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June 25, 2016 / 19 Sivan, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Syria’

Israeli Provisions Causing Rift among Syrian Rebels

Wednesday, June 15th, 2016

Shipments of food supplies from Israel, bearing the names of well known Israeli brands, have been the source of much strife in Arab media and Arab social networks, most likely because this is the month of Ramadan, when Muslims fast during the day and think about food more often than usual. The provisions, including packaged rice and wheat, reach the Al-Quneitra district, which is dominated by the Syrian opposition. But while some rebel groups welcome the Israeli support, other groups, some of which are affiliated with President Assad’s regime, have attacked the initiative, saying that “it’s an insult to receive food from the Zionist entity which is oppressing the Golan.”

The Golan Heights, a hilly stretch overlooking lake Kinneret and Israel’s civilian communities, used to be the spots from which Syrian soldiers would target Israelis down below like fish in a barrel for 19 years, until Israel put an end to the madness by capturing the hills and denying the Syrians their target practice.

Pictures of the Israeli food products have reached the London daily Al-Quds Al-Arabi, which cited a source on the ground in southern Syria that claimed Israel has been supporting the rebel groups there since 2013, after Jordan had closed off its Syrian border. Obviously, the groups who don’t get to share in the Israeli made rice, wheat, tea and Canola oil describe the haves as traitors and Zionist collaborators.

Israeli food products in Syria

Israeli food products in Syria

Revolutionary Military Council in Quneitra and the Golan last week issued a strong condemnation that went: “We condemn the insult our people have sustained in the liberated Al-Quneitra district in the form of food supplies awarded by the Zionist entity which is repressing the Golan which was sold out by the regime.” The RMCQ was particularly upset because the revelation of the Zionist food supplies came close to the part of the year when the anniversaries of the 1948 and the 1967 wars take place, in May and June respectively.

Al-Quds Al-Arabi cited a local activist who said the food is being hauled into Syria by members of the Free Syrian Army, after they deliver their wounded to hospitals south of the border, in Israel. It appears there are many Syrians who are delighted and grateful that Israel has been so supportive. Fahd Al-Mousa, head of the liberated Quneitra district council told the newspaper that only Israel has been a reliable ally for his people.

“Since the beginning of the Syrian revolution we haven’t found a way to bring the injured and hurt into any Arab country,” Al-Mousa stated, adding that only Israel has opened its gates to them. “And there are packages of medicine, milk for babies and additional foodstuffs that enter the district from Israel,” he said. Compared with Israel’s consistent support, he said, help from the gulf emirates had been sporadic.

Motti Kahane, president of the humanitarian organization Amalia, told Ynet that in southern Syria there may be more than 50 different rebel groups, each of which runs its own fundraising and receives its own supplies from five different countries. Amalia would like to serve as a go between for all the donated goods and food that come in, and to dispense them fairly and equally through the Quneitra crossing between Israel and Syria, which is normally closed.

JNi.Media

IDF Intelligence Chief: If our Enemies Knew What We Can Do They’d Give Up

Wednesday, June 15th, 2016

At a session headlined “Israel in a Turbulent Middle East: Strategic Review & Intelligence Assessment” held Wednesday at the 2016 Herzliya Conference, Maj. Gen. Herzl (Herzi) Halevi, Chief of the IDF Military Intelligence Directorate warned Israel’s opponents against initiating a conflict, saying, “I am sure that had Nasrallah or any of our enemies known our military capabilities they wouldn’t risk additional conflict.”

Halevi discussed Israel’s challenges and opportunities in today’s middle east, saying “there are a lot of people who live in the Middle East with no electricity. Looking at the GDP per capita or unemployment rates it is noticeable that very big gaps have formed between us and our neighbors. It should not make us happy – A poor Middle East is a hotbed for terrorist organizations.”

“The Game board in the Middle East has changed,” he added. “Instead of few states, there are now many players. The transition from nation states to organizations is very significant. There are no good and bad guys, and players on the field change their identities.”

Halevi continued to discuss the new ways in which conflicts and wars are formed in the Middle East, in what he calls Dynamics of Escalation’. “We live in an era in which it is most likely for wars to begin even though neither side is interested in it,” he explained.

Regarding Iran, Halevi said: “The nuclear agreement was a great achievement for Iran, allowing them to be accepted among the world’s nations and we believe they will honor [the nuclear deal] for the first few years. At the same time, Iran is investing great efforts against Israel. Iran is supporting the three main threats Israel faces: Hamas, Hezbollah, and Islamic Jihad – in fact, they support 60% of [the threat]. It is [a case of] a Shiite nation giving money to Sunni organizations – they would do that to hurt Israel.”

