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March 2, 2015 / 11 Adar , 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Pakistan’

Japanese PM Says Tokyo ‘Will Never Give In to Terror’

Wednesday, January 21st, 2015

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told reporters at a briefing Wednesday that his nation will do everything possible to free two Japanese captives held by ISIS terrorists.

Islamic State in Iraq and Syria released an online video Tuesday allegedly showing two Japanese nationals it said it was holding hostage. The terror organization said it would kill the captives unless Japan paid $200 million in ransom for the hostages.

Japan’s prime minister told reporters, “I have instructed [our government] that we will exhaust all possible measures to have the two freed using all diplomatic channels – all the diplomatic routes we have built so far,” he said.

But, he added, “Our country will never give in to terrorism.”

Japan and Israel have strengthened ties in recent months. Last week Japan’s prime minister visited the Jewish State with a large delegation; earlier, Israel’s prime minister visited Tokyo as well.

Other nations now appear to be slowly tightening up on ISIS as well. Pakistani security forces in the eastern city of Lahore arrested Yousaf al-Salafi, whom they believe to be the commander of the ISIS branch in that country.

“Al-Salafi is a Pakistani Syrian who reached Pakistan through Turkey five months ago,” a source told Reuters on condition of anonymity. “He crossed into Turkey from Syria and was caught there. Someone how managed to escape and reached Pakistan to establish ISIS.”

They also arrested two accomplices, all three involved in recruiting and then sending the new fighters to Syria for advanced terror training, according to intelligence sources.

 

 

Pakistan Taliban Declares Allegiance to ISIS

Sunday, October 5th, 2014

In Pakistan, the Taliban has declared allegiance to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

The Taliban ordered its terrorists across the region this weekend to help ISIS build a worldwide caliphate, a global state ruled by Islam.

ISIS has begun to penetrate into southern Asia, particularly in Pakistan and Afghanistan, in addition to the territory it has conquered in northern Iraq and Syria.

The announcement, which also marked the Muslim holy festival of Eid al-Adha, was released by the Taliban in Urdu, Pashto and Arabic. It came immediately after a video posted Friday showing the beheading of UK foreign aid worker Alan Henning.

It also followed a declaration in September by Al Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahri, who named former Taliban commander Asim Umar as “emir” of Al Qaeda’s new branch in south Asia.

Helping Sick Israeli Children Produces Miracles and a Fund to Help More

Wednesday, April 30th, 2014

A decision to help sick Israeli children in need led to miracles for Yael and Albert Shaltiel — and a special fund to help even more.

When the Shaltiels could no longer handle their struggle with infertility, they spent a long time talking about whether or not to adopt.

Former Los Angeles resident Yael actually was also born in Iran. She grew up without a father, and says she knows how difficult it can be for a single parent to juggle the dual roles of providing and caring for a family with a sick child.

Albert had his own struggles — he miraculously managed to escape from Iran via Pakistan at age of 17, but not until he first went through an  unsuccessful attempt in which he was caught by the Islamic Iranian military and dragged to Tehran.

Instead, the couple decided the “needs of the many” outweighed the desire for a few – and started to raise money for medical equipment and therapy for sick children in need.

‘What goes around, comes around,’ as the saying goes, and their good deed did not go unnoticed in the heavens above; without any further intervention, a healthy son, Ilai, was born soon after. Nine years later, a second child followed.

In gratitude, the couple, who live in Modi’in, created The Ilai Fund to help single parent families who require medical assistance for their children. Both Yael and Albert still have family members living in the United States, and in Iran. They know what it’s like to need support.

They also have close Iranian friends who have become major supporters of the Ilai Fund. Ben Nehmadi himself escaped from Iran just days before the Islamic Revolution in 1979. Together with his wife Bita, Nehmadi has supported the Shaltiels in their efforts since 2005.

Founder of the New York-based Republic Investment Company, Nehmadi was struck by the similarity of his own story to that of his friend Shaltiel. He and his wife check in on the project’s activities when the family arrives in Israel for annual visits.

The Fund provides  children with items such as wheelchairs, Hart walker, bath lifts, orthopedic shoes, splints and braces, special nutrition, diapers, eyeglasses, specialized computers, finances for transportation to and from hospitals and vitamins or medication that are not included in their healthcare program.

Also provided are services such as physiotherapy and hydrotherapy visits, as well as psychotherapy. In addition, the fund provides one-on-one care givers and teachers, and organizes field trip days for the children, among other activities, according to the organization’s website.

