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July 29, 2016 / 23 Tammuz, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Libya’

Report: Between 700 and 900 Immigrants Died at Sea Last week

Sunday, May 29th, 2016

“We will never know exact numbers” of drowned refugees fleeing the Middle East and East Africa for safe haven in Europe, Medecins San Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) tweeted Saturday, estimating that as many as 900 had died last week. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said on Sunday that more than 700 had drowned.

According to Reuters, some 14,000 refugees have been rescued since last Monday, but there have been reports of at least three boats sinking. The number of dead is estimated based on survivor testimonies. These included Saturday interviews with immigrants at the Sicilian port of Pozzallo, resulting in accounts of a large, motorless fishing boat that capsized on Thursday with a large crowd of women and children on board.

According to testimonies, when the boat capsized, 25 passengers swam to the towing boat, and as many as 90 others were saved by 3 boats with MSF rescue personnel. 15 bodies were recovered, which means that at least 550 died, according to the UNHCR.

The rescued refugees last week included Eritreans, Sudanese, Nigerians and other West Africans. The boats have mostly left from Libya, where many women said the smugglers had beaten and raped them.

On Friday, an Italian Navy ship collected 45 bodies and rescued 135 people from a semi-submerged rubber boat, which normally carries about 300.

David Israel

Libyan President Gaddafi Asked Israel for Help Against West

Wednesday, April 13th, 2016

According to a report by Israel’s Galei Tzahal raqdio, the late Libyan president/dictator Muammar Gaddafi turned to Israel via secret channel, asking for Israel’s help in getting the Western forces to stop attacking and trying to overthrow his regime.

Obviously it didn’t work.

Gaddafi was killed in 2011.

Libya has been in a civil war with itself and in battles with ISIS for the past 5 years. Over half a million Libyans have been left homeless as a result of the fighting.

Jewish Press News Briefs

Report: Al Qaeda in Yemen Starts Using Surface-to-Air Missiles

Sunday, March 27th, 2016

Al Qaeda terrorists in Yemen have reportedly acquired sophisticated Russian-made surface-to-air missiles and have used them to shoot down a fighter jet this month.

In an exclusive report (March 26) The Independent claims Al Qaeda used an SA-7 surface-to-air missile to down a French-made Mirage fighter jet in Yemen. The missile was allegedly a “Strela” shoulder-mounted heat-seeking projectile with a kill range altitude of 15 to 1,500 meters.

According to the report, the incident took place two weeks ago (March 14), just outside th southern Yemeni port city of Aden.

The jet crashed into a mountainside; officials at the time told media the crash was due to a “technical malfunction” but sources told The Independent the jet was shot down by Al Qaeda using a surface-to-air missile (SAM).

The fighter jet was flying in the United Arab Emirates air force as part of a Saudi-led coalition air campaign against the Shi’ite Houthi rebels who are backed by Iran. Both pilots were killed in the crash. Locals told media the jet was flying low and attacking AQAP forces entrenched in a district west of Aden.

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) is deeply involved in this conflict, as is the Iranian-backed Hezbollah terror group, whose guerrilla fighters have been spotted among the Houthis.

If the report is true, this will mark the first time a SAM was used in the Yemen conflict – but not the first time Al Qaeda has ever used one.

In fact, Al Qaeda produced a detailed guide to help its operatives learn how to use a SAM to bring down commercial aircraft. One such guide was found in Mali as far back as three years ago, according to a 2013 report by The Associated Press.

The 26-page document, written in Arabic, was recovered by AP in a building that had been occupied by Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghred (AQIM). This manual also was used for SA-7s, also called “man-portable air-defense systems, or MANPADS.

In that instance, the SA-7s in question were believed to have originated from the arsenal of the late Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi.

Not only were they found in Timbuktu, however. Atlantic Council analyst Peter Pham, a former adviser to U.S. military command in Africa and instructor to U.S. Special Forces told AP at the time he believed Al Qaeda had fighters who already knew how to use the SAMs effectively.

Moreover, the Libya-based Al Qaeda group was not the first to have MANPADS. It was also believed there were Al Qaeda groups in Iraq and Afghanistan who also had MANPADS, as well as a Somalian terror cell who boasted at the time about its SA-7 in a video message.

