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September 27, 2016 / 24 Elul, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘ISIS’

Black Flags in Gaza

Tuesday, September 27th, 2016

You’d be excused if you thought these armed masked men in pickup truck waving black flags in Gaza were ISIS or a JV team – they have them (ISIS) in Gaza too.

But this is a different Islamic terrorist group in Gaza, these are the Al-Nasser Salah al-Deen Brigades, an armed wing of the PRC.

They’re celebrating their 16th anniversary.

Their specialty is planting roadside bombs against civilian and military vehicles.

In 2003, it is believed their group blew up a US diplomatic convoy in Beit Hanoun (Gaza), killing 3 guards and wounding a diplomat, and it is also believed they blew up a bus in Haida, killing 16 Israelis. And then they did other stuff too.

They were formed by ex-PLO terrorists who didn’t feel the PLO was terrorist enough for them – they are believed to be financed by Hezbollah.

Al-Nasser Brigades, an armed wing of the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC),

Al-Nasser Brigades, an armed wing of the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC),

Al-Nasser Brigades, an armed wing of the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC),

Photo of the Day

How the Next President Can Defeat ISIS

Tuesday, September 27th, 2016

{Originally posted to the JNS website}

Chief among the many foreign policy challenges that President Barack Obama faces — and his successor will have to meet — is how to successfully defeat ISIS, also known as the Islamic State or Daesh.

When ISIS burst onto the scene in 2014, by taking advantage of Middle East instability and conquering large swathes of northern and western Iraq and eastern Syria, the international community was shocked by the sheer speed with which the terrorist group inflicted its brutality on the region’s inhabitants, especially non-Muslim minority groups, such as Christians and Yazidis.

Since then, a United States-led loose coalition, comprised of more than a dozen European and Middle East countries, with the mission to slowly erode ISIS’ control in parts of Iraq and Syria, has had limited success. While coalition airstrikes and Iraqi government ground forces have made progress against in Iraq, the ongoing civil war in Syria, where ISIS has its de-facto capital in Raqaa, has enabled the terrorist group to continue to operate, and even carry out terror attacks abroad.

Amid this slow progress, a new organization, The Committee to Destroy ISIS, believes an alternative is needed to defeat the terror group. It proposes creating a secular homeland for Sunni Muslims and other minority groups in western Iraq.

JNS.org spoke with the organization’s executive director, Sam Patten, to get his thoughts on the current situation in Iraq and how the US can successfully destroy ISIS.

Who’s behind your organization?

Sam Patten: “The Committee to Destroy ISIS brings together Iraqis and Americans who share a vision for a better way of combating the scourge that’s the so-called Islamic State. Our members include business people, former members of the military, intelligence community, policy and political officials and experts.”

What’s your background and how did you became involved?

“My own Iraqi background includes work for the International Republican Institute (IRI), which I served as resident political director in Baghdad in the run-up to the first Iraqi elections in early 2005. I’ve also done advisory work for the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) in Erbil in 2005 and 2006 and advisory work for former Deputy Prime Minister Saleh Mutlaq during the 2014 parliamentary elections. My experiences in Iraq have led me to the conclusion that Sunnis have gotten a bad deal in the last 13 years, and rectifying this is critical to restoring any semblance of balance in the country and the region.”

How does your group seek to defeat ISIS?

“To destroy ISIS, it’s necessary to address the environment which it arose. Before “liberating” Mosul, why [did it fall] to ISIS so quickly? Why did the Iraqi army drop their guns and run in the summer of 2014? The Iraqi army and associated Shi’a militias so brutalized the population during an era of heightened sectarianism, that they’d become not protectors, but hated occupiers. Now that ISIS has left Fallujah, what is happening there? Reuters recently published a damning account of how the abuses of the local population that survived ISIS domination have ramped up significantly over the last couple months. This is precisely the cycle of mass human rights abuse that seeds the desire for vengeance and delegitimizes the Iraqi state and its current enforcers.”

What’s the answer to handling the sectarian tensions in Iraq?

“It is to create greater autonomy for West Iraq so the people there can essentially govern, and protect themselves. This would deny groups such as the so-called Islamic State territory from which to organize and expand their campaigns of terror.

“We’re not talking about ‘Sunni-stan.’ Rather, we’re talking about a secular statelet (small state). Other groups in this area, like Christians and Yazidis, have also suffered enormously in the past couple of years under ISIS. Islamic governance has failed the region, whether it comes from Tehran, Baghdad or Raqqa. Sunnis are generally quicker to eschew Islamic governance than Shi’a, and even more so after the past 13 years. Instead, we’re talking about a secular form of governance for West Iraq that equally protects all religions under law and denies the very basis of sectarianism.”

