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October 1, 2014 / 7 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Jabhat al-Nusra’

Al Qaeda-linked Jabhat al-Nusra Joins ISIS In Syria

Monday, September 29th, 2014

The Al Qaeda-linked Jabhat al-Nusra (Al Nusra Front) terror group in Syria is reconciling with the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

The two groups have been at odds for most of the past year. However, last week’s U.S.-led air strikes in northern and eastern Syria have prompted Jabhat al-Nusra to renew its ties with ISIS, declaring the strikes a “war on Islam” in an audio statement released this past weekend.

Scores of al-Nusra members were killed in the first wave of U.S.-led air strikes, leading the group to vow retaliation for the attacks. The two terror groups are now holding war councils together, according to a senior source quoted by Britain’s London-based newspaper, The Guardian.

A spokesperson for the group told the paper that 73 members had defected to ISIS on Friday alone. More are planning to do the same this week. “We are in a long war,” al-Nusra spokesperson Abu Firas al-Suri said in a statement posted on social networking sites. “This war will not end in months or years; this war could last for decades.”

U.S. President Barack Obama admitted the intelligence community had underestimated the situation in both Iraq and Syria.

In an interview on “60 Minutes” broadcast on the CBS network, Obama said, “Over the past couple of years, during the chaos of the Syrian civil war, where essentially you have huge swaths of the country that are completely ungoverned, they were able to reconstitute themselves. And so this became ground zero for jihadists around the world.”

That ‘ground zero’ is barely a fired mortar shell away from Israel’s northern border with Syria. “Spillover” from the Syrian civil war raging between government troops and rebel forces has resulted in shell fire landing not only in Israeli territory but also in Lebanon, Iraq, Jordan and Turkey.

Of more concern is the fact that Jabhat al-Nusra controls the Quneitra border crossing — the sole crossing between Israel and Syria — and that ISIS now controls the border crosssings between Iraq and Syria, and the Iraqi side of the crossing with Jordan.

Israeli military officials are monitoring the situation closely.

Report: US Sending Indirect Military Aid to Hezbollah

Monday, September 22nd, 2014

The United States has reportedly sent indirect military aid to the Hezbollah terrorist organization, according to information released in a New York Times interview with Hezbollah public relations liaison Mohammed Afif.

The aid, which came in the form of new weapons, was channeled via the Lebanese Army, which closely coordinates with the Hezbollah terrorist group, according to Afif. In addition, U.S. intelligence is being channeled to Hezbollah as well, according to Lebanese sources. This would explain how the terrorist organization was able to pinpoint its first UAV bombing so precisely against the Al Qaeda-linked Jabhat al-Nusra terrorist group, which is not associated with the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terror group and which in fact currently is fighting against the organization. Al Qaeda has denounced ISIS as “too brutal.”

The assistance to Hezbollah, which appears on America’s list of foreign terrorist organizations, comes in stark contrast to the block placed by the Obama White House on a needed transfer to Israel of Hellfire missiles during this summer’s counter terror Operation Protective Shield in Gaza. The transfer of any weapons and other military hardware to Israel, even routine munitions requests, was temporarily blocked by the State Department and the White House, which required a double signature on any delivery. The hold was released following an intense protest against the action by Congressional leaders on both sides of the aisle. However, any form of American military aid – once a ‘given’ by Israel’s “closest friend and ally” – continues to be scrutinized by President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry; an unprecedented situation in relations between the two countries.

“We need to open up a new page with world media, with the Arabs and internationally,” Afif told NYT. Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah has referred to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) as a “monster.” He equated the battle with ISIS as “a battle of life and death no less important than fighting the Israeli enemy, as [its] actions and objectives only serve Israel.”

Afif, meanwhile, has blamed the United States for creating ISIS in the first place by supporting opposition forces in their fight against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, whom Hezbollah supports with guerrilla fighters. “This beast you which you raised up, as in past cases, you find it’s dangerous for you,” he commented in the report.

