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

Emerging Market Currencies Fluctuate Greatly

Emerging market currencies were hit hard recently, with Brazil, Turkey and South Africa plumbing new lows against the US dollar due to pessimism over the outlook for the global economy.

The Financial Times states that the Brazilian real came down 1.2 per cent to R$4.22, which was its lowest since it was introduced in 1994.

The decline was just as notable in South Africa and Turkey, where the rand and the lira hit record lows, while Indonesia’s rupiah and Malaysia’s ringgit also tumbled.  This week, emerging market currencies are up slightly.

What are the reasons for the great changes in the value of these currencies?

This month, the Fed did not raise interest rates. However, The Financial Times states that there is a global recoil from emerging markets in anticipation of rising U.S. interest rates.

There are also collapsing commodity prices and escalating concerns over China’s economy.

FT writes:

“In a further parallel, the stronger dollar is encouraging money to flow out of risky, emerging Asian economies and into the rich world, with the biggest losers likely to be those countries with the largest current account deficits.”

FT writes that Brazil’s bonds have received a junk credit rating in recent weeks by Standard & Poor’s.  That sent the Brazilian currency 6.8 per cent lower against the dollar.

Other currencies in the Latin American region went down, too, including the pesos of Colombia, Chile and Mexico, all down at least 0.8 per cent.

Asian economies are being affected by slowing growth and ebbing demand in China for the raw materials that led to a boom in commodity prices.

Hopes that an economic recovery in the developed world can counteract the impact of China are also faltering with the International Monetary Fund cutting its global growth forecast for 2015 from 3.5 per cent to 3.3 per cent.

Global asset managers are already feeling the pinch. UK fund house Aberdeen Asset Management recently reported the ninth quarter of outflows from its emerging market funds and a drop in assets under management.

In other economic news, Robert Shiller, the economist who foresaw the coming of the tech and real estate bubbles in the past decade, said earlier this year that the U.S. is potentially headed for a bond-market bubble. High-end housing and art markets also seem to be headed in the same direction.

Investing.com states that the bubbles are triggered by the hundred-billion dollar debt in the energy sector, and particularly in the fracking business.

Oil prices may have a doubled value today, but most borrowing companies were not cash-flow positive. The current trend of production oversupply makes the situation comparable to the 1980s, writes investing.com. At that time, companies kept on producing an over-supply of crude due to desperate measures.

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2015/business/economy/fed-interest-rates.html?_r=0

http://www.dailyfx.com/forex/market_alert/2015/09/23/Emerging-Market-Currencies-Extend-Dive-Versus-USD-Amid-Fed-Risk-Talk.html

http://www.investing.com/analysis/it%E2%80%99s-time-for-a-rate-hike-265275

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-09-24/emerging-stocks-set-for-fourth-day-of-losses-as-thai-baht-slides

http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/dc618e48-62c4-11e5-9846-de406ccb37f2.html#axzz3mzea5YGS

http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/eb94d9b6-3519-11e5-bdbb-35e55cbae175.html#axzz3nEL3iVUp

Russia Wants To Fight ISIS: 3-Way War Consequences


Secular Talk

Russia is looking into furthering its military support of the leader of Syria, who is fighting ISIS.

These are the two main sides of the war – fundamentalist Jihadi rebels (such as ISIS) on one side, and Bashar al-Assad (the ruler of Syria) on the other.

The U.S. wants to support “moderate” rebels, who are supposedly against both Assad and ISIS, creating a 3-way war.

A 3-way war is an interesting concept.  How is this working out in real life?

CNN: Android Phones At Risk Of Hacking


CNN

CNN reports that at least 950 million Android phones are at risk of being hacked by simply receiving a text message.

ABC News writes that hackers gain control of the device by sending a malware infected picture message.

Details of the hacking threat, which is called Stagefright, were published this week by cyber security research firm Zimperium.

http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/android-stagefright-hack-make-protected/story?id=32738151

Four Grenade Attacks In Less Than A Week In Swedish City

Yesterday, the city of Malmö in southern Sweden was hit by its fourth hand grenade attack in under a week.  It was just 48 hours after the last explosion there rocked residents.

Malmö is Sweden’s third largest city, according to the Swedish publication The Local.se.

The hand grenade detonated in a car parking lot in the Malmö district of Värnhem.

The incident, which caused damage to dozens of cars but no injuries, was different from previous blasts, according to police.

“Many of the other grenade attacks seemed to be aimed at government buildings,” a police spokesman told the Swedish newspaper, Aftonbladet.

