Thursday, October 27, 2016

From Ian:

Khaled Abu Toameh: Palestinians: Jihadi-Style Child Abuse
Children in this world do not dream about becoming doctors, pilots or engineers; an entire generation of Palestinians, particularly those in the Gaza Strip, has been raised on the glorification of suicide bombers and anyone who kills a Jew.
Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other radical groups see children as future "soldiers" in the war to eliminate Israel. They raise children to regard to suicide bombers and jihadis as role models.
This form of child abuse does not seem to bother human rights organizations or UNICEF, whose declared goal is to "work for a world in which every child has a fair chance in life and a right to survive, thrive and fulfill their potential..." UNICEF apparently does not believe its mandate extends to Palestinian children, who are exploited to serve the interests of Islamist groups.
In the view of human rights organizations, recruiting Palestinian children to the ranks of Islamist terror groups does not constitute child abuse.
What is the world prepared to do in order to combat this child abuse? UNICEF and other international bodies may not have time to deal with such issues at present, because they are too busy thinking about the next resolution to condemn Israel.
PMW: Erekat on imprisoned terrorists: "We bow our heads out of admiration and honor"
The Palestinian Authority often assures its people that among its top priorities is the release of Palestinian prisoners in Israel - most of whom are convicted for terrorist crimes including murder.
Chief PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat recently reiterated this, terming actions of terrorist prisoners as "acts of heroism", and stating that Palestinians "bow [their] heads in admiration and honor of the prisoners' sacrifices, for their acts of heroism":
"Our brave prisoners, who gave and sacrificed their freedom for Palestine and its freedom, are worthy of aid, support, and constant activity by us in order to release them and put an end to their suffering. The prisoners' cause is a national and central cause, and we bow our heads in admiration and honor of the prisoners' sacrifices, for their acts of heroism, and for their ongoing battle with the occupation." [Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Oct. 19, 2016]
Among the prisoners whose actions Saeb Erekat would be admiring are:
  • Abdallah Barghouti - serving 67 life sentences for preparing explosives for terror attacks in which 67 people were murdered: Sbarro restaurant (15 killed, Aug. 9, 2001, Jerusalem), Sheffield Club (15 killed, May 7, 2002, Rishon LeZion), Moment Café (11 killed, March 9, 2002, Jerusalem), triple attack at Ben Yehuda pedestrian mall (11 killed, Dec. 1, 2001, Jerusalem), Hebrew University (9 killed, July 31, 2002, Jerusalem), and Bus 4 in Tel Aviv (6 killed, Sept. 19, 2002).
  • Ibrahim Hamed - serving 54 life sentences for planning suicide attacks, including the suicide bombings at Hebrew University (9 killed), Cafe Moment (12 killed), Cafe Hillel (7 killed), Zion Square in Jerusalem (11 killed).
  • Abbas Al-Sayid - serving 35 life sentences for planning two suicide bombings, one at a Passover dinner at the Park Hotel in Netanya (30 killed, March 27, 2002) and another outside a shopping Mall in Netanya (5 killed, May 18, 2001).
PMW: Warning to Palestinian students: "Beware of natural death; do not ‎die, but amidst the hail of bullets"
Students at Al-Quds University erected a memorial stone for the university's "heroic Martyrs," which opens with the warning:
"Beware of natural death; do not ‎die, but amidst the hail of bullets"
[Wattan, independent Palestinian news agency, Oct. 19, 2016]

This follows the Palestinian Authority policy to promote youth's participation in terror attacks, even if this means being killed. Dying for Allah (Shahada - Martyrdom) while attacking or killing Israelis, is routinely presented by the PA as preferable to life. This message is even presented to youth. For example, the day the PA announced the results of the recent matriculation exams, the official PA news agency, WAFA, wrote that high school students who had been killed while participating in terror attacks, and therefore had not finished high school, had taken "the path to excellence and greatness and the path of those who know how to reach the great victory."
