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July 3, 2015 / 16 Tammuz, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘Jordan’

Chabad Sends a Seder to Soldiers in ‘The Middle of Nowhere’

Sunday, April 5th, 2015

In the middle of nowhere, a group of Israeli soldiers guarding the nation’s border with Jordan prepared to meet the Sabbath Queen with a canned Passover Seder.

But facing the holiday with army-issue rations was not a pleasant prospect. So as the sun began to sink closer to the horizon, the men put their heads together.

Who could possibly provide a decent meal for these guardians of Israel on the eve of the Festival of Freedom – out in the middle of nowhere?

“Call Chabad,” advised one of the soldiers. Quickly someone Googled a number and came up with Rabbi Shimon Elharar, Chabad-Lubavitch emissary and head of Chabad of the Dead Sea.

A quick conversation ensued. Food he could provide; of course he had the contacts.

But who could get it to the soldiers in time for the holiday? They were, after all, literally in the middle of nowhere. Just about inaccessible. The sun was nearing the horizon. No Jew could make that trip and get back in time without desecrating the Sabbath.

And the soldiers could not leave to pick it up.

Enter a hero named Azmi, a righteous Arab Gentile who certainly will have his place in the World to Come. Azmi picked up the food from a restaurant where Passover preparations had been made.

At 6:30 pm, Azmi delivered the food to a position designated by the soldiers, just in time for them to set up before the start of the special Passover Sabbath seder.

“Today by chance I met an IDF soldier at one of the checkpoints at the Dead Sea,” Rabbi Elharar told JewishPress.com in an exclusive interview. Hearing his voice, I asked if he had been among those who were assigned to guard the border on Friday night and when he said “yes,” I asked how the seder had gone.

“What a huge smile lit his face!” the rabbi said. “He said ‘Yes indeed, the messenger made it on time. We were so amazed. We had a great holiday celebration.

“Wow – Chabad really is everywhere.”

ISIS Raids Palestinian Camp and Begins to Fulfill Netanyahu’s Prophecy

Thursday, April 2nd, 2015

The Islamic State (ISIS) has take control over most of a Palestinian refugee camp in Syria from a rival terrorist group in what is a major step towards confirming Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s warning that a Palestinian Authority stage would fall under the control of the ISIS.

The Al-Nusra Front, linked with Al Qaeda, opened the road for the ISIS to take over UNRWA’s Yarmouk refugee camp four miles south of central Damascus, according to Anwar Raja, the spokesman for the pro-Assad Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).

Meanwhile, Jordan closed its last remaining border with Syria after pro-Assad forces lost the checkpoint to rebel forces.

If the ISIS takes full control of the Yarmouk camp, it will give the Islamic State a launching pad to threaten the capital. Moreover, it would turn the Palestinian camp into an arm and army of the ISIS that has been recruiting members from the Palestinian Authority and Israel as well from all over the world with the promise to turn the entire Middle East into an Islamic Caliphate state.

Prime Minister Netanyahu warned here last month that recognizing the Palestinian Authority at this time would in effect open the door to Israel for the Islamic State.

ISIS control of a refugee camp also would be a severe blow the United Nations, whose UNRWA agency has turned millions of Arabs into stateless people on the premise that one day they will move to Israel and reduce the Jewish population to a minority.

UNRWA’s institutionalized impiety has created fertile ground for terrorism, the last hope of hopeless people.

UNRWA stated after the ISIS insurgency Wednesday:

The UN agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, said it was “extremely concerned” about the safety of civilians in Yarmouk and that some 3,500 children were in “extreme risk of death, serious injury, trauma, and displacement.

Yarmouk has been controlled by the anti-Assad PLFP since a year ago, when rebel fighters withdrew. Yarmouk’s population once was 160,000 but has been devastated by the civil war.

The fighting at the Jordan border was between the Al-Nusra Front and Assad’s army. If the PFLP claim is true that Al Nusra let ISIS into the Yarmouk refugee camp, any cooperation between the two terrorist organizations could place ISIS on Jordan’s neck.

Jordan said it closed the border “temporarily… to keep the safety for the passengers and those who are trying to cross between the two countries.”