This Saturday, a second source told The Independent, “Al Qaeda has confiscated huge amounts of weapons from bases in Yemen.” The SA-7s in this case are believed to have been sold to Al Qaeda, or to Yemen by Bulgarian arms dealers who acquired them when the Soviet Union broke apart.

The source added, “Al Qaeda are smarter than Islamic State (ISIS); They speak with the tribal elders, they co-opt people, get them on their side. Islamic State uses fear and coercion. It’s flashy and seeks a lot of attention but Al Qaeda is laying low and playing the long game.”

The source claimed that fighters from both sides of the conflict in Yemen are selling arms to AQAP.

Hana Levi Julian

Report: ISIS is Building Air Force in Sirte

Tuesday, December 8th, 2015

The Da’esh (ISIS) terror group has somehow acquired flight simulators, captured fighter jets and is now starting to train pilots to fly them at an air base in Libya, according to numerous reports.

The group has allegedly acquired two flight simulators “the size of a small car” — one from a civilian plane and the other, that of a fighter jet, according to the London-based A-Sharq al-Awsat. The information was confirmed to the paper in an interview with a senior Libyan military officer in Cairo.

The terror organization is “now actively training its jihadis on it to fly flighter jets” at an air base in Sirte, the hometown of former Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi, who was murdered in custody in 2011.

Nor is the group lacking in aircraft with which to begin to equip its fledgling air force: Da’esh has already managed to capture a number of fighter jets in Iraq and Syria.

Given these elements, Da’esh terrorist pilots could conceivably hijack planes and then crash them into high-value targets as did Al Qaeda on Sept. 11, 2001, or simply take to the skies in their own ISIS air force, perhaps to attack other targets. The group has felt no compunction about destroying any treasured site that might hold value to any society, be it religious or cultural, thus far. Moreover, Da’esh also appears to be escalating the caliber of its actions with each new attack.

At present, there are an estimated 3,000 Da’esh terrorists in Libya, a United Nations committee said in a report submitted to the U.S. Security Council and released to the public last week.

“Since 2013, the country has experienced several waves of Libyan returnees, which also formed the backbone of the newly established ISIL (ISIS -ed.) in Libya. In addition, the country continues to attract foreign terrorist fighters in significant numbers from North Africa. While currently concentrated in its stronghold in Sirte, ISIL could seek local alliances to expand its territorial control, also entailing the risk of motivating additional foreign terrorist fighters to join the group in Libya,” the committee reported in the executive summary.

Libya borders Tunisia and during the Arab Spring, Libyan rebel fighters flowed back and forth across the border, as did female Qaddafi family members who were fleeing the fighting.

During these times, members of the ancient Jewish communities of Djerba and Tunis prudently maintained a particularly low profile, often with assistance from longtime Gentile friends and neighbors, in order to increase their chances of staying alive through the storm.

It is not clear how the Tunisian Jewish community will be impacted by the growth of Da’esh next door, now spreading its tentacles throughout a nation that has never managed to achieve any stability since Qadaffi was toppled.

It is perfectly clear, however, that the world will be an infinitely more dangerous place if Da’esh succeeds in its bid to build a terrorist air force and if its success in achieving mastery of chemical and biological warfare is not sabotaged as soon as possible.

Hana Levi Julian

Will Obama Also Attempt to Waive Iran Terrorism Sanctions?

Friday, November 6th, 2015

Remember all the promises that the only sanctions to be lifted would be those related to Iran’s presumed efforts to obtain nuclear weapons? Well, many other seemingly iron-clad promises have gone by the wayside. For example, how could it be that the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA or Nuclear Iran Deal) included provisions that lift the embargo on Iran for acquiring conventional weapons, or – even more frightening – the embargo on intercontinental ballistic weapons?

So, the concern arose, what if the administration decided to waive the anti-terrorism sanctions under the tax code (specifically, 26 U.S.C. 901(j))? That regulation states that U.S. taxpayers cannot get credit for taxes paid to countries with which the U.S. has severed diplomatic relations or which the Secretary of State has designated as a supporter of terrorism.

