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October 21, 2016 / 19 Tishri, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Lebanon’

Trump in 2nd Debate: Aleppo Has Already Fallen

Monday, October 10th, 2016

Focusing, as we always do, on the Jewish-Israeli niche of presidential politics, we paid great attention Sunday night to the exchange between candidates Trump and Clinton on the situation in Syria. In general, both debaters agreed the situation was tough, and neither was eager to get into specific solutions. What stood out for us was the statement by Donald Trump that the battle of Aleppo between the US-backed rebels and the coalition of Assad, the Russians, Iran and Hezbollah will go to the pro-Assad forces.

Martha Raddatz (ABC News) asked Trump: “What do you think will happen if [Aleppo] falls?” Which Trump answered, “I think that it basically has fallen. OK? It basically has fallen.”

It should be noted that on Saturday in the UN Security Council Russia vetoed a French resolution calling for an immediate halt to its air strikes on east Aleppo, where reportedly hundreds of civilians are being killed, including many children. The Russian delegation, accusing the rest of the council of “Russophobia,” watched many council members walk off as the Russians were giving the floor to an envoy of the Assad regime. The Russians are fast running out of friends over this campaign — except, apparently, for Trump, who described Allepo as collateral damage of the effort to destroy the real enemy of the US in the Middle East — ISIS.

“I don’t like Assad at all, but Assad is killing ISIS,” Trump said during Sunday night’s debate. “Russia is killing ISIS. And Iran is killing ISIS. And those three have now lined up because of our weak foreign policy.”

Raddatz pointed Trump’s attention to the fact that not only the entire Western world objects to what the Russians have been doing in Syria, but his own running mate, Mike Pence, had said a week ago, that the “provocations by Russia need to be met with American strength and that if Russia continues to be involved in air strikes along with the Syrian government forces of Assad, the United States of America should be prepared to use military force to strike the military targets of the Assad regime.”

Trump, who had praised Pence’s debate performance, came right out and said, “OK, he and I haven’t spoken, and I disagree. I disagree.”

Raddatz: “You disagree with your running mate?”

Trump: “I think you have to knock out ISIS. Right now, Syria is fighting ISIS. We have people that want to fight both at the same time. But Syria is no longer Syria. Syria is Russia and it’s Iran, who [Clinton] made strong and Kerry and Obama made into a very powerful nation and a very rich nation, very, very quickly, very, very quickly.

“I believe we have to get ISIS. We have to worry about ISIS before we can get too much more involved. She had a chance to do something with Syria. They had a chance. And that was the line. And she didn’t.”

To delineate Trump’s foreign policy point on Aleppo from all of the above, the defeat of ISIS justifies permitting Russia, Iran, the Assad regime and its Hezbollah satellite to recapture all of Syria and turn it into their permanent base, with all the ramifications for Lebanon, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Iraq, and, of course, Israel.

A debate then ensued between Raddatz, who as her network’s Chief Global Affairs Correspondent is probably familiar with the issue, and Trump, over the need for secrecy before attacking a target like the oil rich city of Mosul in Iraq. “The biggest problem I have with the stupidity of our foreign policy, we have Mosul,” Trump argued. “They think a lot of the ISIS leaders are in Mosul. So we have announcements coming out of Washington and coming out of Iraq, we will be attacking Mosul in three weeks or four weeks.”

“Well, all of these bad leaders from ISIS are leaving Mosul,” he continued. “Why can’t they do it quietly? Why can’t they do the attack, make it a sneak attack, and after the attack is made, inform the American public that we’ve knocked out the leaders, we’ve had a tremendous success? People leave. Why do they have to say we’re going to be attacking Mosul within the next four to six weeks, which is what they’re saying? How stupid is our country?”

Raddatz suggested, “There are sometimes reasons the military does that. Psychological warfare.”

Trump retorted, “I can’t think of any. I can’t think of any. And I’m pretty good at it.”

Raddatz: “It might be to help get civilians out.”

Perhaps. Trump could also be correct in pointing out that the US campaign in Iraq has remained as undisciplined and as badly coordinated as it has been since the 2003 invasion, under two different administrations.

Hillary Clinton sounded as hapless as the Obama Administration when she said the Russians don’t care about ISIS, and are instead “interested in keeping Assad in power.” As remedy, she proposed: “…when I was secretary of state, I advocated and I advocate today a no-fly zone and safe zones. We need some leverage with the Russians, because they are not going to come to the negotiating table for a diplomatic resolution, unless there is some leverage over them. And we have to work more closely with our partners and allies on the ground.”

