LCCC ENGLISH DAILY NEWS BULLETIN
Bible Quotation for today/Favoritism Forbidden
James 02/01-10/"My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favoritism. Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in filthy old clothes also comes in. If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, “Here’s a good seat for you,” but say to the poor man, “You stand there” or “Sit on the floor by my feet,” have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? Listen, my dear brothers and sisters: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him? But you have dishonored the poor. Is it not the rich who are exploiting you? Are they not the ones who are dragging you into court? Are they not the ones who are blaspheming the noble name of him to whom you belong? If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,”you are doing right. But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers. For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it."
Latest analysis, editorials from miscellaneous sources published on September 28 and 29/14
The intellectual battle against ISIS/By: Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum/Al Arabiya/September 29/14
Analysis: Israel increasingly anxious over
world's flexibility to nuclear Iran/By
YOSSI MELMAN/J.Post/September 29/14
Turkey joins the anti-ISIS coalition’s war/By: Abdulrahman al-Rashed /Al Arabiya/September 29/14
Obama adopts a reactive approach rather than showing leadership/Raghida Dergham/Al Arabiya/September 29/14
Do Khorasan militants represent a real threat/Dr.
Theodore Karasik /Al Arabiya/September 29/14
The Khorosan Group Does Not Exist It’s a fictitious name the Obama administration invented to deceive us./By Andrew C. McCarthy/29.09.14
Revoking citizenship is not the answer for disillusioned youth/BY RICK SALUTIN/ 29.09.14
Peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians are officially off the table/By: Nahum Barnea/Ynetnews/September 29/14
Lebanese Related News published on September 28 and 29/14
Lebanese PM: I support negotiations to release captives
Hariri condemns Syrian opposition’s stance on Arsal raids
Iranians, Hezbollah members among those freed from Yemen intelligence HQ: source
Air France pilots end strike after 14 days
Nusra Says Hizbullah Blocking Hostage Talks, Azzam
Brigades Say Party Wants to 'Implicate Army'
Pro-Army protestors invade Al-Jazeera's Beirut offices
Lightning strike burns down power plant in Tyre
Army Opens Fire on Driver for Not Stopping at Zgharta
Former MP's Mustafa Allouch house targeted in alleged 'warning
Pro-Army protestors invade Al-Jazeera's Beirut offices
Interior Minister Nouhad Machnouk denounces ISIS flag's link to Islam
Amin Gemayel Acknowledges Discrepancies among March 14 Camp on Legislation
Youths Storm al-Jazeera Office in Beirut, Demand Apology to Army
Abou Faour: Some Progress in Troops Case, Turkey Promised Salam to Help
Jarrah Says 'FSA Mediation' Saved Captive Troops from 'Massacre'
Lebanese Boxing Champion Murdered in Vancouver
Miscellaneous Reports And News published on September 28 and 29/14
intelligence underestimated militants in Syria
Obama: US misjudged Iraqi army, militants' threat
Rebellious” Abadi decisions cause rift with Maliki: source
Libyan PM takes oath after elected parliament approves new cabinet
Syria: Kurds demand Turkey’s help against ISIS, threaten to halt peace process
Syria’s Nusra Front vows retaliation against U.S.-led air strikes
Air strikes hit makeshift refineries in Syria
Syria's Qaeda chief warns West against continued strikes
Turkey 'can't stay out' of anti-IS fight: Erdogan
US-led raids hit ISIS oil as Nusra threatens reprisals
Egypt acquits 112 on appeal over protest law
David Cameron had ‘considered resigning’ over Scotland
Al Qaeda-linked militants in Yemen fire rocket towards U.S. embassy
Palestinian negotiator Erekat to Israel: 'Do you see us as people
Turkish activist that participated in Marmara flotilla killed in US strike while fighting IS
Jordan says safe despite role in anti-IS coalition
Al Qaeda figure killed by US strike in Syria
Saudi Shi'ite dissident dies after clash with police
Islamic nations lobbying Palestinians to go to ICC
Obama: US intelligence underestimated
militants in Syria
In interview with CBS, Obama makes case for military intervention, says threat from Islamists in Syria was underestimated.
Reuters / 09.28.14/Israel News/Ynetnews /US intelligence agencies underestimated Islamic State activity inside Syria, which has become "ground zero" for jihadists worldwide, President Barack Obama said in a CBS television interview broadcast on Sunday. Conversely, the United States overestimated the ability of the Iraqi army to fight the militant groups, Obama said in a "60 Minutes" interview taped on Friday, days after the US president made his case at the United Nations for action Citing earlier comments by James Clapper, director of national intelligence, Obama acknowledged that US intelligence underestimated what had been taking place in Syria. Islamic militants went underground when US Marines quashed al-Qaeda in Iraq with help from Iraq's tribes, he said. "But over the past couple of years, during the chaos of the Syrian civil war, where essentially you have huge swaths of the country that are completely ungoverned, they were able to reconstitute themselves and take advantage of that chaos," Obama said according to a clip of the interview broadcast earlier. And so this became ground zero for jihadists around the world." Obama last week expanded US-led air strikes, which began in Iraq in August, to Syria and he has been seeking to build a wider coalition effort to weaken Islamic State. This group has killed thousands and beheaded at least three westerners while seizing parts of Syria and northwestern Iraq. Clapper told a Washington Post columnist this month that US intelligence had underestimated Islamic State and overestimated Iraq's army. "I didn't see the collapse of the Iraqi security force in the north coming," Clapper was quoted as saying. "I didn't see that. It boils down to predicting the will to fight, which is an imponderable." Obama outlined the military goal against Islamic State: "We just have to push them back, and shrink their space, and go after their command and control, and their capacity, and their weapons, and their fueling, and cut off their financing, and work to eliminate the flow of foreign fighters." But he said a political solution is necessary in both Iraq and Syria for peace in the long term, according to the interview, which will be broadcast in full on Sunday night.
Amin Gemayel Acknowledges
Discrepancies among March 14 Camp on Legislation
Naharnet/Kataeb Party leader Amin Gemayel recognized on Sunday the differences among the various parties of the March 14 alliance regarding next week's legislative session, reported the Kuwaiti daily al-Seyassah. He told the daily: “The discrepancies are not unusual, because the alliance is not a single bloc, but each side has its own assessment of affairs.”“The differences however do not hinder our absolute understanding over fundamental national issues,” he added. “The legislation that some sides are calling for however is dangerous because it will marginalize the presidential elections” and the ongoing vacuum in the presidency, warned Gemayel. “Who has the authority to deem whether an issue requires necessary legislation or not?” he wondered on some political parties' statements that they are willing to attend legislative sessions that tackle pressing affairs, such as the new wage scale. Holding legislative sessions in light of the presidential vacuum will “legitimize the vacuum,” he cautioned to the daily. “Once the lawmakers grow accustomed to such violations, then all sorts of violations will become permissible,” he said. “We should therefore be strict in our implementation of the constitution,” remarked the Kataeb Party chief. The party has repeatedly stressed that it rejects holding legislative sessions in light of the presidential vacuum. Other blocs, including its ally the Lebanese Forces, have been demanding that the session be held to approve pressing issues. Gemayel also reiterated his position that the presidential candidates who failed to be elected after May 25 should clear the stage for other figures.