While U.S. President Barack Obama has talked about starting air strikes against ISIS in Syria as well as in Iraq – where American attacks have been taking place for several weeks – he has yet to carry out the threat. Both Russia and Iran, which generously supports both Syria and Hezbollah, have warned the U.S. not to venture into Syrian air space without permission from Assad. Since the U.S. has been arming rebels to oppose him, such authorization is unlikely.

Hezbollah Used UAVs to Kill Al Qaeda Terrorists in Syria

Monday, September 22nd, 2014

For the first time, Lebanon’s Hezbollah terrorist organization has used unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to bomb its enemies in Syria.

Hezbollah attacked Al Qaeda-linked Jabhat al Nusra (Al Nusra Front) positions on the outskirts of Arsal, along the Syrian border, according to the Iranian FARS news agency.

Although Hezbollah has previously used the drones for reconnaissance missions this marks the first time the terrorist organization has used the UAVs in an aggressive action.

Israel Watching Northern Border with Syria, Lebanon

Sunday, September 21st, 2014

Israeli military leaders are closely monitoring activity on the other side of the northern border and preparing for the day the situation “will change,” a senior military source said Sunday.

At present, fighters from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terror organization are miles away from Israel’s northern border, the officer said. But that could change within hours.

Syria’s civil war, launched in 2011, is still raging and spawning more rebel factions and new terrrorist groups by the day. Mortar shellfire from the conflict has “spilled over” the border into Israeli territory – and into other countries as well – numerous times in the past three years.

Sometimes the shell fire is deliberate, however. “We can tell the difference between stray fire and intended attacks,” the military source said. “Sometimes we respond to stray fire, and not necessarily right away. The goal is for the war to stay on the Syrian side of the border.”

The bottom line, he said, is to attack only if there is reason, and to attack a position that is directly tied to fire aimed at Israel. “We do not attack a position for no reason,” the officer said. “The Syrian air force has not violated the demilitarization agreement. We all know where the red lines are.”

Due to the security situation, IDF soldiers became farmers in the Golan Heights to keep civilians home and safe. The soldiers maintained orchards instead of civilian farmers at Ein Zivun due to the unstable situation at Quneitra. Soldiers also brought in the harvest, the officer said. “I also plan to do this to calm the residents. We are not going backwards at all. For Israel, the situation is good.”

While life in Israel is centered on survival, life in Lebanon is growing more difficult by the day, and not just for the average resident but even for Hezbollah terrorists. The group’s ranks have been thinned by its support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Three Hezbollah terrorists were killed over the weekend in a suicide bombing in northeast Lebanon. The Al Qaeda-linked Jabhat al-Nusra (Al Nusra Front) terror organization has claimed responsibility for the attack, according to Lebanon’s Daily Star newspaper.

Jabhat al- Nusra is allegedly still holding at least 21 Lebanese soldiers hostage in the city of Arsal, according to security sources quoted by the Daily Star. The terror group seized control over the border city last month. The group is reportedly hoping to erase the borders that separate Syria from Lebanon and Iraq, thus allowing the formation of a huge Islamic state. Jabhat al-Nusra has seized significant tracts of land around the Quneitra crossing with Israel, but the group is linked to Al Qaeda, and not ISIS.

Meanwhile ISIS has been busy with its own missions, among them apparently a passion to wipe out the Kurds. At least 66,000 Syrian Kurds fled to the border with Turkey this weekend, running for the lives from the oncoming hordes of ISIS terrorists who swallowed between 20 to 40 Kurdish towns over the past 24 hours. A National Geographic photojournalist described the scene on the border as “organized pandemonium.”

Turkish military forces had cut holes in the barbed wire security fence to allow the refugees to get through, which they did, rushing in by the thousands. “Twenty to 40 cities fell in the last 24 hours, and ISIS (The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria) is moving in with tanks and artillery and killing people in its path, so everyone dropped what they were doing.” The writer, John Stanmeyer, added that he was told it was a fairly stable Kurdish area until 24 hours earlier.

