Israeli Jets Strike Inside Syria; Military Site Near Palmyra Reportedly Targeted

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

Israeli jets strike inside Syria; military site near Palmyra reportedly targeted

An Israeli fighter jet takes off from the Ramat David ar base, southeast of Haifa, in June.

Story highlights

  • Syria says strikes targeted military site near Palmyra
  • Israeli jets make incursions inside Syria, but IDF rarely confirms it

Jerusalem (CNN) In the most serious clash between Israeli and Syrian forces since the start of the Syrian conflict six-years ago, Israeli aircraft struck several targets in Syria overnight, the Israeli military said Friday.

Israel targeted a military site near the ancient city of Palmyra, the Syrian military said, in what would be one of its deepest airstrikes inside Syrian territory since the civil war began there.
Palmyra, once held by ISIS and retaken by the Syrian government, is strategically important to both the regime and its opponents.
Most of Israel’s reported strikes have been around the capital of Damascus, about 60 kilometers (37 miles) from the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.
In response, Syrian forces fired anti-aircraft missiles at the Israeli jets, saying they downed one aircraft and hit another. Israeli vehemently denied the assertions, calling them “absolutely not true.”
“At no point was the safety of Israeli civilians or the IAF aircraft compromised,” a statement from the Israel Defense Forces said. The statement is unusual in that Israel rarely comments on airstrikes in Syria.
The intercept triggered alarm sirens in the Jordan Valley. Shrapnel from the explosion, which was heard as far south as Jerusalem, landed in western Jordan, the Jordanian military said.

Israel denies Syrian claim it downed Israeli plane

Israel denies Syrian claim it downed an Israeli plane
Syria’s latest claims are reminiscent of its statement in September about downing an Israeli aircraft near Quneitra, close to the Golan Heights. Israel seized parts of that region from Syria in the 1967 Six Day War.
The Israeli military said then that Syria fired two anti-aircraft missiles at its jets targeting artillery positions, but both missiles missed. They were fired long after Israeli jets left the area, the military added.

Arrow missile defense

One of the missiles overnight was intercepted by Israel’s Arrow missile defense system, marking its first operational use. Arrow, Israel’s ballistic missile defense system and the long-range version of its Iron Dome, is designed to intercept missiles outside the atmosphere.
The use came more than a year after the first successful Arrow-3 intercept test was carried out in December 2015. At that time, Israeli officials would not say when the missile would become operational.
The Israeli military would not explain why Arrow was used against an anti-aircraft missile, fueling speculation that Israel was either testing the Arrow missile or that its Iron Dome missile defense system wasn’t within range of downing the anti-aircraft missile.

Taking aim at weapons smuggling

Israel has long focused on stopping the transfer of weapons from Syria to terror groups.
In December, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman told a delegation of European Union envoys that Israel will “prevent the smuggling of sophisticated weapons, military equipment and weapons of mass destruction from Syria to Hezbollah.”
It was another acknowledgement of Israel’s ongoing operations in Syria. Last April, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu confirmed that Israel has struck Syria “dozens of times,” breaking with the policy of remaining quiet about involvement in its war-torn northern neighbor.
Netanyahu returned last week from Moscow, where he reaffirmed Israel’s military coordination with Russia in the skies over Syria. The two countries established the coordination last year to avoid conflicts in Syrian airspace, ostensibly to allow both countries to operate freely. Netanyahu also expressed his concerns about a growing Iranian presence in Syria.

Repeated incursions

Israel has attempted to stay out of Syria’s civil war but has reportedly struck the country multiple times in the past, often taking aim at weapons shipments intended for Hezbollah in Lebanon.
As recently as late February, Syrian media reported that Israeli jets hit military positions and weapons convoys near Damascus.
In November 2012, Israel fired warning shots toward Syria after a mortar shell hit an Israeli military post, the first time Israel had fired on Syria across the Golan Heights since the 1973 Yom Kippur War.
Israeli jets have been hitting targets in Syria since at least 2013, when US officials told CNN they believed IDF jets had struck nside Syrian territory.
In 2014, the Syrian government and an opposition group both said an IDF strike had hit Damascus’ suburbs and airport.

Israel wary of Russian military buildup in Syria

 Israel wary of Russian military buildup in Syria
The state-run Syrian Arab News Agency characterized those strikes as “a flagrant attack on Syria, targeting two safe areas in (the) Damascus countryside in Dimas and near Damascus International Airport.”
Israeli strikes have also gone after ISIS fighters inside Syria. Late last year, IDF troops operating in the disputed Golan region came under fire from militants of the ISIS affiliate Khalid ibn al-Walid Army, Israeli military spokesman Lt. Col. Peter Lerner said.
The soldiers fired back, triggering an exchange of gunfire. A subsequent Israeli airstrike destroyed a vehicle carrying four militants, Lerner said.

Syria: President Assad Writes His Victory Speech And Views From Allepo

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE ‘ONLY LEBANON’ DAILY NEWS PAPER)

(IS THE ONLY ONE’S WHO COULDN’T SEE THIS OBVIOUS OUTCOME HILLARY CLINTON WHO STARTED THIS WAR, AND PRESIDENT OBAMA?)(TRS)

Assad writes his victory speech … and the views from Aleppo

December 7, 2016 Last Updated: Wednesday, December 7, 2016 – 10:01
Assad writes his victory speech ... and the views from Aleppo

Abbas Dahir – newsletter

After six years of war in Syria have, is the time to end that war. This is frequented in international capitals, and you write the most important Western newspapers. Damascus has won the bet and won with the axis of the Syrian state-backed privately and publicly, starts from Tehran does not end in Beijing via Moscow and the capitals of regional and UN forces.

Read More …

End of the war is not born of the desire of Western, Arabic and miles, but is the result of the steadfastness of the Syrian talk about books and accounts of history, because of the support of friends and allies of Damascus loyal, and siding, along with human rights defense.

The end of the war is the triumph of morality in the face of chaos absurd project brought with him all the extreme parts of the world, and promoted by Western and Arab capitals. Finally waiting to announce it was inevitable the Syrians themselves, had previously heralded by the Proceedings of the field in the rural areas of Damascus and Homs, Latakia and Aleppo down to now.

Tale victory written by the blood of soldiers and civilians killed since 2011, and the steadfastness of the citizens did not abandon Syria, fearing for their lives, and in anticipation of economic losses when the businessmen had paid for years ago over what they own, not be intimidated by sanctions, and did not Agarham persuasion and promises to leave the country. The right here for each of the carrying campaigns against him in the inside and outside Syria, such as Rami Makhlouf and Faris al-Shihabi and others that Inciua joy of the victory of a national Syrian option, after business leaders who were Genoa fortunes escape thanks to bring them closer to state officials, but they were the first one who abandoned her at the beginning of the crisis, some of them rode the wave of “revolution” and repeated a saying “the regime will fall.”

Tale of victory by the poor, who stood in front of the economic embargo on their country, and young employees and their families who have borne the high price of the dollar and the devaluation of the lira, did not scream hurts, and remained chanting: home and then home.

Tale victory by peasants who guarded the ground challenging the random shells and control the forces of the status quo and irrigation water. And industrialists who have persevered in their laboratories chasing cut stolen on the way to the Turkish border, and Almlmon its parts piece by piece, and riding on the drug to the national industry remains less expensive on the skirt of the citizen.

Tale victory her school teachers who were divided between day and evening students and their parents who have faced threats and mortar “hell” that fell does not distinguish between a student and a teacher and any citizen everywhere.

Those tale by artist, actor and media and bank and a taxi driver and dealer and an engineer, a doctor and a housewife, a child and an elderly athlete and an old did not surrender to the reality of the crisis. The groom and the bride had completed the natural cycle of life and did not Aaosa They had men of the future, and the owners of restaurants and hotels, who refused to surrender and went and still Establish the projects. I wrote the story that characterized the diplomatic Damascus championships Ambassador Bashar Jaafari and wisdom Minister Walid al-Moualem.

Tale victory by also stop all of a champion to Syria from the beginning of the path, not Tdillh sacred slogans about freedom, lost or unfolded when the announcement factions of militants and extremists and reach targets countries.

-kmthal- Also a victory for the blood of agonist Hatter, who raised his voice resounding victory for the people in Syria until he fell a martyr in Amman at the hands of extremism itself. Victory score for each media to Lebanese and Egyptian and Jordanian entered Syria since 2011 and discovered in advance what is going on and where to stop with the Syrians on abandoned by all the world. For those preferred.

Of course, the victory of the Lebanese resistance, which made martyrs and still is, the Iranians and supporters, sponsors and the Russians victory in politics and war in the field. Each warrior side of logic, reason and humanity faced ignorance, extremism and terrorism with weapons and word and attitude.

All of these are now feeling that the victory of Syria very soon, because after what Aleppo never before. It’s the dividing line between the two phases. The end of the Syrian war has become the doors, after the fall of the war on Syria. The capitals of the world has changed equivalents and changed policies. Americans and Europeans are governed departments regressive compared to dilate the influence of Russia and China. Times have changed, and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who became a legend in the stand, now writes his victory speech, to look close to Aleppo. Certainly it would listen to him all the provinces of Syria and translate it reconciliations and ages. War Syrian society resisting I made.

Massacre In Aleppo: Honestly How Can Anyone In The Whole World Be Surprised By This?

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE ‘MIDDLE EAST ONLINE’ NEWS)

First Published: 2016-12-02

Protests erupt in Istanbul over ‘Aleppo massacre’
Istanbul protests Syrian regime’s recent brutal assault on Aleppo, where Assad government aims to recapture all rebel-held areas.
Middle East Online

ISTANBUL – Around 1,000 people protested in Istanbul on Friday against the operation being waged by President Bashar al-Assad’s army in Syria’s second city of Aleppo, accusing them of committing a “massacre”.

“Stop the massacre in Aleppo!”, demonstrators chanted as they held placards saying “the bombing is not against Aleppo but our humanity” and “our brotherhood is besieged, not Aleppo”.

The protest outside Istanbul University had been organised by religious student associations who called for “imperialist Russia to leave Syria”.

In recent days, Assad’s army has pressed a fierce assault aimed at retaking the whole of the city which is currently divided between the regime in the west and the rebels in the east.

The offensive, supported by heavy artillery, has triggered an exodus of tens of thousands of residents from the rebel-held east as Assad made significant gains in the past week.

The assault has left 42 children dead, from a total of more than 300 civilians killed since November 15.

Moscow intervened militarily in support of Damascus last year but says it is not involved in the current assault on Aleppo. Turkey supports the Syrian opposition.

Protester Ramazan Kaya said Ankara should “raise its voice” against the regime offensive. “If we don’t react, if we stay like observers of this massacre — that is absolutely intolerable.”

On Friday Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu repeated Turkey’s opposition to Assad remaining president.

“We supported the Assad regime before he started killing his own people… But, at this stage, we have to be realistic that the person who kills almost 600,000 people should not rule any country,” he said during a visit to Lebanon.

Great Mosque of Damascus- Umayyad Mosque, Syria—A Great History Lesson

(THIS IS A GREAT PIECE OF HISTORY FROM ‘THE WISDOM DIARY’)

Great Mosque of Damascus- Umayyad Mosque, Syria

The Great Mosque of Damascus, Syria
                             The Great Mosque of Damascus, Syria

The middle east is enriched with great architectures. Diving deep in any of the historical buildings will unfold a new tale. Each of these buildings shows the extreme love of the past people for great edifices. It shows how significant those civilizations were. Even to this day, these buildings stand alone in the field of artistry and grace. One big stop to this are the remarkable structures in Syria- the heart of western Asia.

While exploring Syria, one would definitely do injustice if he skips the most noticeable masterpiece of Damascus that is none other than its mosque called The Great Mosque of Damascus. It is nonetheless a living monument of Umayyad Dynasty. So let’s start our journey with the Author.

History of Umayyad Mosque, Syria:

The Great Mosque of Damascus is also called The Umayyad Mosque. It is one of the oldest mosques in Islam. Some Muslims consider it the fourth holiest site. Besides Muslims, it is considered holy by the Christians alike. There are various reasons it is sacred for both the religions. And both consider it divine and have a strict association with it.

Construction of the building:

As Syria is a home to many great civilizations therefore back in the days when Syria was under Aramaean rule who followed the god of rain and thunderstorm Hadad-Ramman as per their faith, constructed a temple for him. This is the location where present day Umayyad Mosque is built. After the conquest of Syria by the Romans, they comprehend the god of rain Hadad-Ramman as their own god of rain Jupiter. And thus expanded the temple. Later in the 4th century, the temple was converted into the Christian cathedral.

Umayyad Mosque’s importance for Christians:

As the temple was converted into the cathedral. It was under the control of bishop of Damascus. It is to be believed that the head of Saint John the prophet who is a holy figure for both Christians and Muslims is buried here. Saint John’s holy shrine is still in the Mosque of Damascus and people believe that some prophetic and miraculous events are associated with it. It was a major site for pilgrims in Byzantine empire and people would often travel long distances in order to pay visits to the enshrined head of John the Baptist.

Umayyad Mosque’s importance for Muslims:

The Arab Muslims conquer Damascus under the leadership of Khalid Bin Waleed. By then the caliphate was under the control of Umayyad Dynasty. The six caliph of that period ordered the construction of a mosque at the place of the cathedral. Before that, it was visited regularly by the local Christians along with other Muslims who had a prayer room in another part of the building. After the order of caliph, a major part of the building was demolished along with the prayer room. The main purpose of constructing a new building was to provide the large area for congregational prayers for Muslims and as a compensation, all other churches of the city were given back to the Christian community. The mosque had to be rebuilt several times because of the negligence that has occurred in protecting it.

Few Facts associated with The Great Mosque of Damascus:

  • The minarets of the mosques dated back to al-Walid, who constructed it for the first time, with little reconstruction. One of the minarets is called the Minaret of Jesus because it is to be believed by the Muslims that before the final hour Jesus Christ would come back and this is the place where Christ will appear.
             
  • Towards the eastern side of the main hall is the place which is finely tiled chamber or shrine. It is to be believed that this place holds the head of either Zechariah the father of prophet John or Hussein Bin Ali- the grandson of Muhammad.
  • Saladin is considered as one of the most prominent conquerors in Islamic history and his tomb is placed in the garden that adjoins the north wall of the mosque. This is one more reason why Umayyad Mosque holds significance in Islam.
  • The shrine of John who is considered a prophet in Islam is still in the mosque and it is a means of utmost respect and divinity for Muslims.
  • The great Mosque of Damascus is the place where the prisoners of Karbala incident were kept. The household of Prophet Mohammad walked all the way from Iraq to this place and was imprisoned here for sixty days. There are numerous other tiny sites inside the hall that tells stories.

It is, therefore, sacred for both shia and Sunni sects of Islam. Just like it is sacred for Christians. Every year many people visit this Holy and historical site that is a mark of many ages in itself.

Syria: Once Again U.S. Government On The Wrong Side Of The Issues In A War

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE REUTERS NEWS AGENCY)

Assad offers rebels amnesty if they surrender Aleppo

 (Just as U.S. President George H.W. Bush did not press on to Baghdad to depose their President America should have stayed out of the Syrian civil war. We have all seen the lessons of replacing Middle-East leaders via what President George W. Bush did in Iraq and the lives that has cost in the past, present, and future as we have also seen in Libya. The American government of President Obama and his Secretary of State Hillary Clinton did not learn from Iraq or Libya so they decided to help over through the Syrian government, now look at the mess almost six years in the running. There is no way our government can retreat and save face in the Arab world but exiting from the fight against the Syrian government is the only thing we really can do. I am not saying that we should stop trying to kill the ISIS fighters even though killing them does help the Syrian government to stay in power. Our efforts would have been better used if we had been trying to find a way to help the Kurdish people to find a truce with Turkey and Iraq and to help them find a piece of land that they can call home where they can live in peace!)
By Ellen Francis and Tom Miles | BEIRUT/GENEVA

Rebels holed up in Aleppo can leave with their families if they lay down their arms, President Bashar al-Assad said on Thursday, vowing to press on with the assault on Syria’s largest city and recapture full control of the country.

The offer of amnesty follows two weeks of the heaviest bombardment of the five-and-a-half-year civil war, which has killed hundreds of people trapped inside Aleppo’s rebel-held eastern sector and torpedoed a U.S.-backed peace initiative.

Fighters have accepted similar government amnesty offers in other besieged areas in recent months, notably in Daraya, a suburb of Damascus that was under siege for years until rebels surrendered it in August.

However, rebels said they had no plan to evacuate Aleppo, the last major urban area they control, and denounced the amnesty offer as a deception.

“It’s impossible for the rebel groups to leave Aleppo because this would be a trick by the regime,” Zakaria Malahifji, a Turkey-based official for the Fastaqim group which is present in Aleppo, told Reuters. “Aleppo is not like other areas, it’s not possible for them to surrender.”

Washington was also skeptical of government motives: “For them to suggest that somehow they’re now looking out for the interests of civilians is outrageous,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said, citing the heavy civilian toll from air strikes and bombardment.

The army announced a reduction in shelling and air strikes on Wednesday to allow people to leave. It backed that up with an ultimatum: “All those who do not take advantage of the provided opportunity to lay down their arms or to leave will face their inevitable fate.”

The government also sent text messages to the mobile phones of some of those people trapped in the besieged sector, telling them to repudiate fighters in their midst. More than 250,000 people are believed to be trapped inside rebel-held eastern Aleppo, facing dire shortages of food and medicine.

Speaking to Danish television, Assad said he would “continue the fight with the rebels until they leave Aleppo. They have to. There’s no other option.”

He said that he wanted rebels to accept a deal to leave the city along with their families and travel to other rebel-held areas, as in Daraya. Neither Assad nor his generals gave a timeline for rebels to accept their offer.

Washington accuses Moscow and Damascus of war crimes for intentionally targeting civilians, aid deliveries and hospitals to break the will of those trapped in the besieged city. Russia and Syria accuse the United States of supporting terrorists by backing rebel groups.

A U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that the relentless Russian and Syrian bombardments could result in the fall of rebel-held eastern Aleppo within “weeks if not days”.

“It’s unclear how long they will last, but considering the destruction of infrastructure that supports life, they are hanging by a thread,” the U.S. official said. “There is only so much they can endure.

The war has already killed hundreds of thousands, made half of Syrians homeless, dragged in global and regional powers and left swathes of the country in the hands of jihadists from Islamic State who have carried out attacks around the globe.

Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad speaks during an interview with Denmark’s TV 2, in this handout picture provided by SANA on October 6, 2016. SANA/Handout via REUTERS

The United States and Russia are both fighting against Islamic State but are on opposite sides in the wider civil war, with Moscow fighting to protect Assad and Washington supporting rebels against him.

Storming Aleppo’s rebel-held zone, which includes big parts of the densely populated Old City, could take months and cause a bloodbath, the U.N. Syria envoy warned on Thursday.

“The bottom line is in a maximum of two months, two and a half months, the city of eastern Aleppo at this rate may be totally destroyed,” said Staffan de Mistura, invoking the 1990s atrocities of the Rwandan genocide and Yugoslavia’s civil war.

LIGHTER BOMBARDMENT

Residents of eastern Aleppo said the aerial bombardment was significantly lighter overnight and on Thursday after the government’s statement, but they said heavy fighting continued on the front lines and people were afraid.

The army and its allies, Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and Shi’ite militias from Iraq and Lebanon backed by Russian air power, seized half of the Bustan al-Basha quarter of Aleppo, north of the Old City on Thursday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a war monitor, reported.

“The bombardment decreased a lot in the eastern districts, but there’s a sense of foreboding … people are still scared. And because there’s still the siege, there’s nothing at all in the shops,” said Ibrahim Abu al-Laith, a Civil Defense official in eastern Aleppo.

Amir, a resident of the rebel-held district who did not want to be identified with his family name, said it was true that air strikes had diminished, but that he had not yet seen any way for civilians to leave the area. “It’s not true that there are safe crossings,” he said.

Residents in eastern Aleppo forwarded to Reuters text messages they said had been sent by their telecom provider carrying a government warning urging them to distance themselves from rebels and to depart.

“Our people in Aleppo: save your lives by rejecting the terrorists and isolating them from you,” read one message. “Our dear people in the eastern districts of Aleppo! Come out to meet your brothers and sisters,” read another.

Meanwhile, rebels continued the shelling of residential areas of government-held western Aleppo, where dozens of people have also been killed since the end of a ceasefire two weeks ago. The Observatory said 10 people were killed 52 wounded in government-held areas of Aleppo city by rebels on Thursday.

The government-held western districts of the city are still home to more than 1.5 million civilians who face far less daily danger than in rebel-held areas. Video footage obtained by Reuters showed people in the city enjoying a night club in the Seryan district, while war rages in the east.

MILITANT GROUP

Russia says it is targeting the Nusra Front, al Qaeda’s Syrian branch which changed its name in July and says it broke ties with the network founded by Osama bin Laden.

The U.N. envoy De Mistura on Thursday urged Moscow and Damascus to accept a deal under which the fighters of that group would leave the city, while other insurgents and civilians would be allowed to remain.

He said there were fewer than 1,000 members of the hard-line Islamist group inside Aleppo, part of a contingent of around 8,000 rebel fighters, and offered to lead them out of the city himself to guarantee their safety.

Russian presidential envoy Mikhail Bogdanov said it was “high time” such an offer was made, but it was not immediately clear if Moscow was also willing to stop the bombing.

A U.S. State Department official said he could not confirm De Mistura’s estimate of less than 1,000 Nusra fighters in Aleppo, though he said Washington believed the group’s adherents were a minority of the opposition fighters in the city.

“We’re not able to verify that that’s accurate,” the official told reporters on condition of anonymity.

Asked if De Mistura actually carried out his proposal to escort the fighters out of Aleppo it might simply make it easier for Syrian forces to take the city because some of their most effective opponents would have been removed, the official replied: “potentially.”

Distinguishing between fighters from the former Nusra Front and other groups has been difficult in the past, including during the week-long ceasefire which collapsed last month when the army launched its offensive.

Russia accused the United States of failing to ensure that other rebels separated themselves from Nusra, which Moscow and Washington both regard as a terrorist group excluded from the ceasefire.

Russian President Vladimir Putin will visit Paris on Oct. 19 to discuss Syria with his French counterpart Francois Hollande, the only diplomatic track still active over efforts to bring peace to the country.

In his Danish TV interview, Assad accused Washington of using Nusra as a proxy, and said this was why the ceasefire had collapsed.

“It’s an American card. Without al-Nusra, the Americans cannot have any real, let’s say, concrete and effective card in the Syrian arena,” he said.

