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September 22, 2014 / 27 Elul, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Syria’

Israel Watching Northern Border with Syria, Lebanon

Sunday, September 21st, 2014

Israeli military leaders are closely monitoring activity on the other side of the northern border and preparing for the day the situation “will change,” a senior military source said Sunday.

At present, fighters from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terror organization are miles away from Israel’s northern border, the officer said. But that could change within hours.

Syria’s civil war, launched in 2011, is still raging and spawning more rebel factions and new terrrorist groups by the day. Mortar shellfire from the conflict has “spilled over” the border into Israeli territory – and into other countries as well – numerous times in the past three years.

Sometimes the shell fire is deliberate, however. “We can tell the difference between stray fire and intended attacks,” the military source said. “Sometimes we respond to stray fire, and not necessarily right away. The goal is for the war to stay on the Syrian side of the border.”

The bottom line, he said, is to attack only if there is reason, and to attack a position that is directly tied to fire aimed at Israel. “We do not attack a position for no reason,” the officer said. “The Syrian air force has not violated the demilitarization agreement. We all know where the red lines are.”

Due to the security situation, IDF soldiers became farmers in the Golan Heights to keep civilians home and safe. The soldiers maintained orchards instead of civilian farmers at Ein Zivun due to the unstable situation at Quneitra. Soldiers also brought in the harvest, the officer said. “I also plan to do this to calm the residents. We are not going backwards at all. For Israel, the situation is good.”

While life in Israel is centered on survival, life in Lebanon is growing more difficult by the day, and not just for the average resident but even for Hezbollah terrorists. The group’s ranks have been thinned by its support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Three Hezbollah terrorists were killed over the weekend in a suicide bombing in northeast Lebanon. The Al Qaeda-linked Jabhat al-Nusra (Al Nusra Front) terror organization has claimed responsibility for the attack, according to Lebanon’s Daily Star newspaper.

Jabhat al- Nusra is allegedly still holding at least 21 Lebanese soldiers hostage in the city of Arsal, according to security sources quoted by the Daily Star. The terror group seized control over the border city last month. The group is reportedly hoping to erase the borders that separate Syria from Lebanon and Iraq, thus allowing the formation of a huge Islamic state. Jabhat al-Nusra has seized significant tracts of land around the Quneitra crossing with Israel, but the group is linked to Al Qaeda, and not ISIS.

Meanwhile ISIS has been busy with its own missions, among them apparently a passion to wipe out the Kurds. At least 66,000 Syrian Kurds fled to the border with Turkey this weekend, running for the lives from the oncoming hordes of ISIS terrorists who swallowed between 20 to 40 Kurdish towns over the past 24 hours. A National Geographic photojournalist described the scene on the border as “organized pandemonium.”

Turkish military forces had cut holes in the barbed wire security fence to allow the refugees to get through, which they did, rushing in by the thousands. “Twenty to 40 cities fell in the last 24 hours, and ISIS (The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria) is moving in with tanks and artillery and killing people in its path, so everyone dropped what they were doing.” The writer, John Stanmeyer, added that he was told it was a fairly stable Kurdish area until 24 hours earlier.

ISIS Shows Off 13-Year-Old Belgian Boy Jihadist

Sunday, September 21st, 2014

ISIS has posted a picture of a 13-year-old Belgian Muslim boy armed with an assault rifle and ready for action in Syria.

The young jihadist was identified as Younes Abaaoud. Keeping it all in the family, he traveled to Syria with his big brother, 27-year-old Abdelhamid, whom his father said was brainwashed to become a real man and become member of the ISIS, which has become the new international symbol of fear.

Brainwashed? Maybe, but the father reportedly once was jailed in Australia for plotting terror. He set a sterling example for his child but apparently was not so happy that the 13-year-old opted for orthodox jihadism.

It is not clear if Younes is actually fighting with the ISIS or simply serving as a model for other 13-year-old radical Muslims.

Belgium leads Europe in the number of citizens per capita who have joined ISIS, which Brussels estimates has snared approximately 200 Belgians among 2,000 Europeans.

The United States “boasts” around 100 ISIS fighters.

ISIS has released a 55-minute video featuring an English-speaking terrorist with an accent that indicates he might be from the United States.

“Clearly ISIS had a calculated step to be able to put this guy on camera,” Frank Cilluffo, a security analyst at George Washington University, told CNN. “Why? Because he seems American. The message is aimed at a Western audience.”

