Wednesday, February 28, 2018

From Ian:

Ben Rhodes and the Democratic Guilt Complex on Russia and Iran
When you’re good at something, you should never do it for free. That’s perhaps why Barack Obama’s former deputy national security advisor, Ben Rhodes, is gearing up to politicize national security issues once again in a professional capacity.

On Tuesday, Rhodes revealed his intention to join former Obama administration officials, Hillary Clinton staffers, and a handful of career civil servants to form “National Security Action,” a 501(c)(4) that will not endorse candidates but will campaign against them. You can probably guess who this organization’s primary target will be. “We’re a temporary organization,” Rhodes told the Washington Post. “Our hope is to be out of business in three years.”

We’ll dispense with the fiction that the conduct of American affairs abroad should be exempt from the petty squabbling that typifies the political process at home. Politics does not and never has stopped at the water’s edge. When it comes to national security, the current administration deserves its share of criticism. The Trump administration spent its first year ceding the turf war in Syria to other competing great powers, and the conditions in the region have only worsened. Similarly, and as former Obama administration officials won’t let you forget, the Trump administration has not done nearly enough to deter Moscow from intervening in the American political process again. Even National Security Agency Director Michael Rogers recently confirmed that the Russian regime has not “paid a price that is sufficient to change their behavior.” What’s more, Rogers has not been directed by the president to “disrupt Russian cyber threats where they originate.”

These are all urgent national-security threats about which every American should be concerned, and polls suggest that they are. Unfortunately for those who take these and other national-security threats seriously, Rhodes and company are among the least credible advocates for their cause.
‘Ambassador Samantha Power Lied to My Face About Syria,’ by Kassem Eid
In A Problem From Hell, Samantha Power explains how the U.S. administration tried to cover up the genocide in Bosnia by instead labeling it a “civil war.” Yet she and President Obama escaped responsibility for the documented and proven war crimes committed in Syria under the Assad regime’s brutal campaign. If Ambassador Power was telling the truth, she should have resigned just as she chided diplomats at the State Department for not resigning during the genocide in Bosnia.

The Assad regime taught us in schools that there was no Holocaust and hid the truth of the crematoriums and the concentration camps where millions of Jews were brutally killed. But the Obama administration also refused to act on—or reveal—direct eyewitness testimony it received of the crematorium in Saydnaya Prison in Syria, where an estimated 100,000 people were brutally killed and then burned to ashes to hide the truth. I’d begged the U.S. administration during my meetings at the State Department back in 2014 to investigate the Saydnaya Prison and Qasioun mountain because my fellow activists in those areas had repeatedly told me since 2012 how they smelled the awful stench of burning flesh. But all I got were empty promises. If a bunch of Syrian activists knew about the crematorium, there’s no doubt in my mind that Obama knew about it from intelligence reports. I strongly suspect he made sure those reports weren’t made public to avoid having to take action against Assad. It was the Trump administration that finally showed the world this reality last year and publicized the truth that Samantha Power, Ben Rhodes, and President Obama tried to hide.

Ms. Power and Mr. Rhodes have been going around the country as activists for the truth, decrying “fake news” and dishonesty, which they say is creating an alternative reality. At the same time, it was these two who during the Obama administration created an alternate universe to hide the genocide in Syria. Rhodes is experienced in creative writing, and he used his skills after he was appointed to be deputy national security adviser by President Obama to write an alternative universe to hide the truth of the Syrian genocide and the Iran deal. It should boggle the mind how these two, who were so instrumental in pushing disinformation to mislead the American people, could in any way be activists for the truth.

In the summer of 2014, a defector from the Assad regime codenamed “Caesar” came to Washington, D.C., after he managed to escape from Syria with thousands of photographs of Syrians who were systematically tortured to death by the Assad regime. Caesar’s collection of photographs was yet another indisputable proof of the ongoing genocide in Syria. Caesar met with Ambassador Power, who shed a tear when Caesar described the horrors he had witnessed during his career as an Assad regime military photographer. Caesar also gave Ms. Power a handwritten note to deliver to President Obama, but he never received any response. I also requested a meeting with President Obama as a survivor of the war crimes in Syria on multiple occasions, through the White House, the State Department, and Ambassador Power, but all of my requests were also denied. Neither Ambassador Power nor President Obama wanted to acknowledge the truth.