As a general matter, the President has the authority to waive that measure “in the national interest.” Do you see the problem? It is the president’s decision to make.

Given the many sleights of hand surrounding the Iran Deal, on Sept. 22, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), former chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, sent a letter to President Barack Obama. In that letter Ryan asked Obama whether his administration had made any commitment or promise to exercise his waiver authority for sanctions imposed on Iran due to its engagement in terrorism.

Ryan also asked whether the president would commit not to exercise his waiver authority with respect to Iran during the remainder of his term in office.

There was no response from the White House.

Because the White House refused to answer those very direct questions in Ryan’s letter, Rep. Peter Roskam, chair of the Oversight subcommittee of Ways and Means, decided to be proactive.

Roskam put together a hearing which was held on Wednesday, Nov. 4, to which experts were invited to testify about whether the administration could and should waive the sanctions on Iran which were imposed because of Iran’s terrorist activity and its sponsorship of global terrorism.

Roskam explained the genesis of the anti-terrorism regulations contained in the Internal Revenue Code with respect to Iran.

They were introduced thirty-six years ago, after the Iranian mullahs came to power and their thugs seized the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, holding hostage hundreds of Americans. The U.S. responded to that act of terrorism by severing diplomatic relations and imposing economic sanctions against Iran.

Mark Dubowitz, executive director of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, was the first witness to testify at Wednesday’s hearing.

Dubowitz, a well-respected expert on the Nuclear Iran Deal, explained the current, post-JCPOA situation. He testified that Iran remains the leading state sponsor of terror, and is known to be currently holding four Iranian-American citizens and refuses to give information about a missing American citizen who vanished after traveling to Iran eight years ago.

Dubowitz maintains that the JCPOA will not prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons capability – the central position of the Obama administration. Dubowitz said that while the deal provides extensive sanctions relief to Iran, he insisted it was imperative that the U.S. administration employ various “non-nuclear” sanctions, including through the use of the tax code, to prevent enriching those in the Iranian regime who continue to engage in terrorism.

In fact, it was the FDD director’s suggestion that the U.S. increase sanctions and take other measures to prevent Iran from continuing its position as the number one state sponsor of terrorism.

Former Undersecretary of Defense Doug Feith also testified at the Terrorism Sanctions hearing. Feith was asked to testify specifically because the only other president to waive tax code terrorism sanctions was his former boss, President George W. Bush, regarding Libya.

Lori Lowenthal Marcus

The Arab Spring of Anarchy Has Come to Israel

Friday, October 9th, 2015

There are no predictions here of what will happen tomorrow, or next week when the United Nations flies its peace process into Israel, or next month.

Calm might be restored today, or maybe not, but two things are for sure:

1. Israel, the most stable country in the Middle East, will remain Israel.

2. The Palestinian Authority will remain an unstable prop until the time comes when the world no longer sees it as an effective tool against Zionism.

Until then, it is important to understand events without blinders.

The Palestinian Authority is an organization of murderers, not terrorists.

World leaders and media, including ourselves, will continue to report on “terror,” but in fact, the Palestinian Authority is not sponsoring terror, a word which no longer has a clear definition. It used to mean the use of violence and coercion to achieve political gains. The Irgun, led by Menachem Begin during the British Mandate, was labeled as a terrorist gang because it bombed British positions with the clear motivation of re-establishing the State of Israel.

The Palestinian Authority does not want to create a new Arab state because it wants one. Its objective, and the only aim of the Arab world since the re-birth of Zionism, has been to destroy Israel as a Jewish state.

Everyone will continue to report on terror, but in fact, the Palestinian Authority is a criminal entity that is rife with drug smuggling, arms smuggling and corruption. It is a mafia that encourages and often is directly involved in murdering Jews.

–The Palestinian Authority can’t exist without Israel.

The regime in Ramallah is a state on paper. It has institutions, all of them corrupt; it has a flag at the United Nations, which is bankrupt morally; it is a welfare state dependent on the European Union and the United States; and it would be in a civil war if it weren’t for Israeli intelligence that helps Abbas stay alive.

The current violence is destroying whatever is left of the Left.