A linguistics professor told The Intercept that the man probably is not a native English speaker but his accent indicates he may be from Minnesota, North Dakota, or even Canada.

Muslims Plead with ISIS for Life of UK Aid Worker Alan Henning

Sunday, September 21st, 2014

Muslims around the world are advocating for the life of British aid worker Alan Henning, who is being held hostage and whose life is threatened by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist organization.

A tweet late Saturday night on the Twitter social networking site encapsulated the myriad responses to rumors that Henning may have already been executed by the group:

“ISIS threatening to kill Alan Henning, a man who’s done more benefit for the Ummah than majority of the Muslims fact!”

Unconfirmed reports had trickled out from Raqqa, Syria, that ISIS had beheaded Henning on Saturday, but the source of the rumors was not clear. No official announcement was made by the terrorist group.

A report was posted by a Syrian advocacy organization in Raqqa on Facebook, saying “some troops from ISIS drove another captive in orange uniform like the US and British reporters were dressed to the hill across from the site where they beheaded James Foley… a man holding a knife was along with him. We believe it’s the same person who executed the reporters before.

“ISIS beheaded this captive at 7:50 am and many cars went with them; one of the cars was carrying a big TV camera in it. ISIS closed all the roads leading to Deir Ezzor, the north, the south and the one which leads to the desert before and during the beheading – around 30 cars surrounded the hill where this captive was beheaded, three cameras were rolling on the surrounding areas…

“We noticed a Nissan red station and a black 4×4…in this black car there was another captive who was protected with many ISIS troops.”

On the Twitter social networking site, angry rumors continued to fly.

“I’m sure it’ll be confirmed soon enough. Betrayed by the very people he tried to help,” wrote one person in a bitter tweet on the Twitter social networking site Saturday night.

“Betrayed by who?” responded another, clearly upset. “They are not Muslims, stop associating them with us.”

Many Muslim groups have made it a point to dissociate themselves from ISIS and to underline their view that the terrorist group has “nothing to do with Islam.”

A group of 49 hostages from Turkey’s Consulate in Mosul was forced by their ISIS captors to watch videos of the beheading of two Americans and one British citizen during the 101 they were held.

The hostages were returned to Turkey via Syria on Saturday by Turkish intelligence agents through a special arrangement with the Iraqis.

Rescued Turkish Consul General of Mosul Ozturk Yilmaz told journalists, “They made us watch the beheadings. There is no reason to kill like this, not for any religion or political thought.” He denounced the killing of James Foley, Steven Sotloff (a dual American-Israeli citizen) and David Haines (a UK citizen) as “cruelty.”

Iran Scorns ‘Ridiculous’ US-led Anti-ISIS Coalition

Thursday, September 18th, 2014

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani scorned the international coalition organized by the United States to fight the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in an interview with NBC News on Wednesday.

Rouhani called the mission “ridiculous” and said that without a commitment to send ground troops into battle against the rapidly spreading terrorist force, the project would fail.

“Are Americans afraid of giving casualties on the ground in Iraq?” he asked. “Are they afraid of their soldiers being killed in the fight they claim is against terrorism?”

That same day U.S. President Barack Obama told reporters in a briefing at MacDill Air Force Base, “American forces that have been deployed to Iraq do not and will not have a combat mission.”

Nor has the United States requested combat troops from any nation in the anti-ISIS coalition.

There is more than one complication in placing troops on the ground in such a conflict. Historically, Iran was suspected of targeting American troops during the previous Iraq War, although the Tehran government denied direct involvement in any battles.

But Rouhani commented that air strikes alone would not suffice to wipe out the Al Qaeda-spawned terrorist organization, which even Al Qaeda itself now denounces as “too extreme.” Other Muslims are hurrying to distance themselves from the group as well, declaring that ISIS has “nothing to do with Islam.”

“If they want to use planes and if they want to use unmanned planes so that nobody is injured from the Americans, is it really possible to fight terrorism without any hardship, without any sacrifice? Is it possible to reach a big goal without that? In all regional and international issues, the victorious one is the one who is ready to do sacrifice,” Rouhani told journalist Ann Curry.