Ambassador Power, Ben Rhodes, and President Obama owe an apology to the Syrian and the American people for covering up the evidence of war crimes and genocide in Syria and twisting facts to serve their political agenda and public image.
Trump, and only Trump, stands between us and them
We got lucky. But luck does not last forever. Neither will Trump. Our luck runs out unless we come up with someone who can fill his shoes – and it is not too early to realize this.

Yes we pray for the fullness of his time in office, but Congress can still go either way, and if it goes the wrong way, things could get difficult, even for Trump.

Without him…let’s face it…there is nothing but void. The Democrats? Not a chance. That party is pro-BDS and anti-Israel, and the worst is yet to come under Tom Perez, Ellison and Corey Booker -- if ever they get their hands on the Senate, the House and/or the White House. There is no Trump there; not even a Truman.

Farrakhan --- him you will find.

Even among Republicans there is no Trump outside of Trump. No GOP leader – though far preferable to any Democrat – comes to mind as his successor.

None over the horizon or from the list of GOP candidates he defeated would have come out so forcefully, fearlessly and courageously on Israel’s side.

On Jerusalem, Trump stood up against the world and the world rallied round to him…or is beginning to…since there is no choice…since there is only one United States and only one President Donald Trump. For now, that’s good. It’s terrific. There’s been nothing like him in the recent past.

It’s the future we need to worry about, a day when Trump will be gone with no friend in sight for America or for Israel.

Dear Voters – California has put us on notice.

When the 'agent of peace' cries for jihad
The Palestinian lie molds reality, in both a religious and historical sense. In his pathetic speech "the president" linked the Palestinians to the heretic peoples who inhabited this land over 5,000 years ago, such as the Canaanites and Jebusites – to prove that the Palestinians preceded the people of Israel – while flagrantly ignoring that the land was promised to the Israelites, as the chosen people, in the Quran.

The fact that these ancient peoples were completely eradicated by Joshua while the people of Israel inherited the holy land, to which the Quran attests, is of no matter to the Palestinians. On the contrary, some Palestinians actually claim they are the true Israelites. Abbas' obsession with the identities of his various forefathers, however, raises certain dubious questions about the Palestinians' anonymous matriarch and her behavior.

Meanwhile, because they lack an established genealogical line, the Palestinians are instead trying to negate the Quran's designation of the Israelites as inheritors of the land. In this vein, they call us "Khazars," a rabble, and forgers of history.

Within the framework de-legitimizing Israel, Abbas was willing to include the Christians as his partner with rights to Jerusalem and to grant us a "permit" to visit his holy capital. The PA president has not internalized that the Christians, who are in truth important, have already had their say and that it is pointless to persist with this hypocrisy. He has not understood that even if Muhammad's night journey to Jerusalem really happened and the city is in fact holy to Islam, it does not serve as a reason to make it the capital of "Palestine" – just as Mecca is not the capital of Saudi Arabia.

The speeches delivered by Abbas and his ilk fly under our radar, but the messages they contain percolate into the heart of every terrorist with a knife, vehicle, gun and bomb. Lo and behold, Abbas of all people, the long-time "opponent of violence," boasted in his speech that more than 30 "shahids" (martyrs) have fallen on the altar of "peaceful" resistance since Trump's declaration. It is Abbas, by quoting from the Quran, who is motivating the religious war against Israel. Well, for such an endeavor, it is quite enough to have Ramallah as the capital.
PMW: Youth who sought Martyrdom and Virgins was "murdered," claims the PA
The official PA daily reported that a 16-year-old Palestinian was jealous of the large funerals for "Martyrs," saying that he wanted his own "wedding" like that. His defining a funeral as a wedding is a reference to the Islamic tradition that the PA teaches its people. They claim terrorists and others who die in confrontations with Israel are Shahids - Martyrs - who are rewarded in Paradise with 72 Dark-Eyed Virgins. Accordingly, Palestinian "Martyrs" don't have funerals - they have "weddings."

Apparently, 16-year-old Laith Haitham Abu Na'im was convinced by the PA teachings. According to the official PA daily he "was known for his strong envy of the large Martyrs' (Shahids') funerals," because he wanted his own similar "wedding." Last month, he achieved the death he sought in confrontation with Israel and, according to the PA daily, "a big wedding was held as he yearned for." The PA daily also reported that Abu Na'im "competed with his friends about who would get there first to throw rocks at the occupation's jeeps, and did not let anyone precede him." [Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Feb. 1, 2018]

Palestinian Media Watch has documented the death wish of other Palestinian youths who have yearned to become "Martyrs," and marry the Virgins.

