Thursday, September 11, 2014

From Ian:

9/11 knocks at the door
“We do not regret the things we did. In this life, that passes so rapidly. No, it was when we failed to grasp the moment. The one that never came again.”
Dvora Waysman, who has, with sweetness and insight, helped us better understand life and find its meaning, was on my mind as the current countdown to the thirteenth anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks has been making itself felt. Yes, Dvora says to us, “life passes so rapidly,” so “take life with both your hands” because each moment will never come again.
The piercing impact of 9/11 has begun to fade somewhat, as even terror will do. What it should tell us is that the countdown of our days can always be interrupted so unexpectedly, so dramatically, we must grab hold of each 24 hours placed at our door. As 9/11 recalls pilots who learned “how to take off” but not to land, we are currently being invited to the “beheading” of an individual, an act in flaming red in pristine sand about which we can do nothing.
One of the major theological interpreters of 9/11, Arthur Magida, put it this way. “And now something indecent has happened and it strikes at the very core, not just of our nation, but at something deeper and more fragile than that; at our sense of who we are and what we are and how we are to live our lives.
We try to repair the world and it collapses down on us.”
Israel commemorates 9/11 attacks
People around Israel commemorated on Thursday the 13th anniversary of the September 11 terror attacks, in which al-Qaida terrorists killed almost 3,000 people.
A memorial ceremony was held by the Jewish National Fund at the site of the 9/11 Living Memorial in Jerusalem. US ambassador Dan Shapiro spoke at the ceremony along with other ambassadors from around the world, as well as representatives of the Israeli families who lost their loved ones in the attacks.
A second ceremony was held on Thursday afternoon at the The Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya, close to the actual time that the first plane hit the World Trade Center in New York.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu spoke about Israel's shared sorrow with the US over the attacks.
"We remember that day 13 years ago and we mourn with you on this day for the thousands who lost their lives in that horrific attack," Netanyahu said. "All of Israel mourns on September 11."
On 9/11. Remembering Daniel Lewin. The First victim
This one is for the nutbars, anti-Semites and conspiracy theorists who continue to claim that no Jews were killed on 9/11.
Remembering Daniel Lewin, z'l.
His remarkable life, cut short by terror, was the subject of a biography published last year, "No Better Time: The Brief, Remarkable Life of Danny Lewin, the Genius Who Transformed the Internet."
In 1984 , Daniel Lewin moved with his family to Israel. He served in the Israel Defense Forces as an officer in the elite Sayeret Matkal for 4 years. After graduating from the Technion, he received a scholarship for graduate studies at MIT. While at MIT, he worked on the theoretical side of computer science, developing innovative algorithms to enable web sites to handle heavy traffic. He co-founded Akamai Techonologies which handles 30% of the worlds internet traffic and posted an annual revenue of $1.37 billion in 2012.
Daniel Lewin was one of the 81 passengers, nine crew members, and two pilots on American Airlines Flight 11 when it took off from Boston’s Logan Airport.early on Sept. 11, 2001. Daniel was sitting in business class seat 9b.
America and Israel Standing United on Sept 11 | iVoteIsrael

If the BBC reported 9/11 like it reports attacks against Israel....(satire)
Arabs massacred by Americans in day of tit-for-tat violence
The cycle of violence in America spiralled out of control today when a series of violent incidents left thousands dead. Those killed are known to include many Arab and Muslim civilians. UN sources and Al Jaziera has confirmed that many of the Arabs killed were refugee children who had fled from oppression. Although an American spokesman claimed that they too suffered “many civilian deaths”, this has been denied by the UN-affiliated relief workers in the Al Quaeda organisation who maintain that the only Americans killed were military personnel and illegal settlers.
The violence started when one of five unarmed Arab civilians, who boarded a 767 aircraft in Boston, was refused permission to fly the plane, despite having a valid flying licence. The American authorities have been imposing increasingly tight restrictions on the freedom of movement of Arab civilians within the US. This humiliation to their dignity has created, not unsurprisingly, deep anger and resentment among even moderate Arabs and other Muslims. When the fully qualified pilot was denied the opportunity to work in his chosen profession, he became understandably angry. The outnumbered Arab men were then attacked by members of the crew, but what really happened next may never be known. What is certain is that all of the five Arabs were killed, along with the plane’s other occupants (primarily military and intelligence personnel along with some illegal American settlers) when the plane crashed into the North tower of the World Trade Center. Al Jaziera and the UN confirmed that the building (which housed a mosque) contained many Arab refugee children, who were all killed in the attack along with a number of Muslim workers. Some illegal American settlers dressed as businessmen may also have perished.
