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August 5, 2015 / 20 Av, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Bashar al-Assad’

UN Peacekeepers Wounded by Syrian Shelling — Will UN Probe This One?

Monday, May 4th, 2015

Two members of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) were hit by mortar fire Monday in the Golan Heights in Israel in what was allegedly a “spillover” attack on their base from Syria.

One of the two was taken to a hospital in serious but stable condition. The second, a female soldier, was treated at the scene. She is in good condition, the Hebrew-language Ynet site reported. Both were stationed in their base on the Israeli side of the border with Syria at the time of the attack. There has been no confirmation of the above information from the IDF Spokesperson, who issued a terse statement saying only that two UNDOF soldiers were slightly wounded in a “spillover” attack on their base from the Syrian civil war across the border in the Golan Heights.

(Ed. Note: The UNDOF force is comprised of some 800 soldiers from the Republic of Ireland, Fiji, India, Nepal and the Netherlands. It has been monitoring the cease-fire line that separates Syria and Israel on the Golan Heights since 1974. Israel won the territory after a defensive battle with Syria in 1967, and was forced to defend in again in the 1973 Yom Kippur War. It was subsequently annexed by Israel.)

According to military sources, the mortar fire was launched from Syria. But it is not clear who fired the two shells.

They could have been launched by a number of terror organizations or the Free Syrian Army which whom the revolt began. It is also possible they were fired by the government troops fighting to keep President Bashar al-Assad in power.

Likewise, it is possible the mortar fire came from Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guard Corps troops, who have been fighting alongside Assad’s troops for years, together with the Iranian-backed Hezbollah terror guerrillas from Lebanon.

The undisputed fact is that this is not the first time mortars have been fired across the border on the Golan Heights. This time IDF designated the area a “closed military zone” following the attack – even though the IDF again determined it to be another “spillover” from the four-year-long Syrian civil war.

UNDOF transferred its Golan Heights base last year across the border from Syria to Israel due safety concerns. Irish soldiers serving in the force say “It’s a unique mission; danger lurks around every bend,” according to a report posted Monday in the Irish Times.

In that, UNDOF soldiers are facing circumstances similar to those of their colleagues in UNIFIL (UN Interim Force in Lebanon) and the former European Union monitors at the Rafa border crossing between Gaza and Egypt.

That is, when things get a little too hot, they acknowledge the danger and back down – fast.

In this case, they were allowed to move their base to the Israeli side of the border, but today’s attack on the base — “errant mortar fire” — proves such a move is no sinecure.

This past January – just a couple of weeks after the Paris terrorist massacres, in fact – a UNIFIL unit got caught in the crossfire when Hezbollah terrorists attacked an Israeli civilian convoy with a military escort traveling along a road a few kilometers from the northern border.

Hezbollah fired six missiles at the convoy from a position three kilometers deep into southern Lebanese territory in the cross-border attack. The convoy was traveling on a road also deep into Israeli territory.

Two IDF soldiers and a civilian died; several others were wounded. A home in an Israeli Druze village took a direct hit and went up in flames; it was completely destroyed and most of the residents were badly traumatized.

Latest EU Brilliance: Have Iran Star in Syrian Civil War Negotiations

Wednesday, April 29th, 2015

Federica Mogherini, foreign policy chief of the European Union, expressed hope that Iran would play an important but constructive role in a renewed United Nations effort to restart negotiations towards ending the years-long Syrian civil war.

Mogherini met with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in New York on Tuesday, April 28. Prior to her meeting, Mogherini said that she sees her role as ensuring that “negotiations proceed in a speedy and good way.”

What she meant by “good,” she explained to reporters in New York, is that the negotiations should result in Iran being prevented from developing nuclear weapons, but that it be allowed the “right to deploy a peaceful program as everybody else.”

Mogherini told Zarif it is crucial that the P5+1 powers successfully conclude nuclear negotiations with Iran. She said that doing so could boost Iran’s regional role in a positive manner, Reuters reported.

The EU foreign policy chief said she understands the concerns of many countries regarding Iran, but said it would be “naive to imagine that a country like Iran could simply disappear from the map.”