Cheat Sheet on Who’s Doing What to Whom in the Middle East

Wednesday, March 25th, 2015

Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Jordan (and a few quiet others) have been urging U.S. President Barack Obama to climb down from his tree and listen to Israel’s Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. There’s a reason for that.

A new radical Islamic axis is forming, one that is cuddling up to the Muslim Brotherhood. The once-scattered Iranian-backed terror groups dedicated to annihilating the State of Israel are coalescing into a second axis while threatening to form an alliance with Daesh, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria also known as ISIS, as well as Al Qaeda and other global jihad organizations.

Because part-time pundits don’t have time to study the fine details of where things are happening on the political chessboard of the Middle East, here’s a cheat sheet to help you keep score on the latest realities in the region.

For a lot of Western political analysts, the Arab Spring was confusing and a real pain in the neck — but that was a walk in the park compared to the nightmare now facing foreign affairs policy makers trying to stay abreast on current terrorist ties and the tangled web they are spinning in the ‘hood.

U.S. President Barack Obama is looking for a way to nurse his salty wounds over having to spend his final tenure swallowing bile while chatting civilly, if not with good manners, during phone calls with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

But here’s what’s happening right now — and what the leader of the greatest country on earth has to grapple with — while he continues to search for ways to pick a fight with Israel’s most popular leader since the Israel was founded by its first Prime Minister, David Ben Gurion.

In Africa:
Two terror organizations in Nigeria and Somalia, Boko Haram and Al Shaba’ab respectively, have both pledged allegiance to Daesh, also known as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS. Both groups have slaughtered thousands and wounded more, committed numerous atrocities and are continuing to carry out murderous terror attacks to prove their mettle as “jihadists,” or holy warriors for Islam.

The moderate Arab nation of Tunisia suffered its first public terrorist attack by ISIS this weekend in a massacre that left 20 dead and dozens of others wounded in the iconic Bardo museum in Tunis, including many foreign tourists. At least 3,000 Tunisians have flown to Syria to join the ISIS terror organization; it’s no surprise those chickens are beginning to come home to roost in North Africa.

Tunisia is one of the few Arab nations left that can claim to be home to one of the most ancient Jewish communities in Africa, and which has enjoyed a healthy international tourism trade. It now faces severe damage to its tourist industry, which was just beginning to recover from the ravages of the Arab Spring. Ominously, the threat level facing Tunisia’s Jewish community on the country’s island of Djerba is also not clear.

Libya, which borders Tunisia — and where an American Ambassador and three U.S. diplomats were murdered in an Al Qaeda attack in Benghazi on September 11, 2012 — has been entirely swallowed by Al Qaeda and allied terrorist groups. ISIS has also joined the party, spreading cells throughout the country as well. Earlier this month, ISIS made its “debut” appearance in the oil-rich nation with a public seaside beheading of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christian laborers taken captive by the terror organization.

In the Middle East:
Egypt is facing one of the toughest fights of its life in the Sinai Peninsula as it battles a budding invasion by ISIS, Al Qaeda, and Iranian proxy groups. Homegrown terror cells and disgruntled Bedouin tribes are aiding and abetting this effort, having always looked for greener pastures and a better deal regardless of who’s in power in Cairo.

Gaza has been controlled since 2007 by Iran‘s proxies who include Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and in a consultant position, Hezbollah. All maintain contentious but cooperative relationships with the Salafi, global jihad Army of Islam terror group which is linked to Al Qaeda. ISIS is also now represented in the region as well.

Jordan is facing an existential threat on its borders with Iraq and Syria due to ISIS having captured border crossings on both, and the presence of Hezbollah and Iranian Revolutionary Guards along the border with Syria. So far, its only remaining friendly borders are with Israel, and with Egypt. In addition, the Palestinian citizens within Jordan are not as friendly to the Hashemite regime as one might believe; moreover, they are wont to align with the Muslim Brotherhood which also operates within the kingdom and which can be seen as a fifth column.

Lebanon has been swallowed by ISIS, Palestinian Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades linked to Fatah, Hezbollah, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Hamas and the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, all of whom vie for power in the nation. Hezbollah holds the lion’s share of the political clout in the government since the terrorist group long ago expanded to include parliament members and actual ministers in the government cabinet as well.

Iraq was the first to fall to ISIS; its border crossings with Syria and Jordan were easy prey for the terror group. Iran easily persuaded the government that its was better off allowing its Islamic neighbor to “help” it fight off the Sunni threat than to place its trust in the American administration that had abandoned its ally when it was still to weak to fend off terrorist and tribal challenges to the power of the central government. So now Iran has now entered the picture there as well, to “assist” Iraqi forces in fighting ISIS, which Iran perceives as a threat to its own interests, for the time being at least.

It is likely that when the power struggle ends, one way or the other, Iran will be the force to divide the spoils and cut a deal with ISIS in order to ultimately divide up the region between the two emerging empires. However, Iran will ultimately be the one to rule because ISIS does not have the self-discipline, nor the structural underpinnings necessary to create and maintain an administration to rule an empire. This is quite separate and apart from Iran’s booming weapons production industry, not to mention its galloping race to develop nuclear arms.

Watch it happen – you read it here first on Jewish Press.com.

Syria was the little ticking time bomb that appeared to have set off this entire conflagration – but if one looks closely, it is clear that ISIS does not attack the forces of President Bashar al-Assad. Nor does Assad bother much with the ISIS terrorists. Both have bigger fish to fry.

Assad is an Alawite — a sect that is linked to Shia, hence his close ties with Shiite Iran and that nation’s support of his struggle. Iran sent Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps units and Hezbollah guerrillas to fight alongside his troops. Russia also supplemented Assad for quite some time — right up to the point that Assad began to lose and Russian citizens were endangered. Then Russian “consultants” were evacuated, funding slowed down to a crawl but weapons shipments continued to arrive.

ISIS meanwhile wants to expand its reach throughout the entire Middle East — and that’s just for starters. Its ultimate stated goal is simply to establish a worldwide caliphate — an “Islamic State” — and nothing less. Think ‘Hitler’ with a 21st century media team and you’re headed in the right direction.

In any case, Syria is no longer really Syria; it is now divided up into cantons, each of which is governed separately by various emirs and such. Many report to ISIS already. Some report to Al Qaeda. Others still are loyal to the “moderate” Syrian National Council and its Free Syrian Army. A few are hanging on to Syria’s government, or what’s left of it – mostly around Damascus.

And now there’s Yemen, bits of it left currently on the chopping block and most already nearly to the mop-up stage by Al Qaeda, ISIS and their Houthi opponents, soon probably to be allies as well. Of course, Al Qaeda had laid the groundwork for the takeover of the country to a great extent, having infiltrated and permeated the territory over the past several years. Al Qaeda promotes the image of being at odds with ISIS, although the latter began as a freak offshoot of the terror mothership, but it is more likely all a bluff. We will yet see the day the two will re-unite as one, or return as allies.

In the meantime, Saudi Arabia is starting to move its military forces towards the border with Yemen. The last time Saudi Arabia did that was in March 2011, when it “helped” its neighbor Bahrain fend off a surreptitious move by Iran to foment unrest in the Sunni-ruled country (which has a Shia majority) under cover of the Arab Spring.  It took one day for 1,000 Saudi troops and 500 troops from United Arab Emirates to clear protesters from around the iconic Pearl Roundabout in Manama, and then to destroy the statue on what became known locally as “Bloody Thursday.”

The U.S. Embassy in Yemen has been closed due to the escalating attacks. Embassy staff and families of diplomats were evacuated from the country, just in time. The last group of 100 American special forces who were there to consult and help the Yemen military fight off the takeover in the first place were evacuated from the country last weekend due to the ‘rising danger.’

Houthi rebels seized the airport and control of the entire city of Taiz as well as the surrounding province over the weekend as well – about 240 miles south of the Yemeni capital of Sana’a — according to Taiz provincial government officials who spoke with international media.

