Iranian Ground Troops Are In Syria Fighting Rebels And ISIS

According to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, Syrian troops backed by Hezbollah and Iranian fighters launched an offensive south of Aleppo province in Syria on Friday.  The groups expanded a counter-attack against rebels across western Syria with support from Russian air strikes.

This assault means the army is now pressing insurgents on several fronts near Syria’s main cities in the west, control of which would secure President Bashar Assad’s hold on power even if the east of the country is still held by Islamic State.

The city of Aleppo is only 30 miles from the Turkish border. Aleppo, a commercial and industrial hub near the border with Turkey, was Syria’s largest city before its four-year civil war, which grew out of protests against Assad’s rule.

Control of the city, still home to some two million people, is divided between the government and rebels.

“This is the promised battle,” a senior military source in Syria said of the offensive. The group is backed by “hundreds of Hezbollah and Iranian forces which he said had made some gains on the ground,” according to Haaretz.

Other sources such as Al-Arabia News state that “thousands” of Iranian troops are in the area.

This was the first time Iranian fighters had taken part on such a scale in the Syrian conflict, said the military source, according to Haaretz.

Hezbollah has supported Assad in several battles during the civil war, and said the army was carrying out a “broad military operation”, with support from Russian and Syrian jets, across a front at least 10 miles (15 km) wide from the southwest to southeast of Aleppo. It made no mention of Hezbollah fighters in its statement.

Hezbollah is a Shia Islamist militant group and political party based in Lebanon, writes Wikipedia.

Two senior regional sources said this week that Iran sent thousands of troops to Syria to bolster an offensive already underway in Hama province and ahead of the Aleppo attack, according to Haaretz.

Iran says it has sent weapons and military advisers to support its ally Assad, but has denied providing troops.

In the last week Iranian media have reported the deaths in Syria of three senior officers from Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps. Hossein Hamedani, a corps deputy commander, was killed near Aleppo and two other officers have also died fighting Islamic State forces in Syria, Iran’s Tasnim news agency said.

Two senior Hezbollah officers have also been killed in Syria in the last week, a Lebanese security source said.

Rami Abdulrahman, director of UK-based monitoring group the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said there were heavy clashes near the Jebel Azzan region, about 12 km (8 miles) south of Aleppo city.

The area that the army and Russian jets were targeting was close to a main road heading south towards the capital Damascus, Abdulrahman said.

The army had recaptured the village of Abtin from rebel fighters, he said, as well as a tank battalion base close to Sabiqiya village. Both villages lie close to Jebel Azzan. Rebels had hit one army tank with a U.S.-made TOW anti-tank missile.

The U.S. is attempting to support “moderate” rebels.  Unfortunately, sources claim that many “moderate” rebels collaborate with ISIS and al Nusra and have exchanged weapons.

The military source said the rebel fighters were mainly from the Islamist group Ahrar al-Sham and al Qaeda’s Syrian wing, the Nusra Front, as well as the Suqour al-Sham and Failaq al-Sham insurgent groups.

(Updated post)

http://www.haaretz.com/news/middle-east/1.680814

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/views/news/middle-east/2015/10/15/The-Iranians-are-on-Turkey-s-border.html

Does Hillary Clinton Support Benjamin Netanyahu?

Recently, a couple of articles have come out assessing Hillary Clinton’s position on Israel and the Prime Minister there, Benjamin Netanyahu.

Bustle magazine takes a look at the situation.  They claim that Hillary “has a lot more faith in Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu than the Obama administration, whose patience with Bibi is wearing thin.”

Bustle:

“Clinton has reaffirmed her support for a two-state solution on multiple occasions, and she does not want Israel to be a ‘partisan issue.'”

Apparently, if the Democrats had a different view on the situation in Israel, that would make Israel a ” partisan issue.”

Hillary Clinton also made comments about the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement that seemed inaccurate.  BDS is a global movement to boycott, divest, and sanction companies that are involved with the occupation of Palestinian lands.

For example, some governments or churches refuse to invest in Ford, Caterpillar, or Hewlett Packard, because those companies provide security systems and equipment to Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Border Patrol Units.  A BDS movement was reportedly also used against Apartheid South Africa in the 1980’s and 1990’s.

On July 2nd, Clinton sent a letter to Israeli American businessman / campaign donor Haim Saban, writing that “I know you agree that we need to make countering BDS a priority” in order to “fight back against further attempts to isolate and delegitimize Israel.”  She sent a similar letter to Jewish communal leader Malcolm Hoenlein, according to The Times of Israel.

In the letters, former Secretary Clinton also mentioned Palestinian efforts to “unilaterally declare statehood” at the U.N. — efforts that she is proud to have blocked, according to Bustle. However, more than 130 countries officially recognize Palestine as a state, writes Bustle, including The Vatican.

http://www.timesofisrael.com/clinton-issues-missives-against-israel-boycott-movement/

http://www.bustle.com/articles/94522-what-do-the-2016-presidential-candidates-think-about-israel-palestine

The Clinton Global Initiative Accepts Donations From Foreign Nations


TYT Network

A Wall Street Journal review of donations to the Clinton Foundation in 2014 showed the charity received money from the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Oman, as well as from Canada’s foreign affairs department, which is promoting the Keystone XL pipeline.

The foundation had agreed to stop raising money from foreign governments in 2009, after Mrs. Clinton became secretary of state. That step was in deference to Obama administration concerns about the propriety of taking money from other nations while Mrs. Clinton served as America’s top diplomat, according to WSJ.

Mrs. Clinton left the State Department in early 2013, and the foundation later dropped the ban.

Rebels Continue Assault On Ukrainian Government Positions Ahead Of Peace Talks

More than 10 civilians and soldiers have been killed in rocket fire deep inside Ukrainian government-held territory on the eve of peace talks. The eastern headquarters of Ukraine’s military in Kramatorsk was hit as well as residential areas.

According to the BBC, urgent talks on ending the deadly conflict in Ukraine have begun on February 11th in the Belarusian capital Minsk, after a week of EU diplomacy.

Russian President Vladimir Putin shook hands with Ukrainian leader Petro Poroshenko.

Russia has been accused of arming and reinforcing pro-Russian rebels in east Ukraine – a claim it denies.

Brokering the ceasefire bid are German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande.

The talks are set to focus on securing a ceasefire, withdrawal of heavy weapons and creating a demilitarised zone.


euronews

Clinton’s Book Gives Some Insights Into Her Views On Israel And Palestine

 

US-POLITICS-VOTE-CLINTON-BOOKS

Hard Choices gives some insights into Hillary Clinton’s views of Israel and Palestine.

Clinton states she has generally agreed with the idea of a two-state solution based on 1967 borders with equitable land swaps, a Jerusalem divided between Israel and a future Palestinian state, security arrangements, and an end to settlement building by Israel in the Palestinian territories.

Clinton also claims that she told ther Israeli government “…(W)e were approaching the day when Palestinians would make up a majority of the combined population of Israel and the Palestinian territories, and most of those Palestinians would be relegated to second-class citizenship and unable to vote.”

She seems to point out that the only solutions would be a “single-state” solution (where everyone had the same rights) or a two-state solution.

“As long as Israel insisted on holding on to the territories, it would become increasingly difficult and eventually impossible to maintain its status as both a democracy and a Jewish state. Sooner or later, Israelis would have to choose one or the other or let the Palestinians have a state of their own.”

She also mentions what she thinks life is like for Palestinians in the West Bank:

“… [I]n the West Bank, I got my first glimpse of life under occupation for Palestinians, who were denied the dignity and self-determination that Americans take for granted.”

http://www.jns.org/latest-articles/2014/7/9/on-israeli-palestinian-conflict-hillary-clintons-hard-choices-offers-the-same-choices#.U8gqrvldVnk=

http://freebeacon.com/issues/clinton-accuses-israel-of-being-occupying-force/

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2653641/Hillary-draws-flak-writing-Palestinians-Jewish-occupation-reviewers-continue-shred-book.html