web analytics
October 21, 2016 / 19 Tishri, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Mosul’

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.


Kurdish Jews Scrambling to Save Prophet Nahum’s Crumbling Tomb in ISIS Territory

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2016

Jewish officials in Kurdistan are trying to save an ancient tomb believed to belong to the biblical prophet Nahum and his sister in the Christian town of Alqosh, some 30 miles outside the ISIS controlled city of Mosul. According to local news reports, Nahum’s tomb has been deteriorating and is in danger of collapsing. The town of Alqosh has been protected by Peshmerga forces since ISIS overran the Iraqi army in the region.

Sherzad Mamsani, a Jewish representative of the Ministry of Endowment and Religious Affairs of the Kurdish Regional Government, has asked UNESCO, the semi-independent Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in Iraq, and all foreign diplomats serving in the KRG to help preserve the ancient Jewish site.

“This site does not only belong to Jews. It’s part of human history, therefore saving it is everyone’s responsibility,” Sherzad pleaded in a statement, adding, “We only ask for the renovation of the site, we have previously asked the KRG to renovate it but the work was suspended due to the financial crisis that hit the Kurdistan Region.”

Nahum, whose biblical book (seventh on the list of 12 shorter works by the prophets, between Micha and Habakkuk) identifies him as Nahum of Elqosh, predicted the fall of the Assyrian Empire and its capital Nineveh. His 47 prophetic verses contain no rebuke of the Jews, only comforting promises that they would soon be freed from the Assyrian yoke. Jewish sources are split on the location of Elkosh: some believe it was in Israel, others identify it as the town of Alqosh in northern Iraq.

Nahum’s tomb is located inside a synagogue in Alqosh.

David Israel

Pentagon Confirms American Soldier Killed by ISIS in Northern Iraq

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2016

The Da’esh (ISIS) terrorist group killed a U.S. soldier in Iraq this week, a spokesperson for the U.S. Department of Defense announced Tuesday.

The soldier was “aiding Kurdish fighters near the northern Iraqi city of Mosul,” according to the statement by the DoD spokesperson.

He was “hit by direct enemy fire about 20 miles from Mosul,” which the spokesperson labeled as the Da’esh “de facto capital in Iraq.”

CBS News quoted U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter as saying in a brief statement “It is a combat death, of course. And a very sad loss,” but giving no detail.

The U.S.-led “Operation Inherent Resolve” also issued a short written statement that said a coalition “service member was killed in northern Iraq as a result of enemy fire.”

The “enemy” was not specifically named by the government, however.

According to CBS News senior national security correspondent David Martin, the soldier was an American adviser to the Kurdish Peshmerga force, working with a unit a couple of miles behind the front line “during a battle with ISIS.”

Some of the terrorists managed to penetrate through the line into Kurdish territory and killed the soldier with a gunshot, he reported, despite air support from U.S. F-15 fighter jets and drones during the battle.

“It was a real battle, not just one-off raid,” Martin reported.

A U.S. Marine was killed by Da’esh rocket fire and several others were wounded in northern Iraq in mid-March.

Hana Levi Julian

Israeli Upgrade to Turkish Tank Protects Soldiers from ISIS Anti-Tank Missile

Sunday, April 24th, 2016

An Israeli upgrade on a U.S.-made M60T tank used by Turkish military forces in Mosul helped save those soldiers from death in a missile attack by Da’esh (ISIS) terrorists last week (April 19).

The attack, seen in a video released April 19 by the terror group, involved a Russian-made 129K9 Kornet ATGM (anti-tank guided missile) fired at a Turkish tank that was on a hilltop.

The missile struck the tank but it did not explode, nor did it burn. The upgrades made to the tank by Israel were sold to Turkey a decade ago.

None of the crew were injured and the tank sustained only minimal damage, according to a Turkish military official quoted by the Andalou Agency.

The tank was deployed by Turkey to Bashiqah, 30 kilometers northeast of Mosul in northern Iraq. The Turkish military source said Da’esh attacked the tank at Bashiqah, incurring minor damage but no casualties.

The source added the Turkish forces immediately returned fire and killed 32 Da’esh fighters.

The Iraqi government was apparently unaware of the presence of Turkish forces in the country until December 2015, according to a report on Thursday (April 21) by Jane’s defense magazine. The government allegedly demanded at that time that Ankara withdraw all of its troops from Iraq, but Turkey ignored the directive. Ankara insisted the base in Bashiqah was established for the purpose of training a militia to expel Da’esh from Mosul.

Hana Levi Julian

ISIS Grinds Iraq’s Oldest Christian Monastery to Rubble

Wednesday, January 20th, 2016

The oldest Christian monastery in Iraq, a place of worship for 1,400 years – used even by U.S. troops – has been reduced to rubble by Da’esh (ISIS).

The destruction was confirmed by satellite photos obtained by the Associated Press from the imagery firm DigitalGlobe, and compared with earlier images from the same site, AP wrote Wednesday in an exclusive report.

Built in 590, St. Elijah’s Monastery – called “Dair Mar Elia” in Syriac – stood on a hill above the city of Mosul, Iraq: a 27,000-square-foot stone and mortar fortress with a roof that was partly missing.