“Given the circumstances, stubborn stances will be harmful. It is as if a candidate is making the lawmakers elect him president by force,” he added. “This is not democracy,” he said. Lebanon has been without a president since May 25 when Michel Suleiman's six-year term ended over the failure of the rival MPs to agree on a compromise candidate. LF chief Samir Geagea is the March 14 alliance's main candidate while Free Patriotic Movement chief MP Michel Aoun is unofficially backed by the March 8 alliance. Aoun has not announced his candidacy, claiming he would do so only if there was consensus on him.
Lebanese PM: I support negotiations to release captives
The Daily Star/BEIRUT: Turkey and Qatar must join efforts to secure the release of the Lebanese captives kidnapped by ISIS and Nusra Front, said Prime Minister Tammam Salam, saying he would support a negotiated deal. According to an article published by Al-Hayat Sunday, Salam said he would support negotiating a deal with the militants to find a solution to the hostage crisis, but called for keeping the matter “away from competition and political bidding.” The prime minister disclosed that he had asked Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to maximize his efforts regarding the hostage crisis and received Erdogan's assurances he would do so. “It is up to Qatar and Turkey to negotiate a deal and coordinate their efforts in this framework,” Salam said, talking to the Arab daily during his trip to New York in which he participated in the 69th General Assembly of the United Nations. Health Minister Wael Abu Faour had announced Saturday that some steps had been achieved on the way toward finding a solution to the ongoing crisis. “I spoke with Maj. Gen. Abbas Ibrahim today ... and all what I can say is that things have started moving to a certain extent, but I shall not disclose any details that must remain secret,” Abu Faour said, after meeting some of the relatives of the captives in one of their tents blocking the main road at Dahr al-Baidar. “Some preliminaries are already taking place, and we hope they will lead to an actual discussion that would eventually lead to the release of the kidnapped soldiers,” he said. Abu Faour’s visit to the protesting families was undertaken on behalf of the Progressive Socialist Party leader, Walid Jumblatt, and was not an official visit on behalf of the Lebanese government. However, he said he had updated the families on the prime ministers trip to New York. “Qatar’s emir pledged to intervene and made several calls at that same moment [during his meeting with Salam] with the relevant sides to launch serious efforts regarding this file,” he said. Abu Faour confirmed that his party supports exchanging detainees from Roumieh Prison for the captives; however, he said ministers have not yet discussed the matter. “The state is obliged to make some concessions, and no one in the Cabinet underestimates this issue,” he said. “But the discussion on whether to accept a prisoner swap has not yet been brought before the council of ministers.”
Interior Minister Nouhad Machnouk denounces ISIS flag's link to Islam
The Daily Star/Sep. 28, 2014 /BEIRUT: Interior Minister Nouhad Machnouk Sunday slammed those responsible for raising black ISIS flag in Tripoli, saying the emblem had no links to Islam.
“The ISIS flag does not represent Islam when soldiers and civilians are executed under its name,” Machnouk said, during an honorary ceremony thrown on his behalf by the Makassed Philanthropic Islamic Association. Those who raised the ISIS flag in Tripoli do not represent the citizens of the city, he said, arguing that the act “is not just an assault on the Lebanese but it is also an assault on religion."The interior minister said that he does "not tolerate a Lebanese citizen or soldier being executed under this flag."Calling for restraint, Machnouk acknowledged that the moderate approach was harder to adopt the extremist one, "using religion as a political tool is easier," despite the fact that the politicization of religion goes against religious values, he argued. Machnouk refrained from responding to questions concerning the construction of refugee camps for displaced Syrians or the hostage crisis, but said the Internal Security Forces was cooperating with the Lebanese Army. Machnouk said the latter cooperation was first championed by the late former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, who he said strived to transform the ISF into "a serious partner in the making of security decisions." In the past six months, both the ISF and the Army have been working together to thwart security threats in Lebanon. The only way for the ISF to play a more influential role in the country, Machnouk said, was by having a "sound and healthy relationship" with the military. The ISF, especially its intelligence branch, was important in Lebanon's fight against terrorism, the minister said, adding that such threats have diminished considerably in the past seven months.
Hariri condemns Syrian opposition’s stance on Arsal raids
Sep. 28, 2014/The Daily Star
BEIRUT: Future Movement leader and former Prime Minister Saad Hariri Sunday criticized the statement sent by Syrian opposition groups to the U.N. Security Council, in which they condemned the Lebanese Army raids on Syrian refugees in Arsal.
“The statement presented by the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces to the Security Council, to condemn what was called 'the Lebanese Army’s human rights violation and the attacks on refugees in Arsal,’ contradicted all the standards by which we want the brotherly relationship to be maintained,” a statement released by Hariri's office said. Hariri said the comments were harmful to the good relations held between the Syrian opposition and its Lebanese supporters.
“It is painful to see among the Syrian revolutionaries some who are adopting terrorism and ruining the relations by kidnapping soldiers and threatening civil peace,” Hariri said. Acknowledging that some of the actions committed by Lebanese Army soldiers were “unacceptable and unrepeatable,” Hariri said that the acts incited tensions that should be avoided during the sensitive phase that Lebanon was passing through. “But this does not deny the fact that the Lebanese Army is acting under the challenges and threats posed by militant groups,” Hariri added. The Lebanese Army performed intensive raids on Syrian refugee camps in the northeastern town of Arsal Thursday, reportedly detaining hundreds in its search for suspects. The Army accused two or three suspects of burning tents during its raids to distract it from its mission, while opposition groups accused Army soldiers of setting the camp on fire. In his statement, Hariri said that the extremist groups who are holding the Lebanese troops hostage were exploiting them as a way to intimidate the Lebanese people and Army, and were seeking to use Syrian refugee camps as a pressure card. “While it is the right of the Syrian coalition to defend the human rights of refugees ... the interest of the refugees and that of the revolution is served by raising their voice and calling for the release of the Lebanese captives,” Hariri said, “which was not included in the coalition’s letter to the Security Council.” Although condemning the Syrian opposition’s stance, Hariri confirmed in the statement that his position on the Syrian crisis remains intact.
“Our stand toward the Syrian people’s rights and its sacrifices facing a regime of oppression, elimination and tyranny, is one that cannot be compromised or alternated,” Hariri underlined. “It will not be influenced by some statement or speech, because it is based on an established conviction that that the huge price our brothers in Syria have paid for their freedom, shall not go to waste.”The secretary general of the Syrian coalition had condemned the Army measures in Arsal, claiming that a Syrian child was killed during the raids. “The abusive behavior of the Lebanese Army towards the Syrian refugees in the town of Arsal does not conform to the reputation of the Lebanese Army,” he said in a statement Friday. "They have been provoked by Hezbollah in order to salvage its influence, which is about to vanish as a result of its intervention in Syria."The coalition called on the Lebanese government to “immediately stop these abuses against Syrian refugees,” release the men detained during the raids, and open an investigation to take legal action against those responsible.