Palestinian Authority Unveils Memorial To 9/11 Hijackers (satire)
Ramallah, September 11 – Thirteen years after nearly 3,000 people were killed in Islamic terrorist attacks on US soil, a Palestinian monument has finally been set up to commemorate the event and to honor those who died piloting the aircraft involved.
A forty-foot statue of a Boeing 767-200ER crashing into a skyscraper was unveiled this morning in the square amid fanfare and speeches by political and cultural figures calling for continued resistance to Western “colonialism.” A military band played nationalist songs in praise of martyrdom while sweets were distributed to children, and attendees held aloft banners in tribute to the 19 men, mostly Saudi nationals, who hijacked four airplanes and crashed three of them into the Twin Towers and the Pentagon. A fourth attempt was thwarted by passengers and that plane crashed in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
The base of the statue features a plaque with the names of the nineteen hijackers, after whom numerous children have been named in the Muslim world. When news of the attacks and resulting destruction reached the Palestinian territories in 2001, residents reacted jubilantly, as they saw the attacks as punishment for American policies in the Middle East. But in the intervening years Palestinian frustration has grown, as even such a fearsome blow to prominent symbols of American economic and military might produced no reduction in American support for Israel and no progress toward the defeat and destruction of Israel.
Everything You Need To Know About The Gaza War In 5 Minutes
VOX boasts that it can explain everything one needs to know in two minutes with various degrees of derpitude. Spare three more and you’ll get a detailed explanation of the Gaza War between Israel and Hamas by British Col. Richard Kemp.
Kemp detailed the conflict in a video for Jerusalem U, explaining its beginning sparked by the murder of three Israeli teens by Hamas.
Kemp then explains how Hamas’ strategy of using human shields and hiding its weapon cache in schools and hotels puts Israel in the precarious position of risking civilian casualties in its defense.
Despite the surging Islamic Caliphate and religious oppression across the globe, Kemp explains how the world at large is solely focused on denouncing Israel. He then goes onto explain how it is the sole democracy in the Middle East, justified in its defense, and deserves to supported at the front lines of fighting back the growing threat of terror.
The Gaza War in 5 Minutes: Thoughts from Col. Richard Kemp

Israel Vindicated by UN Damage Assessment in Gaza
An analysis of the damage assessment data collected - on the Gaza War - by the UN Office of Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (which has never been biased in Israel's favor), confirms that Israel attacked Hamas targets in a restrained manner:
Israel did not retaliate by rote against Hamas' systematic attacks on civilian targets; Israel bombed areas which harbored Hamas missile launching grounds and facilities, command posts, terrorists homes and hideouts, operational bases, weapon inventory and tunnels.
Most of the damage concentrated in very limited areas of 25 square meters of less, while most of Gaza was not damaged at all or in a very limited manner. Less than 5% of Gaza was hit by The Israel Defense Forces.
The most populated areas of Gaza City, Jabaliya, Khan Yunes, Rafah and Deir el-Balah were disproportionally-undamaged: damaged in a very limited way or not damaged at all.
The areas highlighted by the UN damage assessment report are compatible with the Israel Defense Forces briefings on the location of Hamas facilities, especially in the Shuja'iya area, which was the arena of the most intense battles.
While Hamas concentrated its terror facilities - systematically and deliberately targeting Israeli civilians - in densely populated urban areas in Gaza, the vast majority of these urban areas were undamaged.
Masterpost of Pro-Israel videos
NB: Not all footage listed herein is from the recent 2014 escalation (before and during Operation Protective Edge). If you plan to use these clips to make a point, please confirm the date before doing so.
Confusion over "Jihad"
Shortly he founded the Muslim Brotherhood in 1928 (31 years before Davutoglu was born), Hassan al-Banna made very clear what jihad was about: "It is the nature of Islam to dominate, not to be dominated, to impose its laws on all nations and to extend its power to the entire world."