There has been a clear change in the tone and content counter-terror of Israel’s major media outlets, which successfully campaigned for the Oslo Accords, for the expulsion of Jews from Gush Katif and for the release of thousands of terrorists in order to receive of dead bodies and a few that stayed alive, such as Gilad Shalit

The major media outlets do not run the country but they certainly reflect the voice of the “government of Tel Aviv,” best represented by the old Labor party that now calls itself the “Zionist Camp.”

Even before this week’s attempted murders of Jews in Tel Aviv, Petach Tikvah and Kiryat Gat, Yediot Acharonot, Israel’s largest daily, and the so-called Voice of Israel Radio (Reshet Bet), the most popular radio network, had changed their tune.

The Palestinian Authority propaganda and lies concerning the Temple Mount, have been too much for the center-left to swallow.

Secular as they are, they are sincere Jews who cannot justify or ignore the blatant anti-Semitism and racism among Israeli Arab Knesset Members who claim that the Jews have absolutely no rights on the Temple Mount and that the holy site belongs to Muslims and only to Muslims.

The only ones left on the left are the tiny minds, such as that of Meretz leader Zahava Gal-On, who this week condemned violence by Arabs and Israelis but in the end concluded it all is because of the “occupation.”

The Left exists as a small minority. The center-left is leaderless, as proven by Herzog’s pitiful and shameful arrogance this week in his insistence that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu should resign because of the wave of violence.

Our worst enemy is ourselves.

Prime Minister Netanyahu’s order that not only Cabinet Ministers but also all Knesset Members cannot visit the Temple Mount is infuriating to religious Zionists but is smart. With all due respect to Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) Minister Uri Ariel, one of the most intellectually honest politicians alive today, the Third Temple will not be rebuilt by politicians and right-wing media, so just keep praying.

Netanyahu also sent the “settler” movement into a rage Thursday night with his statement that “this is not the time to build new settlements.”

But the man has a bit more on his shoulders than we do. The right-wing certainly should protest and demand that Jews can build wherever they want in Judea and Samaria, but the demonstrations should start and end there. No Jew should bully himself onto a hilltop and clash with the police or soldiers.

Yes, a new Jewish community is the right answer to every terrorist attack in Judea and Samaria. It can be done only if there is full backing of the country, and we are not there yet.

Whether the chicken or egg comes first, Israel does not live alone. Yes, we need a stronger spine, but it has to be a spine that is not propped up with an artificial brace. Like it or not. Netanyahu is right. [This is not necessarily the position of the Jewish Press.com.]

This is not the time to throw sand in the eyes of the United Nations and President Barack Obama, but keep protesting so that Netanyahu does not forget that being right today does not mean he is right tomorrow.

And when will the violence end?

It began more than century ago, and it comes and goes in waves. A generation and a half of Arabs, both within and beyond the Palestinian Authority, has grown up with an education of hatred of Jews and Zionism.

Thank God, Israeli security forces have caught almost every terrorist, make that murderer or attempted murderer. Those that were killed won’t attack again.

The more the police and the IDF educate the rioters, the safer we will be and the sooner they will learn that their hate hurts themselves more than anyone else.

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

Obama’s UN Speech Ignores Israel but Hits Hard at Putin and Assad

Monday, September 28th, 2015

President Barack Obama’s address to the United Nations General Assembly Monday was extraordinary in its total exclusion of Israel and the Palestinian Authority and its hard-hitting attack on the Assad regime in Syria and its ally Russia.

A strong indication that President Obama has finally realized what he and numerous predecessors did not understand was this statement:

There are no simple answers to the changes that are taking place in much of the Middle East and North Africa.

It is not the first time he has said that, but unlike previous speeches, it was not followed up by the usual pie-in-the-sky statements that “Peace is made with enemies.” or “Solving the Israel-Palestinian Authority struggle is the key to bringing peace to the Middle East.

Saeb Erekat, who chief negotiator for the Palestinian Authority and is secretary-general of the parent PLO, was extremely disappointed with Obama’s speech. He said:

Does President Obama believe that he is able to defeat the Islamic State (ISIS) and terror or bring stability and security to the Middle East by ignoring the continuing Israeli occupation, settlements and the ongoing Israeli attacks on Al Aqsa [the mosque on the Temple Mount]?