The fact that the PA reports that Abu Na'im went out to a place of confrontation seeking to be killed, does not stop the PA from accusing Israel of murdering Abu Na'im.
The Palestinians and Their Allies Should Know the Truth About the Nazis
Yes, Palestinians can claim their share of suffering, but they have never faced anything remotely like what the Nazis did to the Jews. The only systematic murders of Palestinians because they are Palestinians have been carried out by their fellow Arabs, not Israelis.

During Israel’s administration of the disputed territories, the Palestinian population has grown exponentially. More than 20 percent of the Israeli population are Palestinians who enjoy equal rights with Jewish citizens.

Palestinians in the territories have the right to petition Israeli courts to redress their grievances, and more than 100,000 West Bank Arabs work in Israel and Jewish settlements — with benefits similar to their Jewish co-workers.

Palestinians are not forced to wear special clothes or badges. They have no tattoos on their forearms. They have not been sent to concentration or slave labor camps, or forced to build Israeli armaments. The only camps holding Palestinians today are refugee camps — and the residents are kept there by their fellow Palestinians and other Arabs.
New satellite photos show Iran establishing another base in Syria
Iran has built another permanent military base outside Syria’s capital city complete with hangers used to store missiles capable of hitting all of Israel, according to Western intelligence sources.

Exclusive satellite images from ImageSat International obtained by Fox News show what is believed to be the new Iranian base, eight miles northwest of Damascus, operated by the Quds Force — the special operations arm of Tehran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). The photos show two new white hangars, each roughly 30 yards by 20 yards, used to store short- and medium-range missiles.

On Capitol Hill Tuesday, the top U.S. military commander for American forces in the Middle East said Iran was “increasing” the number and “quality” of its ballistic missiles it was deploying to the region — when asked during a House Armed Services Committee by Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., about reports Iran had moved more missiles into Syria.

Gen. Joseph L. Votel, head of U.S. Central Command, said Iran has “enhanced” its funding to proxy forces in the Middle East since the landmark nuclear agreement in July 2015, including sending missiles, fighters and other arms to Yemen and Syria.
Report: US peace plan divides Jerusalem, keeps Israeli settlement blocs
Two days after EU Foreign Policy chief Federica Mogherini warned the US against taking false steps on the peace process, the pan-Arab newspaper Asharq al-Awsat report Wednesday that the plan Washington is hammering out calls for a demilitarized Palestinian state with limited sovereignty and borders that do not match the 1967 lines.

According to the Saudi paper published in London, the Arab states are unhappy with the framework and are trying to change it before it is presented.

Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki and foreign ministers from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates and Morocco met earlier this week in Brussels with Mogherini and the 28 EU foreign ministers and said that the plan tilts toward Israel and is unacceptable to the Palestinians.

The report stated that the Arab foreign ministers asked the EU to immediately engage with the US and get them to change the parameters of the plan before it is presented, because it will be much more difficult to do so afterward.

On Monday, after meeting with the Arab foreign ministers, Mogherini said that the EU and Arab League ministers “have dealt with the conflict long enough around our common table to know what can fly and what cannot fly, and we believe it is wise to consider what can fly and cannot fly in terms of peace plans before putting any plans on the table and avoiding any false steps, Because given the region, any false step can be very dangerous.”

The Asharq al-Awsat report, based on Arab diplomatic sources in Paris, said that the US intends to present the plan at an international conference to be held in an Arab capital, likely Cairo.

Under the plan, according to the report, the US will recognize a Palestinian state and its capital in east Jerusalem, on condition that the Old City will come under international protection. The plan calls for the Jordan Valley and major settlement blocs to remain under Israeli sovereignty, and for small, isolated settlements to be relocated.
US envoy slams Iranian minister for 'making a mockery' of UNHRC
Iranian justice minister, a sanctioned human rights violator, unapologetically took the podium at the U.N.'s Human Rights Council meeting Tuesday to berate U.S. and Saudi policies, defying calls for him to stay away in a visit a top U.S. diplomat said made a "mockery" of the UNHRC.

Justice Minister Seyyed Alireza Avaei's visit has been criticized because he's faced EU sanctions for six years for his role in arbitrary arrests, denying prisoners' rights, and increasing executions in Iran. Switzerland, which hosts a key U.N. office and the council, has also handed him economic sanctions – but not banned him from visiting.

U.N. Geneva spokeswoman Alessandra Vellucci said Avaei did not face any U.N. sanctions.

That did not deter other critics of Avaei's visit. He was on hand Tuesday for the council's "high-level segment," a lead to its March session, which this year is bringing together nearly 100 dignitaries, including many ministers and a few heads of state.

U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley said Sunday the rights council "be ashamed to allow Mr. Avaei to address it."

Haley used the chance to again criticize alleged shortcomings of the council that she had laid out in speeches in Geneva in June.

"Yet again the council discredits itself by allowing serial human rights abusers to highjack its work and make a mockery of its mandate to promote universal human rights," Haley said. "This does nothing but reinforce the United States' call for much-needed reforms at the council for it to be viewed as a good investment of our time and money."
Key US lawmakers want to boost Israel's $38B defense aid package
U.S. senators who just returned from a trip to Israel called on Tuesday for an increase in the $38 billion in military aid the United States is currently providing Israel, signaling support for more funds for Israeli missile systems.

Senators Lindsey Graham, a leading Republican foreign policy voice, and Chris Coons, a Democratic member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said they considered the provision of $38 billion over 10 years, "a floor."

Graham said during a meeting with reporters that he thought provisions in the agreement phasing out an arrangement in which Israel could spend U.S. funds on its own defense industry and the provision of just $500 million in missile defense funding were "shortsighted."

Coons said tensions in the broader region supported the idea of more funding for Israel, citing the ongoing war in Syria and Iran's recent use of a stealth drone.

The United States and Israel signed an agreement in September 2016 to give Israel $38 billion in military assistance over the next decade, the largest such aid package in U.S. history but one that included concessions by Israel's government.
US envoy praises Honduras for supporting Jerusalem embassy move
The US ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, on Tuesday heaped fulsome praise on Honduras for being one of a few countries that backed the controversial US decision to move its embassy to Jerusalem.

In a visit to Tegucigalpa to see newly re-elected Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez, Haley stressed that US President Donald Trump’s government was “committed” to Hernandez and his administration.

The two countries’ bonds were evident, she said, in the way Honduras voted with the United States at the United Nations in December to support Trump’s plan to move the US embassy to Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

“That was not an easy decision for any country to have to vote on, but the people of Honduras stood with us in being able to make that decision for ourselves and decide where we want our embassy and to know that is our right,” Haley said in a joint news conference with Hernandez.
Professor Dershowitz: New Zealand made a terrible mistake at the UN.
Professor Alan Dershowitz needs little introduction in legal circles. A preeminent civil-liberties and constitutional lawyer and recently-retired Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, he has also been described as “the best-known criminal lawyer in the world” after taking on a string of high-profile cases.

Professor Dershowitz was in New Zealand in January and gave a talk to a large audience at the University of Auckland Business School, sponsored by the law firm Minter, Ellison, Rudd, Watts along with the Raye Freedman Trust.

In a Q&A session chaired by local constitutional law expert and former New Zealand Prime Minister, Sir Geoffrey Palmer, Professor Dershowitz covered a range of topics that included the US constitution and legal challenges to President Trump, current threats to free speech and the erosion of civil discourse between increasingly polarised political camps.

While warmly complimentary about New Zealand’s history of tolerance, Professor Dershowitz castigated New Zealand for making a critical error in its support for UN Resolution 2334 in December 2016, saying:

“This country made a terrible mistake by voting for a United Nations resolution that said that the Western Wall of Jerusalem, the Hebrew University, the Hadassah Hospital, the Jewish Quarter [of the Old City of Jerusalem], were all illegally occupied territory”.

Professor Dershowitz characterised the US’s failure to exercise its veto as former President Barack Obama’s attempt to “get revenge on Binyamin Netanyahu”, which led directly to President Trump’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

“It was a thoughtless, foolish, bigoted Security Council resolution and it is what led to President Trump deciding to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel because he had to level the playing field. We couldn’t have peace if these places, historically Jewish, are regarded as occupied territory. You can’t trade land for peace if it’s illegal for Israel to hold on to the Western Wall, because how much would Israel be giving up to get the wall in any negotiation? It would be extortion, not negotiation.”
Brutal Murder of French Jewish Pensioner Sarah Halimi Will Be Prosecuted as Antisemitic Hate Crime After All, French Court Decides
The brutal murder in April 2017 of a French Jewish pensioner by an Islamist assailant will be prosecuted as an antisemitic hate crime after all, the judge investigating the case announced on Tuesday.