ISIS Promptly Outflanks Obama’s New Strategy, Neutralizes Syrian Opposition

Monday, September 15th, 2014

{This article originally appeared in Liberty Unyielding}

ISIS is busy neutralizing the Syrian factions that might make common cause with the United States. On Thursday, Breitbart London reported that several dozen leaders of Syrian rebel factions opposed to ISIS, who were gathered at a meeting in northwestern Syria, were killed in a massive explosion on Wednesday. Huffington Post on Friday evening summarized reports that ISIS has signed a non-aggression deal with a separate group of rebel factions in Syria, nominally so that all of the factions can continue to fight the Assad regime. According to the Dubai-based Arabic news site Orient News, one of the signatories to the agreement is the Syrian Revolutionary Front (SRF), a group that has received U.S. support and has been touted as a likely partner for a U.S. strategy to oppose ISIS in Syria.

The SRF has been losing ground in recent weeks, suffering a major blow when one of its top commanders was killed at the end of August. At the same time, the SRF was reported to be fighting alongside al-Qaeda-affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra in southern Syria, including the battle for the crossing point with Israel in the Golan over which the rebel factions claimed control on 27 August. Now it appears that the non-aggression pact with ISIS was brokered by Jabhat al-Nusra. None of this comes as a surprise to those who’ve been following along with Patrick Poole at PJ Media. On 3 September, Poole outlined the continuing cooperation of factions in the Free Syrian Army with ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra – cooperation that has resulted in a flow of U.S.-supplied weaponry to the latter two armies. On 9 September, he expounded on a report from the Los Angeles Times that one of the “vetted moderate” groups, Harakat Hazm, is quite open about fighting alongside Jabhat al-Nusra. The U.S. has already given this group anti-tank missiles. Appended to Poole’s analysis is the tweeted text of an alliance agreement concluded by “vetted moderate” faction Harakat Hazm and other similar groups with Jabhat al-Nusra. The text was tweeted on 8 July. It’s not just credible, it’s highly bloody likely that some of the rebel factions – including U.S. client SRF – have indeed made a pact with ISIS. The fact that it won’t be worth a bucket of warm spit ought to serve not as an encouragement to U.S. delusions of a meaningful alliance in Syria, but as a warning. The evanescent quality of alliances and deals among factions in Syria is a terribly unpromising condition for Obama’s proposed mode of passive-aggressive U.S. military operations there. So is the ease with which ISIS (almost certainly) has just blown nearly 50 of their leaders up. It’s hard to issue the warning about this trenchantly enough – and a similar concern must apply in Iraq as well, given the parlous state of national unity and regional cohesion. Iraq may look simpler and less like a free-for-all, but ISIS is already there, and with each day that passes is able to build a more extensive network of clients and affiliated cadre around the area in which the U.S. plans to operate. This would be one thing if we were going in in force. But we’re not. Our posture in northern Iraq will bear no resemblance to what we’ve been used to in Afghanistan for the last five years. In Afghanistan, we have tens of thousands of troops still, and sizable, heavily fortified redoubts to quarter them in. The size of our forces and their level of protection are still prohibitive for the Taliban outside the fences.

ISIS-strat-3

Overextending It cannot be overemphasized that that will not be the case in Iraq. We aren’t sending in a force with overwhelming superiority. In fact, we’re actually going to be putting a small concentration of troops who aren’t professional ground-pounders in a very vulnerable position in one place in particular: the air base at Irbil (or Erbil) in the Kurdish region of northern Iraq, where we will reportedly be basing strike-fighters. I’m really not sure why we’re doing this. I mean, I know why: the Turks won’t let us use their air bases to launch strike-fighters for attacks in Iraq or Syria. To operate Air Force F-15s or F-16s in either country, the most convenient operating base will therefore be in Iraq. (Up to now, Air Force strike-fighters have been using bases in Kuwait and Qatar. Navy F/A-18s have been operating from USS George H. W. Bush (CVN-77) in the Persian Gulf. This makes for long flights and abbreviated availability on-station, however.) We have had a small number of combat helicopters and MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft at Irbil since early August, providing air support for Kurdish fighters in northern Iraq. (Drones are presumably being flown out of Irbil as well.) It’s not that we don’t have a small concentration of troops and high-value weaponry there already. It’s that we’re going to be expanding the size of it, but without changing the basis for our presence or operations. Irbil is an exposed and poorly defended facility, especially for a guerrilla force that quite probably is armed with antitank missiles (which can be used effectively against anything big with a nice heat signature) and a variety of shoulder-fired and battlefield rockets. The New York Times has been posting a useful set of graphics throughout the ISIS campaign (here), and has an excellent generic view of the approaches to Irbil (below; the original annotations relate to events in early August). Of particular note is the short distance between Irbil and the line of ISIS control to the west, which today is about 35 miles. The darker shaded areas on the terrain view indicate spots where ISIS-led fighters have recently conducted attacks on Kurdish forces.