“I reconnected with Albert eight years ago and heard about his work with sick children in Israel,” Nehmadi said. “Albert and Yael are people who are doing God’s work, but quietly and humbly.”

Pakistan Redux

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014

With all the attention being paid to the Turkish election, the continuing “negotiations” between the six powers and Iran and the ins and outs of the talks that at some point may or may not take place between the Palestinian Authority and Israel, little attention is directed towards very concrete and significant events in a country that is not only strategically located but already has nuclear weapons–Pakistan.

The government of Nawaz Sharif, which is the first in Pakistan’s history as an independent country to succeed another elected government with no period of military dictatorship in between, has been trying to reach an accommodation with the Pakistani Taliban (TTP), ensconced in its mountain lair in North Waziristan, which borders on Afghanistan and which has been in constant violent conflict with the Pakistani government for years.

The TTP agreed to negotiate under three conditions: a cessation of military actions against it by the Pakistani army, a cessation of U.S. drone attacks, and the release of TTP prisoners held by the army.

At the initial meeting, a representative of the army was invited to attend. Afterwards the high command of the armed forces decided not to attend any further negotiations and planned a major offensive against the TTP in North Waziristan that was carried out without any authorization from the civilian authorities. As a result the TTP ended the talks, cancelled the temporary cease-fire, and staged a series of terrorist attacks in major Pakistani cities.

The army, ignoring the civil police, proceeded to arrest dozens of alleged TTP militants and is holding them in military prisons. The Pakistani armed forces are in line to receive about seven billion dollars worth of military supplies from the U.S. when it evacuates Afghanistan, which will add greatly to its operational capabilities.

In light of Pakistani history, all this would undoubtedly be a prelude to yet another military coup, but the armed forces may hold off until they have received the American equipment, in fear that the U.S. might renege to show its displeasure with the coup, as it did in Egypt following the overthrow of the Muslim Brotherhood government of (now) ex-president Morsi.

The parallels between the Pakistani and Turkish situations are striking. An Islamist-oriented government was elected and faced a politically active secular military establishment that had taken power on various previous occasions. In Turkey, the Muslim Brotherhood-linked government of Erdogan, succeeded in defanging the army and has moved on to various electoral victories. In Pakistan, the increasingly Islamist and dictatorial Sharif, clearly intended to follow the same path, but is facing a military that is obviously not about to be sidelined.

What does all this mean to the Middle East and Israel in particular? A secular nuclear Pakistan means that the potentially nuclear Iran must also worry about its Eastern neighbor.

Originally published at The American Center for Democracy.
A version of this article will be published in Globes.

Family of Kidnapped Warren Weinstein Calls for Proof He Is Alive

Friday, January 3rd, 2014

The family of captive U.S. government contractor Warren Weinstein called for ”date-specific confirmation” that he is still alive.

In a statement released Thursday, the Weinstein family said a video distributed last week by al-Qaida in Pakistan does not prove that Weinstein is alive because there is no indication of when it was made.

Weinstein, 72, who has been held in Pakistan by al-Qaida for more than two years, in the video calls on President Obama to release al-Qaida terrorists in exchange for his release.

The video message featuring Weinstein, a former Peace Corps and USAID official, was sent to journalists and news services in Pakistan along with a link to a photo of a handwritten note. The testimonial letter is dated Oct. 3, 2013; it is not known when the video was filmed.

Weinstein, of Rockville, Md., was kidnapped in August 2011 outside Pakistan while he was working for J.E. Austin Associates, a private company that advises Pakistani businesses.

The United States has said it will not negotiate with al-Qaida, which the U.S. considers a terrorist organization.

“Warren Weinstein is a scholar and a humanitarian who has spent his entire career working to improve the lives of men, women and children around the world,” his family said in the statement. “Prior to his abduction, he spent seven years in Pakistan working to improve local communities through projects related to dairy production, farming and health care. To be captured and held against his will after a life spent helping others, especially in the sunset of his proud career, is unacceptable. We urge the global community to help us bring him home.”

The family praised U.S. Rep. John Delaney (D-Md.) for his efforts on behalf of Weinstein.

“We must be relentless in our efforts to bring him home and we must maintain a sense of outrage and determination,” Delaney said in a statement issued Thursday.