French news outlets reported that the investigating judge decided to retain the charge as an “aggravating circumstance” after hearing directly on Tuesday from Kobili Traore — the 27-year-old Malian immigrant who subjected 65-year-old Sarah Halimi to a severe beating after breaking into her Paris apartment. He later threw Halimi out of a third-floor window to her death.

The announcement will come as welcome news to the French Jewish community, which had been deeply concerned by an earlier judicial decision in January to revisit the antisemitism charge on the grounds of Traore’s alleged mental health problems. In an interview this week with the French Jewish news outlet Actualité Juive, Muriel Ouaknine Melki — a lawyer who represents Halimi’s brother, William Attal — emphasized that “the way in which Sarah was slaughtered shows a characteristic, specific hatred, which unfortunately our experience of antisemitic cases now allows us to identify fairly quickly.”

Melki’s advocacy group, the Organization Europeenne Juive (OJE–European Jewish Organization), has been battling the claim that antisemitism was incidental to Halimi’s murder from the very beginning. On Sunday, March 4, the OJE will hold a special event at a Paris synagogue to commemorate Halimi, with speakers including the chief rabbi of Paris, Michel Gugenheim.
Netanyahu: Zero tolerance for rockets — ‘they get hit immediately’
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Tuesday he believed in a policy of “zero” tolerance for rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip and Syria, no matter how sporadic.

“My policy is zero spillover,” he told cadets at the National Defense College, an academic institution which trains high-ranking defense officials in national security fields.

“There’s no tolerance for spillover, no ‘drip-drip’ [of rockets] — they get hit immediately” in response to attacks, he said. “That hasn’t always been the policy, but this policy is proving itself.”

“Drizzle” is a term often used in Israel to describe the infrequent rocket attacks that have been the norm along the Gaza frontier in the years since the Israeli pullout, even during times of relative peace. “Spillover” is used to refer to intermittent rocket strikes in Israel’s north, as an unintended result of years-long fighting between the Syrian regime and rebel forces along the border.

Netanyahu added that “In a small country like Israel one thing is certain: We must maintain our ability to defend, and our ability to attack and deter, which is the basis for our defense capability.”
Church of the Holy Sepulchre reopens as three-day protest ends
The Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem’s Old City, seen by many as the holiest site in Christianity, reopened on Wednesday after a three-day closure to protest against Israeli tax measures and a proposed law.

The two men who act as keepers of the key of the church opened its large wooden doors at around 4:00 a.m., ending the protest that began on Sunday at noon.

Shortly afterwards, a group of pilgrims arrived to visit the sacred site.

The church is built where Christians believe Jesus was crucified, buried and resurrected. Custody of it is shared by the Greek Orthodox, Armenian and Roman Catholic denominations.

The closure — which seemed to be the longest since at least 1990 — had left thousands of pilgrims and tourists seeking to visit locked outside.

Tuesday’s decision to call off the protest came after the Prime Minister’s office announced earlier in the day that it was suspending the tax collection and freezing the legislation until a newly formed committee — to be headed by Regional Cooperation Minister Tzachi Hanegbi — could work out the issues with the churches.

“After the constructive intervention of the Prime Minister, The Churches look forward to engage with Minister Hanegbi, and with all those who love Jerusalem, to ensure that Our Holy City, where our Christian presence continues to face challenges, remains a place where the three Monotheistic faiths may live and thrive together,” the church leaders said in a statement.

In addition to the Jerusalem Municipality suspending the tax collection actions it has taken in recent weeks, the government will also suspend all pending legislation regarding church land until the committee examines the issue, the Prime Minister’s Office announced, saying that the committee would work “with the participation of all relevant parties, to formulate a solution for the issue of municipal taxes on properties owned by churches that are not houses of worship.”

“The team will negotiate with the representatives of the churches to resolve the issue,” it said, adding that “as a result, the Jerusalem Municipality is suspending the collection actions it has taken in recent weeks.

