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April 30, 2016 / 22 Nisan, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘U.S.’

US, Russia Agree: Syria’s President Assad Must Go

Thursday, March 31st, 2016

Citing unnamed sources, the UK-based Al-Hayat publication reported Thursday that the United States and Russia have come to an agreement over the thorny issue of what to do about Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad.

According to the report, the two world leaders have agreed on a way to end the years-long civil war with a political solution that allows Assad to find refuge in another country.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has allegedly already informed his Arab counterparts about the deal, which was welcomed by members of the UN Security Council.

However, the source stressed, “the timing of the move and its political context are still not clear.”

The news follows by one day a statement by the embattled Syrian president in which he opined that it would not be difficult to agree on a new Syrian government with opposition figures. That was a statement roundly denounced by the said opposition figures, who responded bluntly that no administration would be legitimate while Assad remained in office.

“What Bashar al-Assad is talking about has no relation to the political process,” said George Sabra of the UN High Negotiations Committee.

White House spokesperson Josh Earnest also rejected the idea. “I don’t know whether he envisioned himself being a part of that national unity government. Obviously that would be a nonstarter for us,” Earnest told media.

At a conference in Geneva, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on countries Wednesday to increase global solidarity and resettle nearly half a million refugees in the next three years. Only three countries responded to the appeal: Italy, Sweden and the United States.

Physical damage to infrastructure in Syria has been estimated by the UN at $90 billion, with an additional $169 billion in accumulated losses due to a collapse in the GDP, reaching less than half of its level in 2011.

Hana Levi Julian

Truce Signed in Syria by Assad Regime, Rebel Forces – Excludes ISIS, Al Qaeda, Al Nusra

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2016

As the gunshots and sounds of mortarfire grow closer to Israeli communities in the Golan Heights, the Syrian regime has signed a truce with representatives of the rebel forces.

The truce, however, excludes Da’esh (ISIS), Al Qaeda and the Jabhat al-Nusra (Al Nusra Front) terrorist organizations, according to a statement released Tuesday afternoon by the state-run SANA news agency, which raises the issue of how long it will actually last, and how relevant it really is.

“The Syrian Arab Republic accepts the cessation of fighting actions on the basis of continuing the military efforts for combating terrorism against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), Jabhat al-Nusra and other al-Qaeda-linked terrorist organizations according to the Russian-U.S. agreement,” said an official source at the Syrian Expatriates and Foreign Ministry.

The military picture in Syria is far from simple.

Both Russia and the U.S.-led coalition are still claiming to be bombing ISIS terror targets in Syria, but one can hardly separate those out from the general population, let alone from other combatants.

The Syrian regime forces include the elite Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, Lebanon’s Iranian-backed Hezbollah terrorist guerrilla fighters and Russian military personnel on the ground and in the air.

The U.S.-led coalition forces in the air have been bombing targets on behalf of the more moderate Syrian opposition forces. But there have been overlaps and on more than one occasion the “moderate” rebels have united with radical Islamists when they deemed necessary to overcome an enemy target. In this way, weapons, ammunition and other foreign ordnance changes hands, and Da’esh (ISIS) and/or Al Qaeda-linked terrorists end up possessing American arms and military technology.

Moreover, Ankara — also a member of NATO along with the United States — has been bombing Kurdish sites in northern Syria, claiming the PYD and YPG groups are related to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) terrorist group. Turkey alleges the PKK perpetrated last week’s horrific suicide car bombing in the capital city, Ankara, together with a PYD-linked Syrian national.

Regardless of who is dropping the bombs, after five years of one of the most savage civil wars in the Middle East very little is left of the “Syrian Arab Republic” that the world — or President Bashar al-Assad himself — once knew. At present, even the outlying districts of Damascus have been bombed into rubble in many areas, as seen in the video below, filmed by RussiaWorks.

The Syrian Foreign Ministry source noted that the cease-fire is set to begin on Saturday Feb. 27. In order to ensure the success of the cease-fire, “the Syrian government affirms readiness to continue to coordinate with the Russian side for identifying the areas and the armed groups that are to be included in the cessation along the period it is in effect,” the source said.

“The Syrian government stresses the importance of border curbing, halting support provided by some countries to the armed groups, and preventing these organizations from boosting their capabilities or changing their positions so as to avoid anything that may undermine this agreement,” the source warned.

On Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin affirmed that he and U.S. President Barack Obama had agreed on a joint statement announcing their plans to stop military operations in Syria. The U.S. State Department announced the agreement, which it said includes “plans to stop the military operations in Syria, [but] which exclude the Islamic State (ISIS) and Jabhat al-Nusra terrorist organizations.”

Hana Levi Julian

US Contends: ISIS Oil Industry in Syria Crippled by Coalition Air Campaign

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2015

US military leaders say Syrian oil revenues to ISIS have been drastically cut by US-led coalition air strikes.

