Archive for Syria

War Crimes Update

Have the Israelis asked us to “show restraint” yet? If not, their restraint is truly impressive:

A strike by US-led forces on the northern Syrian province of Aleppo on Friday has risen to 52 including seven children, a group monitoring the conflict said on Saturday.

The British-based Observatory for Human Rights said the air raid on Friday had mistakenly struck civilians in a village on the eastern banks of the Euphrates River in Aleppo, killing members of at least six families.

The group said at least 13 people remain missing.

The United States has previously said it takes reports of civilian casualties from the US-led strikes seriously and says it has a process to investigate each allegation.

Oh good. I feel better.

Medea Benjamin, where are you now that your country really needs you?

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When Terrorism is a Teachable Moment

Blogging is a waste of time, but it’s a waste of my time. So I can waste it any way I choose. Hillary’s ready to announce (I think she’s rushing into it so she can at least be a candidate before her candidacy crashes and burns); Rand Paul announces he’s running, and already outpolls Hillary in several key states, while Ted Cruz raises $31 million in about 15 minutes; Iran calls us the Great Satan after getting to know John Kerry intimately; in an anti-Ferguson, a white cop actually does shoot an unarmed black man in the back—repeatedly—and the poor man’s family tells Al Sharpton to stay the hell away…

But this is my number one story of the day:

The Palestinian leadership has rejected the idea of joining the conflict in Syria’s Yarmouk camp, apparently ruling out involvement in a joint military operation to expel the Islamic State group.

The position was made clear in a statement released late Thursday by the Palestine Liberation Organization from its headquarters in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

It came just hours after Ahmed Majdalani, a senior PLO official who is currently in Damascus for talks, said 14 Palestinian factions backed the idea of a joint military operation with the Syrian army to expel the IS jihadists from the camp where more than 15,000 people, mostly Palestinian refugees, are trapped.

But the PLO said its traditional position of non-involvement had not changed.

“We refused to drag our people and their camps into the hellish conflict which is happening in Syria and we categorically refuse to become one of the parties involved in the armed conflict that is taking place in Yarmouk,” it said.

“We refuse to be drawn into military actions, whatever or wherever they are, and we call for other means to ensure the safety of lives in Yarmouk and to prevent more destruction and forced displacement.”

Allow me to explain. One group of Arabs (under the alias “Palestinians”), who live in an apartheid city (under the alias “Yarmouk refugee camp”), in an Arab nation (“Syria”), are under siege from another group of Arabs (“ISIS”). Many of these Arabs of the first part have been killed and displaced (re-displaced) by the Arabs of the second part. Supporters of these “Palestinian” “refugees”, far from the conflict, have demanded that the “world” intervene to save their “brothers” and “sisters” from slaughter by the “Islamic” “State”, while they decline to lift a trigger finger themselves. How “Palestinian” is that?

By the way, I use “” to indicate a term open to question, interpretation, or debate.

Similarly “Palestinian” are the 14 factions mentioned above. Only an invented identity can have 14 iterations of that invention. Similarly “Arab” is the walling off of one Arab identity (“Palestinian”) in a “refugee” “camp” (apartheid city, as I called it above, without question, interpretation, or debate).

And since when was the “Palestinian” “Liberation” “Organization” ever shy about about being “drawn into military actions”? I’d say since “one of the parties involved in the armed conflict” is ISIS, and those mofos will kill you just as soon as they’d look at you. The PLO can kill unarmed Jews with a song on their lips, but let their intended victims pick up a gun with the intent to use it, and they run squealing to any international authority with skirts to hide under.

See why I chose this story?

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Seeing the Good in Everyone

Oh, sure they hack off people’s heads and burn Jordanian pilots alive, but… well… I bet they call their mothers on Mothers Day:

Islamic State (ISIS) forces this week have taken over the Yarmouk neighborhood in southern Damascus, which is popularly known as a “Palestinian refugee camp,” with reports indicating ISIS has been conducting arrests and acts of mass murder.

Representatives of the Islamic nationalist forces in Gaza, which are a confederation of the various Palestinian Arab groups, met with the Islamic Jihad headquarters in Gaza, after which an announcement condemning the activities of the “armed gangs” was published without listing ISIS by name.

The Islamist nationalist forces in the statement said that ISIS in Yarmouk is committing “genocide and harming the refugee problem and their right of return (to Israel).”