“Israel is proud to be the only country in the Middle East where Christians and believers of all faiths have full freedom of religion and worship,” the statement from the Prime Minister’s office said. “Israel is home to a flourishing Christian community and welcomes its Christian friends from all over the world.”
PreOccupiedTerritory: Breaking The Silence Activist Offers To Beat Palestinians If Prosecutors Indict Bibi (satire)
Drama continued to surround a series of corruption cases involving Israel’s prime minister this afternoon as a prominent member of a human rights group volunteered to perpetrate physical abuse against Palestinians if that would help encourage the Attorney General to indict the premier on various charges.

Dean Issacharoff, who previously claimed to have beaten Palestinians when he was serving in the military, offered to kick, punch, pelt, hit with a gun, and similarly mistreat any number of tied-up Palestinians if AG Avichai Mandelblit decides to prosecute Binyamin Netanyahu in any of the four investigations currently plaguing the leader. Issacharoff joins other Breaking the Silence activists such as Ezra Nawi in such a firm commitment to helping Palestinians no matter how much it hurts Palestinians. The latter activist was recorded disclosing to an Palestinian Authority official the name of a Palestinian who had sold land to Jews, a capital offense under Palestinian law.

“Anything to help end this corrupt occupation, this corruption-inducing occupation,” declared Issacharoff. “My organization is dedicated to ending this illegal and immoral occupation by whatever means necessary, and if it takes beating Palestinians to get that job done, I’m prepared to do that.”
IsraellyCool: Near-Lynch Victims Meet Palestinian Who Saved Their Lives
A group of American Yeshiva boys who were almost lynched by palestinians in Hebron nearly two and half years ago have met the man who saved them – a palestinian who sheltered them in his home until they were rescued by Israeli security forces.

Note: the below video is in Hebrew but parts are in English – and you will understand what is going on enough to give you the warm and fuzzies.

Nearly two and a half years after being saved from an angry mob, two Chasidic men arranged a reunion with the Palestinian man who rescued them from what appeared to be certain death.

According to Israel’s News 20, Moshe Lefkowitz and Shlomo Kraus shared an emotional meeting with Faiz Reit in Gush Etzion last week, recalling the frightening moments when Waze directed them into a Palestinian neighborhood while on their way to Mearas Hamachpeila (The Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron – Aussie Dave).

As previously reported on VIN News, Lefkowitz and Kraus were with three other American yeshiva students whose car was set on fire after being surrounded by dozens of stone throwing Palestinians. Reit intervened, sheltering the group in his home until they were rescued by Israeli security forces.
Why Turkey Wants to Invade the Greek Islands
Turkish propagandists also have been twisting facts to try to portray Greece as the aggressor. Ümit Yalım, former secretary-general of the Ministry of National Defense, for example, said that "Greece has turned the Greek-occupied islands into arsenals and military outposts that Greece will use in its future military intervention against Turkey."

Turkish politicians all seem to have their own motivations for their obsession with the islands: Traditional Turkish expansionism, Turkification of Hellenic lands, neo-Ottomanism and Islam's flagship of conquest -- jihad. There are also strategic reasons for their wanting to invade the islands, which can be understood in a statement made by Deputy Prime Minister Tuğrul Türkeş about Turkey's control of Cyprus since 1974:

"There is this misinformation that Turkey is interested in Cyprus because there is a Turkish society there... Even if no Turks lived in Cyprus, Turkey would still have a Cyprus issue and it is impossible for Turkey to give up on that."

The same attitude and mentality apply to the Aegean islands. Although Turkey knows that the islands are legally and historically Greek, Turkish authorities want to occupy and Turkify them, presumably to further the campaign of annihilating the Greeks, as they did in Anatolia from 1914 to 1923 and after. The destruction of any remnant of Greek culture that existed in Asia Minor, a Greek land prior to the 11th century Turkish invasion, is almost complete. There are fewer than 2,000 Greeks left in Turkey today.

Given that Turkey brutally invaded Cyprus in 1974, its current threats against Greece -- from both ends of Turkey's political spectrum -- should not be taken lightly by the West. Greece is the birthplace of Western civilization. It borders the European Union. Any attack against Greece should be treated as an attack against the West. It is time for the West, which has remained silent in the face of Turkish atrocities, to stand up to Ankara.
IDF officer: Killing Nasrallah would mean victory in war against Hezbollah
Killing Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah would amount to a “decisive victory” for Israel in a future war with the Hezbollah terrorist group, a senior IDF official said on Wednesday.

The warning directed against the terror chief came amid increasing speculation that a war between Israel and Hezbollah is becoming more likely, with Jerusalem threatening it will take action to keep the group from getting Iranian precision-guided missiles.