“But in the area around this detonation site there are private residences, business premises and government agencies. Therefore, the goal of the blast is unclear at present,” the spokesman concluded.

Police found part of a hand grenade at the site and bomb technicians have been on site to investigate further. The hand grenade seems to have exploded in a van, according to Swedish news agency, TT.

The police are checking the ownership of the damaged cars to see if any of the owners have links to the criminal world.

In related news, police are warning residents in Malmö that there could be unexploded grenades from these or other attacks.

(Updated report)

http://www.thelocal.se/20150726/malm-shaken-by-another-hand-grenade-attack

http://sverigesradio.se/sida/artikel.aspx?programid=2054&artikel=6219244

What is One America News Network?


TYT Network

What is One America News Network?

Wikipedia:

“One America News Network (abbreviated as OAN, commonly referred to as One America News) is an American cable news television channel that is owned by the Herring Networks, Inc. The network is headquartered in San Diego, California, and operates a news bureau in Washington, D.C. Originally envisioned as a conservative news network, OAN’s stated focus is delivering a credible source of national and international news 24/7. OAN also features political analysis programming and political talk shows, along with network special documentary-style reports; its news coverage attempts to maintain objectivity while its political shows illustrate a stronger conservative lean.

“The channel was launched on July 4, 2013.”

Recently, an anchor on One America News gave a lengthy editorial on the Middle East and ISIS.  TYT Network discusses it.

http://www.inquisitr.com/2269540/tomi-lahren-conservative-anchor-becomes-overnight-sensation-after-viral-obama-rant/

French Magazine Charlie Hebdo Will Stop Printing Caricatures Of Mohammed

In a stark contrast to the past policy, the French magazine Charlie Hebdo has decided to stop printing caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed.

The magazine has previously provoked outrage among Muslims by publishing cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed, whose image is considered blasphemous by many followers of Islam.

Its “survivors’ issue”, the first to be published after January’s attack, featured a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed on the front page, according to France24.

However, Charlie Hebdo editor Laurent Sourisseau – also known by his pen name “Riss” – recently told German magazine Stern that the Prophet Mohammed would no longer appear in the magazine’s pages.

“We have drawn Mohammed to defend the principle that one can draw whatever they want. We’ve done our job. We have defended the right to caricature,” Sourisseau said, writes Newsweek.

“We still believe that we have the right to criticize all religions,” he added.

Riss took over as Charlie Hebdo’s editor in the wake of January attack, which he survived by playing dead. He took over the role from Stéphane “Charb” Charbonnier, who was killed in the massacre, writes France24.

http://www.newsweek.com/charlie-hebdo-will-cease-publishing-cartoons-prophet-muhammad-355272

http://www.france24.com/en/20150721-charlie-hebdo-editor-no-more-prophet-mohammed-cartoons

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.”

Greece Reaches Deal With EU

After months of wrangling, Greece finally worked out a bailout agreement with its European creditors on Monday that will, if implemented, secure the country’s place in the euro and avoid financial collapse, according to the Associated Press (AP).

The terms of the deal, however, will be difficult both for Greeks and their radical left-led government, which since its election in January had vowed to stand up to the creditors and reject the budget cuts they have been demanding.

Before it can get 85 billion euros ($95.07 billion) in bailout cash and support for its banks to reopen, the Greek government will have to pass a raft of “austerity” measures (budget cuts / tax increases). These include sales tax increases, reforms to pensions, and labor market reforms.

Under the deal struck with creditors during an all-night meeting in Brussels, the Greek parliament must approve by Wednesday key reforms,” writes the Associated Press.

They include VAT tax increases and pension cuts, and protecting the independence of Greece’s statistics service, which at the start of the crisis in 2009 was found to have greatly miscalculated the country’s finances for years.

The Greek leader – Alexis Tsipras – and his left-wing government were elected in January to stand up to budget demands.

For them, the payoff of the negotiations in Brussels was clear: about 85 billion euros ($95.07 billion) in loans and financial support over three years, preserving Greek membership in the euro, and helping their country stave off financial collapse.

“We managed to avoid the most extreme measures,” Tsipras said after the summit, and he said he successfully got creditors to drop a demand that Greek assets be transferred abroad as a form of collateral, according to U.S. News and World Report.

http://www.usnews.com/news/business/articles/2015/07/13/greece-talks-drag-beyond-deadline-amid-warnings-of-euro-exit

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