Pro-Army protestors invade Al-Jazeera's Beirut offices
The Daily Star/BEIRUT: A group of Lebanese activists held a protest at the offices of Al-Jazeera television station in Beirut Sunday expressing anger over comments made by a journalist against the Lebanese Army. Carrying banners in support of the military, dozens of activists from a previously unknown group named “Omega” gathered at the offices of the television station in the Clemenceau neighborhood of Beirut, calling on TV host Faisal al-Qassem to apologize for anti-Army remarks he made over the weekend. The protestors said the refused to vacate the Beirut offices of the Qatar-owned satellite news channel until Qassem apologized. An anti-regime Syrian journalist and a host of the weekly al-Itijah al-Muakis (The opposite direction) talk-show aired by Al-Jazeera , Qassem posted on his twitter account that the only achievements the Lebanese Army had made since its establishment were shooting video clips with Lebanese singers Wael Kfoury, Najwa Karam, Elissa and Haifa Wehbe along with arsoning the camps of Syrian refugees in Lebanon . His remarks came days after the Army intensified a crackdown on Syrian refugee camps in the northeastern town of Arsal. One of the camps was set ablaze during the operation. The military said soldiers did not torch the settlement, but that three individuals tried to set the camp ablaze and were arrested by the Army. Army Commander Gen. Jean Kahwagi said that Army measures in Arsal aimed at protecting the town which was briefly occupied by militants from ISIS and the Nusra Front last month. Qassem’s remarks outraged many Lebanese who started a hashtag on Twitter insulting the journalist’s mother. The hashtag trended over the weekend with some Twitter users cursing Qassem and requesting that he apologizes for what he said. Lebanese activists also vowed to file a lawsuit against Qassem Monday for insulting the Army and "undermining the prestige of the state." Qassem responded on twitter by reiterating his stance and further mocking the Lebanese Army.
Former MP's Mustafa Allouch house targeted in alleged 'warning'
Sep. 28, 2014/The Daily Star
BEIRUT: Future Movement official and former Tripoli MP Mustafa Allouch reported suspicious activities around his residences overnight Friday, claiming the incident was just the latest in a series to target his residence over the years. At 11 p.m. Friday an anonymous motorcycle driver stopped in front of Allouch’s house, motioning his head to the guards before driving off, the former MP told The Daily Star. Allouch, who was not home when the incident happened, said that a Renault Rapid had stopped by his house only moments after the motorcycle had driven away. The Renault driver then proceeded to flash the headlights in the direction of the guards as it circled the house before driving away, he added. The car did not have a license plate, said the former MP, adding that the incident “might be a warning.”Though the intent behind the maneuver remains unclear, Allouch referenced a social media campaign that was waged against him by “extremist groups” the day incident took place. According to the former MP, he received viral threats after delivering a statement that he said “would upset some people.”Security forces came to Allouch’s residence after he reported the incident. The suspicious activity had been recorded on surveillance cameras installed around his house. Allouch doubted whether security forces would be able to seize the perpetrators, saying that past experiences had made him wary of “anonymous cases.” “This is not the first time something like this has happened” said Allouch. Without elaborating the former MP said that five separate incidents had targeted his residence over a span of several years.
Analysis: Israel increasingly anxious over world's flexibility to nuclear Iran
By YOSSI MELMAN/J.Post
As Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu departed to address the UN General Assembly in New York on Sunday, and to meet with US President Barack Obama, the fear in Israel was mounting with regard to the warming ties between Iran and the United States. Amid the struggle against Islamic State, there were more and more indications that the US and the Western powers were willing to relax their position regarding Iran's nuclear program. This impression became stronger following the reports that the US is coordinating with Iran in its aerial assaults on Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.
Israel is worried that the offers made to Iran in the negotiations over its nuclear program, which Iran has rejected as unsatisfactory, demonstrate the world powers' willingness to accept the Islamic Republic as a "threshold nuclear power" just a screws-turn away from possessing a nuclear bomb. Israel's anxiety was apparent on Wednesday when Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz revealed classified information with the permission of a military censor that is friendly to the government and more strict to the media. Steinitz revealed that Iran has used its Parchin military base as the site for secret tests of technology that could be used only for detonating a nuclear weapon.
The reason why Steinitz came out with the information was to influence the world powers in the nuclear talks to delay the signing of an agreement with Iran that will leave Iran with significant capabilities to enrich uranium. The negotiations with the powers – the US, France, Britain, Russia, Germany and China- are supposed to end with a permanent agreement in around two months. Over the last week, senior officials in the Obama administration have leaked some ideas that could form the basis of an agreement with Iran.
One idea is that Iranian centrifuges will not be dismantled but will rather be disconnected from the system that fuels them and connects them together. Another idea under consideration is to allow Iran to keep some 5000 centrifuges, which would put Tehran in a good position to enrich high level weapons-grade uranium in the future if it chose to do so. These offers that are unsatisfactory to Iran have infuriated Jerusalem.
Israel's position was that in any agreement Iran would have to dismantle all its centrifuges or only be able to keep around 1000 which would prevent it from enriching uranium to a high level. The latest developments in the Middle East have hardened Iran's bargaining positions in the nuclear talks. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and the moderates around him are interested in a permanent agreement on the nuclear issue that will remove the painful sanctions against their economy.
On the other hand, as the masters of "bazaar-style" negotiating, Tehran senses that it can reach a better deal for Iran if it stands firm. Iran feels that the West wants to see it a de facto partner in the coalition that is forming against ISIS. Even the accomplishments of the Shi'ites in Yemen, who currently control large parts of the capital Sana'a, encourage the Iranians and give them hope that regional events and time are in their favor.
And because for Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu relations between Iran and Israel are a zero sum game, any Iranian achievement and any Western concession to Iran is a loss for Israel. In Netanyahu's speech at the General Assembly on Monday and in his meeting with Obama, the prime minister will try to minimize the negative fallout for Israel. It is doubtful that he will succeed. The world knows that the military threats that Israel wielded successfully from 2011-2013 are no longer realistic.
Turkey joins the anti-ISIS coalition’s war
Abdulrahman al-Rashed /Al Arabiya
Sunday, 28 September 2014
The Muslim Brotherhood has adopted Turkey’s initial stance of opposing international military intervention against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and issued statements condemning the anti-ISIS alliance. However, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu later announced that the government had changed its stance and was ready to take part in this military intervention. We now expect the Brotherhood to alter their stance as well so as not to miss the party!
It seems Turkey’s initial stance was a mere maneuver to convince ISIS to release the Turkish hostages the former had detained after the Turkish government began to restrain the activity of fighters crossing to Syria through its land. Another reason Turkey altered its stance was that it had been waiting to see the results of popular stances in Arab countries.
Most objections to the anti-ISIS alliance and to the war against ISIS have come from Iran. This is positive because all decisions that Iran rejects are being accepted by most Arabs as a result of the severe divisions and the increased hatred between both parties, particularly over Syria. Other than that, objections to this war against ISIS have been insignificant.
“Most objections to the anti-ISIS alliance and to the war against ISIS have come from Iran”
The opposing statements from the Muslim Brotherhood, which once led public opinion, are no longer of any significance either.
