISIS but they are targeting other opposition groups and they are supporting the (Assad) regime.

It’s a bit late for his concern.

Syrian rebels are firing anti-tank missiles at Assad’s soldiers who have Russian aerial support.

Syrian activist Raed Fares was quoted by AP as saying:

Russia is targeting civilians and the Free Syrian Army brigades that are supported by America. They are not targeting the Islamic State as they claimed. Russia is here to keep Assad in power, so they will strike what Assad strikes.

The rebels, and even ISIS, don’t have much of a chance against the superior Russian firepower.

Regardless of its ulterior motives, Russia is the only country in the world that has taken the initiative to directly confront ISIS.

U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter thinks that Russia is on the wrong track, despite the failure of 7,000 strikes by the U.S.-led force to seriously damage ISIS.

He said in Rome:

We believe Russia has the wrong strategy. They continue to hit targets that are not ISIL. This is a fundamental mistake.

If he is wrong and Russia succeeds, it will decide the future of Syria, if not Iran.

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

All-Out War South of Israeli-Sinai Border

Wednesday, July 1st, 2015

The northern Sinai Peninsula south of the border with Israel is engulfed in an all-out war.

Egyptian F-16 warplanes attacked Islamic State (ISIS) and other jihadists’ positions for several hours Wednesday afternoon and killed more than 90 jihadists following massive ISIS attacks.

Most of the 70 Egyptian casualties were soldiers and policemen, and the death toll is not final.

Egypt retaliated immediately and fiercely, and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said:

Terrorism is knocking on our borders. ISIS is not only across from the Golan Heights, it is also in Egypt, across from Rafah…And we are together with Egypt and other states in the Middle East and the world in the struggle against extreme Islamic terror.

Together or not, Israel immediately closed crossings to Egypt and Gaza.

ISIS declared yesterday that it will wipe out both Hamas and Israel.

Egypt still is counting the bodies of those killed today while its jets bombed jihadi posts near Rafah and at Sheikh Zuweid, where ISIS had set siege to a police station earlier in the day.

The ISIS attacks may have finally woken up the regime of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to the fact that ISIS is no less a threat to Cairo than it is to Damascus and Baghdad.

ISIS assassinated Egypt’s state prosecutor two days ago.

The terrorist machine gave the world a hint Wednesday morning just how powerful and well-armed it is.

Terrorists used anti-tank rockets, assault rifles and rocket-propelled grenades in the assault on 15 different army and police positions in a well-planned and calculated war on the regime that faces Al-Sisi with a bigger threat than even the Muslim Brotherhood, whose party he replaced in a de facto military coup last year.

ISIS also has anti-aircraft guns, some of which were destroyed n the Egyptian retaliation this afternoon.

Egypt has been in turmoil ever since the Arab Spring protests against Hosni Mubarak, who ousted was hastened by President Barack Obama, who in turn praised the Muslim Brotherhood and its leader Mohammed Morsi following his election.

A year later, Obama found himself once again encouraging the ouster of the president and praising Al-Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi , whose regime has been no less ruthless than Mubarak’s and Morsi’s.

With the alternative being anarchy, the United States and other powers have backed al-Sisi, but the Sinai has been virtually a province of anarchy for four years.

Hamas has been a serious threat to Egyptian control in the Sinai, next to the border with Israel, and the Gaza terrorist party and army have executed dozens of attacks against Egyptian forces.

ISIS making Hamas look like small potatoes.

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

ISIS ‘Preserving’ Ancient Artifacts by Selling Them [video]

Tuesday, June 9th, 2015

All of the historians worried that the Islamic State (ISIS) is destroying ancient artifacts can relax. It turns out that the ISIS is selling them.

The ISIS has justified destroying ancient statues and artifacts because they are idolatrous and are reprehensible to Islam, but it seems that blasphemy does not enter the picture when money is involved.

The Washington Post’s Loveday Morris reported that ISIS-controlled territory includes more than 4,500 ancient sites.

“They steal everything that they can sell, and what they can’t sell, they destroy,” Qais Hussein Rasheed, Iraq’s deputy minister for antiquities and heritage,” told the newspaper.

Videos of the ISIS destroying ancient statues were misleading, Morris reported, because they actually were only replicas of the originals that are safely stored in Baghdad.

If they had value, the ISIS would not destroy them, and the sale of anything that fetches a good price is more evidence that like most if not all terrorist regimes, their religion is money.

The Islamic State is so well-organized that it grants licenses for excavating ancient stress, Morris reported.

Profiting from excavations is increasingly important for the ISIS because of loss of revenues from oil fields that have been bombed the U.S.-led strike force.

Below, at 1:00, is a news report with a video of ISIS destroying statues, probably replicas.

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

At Least 10 Killed in Baghdad Hotel Bombings [video]

Friday, May 29th, 2015

Two or three car bombs exploded in Baghdad, Iraq after midnight on Friday, next to two hotels, the Babylon and the Cristal Grand Ishtar (Sheraton).