Regarding Lebanon & Hezbollah, Halevi said, “We have no offensive intentions in Lebanon. We do not want a war but we’re ready for one more than ever. No army has had more intelligence on their enemies as we do about Hezbollah today.”

“The next conflict will not be easy. Hezbollah is suffering heavy casualties in Syria but also experiences significant achievements, and in this process they learn a lot and gain access to new means of combat.”, said Halevi. “Iran is sending weaponry to Hezbollah – some of it gets so Syria, but some of it stays in Lebanon. Syrian industries have resumed the production of weaponry for Hezbollah, and neither the world or Israel should accept it – it could escalate the next conflict.”

JNi.Media

Orlando Terror Shooting Preceded by ISIS Call for Local Attacks During Ramadan

Monday, June 13th, 2016

The worst shooting attack in the history of the United States came after call to Muslims by ISIS official Abu Mohammed al Adnani, urging a “month of hurt” in America and in Europe.

In the wee hours of Sunday, a gunman armed with an assault weapon and a handgun walked into the Pulse Orlando nightclub in downtown Orlando, Florida and shot to death 50 people, wounding 53 more. He held 30 people hostage for at least three more hours until an Orlando police SWAT team finally stormed the building and freed the captives, killing the terrorist in the process.

But the scene for that Florida nightmare was set at least a month earlier, when the spokesperson for Islamic State told the terror group’s supporters in an internet audio recording: “The smallest action you do in the heart of their land is dearer to us than the largest action by us, and more effective and more damaging to them.” The message, released by ISIS on May 21, was translated by the SITE Intelligence Group.

Adnani continued in the statement: “And if one of you wishes and tries hard to reach the Islamic State, then one of us wishes to be in your place to hurt the Crusaders day and night without sleeping, and terrorize them so that the neighbor fears his neighbor.”

In this way, ISIS (also known as Da’esh) is nurturing and building homegrown terror networks around the world, thus encouraging those who live “abroad” to launch attacks locally ‘as their religious duty.’

According to CNN, Adnani is believed to have been the ISIS official tasked with command responsibilities over the attacks that were carried out in Brussels and Paris.

The raised level of intensity in the call for action, however, also signifies the desperation with which the group views its current status in Syria and Iraq. ISIS is beginning to lose ground in those areas due to the gradual gains made by the U.S.-led coalition forces and also by Russian air strikes on their positions in Syria.

New York Police Department officials have raised the alert level in the Big Apple in response to the events that took place over the weekend, as did Los Angeles police, who arrested and took into custody a heavily armed suspect when he appeared to be intent upon targeting a local “gay pride” parade.

Hana Levi Julian

In Netanyahu Meeting with Putin Tuesday Syria on the Table, But Not Iran

Tuesday, June 7th, 2016

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to hold talks on Tuesday with Russian President Vladimir Putin, on a state visit to Moscow marking the 25th anniversary of the restoration of diplomatic relations between the two countries. This is the second meeting between the two leaders in Moscow in the past month and a half, and the fourth over the past year. Netanyahu only met once with President Obama over the same period of time.

Speaking on Monday at a ceremony commemorating the Six-Day War, Netanyahu noted that the hostile Arab armies that circled Israel back in 1967 were “armed, trained, supplied and supported by the Soviet Union.” He added quickly: “Look what a tremendous difference there is nowadays. Russia is a world superpower and the relations between us are getting ever tighter. I’m laboring over tightening this connection and it serves our national security these days, and it has prevented needless, dangerous confrontations on our northern border.”

It could be said that Israel is experiencing its best relationship with Russia on record, with the volume of trade, tourism, security and political coordination at a peak—much of it credited to Avigdor Liberman’s stint as foreign minister. But there are obvious areas where Russia is not coming across as a friend of the Jewish State, if anything, it appears to be leading and supporting Israel’s most vehement enemies — Iran with its proxies, and the Palestinians.

The Russians are supplying Iran with advanced S-300 long-range surface-to-air missile systems, and are in the process of selling the Iranians many more weapons, because the Iranians can now afford it, their multi-billion dollar accounts having been restored by the Obama-Kerry team.

The Russians are fighting in Syria alongside Hezbollah, and are facilitating—actively or tacitly—the leakage of weapons, advanced and otherwise, from Syria into south Lebanon, where they will some day be used against Israel.

In 2015-16 the Russians have spearheaded several critical anti-Israel UN votes: they supported the Egyptian proposal to impose UN supervision on Israel’s nuclear facilities; they’ve been voting regularly with the anti-Israel majority at the UN Human Rights Council; they supported the Palestinian proposal to create a blacklist of companies that trade with the Jewish communities of Judea and Samaria; and they’ve supported the shameful UNESCO resolution that removed all trace of recognizing a Jewish presence in Jerusalem.

So perhaps the friendship between the two countries could get a little friendlier.

According to the Kremlin press service, Putin and Netanyahu are going to have a detailed exchange of opinion on the Middle East regional issues, with special emphasis on the struggle with international terrorism. The agenda will be expansive, says the Kremlin, “since relations between Russia and Israel are at an advanced stage and have the character of partnership.”

Russian Ambassador to Israel Alexander Shein told TASS that the two sides plan to sign an agreement on pensions to Russian-born Israelis who did not keep their Russian citizenship after emigrating from the former USSR. A Russian good will gesture in this case would go a long way to boost Netanyahu’s promise to his new coalition partner Liberman, who conditioned the move into government on an increase in those pensions.

There is certainly a renaissance in Russian-Israeli ties: since the year 2000 Israeli Prime Ministers have made thirteen visits to Russia, Netanyahu accounting for seven of those visits. Putin visited Israel once during the same period.

JNi.Media

Russia to Return Israeli Tank Captured 34 Years Ago in the Battle of Sultan Yacoub

Sunday, May 29th, 2016

By Jonathan Benedek/TPS

Jerusalem (TPS) – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed his gratitude to Russian President Vladimir Putin on Sunday for signing a presidential decree ordering the return to Israel of an IDF tank that was captured 34 years ago during a ferocious battle in the First Lebanon War.

“I thank the president of Russia, Vladimir Putin, that he responded to my request to return the tank from the Battle of Sultan Yacoub to Israel,” Netanyahu said.

The tank, used by the IDF during the Battle of Sultan Yacoub during the First Lebanon War on June 10, 1982, was captured by the Syrian army and eventually transported to the Soviet Union, then a Cold-War ally with Syria. The tank has since remained in Moscow, stored in a museum of armored tanks.

MK Rabbi Eli Ben-Dahan, the former deputy defense minister, was an officer in artillery unit 7054 that helped rescue a battalion of Israeli tanks trapped by a Syrian ambush in Sultan Yacoub, Lebanon.

“We fired the whole night, and in the morning the battalion was rescued – except for that one tank and the three missing soldiers, whose fate is still unknown today,” Ben-Dahan recalled to Tazpit Press Service (TPS), referring to the continued mystery behind three IDF soldiers, Zachary Baumel, Zvi Feldman, and Yehuda Katz, who went missing in action during the Battle of Sultan Yacoub. During the entire battle, 30 Israeli soldiers were killed and eight tanks were lost.

“Hearing about the return of the tank sends me back 34 years,” Ben-Dahan told TPS. “It gave me chills.”

Ben-Dahan also expressed hope that the tank’s return might bring news about the fate of the missing soldiers, though he said he cannot comment on any discussions or progress toward that goal.

Netanyahu raised the issue of returning the tank with Putin last month, after having received a request from IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot.

“For the families of the soldiers missing in action, Zachary Baumel, Zvi Feldman, and Yehuda Katz, there is no trace of the boys nor a burial plot to go to for 34 years now,” noted Netanyahu. “The tank is the only evidence of the battle, and now it will be returned to Israel thanks to President Putin’s response to my request.”

A delegation from the IDF’s Ordnance Corps is in Moscow working with representatives from the Russian army to transport the tank back to Israel as soon as possible.

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Lebanese News Outlet Confirms Hezbollah Digging Tunnels on Israel’s Northern Border

Saturday, May 28th, 2016

The Hezbollah-linked Al-Safir news daily has confirmed the Iranian proxy group is digging tunnels along Israel’s northern border.

A front-page article without a byline that was published May 25 to mark the 16th anniversary of the Israeli withdrawal from southern Lebanon highlighted the issue.

Translated by the MEMRI Arab media watchdog, the article said in part: “It is right to say that the men of resistance on the eastern border complement the mission of the first men of resistance [who operate against Israel], who work day and night [along the border, from] the last border point in Al-Naquora to [the one in] Kfar Shouba, conducting observations, preparing, and digging tunnels that cause the settlers and enemy soldiers to lose sleep.”

Last week residents in northern Israel expressed deep concern over numerous new observation towers that were built last month along the border with Lebanon.

Israeli military officials said in response they have been monitoring the security situation and that everything is “under control.” Moreover, the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) said that the watchtowers, built by the Lebanese Army, are there only to “spy on Israel” and will not fall into the hands of Hezbollah, an Iranian proxy group.

Meanwhile, the article dedicated to the anniversary of Israel’s pullout emphasized that the celebration of ‘Liberation Day’ was mixed with “heartbreak” for Hezbollah supporters due to the many casualties suffered in the Syrian civil war, which it called “a necessary tax that must be paid.”

It spoke with obvious frustration, some awe and perhaps fear as well, of the horrific battles being waged by Hezbollah (“the resistance”) against Da’esh (ISIS) in Syria.