Syria's Muslim Brotherhood
Syria’s Muslim Brotherhood is known to be smarter than the rest of the international organization. It avoided getting involved in political stances that weaken them and it worked separately from the organization’s major branches in Egypt and Jordan. The latter branches did not adopt a stance against the Syrian regime, neither before nor during the revolution. Their stance thus harmonized with the Iranian stance which represents the real compass of the Brotherhood’s activity in the region and they only adopted a frank stance in support of the Syrian people during the last days of deposed Egyptian President Mohammad Mursi. I think Syria’s Brotherhood made a strategic mistake when it said it objects to the international plan to fight ISIS in Syria, using the excuse that it wants to have “the first bullet in Assad’s head!” I think it’s a strategic mistake because they are aware of the complications of the international situation and they’re supposed to know that whoever rides the wave of confronting ISIS is more likely to end up in Damascus! Their excuse is defending the extremist group of Ahrar al-Sham which is as controversial as ISIS when it comes to its extremist ideology – though it hasn’t used knives to slaughter people and hasn’t recorded footage of its victims.
Turkey, as a state and NATO member, has commitments to keep in any war that NATO approves in exchange for NATO’S responsibility of protecting Turkish territories from the repercussions of regional and international struggles, including fears from Iran and Russia. This NATO membership does not force the Turks to participate in the war against extremist Islamist organizations in Syria and Iraq; however, not participating will automatically mean depriving Ankara of the benefits from the results of the war, including political decisions such as the future of governance in Syria and the situation’s arrangements in Iraq. This is why Erdogan chose to alter his stance. It’s why he announced that he does not only support these international efforts against ISIS but is also willing to send military troops.
Of course, Erdogan’s excuse that “the world left Turkey alone to confront the Syrian regime” has not convinced anyone because the Turks have actually done nothing to confront the Assad regime other than hosting refugees like Lebanon and Jordan. Its political statements against the Syrian regime have not at all affected the latter.
“Turkey’s engagement in the war against ISIS would practically boost the chances of victory since Turkey is a major conduit for these extremist groups and, geographically speaking”
However, Turkey’s engagement in the war against ISIS would practically boost the chances of victory since Turkey is a major conduit for these extremist groups and, geographically speaking, it’s the closest to them when it comes to fighting them and surrounding them. Last but not least, there would be great pressure on the West to make it adopt a stance in support of political change in Damascus.
The intellectual battle against ISIS
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum/Al Arabiya
Sunday, 28 September 2014
The global financial crisis taught the world how profoundly interdependent our economies have become. In today’s crisis of extremism, we must recognize that we are just as interdependent for our security, as is clear in the current struggle to defeat the ISIS.
If we are to prevent ISIS from teaching us this lesson the hard way, we must acknowledge that we cannot extinguish the fires of fanaticism by force alone. The world must unite behind a holistic drive to discredit the ideology that gives the extremists their power, and to restore hope and dignity to those whom they would recruit. “ISIS is a barbaric and brutal organization. It represents neither Islam nor humanity’s most basic values. ”
ISIS certainly can — and will — be defeated militarily by the international coalition that is now assembling and which the UAE is actively supporting. But military containment is only a partial solution. Lasting peace requires three bigger ingredients: winning the intellectual battle; upgrading weak governance; and grassroots human development. Such a solution must begin with concerted international political will. Not a single politician in North America, Europe, Africa, or Asia can afford to ignore events in the Middle East. A globalized threat requires a globalized response. Everyone will feel the heat, because such flames know no borders; indeed, ISIS has recruited members of at least 80 nationalities.
ISIS is a barbaric and brutal organization. It represents neither Islam nor humanity’s most basic values. Nonetheless, it has emerged, spread, and resisted those who oppose it. What we are fighting is not just a terrorist organization, but the embodiment of a malicious ideology that must be defeated intellectually. I consider this ideology to be the greatest danger that the world will face in the next decade. Its seeds are growing in Europe, the United States, Asia, and elsewhere. With its twisted religious overtones, this pre-packaged franchise of hate is available for any terrorist group to adopt. It carries the power to mobilize thousands of desperate, vindictive, or angry young people and use them to strike at the foundations of civilization.
**Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum is the vice president and prime minister of the United Arab Emirates and ruler of the emirate of Dubai.
Do Khorasan militants represent a real threat?
Dr. Theodore Karasik /Al Arabiya
Sunday, 28 September 2014
The Khorasan Group (KG) burst on the scene lately and was struck unilaterally by the United States in the very first strike against ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra Front (hereafter al-Nusra) in Syria. Nicholas Rasmussen of the National Counterterrorism Center said Khorasan has focused on developing explosives that it can use to destroy aircraft in high-profile attacks against the West and specifically America. The group is “establishing routes in Syria in order to advance attacks against the West,” Lt. General William Mayville, the Joint Chiefs of Staff’s director of operations, said at a Pentagon briefing recently. Many are asking questions about the KG. Who are the KG? Where did the KG come from? Did the KG represent a real threat to the United States? These questions are important to answer in a coherent way in order to understand what is unfolding in the Levant and the Near East.
There is no doubt that KG is an affiliate of al-Nusra. The important point regarding KG is that the group is part of many “brigades” or “militias” of al-Nusra. Nothing extraordinary here. It is typical of al-Qaeda groups to be subdivided into different “divisions” with territorial responsibility and missions. KG is centered around Aleppo where the topography is favorable for terrorist groups to operate from and to remain protected. Before the airstrikes, an Arab official called KG’s base “another Tora Bora; in other words there is a requirement to attack al-Nusra’s web of armed groups.” Also, note-worthy is that the KG is named for the original region from which key members united together—that is in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Other brigades and militias are named after the home countries- France, Belgium, and Chechnya—because of “like-mindedness” and communication requirements in native tongues since their Arabic is not useful.
In addition, the leader of the KG was easily identifiable. Muhsin al-Fadhli, reportedly killed in the American-only airstrike, had a long history in the al-Qaeda organization including stints in Chechnya and Afghanistan. Thus, the group is not new; any professional watching the evolution of jihadist groups knows the truth of the matter. In Afghanistan, five years ago, KG’s subsidiary specialty group Lashkar al-Zil was seen as planning attacks in the West. During the past year, the KG had internal discord where earlier in the year part of KG pledged bayat or allegiance to the ISIS. This fact does not sound like an all-powerful brigade but a faction in deep trouble.
“The important point regarding KG is that the group is part of many “brigades” or “militias” of al-Nusra”
Importantly, airstrikes on KG/al-Nusra and ISIS targets is creating a new reality on the ground. First, by attacking KG/al-Nusra and ramping up the information campaign boosting their imminent threat potential, the al-Qaeda affiliate is being squeezed into “boxes” in Syria specifically in rural Aleppo and in the Golan where the Syrian army, in the future, can eradicate the al-Qaeda extremists. Second, ISIS is now stirring towards camouflaging their equipment—an old Saddam trick to protect assets from airstrikes—and also moving back into Iraq.