As early as January, Yemen’s president and his cabinet resigned after the Houthis surrounded the presidential palace, and in fact the entire capital city of Sana’a was captured by the Houthi rebels. Last week ISIS suicide terrorists arrived in Sana’a and bombed two mosques, killing 137 Yemenis and wounding hundreds more, making it clear that supremacy over the city is still up for grabs.

The United Nations Security Council met Sunday (March 22, 2015) to discuss Yemen’s deteriorating situation, with its UN envoy to Yemen reporting the country is “at the edge of civil war.” Meanwhile, Yemeni President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi remains in exile in the southern port city of Aden, maintaining that he is still the nation’s leader. Last week, the Houthi war against Hadi pursued him all the way south to Aden, with an air strike aimed at the palace where he is housed. That day, Houthi rebels on the ground battled Hadi loyalists in Aden leaving 13 dead.

Finally, there is Turkey.

It’s odd how few actually discuss what’s happening in Turkey, a NATO member who has provided free passage to literally every single terrorist group that has requested safe passage through its country, even into Syria to reach the ISIS capital of Raqqa. If you travel through Istanbul airport on an average day, it becomes amazingly clear that whoever wishes to, can travel through Istanbul from Iran, Russia, or anywhere else.

Turkey is the ultimate Casablanca of today’s Middle East.

Muslim Brotherhood officials are warmly greeted by their supporters there. Hamas has a new international headquarters in the country, Fatah and other Palestinian officials are always welcome, and ISIS operatives move across the border to bring imports (brides and other ‘items’) to Raqqa with no trouble at all. Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad, Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps members – you name it, and you can make that meeting happen in Turkey, if you know the right buttons to push. Even United States officials are welcome.

Just be wary if you’re Jewish, or Israeli, of course.

Only a U.S. reject deported back home via Cairo to make a good showing to the Americans was turned back. Turkish authorities didn’t bother with that performance when it came to ignoring three young Muslim school girls from the UK whose frantic parents begged the Ankara government to block them from crossing the border into ISIS Land.

One wonders how Turkey is able to square its relationship with NATO with all that going on.

But managing delicate, intricate relationships are a peerless skill practiced by Turks since ancient times. There are few who can match a Turkish diplomat in anything, let alone the multi-lateral negotiations involving events so complex that one would need a nuclear microscope just to see past the surface, let alone begin to address it.

No wonder President Obama feels so disgruntled, so out of sorts, so … over his head.

This is not his neighborhood. He doesn’t know the language, diplomatically, behaviorally, gramatically or culturally. Nor has he yet learned the basic regional sport of bargaining in the souk. Worse, he probably would never enjoy it. You have to really love it to survive it.

But if you don’t live in the neighborhood, or you never come to visit, how on earth can you work out a two-state “solution” — let alone PEACE? More to the point, if you really dislike it so much why bother?

Mr. President, at least relax a little before you really hurt someone, and let those who actually like the region deal with it and with the Israelis too.

By the way – just as for your information — you may not realize it, but in Israel the appliance stores are still doing a really brisk business selling those terrific home appliances that are made in Turkey. Now, how do you suppose that could be, given all that hostile anti-Israel ranting from Ankara?

Jordanian King Warns Global Battle With ISIS Has Launched World War III

Wednesday, March 4th, 2015

Jordan’s King Abdullah II is warning that the international battle against Daesh – the terror organization known as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, ISIS or ISIL – has launched World War III, although the rest of the U.S.-led coalition fighting the radical Islamic terror group may not yet realize it.

In fact, the Hashemite monarch told CNN’s Fareed Zakaria Global Public Square earlier this week, “This has to be unified.

“I’ve said this to leaders both in the Islamic and Arab world, and to the world in general: This is a third World War by other means.

“This brings Muslims, Christians, other religions together in this generational fight that all of us have to be in this together.

“So it’s not a Western fight,” the king continued. “This is a fight inside of Islam where everybody comes together against these outlaws, so to speak, together.

“We have a moral responsibility to reach out to those Muslims, to protect them, and to stop them before they reach our border.

“There’s a short-term part of this which is the military part of the issue.

“There is the medium part, which is the security element of it.

