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October 22, 2014 / 28 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Syria’

Turkey Approves Military Action in Iraq, Syria

Thursday, October 2nd, 2014

The Turkish Parliament has authorized its nations leaders to send troops into battle in Syria and Iraq.

The measure, overwhelmingly approved in a 298-98 vote today (Oct 2), also permits the deployment of foreign troops on Turkish soil, according to a report published in the Turkish Hurriyet Daily News.

The two moves have authorized the Turkish government to join the international Alliance against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

Netanyahu, Obama Focus on Different Priorities in White House Talk

Wednesday, October 1st, 2014

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and U.S. President Barack Obama met for about 75 minutes Wednesday evening began shortly after the Israeli leader’s arrival at the White House, and following a brief news conference with the press corps.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and National Security Adviser Susan Rice were also present in the Oval Office during the meeting.

On the agenda for discussion were the American-led air strikes against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), Iran’s nuclear development program and the ongoing question of how to resolve the dilemma of what to do about the Palestinian Authority. It was not known whether the American president planned to discuss security concessions over Gaza as well.

The meeting began at 11 am, and several commentators noted on the Twitter social networking site that Obama didn’t offer any lunch to the Israeli prime minister. “Perhaps Bibi, unlike (India’s Prime Minister) Modi, insisted on food for himself and wasn’t happy to just watch Obama eat,” tweeted one individual.

In a clearly determined bid to maintain a cordial tone, Netanyahu said that he appreciates Obama’s efforts to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon of mass destruction, according to the Reuters news agency.
Obama told Netanyahu that efforts are needed to change the status quo between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, according to LBCI News.

Israel is committed to a “two-state solution” with the Palestinian Authority, Netanyahu told reporters during their pre-meeting briefing. But any agreement, he said, will require “thinking outside the box” and must include “rock solid” security arrangements. Obama and Netanyahu reportedly discussed during their meeting the current status of the relationship between Israel and the terrorist factions in Gaza, including the region’s ruling Hamas terrorist organization.

The two men are clearly focused on different priorities, with Obama keeping his eyes on the threat posed by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and against whom the U.S. is leading coalition air strikes in Syria and Iraq. Netanyahu, meanwhile, has remained concerned about the overriding progress of Iran’s nuclear development program and putting a full stop to the centrifuges that are working overtime to enrich uranium at progressively higher levels.

The Israeli prime minister also noted while speaking to a group of Jewish leaders yesterday in New York that it is important for the U.S. to realize there isn’t much difference between Gaza’s ruling Hamas terrorist organization and ISIS, against whom Obama has declared war.

Both share a “fanatic ideology,” he pointed out, and both use “savage” methods. He warned, “The more they have the capability to realize their ambitions the more they will unleash their pent-up aggression against our common civilizations.”

To emphasize the similarities, Netanyahu shared a photo of an impending public execution of a man whose head was covered with a sack, shot in Gaza.

“This isn’t ISIS,” he pointed out. “This is Hamas.” During Israel’s counter terror Operation Protective Edge this summer, Hamas executed dozens of Gaza residents “just to impose fear and force the population… into submission.” The only difference, Netanyahu said, is that ISIS “beheads its victims,” and Hamas “puts a bullet in the back of their heads.”

To the families of those murdered, the horror is the same, he asserted.

Iran, US Equip & Finance Lebanese Army to Fight ISIS

Tuesday, September 30th, 2014

Wartime makes the strangest bedfellows. Iran and the United States are both equipping the Lebanese army so its soldiers can protect the nation from encroaching cross-border attacks by terrorists from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

Iran announced Tuesday that it has decided to boost Beirut’s coffers with an extra gift of cash for the Lebanese Army, which will also strengthen Tehran’s ties with the country as well.

Ali Shamkhani, director of the Iranian Supreme National Security Council, made the announcement during a visit to meet with Lebanese officials in Beirut.

“The Islamic Republic has decided to give a military grant to the Lebanese Army,” Shamkhani told reporters at a news conference, Associated Press reported. This is the first time Iran has announced an offer of military assistance to Lebanon, although it has generously supported the country’s Hezbollah terrorist organization for many years.