Mogherini said it was important “for Iran to play a major, major but positive, role on Syria in particular, to encourage the regime to … (support) a Syrian-led transition,” she said, referring to a 2012 U.N. plan for a political transition in Syria.

The deadline for a final nuclear deal with Iran is June 30. Iran and the six major global powers – the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany – reached a tentative framework agreement on April 2.

The U.N. envoy to Syria, Staffan de Mistura, said he will begin meeting in May with the various players both within and outside Syria, in order to assess whether there is any hope of brokering an end to the war.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon asked de Mistura earlier this month to “focus much more to re-launch a political process” after his attempt to broker a local truce in Aleppo failed.

Many Arab countries in the region, Israel and the United States have resisted the inclusion of Iran in Syrian peace talks. That is because they, understandably, consider Tehran to be the problem, not the solution.

Iran has been supporting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, a staunch ally. It was the widespread belief of many inside the country, and certainly of the current U.S. administration, that Assad had to step down. His refusal to do so, and the regime’s resort to extreme violence including the use of gas to murder citizens of his own nation, ignited the conflagration that has consumed entire cities and killed hundreds of thousands of Syrians over the past four years.

Mogherini is set to meet with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in Washington on Wednesday.

American Jews Rethink Loyalty to Democratic Party Over Iran Deal

Sunday, April 5th, 2015

Jewish leaders in the United States are starting to rethink the instinctive ties the community has had with the Democratic Party from time immemorial.

The change of heart comes in the wake of the deal signed last week with Tehran allowing it to pursue nuclear technology development and research.

Last week, White House chief of staff Denis McDonough met with a group of Jewish Democratic Congress members to discuss the issue. According to a source who was present at the meeting, McDonough was told that to help “sell a very unpopular deal to our constituents…” President Barack Obama would have to “increase his popularity with our constituents,” Fox News reported.

He was also advised to suggest the president tone down his war with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu – or at least avoid “getting into a daily argument” with him, as one person at the meeting reportedly put it.

Bottom line, however, was that the Democratic party is losing its credibility with Jewish voters, and their leaders as well, because Jewish concerns do not seems to be as important as America’s nuclear deal with Iran.

Given the fact that the deal constitutes an existential threat to the State of Israel – and that U.S. leaders are refusing to add a condition that Iran also “recognize Israel’s right to exist,” the loss of Jewish support is no surprise to anyone with a brain.

Republicans will work hard to transform this into new Jewish support for the GOP in the 2016 presidential race, but their ability to recruit the group to the ranks of conservatives has yet to be determined.

Israel’s security cabinet last week unanimously voted to oppose the deal, which does not dismantle Iran’s nuclear technology program, nor does it adequately enforce limits on Tehran’s uranium enrichment activities.

Israel is not the only country is the Middle East made uneasy by the agreement: Saudi Arabia is outraged, as are a number of other Gulf nations. So are Lebanese and moderate Syrian opposition forces, who contend the deal opens the door for a flood of new funding from Iran to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Approximately $150 billion in Iranian funds is likely to be unfrozen shortly, according to Syrian coalition representative in exile, Monzer Akbik. “This will help Assad a lot,” he told The New York Times.

Syrian activist Aboud Dandachi, currently living in Istanbul, also made his disgust clear: “Set up a theocracy in Idlib, fund terror groups worldwide & then Obama will give you your heart’s desire,” he tweeted last week.

And then there’s Iranian-backed Hezbollah, which wields heavy influence and control in Lebanon and Damascus.

Hezbollah and Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guard Corps are also fighting alongside the Syrian government troops to crush moderate Islamist opposition forces. Oddly, they have done little to fight back against radical Islamist groups such as Al Qaeda-backed Jabhat al-Nusra, and Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, known as Daesh or ISIS.

In Yemen, Iran is strongly backing Houthi rebels who destroyed that country’s legitimate government and now are dismantling the rest of its capital and other cities.

But closer to home – for Israel, anyway – Iran long ago armed Gaza terrorist groups to the teeth. Now Tehran has committed itself to arming jihadist groups in the West Bank as well, stating last week, again, that the annihilation of the State of Israel is “non-negotiable.”

