Thursday, May 21, 2015

From Ian:

In final days, Bin Laden urged followers to kill Jews
Documents swept up in the raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound portray a leader cut off from his underlings, disappointed by their failures, beset by their complaints and regretting years of separation from much of his extensive family.
Focus your fighting on America, not each other, the sidelined al-Qaeda chief exhorts his followers. In a videotaped will, he urges one of his wives, should she remarry after his death, to still choose to live beside him in paradise. He also directs her to send their son to the battlefield.
Despite some surprising quirks in the collection, the overall message of the 103 letters, videos and reports made public Wednesday hews to the terror group’s familiar mission: In the name of God, find a way to kill Americans. Kill Europeans. Kill Jews.
“Uproot the obnoxious tree by concentrating on its American trunk,” bin Laden writes in a letter urging al-Qaeda affiliates in North Africa to not be distracted by fighting local security forces and to avoid Muslim infighting.
How to meet ‘Palestinians’
Peter Beinart complains that Republican presidential hopeful Scott Walker visited Israel and didn’t meet any ‘Palestinians':
The trips Jewish groups organize for American politicians include more Christian holy sights than the ones they organize for their own members. But what they have in common is that Palestinians are talked about, yet rarely spoken to. Which means that politicians like Scott Walker return to the United States thinking they know something about Palestinians when, in important ways, they know less than when they left.
Maybe I can help him learn more. What have ‘Palestinians’ been up to lately? Here is some data (slightly abridged) from the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center:
During the past year there has been an increase in the number of vehicular attacks carried out in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem, and they have become a frequent modus operandi of the campaign the PA and Fatah call the “popular resistance.” The campaign takes many forms, including the throwing of Molotov cocktails, rocks and stones, and stabbing and vehicular attacks. It enjoys the support of the PA and Fatah.
Since the beginning of 2015 there have been six vehicular attacks and/or attempted vehicular attacks; one Israeli civilian was killed and ten injured, eight of members of the Israeli security forces. Three attacks took place in Jerusalem and three in Judea and Samaria. The number of vehicular attacks began rising in the second half of 2014; during the year there were twelve vehicular attacks, half of them in Jerusalem (compared with two such attacks in 2013).
David Singer: Pope Francis Has Joined The Evil-Doers
Abbas – Israel's putative "partner for peace" – leads an Organisation that claims the entire territory of former Palestine as another exclusive Arab fiefdom – denying the Jews any political rights in their biblical, ancestral and internationally sanctioned homeland.
Abbas's continuing refusal to recognise Israel as the nation State of the Jewish people has been a major roadblock to the successful conclusion of negotiations between Israel and the PLO.
Pope Francis – like his predecessor Pope Benedict – is apparently prepared to ignore that Abbas and the PLO remain sworn enemies of the Jewish people - pursuing the total elimination of the Jewish State by armed struggle as documented in the 1968 PLO Charter.
The Pope has strayed from the eternal message of the Psalms - the key to the spirituality of the Old Testament and an essential and permanent part of Christian prayer.
Psalm 28 in the New Jerusalem Bible declares:
Do not drag me away with the wicked, with evil-doers, who talk to their partners of peace with treachery in their hearts.
Repay them as their deeds deserve, as befits their treacherous actions; as befits their handiwork repay them, let their deserts fall back on themselves.
They do not comprehend the deeds of Yahweh, the work of his hands. May he pull them down and not rebuild them!



PMW: PA Adopts 'One State Solution' as Official Policy
While Israeli politicians continue to debate the merits of the “two-state solution,” their Palestinian interlocutors have long moved beyond that model for the solution of the Middle East conflict.
For Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, the idea of a “greater Palestine” - that would stretch from “the river to the sea” - is now an official policy.
If this policy had until now been elucidated verbally in Arabic, by “minor” government officials – allowing the PA to say that they had been speaking out of turn or voicing personal opinions – it has now taken on a much more official persona.
In a series of videos and images discovered and released by Palestinian Media Watch (PMW), the PA's official propaganda ministry has made clear that when the PA says “Palestinian state,” it means not just Ramallah and Jenin, but also Tel Aviv, Haifa, and Beersheva.
Netanyahu to EU Foreign Policy Chief: ‘I Support the Vision of Two States’
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that he is “not for a one-state solution” in a meeting with European Union (EU) foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini on Wednesday.
“I support the vision of two states for two peoples — a demilitarized Palestinian state that recognizes the Jewish state, and I look forward to discussing with you how we can advance that vision forth in a practical, secure, and responsible way,” Netanyahu told Mogherini, adding that his position on the issue “has not changed.”
The prime minister also said that the “peace and security of the region and the world demand that we insist on a better deal” with Iran over its nuclear program. The deadline for a final agreement between Iran and world powers is June 30.
France to push 18-month timetable for Mideast peace
France’s upcoming bid for a renewed Middle East peace push at the UN sets a timetable of 18 months for a final status agreement between Israel and the Palestinians and threatens French recognition of Palestine should negotiations fail, newspaper Le Figaro reported Wednesday.
The report states that the resolution being drafted by Paris, and which is expected to be brought before the UN Security Council later this summer, calls for the establishment of a Palestinian state along the 1967 borders, with certain land swaps agreed upon by the parties, and Jerusalem serving as the capital of both nations.
The document being formulated by French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius says the sovereignty of the demilitarized Palestinian state must be guaranteed, with a gradual Israeli pullout from Palestinian territory. It also says Israel’s security concerns must be addressed, and any Palestinian arms-buildup or terrorist activity prevented.
Khaled Abu Toameh: In visit with EU foreign minister, Abbas repeats demand for settlement freeze, release of prisoners
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday discussed with EU Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini the latest developments surrounding the Middle East peace process.
Following the meeting between Abbas and Moherini in Ramallah, Chief PLO Negotiator Saeb Erekat reiterated the PA’s demand for a freeze of settlement construction and the release of Palestinian prisoners incarcerated before the signing of the Oslo Accords.
Erekat said that Abbas stressed during the meeting that he was in favor of the resumption of the peace process with Israel, but only after the Israeli government accepts the Palestinian demands, which also include acceptance of the two-state solution.
“We are making every possible effort to salvage the peace process,” Erekat told reporters after the meeting. “There’s great cooperation with the Arab League committee entrusted with discussing a new resolution that would be submitted to the UN Security Council. We’re also working together in international forums, including the International Criminal Court. All what we are doing is aimed at preserving the two-state solution as we face an Israeli government that has chosen the language of settlements, dictates, detentions and assassinations.”
Norwegian FM Warns Netanyahu: Pressure on Israel Forthcoming
The international pressure on Israel to come to a solution with the Palestinians will only grow stronger after Iran and the P5+1 world powers sign a nuclear deal at the end of June, Norway's Foreign Minister warned Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Wednesday.
According to a Haaretz report Thursday morning, Netanyahu and Borge Brende, who is considered friendly to Israel, held a notably long 90-minute meeting at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem on Wednesday.
During the meeting, as reported by a Norwegian diplomat, Brende told Netanyahu that given the impending resumption of serious international pressure on Israel, Netanyahu's new government would need to come up with its own diplomatic measure.
According to the diplomat, Netanyahu responded positively to the friendly advice, saying, "I hear you loud and clear."
Should Netanyahu want to resume negotiations with the Palestinians, Brende asserted, he would have to agree to at least one of three conditions presented recently by Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.
The three conditions include: freezing construction in Judea and Samaria, releasing all Palestinian prisoners jailed prior to the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1993 and consecutive talks for no more than a year, with a Palestinian state established by the end of 2017.
PA Diplomat: We'll Submit Two Lawsuits to ICC
A senior diplomat in the Palestinian Authority (PA) announced on Wednesday that the PA will submit two suits against Israel to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague on June 25, reports the Xinhua news agency.
Nabil Abu Zneid, the PA’s ambassador in the Netherlands, was quoted as having told Voice of Palestine radio that the two suits are related to the Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria, as well as to last summer’s fighting in Gaza.
"Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad Al-Malki is to head a high-ranking Palestinian delegation that comprises rights groups, and will submit the two suits against Israel to the international court on June 25," said Abu Zneid.
He added that "the train has already departed the station and Israel has to hurry up to catch it, because refusing to deal with the ICC would be a wring Israeli choice."
Iran Complains Israel Threatened Nuclear Attack
Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon threatened to attack Iran with a nuclear bomb according to Iran’s U.N. ambassador Gholam-Ali Khoshrou.
As a follow-up, an Iranian military official made similar comments in a report Thursday by the regime’s Fars (Read: Farce] News Agency, which added that Ya’alon said Israel “will kill kids” in attacks on Iranian-backed Hezbollah.
Here is what Ya’alon actually said at a conference in Israel last week when he spoke about what steps Israel might have to take to defend itself:
We should be sure that it is a military necessity….
I do remember the story of President Truman, who was asked, ‘How did you feel after deciding to launch the nuclear bombs at Nagasaki and Hiroshima, causing at the end [200,000 fatalities]?’ And he said, ‘When I heard from my officers that the alternative is a long war with Japan, with potential fatalities of a couple of million, I saw that it is a moral decision.’
We are not there yet. But that’s what I’m talking about: certain steps in cases in which we feel like we don’t have the answer by surgical operations or something like that.
Iran threatens '80,000 rockets at Tel Aviv and Haifa' over distorted Ya'alon comment
Iranian officials have been thrown into a fit over distorted comments attributed to Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon that have swept across the internet and include popular anti-Israel sites.
A report by Iran's Fars news agency on Wednesday claimed that the defense minister supposedly said “We are going to hurt Lebanese civilians to include kids of the family. We went through a very long deep discussion … we did it then, we did it in [the] Gaza Strip, we are going to do it in any round of hostilities in the future,” while speaking at an unnamed "conference in Jerusalem."
The quote was most likely based on Ya'alon's comments from the May 5 Shurat Hadin conference. He was recounting targeting decisions in which he was involved when it first became apparent that Hezbollah was purposely placing weapons in civilian homes in Lebanon. He said that “If we don’t intercept the rocket-launchers in advance, civilians will be hurt, if not killed. If we hit the launchers, it will hurt or kill Lebanese civilians.” He said a “long, deep discussion” regarding the “moral and legal considerations” took place before the final decision to strike the rocket launcher.
Another quote attributed to Ya'alon, for which a basis could not be found, claimed that Israel would act "as the Americans did in 'Nagasaki and Hiroshima, causing at the end the fatalities of 200,000.'"
In response, Iranian Major General Rahim Safavi threatened Israel with violence, saying that "the Zionists and the US are aware of the power of Iran and Hezbollah, and they know that over 80,000 (Iranian) missiles are ready to rain down on Tel Aviv and Haifa."
Report: U.S. Was Informed of Sanctions-Busting Iran Airplane Deal But Did Not Stop It
Israel informed American authorities of an Iranian airline’s efforts to buy Airbus jets, in violation of American sanctions, but the U.S. didn’t prevent the purchase, Reuters reported today.
“Israel learned from intelligence sources about this very significant breach of the sanctions in advance of it occurring,” the Israeli official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Reuters.
“We flagged the issue to the U.S. administration,” the official said. “Unfortunately, the deal still went through and there was no success in preventing it.”…

[An Israeli] official said the aircraft were sold to an airline that had been blacklisted by the United States “because of its involvement with the Iranian Revolutionary Guards” and Lebanon’s Hezbollah guerrillas.

A State Department official asserted to Reuters that “if there is sanctionable activity, we will take action.” As part of the nuclear negotiations, the United States has allowed the sale of spare parts to Iran, but not the sale of aircraft.
Facing Saudi Blockade, Iran Says It Will Allow UN Inspection of Yemen Aid Ship
The captain of an Iranian aid ship, which is being escorted by two Iranian warships to Yemen, said that he will dock in Djibouti and submit to a United Nations inspection, Reuters reported today. The decision delays a confrontation with Saudi Arabia, which is blockading Yemen.
Earlier in the day, the Iran Shahed’s captain had said the ship was due to enter the Bab al-Mandeb strait linking the Gulf of Aden to the Red Sea, bypassing Djibouti on the Horn of Africa and heading for the Yemeni port of Hodaida.
“We have decided to dock our ship in Djibouti so the United Nations inspection protocol can take place,” Hossein Amir Abdollahian was quoted as saying by the ISNA news agency….
Iran has said the ship is carrying humanitarian aid for Yemeni civilians. Hodaida’s port is under Houthi control.

The captain also said that Iran would send a plane to Djibouti tomorrow. Iran previously sent two aid planes directly to Yemen, but they were turned back by the Saudi Air Force.
Iran: Israel helping Saudis fight Houthis
Saudi Arabia has hired Israeli military experts to help in their war in Yemen, sources close to the Saudi government allegedly told Iran’s Fars News Agency.
The unconfirmed report published on Tuesday could well be false and part of Tehran’s media campaign against its Sunni opponents in the region.
“The Zionist experts supervise the Saudi-led coalition’s operations against Yemen directly in addition to intelligence and military coordination between the two sides,” the sources told the Iranian news outlet.
Treasury says it won’t pay $1.1 billion judgment to Iran
Israel has refused a Swiss court order to pay compensation to Iran in an arbitration case, it emerged Wednesday. The court ordered the Eilat Ashkelon Pipeline Company to transfer $1.1 billion to the Islamic Republic in a ruling over oil supply agreements dating back to before Tehran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution.
“Under the laws of trade we cannot transfer funds to an enemy country,” a statement issued by the Finance Minister said Wednesday.
A judicial official quoted by Iranian state news agency IRNA said Tao, an Israeli firm registered in Panama, was ordered earlier this month to pay the compensation to the National Iranian Oil Company, in a legal tussle dating back to 1989.
In 1968, the Eilat Ashkelon Pipeline Company was established as a joint Israeli-Iranian venture to carry Asian oil from Eilat to Europe via a network of pipelines that reach from Eilat to Ashkelon and up the length of Israel’s coast to Haifa.
According to the EAPC website, the company currently operates 750 kilometers of pipeline in Israel.
As relations between Israel and Iran were severed in the wake of the Islamic Revolution, the Tehran partner dropped out of the arrangement and the company is now managed only by the Israeli side.
However, for years Iran has continued to demand that Israel pay back debts acquired when the arrangement was still valid.
Pentagon approves massive $1.9 billion arms sale to Israel
The details of the possible sale were sent for congressional review this week after being approved by the Pentagon, the US Department of Defense said in a statement Tuesday.
If the agreement is finalized, Israel will receive a supply of precision-guided munitions consisting of 750 bunker buster bombs, 3,000 Hellfire missiles, 250 medium-range air-to-air missiles and 4,100 glide bombs, in a deal worth $1.879 billion.
In addition, the package includes 14,500 missile guidance systems — known as tail kits for Joint Direct Attack Munitions — which convert unguided bombs into GPS guided missiles.
A shipment of these weapons will enhance Israel’s military capabilities and boost defense cooperation between Israel and the US, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, which coordinates major arms deals, said in a statement.
“The United States is committed to the security of Israel, and it is vital to US national interests to assist Israel to develop and maintain a strong and ready self-defense capability,” the statement read.
Should Israel Take Obama’s Iran Payoff?
For months, President Obama has been trying to find a way to silence Israeli objections to a nuclear deal with Iran. Up until now, Prime Minister Netanyahu has been adamant in his opposition to what he and many Americans feel is an effort to appease the Islamist regime that will have catastrophic consequences for the security of both the United States and Israel. But, if reports are correct, the Israeli government is preparing to make the best of an awful situation by accepting a massive military assistance package from the U.S. in exchange for what an unnamed senior administration official describes as “some quiet from the Israelis.” While it can be argued that expediency demands that Netanyahu seek to get what help from the Americans that he can, with the outcome of the nuclear negotiations still hanging in the balance, this isn’t the moment for the Israelis to go into the tank for Obama on Iran.
As the Israeli press is reporting, the Americans are prepared to pay what the administration official called, “a hefty price” for Israel’s silence in the upcoming months as a nuclear agreement is debated in Congress. That price will supposedly include up to 50 advanced F-35 fighter jets and anti-missile batteries. Given the importance of maintaining Israel’s qualitative edge over potential Arab and Iranian foes, it’s a tempting offer. Especially alluring for the Israelis is the prospect of more Iron Dome batteries as well as funding for more short-range David’s Sling batteries and the long-range Arrow-3 missile defense.