“And then there’s a long-term element of this, which is obviously the ideological one,” Abdullah said.

The terror group twists Islam, he noted, using “intimidation” as its weapon to “put fear in people’s hearts.”

But not in Jordanian hearts.

King Abdullah II, a trained helicopter pilot dubbed “the warrior king” after 35 years of military service uploaded to Instagram a photo of himself dressed in military fatigues and black gloves to rally his nation after a Jordanian pilot captured by ISIS was burned to death by the terror organization.

He cut short his visit to the United States to fly home at that news, and increased his forces in the U.S.-led coalition in the bombing raids against Daesh. There were, in fact, rumors that the king himself took part in some air strikes against the terror group as well.

“Death to Daesh” was the cry roared by the thousands who swamped the streets of Amman in the wake of the pilot’s execution.

Jordan vowed to “wipe out Daesh completely.”

Jordan, Israel Sign Historic Red Sea-Dead Sea Rescue Deal

Friday, February 27th, 2015

Jordanian and Israeli officials signed a multi-million dollar deal on Thursday to rescue the Dead Sea from oblivion. The ceremony took place on the Jordanian shore of the Dead Sea, with Israel’s National Infrastructure, Energy and Water Minister Silvan Shalom signing on behalf of the Jewish State. His Jordanian counterpart, Water and Irrigation Minister Hazim el-Naser, signed on behalf of the Hashemite Kingdom.

The historic project began with a memorandum of understanding signed in Washington by Israeli, Jordanian and Palestinian Authority leaders on Dec. 9, 2013.

The $800 million agreement authorizes the construction of a 65 to 80 million cubic meter capacity desalination plant in Aqaba, Jordan. The plant is to produce potable water that will benefit both nations.

In return for its purchase of some 45 m.cu.m. of potable water annually from Jordan, Israel will add 50 m.cu.m. To its current annual sale of water to Jordan from Lake Kinneret (the Sea of Galilee) in the north.

A 200-kilometer pipeline will supply Red Sea saltwater to replenish the shrinking waters of the Dead Sea, also benefiting both Israel and Jordan, whose borders share the shorelines of the lake on each side.

The memorandum of understanding worked out in 2013 also called for Israel to faciliate the direct sale of an additional 20 m.cu.m. of water from the Mekorot national water company to the Palestinian Authority.

Since the PA violated the terms of the Oslo Accords and unilaterally applied to the United Nations for membership as an independent Arab country – albeit within the current borders of Israel – many things have changed. The move circumvented any need to negotiate the issues of boundaries, security and economic or infrastructure issues with Israel and resulted in the two sides generally putting aside any further talk of joint projects.

“We are going to provide water from the Israeli system to the Palestinians at points where they need water, and we are going to start discussing with them as soon as possible,” Maya Eldar, an adviser to Minister Shalom told The Jerusalem Post.

Exclusive: Syrian Activist Blasts Foreign Deal to Train, Arm & Equip Syrian ‘Moderate’ Forces

Friday, February 20th, 2015

A new U.S. agreement with Turkey to train and equip five thousand moderate Syrian opposition forces “is not a serious effort at all to win a war,” a displaced Syrian activist refugee says. Aboud Dandachi, who now lives in Istanbul, Turkey says a plan to train and arm 5,000 moderate Syrian opposition forces is “not serious at all.”

The plan signed by the United States at the U.S. Embassy in Ankara is intended to train, equip and arm 5,000 troops. Congress has already allocated half a billion dollars for the project, but according to a Pentagon spokesperson, only 1,200 “moderates” have been “identified” for the program slated to begin in mid-March. How long will it take U.S. military specialists to train, equip and arm 5,000 Syrian rebels? How effective will this program be? Will it help change the picture with Daesh, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria terrorist group? Will anything be resolved in Syria by this?