Al-Banna was certainly not modest in his goals, and his followers seem no less ambitious. One of political Islam's founding fathers and prominent ideologues, Sayed Qutb, also a Muslim Brotherhood member, declared all non-Muslims to be "infidels" -- a term which justified fighting them.
More recently, a 2004 fatwa by Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi simply made it a religious obligation for Muslims to abduct and kill U.S. citizens in Iraq. The fatwa advocated a war of Arabism and Islamic jihad against the British and the Jews.
And, according to Hamas's charter, "the only way to engage in the [inherently irreconcilable struggle:] jihad between Judaism and Islam, between truth and falsehood is through Islam and by means of jihad until victory or martyrdom."
It should be clear to anyone with a primary school education that the gentlemen al-Banna, Qutb, al-Qaradawi, and the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas, are not referring to a spiritual inner struggle for salvation. No idea how an inner struggle for salvation can be achieved with stones and missiles.
Analysis: US plunges reluctantly, but definitively, into Syria
Without law, order or a semblance of governance, Syria has become a medieval problem that President Barack Obama acknowledged tonight he can no longer ignore.
In an historic address delivered to the American people thirteen years after September 11, Obama's new battle against Islamic State in Syria amounts to the boldest foreign policy shift of his presidency: the opening of a war front against a country the United States has never before attacked, without approval to do so from Congress or from the country's nominal government.
In Iraq, too, the president has gone all-in against the threat of Islamists: "If there is an ISIL [Islamic State] target that we need to hit in Iraq, we will hit it," one senior Obama administration official said.
Going forward, likely for years to come, borderlands that once divided Iraq and Syria will now be targets of the US Air Force.
Heavy Blow Administered to Assad’s Foes
Ahrar al Sham, the “Islamic Movement of the Free Men of the Levant,” is a 10-20,000-strong group of jihadist-Salafi fighters which constitutes the main component of the “Islamic Front” fighting Syrian President Bashar Assad. The group represents the so-called “moderates” in the jihadist movement. On September 9, Ahrar al Sham was dealt a major blow in what appears to have been a suicide attack that cost the lives of at least 46 (and perhaps as many as 70) top military officers and political leading figures of the group.
Ahrar al Sham emerged in 2011 after the Egyptian Revolution that toppled President Mubarak from which it seems to have drawn its inspiration. Its presence in Syria was felt in early 2012 when it quickly became one of the leading Salafi groups in Syria. Ahrar al Sham was considered to be second in strength to the Islamic State and much more powerful than Jabhat el Nusra. Ahrar al Sham did not engage in the type of sophisticated, high-profile urban suicide bombings that became the trademark of the Jabhat al-Nusra group. In January 2013 the group claimed to operate 83 units across Syria, including in the cities of Damascus and Aleppo. In February 2013 it merged with three other groups to form Harakat Ahrar al-Sham al-Islamiyya. Unlike the Islamic State, formerly ISIS, Ahrar el Sham seeks a state run on Islamic principles that would also protect women’s rights, as well as ethnic and religious minorities.
House Foreign Affairs Chair Threatens “Unpleasant” Consequences Over Turkey and Qatar Terror Support
Both Qatar and Turkey have since the beginning of the year found themselves engulfed by scandals linked to their consolidation – along with Sunni extremist groups including the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, Al Qaeda, and ISIS – into one of three regional blocs. Turkish outlets were describing Turkey and Qatar as allies early in the year, and they were in turn linked to ISIS once the Islamist terror organization burst into world consciousness.
News subsequently emerged that Istanbul’s former police chief had accused the country’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, of facilitating the movement of a Saudi businessman who has been widely accused of being a terror financier. Meanwhile Qatar spent the summer – per just one of many headlines that appeared in Arabic media outlets and beyond – “hit[ting] back at claims it backs extremists.” Qatar’s pushbacks fell short of total success. Earlier this week The New York Times published a wide-ranging expose on Doha’s links to terror and extremist groups.
Meanwhile the U.S.’s traditional Arab and Israeli allies have found themselves in a de facto second regional camp, opposite both the Turkish-Qatari extremist axis and an expansionist Shiite bloc anchored by Iran. Simon Henderson – a Washington Institute fellow and the director of the think tank’s Gulf and Energy Policy Program – suggested last week that a recent Saudi delegation to Doha upbraided the Qataris over their foreign policy in a manner that involved “straight talk at the least and possibly even outright threats.”