We here in Bloodthirstan condemn genocide. Can’t stand the stuff. Wouldn’t touch it if you poured fudge sauce on it and served it with whipped cream.

But anything to get past this right of return crap. Move on. The 1940s called: they want their lost cause back.

The mention of “right of return” refers to the fact that the residents of Yarmouk are the descendants of Arab residents of Israel who left the country during the 1948 War of Independence. Roughly 800,000 of the so-called “Palestinian refugees” left, whereas 850,000 Jewish refugees were forced out of Arab lands in the same time period, although their plight has received no international fanfare.

Now, again, we don’t approve of head-lopping in these parts, but we don’t mean to impose our values and mores on others. If heads you must lop, this is a good head to start with. And end with. Surely one will do:

ISIS beheaded at least one senior Hamas figure in Yarmouk, which was largely under Hamas influence. The jihadist group views Hamas and the other Palestinian organizations as enemies, because they do not fully embrace jihad according to ISIS’s definition and have not been immediately imposing Islamic Sharia law.

That enmity has seen expression in Gaza, where ISIS has expressed its intentions to depose Hamas and the Palestinian Authority (PA).

A minor point, hardly worth mentioning, really, but after you’ve been separated from your head, right of return to Israel is rather a moot point, isn’t it?

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Won’t You Help? [UPDATED]

Don’t look at me. I’m tapped out from supporting those Christian merchants facing slander and ruin for their beliefs.

Somebody else will have to step up this time:

The Islamic State’s violent takeover of the Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp in Syria is a mark of Cain on the foreheads of the international community and the Arab world specifically, MK Ahmed Tibi (Joint List) said Monday.

“What’s happening in the Yarmouk camp is a crime against humanity,” Tibi said. “Over a thousand Palestinians were killed.”

Gee, that’s tough. Maybe if you lived in actual cities and villages, and not internment camps, this sort of thing wouldn’t happen.

Nah, it probably would:

The Yarmouk camp, on the outskirts of Damascus, was once home to over 100,000 residents, but now has only 18,000 according to the UN Relief and Works Agency. It was under siege by the Syrian government for over two years, and was a battleground before that, devastated by street fighting, air attacks and shelling.

Islamic State has taken over 90 percent of Yarmouk, according to a Syrian human rights group, though the Syrian army surrounds the area, which is a few kilometers from Syrian President Bashar Assad’s palace.

Hundreds of Palestinians fled the camp in recent days, adding to the tens of thousands who left in the four years since the civil war began in Syria.

Tibi, who visited the camp once on a trip to Syria, said that it is “between a rock and a hard place after two years under siege by the [Syrian] government and now ISIS is in there committing horrific crimes.”

“ISIS is a fascist movement that is now publishing photos of heads it chopped off, including a photo of the Imam of the mosque, a Hamas supporter, and claiming he is an apostate,” Tibi said in reference to reports from the camp that ISIS terrorists killed senior Hamas operative Sheikh Abu Salah Taha.

Tibi said the international community, including the Arab world, should be ashamed of allowing the violence in Yarmouk to take place.

“I feel anger and great sadness about what is happening in what is left of the camp,” he stated. “There is a moral double standard. If other people were the victims, not Palestinians it would be different.”

He might have a point there, but I’m not sure whose fault that is.

UPDATE
We get results:

The U.N. Security Council has strongly condemned the siege of a Palestinian refugee camp in the Syrian capital by self-proclaimed Islamic State militants and fighters from the Nusra Front. In an emergency session Monday, the Council called for the protection and safe evacuation of civilians and access for humanitarian aid workers to the approximately 18,000 people still living in the Yarmouk camp.

Never let it be said we did nothing for our Palestinian Arab friends. That can be said about the UN Security Council, but not us.

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Things Are Tough All Over

You think you got it bad?

The UN agency that supports Palestinian refugees said Sunday that just four percent of its emergency work in Syria has been funded so far this year.

UNRWA spokesman Christopher Gunness said the agency needs around $250 million to fund its program, which provides cash distributions for roughly half a million Palestinian refugees affected by the war in Syria.

He claimed that if there isn’t immediate funding, the agency will have to stop running the program “in a matter of days.”

How often have I read (and shared) a similar story? All those billions in pledges to rebuild Gaza? About $1.45 in real money, most of it in pennies.