Obama’s speech was a resounding “yes” to Erekat.

The “occupation” never was a threat to the Middle East, but the United States foreign policy gurus couldn’t figure that out, even when the Arab Spring rebellions upended stability and brought anarchy, termed by the United States as democracy, to Egypt, Libya, Iraq and other boiling pots in Arab Muslim countries.

Years after the United States ignored ISIS, it has become Public Enemy No. 1 and is being used brilliantly by Russian President Vladimir Putin to justify direct Russian military force in Syria.

When Putin told the United Nations he is fighting the Islamic State, he could have been more accurate, Russia may be the only country fighting ISIS.

The American-led strike force has proven to be pitiful, as the JewishPress.com reported here last week on the American-trained Syrian rebels who betrayed the United States and delivered American weapons to Al Qaeda.

The President verbally attacked ISIS but he was extremely careful to be polite to Islam, stating:

Part of that effort [against ISIS] must be a continued rejection by Muslims of those who distort Islam to preach intolerance and promote violence, and it must also a rejection by non-Muslims of the ignorance that equates Islam with terror.

President Obama mentioned “Israel” zero times in his speech. Ditto for the terms “Palestinian Authority” and Palestine.”

The only time he mentioned “Middle East” was in the context quoted above, that there are no simple solutions.

But he mentioned Syria eight times and Russia 15 times with harsh comments that were nothing short of cold war speech.

For example:

The history of the last two decades proves that in today’s world, dictatorships are unstable.

Consider Russia’s annexation of Crimea and further aggression in eastern Ukraine. America has few economic interests in Ukraine. We recognize the deep and complex history between Russia and Ukraine. But we cannot stand by when the sovereignty and territorial integrity of a nation is flagrantly violated. If that happens without consequence in Ukraine, it could happen to any nation gathered here today. That’s the basis of the sanctions that the United States and our partners impose on Russia. It’s not a desire to return to a Cold War.

But his speech was remarkably chilly towards Moscow. He flatly stated:

Russia’s state-controlled media may describe these events as an example of a resurgent Russia… And yet, look at the results. The Ukrainian people are more interested than ever in aligning with Europe instead of Russia. Sanctions have led to capital flight, a contracting economy, a fallen ruble, and the emigration of more educated Russians

Imagine if, instead, Russia had engaged in true diplomacy, and worked with Ukraine and the international community to ensure its interests were protected. That would be better for Ukraine, but also better for Russia, and better for the world.

President Obama claimed he does not mind a strong Russia so long as it works with the United States “to strengthen the international system as a whole.”.

That gave him a platform to plow into the Assad regime Putin and Russia’s presence in Syria and ISIS, which he still refers to as ISIL and which he called ” an apocalyptic cult.

President Obama stated:

When a dictator slaughters tens of thousands of his own people, that is not just a matter of one nation’s internal affairs… Likewise, when a terrorist group beheads captives, slaughters the innocent and enslaves women, that’s not a single nation’s national security problem — that is an assault on all humanity.

Putin has taken the military offensive in Syria, giving him a military and political base across from Israel’s northern border. Putin knows that the Muslim Middle East understands only one word – “force” – but Obama dealt with the issue from weakness because without a military presence, the United States has little ammunition except Obama’s oratory.

He told the United Nations:

But while military power is necessary, it is not sufficient to resolve the situation in Syria. Lasting stability can only take hold when the people of Syria forge an agreement to live together peacefully. The United States is prepared to work with any nation, including Russia and Iran, to resolve the conflict. But we must recognize that there cannot be, after so much bloodshed, so much carnage, a return to the pre-war status quo.

He could have used that as an excuse to throw in something about the “Israel-occupied Golan Heights,” but he did not.

His speech was remarkable in that it exposed how weak his administration has become in international affairs following the debacles in Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan, which now is under growing ISIS influence.

American influence had been on the decline for years but accelerated with the inevitable failure of the “peace process.” which was focused on the wrong country and the wrong issue at the wrong time.

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/obamas-un-speech-ignores-israel-but-hits-hard-at-putin-and-assad/2015/09/28/

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