Hamas and the Delusion of Victory Amir Taheri
The latest Gaza war broke out because both Israel and Hamas found the status quo hard to bear. Hamas knew its support base was collapsing inside Gaza. Earlier this year, the US’s PEW Research Center global poll showed that 63 percent of Gazans had a negative opinion on Hamas. Interestingly, Hamas was slightly less disliked in the West Bank where 53 percent had a negative opinion of it. That was in line with a dramatic change of mood across the Muslim world, where between 50 percent (in Turkey) and 79 percent (in Nigeria) of people rejected radical Islamists.
The status quo that led to war has not changed in Gaza. Hamas is still there with only one strategy: firing occasional rockets against Israel. And Israel is still there with an aversion to having rockets fired against it.
If Haniyeh thinks that is a great victory, he had better seek treatment for an acute attack of delusion.
Dept. Foreign Minister: Hamas Likely to Restart Hostilities
Israel's deputy foreign minister warned Thursday that Hamas was likely to resume "violence" if it feels it has made no political gains from upcoming talks in Cairo.
The remarks came just two weeks after Israel and the Islamist terrorist group that dominates Gaza agreed a truce to end a 50-day war that killed more than 2,200 people and caused enormous destruction in the coastal territory.
"There are chances that Hamas will restart its routine of violence, this is a possibility we can't ignore," Tzahi Hanegbi told Army Radio.
"The resumption of fighting would not happen in the short term, since Hamas will wait for negotiations in Cairo, as well as the October Gaza donors' conference.
"But when Hamas understand that the war has not brought them the smallest political success, they could resume fighting."
Last Israeli Injured in Gaza War 'Out of Danger'
Gadi Yarkoni, the last Israeli to be injured in Operation Protective Edge, was out of danger on Thursday, doctors said. Yarkoni is the administrator of Kibbutz Nirim in the Gaza border area. He was severely injured by a Hamas rocket just minutes before the cease-fire at the end of the 50-day war took effect.
Yarkoni, who was until now in a hospital intensive care unit, was on Thursday transferred to the orthopedic ward in Barzilai Hospital in Ashkelon, a report said. His condition has improved considerably, doctors say, but now the real challenge - the rehabilitation process - begins. As a result of the attack, Yarkoni lost both legs from the knee down.
Yarkoni was injured when a mortar shell fired by Hamas terrorists hit him and two companions - the security coordinator of the kibbutz, Zevik Etzion, and his deputy, Shahar Melamed – when they were outdoors examining the kibbutz's electricity infrastructure for damage it sustained during the war. They did not have time to take cover when the shell landed near them.
Travel Terror Continues Around Tekoa, Jerusalem, Judea
Arab terrorists were out in force on Wednesday, attacking travelers along the roads and rails of Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem.
By 10 pm, there were at least 21 reports of deadly Arab ambushes with rock attacks and firebombs aimed at Israeli vehicles, according to the Hebrew-language 0404 website.
A bus traveling towards Tekoa in eastern Gush Etzion came under attack by Arab road terrorists who hurled rocks and firebombs at the driver and passengers. The window of the bus was shattered but miraculously no one was physically injured.
“They hit the bus with a hail of stones,” one of the passengers told the 0404 website, “then hurled a bottle of paint at the windshield of the driver.”
Rioting Arab Mob Attacks IDF Soldiers Near Ramallah
A mob of rioting Arabs attacked Israeli soldiers Wednesday near Ramallah following the funeral of a Hamas terrorist killed overnight in Samaria.
Hundreds of Arabs hurled rocks at the soldiers following the funeral of 22-year-old Issa al-Qitri; he was one of about 50 Arabs who attacked Israeli soldiers the night before in an attempt to prevent IDF troops from arresting a Hamas operative.
The Arabs hurled rocks and firebombs (Molotov cocktails), and rolled burning tires at the soldiers, according to the IDF Spokesperson. Soldiers opened fire and hit a rioter who hurled an explosive device at the troops, the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit said. Al-Qitri later died of the gunshot wounds. Seven others were arrested.
Israeli cop charged over beating of Palestinian-American teen
Israel's Justice Ministry said Wednesday that police have charged a border police officer who was filmed beating a Palestinian-American teenager during a violent protest in July.
Tariq Khdeir, 15, of Tampa, Florida, was beaten at the east Jerusalem protest that followed the gruesome death of his cousin, 16-year-old Mohammed Abu Khdeir, who was burned to death by Israeli extremists in revenge for the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teens in June. Their deaths set off a chain of events that led to the Gaza war this summer.
The Justice Ministry said a police investigation concluded that "evidence was found supporting the guilt of the police officer suspected of severe violent crimes." It did not name the officer charged, nor did it say what charges the officer would face.
PA Officials Say Palestinians Are 'Moderates', Don't Like ISIS
Officials in Ramallah and Gaza claim that there is little or no support there for ISIS, the Islamist terror group that has conquered large parts of Iraq and Syria. A report in the Palestinian Authority-controlled daily Al-Quds al-Arabi quoted top officials as saying that despite trying, the group had been unable to make inroads among Palestinian Arabs.
The officials were quoted in the report as saying that Palestinian Arabs “believe in moderate Islam,” not in Islamist practices – such as imposing belief in Islam on “infidels” on pain of death – that ISIS practices.
What's the reality?
The reality, however, is somewhat different. In Gaza in particular - where 89% voiced support for the decidedly un-moderate Islamist Hamas terrorist group in a recent poll - support for the "Islamic State" or ISIS is actually quite significant, with so many Gazans traveling to fight for the group that it reportedly created a special unit for them.
Palestinian elections postponed over war damage, PM says
Elections for a new Palestinian government will not take place by the end of the year as hoped, Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah said in an interview published Thursday, blaming the summer’s Gaza conflict for the delay in the vote.
Speaking to The Wall Street Journal, Hamdallah said the extensive damage caused in the Gaza Strip during the recent conflict between Hamas and Israel makes elections unpractical.
“Winter is coming and people are displaced,” he said. “We’re not abandoning the plan to have elections… [but] looking for a home for them is more important than going for elections.”
PA Unity Deal Threatened Over Gaza Civil Service Salaries
The Palestinian Authority unity government is falling apart over the issue of who should pay the back salaries of Hamas civil service workers.
Gaza’s ruling Hamas terrorist organization stopped paying its workers months ago, instead diverting funds to weapons development, tunnel building and other war mongering activities. Nor are they paying them now.
As late as three weeks ago Hamas terrorists were still summarily executing numerous Gaza civilians they believed may have been collaborating with Israel, usually after quickie kangaroo court trials — if any at all.
When the unity government deal was signed last spring, Hamas assumed the new administration would take over all the debts. But Ramallah-based Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) chairman and rival Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas is refusing to pay the bills until Hamas is willing to allow the unity government to actually govern the workers – and Gaza.
AFP: Abbas Accuses Hamas of ‘Running a Parallel Administration in Gaza’
News outlets conveyed reports – beginning Saturday and extending through Monday – of increased tensions between Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah faction and the Hamas terror organization, with Abbas slamming Hamas for, per Agence France Presse, ‘effectively running a parallel administration in Gaza’:
“We will not accept the situation with Hamas continuing as it is at the moment,” Abbas said in remarks published by official Palestinian news agency WAFA.
“We won’t accept a partnership with them if the situation continues like this in Gaza, where there is a shadow government… running the territory,” he said.
Saudi-backed paper sees no funds for Gaza as long as Hamas in power
Any international conference to aid Gaza in reconstruction will fail as long as Hamas continues to monopolize power in the Strip, the deputy editor in chief of the London-based Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat said in an op-ed on Wednesday.
“Today there is talk of an international conference on the reconstruction of Gaza. But the political picture remains unclear,” Ali Ibrahim asserted in the Saudi-backed newspaper.
“As long as Hamas insists on controlling the Gaza Strip and continues to prevent the PA and the national unity government from exercising their duties, there will be neither funds nor investment.”
Jordanian Parliamentarians: Cancel Gas Agreement with Israel
Some 40 Jordanian parliamentarians have demanded that the Jordanian government prevent the national electricity company from signing an agreement to import gas from Israel, the Jordanian-based Ammon News website reported on Wednesday.