Breaking up support networks
For ISIS, attempts to move in on Jordan are now off the table because of the airstrikes. The Hashimite Kingdom has mitigated ISIS threats in Zarqa and in Aqaba where in the latter case ISIS supporters were interrupted with the transfer of explosives from the Sinai Peninsula. According to a Jordanian official, “We were under attack so naturally we joined the coalition with eight jet fighters. We are in this effort for the long-haul.”
Clearly, the unexpected rush to airstrikes in Syria, and specifically the targeting of KG, had multiple purposes reflecting the complexity of the situation in Syria but also the requirement to break the support networks for Sunni extremists. Moreover, let’s be clear about an important point: Damascus is providing detailed information regarding targeting and battle damage assessments to the coalition. An Arab official asserted that “the targeting of KG was based on actionable Syrian information. It’s good and useful.” Syria’s cooperation is critical. Even if not publically admitted, there is little doubt of coordination by Damascus and the United States and allies against Sunni extremists in Syria. This coordination, of course, raises questions about the future of Syrian government of President Bashar Assad but there is little doubt that airstrikes do embolden the Alawite government.
The problem now of course is retribution. With America presenting the case of an “imminent” threat of KG against Western interests, specifically aviation, there is a good probability of revenge against coalition partners by Sunni extremist sympathizers in one form or another. We have already seen arrests in a number of different countries and the recruitment and support for both al-Nusra and ISIS is rising. One Arab official stated that “for every leader killed by airstrikes, 1000 more recruits join the Sunni extremists throughout the region.” Therefore, along with the airstrikes, the additional requirements for countering radical extremism and counter-narratives plus strong police and intelligence cooperation to mitigate threats is now more important than ever especially with key religious holiday throughout the remainder of 2014.
Dr. Theodore Karasik is the Director of Research and Consultancy at the Institute for Near East and Gulf Military Analysis (INEGMA) in Dubai, UAE. He is also a Lecturer at University of Wollongong Dubai. Dr. Karasik received his Ph.D in History from the University of California Los Angles.
The Khorosan Group Does Not Exist It’s a fictitious name the Obama administration invented to deceive us.
By Andrew C. McCarthy
SEPTEMBER 27, 2014 4:00 AM
For six years, President Obama has endeavored to will the country into accepting two pillars of his alternative national-security reality. First, he claims to have dealt decisively with the terrorist threat, rendering it a disparate series of ragtag jayvees. Second, he asserts that the threat is unrelated to Islam, which is innately peaceful, moderate, and opposed to the wanton “violent extremists” who purport to act in its name.
Now, the president has been compelled to act against a jihad that has neither ended nor been “decimated.” The jihad, in fact, has inevitably intensified under his counterfactual worldview, which holds that empowering Islamic supremacists is the path to security and stability. Yet even as war intensifies in Iraq and Syria — even as jihadists continue advancing, continue killing and capturing hapless opposition forces on the ground despite Obama’s futile air raids — the president won’t let go of the charade.
Hence, Obama gives us the Khorosan Group.
There is a reason that no one had heard of such a group until a nanosecond ago, when the “Khorosan Group” suddenly went from anonymity to the “imminent threat” that became the rationale for an emergency air war there was supposedly no time to ask Congress to authorize.
You haven’t heard of the Khorosan Group because there isn’t one. It is a name the administration came up with, calculating that Khorosan — the –Iranian–Afghan border region — had sufficient connection to jihadist lore that no one would call the president on it.
The “Khorosan Group” is al-Qaeda. It is simply a faction within the global terror network’s Syrian franchise, “Jabhat al-Nusra.” Its leader, Mushin al-Fadhli (believed to have been killed in this week’s U.S.-led air strikes), was an intimate of Ayman al-Zawahiri, the emir of al-Qaeda who dispatched him to the jihad in Syria. Except that if you listen to administration officials long enough, you come away thinking that Zawahiri is not really al-Qaeda, either. Instead, he’s something the administration is at pains to call “core al-Qaeda.”
“Core al-Qaeda,” you are to understand, is different from “Jabhat al-Nusra,” which in turn is distinct from “al-Qaeda in Iraq” (formerly “al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia,” now the “Islamic State” al-Qaeda spin-off that is, itself, formerly “al-Qaeda in Iraq and al-Sham” or “al-Qaeda in Iraq and the Levant”). That al-Qaeda, don’t you know, is a different outfit from al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula . . . which, of course, should never be mistaken for “al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb,” “Boko Haram,” “Ansar al-Sharia,” or the latest entry, “al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent.”
Coming soon, “al-Qaeda on Hollywood and Vine.” In fact, it wouldn’t surprise me if, come 2015, Obama issued an executive order decreeing twelve new jihad jayvees stretching from al-Qaeda in January through al-Qaeda in December.
Except you’ll hear only about the jayvees, not the jihad. You see, there is a purpose behind this dizzying proliferation of names assigned to what, in reality, is a global network with multiple tentacles and occasional internecine rivalries.
As these columns have long contended, Obama has not quelled our enemies; he has miniaturized them. The jihad and the sharia supremacism that fuels it form the glue that unites the parts into a whole — a worldwide, ideologically connected movement rooted in Islamic scripture that can project power on the scale of a nation-state and that seeks to conquer the West. The president does not want us to see the threat this way.
For a product of the radical Left like Obama, terrorism is a regrettable but understandable consequence of American arrogance. That it happens to involve Muslims is just the coincidental fallout of Western imperialism in the Middle East, not the doctrinal command of a belief system that perceives itself as engaged in an inter-civilizational conflict. For the Left, America has to be the culprit. Despite its inbred pathologies, which we had no role in cultivating, Islam must be the victim, not the cause. As you’ll hear from Obama’s Islamist allies, who often double as Democrat activists, the problem is “Islamophobia,” not Muslim terrorism.
This is a gross distortion of reality, so the Left has to do some very heavy lifting to pull it off. Since the Islamic-supremacist ideology that unites the jihadists won’t disappear, it has to be denied and purged. The “real” jihad becomes the “internal struggle to become a better person.” The scriptural and scholarly underpinnings of Islamic supremacism must be bleached out of the materials used to train our national-security agents, and the instructors who resist going along with the program must be ostracized. The global terror network must be atomized into discrete, disconnected cells moved to violence by parochial political or territorial disputes, with no overarching unity or hegemonic ambition. That way, they can be limned as a manageable law-enforcement problem fit for the courts to address, not a national-security challenge requiring the armed forces.
The president has been telling us for years that he handled al-Qaeda by killing bin Laden. He has been telling us for weeks that the Islamic State — an al-Qaeda renegade that will soon reconcile with the mother ship for the greater good of unity in the anti-American jihad — is a regional nuisance that posed no threat to the United States. In recent days, however, reality intruded on this fiction. Suddenly, tens of thousands of terrorists, armed to the teeth, were demolishing American-trained armies, beheading American journalists, and threatening American targets.
Obama is not the manner of man who can say, “I was wrong: It turns out that al-Qaeda is actually on the rise, its Islamic State faction is overwhelming the region, and American interests — perhaps even American territory — are profoundly threatened.” So instead . . . you got “the Khorosan Group.”
You also got a smiley-face story about five Arab states joining the United States in a coalition to confront the terrorists. Finally, the story goes, Sunni governments were acting decisively to take Islam back from the “un-Islamic” elements that falsely commit “violent extremism” under Islam’s banner.
Sounds uplifting … until you read the fine print. You’ve got to dig deep to find it. It begins, for example, 42 paragraphs into the Wall Street Journal’s report on the start of the bombing campaign. After the business about our glorious alliance with “moderate” allies like Saudi Arabia and Qatar who so despise terrorism, we learn:
Only the U.S. — not Arab allies — struck sites associated with the Khorasan group, officials said. Khorasan group members were in the final stages of preparations for an attack on U.S. and Western interests, a defense official said. Khorasan was planning an attack on international airliners, officials have said. . . . Rebels and activists contacted inside Syria said they had never heard of Khorasan and that the U.S. struck several bases and an ammunition warehouse belonging to the main al Qaeda-linked group fighting in Syria, Nusra Front. While U.S. officials have drawn a distinction between the two groups, they acknowledge their membership is intertwined and their goals are similar.
Oops. So it turns out that our moderate Islamist partners have no interest in fighting Syria’s al-Qaeda affiliate. Yes, they reluctantly, and to a very limited extent, joined U.S. forces in the strikes against the Islamic State renegades. But that’s not because the Islamic State is jihadist while they are moderate. It is because the Islamic State has made mincemeat of Iraq’s forces, is a realistic threat to topple Assad, and has our partners fretting that they are next on the menu.
Meantime, though, the Saudis and Qatar want no trouble with the rest of al-Qaeda, particularly with al-Nusra. After all, al-Qaeda’s Syrian branch is tightly allied with the “moderate opposition” that these “moderate” Gulf states have been funding, arming, and training for the jihad against Assad.
Oh, and what about those other “moderates” Obama has spent his presidency courting, the Muslim Brotherhood? It turns out they are not only all for al-Qaeda, they even condemn what one of their top sharia jurists, Wagdy Ghoneim, has labeled “the Crusader war against the Islamic State.”
“The Crusaders in America, Europe, and elsewhere are our enemies,” Ghoneim tells Muslims. For good measure he adds, “We shall never forget the terrorism of criminal America, which threw the body of the martyred heroic mujahid, Bin Laden, into the sea.”
Obama has his story and he’s sticking to it. But the same can be said for our enemies.
— Andrew C. McCarthy is a policy fellow at the National Review Institute. His latest book is Faithless Execution: Building the Political Case for Obama’s Impeachment.
Revoking citizenship is not the answer for disillusioned youth
BY RICK SALUTIN | SEPTEMBER 26, 2014
Mo3, as friends knew him -- Mohamud Mohamed Mohamud -- from Hamilton and long before that Somalia, died this week in Syria, possibly fighting for ISIS. He was 20. He'd been a bright kid, on student council, got involved in religion, then politics. Sounds familiar. Oh wait, that would be me in high school and the years after. These young people aren't monsters and haven't had their brains or bodies snatched. They're going through adolescence. It's dicey.
He danced in a talent contest in public school, ran for president in high school, played video games, modelled clothing. And he got religious. "He started becoming very overtly religious and yet distancing himself from the Muslim community," said a family spokesman. He even "harshly" criticized other Muslims. It all fits. You realize there are larger meanings. You want to take your place in the world as more than a family appendage. But you need to know you're not just doing what they want you to, so you find a way to distinguish your version of whatever it is.
Then you add politics. It's idealistic, like the religion. It's about how the world should be and you can't see why it's so awful and unjust -- now that you have your own mind to think with and your agency to act with. You can't comprehend why your elders let it continue this way for so long. The times, they are a-changin'. His parents said he got radicalized at York. Of course. University is when kids encounter the world on their own terms. They try out delicious, repellent ideas.
The paths are unmarked and perilous for those setting out. One hopes for the best but the worst can happen. "He wanted to topple the Assad regime in Syria," said the family spokesman -- which is also Canada's foreign policy. "But even if he didn't intend to join ISIS, you go there for one purpose, you end up working for one gang or another."
The young have special difficulty with issues of violence and means versus ends. It goes with their idealism. Since there is awful injustice, and an evident solution, why not use "any means necessary"? It's not as though adults have resolved these dilemmas. Were the deaths of civilians along with ISIS fighters in U.S. bombings in Syria this week justified? Maybe if Mo3 had survived, he'd have drawn conclusions and turned into a useful member of his various communities.
So what is parents' role? It's not telling their kids what to do, since they'll almost certainly not do it. And even more, not telling them what not to do, since they'll likely do that, or try it out. If possible, it's to assure that there's a range of options for the young, a buffet of possibilities, that include some which are good and plausible or at least don't take kids down the darkest roads. Options which the old themselves don't embrace and might even find distasteful but that aren't inherently vile or destructive. It's not as if parents have left their kids a world in perfect working order, somebody should test different routes.
But ensuring decent options isn't a task that parents can take on alone. It's for all of society, especially its leaders. And believe me, pious denunciations of evil at the UN, by leaders with their own hideous, ongoing records to be ashamed of, won't cut it with the young. I have that on vivid recall.
This week an Alberta leader of Somali Canadians asked the Harper government to expand outreach programs for youth. Their only response was a promise to protect "law-abiding Canadian families" by stripping citizenship under their new law for "dual-nationals who engage in terrorism."
Well, these are law-abiding Canadian families whose kids are at risk and any criminal acts, including treason, can be dealt with already. All revoking citizenship does is dehumanize its targets, since citizenship is a human right. Do we really want Stephen Harper or Chris Alexander to decide who counts as human and who to exclude as monsters? This is sheer incitement of more anger and alienation. I'm against revoking anyone's citizenship but if you were going to do it for encouraging radical, violent behaviour, you'd start with these official, elected provocateurs.
This column was first published in the Toronto Star.
Illustration: Jared Rodriguez / t r u t h o u t
Obama adopts a reactive approach
rather than showing leadership
Raghida Dergham/Al Arabiya
Sunday, 28 September 2014
President Barack Obama has chosen, once again, an “in-between” approach to keep all his options open, no matter how contradictory they are. The anti-ISIS coalition operations started by imposing U.S. priorities on the members of the alliance, with the U.S. insisting that that their concerns must wait because the U.S. has priorities including the elimination of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and continuing the attempts for rapprochement and appeasement with the Islamic Republic of Iran.
The Arab countries that have taken part in the strikes against ISIS in Syria this week, underscored Barack Obama’s insistence on his priorities. They took part operationally in the raids in the hope that the partnership would practically prompt the U.S. president to contain Iranian regional ambitions in Syria and Iraq – the main theater of the war on ISIS – to challenge them directly and in earnest. Will those hopes be shattered? The answer to this question remains ambiguous, given the conflicting information – if not conflicting U.S. policies in the nuclear negotiations with Iran.
I believe there are clear hints that the five Arab countries that took part in the air strikes in Syria had been coerced, countries that are linked to the U.S. by bilateral security ties that supersede their priorities in Iraq and Syria equally. Yet there are gains that the five countries – Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar, Jordan, and Bahrain – have made through their involvement in the operations in Syria: first, they proved their merit in assuming the responsibilities assigned to them in the coalition against ISIS, regardless of differing views with the U.S. leadership over this alliance.