(Additional reporting by Arshad Mohammed, Jonathan Landay and Doina Chiacu in Washington, John Irish in Paris and Dmitry Solovyov in Moscow; Writing by Angus McDowall; Editing by Peter Graff and James Dalgleish)

Iran’s Supreme Leader Khomeini Shows His Love For All Non Shiite’s

 

Special Dispatch Memri
Iranian General Discusses Shi’ite Liberation Army Under Command Of Qassem Soleimani, Who Is Subordinate To Supreme Leader Khomeini September 15, 2016 Special Dispatch No.6611

On August 18, 2016, Ali Falaki, a retired general in Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) who commanded a brigade in the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq War and claims to have volunteered to fight in Syria, gave an interview to the Iranian website Mashregh, which is close to the IRGC. In it, he spoke of the “Shi’ite Liberation Army” that Iran has deployed on its three battlefronts in the Middle East – in Syria, Iraq, and Yemen – stating that it comprises divisions based on ethnicity that Iran has established for this purpose. These divisions, he said, are the Afghan division (Fatemiyoun), the Pakistani division (Zaynabiyoun) and the Iraqi division (Hayderiyoun), in addition to the Lebanese Hezbollah division that is operating in Lebanon and Syria. Falaki explained that these divisions comprise the Shi’ite Liberation Army that operates according to the ethnic model adopted by Iran in the Iran-Iraq war.[1]


Ali Falaki (Image: Farsnews.com)

Falaki stressed that while the Shi’ite Liberation Army forces on the various fronts are divided by ethnicity, their command structure is Iranian, and is headed by IRGC officers under the command of Qassem Soleimani, head of the IRGC’s elite Qods Force, which operates outside Iran’s borders. He added that Soleimani answers directly to Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khomeini.

Falaki, who said that he maintains direct contact with the top echelons of the Iranian Army and IRGC, proudly reported that he had commanded, as part of the Afghan division, many Iranian Army soldiers who had volunteered to fight in Syria since February 2016. He said that it had been decided that they would be incorporated into the Afghan division of the Shi’ite Liberation Army as commanders. Falaki appears to be referring to February reports that Iran had replaced IRGC officers in Syria with Iranian Army soldiers and to relations between the IRGC and the Iranian Army, which have had their ups and downs.

Like other Iranian spokesmen, Falaki stressed that Iran is not sending Iranian forces to directly fight on the various fronts in the Middle East, but is creating local fighting forces that it provides with “guidance, organization, and management” by means of IRGC officers, and, when necessary also reinforces with the ethnic divisions of the Shi’ite Liberation Army. Wherever “there is a need for this army, the people in that region will be organized and supplied with the necessary forces,” he said. He added that the Shi’ite Liberation Army was established “because of the existence of Israel,” which Khamenei has vowed will cease to exist in about 20 years, though in practice the Shi’ite Liberation Army is fighting against Sunnis in the Middle East.

It should be mentioned that Falaki uses the term “Shi’ite Liberation Army” to mean two things: one, that its mission is to liberate Shi’ites, and two, that it is itself distinctly Shi’ite.

Following are excerpts from Falaki’s interview on the Mashregh website:[2]

“The First Seed Of The Shi’ite And Muslim Liberation Army Was Germinated In Syria”

“We have certain weaknesses in Syria that I do not wish to currently discuss, but some of them stem from a weakness we have in Iran. From here [in Iran], we come to South Lebanon and support the Shi’ites there; we come to Bahrain and Yemen at great expense and support the Shi’ites there.

“In Lebanon, we found [Hizbullah secretary-general] Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, but here [in Iran], we could find no leader among all the active revolutionary [Afghan] clerics willing to be on the frontlines [like he is], nor could we organize such large forces [as Hizbullah]. We were not able to properly support the three million Shi’ite Afghans [living in Iran as refugees], and it is very unfortunate that for 30 years we ignored Afghan Shi’ites who, despite their oppression, resisted the arrogance of the east [Russia] and the West [the U.S.] in Afghanistan. We saw them as mere laborers waiting [for work] at intersections or as criminals. This generation [of Afghans in Iran] stepped up and showed heroism, altruism, courage, and daring in Syria. They shone under the command of the Iranian forces…

“Under the command of [Qods Force head] Haj Qassem [Soleimani], the Afghans prevented Zaynabiyya, Damascus, and the airport from falling [to the Syrian rebels]… We must not think that we [Iranians] are fighting in Syria, [but rather that] the Afghans are being courageous there under our command…

“The name ‘Fatemiyoun’ refers to explicit aid from God. The name ‘Fatemiyoun’ produced two great events… [for Iran] in the world of Islam. First, during the [Iran-Iraq] War, we were tasked with creating unity among [ethnic] sects [in Iran] – Lors, Kurds, Baluchis, Persians, and Arabs – [albeit] in separate frameworks,  [which all fought] the Ba’ath Party [in Iraq]. We transformed all the [ethnic] sects into military divisions, and during the war never dared to say that some of the brothers were Sunnis and some were [Shi’ite] Afghans.