At least a dozen people are reported to have been killed in the attacks, just minutes apart, and another 30 are wounded.

The hotels are very popular with government officials and westerners. Some foreign media outlets use the Cristal hotel.

It is suspected that at least one car bomb also involved a suicide bomber.

No group has taken responsibility yet for the attack.

Jewish Press News Briefs

From Baghdad to Israel: Actor Aryeh Elias, Passes Away at Age 94

Thursday, May 7th, 2015

Israeli film legend, Aryeh Elias passed away at age 94 today on Thursday, May 7. The veteran stage, television and movie actor, who was born in Kurdistan in 1921, was the first Jew to be accepted to the drama faculty in Baghdad’s Academy of Fine Arts in Iraq in 1941.  He started his long acting career around age 10 thanks to his uncle’s theater house in Kurdistan.

In an interview with Israel’s Hinuchit 23 TV three years ago, Elias said that there was a huge uproar in the northern Iraqi Jewish community when he was accepted to the Academy of Fine Arts in Baghdad.  “No one understood how I was accepted because the academy examiners were Israel haters. But my name being Albert Elias, no one could tell by my name that I was Jewish.”

Elias’s delivery of the famous monologue by Shylock from Shakepeare’s The Merchant of Venice in Arabic won the judges over at the academy and he recalled that his acting skills stood out among the other actors.

Following the bloody Nazi-inspired pogrom, known as the Farhud against the Jewish population of Baghdad in 1941 after the British victory in the Anglo-Iraqi war, which left nearly 180 Jews dead, thousands injured and hundreds of Jewish business looted, and hostilities thereafter, Elias made aliyah to Israel in 1947.

“I had just got the role of my life, Shylock,” recalled Elias. “But following all the hostilities, the Zionist underground members came to the rehearsal and took me away.”  At night, the members had arranged for Elias to hide in a truck on its way to deliver Baghdad dates to Haifa. “We would drive at night and hide during the day. At night the date honey would freeze and during the day, it would melt,” recalled Elias.

“I was so sad that I had to leave that big role of Shylock behind. My Muslim director back in Baghdad told me about the Habima theater [Israel’s national theater], but he didn’t know of the problem of the accent in Israeli theater then.”

In Israel, Elias’s Middle Eastern (Mizrahi) accent in Hebrew in the European dominated theater was deemed unacceptable for the Israeli stage at the time.

After he fought in Israel’s War of Independence, Elias received minor roles in The Kameri Theater but later he reached out to Arab towns across Israel, and performed on stage in Arabic in front of audiences including in Kfar Yasif, Kfar Kassem and Nazareth.

His big break came in 1965 with the role of the unemployed and alcoholic father, Levi, in the movie, “HaYeled Me’ever LaRechov, (The Boy Across the Street), an Israeli film that dealt with the difficult social issues facing Israel  at the time.  The movie was a nationwide success and was noted in international film festivals held in Venice as well as in Teheran.

Other movies for which Elias became famous for, included “The Police Man” (Ha’shoter Azoulai), “Snooker” (Hagigah B’snooker), “Kazablan,” “James’ Journey to Israel,” “Bonjour Monsieur Shlomi,” among many others.

In 2013, Elias received a lifetime achievement award from the Israeli Artists’ association for his lifetime work at age 92. In addition to his acting career, he also worked to help disadvantaged and at-risk Israeli youth.

Anav Silverman, Tazpit News Agency

Syrian Rebels Claim They Overran Golan Spy Post Backed by Russians [video]

Saturday, October 11th, 2014

Syrian rebels have posted a YouTube claiming that they overran a spy post on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights that was partially manned by Russians.

The video, picked up by The Daily Beast shows includes insignia and other signs that the post was run by Syrian intelligence with help from Russia. The post probably was used to monitor communications between rebel forces but also might have been used to tune in on the Israeli side of the strategic Golan Heights.

Photos of the location of IDF units were found bit the Free Syrian Army (FSA), confirming reports from Israel earlier this year that Russia is even more deeply involved in the Assad regime than previously estimated. Russian insignia were seen in the YouTube.

An FSA official told The Daily Beast that its fighters spotted more than dozen Russians in the area before the FSA overran the post.

Mark Galeotti, an expert on Russia’s military and intelligence services at New York University was quoted as saying that Russian advisers probably were “running an operation for detailed radio technical intelligence; we are not talking about intercepting telemetry and aircraft.”

With the ISIS advancing in northern Syria and closing in on cities in Iraq, including Baghdad, it is safe to assume that Israel would have preferred that Assad forces, even with the presence of Russian personnel, man a spy post across from the Israeli border instead of its being operated by rebels who just as easily could be overrun by Al Qaeda or ISIS jihadists.

Jewish Press Staff

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/syrian-rebels-claim-they-overran-golan-spy-post-backed-by-russians-video/2014/10/11/

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