The names on the memorial stone at Al-Quds University included that of murderer Muhannad Halabi, describing him as the "Heroic Martyr and Detonator of the third Intifada" - a reference to his killing of two Israeli civilians in October 2015, which Palestinians see as the launch of the terror wave which followed, and some termed "the third Intifada."
The monument was put in place by the Al-Quds branch of The Progressive Student Action Front, the student branch of the terror organization Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. After the monument's mysterious disappearance, the independent Palestinian news agency Wattan asked if the university agrees to the placement of "a monument of this sort." Dean of Student Affairs Abd Al-Raouf Abd Al-Sinawi said:
Mother of terrorist: “All of us, praise Allah, give our children, and we do not regret a thing”




JPost Editorial: Goodwill hunting
Underlying the Palestinian Authority’s ongoing performance at the UNESCO theater of the absurd is another, deeper aspect of how the Palestinian leadership truly feels about relations with Israel: its determined effort to cut off any budding sign of coexistence between our two peoples.
Consider the PA’s arrest of four Palestinians for the crime of making a goodwill visit to a settlement during Succot.
The four were making a neighborly holiday call at the succa of Efrat Mayor Oded Revivi in Gush Etzion, as is customary during the festival. They were arrested by PA security and held for four days until a public clamor won their release.
They were held, according to a PA official, because “any Palestinian cooperation with settlers is viewed as violating the law, as he cooperates with the enemy.”
A holiday visit to a neighbor is a violation of Palestinian law. Revivi was the first to call for the PA to release his guests. “It is absurd that having coffee with Jews is considered a crime by the Palestinian Authority,” he told the media. “Initiatives that seek to foster cooperation and peace between people should be encouraged, not silenced. It’s time the Palestinian Authority asks itself whether it would prefer to fan the flames of conflict instead of working to bring people together.”
Not willing to let the incident pass, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu used the occasion to lash out at certain rights groups that criticized Israel before the United Nations Human Rights Council for not condemning the detention of the Palestinian visitors.
“Where is the outrage of human rights organizations? There is none. To their great shame, they are silent,” Netanyahu wrote on Facebook. “I call on the international community to work to help free these innocent Palestinians whose imprisonment is yet another proof of the Palestinian refusal to make peace.”
Jordan’s chilly peace with Israel
Yesterday marked the 22nd anniversary of the signing of the Israel-Jordan peace treaty, an event heralded at the time as a historic breakthrough, one that would bring about a warm and lasting reconciliation between the two countries for generations to come.
So much for the desert-driven delusions of the past.
For while the accord has certainly resulted in mutually beneficial arrangements, such as the 15-year gas deal signed by Jerusalem and Amman last month, the sad fact is that although Jordan may be Israel’s neighbor, it isn’t really much of a friend.
Take, for example, the ongoing soap opera involving UNESCO, the UN agency that has spent a considerable amount of time over the past few weeks trying to deny the undeniable by repudiating Israel’s historical, spiritual and emotional ties to Jerusalem.
When the organization affirmed a resolution last week labeling the Temple Mount a Muslim shrine, our Jordanian pals hailed the decision as a “victory” and unashamedly claimed credit for having drafted the offensive decision.
According to the kingdom’s official Petra News Agency, the text approved by UNESCO “was prepared by the Jordanian Ministry of Foreign and Expatriate Affairs, and presented by the Jordanian mission to UNESCO in coordination with the Palestinian mission.”
After Jerusalem votes, PM recalls envoy to UNESCO
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday recalled Israel’s ambassador to UNESCO in protest of two recent resolutions by the UN cultural body that ignored Jewish and Christian historical ties to Jerusalem holy sites.
“The theater of the absurd continues, and I have decided to summon to Israel for consultations our ambassador to UNESCO,” said Netanyahu at an event in the coastal city of Herzliya. “We will decide what do, what our next steps vis-à-vis the organization will be.”
“This is a necessary step,” ambassador Carmel Shama-Hacohen said of the move. “The motive is the need to rethink and reevaluate our relations with UNESCO given the persistent persecution of Israel and the Jewish people.”
A second UNESCO resolution, approved Wednesday, echoed last week’s decision in referring to the Temple Mount compound solely by its Muslim names, “Al-Aqsa Mosque/Al-Haram Al-Sharif,” and defined it only as “a Muslim holy site of worship.” It also accused Israel of various violations at the holy site.
Out of 21 member states on the UN body’s Heritage Committee, 10 voted in favor of the resolution, two against and eight abstained. One was absent.
PM on papyrus find: UNESCO received a letter from the past
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday commented on a rare find by the Israel Antiquities Authority of a document dating from the seventh century BCE -- the First Temple period -- in which the name "Jerusalem" clearly appears in ancient Hebrew script, saying, "UNESCO just received a letter from the past, which explains, in Hebrew, our bond to Jerusalem and its centrality to our people."
Netanyahu was referring to a decision by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization again denying the Jewish link to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. The resolution, which refers to the Temple Mount only by its Islamic name, Haram al-Sharif, effectively declares the area holy solely to Muslims.
At a speech at the inauguration ceremony of the Dr. Miriam and Sheldon Adelson School of Entrepreneurship at the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya, Netanyahu said, "This letter is 2,700 years old and it is written in Hebrew -- nor Arabic, not Aramaic, not Greek and not Latin -- Hebrew."
The Antiquities Authority said the papyrus, which had been among the antiquities robbed from caves in the Judean Desert, represents the oldest external source found to date that cites Jerusalem.
UNESCO Hijacked to Rewrite Jerusalem's History


NGO Monitor: The UNESCO Jerusalem Campaign: NGOs and Foreign Funding
The multiple UNESCO decisions that deny the Jewish connection to Jerusalem and the Temple Mount highlight the widespread nature of the Palestinian narrative regarding Jerusalem. The UNESCO resolutions omitted any mention of the Jewish character of the Temple Mount, while describing Jewish visitors as “storming” the site; the October 12 resolution also refers to the Western Wall Plaza as the “Al Buraq Plaza.”
This narrative is bolstered by a massive, European-funded NGO campaign, which includes accusations of the “Judaization of Jerusalem” and propagation of the “Al-Aqsa is in danger” myth, while ignoring Palestinian attacks against Jewish visitors to the Temple Mount, destruction of archeological evidence of Jewish ties to the site, and incitement to violence.
NGOs involved in Jerusalem campaigns:
Ir Amim (funded by European Union, Sweden, Norway, Bread for the World- EED [Germany], New Israel Fund, Open Society Institute, Jewish Funders Network, and others) stated in a May 2016 report (authored jointly with Peace Now) that Israel’s objective “is to Judaize the Old City basin – in the Muslim Quarter…and surrounding neighborhoods.” Ir Amim also attempted to spin the UNESCO decision, claiming that its main point was “NOT Jewish connection to Temple Mt but ISR’s duties under intnl law to protect status quo.”
Terrestrial Jerusalem (funded by the United Kingdom, Norway, Switzerland, Kvinna till Kvinna [Sweden]) founder Danny Seidemann has claimed (February 2010) that Israel’s actions in Jerusalem “contribut[e] to the transformation of a resolvable national-political conflict into an intractable mix of jihad, war of mitzvah, and Armageddon – a religious war driven by the Biblical imagery.” The complexities of the situation in Jerusalem – including illegal building and crime in Palestinian neighborhoods, damage to the Temple Mount as a result of illegal digging by the Waqf, and incitement to violence against Jews by extremist clerics are erased.
Kay Wilson: UNESCO ripping away the Temple Mount from Jewish history.
The UNESCO decision is a farce and a disgrace. But who cares? Israel doesn’t need UNESCO or any world approval. Against all odds and with a little help from On High, we have survived until now – without UNESCO.
Recently, we have been named as the second most innovative country in the world. Israeli innovation has helped us master the droughts.
While our neighbours, (many of them hostile) are parched, we have more water than we know what to do with. Our best dairy comes from the desert and we are self-sufficient in food. Even during the financial global crashes, Israel sails through and however many new Jewish immigrants come home, we find a place for everyone.
And most remarkable of all is that the State of Israel was built by those who watched their families incinerated in the horrors of WWII Europe – preceding them were 1000’s of Jews who had endured pogroms and seen the massacre of their communities.
All chose life.
They chose to build.
They built a whole country in an area where there are no natural resources.
They built not caring what the world said and we shall carry on in their name, also not caring what the world says, choosing life and doing the same.
UNESCO….
Who?
Pope Francis: ‘God promised the land to the people of Israel’
God promised the Holy Land to the people of Israel, Pope Francis said during a public address at the Vatican in Rome on Wednesday in a speech about migration.
“The people of Israel, who from Egypt, where they were enslaved, walked through the desert for forty years until they reached the land promised by God,” he said.
Pope Francis spoke just before granting a brief audience to Israeli Deputy Minister for Regional Cooperation Ayoub Kara to thank him for his efforts on behalf of the Church and Christians in Israel.
Kara told reporters he felt that the pontiff was sending a direct message to UNESCO, whose World Heritage Committee approved a resolution that ignored Jewish ties to the Temple Mount.
When he spoke with Pope Francis he thanked him for his statement acknowledging Israel’s rights to the Holy Land. He added that there is no question that the resolution is harmful to Christians and the Scriptures because it “distorts historical and theological facts.”
Kara is scheduled to meet on Thursday with Vatican Secretary of State Pietro Cardinal Parolin.
Pope Francis has yet to issue a clear statement on UNESCO’s Jerusalem resolutions.
After Wednesday’s passage of one such text, Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein wrote a letter to Cardinal Parolin in which he stated that UNESCO’s denial of the Old City of Jerusalem’s history is an affront to both Christianity and Judaism.
Edelstein urged the Holy See to “use its best offices to prevent the recurrence of developments of this sort.”
French Jews protest abstention on UNESCO’s Jerusalem resolution
France’s main Jewish groups urged members to rally in front of the headquarters of the country’s foreign ministry to protest its failure to oppose a UN resolution that ignores Jewish ties to Jerusalem.
CRIF, the political lobby group representing French Jewish communities, in a rare move was joined by the Consistoire, French Jewry’s organ responsible for religious services, in organizing a protest rally for Thursday opposite the Quai d’Orsay in Paris in reaction to the passing of two resolutions on Jerusalem this month by UNESCO committees.
France was among 26 countries that abstained from voting during the first resolution, which the Palestinians initiated and which was passed on October 13 by the executive board of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. It refers to the Western Wall and the Temple Mount only by their Arabic-language names. Similar language was passed Wednesday by the World Heritage Committee; France does not sit on that committee.
In May, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls apologized for his country’s support for an earlier resolution passed by UNESCO in April, which also was seen to erase Jewish ties to Jerusalem.
At UNESCO, Syria complains of Israeli archaeological digs – inside Syria
The Syrian government on Thursday complained about alleged Israeli archaeological excavations at Bir Ajam on the Syrian Golan Heights, drawing an irate response from Israel’s ambassador to UNESCO.
The complaint, which was formally forwarded by a senior UNESCO official with a request for an Israeli response, was dismissed by Israel as “ludicrous.”
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization has been a venue at which Arab and Muslim states have promoted a series of anti-Israel resolutions, including a text approved at UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee this week that characterized the holy sites on and around Jerusalem’s Temple Mount as exclusively Muslim.
In a letter to Israel’s envoy to the organization, Carmel Shama-Hacohen, UNESCO Assistant Director General for Culture Francesco Bandarin said the group had received a complaint from the Syrian government that “brought to our attention the fact that archaeological excavations in the village of Bir Ajam in the Governorate of Quneitra have been taking place since 11 July 2016.”
Bandarin continued, “As you know, the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict, to which both Israel and the Syrian Arab Republic are Party, asserts that necessary cultural property preservation measures shall be taken in close cooperation with the relevant national authorities.”
He asked Shama-Hacohen to report back to the organization after consulting the “relevant Israeli authorities.”
Shama-Hacohen appeared nonplussed.
EU Parliament Passes Resolution Condemning Iran’s Holocaust Denial, Support for Terrorism
The European Parliament on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved a report on Iran that condemned the Islamic Republic’s Holocaust denial, violent rhetoric towards Israel, and support for terrorism.
One amendment to the report, which stated that the legislative body “strongly condemns the Iranian regime’s repeated calls for the destruction of Israel and the regime’s policy of denying the Holocaust,” passed by a vote of 590-67 with 36 abstentions.
An earlier version of the report, entitled “EU Strategy towards Iran after the nuclear agreement,” was criticized for failing to call out Iran’s human rights violations, its abetting of the regime of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, and its support for terrorism. After negotiations between different parties, new amendments to the report were passed that addressed those issues. The full report, which maps out how the EU will normalize relations with Iran, passed by a vote of 456-17.
The specific amendment about Iran’s Holocaust denial and threats to Israel was praised by a number of prominent Jewish activists.
“We welcome this amendment, as it is essential to couple Iran’s extremism, Holocaust denial and call for genocide with its nuclear program and relations with the international community,” said Moshe Kantor, the president of the European Jewish Congress. “It is vital that Iran is pressured to improve its human rights record and belligerency towards Israel and the region before the European Union resets its relations with the Islamic Republic.”
Report: Netanyahu to Visit Muslim-Majority Azerbaijan in December
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will visit Azerbaijan in December, a local news site reported last week, citing an anonymous Israeli diplomatic source.
The Azeri Trend report said that Netanyahu will meet with leaders of the Muslim-majority country during his trip.
This echoes a Times of Israel report in July that Netanyahu was considering such a trip to both Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan.
Israel has developed close ties with Azerbaijan during the two and a half decades since it gained its independence when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991.
In August 1997, Netanyahu — who was serving his first term as prime minister — visited the Azerbaijani capital of Baku and met with then-President Heydar Aliyev, who died in 2003. Aliyev’s son, Ilham, is the current president of Azerbaijan.
Earlier this month, Pope Francis visited Azerbaijan and met with the head of the country’s Jewish community, which is said to number around 15,000.
Azerbaijan — which borders Iran — is situated next to the Caspian Sea in the Transcaucasia region, the meeting point of southwestern Asia and southeastern Europe.
#StopSaudi: Vote NO to Saudi Arabia on the UN Human Rights Council


Palestinian kids, 8, detained with knives outside settlement
Two Palestinian children carrying knives were detained outside a West Bank settlement, south of Jerusalem, on Wednesday, the Israel Defense Forces said.
“A short while ago forces identified and apprehended two Palestinian children under the age of ten near the community of Migdal Oz,” the army said. “During the initial questioning the children admitted to have been sent, armed with knives, in order to carry out a terror attack.”
The two were spotted near the security fence.
IDF spokesperson Peter Lerner said the pair were just eight years old.
“When two, eight-year-old children are sent on a mission to attack Israeli civilians it is clear that the hateful rhetoric that echoes within Palestinian society abuses the most vulnerable of minds,” he said.
In the year-long wave of terror attacks that has killed at least 34 Israelis and injured dozens, some of the terrorists carrying out stabbing attacks were as young as 11 or 13.
On Sunday, Israeli soldiers shot a Palestinian man in the leg with a rubber bullet as he approached the fence surrounding the Jewish settlement of Beit El, north of Ramallah in the West Bank.
The forces, who were guarding the area, had spotted three men outside Beit El. In order to “deter the suspects” the soldiers opened fire with rubber bullets, striking one of the men, an army spokesperson said.
The suspects then fled the scene, the army said. The soldiers did not pursue them.
East Jerusalem man charged with plotting shooting
An East Jerusalem resident was arrested for planning shooting attacks on Israeli security forces and civilians, Israeli officials said Thursday as charges were filed against the man.
Muhammad Mussa Abbasi, 25, from the Ras al-Amoud neighborhood in the capital, was arrested three weeks ago, the Shin Bet security service said in a statement, clearing the case for publication.