“If we succeed in killing Nasrallah in the next war, that will be a decisive victory,” the officer told reporters, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Nasrallah has long suspected that Israel sees him as a prime target and has therefore lived in an underground bunker for the vast majority of the last 11 years — since the Second Lebanon War — fearing an Israeli airstrike.

The 2006 war with the Iran-backed Hezbollah ended without such a “decisive victory,” and the conflict is generally seen in Israel as having been either a failure or a draw.
MEMRI: In The Shadow Of U.S. Demands For Disarming Hizbullah And For Compromise In Lebanon-Israel Border Conflicts, U.S. Secretary Of State Tillerson Is Insulted In Lebanon Visit And Meetings Yield No Results
On February 15, 2018, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson arrived in Lebanon for an hours-long stopover, as part of his Middle East tour that included Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon, Kuwait, and Egypt. During his visit, he met with Lebanese President Michel 'Aoun, Prime Minister Sa'd Al-Hariri, Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil, and parliamentary speaker Nabih Berri. Tillerson's treatment in Lebanon was insulting; he was met at the airport by the Foreign Ministry's director of ceremonies, not by Foreign Minister Bassil, and, after arriving at the presidential palace for his meeting with President 'Aoun and Minister Bassil, he was kept waiting for several minutes until they arrived – and in the meeting hall the American flag was not displayed alongside the Lebanese flag.

The nature of Tillerson's reception may have been connected to the American demands that he brought with him in the matter of disarming Hizbullah and in the matter of the Lebanon-Israel dispute over gas drilling rights in the Mediterranean. These demands had been raised with the Lebanese several days previously by U.S. Acting Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs David Satterfield.

Throughout his Middle East tour, Tillerson expressed conflicting positions vis-à-vis Hizbullah. The day before his Lebanon visit, he said, at a press conference in Amman, Jordan, that the reality of Hizbullah as part of the political process in Lebanon should be acknowledged. However, the next day, at the conclusion of his Lebanon visit, he clarified that the U.S. sees Hizbullah as a terrorist organization and does not differentiate between its political and military wings.

This report will review Tillerson's Lebanon visit, statements he made, demands he presented, and how he was received by the Lebanese leadership.
How Russia is using Syria as a military 'guinea pig'
Russia’s deputy defense minister claimed Thursday that Moscow has tested over 600 new weapons and other military equipment in Syria since intervening in the conflict in 2015. "The chance to test in real combat can’t be overestimated," Yuri Borisov asserted, adding that "customers have started queuing up for the arms that have proven themselves in [battle].”

The comments came on the same day that the head of the powerful defense committee in Russia’s Duma, the lower house of parliament, contended that 200 of the items were next-generation systems.

"It’s not an accident that today they are coming to us from many directions to purchase our weapons, including countries that are not our allies,” Vladimir Shamanov declared. "Today, our military industry made our army look in a way we can be proud of."

According to Mathieu Boulegue, a Research Fellow in the Russia and Eurasia Program at the London-based Chatham House think-tank, "many analysts in Moscow view the Syria campaign as a 'Revolution in Military Affairs,' which is an American term that derives from the US experience mostly during the First Gulf War. Russia sees Syria as a theater for learning how to use [cutting-edge] technology and command and control techniques in modern warfare.

"They are also getting similar experience in Ukraine," he elaborated to The Media Line, "and it is impossible to separate between the two campaigns as the lessons gained in both arenas are fed into the same beast."

The Russian hardware being tested reportedly includes advanced aircraft, cruise missiles and precision-guided munitions in addition to armory, battlefield drones and electronic warfare systems, among many others.

One prominent example is the introduction into Syria of the Sukhoi Su-34 and Su-35 fighter jets, twelve of the former reportedly having soon thereafter been sold to Algeria. Other countries such as Indonesia, India and Nigeria have likewise expressed interest in the plane since it became battle-tested, allowing for tangible evaluation of its performance.
U.N. report links North Korea to Syria’s chemical weapons program
North Korea has been shipping materials to the Syrian government that could be used for the production of chemical weapons, according to a secret UN report, the New York Times reported on Tuesday.

The report, which was written by a panel of experts, stated that the supplies, which included acid-resistant tiles, valves and thermometers, were part of at least 40 previously unreported shipments to Syria between 2012 and 2017.