Of course, there’s no way the US and its allies would be able to enforce a no-fly zone on the Russian air force, short of starting WW3, which is why Clinton sounded hollow when she declared, “I’ve stood up to Russia. I’ve taken on Putin and others, and I would do that as president.” And she sounded even less realistic when she warned, “…I do support the effort to investigate for crimes, war crimes committed by the Syrians and the Russians and try to hold them accountable.”

Hillary Clinton then committed a blunder that could haunt her in the future should she be elected president, when she suggested, “There are a lot of very important planning going on, and some of it is to signal to the Sunnis in the area, as well as Kurdish Peshmerga fighters, that we all need to be in this. And that takes a lot of planning and preparation. … I would also consider arming the Kurds. The Kurds have been our best partners in Syria, as well as Iraq. And I know there’s a lot of concern about that in some circles, but I think they should have the equipment they need so that Kurdish and Arab fighters on the ground are the principal way that we take Raqqa after pushing ISIS out of Iraq.”

That’s not something an American president should say if he or she wish to elicit Turkey’s support in the Syrian campaign. Proposing to arm the Kurds sounds about as bad to Ankara as the idea of the US arming Hamas would be received in Jerusalem. That would be one of those cases where Clinton would be well advised to have one policy for public consumption and another for insiders.

You probably noticed we did not deal at all with the Trump tapes or the Clinton emails, because everyone else in the media are offering a wealth of information on those. We only tried to point out that when it comes to one of Israel’s most burning issues, the escalation of the war north of its border, neither candidate has offered a particularly convincing formula, and Clinton actually declared she would definitely keep US ground troops out of the Syrian civil war.

We should note with satisfaction that Israel was not mentioned even once in the debate and neither was the two-state solution or Jewish settlements. Thankfully, both candidates are too clever to step on that landmine.


Report from Syria: Rebel Syrian Forces Claim They Will Return Eli Cohen’s Body to Israel

Wednesday, September 21st, 2016

In a shocking report this evening, Channel 2 TV news and Walla are quoting serious Arab news sources in Lebanon, that Syrian Rebel forces announced they would be returning the body of Eli Cohen to Israel.

Eli Cohen, known as “Our Man in Damascus”, is one of the most well known Israeli spies. He was captured and killed in 1965.

After successfully infiltrating Syria’s Defense Ministry (1961-1965) he was discovered by Syria and publicly executed by hanging in Damascus in 1965 where he was buried.

Days ago, never before seen video footage of his execution was distributed on social media and the news that Syrian rebels are now offering to give his remains to Israel is extraordinary.

Let’s hope it’s true.


I Demand Lebanon be BANNED from the Olympics

Sunday, August 21st, 2016

The Lebanese delegation at the Olympics exposed its country’s bigotry when it refused to be on the same bus as Israelis and blocked them entry into the bus. The athletes may or may not be bigoted themselves, but they knew how their country reacts to any sign of “normalization” with Israelis.

The Lebanese Olympians knew that Miss Lebanon Saly Greige was demonized in January 2015 for taking a picture with an Israeli contestant, and they knew that they would be hailed as heroes in Lebanon for their act of cowardice.

The Olympic Charter pledges, “To fight against all other forms of discrimination,” but the International Olympic Committee’s response to this blatant incident of discrimination against Israelis was a slap on the wrist of the Lebanese delegation. On the same weekend, Saudi judo athlete Joud Fahmy forfeited a match to avoid facing Israeli Gili Cohen, and the IOC took no action against Saudi Arabia.

The IOC is the organization that refused in 2012 to commemorate the eleven Israeli Olympic athletes who were killed by Palestinian terrorists during the Munich Games of 1972, so its credibility in defending Israelis against discrimination is tainted. As a person of Lebanese origin, I want the IOC to know when it fails to uphold the Olympic spirit with regard to Israel, it is failing everyone, including Arabs who oppose terrorism and hatred.

If countries like Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and others cannot put aside their hatred of Israel, or any other country, at least for the duration of the Olympics, they should not be allowed to compete.

The IOC should ban any country that does not allow its athletes to mingle with all other athletes at the Olympics, and there should be no special arrangements to prevent some countries’ athletes from being transported or lodged together with athletes of some other countries.