If, as seems likely, there is nothing Israel can do to prevent the U.S. from appeasing Iran and signing a weak deal that may not even guarantee rigorous inspections, then perhaps the only rational alternative is to accept a bribe from the administration for their silence. The same reasoning led some Arab countries to attend a summit here last week which, though boycotted by the kings of both Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, resulted in a U.S. promise about selling them more advanced military hardware. Even if it was accompanied by a weak guarantee of their security that impressed no one, let alone Iranians, the Arabs were not so proud that they turned down U.S. assistance.
Senior security source: Massive arms deal with US 'not linked to Iran deal'
The massive US arms sale to Israel, approved by the State Department this week, is not tied to the emerging deal between the international community and Iran over its nuclear program, a senior Israeli security source has said.
The source described on Thursday the $1.87 billion deal, which includes large numbers of precision guided bombs, hellfire missiles for combat helicopters, and bunker busters, as being "part of a multi-year plan, that was updated after Operation Protective Edge [in Gaza last year]."
The source described the package being at the stage of requiring "routine approval in Congress after Pentagon approval."
He stressed that the deal has "no link with the [P5+1] deal with Iran [over its nuclear program]," and that it had no connection to the large-scale weapons deals that occurred recently between the US and Gulf states.
IDF Blog: Globalization of Aerial Threats Calls for Globalization of Defense
This week, air force commanders from around the world gathered in Israel to address the globalization of aerial threats. The first international air defense conference included representatives from Israel, Poland, Germany, Greece, the U.S, the U.K, Canada, Italy and the Netherlands.
The rapid globalization of aerial threats presents the need for a global response. Israel is no stranger to such threats, as was evidenced most recently during Operation Protective Edge. After the operation, Israel’s Iron Dome established itself as the model for air defense worldwide. With a nearly 90% success rate, it is the most efficient missile defense system of its kind.
“The Israeli industry occupies a center-field position in the international scene of aerial defense. Regarding the development of advanced protection systems, Israeli systems have more than justified their reputation in the last conflict,” explains Brig. Gen. Shachar Shohat, Commander of the Israel Air Defense Force.
In continuation with previous collaborative efforts with ally armies (i.e., the “Nobel Dina” joint exercise with the US Navy and Hellenic Navy, the “Nobel Shirley” aerial exercise with the U.S Air Force), Brig. Gen. Shohat was joined on May 19 at the IAF base in Palmachim by his colleagues to commence a productive collaboration in a first-of-its-kind conference. The main objective was to construct a plan geared towards improving each army’s collaborative effort in combating the globalization of aerial threats.
“The globalization all over has also reached the military field. The Western world is facing, in many dimensions, the same threats. We have to act together for the security of our societies.” -Maj. Gen. Robert Lowenstein, German Air Force Commander.
Hezbollah: We'll Apply Strategies in Syria to Conquer Galilee
Hezbollah officials say they are preparing to use the strategies and techniques they learned fighting Syrian rebels along the border with Lebanon to conquer Israel's northern Galilee region.
The Iranian-backed Shia Islamist group has been making steady gains in its hard-fought campaign to wrest control of the Qalamoun region in Syria from Sunni rebels, including jihadists from Al Qaeda's Nusra Front, despite itself incurring significant losses.
But although that battle is still ongoing, a series of remarks by Hezbollah officials and propaganda outlets, translated by MEMRI, reveal that the terror group still has its eye on a future conflict with Israel.
Among them was Hezbollah official Hashem Safi Al-Din, who told Lebanon's Al Mustaqbal newspaper that "the resistance can replicate its newly acquired experience from the Al-Qalamoun mountains and Syria in the Galilee."
Cheering Arab Crowds Greet Return of Vehicular Terrorist’s Body [video]
Last night, at midnight, the police returned the body of vehicular terrorist Amraan abu Dahim to his family in Jerusalem’s A-Tor neighborhood for burial.
Amraan ran over two policemen yesterday, and was then shot and killed by another policeman.
The family was only be allowed to have 20 people attend the funeral.
To ensure the funeral didn’t turn in another Martyr’s Day Parade, the police collected a NIS 20,000 collateral from the Arab terrorist’s family.
But that didn’t stop their terrorist-supporting neighbors from greeting the ambulance on the way.