He said that for the more than 95 percent of refugees reliant on assistance, “it is quite literally a matter of life and death.”

According to the UNRWA website, there are 480,000 Palestinian refugees remaining in Syria after four years of civil war, more than half of whom are internally displaced. Another 59,000 registered refugees have left the country for neighboring Jordan and Lebanon. The UN agency says that one-third of its facilities in Syria are currently inoperable, due to damage or active conflict.

Ninety-five percent on welfare is not a sustainable model. Don’t get any ideas, Barack.

To think, all of those unhappy Arabs could be in their condos in Ramallah, instead of UN tents and lean-tos, watching Real Housewives of Benghazi and popping pistachios, if they had only made peace with Israel. Sad.

Still, more room for the Jews!

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Uh-Oh

When the American Left finds out ISIS did this, there’ll be hell to pay:

Militants fighting for the Islamic State in Syria are making millions of pounds selling ancient statues and mosaics to wealthy Westerners using a complex system of smugglers and middle men.

Looted from ancient buildings in ISIS strongholds, such as the group’s de facto capital city Raqqa, the antiquities are up to 10,000-years-old and can exchange hands for more than $1 million each.

The most expensive items are covertly smuggled overseas – usually on the orders of wealthy Europeans – but there is also a lucrative trade in less historically important objects, which often find their way into tourist shops and markets in neighbouring Lebanon and Turkey.

Char Christians if you like; decapitate Druze with abandon; but if you touch one Mesopotamian antiquity, loony leftists will be on your ass like a pimple. That’s the lesson we learned in Iraq.

Liberals also tell us that our voracious appetite for drugs makes us guilty guilty of all the cartel criminal activity in Mexico. The leftist worldview, therefore, would teach us that looting antiquities is the greatest war crime, and Europeans are ultimately responsible. Tempting as that may be to believe—Europe is authoring its own decline in many other ways—this is why we rejected liberalism years ago.

As Muslims conquer, they raze and loot. That’s not a charge, it’s history—see the Bamayan Buddhas for one egregious example. ISIS is just following a long, if ignoble, tradition.

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The Secret’s Out

We’ve had mixed feelings about sharing the news of Israeli medics and doctors treating the wounded from Syria’s civil war. Of course we were eager to educate an ignorant (often willfully so) public about the humanity shown between supposed enemies. But as the Syrians who were treated needed to keep it hush-hush else they pay for their Israeli-restored health with their Syrian-taken lives, we didn’t want to ruin a good thing.

Guess that cat’s out of the bag:

Two years have passed since the State of Israel opened its gates to permit victims of Syria’s conflict to enter the country and receive medical treatment. While the media occasionally publishes articles that include interviews with the wounded or the civilian doctors who provide them treatment, issues such as the stressful and traumatic circumstances IDF paramedics experience in their work are rarely brought to the public’s attention.

The harrowing events experienced by soldiers during their long hours of work has been taking a toll the IDF can no longer ignore. Testimonies collected by Ynet from IDF medics and paramedics who served in the area for the past two years paint an alarming picture, detailing the extent to which IDF medical teams are influenced by the difficult scenes they encounter on almost a daily basis.

Ido (not his real name), who served in the past year as a medic in the sector, describes scenes of what he terms as “institutionalized madness.”

“It’s insane,” he says. “They wake you up at 5 am and tell you that at 8:30, you will have to carry out authorization checks (procedures in which you make sure the wounded are not terrorists) on dozens of severely wounded people who will be waiting for you at the security fence. That’s how you start your day. You brush your teeth, eat breakfast, knowing that in two more hours you’ll be treating an open head wound…It’s crazy.”

“As a medical team, we have a commitment to provide aid to every human being, even if he’s an enemy,” an IDF paramedic regularly stationed at the area said. “An unbelievable amount of wounded people from enemy countries pass through here,” she said, explaining that “you don’t know their names due to secrecy issues.”

Some, she said, are “children who you know were not involved in the any kind of fighting and arrive with a nearly-detached leg, or an elderly man who wasn’t treated for a week, whose hand is infected to the extent that you know that severing it is the only thing that will save his life.”

While the IDF refrains from specifying the exact number of Syrians Israel has taken in so far, estimates place the number at several thousand. According to data from hospitals in the north, as many as 1,000 wounded passed through their doors. Many others were released directly from the military field hospital set up at the border.