Over the past several months Abbasi made plans to carry out shooting attacks in East Jerusalem and unsuccessfully tried to obtain a weapon for that purpose. The suspect also tried to get information on making pipe bombs, although he did not put that idea into practice, according to the Shin Bet.
Investigators also discovered that Abbasi had been involved in several attacks in which Molotov cocktails, stones and firecrackers were thrown at security forces and Israeli vehicles in the capital.
He was charged in Jerusalem District Court with conspiracy to commit an attack in Jerusalem, destroying evidence, obstruction of justice, supporting a terror group, injury with grave intent, making and carrying weapons, and aggravated assault of a police officer., according to the prosecutor’s office.
State prosecutors intend to ask that he be detained until the end of proceedings, the Shin Bet said.
“The arrest of Abbasi, who, as an Israeli resident, had access to the whole city, prevented a serious attack in Jerusalem,” the Shin Bet said.
Aside from his plans to shoot at security forces and civilians, Abbasi also posted messages on his Facebook page inciting violence, calling for terror attacks against Israel and supporting terror group Hamas.
24 Hours in the Life of Our IDF Soldiers


Arab States Pressuring PA President Abbas to Resolve Internal Palestinian Divisions
Saudi Arabia, Egypt and other Arab states are piling pressure on Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to resolve divisions in his Fatah party and with the rival Hamas movement, amid growing concerns about whether Palestinian democracy is under threat.
Neighboring states, diplomats and major funders fear the festering divisions could lead to conflict, and say the lack of a clear transition process raises questions about what would happen if the 81-year-old Abbas, in power since 2005 despite his mandate expiring, were to die in office.
In a non-binding paper circulated last month, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates made recommendations for tackling splits that have deepened over the past year, while strengthening Palestinian leadership and trying to keep the stalled peace process with Israel alive.
"Efforts to unite Fatah and empower it are aimed at balancing the Palestinian internal arena and this falls under the responsibilities of the head of the movement, Abu Mazen," the two-page paper said, referring to Abbas by his nickname.
Among the recommendations was the holding of "free and fair" elections for parliament and the presidency by July 2017, although there are no indications that will happen. They would be the first parliamentary elections since January 2006.
"The primary reasons are Abbas's systematic mismanagement of such relationships, and a weakness of leadership that has opened greater opportunities for Arab and foreign interference in Palestinian internal affairs," said Mouin Rabbani, a senior fellow with the Institute for Palestine Studies.
PA governor defends naming school after Black September chief
The governor of the West Bank district of Tulkarem on Wednesday defended the naming of a local school for the leader of an infamous Palestinian terror group, calling Israel “delusional” for protesting the move.
Issam Abu Bakr was responding to a tweet by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Spokesperson Ofir Gendelman, who charged the Palestinian Authority with the “glorification of terrorists” for naming a school in Tulkarem after Salah Khalaf, who was the head of the Palestinian terror group Black September.
“The occupation [i.e. Israel] is delusional if it thinks that the Palestinian people can change its culture and forget the leader of its martyrs, Yasser Arafat and Khalil al-Wazir [a co-founder of Fatah] and Salah Khalaf, and the large number of fighters who sacrificed their blood for freedom and independence and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital,” said Abu Bakr at a rally at Al-Quds Open University in Tulkarem on Tuesday.
Black September carried out a number of attacks during the early 1970s, including the hijacking of planes and the assassination of two US diplomats in Sudan.
The group’s most well-known attack was the murder of 11 Israeli athletes during the Munich Olympics in 1972.
Niece of top Arafat aide so loves Israel she had it tattooed on her back
The niece of a top official in the Palestinian Fatah party and a close confidant of the late leader Yasser Arafat says she loves the State of Israel so much, she had the word “Israel” in Hebrew tattooed across her shoulder blades.
Sandra Solomon, 38, was born a Muslim in Ramallah under a different name, but grew up in Saudi Arabia before moving to Canada where she converted to Christianity.
Solomon is the niece of Saher Habash, one of the founders of the Fatah party, a member of its Central Committee and a leader of the Second Intifada.