It was a place where in 1743 some 150 Christian monks stood firm and gave their lives, rather than bend to the will of Persian leader Tahmaz Nadir Shah who demanded their forcible conversion to Islam.

The building was huge, with 26 rooms, a chapel and a sanctuary.

But no more.

Catholic World Report quoted a post from June 12, 2014 that Christians were being driven out completely from Mosul by the Islamist hordes. The city had just been taken over by ISIS.

For the first time in 1,600 years, no Mass was celebrated in Mosul on Sunday June 15, 2014.

“The Catholic Archbishop of the city, Amil Shamaaoun Nona, corroborated this while speaking with the worldwide Catholic relief service, Aid to the Church in Need. ‘All the faithful have left the city. Who knows whether they will ever be able to return,’ Abp. Nona said.”

In 2003, there were still 35,000 Christians living in Mosul, according to that report. By 2014, there were only 3,000.

“The city of Mosul, with its population of three million, was already mentioned in the Bible as Nineveh, and for thousands of years it has been a place of Christian civilization,” the publication lamented.

U.S. Army chaplain Jeffrey Whorton, a Roman Catholic priest, also celebrated Mass on the monastery’s altar while deployed in Iraq.

Da’esh destroys any and all edifices the group considers to be related to idolatry, in its twisted interpretation of Islam.

More than 100 such sites have been leveled so far, among them the remains of the ancient city of Palmyra, in Syria. Monuments in the cities of Nineveh and Hatra are also ruined. Countless other treasures have been crushed – or stolen and sold to finance Da’esh terrorist attacks.

Hana Levi Julian

ISIS Executes 19 Women and Girls for Refusing ‘Sexual Jihad’

Thursday, August 6th, 2015

Nineteen girls and women were executed in Iraq over the weekend by Da’esh (ISIS) for refusing to participate in “sexual jihad” with terrorists in Mosul, Iraq.

The execution was reported Monday by Said Mimousini, a spokesman for the Kurdish Democratic Party in Mosul in an interview with Iraqi News.

Many Yazidi and Christian girls and women were captured by the terrorists last year and sold as sex slaves. But the practice may also prove the undoing of the group: Mimousini said there have been splits in the ranks in Mosul and internal conflicts over money and the distribution of women.

Girls who have somehow managed to escape the clutches of Da’esh have told media of how they were forced to marry ISIS fighters, and how they were physically and sexually abused.

As many as 3,000 women and girls having been taken captive from the Yazidi tribe in Iraq alone. In addition, Da’esh has captured and enslaved numerous other minorities in the territories it has seized.

Last October, ISIS published a brochure showing the prices for the purchase of female slaves.

The price tariff is simple; the older they are the cheaper they are, RT Novosti reported. “All prices are quoted in Iraqi Dinars but U.S. dollar equivalent shows that radical fighters can get children aged 1 to 9 for about $165, prices for adolescent girls are $124 and it’s less for women over 20. Women over 40 cost as little as $41.”

Last year Da’esh also produced a manual containing rules about how female slaves, women and children should be treated by its fighters.

During this past Ramadan, the group launched a contest to encourage its fighters and followers to memorize Qur’an passages, using young girls as prizes for the top winners.

Zainab Bangura, a United Nations envoy for sexual violence in conflict, is investigating the group’s sex trade. Bangura said “girls are peddled like barrels of petrol,” according to the UK-based Daily Mail, adding that “one can be bought by six different men.”

There is even a marriage bureau which organizes all of these ‘marriages’ and the sale of women, Bangura said.

However, occasionally ISIS will also sell the girls back to their families as well. “Sometimes these fighters sell the girls back to their families for thousands of dollars of ransom,” Bangura said. Valerie Amos, UN undersecretary-general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief, added that women and girls as young as 12 are enslaved and sexually abused.

“Kurdish refugees from Kobane report the capture of young girls there for sexual purposes, girls as young as 12,” she said.

Amos added there has also been a rise in the incidence of forced marriage, due in part to the rise in family poverty.

More to the point, however, families are terrified of losing their daughters to ISIS fighters in areas under their control – a phenomenon she called a “war crime.”

“ISIS has carried out mass victimization of civilians including murder, enslavement, rape, forcible displacement and torture, and has violated its obligation towards civilians,” Amos said.

She was particularly damning of the sluggish response of the international community to enforcing Security Council Resolution 2139 which passed in February of this year. The resolution outlined a number of basic human rights demands that opposition fighters and the Syrian government are required to follow.

Obviously, no one has paid any attention to the resolution since its passage.

Hana Levi Julian

Have the Yezidis Been Forgotten by the International Community?

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2015

By Michael Zeff

Nearly one year ago, global media and public opinion raged over the humanitarian crisis and near genocide facing the Yazidi population of northern Iraq at the hands of the Islamic State as they advanced on the Sinjar region.

At that time, major western media outlets reported on the massacres inflicted on the Yazidis by IS, the enslavement and rape of young Yazidi women and girls and other atrocities the Yazidi minority had faced last summer.