The Two-State Solution Is Obsolete

Wednesday, November 20th, 2013

The Americans, the Europeans and the international community in general are constantly demanding the implementation of a two-state solution based on the 1967 borders. For example, when French President Francois Hollande spoke at the Knesset recently, he stated, “We need a compromise through a two-state solution.” He emphasized that Jerusalem should be a shared capital city of both the Jewish and Palestinian peoples and stressed that settlement construction should come to an end. Statements by US President Barack Obama, US Secretary of State John Kerry, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, and Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron are very similar to Hollande’s.

However, any political analysis of the current situation on the ground in the Holy Land would suggest that such models are an obsolete way of thinking. For starters, the Gaza Strip and the Palestinian Authority are not controlled by the same political entity. The Gaza Strip is controlled by the Hamas terrorist organization, who to date refuses to reconcile with the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority. By refusing to sign a reconciliation agreement with Fatah, Hamas has essentially ensured that there can be no united Palestinian leadership. If there is no united Palestinian leadership, there can’t be a unified Palestinian state.

History is full of examples of entities that broke up because they were separated by geographic distance and cultural differences. Bangladesh used to be East Pakistan. However, the culture in Bangladesh is very different from the Pakistani mentality. In Pakistan, they primarily speak Urdu, while the language in Bangladesh is Bangla. The Bangladeshi people felt oppressed by Pakistan. Some Bangladeshis accuse them of committing genocide against them. Furthermore, Pakistan was geographically disconnected from them and so they decided to break off to become a separate country.

The situation is quite similar in regards to the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority and the Hamas-dominated Gaza Strip. Fatah supporters in the Gaza Strip feel oppressed by Hamas and Hamas supporters within the Palestinian Authority view the Fatah leadership with disdain. Furthermore, the populations in Gaza and Judea and Samaria are very different from each other culturally speaking. The Arabs living in Judea and Samaria are more liberal and cosmopolitan than the ones living in the Gaza Strip. To add insult to injury, the two territories are geographically disconnected from each other and the two populations rarely intermarry with each other.

The Fatah-Hamas divide in itself should have killed the idea of a two-state for two peoples’ paradigm. This should be the case especially given the fact that Hamas refuses to recognize the existence of the Jewish state as well and states specifically in their charter that they are opposed to all peace negotiations. They support waging a violent jihad until Israel ceases to exist. For them, it is war until either Israel vanishes or they cease to exist.

Even if Fatah recognizes Israel’s right to exist, in the absence of a military defeat of Hamas, two-states for two peoples living in peace is a fairy tale for children. Yet interestingly enough, even Fatah remains committed to destroying Israel in phases, refuses to recognize Israel as a Jewish state, and views the two-states for two-people’s paradigm merely as the first phase towards liberating all of Palestine. Given this reality, it is time for the international community to consider other models for resolving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict in the absence of paradigms that have been proven to be unworkable.

Al Qaeda Terrorist Planned Biological Attacks in Israel and Jordan

Monday, November 18th, 2013

Israel  has been holding for three years an Al Qaeda terrorist, once arrested by Americans a decade ago, after he tried to infiltrate into Israel to train Palestinian Authority terrorists to stage a biological attack, it was revealed on Sunday.

The terrorist was identified as 39-year-old Samer Abed al-Barak, who had been arrested by American authorities and jailed in Guantanamo Bay in 2003. He was released three months later to Jordan, where he was a free man but later was arrested for terrorist activities. Jordan let him go in 2008 and apparently tipped off Israel that he would try to cross into Israel, according to documents filed in court by the Justice Ministry in response to a petition to free him.

Authorities said Al Barak had studied microbiology in Pakistan and tried to enter Israel via the Allenby Bridge in 2010 to put his knowledge to good jihad use and train Palestinian Authority terrorists to manufacture poisons for a biological attack in Israel.

Al-Barak also was planning a similar attack on Jewish tourists in Jordan.

His administration detention is to expire in several days but can be renewed once more, and the Justice Ministry told the court that releasing him would produce an immediate and serious threat to Israel. It is not known why he has not been charged and placed on trial.

His lawyer said he was engaged in Pakistan in “humanitarian activities,: which is a nifty Al Qaeda code word for “killing Jews.”

Government officials confirmed the detention after it was published in the media.

The government’s defense in court said that al-Barak is from Kuwait and moved with his family to Jordan and then to Kalkilya, in Samaria, before landing up Pakistan in 1995, where he obtained a masters’ degree that gave him his background for producing biological weapons. Al Barak moved on to Afghanistan to engage in military training.

He joined Al Qaeda in 2001 after being recruited by the terrorist organization’s current leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/al-qaeda-terrorist-planned-biological-attacks-in-israel-and-jordan/2013/11/18/

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