Khaled Abu Toameh: Report: Iran stops cash flow to Islamic Jihad organization
Iran has stopped funding the Palestinian Islamic Jihad organization, which is already facing a severe financial crisis, the Palestinian daily Al-Quds reported on Wednesday.
According to the paper, the organization has not been able to pay salaries to its members for the past four months due to the crisis.
It said that the dispute between Iran and Palestinian Islamic Jihad erupted after the group refused to issue a statement supporting the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen.
The Iranians, the paper said, demanded that the organization issue a statement condemning the Saudi-led airstrikes on Houthi targets in Yemen.
The Emergence Of 'Galilee Forces' – Palestinian Forces Fighting Alongside Syrian Regime
In recent weeks, fierce battles have raged on several fronts between supporters and forces of the Syrian regime and the Syrian opposition, from Idlib in the north of Syria to Rif Dimashq in the south to the Al-Qalamoun mountains on the Lebanese border. Both sides see these campaigns as highly critical ones that could win the war that is now in its fifth year, and are sending more and more troops to those areas.
In addition to Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), the Lebanese Hizbullah, and the Shi'ite Iraqi, Afghani, and Pakistani militias, Palestinian forces are also fighting alongside the Syrian regime. According to the Revolution Forces of Syria website, the main Palestinian forces fighting alongside the regime included the 60,000-strong Palestinian Liberation Army – "the military wing of the PLO" – and Liwa Al-Quds, led by Muhammad Sa'id, which comprises several thousand residents of Palestinian refugee camps near Aleppo.
This Palestinian loyalty towards the Syrian regime is unsurprising, in light of the fact that over the years, Syria has served as a base and a refuge for armed secular Palestinian groups, and, until recently, for Islamic groups such as Hamas. Against the backdrop of the fighting in the Al-Yarmouk refugee camp near Damascus, and ISIS's entry into the camp, the alliance between the Syrian regime and the armed Palestinian groups has become closer, and the Palestinian Authority (PA) even announced that it supported the regime's actions vis-à-vis the camp.
In recent days, a new Palestinian group, the Galilee Forces (Quwat Al-Jalil) or Galilee Brigade (Liwa Al-Jalil), has emerged and is fighting alongside the Syrian regime in Al-Qalamoun and Rif Dimashq; this group is the military wing of the Palestinian Youth Return Movement, and is led by Fadi Al-Mallah, aka Abu Al-Fidaa.
Daniel Pipes: As Syria's chemical weapons return, Obama is MIA
The famed “red line” warning that Barack Obama issued in August 2013 to Bashar al-Assad of Syria was arguably the defining foreign policy moment of his presidency: an unequivocal warning to a rogue leader to desist from war crimes or pay the price.
When the incident ended in a blur, with Russian-backed promises that the Assad regime would hand over its chemical agents, responses were bifurcated. The president and his allies hailed this as a monument of diplomacy, whereby a plausible threat led bloodlessly to a major improvement in behavior. In contrast, critics presented Obama as a paper tiger who raged with threats that collapsed when offered meaningless assurances by a well-established liar.
For two years, there was no verdict; the two sides kept making their points without closure. But now, closure is at hand.
That’s because there are currently there are multiple reports of the Assad regime using chlorine in barrel bombs, plus the discovery of traces of ricin, sarin. and VX.
Bashar al-Assad's airmen laugh as they drop barrel bombs on fellow Syrians
New footage has emerged showing Syrian aircrew using barrel bombs, one of the most feared weapons in President Bashar al-Assad’s arsenal.
The video footage, which contradicts Mr Assad’s claim that no munitions of this kind have ever been used by his forces, shows an airman crouching inside a Syrian military helicopter, chatting to his neighbour as he lights the fuse of a barrel bomb.
Once the white touch paper is burning, the man casually pushes the weapon out of the aircraft and sends it hurtling towards the ground.
Barrel bombs are metal cylinders packed with high explosives and pieces of shrapnel. These weapons, which have no targeting or guidance mechanisms, are simply rolled out of helicopters as they fly over rebel-held towns and villages.