However, since August 2014, the airstrikes against IS have gradually slowed down to a complete halt and the humanitarian aid has slowed down too. With IS fighters still roaming the land and the fighting in Iraq still very much a daily reality, has the international community forgotten about the distressed Yazidi people?

In a phone interview last week on Tuesday, May 26, Tazpit News Agency spoke with Mr. Mirza Ismail, a Yazidi leader and head of the Yezidi Human Rights Organization – International. Ismail gave a first-hand account on the current situation and plight of the Yezidis still in Northern Iraq and the Sinajr region.

“It is an ongoing very bad humanitarian crisis, the fate of the Yezidi nation” Mr. Ismail related to Tazpit, live from Iraq.

“Right now I am in Northern Iraq, I visited Mount Sinjar earlier and came back down. Overall I made visits to Yezidi refugee camps such as Khanke, Sharyia and Esia to see the current situation with my own eyes.”

“In general our organization tries maintain the awareness to the ongoing humanitarian crisis and plight of the Yezidi nation and its refugees, with media, countries, politicians, appealing for practical aid and help.” Ismail explained to Tazpit.

“Right now the Yezidi Human Rights Organization – International is working on trying to relocate refugees, who are currently in camps in Turkey, to Canada. So far Germany has taken 80 Yezidi girls and granted them asylum, they agreed to take a total of 1,000 Yezidis. We hope that other western countries can take a lesson from Germany and agree to provide asylum and take in Yezidi refugees. ”

According to a United Nations Human Rights report, the IS campaign against the Yazidis resulted in over 50,000 refugees and several thousand killed between July and September 2014. Having fled up into the Sinjar Mountain, thousands of Yezidis found themselves stranded and besieged by IS forces. This imminent threat of a genocidal massacre was only averted by U.S. airstrikes and air drops of humanitarian aid packages onto mount Sinjar.

Ismail told Tazpit that there are still 12,000 Yezidis held up on Mount Sinjar, most of them children and the elderly. Many of the children are orphans of Yezidi fighters and those were massacred by the Islamic State. “They are living in very bad humanitarian conditions,” noted Ismail.

“There is no medical assistance here and people are suffering from disease. They are afraid to come down from the mountain.” “They are afraid of Islamic State, afraid to be killed like their family and friends and they don’t trust the Iraqi soldiers and Iraqi government,” he said.

Ismail continued to explain the Yazidi source of general distrust saying “Iraq persecuted and discriminated Yezidis as well, Iraq let the genocide of the Yezidis happen, they abandoned the Yezidis to be slaughtered.”

“There are still violent acts and killings of Yezidis, just two weeks ago a young Yezidi man was found tied and mutilated to death, another disappeared from Eisa camp and was found dead later.”

According to Mr. Ismail, overall, there are 430,000, most of them living in refugee camps in northern Iraq and Turkey in unbearable living conditions.

“With summer coming again life will certainly get even more difficult than it is now. The hot weather conditions in northern Iraq can be severe, and there isn’t even a single fan to keep people cool”

Ismail paints a grim picture of the current condition of the refugees in northern Iraqi camps, and an ever bigger plight to those who are still held up at the disconnected mount Sinjar.

“In the northern camps, they [Yezidi refugees] have not had relief and aid in the last 2 or 3 months.” Said Ismail.

“There is some United Nations presence; I have seen UNICEF around; I heard that Doctors Without Borders maybe active. However, not a single organization has sent any aid up to Mount Sinjar. It is mainly the children who are suffering the most, they have no education, no teachers are coming, they suffer from malnutrition, having less than two meals a day.”

Ismail recounted to Tazpit a general feeling of hopelessness and fear both on Mount Sinjar and the refugee camps. There are reports still coming out about Yezidis being raped, murdered and sold into slavery, as recently as May when IS itself claimed to have slaughtered 300 Yezidis near Mosul.

Those who managed to flee the massacres are still threatened with severe weather conditions, disease and starvation.

“There are people in need of surgery, I met with at least 10 different Yezidis who need to have lifesaving surgery but no access to doctors. I met a young girl who was still waiting for a needed surgery she told me ‘if I die then I die’, The people are losing any hope”.

“They need international aid to survive the summer here.” Ismail said, stressing the need in activity from the International community, with providing practical humanitarian aid to Sinjar region and granting asylum to refugees.

Adding a Jewish angle to the story, Ismail told Tazpit “In Canada, I am working closely with Mrs. Rananah Goldhar [a strong Jewish pro-Israel activist based in Toronto] who is trying her hardest in to raise awareness and activism on behalf of the Yezidis to save them from the recent horrific atrocities facing them.”

“My organization is working to influence the Canadian government to take in refugees for asylum, at least for those Yezidis with some relatives in Canada.”

With thousands held up on mount Sinjar, detached from humanitarian relief. Tens of thousands more in the accessible refugee camps only receiving limited relief if any, according to Ismail. And the still-present threat by IS. It seems, according Ismail’s eye witness account to Tazpit news Agency, that the Yezidi humanitarian crisis is far from over.

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/have-the-yezidis-been-forgotten-by-the-international-community/2015/06/02/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: