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September 30, 2014 / 6 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Syria’

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

ISIS Prompts Hezbollah’s ‘Great Need to Remain in Syria’

Monday, September 15th, 2014

The presence of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist group has created a “great need” for guerrilla fighters from the Lebanon-based Hezbollah terror organization to remain in Syria.

That was the message from Hezbollah executive council deputy head Nabil Qaouk, who spoke Monday at a ceremony in the southern Lebanese village of Aita Shaab.

Qaouk was quoted by The Daily Star newspaper in Lebanon as saying that Hezbollah and the Amal Movement had “succeeded in defusing sectarian tensions” following the beheading of soldiers by ISIS last week. He said the murders had “disappointed the radical group.”

Quaouk said, “There could never be a war of words between ISIS and us, but there is the field where we will defeat them. We will not engage in a war of statements or political disputes.

“Day after day, it is becoming clear to Lebanon, the Arab, Muslim and international communities that there is a great need for Hezbollah to remain in Syria. The current situation today imposes on Hezbollah to stay in Syria more than any other time.”

Last month there were five days of clashes between the Lebanese Army and terrorists from ISIS and Jabhat al Nusra (Al Nusra Front) – two radical Islamist terror groups operating with the rebel factions in Syria.

The fight began with the terrorists attempting to invade the small border town. It ended with a cease-fire, but the rebels still hold at least 22 Lebanese soldiers and police officers taken captive during the battle. ISIS has so far beheaded two soldiers, and Jabhat al Nusra has released seven police officers.

Qaouk called for a national strategy and a broad national solidarity to “tighten the noose on the takfiris (false Muslims) and strengthen the Army so that it can free the soldiers,” he said. “The beheading of soldiers by ISIS was aimed at inciting strife between Sunnis and Shiites but Hezbollah and Amal succeeded in eliminating such strife, not just putting out the blaze,” he said.

ISIS is comprised of extremists who claim to follow Sunni Islam. Hezbollah is comprised of those who observe the Shi’ite branch of Islam. Both groups are committed to wiping out the Jewish State of Israel.

UNDOF Troops Pull Out of Syria, Head for Israel

Monday, September 15th, 2014

United Nations Disengagement Observation Force troops have left the Syrian side of the northern border with Israel, due to the deteriorating security situation.

The forces headed for the more secure Israeli side of the border, according to a tweet posted by The Israel Link and other sources on Monday at midday.

Early Monday morning, 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. IDF officials said the launch was believed to have been a misdirected “stray” from the intense fighting between rebel factions and troops waging civil war on behalf of President Bashar al-Assad.

Last week 45 UN peacekeepers from Fiji were freed in the Golan Heights by their Jabhat al Nusra (Al Nusra Front) terrorist captors. All were in good condition, officials said. The troops were abducted by the Al Qaeda affiliate in the buffer zone between Syria and Israel.

They were handed over to the UNDOF troops in the Golan Heights, which has monitored the buffer zone there since 1974, when Syria reached a cease-fire agreement with Israel following the Yom Kippur War.

Fighting between government forces and rebels of various factions in the three-year civil war has been spilling over into the zone off and on for months, as it did last week and today.

IDF Stands By as Al Qaeda Offensive Threatens Golan Farmers

Sunday, September 14th, 2014

The IDF warned Golan Heights farmers Sunday that they are liable to be victims of stray rocket and mortar shell fire as Al Qaeda-led rebels advance in their offensive against the army of Syrian President Bassar al-Assad.

At least one mortar shell exploded in the northern Golan Heights on Friday.

Israel has been careful to stay out of the civil war, now in its fourth year, but the IDF occasionally has responded to several firing incidents that appeared to be aimed at Israel.

So what do you do when your terrorist neighbors, whether Assad, ISIS or Al Qaeda, are killing and beheading each other, but an occasional rocket just happens to fall in your back yard?

You duck.

The IDF says, “Be careful,” and it is hard to criticize the walk-on-eggs policy.

If Israeli soldiers start showing their guns and attack rebel or loyalist positions, Israel, in a single step, or shot if you prefer, could instantly turn the ISIS, Assad and Al Qaeda into allies with the ultimate common enemy, those terrible Zionists.

You know, those are the ones who are occupying territory that was mostly uninhabited except for a Druze city and Syrian army positions used to pound Israeli farmers along the Kinneret until the Six-Day War in 1967.

Now, the shooting has shifted to the Golan Heights, where farmers have the option of being careful while they work or are being even more careful by not working.

But the IDF is not likely the bill for apples that are not picked and for cattle that are not grazing in the pasture.

The farmers are suffering, but at least they have the satisfaction of knowing that with every day, there are a few less terrorists on the other side of the border.

If the farmers can be agile enough to duck quickly, and the IDF can restrain from firing back, there might be peace on the day that the last terrorist blows himself up in frustration because there is no one else left to kill, except, of course, for Israelis.

 

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/idf-stands-by-as-al-qaeda-offensive-threatens-golan-farmers/2014/09/14/

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