President Barack Obama’s complete withdrawal from Iraq in 2011 is considered a contributing factor to ISIS’ rise. What else has the Obama administration gotten wrong in Iraq?

“In recent years, the US has taken a policy of accommodation towards the Baghdad government that has reaped negative consequences.  Much of this, we fear, stems from the Obama administration’s evident zeal to pursue a nuclear deal with Iran, for which much else has been sacrificed. Consider the 2010 Iraqi elections. A secular Shi’a, Ayed Allawi, won with the support of more than 80 percent of Sunnis. But the Obama administration bowed to pressure from Tehran to keep their man, Nuri al-Mailiki, in power. As such, sectarianism increased dramatically once this permission was given. While there’s been more emphasis by Washington in recent months on destroying ISIS, the underlying issues haven’t changed. The US didn’t invade Iraq in 2003 to create the current disaster. We believe there exists a moral responsibility to restore the broken balance.”

It sounds like your plan is very similar to previous proposals to partition Iraq into separate states?

“When partition was first suggested by then-Sen. Joe Biden in 2006, the timing was wrong. But the idea was arguably a decade ahead. A recent article by a former George W. Bush administration official, Mark Pfeifle, called on the next president to consider regionalizing Iraq. A day or two after this piece came out, TV talk show host Joe Scarborough asked Biden again about his plan. And while he’s in a different role now [vice president], he’s tried to pay lip service to the fading notion of a unitary Iraq, it was clear that he too still supports the basics of our plan: more budget authority, more security and policing authority, and more self-governance for Western Iraq.”

What about Iraqi Christians and other minority groups who have suffered from ISIS. Should they get their own region?

“Christians and all other groups will be welcome constituent parts of West Iraq. This region has been tremendously diverse for millennia it should remain so.”

Which presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump, has the best plan to defeat ISIS?

“We are not endorsing US political candidates; we are suggesting that America’s next president adopt a longer-term vision with respect to Iraq and the region. The significant shift to Tehran we’ve seen in the last six or seven years is destabilizing for the region. Whoever wins the November election, we hope will be less committed to the ‘legacy’ of an Iran deal and better able to take a balanced view that puts the interest of people in places like West Iraq into the equation. We look forward to the debates and hope this issue will be discussed, as it should, because it’s a critical element to destroying ISIS.  And that is something that matters to all Americans.”

Sean Savage

Prominent Jordanian Christian Writer Shot to Death Outside Courthouse for Sharing ‘Allah’ Cartoon on Facebook

Sunday, September 25th, 2016

A 56-year-old Jordanian Christian writer was shot to death outside a courthouse in Amman on Sunday as he prepared to face trial on charges of giving offense to Allah, the Jordanian state news agency Petra reported on Sunday.

Nahed Hattar was being charged for sharing a cartoon on his Facebook page that portrayed Allah in a manner that was considered offensive to Islam. The cartoon was titled, “God of Da’esh” — the Arabic acronym for the Islamic State terrorist organization.

It showed an Arab sheikh, “Abu Saleh” lying smoking in bed in a tent labeled “Paradise” with two women, directing Allah to clear the dishes, bring him wine and cashews, get a “servant” to clean the floor and put a door on the tent and knock before entering the next time.

Hattar explained he was sharing the cartoon to ridicule “terrorists and how they imagine Allah and paradise,” saying that “it does not insult Allah in any way.” He removed the cartoon from his Facebook page and apologized for posting it after it triggered a firestorm of outrage on social media from conservative Muslim Jordanians.

Jordan’s highest official religious fatwa authority had condemned Hattar for what it said was an “insult to the divine entity, Islam and religious symbols.”

Hattar was shot three times by an unidentified bearded gunman in his fifties wearing a traditional Arab dishashada — a garment worn by deeply observant Sunni Salafi Muslims who shun a Western lifestyle, according to international news agencies.

The shooter was alleged by a security source to be a 39-year-old Muslim preacher from a mosque in Amman. He was arrested “and investigations are ongoing,” according to Petra.

The shooting was immediately condemned by the Jordanian Government. Spokesperson Mohammad Momani said in a statement that followed the murder, “The law will be strictly enforced on the culprit who did this criminal act and will hit with an iron fist anyone who tries to harm state of law.”

Hattar had said he believed his Islamist opponents were using the cartoon and the outrage it triggered to settle their political scores with him. The writer was a supporter of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and an activist fighting political, radical Islam. He was arrested August 13 and charged with contempt of religion and incitement of sectarian strife.