Given Iran’s commitment and its new freedom to continue to develop nuclear technology, Jews in America have good reason to re-evaluate their loyalty to a political party with little interest in their own concerns.

Have they awakened too late? It’s too soon to say.

Report: US Waiting for “Green Light” for Assad Talks

Sunday, March 22nd, 2015

An Arab paper in London, Al Rai El-Youm, reports that the US is waiting for the Syrian OK to open up secret back channel talks with the Bashar Assad’s government in Syria, according to Israel IBA news.

The US is waiting for the “green light” from the Syrians, at which point they’ll send a delegation to Damascus.

Last week US Secretary of State Kerry said that in the end the US will have to talk with Assad. The State Department later corrected that statement and said Kerry meant not with Assad himself, but with other officials in his government.

Iranian President Rouhani Arrives in Turkey for Talks

Monday, June 9th, 2014

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani began a state visit to Turkey today (Monday), the first by an Iranian head of state since 2008.

Rouhani was received by Turkish President Abdullah Gul at the presidential palace in Ankara with a special welcoming ceremony. He and Gul are meeting with other Turkish leaders at the palace for bilateral talks.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan joined the gathering, which preceeded the start of direct talks in Geneva between the United States and Iran over Tehran’s galloping nuclear development program.

On the agenda is the expansion of trade and other ways to establish closer economic and political ties, according to the Turkish Al Hurriyet news agency. Officials from the two nations are also discussing the raging civil war in Syria, which borders both countries and which has affected the relations between the two.

Iran has armed and backed President Bashar al-Assad, whose forces have periodically shelled villages in Turkey. In addition, Syrian military forces have often fired at civilians as they crossed the border into Turkey to escape the violence in their homeland.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to be ‘Re-elected’ on Tuesday

Monday, June 2nd, 2014

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is going to be “re-elected” in the upcoming presidential polls scheduled for Tuesday.

Obviously, Assad will win his third seven-year term at the end of the day – if anyone other than his friends even show up to slip the ballots into the box. It would be lethal to do so.

A few “opponents” will stand as candidates to give the appearance that the elections are actually a process rather than the farce the process really is.

One of those willing to cooperate is Hassan al-Nouri, a U.S.-educated businessman who once served as minister of administrative development. Age 54, he is the first of two people ever to run against the Syrian leader – even in a rigged election. His fellow ‘opponent,’ Maher Hajjar, is a legislator from Aleppo.

The fee for Nouri’s cooperation was massive publicity. His face has been plastered all over the country on billboards from one end of Syria to the other. A savvy businessman, Nouri understands that the price of doing business is keeping your name in the news. He is a wealthy man, but more money is always welcome, and Nouri until now has been known mostly to the Damascus-area market.

Neither are really opponents, of course. Nouri even admitted as much to The Washington Post. “I’m not opposition, a hundred percent. But I’m not part of the regime,” he said. “I’m leading the third party.” Western leaders and analysts have dismissed this and the entire election as a charade.

But more to the point, Nouri expressed a view repeatedly stated by the Assad government, more succinctly and in terms a democratic audience can more easily understand: “Millions of Syrians are the silent majority. They don’t give a damn who is the president. They want food on the table, they want peace, they want security.”

The question is, what happens the day after tomorrow?

FBI ‘Wanted’ Hezbollah Commander Killed in Syria

Wednesday, May 28th, 2014

A guerrilla commander in the Lebanese Hezbollah terrorist organization, an Iranian proxy group, was killed Monday in Syria fighting rebels for President Bashar al-Assad.

The death of Fawzi Ayoub in the southern Syrian town of Nawa, located in the province of Dera’a, was confirmed by the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Ayoub is listed on the FBI’s “most wanted” list for attempting to carry out a bombing attack in Israel. A veteran of the Jewish State’s prison system, Ayoub spent four years in jail (2000-2004) before he was freed as part of an early-release deal for a prisoner swap, sources told the Al Arabiya website Tuesday.

Although he was a resident of the southern Lebanese village of Ein Qa’ana, Ayoub also held Canadian citizenship and lived in the United States as well.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/fbi-wanted-hezbollah-commander-killed-in-syria/2014/05/28/

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