“The Fatemiyoun banner was raised, and thus the first seed of the liberation army of Shi’ites and Muslims was germinated in Syria. Today we have the privilege [of forming the Shi’ite Liberation Army] because back then, we created the unity among the [ethnic] sects; now, we have created international [Shi’ite] unity. The [Pakistani] Zaynabiyoun division comprises Pakistanis under the command of IRGC officers. The [Afghan] Fatemiyoun division has several brigades comprising Afghans, and even has some Sunni members. IRGC [officers] guide this division. These divisions include IRGC commanders and [Afghani] commanders, from squad commanders to staff officers. These divisions have a single uniform and a single banner. They come under a single umbrella organization and fight on a single battlefront. We also have the Hayderiyoun division, which comprises Iraqis. We also have a Hezbollah division, which is divided into two: one part is Hezbollah in Lebanon and the other is Hezbollah in Syria, which comprises the people of Damascus, Nubl, and Al-Zahraa.

“The [Shi’ite] Liberation Army was formed because, with God’s help, in 23 years there should be no such thing as Israel. These divisions are on the Israeli border. The Fatemiyoun have laid the groundwork for this fight.

“The second thing, that we are happy to see is spreading to everyone, is that our previous [patronizing] view of these [Afghan] brothers has changed…”

“Wherever There Is A Need For This Army, The People In That Region Will Be Organized And Supplied With Necessary Forces”

“The Shi’ite Liberation Army was established, and it is currently under the command of [Qods Force head] Haj Qassem Soleimani, who obeys the leader [Khomeini]. One of this army’s fronts is in Syria, another is in Iraq, and yet another is in Yemen. The forces in this army are not meant to be only Iranian; [instead], wherever there is a need for this army, the people in that region will be organized [to form it] and supplied with the necessary forces…

“We [Iranians] are not meant to come [to Syria] as forces operating [on the ground]. We want [Iranian] elements who know how to teach, organize, and manage to come to Syria. This way, the forces in that region can spring into action…

“Some of the commanders of the army [of the Syrian regime] fled abroad, and some of its bases were captured. The crushed Syrian army units have today regrouped with renewed strength. Therefore, there is no need for us [in Iran] to send an army there. We can stand alongside the Syrian army, organize Syrian forces, and prepare them for battle. [In the future] we can remove the enemy occupation of Syria, just as we did in [Iranian] Kurdistan, which took a year or two – but controlling foreign incursions into Syria is up to the Syrians themselves and we cannot prevent it.

“Regime change and changes of president can happen only when the enemy is no longer [in Syria]…  For example, we succeeded, within two years, to expel the enemy presence in Kurdistan in western [Iran], but it took us years to impose law and order there… Today, this region is considered one of the safest in Iran… even though 20 years ago, they were beheading IRGC personnel with pottery shards…”

The Iranian Army Felt It Had A Roll To Fulfill In Syria

“The Iranian army felt that it had to fulfill a role in this [Syrian] arena. According to my knowledge, the army told Qassem Soleimani that it wants to fulfill its duty in this matter [i.e. fighting in Syria]. Qassem Soleimani told this to the leader [Khomeini], and the leader gave his blessing… Some volunteers from various military units, who were mostly experts in aerial combat, were sent to Syria in mid-February 2016.

“These [Iranian army] forces were competent enough to operate independently, but we decided that they would operate as part of the [Afghan] Fatemiyoun [division]. God rewarded me by placing me in command of them as part of the Fatemiyoun [division]. I placed them in charge of the area and transferred means to them, and after a short period, the [Afghan] unit was placed under their command. Neither their rank nor their weapons in Iran were the same as they were [after they joined] the Fatemiyoun [in Syria]. But due to their presence in Syria and after a short time fighting alongside the [Afghan] Fatemiyoun brothers, they became one organization, wore the same uniform, and fought in the same trenches. They became fast friends.

“I also told [Iranian ground forces commander] Amir Pourdastan that I was proud to fight along with the brothers from the [Iranian] army on one of the global battlefront outside of Iran, just like during the sacred defense period [the Iran-Iraq War]. [Back then] there was no difference [between us and them] and they were like the Basij boys [of the IRGC].

“I spoke with the commander who was tasked with sending [Iranian soldiers to Syria] and he said: ‘One of my concerns is to curb the wave of volunteers who want to be sent [to Syria]. According to the needs of the [Iranian] General Staff, we only send the necessary amount of forces [to Syria]. Had I allowed it, we would have had several divisions of [Iranian] volunteers [in Syria].’

“The presence of these forces has been hugely beneficial [in the Syrian arena]. They also suffered martyrdoms and injuries, but this did not damage their morale or make them less determined. They were experienced, brave, and passionate…

“The [volunteers] coming from Iran to Syria are given a monthly stipend of $100.”