Jordan has been struggling to contend with internal struggles between its secular, moderate and extremist Islamist sectors, as well as the internecine conflicts arising between Jordanian citizens and Syrian refugees.

The growing majority of Arabs from the Palestinian Authority has also become a growing factor in the rising discontent of various factions. This population is comprised of those who fled their homes and moved to Jordan during the 1967 Six Day War as well as their children, grandchildren and great-children.

Hana Levi Julian

Jordan’s King Asking UN Help on Syrian Refugees, Offering Lip Service on PA

Thursday, September 22nd, 2016

The two main concerns Jordan’s King Abdullah II Ibn Al Hussein brought up in his speech before the UN assembly this week were the need to halt the spread of terrorism in the Middle East and elsewhere, and his country’s dire need for help in caring for millions of Syrian refugees that have crossed over from the civil war next door. The king ended his eloquent speech with a scant reference to the Israeli-PA conflict, cautioning that “no injustice has spread more bitter fruit than the denial of a Palestinian State,” and stressing that “Israel has to embrace peace or eventually be engulfed in a sea of hatred.”

Meanwhile, it’s been Jordan being engulfed, as the ISIS hordes have been hammering at its borders from several directions, leaving only one safe border, the one with those bitter fruits of the Israeli-PA conflict. Or, as His Majesty described it, the outlaws of Islam — the “khawarej” — have murdered, plundered, exploited children and rejected the equality of women before God. But he insisted that it was crucial to recognize the difference between that image of Islam and what the religion really teaches.

“False perceptions of Islam and of Muslims will fuel the terrorists’ agenda of a global struggle by polarizing and factionalizing societies, East and West,” the king warned. Islam teaches that all humanity is equal in dignity and that there is no distinction between different nations, regions or races, he said, but the khawarej deliberately hide such truths in order to drive Muslims and non-Muslims apart. “We cannot allow this to happen,” he warned. He explained that those radical outlaws do not exist on the fringes of Islam, but outside it altogether. A new mind-set, new partnerships and reformed methodologies would be needed to confront such a non-traditional enemy. For Muslims it is, first and foremost, a fight for their future.

Admirably truthful and useful ideas, which is why one must wonder how come the king is recommending that, while the rest of the world should be combating these radicals, Israel, his only safe neighbor, should embrace peace with them. It may have to do with the fact that Jordan’s population is 80% “Palestinian,” meaning it is made up of the indefinable hordes who flooded the area from all over the Middle East starting in the 1920s, seeking jobs and safety alongside the Zionist enterprise and under the rule of the British Mandate. Jordan has become a home to many of them who fled Israel during the 1948-49 war, just as it became a home to an estimated 400,000 of them who were deported by Kuwait after the Gulf War of 1991. Indeed, the close to two million refugees who have been invading Jordan in the past five years are no more “Syrian” than the others are “Palestinian.” Those national definitions are synthetic, Western inventions imposed on a region that lives by tribalism.

That was the real message the Jordanian king was sharing with the world in NY City this week, as he put it bluntly in his speech before the Leaders’ Summit on Refugees, co-hosted by the US, Jordan, Mexico, Canada, Sweden, Germany and Ethiopia.

“For many years, our country’s security and stability and our citizens’ generous compassion have led desperate refugees to our doors,” King Abdullah II told the summit. “In the past five years the Syrian crisis has sent Jordan’s burden skyrocketing. Some 2.5 million Syrians have crossed into Jordan since 2011. Today we are hosting 1.5 million Syrians, one for every five of our own citizens. Across my country, Jordanians are suffering. No one is justified in questioning our commitment and sacrifices. The economic and social impact has shocked every sector, every community; and it has set back the strides of our economy and has created tremendous problems in our development, job growth and debt reduction. We are spending a quarter of our national budget on refugee-related costs.”

Noting that “all countries agree that the Syrian refugee crisis will be with us all for years to come,” the king warned that “if regional refugee hosts are abandoned and left to fail, the need won’t disappear. The crisis will simply spread further, prolonging the time it takes to end this ordeal. The cost in human suffering will be unspeakable.”

Which is why the takeaway from King Abdullah II’s speech is not about his faint call on Israel to be more peaceful with its terrorist neighbors, but a cry for help in managing the Arab hordes on either side of his gates.


UN Halting Humanitarian Aid Following Air Attack on Aleppo Convoy [video]

Tuesday, September 20th, 2016

The UN has announced on Tuesday that it is suspending all aid convoys across Syria, following an air attack on relief trucks near Aleppo that killed a Syrian Arab Red Crescent staff member and about 20 civilians, and destroyed a warehouse and hospital.

UN humanitarian aid spokesman Jens Laerke told reporters in Geneva that “as an immediate security measure, other convoy movements in Syria have been suspended for the time being pending further assessment of the security situation.” But he added that the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) remains “committed to stay and deliver to everybody in need in Syria.”

Local war monitors are blaming either the Syrians or the Russians for the strike against the aid convoy near Aleppo on Monday, which came after the Syrians had declared an end to the week-long ceasefire.

The attack may have been done in retaliation for last Saturday’s airstrikes by US planes against Syrian regime forces who had been under siege by ISIS in the town of Deir ez-Zor. At least 62 Syrian servicemen were killed and more than 100 wounded in what the Americans described as a mistake.

Igor Konashenkov, an official spokesman for the Russian defense ministry said on Tuesday that “no airstrikes on the UN humanitarian convoy in the southwestern outskirts of Aleppo were carried out by the Russian or Syrian forces.”

“The Russian side did not monitor the movement of the UN truck convoy that came under attack near Aleppo after the humanitarian cargo was delivered to that city,” he added.

“If this callous attack is found to be a deliberate targeting of humanitarians, it would amount to a war crime,” UN aid chief Stephen O’Brien said in a statement. He noted that the Syrian government had given the humanitarian convoy permission to move into Aleppo shortly before the attack.

Peter Maurer, president of the ICRC, released a statement saying “yesterday’s attack is a flagrant violation of international humanitarian law and it is unacceptable. Failing to protect humanitarian workers and structures might have serious repercussions on ongoing humanitarian work in the country, hence depriving millions of people of aid essential to their survival.”


ISIS Torture Video Producer Dead, Pentagon Confirms

Sunday, September 18th, 2016

On September 7, an air strike by the U.S.-led coalition forces ended the career, and the life, of Wa’il Adil Hasan Salman al-Fayad, the Islamic State (Da’esh / ISIS) chief propaganda leader.

According to a statement released by the Pentagon on Friday, “Dr. Wa’il” has been responsible for the broadcasts of the propaganda videos of the beheading of journalists and aid workers over the past several years.

It has been those propaganda videos produced by “Dr. Wa’il” that have been a central tool in the recruiting of new terrorists and lone wolf attackers to ISIS.

Hana Levi Julian

80 Syrian Soldiers Killed as Russian-US Ceasefire Wobbles, And Israel Deploys Iron Dome

Sunday, September 18th, 2016

It looks like the ceasefire between Russian and American forces is very shaky, if not ceasing, as Da’esh (ISIS) forces appear to threaten the city of Deir el-Zour.

At least 80 Syrian government forces were killed Saturday in an air strike on a base near the Deir al-Zour airport, but it’s not clear which bomb was responsible.

The Syrian government military loyal to President Bashar al-Assad said it was the U.S.-led coalition that bombed its army base in Deir el-Zour. The force contends that the attack caused casualties and damage to equipment, and allowed Da’sh (ISIS) terrorists to advance on the area.

The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights confirmed that 80 Syrian soldiers were killed in the strike, citing a source at the airport. But the monitoring group told Reuters that Russian jets — who back the Assad regime — had also been bombing in the same area, at the same time.

The source at the airport confirmed the air strike had the effect of paving the way for Da’esh fighters to overrun Jebel Tharda, according to the UK-based monitoring group.

Russia meanwhile has claimed Syrian opposition forces violated last week’s ceasefire at least 55 times over the weekend, with various clashes, including strikes on military and civilian targets in Aleppo. Russia’s official Interfax news agency quoted Colonel Sergei Kopytsin on Saturday as saying mortar fire and improvised rockets launched by rebels hit Aleppo 26 times.

Syrian state news agency SANA claimed that opposition forces, “insurgents,” violated the ceasefire 12 times in the past 12 hours.

Syrian opposition activists, meanwhile, say that forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad have killed at least five civilians from the opposition contingent. The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said a woman and child were killed in the central Homs province, in the town of Talbiseh. Two men were also killed outside Damascus and a child was killed in Aleppo.

Israeli military officials decided at the weekend to deploy the Iron Dome anti-missile defense system in the Israeli Golan Heights due to the near-daily “spillover” mortar fire that has been reaching over the Syrian-Israeli border. On Saturday alone, the Iron Dome system intercepted two such attacks, neutralizing both shells before they could land and explode on Israeli territory.

Hana Levi Julian

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/80-syrian-soldiers-killed-as-russian-us-ceasefire-wobbles-and-israel-deploys-iron-dome/2016/09/18/

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