Although Lebanon has not won a medal at the Olympics since 1980, being part of the Olympics is still a source of national pride. There is however no pride in being a bigot. A ban from the Olympics would force Lebanon and other nations that hold similar bigoted views to rethink what they really stand for. Do they really want to be known as bigots to the world? Do they value more their bigotry or their athletes?

According to the Olympic Charter, “The Olympic symbol expresses the activity of the Olympic Movement and represents the union of the five continents and the meeting of athletes from throughout the world at the Olympic Games”. It is about time the IOC started taking its own charter seriously.

Fred Maroun

Shabak Foils Hezbollah Operation that Used Facebook to Recruit, Plan Terror Attacks

Tuesday, August 16th, 2016

Israeli security forces revealed on Tuesday that a joint operation of the Shabak, IDF and Police has foiled a number of terrorist organizing efforts whose members, residents of Judea and Samaria, had been recruited via Facebook by Hezbollah agents living in Lebanon and the Gaza Strip. The arrest of these members has prevented the execution of several planned attacks inside Israel.

Shabak noted that Hezbollah has been very active in recent years with recruitment efforts of activists in greenline Israel, Judea and Samaria and Gaza, to carry out terror attacks against Israeli targets. Besides instructions for shooting and suicide attacks against these targets, the same activists also received training in luring and conscripting new members.

A terror cell from the Kalkilia area in Samaria was ordered to attack an IDF patrol. The head of the cell, Mustafa Kemal Hindi, 18, a resident of Kalkilia, had been recruited by Hezbollah in December 2015, through the Facebook page of Falastin al-Hurra, which delivers anti-Israel content.

Hindi told his interrogators that he kept in contact with his Hezbollah operator “Bilal” using Facebook and later through an email address he started on his operator’s instructions. He later received encryption software for his emails.

Hindi was instructed to recruit a cell and to carry out attacks against Israeli targets, including the shooting at an IDF patrol outside Kalkilia. He recruited four of his neighbors, in their early 20s, and the cell started collecting data on the IDF patrols in the area, and was trained in using a hunting gun and in improvising explosives. They were arrested in early June 2016 before they were able to carry out their intended mission and were indicted in military court in Judea.

Tuesday’s report lists several, very similar operations, conducted by Hezbollah via remote control using the fast and reliable services of Facebook. Some of these operations involved Israeli Arabs, who were approached by the Shabak and were made aware that communicating with Hezbollah over Facebook is a violation of security laws.

The financial part of the Hezbollah operations in Israel and the PA are being handled by members living in the Gaza Strip who lend logistical support to both recruitment and operational efforts.

David Israel

Barnacled Bombs Discovered Along Lake Kinneret

Monday, August 15th, 2016

Five unexploded mortar shells left over from a past war were found Monday on a beach along Lake Kinneret, also known as the Sea of Galilee, near Kibbutz Ma’agen.

Police officers and sappers from the Israel Police bomb squad were dispatched to the site.

Searching along the beaches of Lake Kinneret for unexploded ordnance.

Searching along the beaches of Lake Kinneret for unexploded ordnance.

Security personnel immediately closed off the area and began a search to determine whether any other unexploded ordnance remained in the area.

At least four other shells were found.

Israel Police and IDF military personnel worked together to defuse the unexploded shells.

Hana Levi Julian

ISIS Takes Weapons in US Retreat, But Where Else Are American Arms?

Wednesday, August 10th, 2016

The Amaq media outlet of the Da’esh (ISIS) terrorist organization disseminated photos of American arms this past weekend showing the new military treasure it acquired when U.S. troops who were supporting government soldiers in Afghanistan retreated in the face of terrorist fire during a clash that took place in July.

Among the seized items were a rocket launcher, grenades, machine gun ammunition, an encrypted radio and military identification cards, the Washington Free Beacon reported Wednesday. One of the identity cards was that of an American soldier, but U.S. officials denied he was taken prisoner and said he was with his unit.

U.S. Brigadier-General Charles Cleveland, deputy chief of staff for the U.S.-led mission in Afghanistan confirmed the loss, saying the clash had taken place in the eastern province of Nangarhar as American forces were moving a “casualty collection” area. Cleveland said in his statement the soldiers came under “effective enemy fire” and were forced to retreat. “In the course of moving the [casualty collection point] to a safe location, some equipment was left behind. For understandable reasons, the lives of soldiers were not put at risk to recover the equipment,” he said. “The loss of equipment is regrettable but no equipment is worth undue risk to those involved,” Cleveland pointed out. “And we do not expect any measurable operational impact due to the loss.”