“We Do Not Wish To Produce An Atomic Bomb… [But Rather] Prove… That [We] Can Reach Higher Than France [And] England… In All Fields… Even On The Military Level”

“Until our power grows, the world of the arrogance [the U.S.] will never let us be. Some wonder why there is a need for tension between us and the Western world. I must say that if we tolerate this tension for a while, we will be a match for [the enemy] and then they will no longer dare fight us. We do not wish to produce an atomic bomb. We only want to prove that our people and country can reach higher than France, England, Austria, and Denmark in all fields – humanities, science, economy, technology, as well as human rights, and even on the military level.

“If we destroy the enemy that is currently mobilizing against us, there will be no room for any other country [to mobilize against us]. When we show our true might, they will no longer be able to do anything against us…”

 

End notes:

 

[1] In the first part of the interview Falaki refers to the problem of the Afghan refugees in Iran, who number some 3,000,000. The Iranian regime recruits young men from among these refugees to fight in Syria as part of the Afghan division. The fighters receive a monthly stipend and, if they fall in battle, their families’ social status is enhanced.

[2] Fars (Iran), August 18, 2016. It should be mentioned that the interview was deleted from the Mashregh website shortly after publication.

The Hypocrisy Of The PA And Many Of The Palestinian Officials Is Humerus/Sickening

(This article is courtesy of the Times Of Israel)

On day of violence, Abbas aide says IDF killing of attackers is ‘execution’

Amid spate of four attacks by Palestinians, Nabil Abu Rudeineh urges world to defend Palestinian people from Israeli ‘crimes’

September 16, 2016, 8:26 pm 15

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas speaks during a meeting with a delegation of the Federation of Jews from Arab countries in Ramallah, in the West Bank, on March 28, 2016. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas speaks during a meeting with a delegation of the Federation of Jews from Arab countries in Ramallah, in the West Bank, on March 28, 2016. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

A spokesman for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Friday called the killing by Israeli security forces of two attackers in separate incidents in Jerusalem and the West Bank settlement of Kiryat Arba earlier in the day “a crime and an execution.”

Nabil Abu Rudeineh called on the international community to defend the Palestinian people.

Israel has previously come under criticism for the way in which it responds to attacks on its civilians and soldiers. In March, senior Palestinian official Saeb Erekat submitted a request to the United Nations asking it to formally investigate what he called Israeli extrajudicial “executions” of Palestinian attackers. The request came days after an IDF soldier was filmed shooting and killing a wounded assailant in Hebron.

Israel has in turn repeatedly accused Abbas of failing to condemn the wave of Palestinian attacks on Israeli civilians and security forces that erupted late last year, and says his PA hierarchy presides over incitement to terror and violence against Israel.

Nabil Abu Rudeineh (L), spokesman of Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas, welcomes Israeli opposition head Isaac Herzog (C) at the Palestinian Authority headquarters in the West Bank city of Ramallah, August 18, 2015. (AFP Photo/Abbas Momani)

Nabil Abu Rudeineh (L), spokesman of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, welcomes Israeli opposition head Isaac Herzog (C) at the Palestinian Authority headquarters in the West Bank city of Ramallah, August 18, 2015. (AFP/Abbas Momani)

Shin Bet chief Nadav Argaman told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee in July that a condemnation of terror attacks by Abbas would help to reduce incitement and therefore the level of violence against Israelis.

In the first of four attacks Friday, a Jordanian man was shot and killed by Border Police officers when he tried to carry out a stabbing attack near the Damascus Gate, in Jerusalem’s Old City.

The man, Fadi Aljaba, arrived at the Damascus Gate from inside the Old City and approached a group of officers with a knife drawn. The 28-year-old assailant was carrying a Jordanian passport, but police were still investigating if he also held a Palestinian ID card.

Less than an hour later, one Palestinian was killed and another was seriously wounded when they rammed their car into a bus stop outside the Kiryat Arba settlement in the West Bank, the army said.

Soldiers at the scene where a soldier was stabbed in Hebron on September 16, 2016 (YouTube screenshot)

Soldiers at the scene where a soldier was stabbed in Hebron on September 16, 2016 (YouTube screenshot)

The driver and passenger were shot as they plowed their vehicle into the bus stop at the Elias Junction near the settlement, the IDF said.

In one of the other two attacks Friday, an IDF soldier sustained light wounds when he was stabbed in the face in an attack at a checkpoint in the West Bank city of Hebron on Friday. The assailant was shot and killed by forces at the Gilbert checkpoint near the Tel Rumeida neighborhood of the city, the army said.

Also Friday afternoon, a bus driver was lightly wounded when unidentified perpetrators threw rocks and glass bottles full of paint at his vehicle on the highway between Jerusalem and the Ma’ale Adumim settlement.

— Judah Ari Gross contributed to this report.

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