Iran, meanwhile, has been directly involved in Syria’s civil war from the start, having sent its elite Islamic Republic Revolutionary Guards force to supplement the troops of President Bashar al-Assad in the fight against opposition forces. Iran also recruited the aid of the Lebanon-based Hezbollah terrorist guerrilla fighters – which Tehran generously patronizes – to come to Assad’s assistance. Iran has long been a generous backer of the Syrian government as well; the two nations have done business for many years.

Rouhani told NBC News that any campaign to conduct air strikes against ISIS in Syria would require the permission of the Syrian government, which is supported by Iran and Russia. Any action in Syria without Assad’s permission, he said, would constitute a violation of international law and an act of aggression. Moscow has expressed similar views.

But the U.S. is unwilling to collaborate with Iran or Syria in a fight against ISIS. And nearly half the battle against the global terror group is rapidly moving over to Syria.

However, the U.S. House of Representatives has just voted 273-156 to back Obama’s request to train, equip and arm the “moderate” rebels in the Syrian opposition forces. The U.S. is hoping these rebel forces will fight against ISIS.

Shelling on Golan Heights Strikes Close to Israeli News Team

Wednesday, September 17th, 2014

Meters from where Israeli journalists were scanning the Golan Heights, shell fire struck from Syria on Wednesday afternoon shortly after 1:30 pm.

Despite a statement from the IDF claiming the shell was “spillover” from the civil war raging across the border, an Israel Radio reporter on site adamantly insisted the group was targeted and the attack was intentional. No one was physically injured.

This is the second time in less than a week that Syrian shelling has struck Israeli territory.

United Nations Disengagement Observation Force troops left the Syrian side of the northern border with Israel two days ago (Sept. 15) due to the deteriorating security situation. The forces headed for the more secure Israeli side of the border.

Early Monday, a rocket fired from the Syrian side of the Quneitra border crossing between Syria and Israel landed in northern Israel.

The rocket exploded in an open area at about 6 am; no physical injuries were reported. That attack was also ruled by IDF officials to have been “errant fire” from the intense fighting between rebel factions and troops waging civil war on behalf of President Bashar al-Assad.

German Man on Trial for ISIS Membership Played On Jewish Soccer Team

Tuesday, September 16th, 2014

A German man who went on trial in Frankfurt, Germany Monday for being a member of the extremist ISIS group once played for a Jewish soccer club.

Kreshnik Berisha, 20, is alleged to have traveled to Syria where he fought with the group for five months before he returned to Germany, according to the Associated Press.

Berisha, 20, reportedly comes from a Muslim family from Kosovo. He was arrested in Germany in December on charges of membership in a foreign terrorist organization and is believed to be one of about 400 German citizens who have joined jihadist groups fighting in Syria since the beginning of the more than three-year-long civil war.

State prosecutors said he underwent firearms training in Syria and reportedly worked as a medic for ISIS.

“On top of this, he took part in combat missions that occasionally lasted several days,” the charge sheet read.

He has since “turned his back” on ISIS, defense lawyer Mutlu Günal told the British newspaper The Guardian. The judge reportedly is working with prosecutors on a plea deal in exchange for information about the extremist group.

Berisha played on the under-17 youth team of Makkabi Frankfurt, a prominent Jewish soccer club, as recently as 2011.

Membership in the team is not restricted to Jews and is described as diverse. Israeli teams also are also careful not to discriminate with regard to race, religion or color.

All that matters is to win and be proud to say that the team is from Israel, even if not one player is Israeli and not one is even Jewish.

When you hear the lefties talks about a “Jewish democratic state of Israel,” the “Jewish” is in name only.

JTA contributed to this report.

 

ISIS Promptly Outflanks Obama’s New Strategy, Neutralizes Syrian Opposition

Monday, September 15th, 2014

{This article originally appeared in Liberty Unyielding}

ISIS is busy neutralizing the Syrian factions that might make common cause with the United States. On Thursday, Breitbart London reported that several dozen leaders of Syrian rebel factions opposed to ISIS, who were gathered at a meeting in northwestern Syria, were killed in a massive explosion on Wednesday. Huffington Post on Friday evening summarized reports that ISIS has signed a non-aggression deal with a separate group of rebel factions in Syria, nominally so that all of the factions can continue to fight the Assad regime. According to the Dubai-based Arabic news site Orient News, one of the signatories to the agreement is the Syrian Revolutionary Front (SRF), a group that has received U.S. support and has been touted as a likely partner for a U.S. strategy to oppose ISIS in Syria.