Secondly, they precluded the kind of partnership that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad had sought to forge with the U.S. in counterterrorism, as a way to rehabilitate himself and replace the key Arab countries in the alliance against ISIS wherever it may be.
Thirdly, the U.S. entered – finally – as a direct party in Syria, after a long period of repudiation, hesitation, and pussyfooting that accompanied the positions of the President Obama, since the peaceful quest for reforms turned into a devastating conflict.
Fourthly, the Obama administration, finally and after the death of more than 190,000 Syrians, showed its willingness to provide practical support to the moderate armed Syrian opposition by allowing its Arab allies to supply weapons, train fighters, and provide aid. This is a qualitative shift that could alter the balance of power on the ground, in order to make it possible to resume work toward political solutions.
Fifth, they opened the door to the possibility of overcoming the Assad complex, along the lines of how the Nouri al-Maliki complex was resolved in Iraq by forcing him to step down from his post as prime minister.
Sixth, more measures have been taken against foreign fighters in Syria, under a binding resolution of the U.N. Security Council, which includes Hezbollah fighters.
Key partners at war
What the Arab states taking part in this alliance are using as their ammunition is the fact that they are indispensable in this alliance and this war, which the U.S. president said will not end except after the goal of destroying ISIS and its ilk is achieved, no matter how long it takes. These countries are key partners in the war, and are the main influences on the fighters on the ground in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. president, meanwhile, wants a war that he vowed would have no American troops fighting in it.
“What will happen in Syria is the next step in the war of attrition, with direct U.S. participation and direct Arab assistance”
The cards that Saudi Arabia holds in particular are crucial, especially in Iraq, where Saudi can – if it wants – be the most important actor that influences the indispensable warriors in the war on ISIS and the like, namely, Sunni tribes in Iraq. Riyadh does not need Washington in this matter, as much as Washington needs Riyadh, which has the keys to those fighters on the ground.
In the Syrian arena, the indispensable warriors are the Free Syrian Army and other forces that are classed as part of the moderate armed Syrian opposition. The Arab countries that can provide weapons, ammunition, cash, and take part in air strikes – such as the UAE – are indispensable for the U.S. as well.
In other words, the war that the U.S. president declared from behind the rostrum at the UN General Assembly and the Security Council, cannot be fought without the Arab partners – including Arab states and the Syrian opposition.
Nevertheless, the key Arab partners in Obama’s war were drawn into his priorities, and agreed to begin military operations without prior guarantees for their priorities, namely: containing the ambitions for Iranian hegemony in Syria and Iraq, and removing Bashar al-Assad after convincing his regime to agree to a transitional governing body that would include representatives from the regime and the opposition until elections are held.
One of the reasons, perhaps, is their conviction that U.S. military operations in Syria would not stop with ISIS and al-Qaeda affiliates, when it becomes clear to President Obama that the actual result of these raids is shoring up the regime in Damascus and allowing it to defeat the moderate opposition, with the U.S. having shunned the terrorist opposition This is an adventure that the Arab poles are engaging in, in the course of their alliance against ISIS. As to the reason for this, the answer lies in their priorities as well. These Arab powers see in turn that ISIS is a direct threat to them in their home soil, and an existential threat to their states.
So, actually, what will happen in Syria is the next step in the war of attrition, with direct U.S. participation and direct Arab assistance. For this reason, the Syrian conflict could drag on.
The conflict in Syria could drag on and on, in the absence of political accords, especially between the U.S. and Iran, and Washington and Moscow. The attrition would affect the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), which is deeply involved in Syria, as well as Hezbollah, which continues to fight all spectra of the Syrian opposition in Syria. Most likely, Lebanon will pay a price through ISIS’s retaliation against Obama’s war on the group in Syria and for the ongoing Hezbollah involvement in the Syrian war.
President Obama chose in his speech before the U.N. General Assembly to mention Lebanon only in one sentence, and he completely ignored Yemen, and mentioned Libya only in passing, while reducing the importance of the Palestinian-Israeli question. Instead, he lectured on the Sunni-Shiite conflict, devoting most of his speech for this topic.
The U.S. president did not present a war strategy except though the standpoint of Arab responsibilities and Muslim duties. He did not address Iran’s regional role beyond its borders in the heart of the Arab world, despite leaked reports that had indicated the U.S. was adamant about tackling the Iranian regional role in the course of nuclear negotiations, followed by other leaked reports that denied this. Obama did not declare a position regarding Bashar al-Assad as he had done before, from the same rostrum, stating that Assad had lost his legitimacy or that his days were numbered, as he once said. Nor did Obama mention the Palestinian state, which he mentioned when he first addressed the UN General Assembly, denying the centrality of the Palestinian cause and only saying that the situation in the West Bank and Gaza at present is not sustainable.
Barack Obama called on the leaderships and the popular bases in the Arab region to radically change their concepts, attitudes, and behavior, but forgot or ignored that their differences with him are primarily “personally political.”
This president has finally decided to engage in the Middle East after ISIS lured him into this involvement. He accepted ISIS’s invitation, and bypassed the demands and political censure from the popular base, deciding instead to dictate his terms to the leaders.
Barack Obama did not seize he opportunity to rework his personal and historical legacy, at the very least in his speech before the world. He declared an incomplete war on terror, just like he declared a futile war on Russia when he named it as one of three major challenges: The Ebola virus, Russia’s role in Ukraine, and the terrorism of ISIS and its sisters.
This is not a conscious leadership. This is a classically reactive policy. If only the U.S. president would rise up to the level of challenges with a comprehensive strategy rather than tactics that keep him trapped in the “in-between” box.
Meanwhile, regarding the Arab participation in the airstrikes on ISIS in Syria, it is no simple matter that the UAE has tasked a woman to pilot an F-16 fighter jet and strike ISIS, which targets women in its barbaric wars through rape and various kinds of oppression and humiliation. There is a very important message behind this choice.
**This article was first published in al-Hayat on Sept. 26, 2014 and was translated by Karim Traboulsi.
US-led raids hit ISIS oil as Nusra threatens reprisals
Sep. 28, 2014/Agence France Presse
DAMASCUS: U.S.-led warplanes kept up strikes on oil sites funding ISIS, as Al-Qaeda's Syria affiliate threatened reprisals after a key operative was reported killed.
The coalition raids destroyed three makeshift oil refineries in jihadist-controlled territory in Syria, intensifying efforts to deny ISIS funding after a wave of strikes on its oil infrastructure on Thursday night. ISIS controls a swath of territory straddling northwestern Iraq and eastern Syria, that includes most of Syria's main oil fields and which the jihadists have sought to exploit through improvised refining and smuggling.
The coalition strikes hit close by the Turkish frontier, near the town of Tal Abyad just across the border from the Turkish town of Akcakale, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. "At least three makeshift refineries under IS control in the Tal Abyad region were destroyed," the Observatory said.
