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September 4, 2015 / 20 Elul, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Lebanon’

Russia Backs Down and Says Iran Won’t Get S300 System in ‘Near Future’

Thursday, April 23rd, 2015

Russia has backed down on delivering the advanced S-300 advanced anti-missile system to Iran in the “near future,” Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov told Russian media on Thursday

Moscow announced two weeks ago that it was lifting the bean of selling Iran the S-300, causing “concern” in Washington and fierce anger in Jerusalem.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told Russian president Vladimir Putin last week that Israel would bomb the S-300 systems if Iran were to ship them to Syria or the Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Tass News agency quoted Ryabkov on Thursday as saying:

I do not think that it is a matter of near future. It is far more important that a political and legal decision has been taken to open up such an opportunity

Before the ban, Iran had paid nearly $170 million in advance for five of the anti-missile systems that would make it more difficult for Israel or any other country to attack Iran.

Russia’s retreat will somewhat calm down a storm in Congress, where support is growing to cripple the emerging deal with Iran after President Barack Obama and the other P5+1 countries agreed to a temporary framework arrangement.

Israel Quietly Acknowledges Accidental Death of Spanish UNIFIL Soldier

Tuesday, April 7th, 2015

An Israeli investigator has confirmed that it was Israeli fire that accidentally killed a Spanish peacekeeper with the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) in January during a shootout with Hezbollah.

Corporal Francisco Javier Soria Toledano died after being hit in a barrage aimed at Hezbollah by Israel. The force missed and struck the UNIFIL soldier instead.

The gunfire followed an unprovoked cross-border attack with anti-tank missiles fired by Hezbollah terrorists in Lebanon at Israeli military personnel and civilians about seven kilometers from the border, inside Israel. Two Israeli soldiers were killed instantly and several other people were seriously wounded. A civilian home in a nearby Druze village was destroyed in the multi-pronged attack as well.

Nevertheless, Spain’s UN ambassador blamed Israel, and the United Nations Security Council was persuaded to condemn the killing of the UNIFIL soldier, implying his death was caused by Israel alone even though that was obviously not the case.

It was the most serious exchange of gunfire between Israel and Hezbollah since the 2006 Second Lebanon War. Israel’s Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu made a point of warning Hezbollah’s secretary-general Hassan Nasrallah on public media to “look at Gaza” before he considered his next step and decided whether to proceed with more violence or to cease the attacks.

According to a UN diplomat, Israel has submitted an apology privately to Spain, but there has been no public admission of responsibility. Jerusalem has made it clear the death was accidental, resulting from the deliberate attack on Israel by Hezbollah.

Lebanon to Ban Colored Chicks

Saturday, April 4th, 2015

It’s very common to buy colored chicks as part of the Easter holiday celebration in Lebanon.

To make the colored birds, vendors throw baby chicks in dye and color them. They’re then sold by street vendors.

Lebanese animal rights activists have been complaining for years about the practice, as the dyes are often poisonous, the conditions the birds are kept in are horrendous, and more often than not the chicks are mistreated, killed or abandoned by their owners once the dye wears off or the chicken begins to grow up.

Beirut’s governor has forbidden the sale of the colored chicks, and the Lebanese government is working to make it illegal in Lebanon, according to a report in the Lebanon Daily Star.

IDF Expects 1200 Daily Hezbollah Rockets in Next War

Wednesday, April 1st, 2015

An assessment by the IDF Home Front Command expects the Iranian-supported Hezbollah to launch 1200 rockets a day, and hundreds of Israelis could die in then next war with Lebanon.

The IDF will also need to decide where to deploy their limited number of Iron Dome anti-rocket systems up north, deciding whether to protect population centers or strategic sites.

It is not known if the report considered what would happen if the IDF took a disproportional response against Hezbollah at the beginning of the war, instead of its current tactics of proportional responses and preemptive notifications, and if that strategy would result in fewer estimated rocket launches and Israeli casualties.

But if Israel did respond strongly, Beirut would be devastated.

Nasrallah is Angry As Iran’s Isolation Grows

Sunday, March 29th, 2015

Iran’s puppet in Lebanon, Hezbollah chieftain Hassan Nasrallah, is angry.