Tehran will supply the country with military equipment to be used in fighting radical Islamist factions, according to Shamkhani. “The state of Lebanon welcomed this grant,” he told reporters, but did not reveal which equipment Iran was planning to supply.

At least 20 Lebanese soldiers and a police officer were kidnapped by members of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist organization in a cross-border raid from Syria in early August. ISIS has since beheaded two of the soldiers, and another was murdered separately, also while in captivity. Of the group, eighteen are still being held hostage in Syria.

Lebanon’s military and other security forces are also supported by funding from the United States and Saudi Arabia, and have been for some time.

Recently the United States also sent several shipments of arms to the country’s army in order to help Israel’s northern neighbor protect itself from ISIS, which has just formed a new alliance with the Al Qaeda-linked Jabhat al-Nusra (Al Nusra Front) terrorist organization.

Jabhat al-Nusra currently controls the Syrian side of the Quneitra crossing — the sole border crossing between Israel and Syria. ISIS controls the Iraqi side of two border crossings between Iraq and Syria, and that belonging to the sole crossing between Iraq and Jordan.

3 Wounded Syrian Children brought to Israel for Medical Treatment

Monday, September 29th, 2014

Three Syrian children wounded Saturday night in a lethal mortar shell attack in a courtyard where they were playing were brought to the Rebecca Sieff (Ziv) Hospital in Safed (Tsfat) for medical treatment.

A 7-year-old boy was in serious condition with chest wounds and a broken hand; a 10-year-old boy was also in serious condition with shrapnel wounds all over his body, including his head; and an 8-year-old girl with a leg wound was listed in moderate condition. The mortar shell that wounded the three children left the rest of their playmates dead.

Sieff Hospital reported Saturday that the children were being treated in the emergency room and will be operated on following exams and x-rays.

A total of 376 Syrians wounded as a result of their country’s civil war have received treatment at the Israeli hospital.

Civilian Casualties Mounting in US-led Air Strikes Against ISIS

Monday, September 29th, 2014

Perhaps Syrian lives are not as precious to the U.S. and its allies as those of Gaza Arabs. Or, maybe it’s just that the U.S. and its allies feel they don’t have to conduct themselves by the same standards they demand of others (read: Israel).

But late Sunday night, numerous Syrian civilians and a few militants were killed, and some wounded, as U.S.-led “precision” air strikes struck grain silos and other targets in territory controlled by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terror organization. No one said a word about it.

Aside from the fact that more civilians than militants were killed, the fact is that Syrians are in desperate need of food — and the U.S.-led forces have just deprived them of even more of it, with another harsh winter barely waiting in the wings.

According to the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, it is believed the aircraft “may have mistaken the mills and grain storage areas in the northern Syrian town of Minbej for an ISIS base.”

But that’s pretty hard to swallow, given the accuracy of satellite imagery these days. It’s certainly not an excuse the United Nations Human Rights Commission would have accepted from the Israel Defense Forces had it been offered about an attack on a Gaza target.

Which is why the IDF so carefully documented every single attack it carried out during this past summer’s counter terror Operation Protective Edge, launched to silence the incessant rocket fire from Gaza aimed at southern Israeli communities on a daily basis.

As a matter of fact, according to Observatory head Rami Abdulrahman, the strikes in Minbej appeared only to have killed civilians, Lebanon’s Daily Star reported Monday.

In eastern Syria, U.S.-led Allied forces also bombed a gas plant controlled by ISIS, outside Deir al-Zor. Several militants were wounded in the strike on the Kuniko gas plant, which feeds a power station in Homs, according to the Observatory. But the price for wounding a few militants was high: Several provinces were robbed of electricity and power for the generators that keep their oil fields going.

Of course, the news is not all bad – nothing ever is. The U.S.-led forces also hit areas of Hasaka city in the northeast, and struck the outskirts of Raqqa in the north. Raqqa is the “capital” of the ISIS territory.

But it’s important to weigh the cost against the gain.

The IDF worked hard to minimize civilian casualties ahead of every attack – making phone calls to homes in each targeted area, sending text messages to cell phones in Arabic, and dropping leaflets from aircraft into the targeted neighborhoods days in advance, warning residents to leave for their own safety.