The SRF has been losing ground in recent weeks, suffering a major blow when one of its top commanders was killed at the end of August. At the same time, the SRF was reported to be fighting alongside al-Qaeda-affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra in southern Syria, including the battle for the crossing point with Israel in the Golan over which the rebel factions claimed control on 27 August. Now it appears that the non-aggression pact with ISIS was brokered by Jabhat al-Nusra. None of this comes as a surprise to those who’ve been following along with Patrick Poole at PJ Media. On 3 September, Poole outlined the continuing cooperation of factions in the Free Syrian Army with ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra – cooperation that has resulted in a flow of U.S.-supplied weaponry to the latter two armies. On 9 September, he expounded on a report from the Los Angeles Times that one of the “vetted moderate” groups, Harakat Hazm, is quite open about fighting alongside Jabhat al-Nusra. The U.S. has already given this group anti-tank missiles. Appended to Poole’s analysis is the tweeted text of an alliance agreement concluded by “vetted moderate” faction Harakat Hazm and other similar groups with Jabhat al-Nusra. The text was tweeted on 8 July. It’s not just credible, it’s highly bloody likely that some of the rebel factions – including U.S. client SRF – have indeed made a pact with ISIS. The fact that it won’t be worth a bucket of warm spit ought to serve not as an encouragement to U.S. delusions of a meaningful alliance in Syria, but as a warning. The evanescent quality of alliances and deals among factions in Syria is a terribly unpromising condition for Obama’s proposed mode of passive-aggressive U.S. military operations there. So is the ease with which ISIS (almost certainly) has just blown nearly 50 of their leaders up. It’s hard to issue the warning about this trenchantly enough – and a similar concern must apply in Iraq as well, given the parlous state of national unity and regional cohesion. Iraq may look simpler and less like a free-for-all, but ISIS is already there, and with each day that passes is able to build a more extensive network of clients and affiliated cadre around the area in which the U.S. plans to operate. This would be one thing if we were going in in force. But we’re not. Our posture in northern Iraq will bear no resemblance to what we’ve been used to in Afghanistan for the last five years. In Afghanistan, we have tens of thousands of troops still, and sizable, heavily fortified redoubts to quarter them in. The size of our forces and their level of protection are still prohibitive for the Taliban outside the fences.

ISIS-strat-3

Overextending It cannot be overemphasized that that will not be the case in Iraq. We aren’t sending in a force with overwhelming superiority. In fact, we’re actually going to be putting a small concentration of troops who aren’t professional ground-pounders in a very vulnerable position in one place in particular: the air base at Irbil (or Erbil) in the Kurdish region of northern Iraq, where we will reportedly be basing strike-fighters. I’m really not sure why we’re doing this. I mean, I know why: the Turks won’t let us use their air bases to launch strike-fighters for attacks in Iraq or Syria. To operate Air Force F-15s or F-16s in either country, the most convenient operating base will therefore be in Iraq. (Up to now, Air Force strike-fighters have been using bases in Kuwait and Qatar. Navy F/A-18s have been operating from USS George H. W. Bush (CVN-77) in the Persian Gulf. This makes for long flights and abbreviated availability on-station, however.) We have had a small number of combat helicopters and MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft at Irbil since early August, providing air support for Kurdish fighters in northern Iraq. (Drones are presumably being flown out of Irbil as well.) It’s not that we don’t have a small concentration of troops and high-value weaponry there already. It’s that we’re going to be expanding the size of it, but without changing the basis for our presence or operations. Irbil is an exposed and poorly defended facility, especially for a guerrilla force that quite probably is armed with antitank missiles (which can be used effectively against anything big with a nice heat signature) and a variety of shoulder-fired and battlefield rockets. The New York Times has been posting a useful set of graphics throughout the ISIS campaign (here), and has an excellent generic view of the approaches to Irbil (below; the original annotations relate to events in early August). Of particular note is the short distance between Irbil and the line of ISIS control to the west, which today is about 35 miles. The darker shaded areas on the terrain view indicate spots where ISIS-led fighters have recently conducted attacks on Kurdish forces.

ISIS-strat-4

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/isis-promptly-outflanks-obamas-new-strategy-neutralizes-syrian-opposition/2014/09/15/

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