He’s angry at Saudi Arabia for attacking the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels, trying to prevent Iran from taking over Yemen.

He’s angry at Palestinian Authority chieftain Mahmoud Abbas, who openly expressed support for Saudi Arabia.

He hasn’t said anything yet about Hamas, but they also expressed support for Yemen and the Saudi coalition.

As Iran makes its way to becoming the North Korea of the Middle East, Nasrallah is angry that Iran isn’t receiving support from his fellow anti-Israel terrorist groups.

But it makes sense, the Middle East is breaking back down into its traditional battle lines.

The Iranian Shi’ites and the Hezbollah Shi’ites are fighting against the Syrian citizens, who are mostly Sunnis.

Hamas and Fatah (Palestinian Authority) are mostly Sunnis, and they probably aren’t thrilled their fellow Sunnis are being killed by Shi’ites.

And as much as all the Muslim groups hate Israel, they hate each other even more.

So now, when the expansionist Islamic Republic of Iran starts openly trying to create their Shi’ite hegemony in the Middle East, backed by nuclear weapons, alliances will naturally shift from the convenient enemy (Israel) to the real enemy (their fellow Muslims).

Nasrallah is angry. But he shouldn’t be.

He’s just been locked in his bomb shelter so long he’s forgotten what the real world really about.

‘Arab-Israel Alliance’ Leaving Obama Isolated

Friday, March 27th, 2015

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has jabbed President Barack Obama with a stinging remark that although Israel and the United States are friends, fears of Iran and the ISIS have forged a “new partnership” of Israel and “many of our Arab neighbors.”

Netanyahu took the opportunity of being charged with the responsibility to form a new government to say:

We very much appreciate, and will take care to preserve, our alliance with the best of our friends, the United States; however, we will continue to work to prevent the agreement with Iran, an agreement that endangers us, our neighbors and the world. We see eye to eye with many of our Arab neighbors regarding the danger posed by Iran and we also view positively the benefit that this new partnership could have for the region.

The chaos in Yemen has once again embarrassed the Obama administration by exposing another colossal foreign policy failure that has made President Obama increasingly isolated in the region.

Obama and his foreign policy gurus still hold on to the delusion that if Israel simply would agree to surrender every inch of territory that was restored to the country in the Six-Day War in 1967, the sky would be filled with doves of peace, pooping on Jews, instead of rocks and rockets aimed at Jews.

The biggest problem with that policy, which to be fair has been fostered by every administration in the past 40 years thanks to the State Dept., is that the Arabs world couldn’t care less about the Palestinian Authority.

Mahmoud Abbas was supposed to be the messenger for Saudi Arabia and the rest of the Arab League to force Israel into submission and prepare the way for a Muslim takeover over “Palestine.”

Instead, corruption, mismanagement and the failure to accept the word “compromise” have left the Palestinian Authority a sorry welfare state.

When it comes to keeping the Palestinian Authority alive, it is the European Union that has forked over most of the money while the oil-rich kingdoms pledge billions of dollars and end up giving a few shekels.

Abbas has become nothing but a depreciating tool for the Arab League to use to pay lip service to the masses that Jerusalem will be the capital of a Muslim country.

One big exception has been Qatar, but its money has gone to the Iranian-backed Hamas terrorist organization, which has been boycotted by Egypt but endeared by Turkish President Recep Erdoğan.

Given events in Yemen, both Qatar and Erdoğan, must be fretting and sweating at the idea of Iran’s adding Yemen to its real estate portfolio, which includes a good slice of Lebanon and is trying to move in on Syria.

While the Obama administration and its media groupies try to prove themselves that Prime Minister Netanyahu is isolating Israel, it is the president who is finding himself increasingly alone.

Saudi Arabia was unhappy with Obama last year after he backed off his threat to directly fight the Assad regime, which has begun using chemical weapons against opposition forces.

Add the failures of the Obama administration in Libya, Afghanistan Iraq and now Yemen, and throw in growing signs that he will call a “bad deal” with Iran a “good deal,” and it is no wonder that Saudi Arabia and its Sunni Muslim allies feel more comfortable with Israel than with Washington.

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?

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/cheat-sheet-on-whos-doing-what-to-whom-in-the-middle-east/2015/03/25/

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