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ISIS Prompts Hezbollah’s ‘Great Need to Remain in Syria’

Monday, September 15th, 2014

The presence of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist group has created a “great need” for guerrilla fighters from the Lebanon-based Hezbollah terror organization to remain in Syria.

That was the message from Hezbollah executive council deputy head Nabil Qaouk, who spoke Monday at a ceremony in the southern Lebanese village of Aita Shaab.

Qaouk was quoted by The Daily Star newspaper in Lebanon as saying that Hezbollah and the Amal Movement had “succeeded in defusing sectarian tensions” following the beheading of soldiers by ISIS last week. He said the murders had “disappointed the radical group.”

Quaouk said, “There could never be a war of words between ISIS and us, but there is the field where we will defeat them. We will not engage in a war of statements or political disputes.

“Day after day, it is becoming clear to Lebanon, the Arab, Muslim and international communities that there is a great need for Hezbollah to remain in Syria. The current situation today imposes on Hezbollah to stay in Syria more than any other time.”

Last month there were five days of clashes between the Lebanese Army and terrorists from ISIS and Jabhat al Nusra (Al Nusra Front) – two radical Islamist terror groups operating with the rebel factions in Syria.

The fight began with the terrorists attempting to invade the small border town. It ended with a cease-fire, but the rebels still hold at least 22 Lebanese soldiers and police officers taken captive during the battle. ISIS has so far beheaded two soldiers, and Jabhat al Nusra has released seven police officers.

Qaouk called for a national strategy and a broad national solidarity to “tighten the noose on the takfiris (false Muslims) and strengthen the Army so that it can free the soldiers,” he said. “The beheading of soldiers by ISIS was aimed at inciting strife between Sunnis and Shiites but Hezbollah and Amal succeeded in eliminating such strife, not just putting out the blaze,” he said.

ISIS is comprised of extremists who claim to follow Sunni Islam. Hezbollah is comprised of those who observe the Shi’ite branch of Islam. Both groups are committed to wiping out the Jewish State of Israel.

UNDOF Troops Pull Out of Syria, Head for Israel

Monday, September 15th, 2014

United Nations Disengagement Observation Force troops have left the Syrian side of the northern border with Israel, due to the deteriorating security situation.

The forces headed for the more secure Israeli side of the border, according to a tweet posted by The Israel Link and other sources on Monday at midday.

Early Monday morning, a rocket fired from the Syrian side of the Quneitra border crossing between Syria and Israel landed in northern Israel. The rocket exploded in an open area at about 6 am; no physical injuries were reported. IDF officials said the launch was believed to have been a misdirected “stray” from the intense fighting between rebel factions and troops waging civil war on behalf of President Bashar al-Assad.

Last week 45 UN peacekeepers from Fiji were freed in the Golan Heights by their Jabhat al Nusra (Al Nusra Front) terrorist captors. All were in good condition, officials said. The troops were abducted by the Al Qaeda affiliate in the buffer zone between Syria and Israel.

They were handed over to the UNDOF troops in the Golan Heights, which has monitored the buffer zone there since 1974, when Syria reached a cease-fire agreement with Israel following the Yom Kippur War.

Fighting between government forces and rebels of various factions in the three-year civil war has been spilling over into the zone off and on for months, as it did last week and today.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/undof-troops-pull-out-of-syria-head-for-israel/2014/09/15/

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