Dandachi has had first-hand experience observing the factors that led to the nightmare that once was his homeland. A business person, he became a refugee within his own country after being forced to leave his home in Homs when the Syrian Army launched an artillery and tank assault on his neighborhood. After moving from one place to the next and following the Assad regime’s use of chemical weapons against two Damascus neighborhoods, Dandachi made the painful decision to leave his homeland and traveled to Istanbul, arriving in September 2013.  He has a rather sardonic view of President Barack Obama’s new plan to help Syrian rebel forces. As to the American president’s international credibility …. well …

“Where do I begin with the problem with this approach,” Dandachi replied in an exclusive interview conducted via the Internet with JewishPress.com on Thursday. “If an Israeli wants a career in the IDF, he or she knows where to sign up. If any Jew anywhere in the world wants to dedicate a few years of their lives to serving Israel, they know the address.

“You can’t build a military by “scouting” soldiers; you need people to know where to come forward,” Dandachi said. “As a Syrian I can’t very well sit around and hope to be ‘discovered’ by Obama,” he continued. “And then if I were, it will be a cold day in hell before I trust him to sell me a used car, much less supply me with weapons.

“War is a potentially long term affair; will Obama keep this force supplied for the years it may take to have any effect? The Americans have proven notoriously fickle in the past,” he observed. (Ed. – More than one news commentator has made similar remarks, referencing America’s behavior in Iraq and Afghanistan, for starters.)

Somewhat taken aback by his candor, this writer asked a second time about the advisability of revealing his identity – but was told “by all means” to go ahead.

“I was never a fighter and I will never be one, I’ve never held a gun in my life, but I’m sure that’s what many potential fighters could be thinking right now,” Dandachi wrote. “When the U.S. went to war in WWII and Vietnam, it didn’t want to “vet” its potential pool of recruits – it drafted anyone above a certain age. When you wage all-out war you can’t hand-pick your fighters; you need to make sure of the widest possible amount of potential manpower available.

“Training” several thousand soldiers is not a serious effort at all to win a war,” he contended.

By the way — Dandachi’s point has some merit: how effective can 5,000 U.S.-trained troops be against the combined forces of Syrian military forces, backed and equipped by Russia and Iran, fighting side by side with the elite Iranian Revolutionary Guards force and the Lebanon-based Hezbollah guerrilla fighters?

Syrian “moderate” forces will also be facing the “other” Syrian rebel faction — that of the radical Islamist rebels linked to Al Qaeda (Jabhat al Nusra, for instance) and now also Daesh, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). That force alone numbers in the tens of thousands: the most recent estimates place the total number of “moderate” Syrian rebel fighters at best at 20,000.

Can this cause be saved?

ISIS Claims US Female Hostage Killed in Jordanian Air Strike – But Shows No Proof

Saturday, February 7th, 2015

The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) claimed Friday that an American female hostage being held by the group is dead. The group said 26-year-old Kayla Mueller, a humanitarian aide worker, was killed when a Jordanian air strike hit the building in Syria where she was being held hostage, the SITE Intelligence Group reported.

ISIS said on Twitter that Mueller was buried under the rubble of a building near Raqqa, the group’s de facto capital. “The failed Jordanian aircraft killed an American female hostage,” the message said. “No mujahid was injured in the bombardment and all praise is due to Allah.”

A State Department spokeswoman said the U.S. was investigating the claim but could not confirm them.

“We are obviously deeply concerned by these reports,” National Security Council spokesperson Bernadette Meehan told Business Insider. “We have not at this time seen any evidence that corroborates ISIL’s claim.”

Mueller, a native of Prescott, Arizona, was captured in August 2013 after leaving a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Aleppo, Syria. She is the last known American hostage being held by ISIS.

If the reports turn out to be true, Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) will likely step up its attacks against the group as they will no longer pose danger to any Americans. Some plans to strike at the group until this point were rejected on the grounds “these things would be too risky to Kayla” said a military official interviewed by Foreign Policy magazine, on condition of anonymity.

The terror group demanded a ransom of more than $6 million in exchange for her freedom, according to The Daily Beast.

Jordan stepped up its own attacks last week after the video announcement by ISIS that it had executed a Jordanian pilot being held hostage by burning him alive in a cage. Amman has since intensified its bombing raids daily in retaliation against the group.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/isis-claims-us-female-hostage-killed-in-jordanian-air-strike-but-shows-no-proof/2015/02/07/

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