“The resistance …. never experienced [war] against groups that imitate its methods and ways of warfare, but [who] instead of blowing themselves up against an Israeli convoy terrorize innocent people in the cities and villages, without batting an eyelash, as happened in the southern Dahiya or yesterday in Tartus and Jableh.

“The resistance never experienced war against groups fighting in caves and in the hills, mountains, wadis and even deserts, as happened at Tadmor and in the rural areas of Homs and Aleppo… Before [the war with Syria], the resistance did not storm cities and did not fight armies deep in the mountains.

“Before this, no one lay in wait for it in tunnels like the ones that only it used to excavate, and [the doctrine of which] it spread to the rest of the men of the resistance, particularly to the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip,” the unnamed Lebanese writer observed.

The comments publicly confirmed that it was Hezbollah who taught Hamas how to dig the cross-border terror tunnels it has been using for more than a decade in its war against Israel.

The writer concluded predicted that Hezbollah will become a “regional power” that “formulates new equations in the region. And yet the article also made it clear that the task will remain unfinished, at least in the eyes of Hezbollah, unless “the terrorists” (read: Da’esh) are annihilated.

“All these have been the unique characteristics of the resistance throughout the 16 years since May 25, 2000. All these [characteristics] and others will cause Hassan Nasrallah to declare that defending the achievement of liberation will end only with the defeat of the terrorists…”

Hana Levi Julian

New York Man Arrested for Trying to Support ISIS, Said Beheading Videos ‘Kept Him Motivated’

Wednesday, May 25th, 2016

A 22-year-old resident of Bronx, New York has been charged with attempting to provide material support to Da’esh (ISIS) and for making a false statement on a passport application. The suspect, a native of Albania, was caught by undercover FBI agents.

He was indicted Tuesday in Manhattan Federal Court.

Attorney Sylvie Levine told the court that Sajmir Alimehmeti, a plumbing assistant who has studied funeral services, was not dangerous. “In many ways he’s just like any other 22-year-old college-age student,” Levine said, according to the NY Daily News.

But Magistrate Judge Gabriel Gorenstein ordered the suspect held without bail, noting his “very strong ties” to his native Albania.

Undercover agents met with Alimehmeti in his Bronx apartment, where he explained that he played a “nasheed,” (music video) of ISIS terrorists decapitating prisoners to “keep him motivated while he is exercising.”

Neighbors told reporters they heard exercising and “weird sounds of things moving around.” The next door neighbor took deliveries for him for nearly a year – usually small packages – never realizing what they contained.

He was allegedly stockpiling weapons, including two steel spike knives, an Air Force survival knife, a ‘credit card sized folding knife” and a “24-inch survival pocket chain saw.” He also purchased a reversible face mask, handcuffs, and gloves with steel knuckles, according to court papers quoted by the NY Daily News.

Sometime within the past two years, Alimehmeti disappeared for a while and when he returned, he was dressed in traditional Muslim clothing. The once-friendly young neighbor began to keep to himself. But although he looked more religious, the local imam said he rarely showed up at the mosque for prayers.

The suspect also went by the nom de guerre of “Abdul Qawii.” He allegedly had jihad and martyrdom files on his computer, as well as a photo of himself with an ISIS flag in the background.

During one of their meetings, Alimehmeti was told by the undercover agent that a second man was already fighting in Syria, and shown pictures to this effect. This prompted the young suspect to ask the agent to “hook up with his connections.” When introduced to a third man, Alimehmeti said he had already saved $2,500 for his own travel, but still needed a passport. He also “needed to see someone” for a passport in a different name, because he was already “in the system,” NY Channel 7 Eyewitness News reported.

He and his brother “had our own plan” to travel from Albania to Raqqa, he said, but he brother had instead been arrested last year in Albania.

When the third man took a call from the passport “facilitator” the suspect asked whether he could “tell the (facilitator) about me, too.”

According to testimony by the agent to prosecutors, as reported by Channel 7, Alimehmeti then said in an excited voice, “I’m ready to go with you, man … you know I would … I’m done with this place. There are kuffar everywhere.” This indicated the suspect wanted to travel overseas to join ISIS, according to the agent. The suspect also wrote down his contact information for the third man to give to the “facilitator.”

Prosecutors told the court that Alimehmeti was denied entry into the UK twice in 2014, at Manchester and at Heathrow airports. The first time he was found to have camouflage and nunchucks in his luggage. The second time images of ISIS flags and IED (improvised explosive device) attacks were found on his laptop. Both times, he was sent back to the United States, and UK officials notified the FBI.

If convicted on the current charges, he faces up to 30 years in prison.

Hana Levi Julian

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/new-york-man-arrested-for-trying-to-support-isis-said-beheading-videos-kept-him-motivated/2016/05/25/

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