"IS had been refining crude and selling it to Turkish buyers," said the Britain-based watchdog, which has a broad network of sources inside Syria. Before the launch of U.S.-led air strikes on ISIS in Syria last Tuesday analysts say the jihadists were earning as much as $3 million a day from oil revenues. Output from ISIS-controlled fields stood at 80,000 barrels per day, far exceeding the 17,000 barrels per day the Syrian oil ministry said it was pumping.
The strikes around Tal Abyad came after Saturday raids near the mainly Kurdish town of Ain al-Arab, also very close to the Turkish border.
The town, known as Kobani in Kurdish, has been under assault by ISIS for more than a week, sparking an exodus of at least 160,000 refugees into Turkey. The coalition also kept up its raids on the jihadist heartland province of Raqqa early Sunday as it pressed what Washington says are "near continuous" strikes. The raids destroyed a plastics factory outside Raqqa city, killing one civilian, the Observatory said.
ISIS oil infrastructure has been one of the main targets of the bombing campaign in Syria that Washington and its Arab allies launched last Tuesday, building on the air war under way against ISIS in Iraq since August 8.
Multiple European governments have since approved plans to join that air campaign, including most recently Britain.
British fighter jets flew their first combat mission over Iraq on Saturday but returned to base in Cyprus without firing a shot.
"On this occasion no targets were identified as requiring immediate air attack by our aircraft," a defence ministry spokesman said.
European governments have resisted joining the U.S.-led air campaign in Syria for fear of getting embroiled in the more than three-year-old civil war, forcing Washington to rely on Arab allies Bahrain, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
The opening salvo of the U.S.-led bombing campaign in Syria actually targeted not ISIS but its jihadist rival Al-Qaeda and drew a threat of retaliation on Saturday after one of its leaders was reported killed.
Al-Qaeda loyalists of the Nusra Front, who are prominent on the battlefield across much of western Syria, have been at sometimes deadly loggerheads with ISIS since the Al-Qaeda leadership disavowed the group's commanders in February.
But the group has still been targeted by the U.S.-led air campaign which has killed at least 57 of its fighters, according to the Observatory.
Washington has made a distinction between the wider Nusra Front and a cell of foreign fighters dubbed the Khorasan Group that it says was plotting attacks against the United States. Muhsin al-Fadhli, a long-standing Al-Qaeda operative and alleged leader of Khorasan, was killed in the strikes, according to a jihadist who fought with the group.
The SITE monitoring group said a series of Tweets from the jihadist expressed condolences for the deaths of Fadhli and another Khorasan leader, Abu Yusuf al-Turki.
But Nusra said it was the target of the strikes and threatened reprisals for the deaths of its militants. The allies had "committed a horrible act that is going to put them on the list of jihadist targets throughout the world," Nusra spokesman Abu Firas al-Suri said in an online video message. Nusra is on Washington's terror blacklist but has fought against ISIS in several areas of Syria, notably around second city Aleppo where its fighters were instrumental in driving out the rival jihadists in alliance with other Islamists.
Peace talks between Israel and the
Palestinians are officially off the table
By: Nahum Barnea
Published: 09.28.14/Israel Opinion /Ynetnews
Analysis: Israelis and Palestinians are left with a battlefield between a government which will forever stick to status quo and a desperate PA which is fighting it, with world's growing support. This is a recipe for an explosion.
The wall behind the speakers' podium at the United Nations General Assembly hall is greenish – an unusual color in halls of this kind. It's quite possible that it is green with shame. The amount of lies said in front of this wall by heads of state, each in their own language, is beyond chutzpa, is stranger than fiction.
The speakers have lied, and so have the members of the delegations in the hall, who welcomed every lie with a round of applause.
US condemns Abbas's UN speech as 'provocative' / Ynetnews
Netanyahu aides also denounce allegations by PA leader, term statements as 'speech of incitement filled with lies', after Abbas called recent bout of fighting in Gaza 'a series of absolute war crimes.'
Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas' speech was no exception. Among other things, he accused Israel of waging a genocide war in Gaza. He knew it was a lie, and yet he said it, hoping that the lie would hold. Genocide is a term which must not be uttered recklessly. On the diplomatic and legal level, it's similar to a declaration of war.
In some sense, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman is right: Abbas is not a partner. He has not been a partner since last February, when he made it clear to the American peace team that he has given up on the chance to reach an agreement through negotiations.
He has two options left. The first is to allow terror to resume, which he has rejected out of hand. The second is to launch a diplomatic attack on Israel, through the UN institutions, much to the Americans' resentment. That's what he is doing now.
His move has three goals: The first is to try to impose an agreement on the Israeli government which it is not interested in through international sanctions; the second, assuming that the first one fails, is to at least punish Israel by weakening it in the international arena; the third is to prove to the Palestinian street that Hamas is not the only one fighting Israel – Abbas is fighting Israel too, in his own way. This need grew stronger in light to the fighting ability demonstrated by Hamas throughout the Gaza operation.
He plans to ask the UN Security Council to set a binding date for an agreement and determine its outcome in advance – a Palestinian state within the 1967 lines with Jerusalem as its capital. If the US vetoes the resolution, he will return to the General Assembly with the same proposal. It won't be binding, but it will stimulate the calls for a boycott against Israel in Western Europe.
The next stage will be the International Criminal Court in The Hague. At the time, Abbas promised he wouldn't go there, but after launching this campaign he will find it difficult to stop. That's what happens to a person who accuses his fellowman of genocide.
Abbas is a pleasant man in person, but he is a bitter rival to the policy of the current Israeli government's policy – and in fact, to the policies of most Israeli governments since 1967. He angers people in the West Bank and Gaza, but is considered a hero in the world. He can take credit for the calm in the West Bank during Operations Brother's Keeper and Protective Edge. It was his investment, and he will receive something in return for it.
The West's fear of the new Islamic terror, from groups like ISIS or Jabhat al-Nusra and others, is not necessarily working in Israel's favor. It is precisely when a Western-Arab coalition takes shape against new enemies, that there is a growing need to balance the picture by helping a pan-Arab, pan-Muslim issue. Where will the balance be made? On the Israeli-Palestinian front. Similar activity was recorded on the eve of the American invasion of Iraq in 2003.
The Prime Minister's Office issued a condemnation in response to Abbas' speech. Abbas is slandering, lying, inciting. The assumption was that this is a propaganda war: Abbas will say that we are a racist and apartheid state, which is committing genocide, and that will be it. I'm afraid they are wrong, and they are not the only ones. The change taking place before our eyes is much more significant.
The thing called the peace process, or the Oslo process, or peace negotiations, is off the table. The gap between the parties is too big; the internal forces opposing concessions are too strong. What we are left with is a battlefield between an Israeli government which will forever stick to the status quo and a desperate Palestinian Authority which is fighting it, with the world's growing support. It's a recipe for an explosion.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Bar-Ilan speech is no longer valid. When he speaks about a two-state solution at the UN on Monday, no one – apart from the Israeli delegation members – will believe him. I doubt they will believe him either.
Netanyahu needed Abbas - if not as a real partner, then as a fig leaf. That fig leaf has flown away. There is no one to hide the bluff.