The Da’esh (ISIS) oil infrastructure in Syria has been crippled as a result of the attacks, according to a briefing by U.S. military spokesperson Col. Steve Warren Tuesday in Baghdad.

And yet, those oil facilities are only crippled — they’re still not out for the count, Warren acknowledged. “It’s not a knockout,” he said. “It’s a body blow.”

A month of air strikes has largely shut down the oil facilities at Deir ez-Zor, which provides about two-thirds of the oil revenue for Da’esh, Warren said.

But the goal is not really to destroy the structures anyway.

According to Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the aim is to prevent Da’esh from producing and shipping oil while keeping the infrastructure relatively intact so it can be restored once the war in Syria is over, USA Today reported.

The black gold once provided billions of dollars to the Syrian government, which charged fees to companies from Russia, Britain, China, and the Netherlands. Syria also owned and operated its own oil wells as well, most of which were located in Deir ez-Zor, in the eastern part of the country.

That region is now controlled by Da’esh, which the Treasury estimated sells discounted oil on the black market for half a billion dollars a year. At least half of the terror group’s revenue is raised from the sale of oil, according to the Pentagon. Da’esh also controls oil-producing regions in Iraq.

On Wednesday, the Russian Defense Ministry held a briefing in Moscow to present maps, photographs and other materials as evidence to support accusations by President Vladimir Putin that Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his family are importing black market oil from ISIS-controlled territories in Syria and Iraq.

Erdogan denied the allegations, aimed at him during a conversation with reporters on the sidelines of the COP-21 climate change conference in Paris. The Turkish president vowed to resign if Putin could prove his claims were true.

Hana Levi Julian

Klain Appointed U.S. Ebola Response Coordinator

Monday, October 20th, 2014

(JTA) — Former White House official Ron Klain has been tapped to coordinate the government’s response to the Ebola outbreak.

Klain previously served as chief of staff for Vice President Joe Biden, and as chief of staff to Vice President Al Gore from 1995 to 1999.

In his position as Ebola response coordinator, Klain will report to Homeland Security Advisor Lisa Monaco and National Security Advisor Susan Rice, the White House said in an announcement over the weekend.

“Klain comes to the job with extensive experience in overseeing complex governmental operations and has good working relationships with leading Members of Congress as well as senior Administration officials,” according to the White House. “Klain’s talent and managerial skill will be crucial in providing the resources and expertise we need to rapidly, cohesively, and effectively respond to Ebola at home and abroad.”

Klain, who is Jewish, grew up in Indianapolis and attended Harvard Law School. Since leaving Washington in 2011, he has worked as president of Case Holdings, an investment company,
His appointment comes following the infection of two Dallas nurses by the first Ebola patient diagnosed in the United States.

JTA

U.S. Frees Military Aid to Egypt

Monday, June 23rd, 2014

The United States has agreed to release its promised foreign aid funds to Egypt, frozen since former President Mohammed Morsi was ousted a year ago. Secretary of State John Kerry made the announcement during a visit to Cairo two weeks after President-elect Abdel Fattah el-Sisi was sworn into office following May elections.

El-Sisi, who served as defense minister and field marshal prior to his election, has been cracking down on the Muslim Brotherhood — which backed Morsi’s candidacy and which took over the government once he was in office — and terrorism in the Sinai Peninsula.

Officials at the State Department said the mostly military aid, totaling some $1.5 billion, will be used to pay existing defense contracts. Kerry also promised to send 10 Apache attack helicopters, which el-Sisi’s forces will use against terrorists in the Sinai Peninsula.

“The Apaches will come, and they will come very, very soon,” Kerry promised at a joint news conference Sunday in Cairo.

Jewish Press News Briefs

Canada Condemns PA Terror Kidnapping, But Obama’s Silent

Sunday, June 15th, 2014

Canada has firmly condemned last week’s Palestinian Authority terrorist kidnapping  of three teenage boys but U.S. President Barack Obama has yet to say a word about the attack — even though one of the hostages is an American citizen.

The boys are students at the Makor Chaim yeshiva high school at Kfar Etzion in Gush Etzion. They were apparently abducted somewhere near the Judean town of Alon Shevut, about 15 minutes south of Jerusalem.

Palestinian Authority Unity Government Arabs starting passing out candies and other sweets in the streets of Judea, Samaria and Gaza, to celebrate the attack after hearing about the kidnapping.

Palestinian Unity Government Arabs celebrate the kidnapping of 3 Jewish boys.

Palestinian Unity Government Arabs in Gaza celebrate the kidnapping of 3 Jewish boys.

Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird issued the statement Saturday night, strongly condemning the kidnapping and reminding the PA in no uncertain terms that its paramilitary forces were trained, equipped and armed by Canada and the U.S.

“Canada is deeply concerned by reports that three Israeli teenagers may have been kidnapped in the West Bank and condemns those aiming to instigate conflict.

“We urge the Palestinian security authorities, who have been trained through Canadian and U.S. leadership, to make every effort to investigate this incident and work diligently to ensure the safe return of these children to their families.

