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

Colin Powell Speaks With The Washington Ideas Forum


Atlantic Live

Former Secretary of State (for George W. Bush) Colin Powell spoke with the president and CEO of The Aspen Institute Walter Isaacson as part of the Washington Ideas Forum, co-hosted by the Institute and the Atlantic.

He discussed the Iran deal, Syria, ISIS, The Iraq War, immigration, and other things.

Powell generally agreed with the structure of the Iran deal, and said the U.S. should work within its parameters.  When discussing immigration, Powell said, “I think the American people have to understand we’re an immigrant nation,” he said, adding, “it is our history, it is our tradition…we have been built on the backs of immigrants.”

Powell also implored those in the audience to consider the positive impact of immigrant workers.

http://fusion.net/story/208991/colin-powell-donald-trump-immigration-comments/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=JR

DOD Releases Number Of Killed By Iranian IEDs

After weeks of controversy linked to the Iran nuclear deal, U.S. military officials disclosed classified data showing that 196 American troops were killed by improvised explosive devices (IEDs) made in Iran.  IEDs are also called “roadside bombs.”

This was less than the figure of 500 deaths publicly discussed this summer.

The data released by U.S. Central Command shows that 196 U.S troop fatalities from the tail end of 2005 through 2011 were directly attributed to “explosively formed penetrators,” or EFPs, a distinctly deadly type of IED bomb used by the Iranian-backed Shiite militias during the Iraq War following the 2003 U.S. invasion.

The data also shows that 861 American troops were wounded over that time-frame by Iranian-made EFPs, and that the EFP attacks peaked in the spring of 2008.

Throughout the summer, officials in Washington, including Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, referred to undisclosed data showing that 500 American troops deaths in Iraq were directly linked to Iran.

It is unknown if the timing of this release of information was somehow political.

http://www.militarytimes.com/story/military/pentagon/2015/09/16/iran-deaths/32498903/

http://dailycaller.com/2015/09/09/officials-blew-estimate-of-how-many-american-soldiers-have-been-killed-by-iranian-ieds/

Is Chuck Schumer On The Right Side?


Secular Talk

Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee says he’s grateful for Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer, writes CNN.

The former Arkansas governor, Mike Huckabee, praised the decision of the high-ranking Democrat on Saturday to not support the Iran deal.

“Sen. Schumer’s opposition to the agreement sends a signal to every pro-Israel Democrat in Washington that they don’t have to ‘walk the plank’ for President Obama — they can stand for peace and reject this bad deal. And I pray that they will,” Huckabee wrote.

Of course, the agreement is a peace agreement that gives unprecedented access to Iran’s nuclear facilities for inspection.

New York Senator Schumer has stated he is against the agreement between Iran and six other nations.  The Huffington Post writes that Schumer is the soon-to-be leader of his party in the Senate.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/chuck-schumer-planning-to-break-with-obama-oppose-iran-deal_55c3f7e9e4b0d9b743dba71d

http://www.cnn.com/2015/08/08/politics/mike-huckabee-chuck-schumer-ted-cruz/index.html

Energy Secretary: Iran Deal Closes Uranium Enrichment Loophole


wochit News

In an interview with Politico, the U.S. energy secretary Ernest Moniz described previously unpublished provisions that make it harder for Iran to reconstitute its weapons program.

The nuclear agreement with Iran closes what some experts had called a potentially major loophole.

The loophole would make it easier for Iran to reconstitute its nuclear program, according to wochit News.

John Stewart Tries To Move On From Trump


J Stewart’s Show

Jon Stewart said he’s trying to “move on” from Donald Trump to more important issues.

He then looked at the Iran deal and how Republicans have been calling it “historically bad.”

They seemed to misunderstand that the point of the deal is to keep nuclear weapons out of the hands of Iran, not to give them nuclear weapons. He also discussed Republicans who criticized the deal without reading it, like a “bizarro iTunes user agreement.”

Glenn Beck Unaware That Shi’ite Iran Is Fighting Sunni ISIS


Secular Talk

Glenn Beck posted a message on Facebook about the Iran deal and warned of dire consequences, including “a Holocaust, perhaps bigger than the last.”  Beck is currently on medical paid medical leave from his radio show.

Beck wrote how people “mocked him” for warning about the “rise of the caliphate,” but now he’s more convinced that the U.S. has done a deal with a nation that believes in the “end times,” writes MediaITE.

Keep in mind that Sunni ISIS and Shia Muslim Iran are mortal enemies in the Middle East.  They are not on the same side of the war.  Beck:

“For years I have warned the world against turning a blind eye to those who run Iran. They are beyond radical Islamists. They, like ISIS are psychotic Islamists.

“When I predicted the rise of the caliphate, those who had not done their homework on what was really happening in the Middle East spent their time mocking me. Once again, I warn the American people and the people of the world again. This particular strain of Islamists, like ISIS, believe they can “hasten the return of the promised one”, and usher in the literal end times.

“No one in their right mind would sign treaties with a Christian country that believed these things. Remember, it does NOT require you to believe it, just that you fully understand that THEY believe it.

“What this president has done will be remembered as something far worse than Neville Chamberlain. It will only be a matter of time before millions cry out his name in despair and contempt. A Holocaust, perhaps bigger than the last, where millions of Christians and even Muslims who are not Muslim enough will die at the hands of the Islamic State.

“Anyone who believes ‪#‎lovewins‬ must let their voice be heard. This is a nation that denies homosexuality even exists in their country and they whip or kill any that they find. This is a country that is holding Americans in prison now for political or faith crimes. This is a nation that kills those who leave Islam and stone women.

“This is a sad day for the right of conscience and the freedom and safety of not only us but the entire world. It is a tragic day for our ally Israel.

“‪#‎neveragainisnow‬. It is time for good, decent and God fearing Americans stand and be counted. This deal yet again proves that our governments are not the solution to our problems. For me, my family and my team we will serve the truth and against injustice no matter the price. We will serve The Lord.

“This must not stand but you must.”