“I grew up in a home that hated the Jews, hailed Hitler and praised the Holocaust,” she told Channel 2 in an interview Wednesday.
Solomon, who wears a pendant of the Star of David around her neck, and has become a public advocate for Israel, said she hoped the Jewish people would forgive her for the insults and the demonization they underwent in her home and in her surroundings growing up.
She has another tattoo on her arm of the word “Jesus” in Hebrew, above a menorah.
JCPA: The Battle for Mosul and Its Aftermath
Military Action in Syria
In parallel, Turkish-backed Syrian rebel forces captured on the same day of the Iraqi Mosul offensive the most symbolic icon of the Islamic state – the city of Dabiq 40 kilometers north of Aleppo and 10 kilometers south of the Turkish border. According to the apocalyptic belief of the Islamic State, Dabiq is the place where the final battle between the West and Islamic forces will be waged and the place where the forces of Western civilization (“Rome” in the Islamic State jargon and eschatology) will be defeated.
The Turks are pursuing their offensive in Syrian territory to reach their next target: the town of Al-Bab. By doing so, the Turks would accomplish the targets set in August 2016 in their military incursion nicknamed “Euphrates Shield” to create a safe-zone of 90 kilometers wide and 45 kilometers deep into Syrian territory. The zone would prevent ISIS infiltrations into Turkey, hinder any Kurdish attempt to create a territorial continuity from Iraqi Kurdistan to the Mediterranean Sea, and, most importantly, establish a zone that would not allow missile attacks on Turkish soil.
The battle of Mosul may signal the last gasps of the Islamic Caliphate envisioned by Abu Bakr el-Baghdadi, the self-proclaimed Caliph who promised his followers to rebuild the Muslim Empire stretching from Europe to the borders of China. This does not automatically mean an end to the Muslim radical movements nor that the Islamic State abandoned its territorial vision. News of the ISIS intention to create an alternative ground base circulating recently indicates that the choice might fall on Afghanistan (“Khurasan” in the Islamic State jargon) where the Islamic State has been very active in the past year or in Western Africa (the Sahel area). These movements and currents will continue to flourish as long as they are fed with hatred of the Western civilization.
One thing is clear: the defeat of political Islam championed by the Islamic State will be translated into the defeat of the Sunnis in Iraq and Syria and will transform Iraqi and Syrian structures and their regional and global alliances. The main winner will be Iran with hegemony over two of the most important Arab states, while Saudi Arabia and Qatar will have to concede their political defeat facing Iran.
Latest Iranian threat to region includes alleged suicide drone
Iran on Wednesday unveiled photos of a new line of suicide drones. According to Iranian news agency Tasnim, the drone will primarily be used by the regime's Revolutionary Guard for maritime surveillance, but has the capability of carrying bombs for "suicide missions."
The drone can allegedly fly for four hours and cover over 620 miles, according to the Iranian news agency. The aircraft can reach heights of 3,000 feet and as low as 2 feet above ground or water. Even though the drone was photographed, no video was shown of the drone in flight.
The Islamic Republic of Iran had declared that it successfully reverse-engineered an American RQ-Sentinel 170 drone earlier this month, calling the copy Saegheh, or "Thunderbolt." One of the American drones crashed on Iranian territory in December, 2011 due to technical difficulties, according to American sources.
Introduction of Niqab Emojis Causes Mass Online Confusion (satire)
“What emotion are they feeling?!” asked a befuddled Twitter user earlier today following the release of a new emojis series from Apple. Featuring niqab-clad faces displaying a wide range of emotions for users to choose from, the new emojis came with a statement from Apple, explaining the additions. According to the tech giant, “After we introduced more racially sensitive emoji faces, it just made sense to extend that inclusiveness to different religions as well.” And while many have applauded the move, many others are confused by the ‘different’ expressions.
“I don’t really know how to feel about the new emojis,” commented another Tweeter “But, I guess that’s OK as normally I just add a load of puppies and clapping hands to anything about Syria. I don’t think it helps the situation but it makes me feel better.”




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