Syrian Regime Helicopter Drops Barrel Bombs on Idlib Province


Libyan Cleric Justifies Beheadings and Body Mutilation "to Strike Terror in the Heart" of the Enemy
In a May 16 interview with Al-Tanasuh TV, Libyan Cleric Muhammad Bouajila, a member of the Libyan Ulema Association, explained that in principle, beheadings and body mutilation are prohibited, but are allowed under certain circumstances "especially if this serves to strike terror in the heart" of the enemy. Sheik Bouajila further commented that Muslims should fight non-Muslims who refuse to convert to Islam or pay the jizya poll tax. Al-Tanasuh TV is owned by Sadiq Al-Ghariani, Mufti of Libya who is associated with the Libya Dawn forces.


How Obama Lost Ramadi
The fall of Ramadi to the fighters of the Islamic State is a disaster for the Iraqi government of Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi. The taking of the city brings IS to just over 60 miles from Baghdad. In addition to showcasing the low caliber of the Iraqi security forces, the events surrounding the fall of the city lay bare the contradictions at the heart of Western policy in Iraq.
Prime Minister Abadi had ordered the garrison in Ramadi to stand firm. He hoped to see a successful stand in the city as a prelude to a government retaking of Anbar province, over half of which is still in IS hands.
But in a manner reminiscent of the fall of Mosul in June 2014, Iraqi security forces ignored orders to defend Ramadi, and fled eastwards to the neighboring town of Khalidiyeh. This left Ramadi to the tender mercies of the fighters of the Islamic State, who have reportedly since slaughtered at least 500 people. It is important to note that even U.S. airstrikes were not sufficient to prevent the debacle.
As of now, Shia militias are heading for the city's outskirts. A militia-led counterattack is expected in the coming days. A further advance eastwards by the Sunni jihadis, at least in the immediate future, is unlikely.
So what is behind the failure of the Iraqi security forces and the continued advance of the jihadis?
Krauthammer: Obama Is 'Either Delusional or Cynical' On ISIS
Conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer said on “Special Report” Tuesday that the Obama administration must be “either delusional or cynical” given its statement that overall, the battle against ISIS has been a success.
“I would hope cynical, because otherwise we’re in deep trouble,” he remarked. “This is a tremendous defeat. It isn’t only a geographic defeat, the fact that Mosul is gone, Fallujah is gone and now Ramadi is gone. It’s that the Iraqi army once again ran.”
“You know, our whole idea is that we will train the Iraqi army,” Krauthammer said. “If you train people who want to fight but don’t know how to fight, that will work.. We actually had that opprotunity in Syria.”
“With Iraq we have the exact opposite, soldiers in name only who want to paid, with corrupt officers and sectarian officers who don’t want to fight. All the training in the world is not going to help them.”
‘Birthplace of civilization,’ Palmyra faces final ruin by jihadists
The destruction of the UNESCO World Heritage site of Palmyra would be an “enormous loss to humanity,” the head of the organization warned Thursday, after Islamic State fighters seized the ancient Syrian city and archaeological site.
“Palmyra is an extraordinary World Heritage site in the desert and any destruction to Palmyra (would be) not just a war crime but … an enormous loss to humanity,” said Irina Bokova in a video published by the Paris-based group.
She added that she was “extremely worried” about recent events there and reiterated an appeal for an immediate ceasefire and withdrawal of military forces.
“At the end of the day, it’s the birthplace of human civilization. It belongs to the whole of humanity and I think everyone today should be worried about what is happening,” added the UNESCO chief.
Turkey: 7 Soldiers Arrested in 'Syria Arms Consignment' Case
A Turkish court on Sunday remanded in custody seven serving soldiers accused over the interception last year of an alleged consignment of arms bound for Syria, state media said, according to AFP.
Following police raids in previous days, a total of 10 soldiers appeared before the Istanbul criminal court, the Anatolia news agency reported.
After hearings that lasted all day, three were allowed to go free while seven were arrested ahead of trial and will now be sent to prison.
They have been charged with membership of a terrorist group, impeding the work of the government and espionage.
The arrests are the latest in a string of detentions related to the stopping and searching of trucks in the southern provinces of Hatay and Adana near the Syrian border in January 2014 on suspicion of smuggling arms into Syria.
Documents circulated on the Internet claimed the seized trucks were Turkish National Intelligence Organization (MIT) vehicles delivering weapons to Syrian Islamist rebels fighting President Bashar Al-Assad.


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The EU's hypocritical use of "international law" that only applies to Israel

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