Funny but this writer did not see any sign of such precautions being taken on behalf of civilian safety by the U.S. or its allies in the Syrian targeted areas. Or in Iraq, for that matter.

So where’s the outrage from the UNHRC? Why don’t we hear screams of empathy from the High Commissioner, Navi Pillay, declaring she will initiate an investigation into the aggressive actions of the U.S. and its allies?

I’ll tell you a little secret. You know why there’s no outrage about any of this and why everyone instead was raising Cain about Israel’s self-defense moves in Gaza?

Because the U.S. and its allies are paying Navi Pillay’s salary, and because all of them – especially together — are much bigger and wealthier than the tiny state of Israel. (Not to mention the rampant anti-Semitism that exists in the world body — and for that matter, among some in the Obama administration as well. Shhhhh….)

If the U.S. were to pull out of the United Nations, or withdraw its funding for any reason, how long could that entity continue to function?

Right. Not long at all.

Would it matter at all if Israel walked away?

I suspect much of the UN would probably throw a party – at least until they realized they would have to find their own intelligence information to deal with the threat of terror in their nations and governments. Then they might come running. But you never know.

Sometimes might does indeed outweigh right, at least when backed by the dollar.

Al Qaeda-linked Jabhat al-Nusra Joins ISIS In Syria

Monday, September 29th, 2014

The Al Qaeda-linked Jabhat al-Nusra (Al Nusra Front) terror group in Syria is reconciling with the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

The two groups have been at odds for most of the past year. However, last week’s U.S.-led air strikes in northern and eastern Syria have prompted Jabhat al-Nusra to renew its ties with ISIS, declaring the strikes a “war on Islam” in an audio statement released this past weekend.

Scores of al-Nusra members were killed in the first wave of U.S.-led air strikes, leading the group to vow retaliation for the attacks. The two terror groups are now holding war councils together, according to a senior source quoted by Britain’s London-based newspaper, The Guardian.

A spokesperson for the group told the paper that 73 members had defected to ISIS on Friday alone. More are planning to do the same this week. “We are in a long war,” al-Nusra spokesperson Abu Firas al-Suri said in a statement posted on social networking sites. “This war will not end in months or years; this war could last for decades.”

U.S. President Barack Obama admitted the intelligence community had underestimated the situation in both Iraq and Syria.

In an interview on “60 Minutes” broadcast on the CBS network, Obama said, “Over the past couple of years, during the chaos of the Syrian civil war, where essentially you have huge swaths of the country that are completely ungoverned, they were able to reconstitute themselves. And so this became ground zero for jihadists around the world.”

That ‘ground zero’ is barely a fired mortar shell away from Israel’s northern border with Syria. “Spillover” from the Syrian civil war raging between government troops and rebel forces has resulted in shell fire landing not only in Israeli territory but also in Lebanon, Iraq, Jordan and Turkey.

Of more concern is the fact that Jabhat al-Nusra controls the Quneitra border crossing — the sole crossing between Israel and Syria — and that ISIS now controls the border crosssings between Iraq and Syria, and the Iraqi side of the crossing with Jordan.

Israeli military officials are monitoring the situation closely.

We Stand Behind US Actions in Syria

Monday, September 29th, 2014

The U.S.-led attack on the “Islamic State” (or ISIL, as President Obama prefers to call them) deserves our full support in light of the brave and just decision to attack infrastructure targets under “Islamic State” control, despite the unavoidable ensuing collateral damage.

The U.S. is fighting a war against a dangerous and barbaric enemy, like Israel recently fought against Hamas.

It’s impossible to win a fight with one arm tied behind your back, and President Obama has shown courageous leadership with his decision to take the gloves off and attack the “Islamic State” properly, despite the potentially high cost.

We are sure that the United States Armed Forces are taking all necessary precautions to reduce civilian casualties and infrastructure damage where possible.

In fact, we believe Israel should take a page right out of President Obama’s playbook the next time it needs to fight a war against Hamas or Hezbollah.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/muqata/we-stand-behind-us-actions-in-syria/2014/09/29/

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