This is not the first time that American military hardware and weapons have ended up in hands other than those for whom they were intended.

Weapons that were sent to Syrian opposition forces via Jordan last year by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency and Saudi Arabia were reported stolen by Jordanian intelligence operatives, according to an investigative report by the New York Times.

Instead, they ended up in the hands of arms merchants who sold them to the highest bidders on the black market, American and Jordanian officials told the newspaper.

Those same weapons were used by a Jordanian officer to murder two U.S. government security contractors, a South African trainer and two Jordanians in an attack at a U.S.-funded police training facility for Jordanian intelligence in Amman last November, both NYT and Al Jazeera reported. The killer was later shot dead in a shootout.

The site was set up in 2003 as a center for the U.S. to train Iraqi police. It then was used to train Palestinian Authority security forces, who were ultimately equipped with new American military equipment. Although (USSC) U.S. Security Coordinator (2005-2010) Lt. Gen. Keith Dayton repeatedly stated, “We don’t give out any guns or bullets,” the forces received them from Jordan and Egypt with approval from Israel.

Numerous Palestinian Authority security forces have since used their vastly improved military skills to target Israelis in terror attacks.

In his report, The Implications of United States Military Training of Palestinian Security Forces, journalist David Bedein points out that in addition to the United States, the European Union also started training and equipping Palestinian Authority security forces in 2007. (see page six)

Under the European Union Coordinating Office for Palestinian Police Support (EU COPPS), about one thousand police officers were trained and at least a dozen police stations were opened in Judea and Samaria. By mid-2008, European donor states had already pledged $242 million to the Palestinian Authority, all this in addition to the USSC effort.

At present, a similar issue is taking place in Syria with American weapons once again going astray. Western-backed “moderate” opposition forces are fighting government troops defending the regime of President Bashar al-Assad together with Russian, Iranian and the Lebanese Hezbollah guerrilla terrorist fighters.

The Western-backed opposition forces, supplied in part by the United States, are not in any way linked to Al Qaeda or Da’esh (ISIS). But in the heat of battle and for the purposes of achieving their objectives, all opposition forces often band together as one in Syria — regardless of ideological affiliation.

Hana Levi Julian

Iran Seizes Chance to ‘Help’ Beirut, Shipping Arms to Lebanon

Tuesday, August 9th, 2016

Iran is making final preparations to send a large arms shipment intended for the Lebanese army, according to a report on the Hebrew-language NRG website.

The shipment is being sent by Iran to fill the vacuum created by Saudi Arabia, which pulled its economic aid to Beirut.

A senior official in Tehran said that Iran is waiting only for the approval of Beirut to finalize the shipment of the deadly supplies. Saudi Arabia announced its decision in February to reconsider a grant of $4 billion in military aid to the Lebanese Army and its security services.

The decision came after Beirut declined to condemn the assault by Shi’ite protesters against the Saudi Arabian embassy in Tehran. The demonstrators were protesting the execution of a Shi’ite cleric in Saudi Arabia. Lebanon is dominated by the Iranian-backed Hezbollah terrorist organization via cabinet ministers and parliamentarians who serve in a large percentage of the government.

Interestingly, the United States has also just announced the arrival of “an entire ship full of military equipment” at a port in Lebanon.

U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon Elizabeth H. Richard told reporters on Tuesday that Lebanon was the recipient of $50 million in military aid from Washington DC.

Among the items shipped to Beirut were 50 armored Humvees, 40 Howitzers and more than a thousand tons of ammunition.

Lebanon is the fifth largest recipient of U.S. foreign military financing in the world, Richard said.

The Israel Defense Forces have been preparing for the possibility of a new war with Hezbollah along Israel’s northern border.

The supply of new military hardware to an active Israeli enemy sworn to annihilate the Jewish State — one who is serving as a proxy for Iran — has raised red flags for the Jewish State, which is closely watching the border.

The Lebanese Army is closely entwined with Hezbollah and for all intents and purposes, a nation that once was called “the Riviera of the Middle East” has now become a satellite of jihadist Iran.

Hana Levi Julian

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/iran-seizes-chance-to-help-beirut-shipping-arms-to-lebanon/2016/08/09/

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