“We call for the immediate release of the three Israeli teenagers. Whoever has taken this action must be found and brought to justice,” Baird said.

While Canada was unequivocal in its public condemnation of the terror attack on the three innocent teens, Israel’s “best friend” — the United States — has remained silent on the issue. The White House has made no public statement whatsoever, and the State Department restricted itself to a phone conversation between U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Prime Minister Netanyahu.

Following is the transcript of the terse dialogue that took place between reporters and the State Department spokesperson as journalists tried to make sense of United States actions in the wake of the terrorist attack on the three boys Thursday night, especially given that one of kidnapped teens was an American citizen.

QUESTION: And last one, and this is in the Middle East. There’s reports coming out of the West Bank that there’s – three teens were kidnapped, and one of them is an American citizen. Do you have anything on that?

MS. HARF: We are aware – of course seen the reports, are very concerned for their well-being. The Secretary a short while ago expressed his concern in a meeting with Tzipi Livni in London and also has spoken with President Abbas this morning about it as well.

We are working with the Government of Israel and with the Palestinian Authority to try to ensure the situation is resolved quickly, and that the three teenagers are safely reunited with their families. I can’t confirm citizenship at this point.

QUESTION: Okay.

QUESTION: Did you – the Israelis say that the Palestinian Authority has – is responsible for their —

MS. HARF: I don’t have a readout of those conversations.

QUESTION: No, no, no. I understand that, but the Israelis are holding – say that the PA is responsible for their – these – the safety of these three teenagers.

MS. HARF: Well —

QUESTION: Do you share that?

MS. HARF: What we know is the Israelis and the Palestinian Authority are working closely together on efforts to find the three teenagers and to hopefully bring a quick resolution to the matter, and of course giving this cooperation our full encouragement.

QUESTION: But you don’t think that the PA —

MS. HARF: I don’t have more. I don’t have anything more on this, Matt.

QUESTION: Okay, all right. The Israelis also say that they told Ambassador Shapiro, right?

MS. HARF: Yes, Ambassador Shapiro.

QUESTION: Ambassador Shapiro, yes – about the one who has American citizenship. Can you confirm if there was a conversation between him and the Israelis about one of the three, regardless of whether you can confirm —

MS. HARF: I’m sure Ambassador Shapiro has been in contact on this.

QUESTION: All right.

For the record, the Fatah faction led by Mahmoud Abbas — who heads the Palestinian Authority Unity Government — has called on shopkeepers in Judea and Samaria via its official Facebook page to destroy their CCTV security camera footage in order to sabotage the IDF’s efforts to rescue the kidnapped teenagers and hunt down the terrorists who attacked them.

If the United States believes that handing out sweets to celebrate the kidnapping of Jewish children by terrorists and destroying security film footage to foil their rescue is evidence of how the new Palestinian Authority Unity Government “works closely together” with the Israeli government to find and rescue the kidnapped teens,  there’s a bridge for sale in Brooklyn. At a bargain price.

Hana Levi Julian

FM Liberman Reminds US, Europe: ‘We Know How to Investigate’

Thursday, May 22nd, 2014

Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman rebuked the U.S. and Europe after their calls for a “thorough” investigation of the deaths of two Palestinian Authority Arabs in Nakba Day riots last week.

The two Arab teens were killed on May 15, allegedly by IDF soldiers, during violence outside the Ofer Prison, located next to the PA capital of Ramallah in Samaria.

“”We don’t need an American request to investigate the subject,” Liberman told reporters Wednesday while visiting Samaria’s Ariel University. “I reject any request and the hypocrisy we see worldwide.”

U.S. State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki called for a “prompt and transparent” investigation in response to a reporter’s question during a briefing on Capitol Hill.

European Union missions in the Palestinian Authority capital of Ramallah and in Jerusalem made similar statements. “We reiterate the need for security forces, whether Israeli or Palestinian, to refrain from the use of lethal force, except in cases where there is a real and imminent threat to life,” they said.

In response, Liberman pointed out that the Israeli army is the “most moral” military force in the world.

“I am saddened these demands don’t come up in other cases,” he commented. “In Syria around 170,000 people have been killed and I didn’t see any act or request from the international community to investigate those murders. Hamas executed two men in Gaza after accusing them of spying for Israel, both without a lawyer or fair trial. I didn’t see any request to investigate that [either],” he added.

As Liberman has pointed out, the video footage that has made the rounds was posted after several days and may have been edited, as such videos often are. Leftists groups with an agenda hoping to incriminate Israel often show only part of an incident, or judiciously edit the footage to falsify the information altogether, as in the Al Dura case.

At the end of the day, regardless of the outcome, one must ask the question:

Why were these two young men there in the first place, during a violent Nakba Day riot at Ofer Prison?

Hana Levi Julian

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/fm-liberman-reminds-us-europe-we-know-how-to-investigate/2014/05/22/

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