In a memorandum submitted by MP Khamis Attia during a session yesterday, the group said: "We the undersigned deputies call on the government to prevent the national electricity company from signing an agreement to import gas from the State of Israel."
"We deplore any agreement to import gas from Israel. The government or the national electricity company must not sign any agreement with Israel which would contribute to the occupation," added the MPs.
Muslim Brotherhood to "Official Jordan": Support Palestinian Jihad If You Want to Survive
On August 29, the Jordanian chapter of the Muslim Brotherhood held a big rally in support of Hamas, following the Gaza war. The General Guide of the Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood, Sheikh Himam Said, called upon "official Jordan," in reference to King Abdallah, to cut ties with "the Jews" and support the Palestinian "Jihad" if he wanted to survive. 

Sinai man decapitated for being ‘Mossad spy’
A beheaded corpse was found by residents of Egypt’s Sinai peninsula on Wednesday with a note attributed to Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, a jihadist group with links to the Islamic State.
According to Reuters, residents in the area reported that the note said that the victim was a spy for Mossad, the national intelligence agency for Israel.
“This is the fate of all who prove to be traitors to their homeland,” the terrorists warned in the note, according to local residents who spoke to the news organization.
Sheik of Al-Azhar: Global Zionism Behind Islamist Terror Organizations
Sheikh Al-Azhar: All the [fundamentalist terrorist groups] are the new products of imperialism, in the service of global Zionism in its new version, and its plot to destroy the [Middle] East and tear region apart. Our evidence for this is the Western American hesitancy and foot-dragging in confronting these terrorist organizations, as compared with the Western onslaught on the Iraqi state in 2003, for example, and the disbanding of the Iraqi army in record time and under fabricated reasons and false pretexts, as well as the providing of justifications that lead one to believe that the people there [the West] interpret security, peace, and human rights to be nothing other than their own peace and security, and human rights exclusively for the whites.

United Nations confirms 45 Fijian peacekeepers freed
The United Nations said Thursday that all 45 Fijian peacekeepers held captive by an al-Qaeda-linked Syrian rebel group have been released in Syria’s Golan Heights.
UN Deputy Spokesman Farhan Haq said: “We can confirm they have been released.” He said they were released at the Quneitra crossing point in the Syrian-controlled part of the Golan Heights.
The UN said in a statement: “All the 45 peacekeepers are in good condition and will proceed back to Camp Foar for medical assessment.”
Watchdog: Assad Gassed Civilians in April
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad used chemical weapons on Syrian villages in April, according to an international watchdog agency.
The conclusion, based on months of investigation by a fact-finding team, appeared to indicate that the Syrian government was continuing to use chemical weapons in the country’s civil war, despite having agreed to forswear the weapons, surrender its arsenal and tear down its manufacturing plants.
The agency, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, said in a statement from its headquarters in The Hague that the information its team had collected provided “compelling evidence” that the toxic chemical was used “systematically and repeatedly” in Talmanes, Al Tamanah and Kafr Zet, three villages in northern Syria.
France: We're Prepared to Take Part in Airstrikes Against IS
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said on Wednesday that France was prepared to take part in air strikes on Islamic extremists in Iraq "if necessary," according to AFP.
"In Iraq... we support the formation of an inclusive government. We will participate if necessary in an aerial military action," Fabius said in a speech in Paris.
Last week, French President Francois Hollande had raised the possibility of a "political, humanitarian and if necessary military response in accordance with international law" to fight against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS).
Fabius urged an international alliance to fight the dangers posed by IS "which could reach our own soil," he said, adding, "Several hundred French jihadists are present in Iraq and Syria."
Germany, UK say won't take part in air strikes against IS in Syria
The foreign ministers of Germany and Britain said on Thursday they would not be taking part in air strikes in Syria against the Islamic State militant group.
German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier told a news conference in Berlin that Germany has not been asked to take part in the air strikes and would not be participating. "To quite clear, we have not been asked to do so and neither will we do so," Steinmeier said.
His British counterpart Philip Hammond said Britain "supports entirely the US approach of developing an international coalition" against the Islamic State, whom he described as "barbaric", and said that in terms of how to help such a coalition "we have ruled nothing out".