Additionally, North Korean missile experts were spotted inside Syria, working at known chemical weapons and missile facilities.

The UN report, which is more than 200 pages long, also emphasized the danger of such a cooperation between the two countries which would allow Syria to maintain its chemical weapons while providing North Korea with funding for its nuclear missile programs.

As reported by the New York Times, it is unclear when the report will be released; and the authors and members of the United Nations Security Counsel refused to comment. However, a former member of the UN panel of experts on North Korea, William Newcomb, called it "an important breakthrough."

“We knew stuff was going on,” Mr. Newcomb said to the New York Times. “We really wanted to up the game on chemical weapons programs, and we just weren’t able to get what we needed to do so.”
Hezbollah launches shoot ’em up video game set in Syrian civil war
Sidling down the mean streets of Syria with his rifle, he picks off his enemies relentlessly: Ahmed is the hero of the video game launched Wednesday by Lebanese terrorist group Hezbollah.

The Shiite paramilitary group held a ceremony and news conference in Beirut to unveil the latest production of its electronic media department, which it named “Sacred Defense – Protecting the Homeland And Holy Sites.”

“It reflects Hezbollah’s experience in Syria,” Hassan Allam, one of the game’s developers, told AFP.

The first-person shooter game is a low-cost spinoff of bestseller “Call of Duty” that glorifies the group’s battles in the ongoing Syrian conflict.

The scenario’s introductory sequence has Ahmed in plain clothes visiting the Sayyeda Zeinab shrine, one of the holiest sites in Shiite Islam.

The mausoleum comes under attack and Ahmed reappears wearing a military uniform in a room whose walls bearing a poster of Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah.
PreOccupiedTerritory: People Who Emboldened Iran With Nuke Deal Can’t Understand Why Country Keeps Ignoring Syria Ceasefire (Satire)
Diplomats and political figures instrumental in handing the Middle East to Iran on a silver platter and short-circuiting any action that might restrain in the Islamic Republic’s imperialism for fear such a move might imperil the JCPOA governing Tehran’s atomic weapons program voiced confusion today at the news that the Shiite militias doing the mullahs’ bidding in Syria and Tehran’s allies in Damascus continue to disregard the UN-declared cease-fire in East Ghouta this week.

Former Secretary of State John Kerry, former White House adviser Ben Rhodes, and numerous members of the Obama administration’s media echo chamber confessed their puzzlement today (Wednesday) upon receiving reports that the cease-fire has been rendered meaningless by repeated Tehran-allied actors violating it. After playing a key role in showcasing Western inability or unwillingness to check Iran’s pursuit of regional hegemony and create a “Shiite Crescent” to the Mediterranean, the politicians, diplomats, and journalists admitted they remain at a loss to explain what might make Iran and its proxies think they could do whatever they want in Syria and face no consequences.

“I’m stumped,” admitted Kerry in a phone interview. “I know the Iranians, and I can tell you Mr. [Foreign Minister Javad] Zarif is quite a charming fellow – this seems nothing like him. I’m sure it’s just a misunderstanding. No reason to make a big deal out of it, I think. Why risk messing up the nuclear deal, which is working as planned?”

“I wouldn’t be so quick to believe those reports,” cautioned Rhodes. “Were they carried by the journalists and commentators who parroted my every word about the deal? If not, that should tell you everything you need to know about their veracity. It’s probably a smear job by warmongering neocons bent on plunging the Middle East into another bloody war. If I were so inclined I might even make not-so-vague insinuations that pro-Israel elements are behind the reports, hoping to suck America into a quagmire.”
Egyptian singer gets six-months jail term for insulting the Nile
An Egyptian court sentenced pop star Sherine to six months in prison on Tuesday for suggesting drinking from the Nile River leads to illness, although she will remain free pending an appeal.

Sherine Abdel Wahab, known simply as Sherine, had apologized after being caught on tape joking with concert goers that Nile water could give them parasites.

The Cairo misdemeanor court convicted her of having spread “false news.” Judicial officials said she would remain free on bail pending an appeal.

Sherine is one of the region’s best known singers. She is also an actor and hosted the Arabic version of singing contest The Voice.

In the video recording of the concert, Sherine is asked by a fan to sing her tune “Have You Ever Drunk From the Nile.”

She responds that drinking from the river could cause “bilharzia,” a name for the parasitic disease schistosomiasis which was once widespread in Egypt.

“Drink Evian instead,” she joked.

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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

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