Turkey backs off promise to fight IS, official says
Turkey will refuse to allow a US-led coalition to attack jihadists in neighboring Iraq and Syria from its air bases, nor will it take part in combat operations against militants, a government official told AFP Thursday.
“Turkey will not be involved in any armed operation but will entirely concentrate on humanitarian operations,” the official said on condition of anonymity.
The decision echoes the country’s refusal to allow the US to station 60,000 troops in Turkey in 2003 to invade Iraq from the north, which triggered a crisis between the two allies.
Ankara then also refused Washington permission to use its air bases to attack Saddam Hussein’s regime.
Russia says US airstrikes without UN mandate would be act of aggression [NOT SATIRE!]
Russia's Foreign Ministry said on Thursday airstrikes against Islamist militants in Syria without a UN Security Council mandate would be an act of aggression, Interfax news agency reported.
"The US president has spoken directly about the possibility of strikes by the US armed forces against ISIL positions in Syria without the consent of the legitimate government," ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said.
"This step, in the absence of a UN Security Council decision, would be an act of aggression, a gross violation of international law."
Syria warns against foreign intervention after Obama speech on Islamic State
Any foreign intervention in Syria would be an act of aggression unless it is approved by Damascus, a Syrian government minister said on Thursday, after the United States said it was prepared to strike against Islamic State militants in the country.
"Any action of any type without the approval of Syrian government is an aggression against Syria," Ali Haidar, Minister of National Reconciliation Affairs, told reporters in Damascus.
"There must be cooperation with Syria and coordination with Syria and there must be a Syrian approval of any action whether it is military or not," he said.
After Obama declares war on Islamic State, Iran slams make-up of emerging coalition
Iran said on Thursday the emerging international coalition to battle Islamic State militants was "shrouded in serious ambiguities," Iranian state television reported.
"The so-called international coalition to fight the ISIL (Islamic State) group... is shrouded in serious ambiguities and there are severe misgivings about its determination to sincerely fight the root causes of terrorism," Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham said on Thursday.
She did not mention specifically a call by US President Barack Obama for a broad coalition to root out Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.
She also accused some members of the coalition of being "financial and military supporters of terrorists in Iraq and Syria."
#BurnISISFlagChallenge Draws Condemnation and Support [video]
There have been all kinds of variations on the original creative Ice Bucket Challenge for ALS. But some folks in Lebanon have one that probably many people throughout the Middle East, and even in Europe and the United States, would be too frightened to take on. It’s the #BurnISISFlagChallenge, and it was started by three Lebanese youths after ISIS captured Lebanese soldiers and police, and beheaded a Lebanese officer. This happened when members of ISIS took over the Lebanese border town of Arsal for several days in August. ISIS continues to hold captive those they did not behead.
But photographs of the Lebanese soldier’s beheading was posted on social media, enraging many Lebanese.
The hashtag #BurnISISFlagChallenge or #BurnISIS has been circulating across social media since Saturday, after pictures of the three boys burning an ISIS flag in Beirut’s Sassine Square were first shown.
Iran: Woman Jailed for Attempting to Watch Men's Volleyball Game in Tehran
British-Iranian Ghoncheh Ghavami, 25, has been locked up in Iran’s infamous Evin prison for over two months because she dared to attempt to watch a men’s volleyball game in Tehran.
On June 20, Ghavami and over a dozen others tried to watch the Iranian men’s national team take on Italy. After her initial apprehension, she was released but arrested shortly thereafter and thrown into Tehran’s Evin prison.
Six Iranians go on trial over 'Happy' video
The trial against six young Iranians who danced in a YouTube version of Pharrell Williams' viral song Happy has started in Tehran.
The three men and three women, who have an average age of 25, were arrested in May, as police accused them of helping make an "obscene video clip that offended the public morals" and later released on bail.
The arrests triggered an international outcry and were condemned, among others, by Pharrell, whose hit was downloaded millions of times in the US and danced by people all over the world.
"It is beyond sad that these kids were arrested for trying to spread happiness," the singer wrote on his Facebook page.
The six friends are facing a series of charges including having sex outside marriage, posting on "the vulgar YouTube channel", failing to observe proper Islamic dress, dancing, and having contacts with foreign television networks, an allegation that could entail the more serious offence of spying, The Times reported.


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