You can see how that might take a toll. But leave it to the Israelis to make chicken soup out of chicken poop:

“The advantage of the work is the operational experience we received in treating the wounded, us during Operation Protective Edge. It improved the quality of our medical care more than any training exercise, and helped us not suffer from shock when we were inside Gaza, treating wounded soldiers.”

So, there’s that.

Again, we feel proud even just to share this news. But don’t let it get around. Israel’s got a reputation to protect.

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#screamaboutourgirls

AAAAHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!

That work for you?

ANDREA MITCHELL, MSNBC: Joining me now, Jen Psaki, State Dept. spokesperson. I know you read the intelligence and know what is going on there. Richard has now brought this home to us just in the powerful stories of these children who are being raped and traded as chattel by ISIS.

JEN PSAKI, US STATE DEPT: Andrea first I really want to thank you and thank Richard for bringing light to these types of stories. It is something we don’t talk about enough: the horrific atrocities that women and children are becoming victims of at the hands of ISIL. This is an untold story about what’s happening in Syria, what’s happening in Iraq and something that we really all need to be talking about. It’s something we’re very focused on here at the State Department. We have a whole office on international women and girls. They talk about this frequently but we should all be screaming about how terrible this is.

ANDREA MITHCELL: I know you point out that the State Dept. has a whole office that we don’t pay enough attention to here in the media, thank you.

So, is the State Department saying it has binders full of women?

But I’ve got the modern solution for any problem, large or small.

With Ukraine settled, the raping and chattel-trading will cease shortly.

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ISIS Update

Return with us now to those thrilling days of yesteryear—when Obama said he was going to kick ISIS’s ass.

Although ISIL calls itself the “Islamic State,” the President emphasized that the terrorist group is neither Islamic nor a state.

“ISIL is not ‘Islamic.’ No religion condones the killing of innocents, and the vast majority of ISIL’s victims have been Muslim,” President Obama said. “And ISIL is certainly not a state. … It is recognized by no government, nor the people it subjugates.”

Isn’t one of the most important rules of warfare to know your enemy? He sounds ignorant, willfully so, and even gets the name wrong. Oh well, maybe he makes up for it later.

“Our objective is clear: We will degrade, and ultimately destroy, ISIL through a comprehensive and sustained counter-terrorism strategy.”

So how’s that working out for you (us? them?)?

Exclusive: ISIS Gaining Ground in Syria, Despite U.S. Strikes

American jets are pounding Syria. But ISIS is taking key terrain—and putting more and more people under its black banners.

ISIS continues to gain substantial ground in Syria, despite nearly 800 airstrikes in the American-led campaign to break its grip there.

At least one-third of the country’s territory is now under ISIS influence, with recent gains in rural areas that can serve as a conduit to major cities that the so-called Islamic State hopes to eventually claim as part of its caliphate. Meanwhile, the Islamic extremist group does not appear to have suffered any major ground losses since the strikes began. The result is a net ground gain for ISIS, according to information compiled by two groups with on-the-ground sources.

And then, in a classic example of military-sepak:

“Yes, they have gained some ground. But we have stopped their momentum,” one Pentagon official told The Daily Beast.

That’s a neat trick. How do you stop momentum as they gain ground?

ISIS’s gain is a loss for gays, Christians, women, children, pigeon-breeders, and anyone else I might have left out.

During a Jan. 6 press briefing, for example, when a reporter asked “where ISIS’s relative strength is right now,” Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby replied by talking exclusively about the U.S. effort in Iraq, naming cities were the military believed ISIS’s momentum has been “halted.”

When the reporter pressed for an answer on what was happening in Syria, Kirby struggled, saying, “I couldn’t give you a—a specific point at which, you know, we believe, well geez, we’ve halted their momentum. It—it’s come slowly, in various stages. But I think it’s safe to say that over the last three to four weeks, we—we’ve been confident that that momentum has largely been blunted.”

On Friday, Kirby proclaimed that ISIS had lost 700 square kilometers since the campaign began—over half the size of New York City or about four times the size of the District of Columbia. But the Pentagon spokesman could not say what percentage that area marked of total ISIS-controlled land. Nor could he say if that loss was in Iraq, Syria, or combined in both nations. As Kirby asserted: “I’m frankly not sure how relevant that is.”

But Obama said:

“I have made it clear that we will hunt down terrorists who threaten our country, wherever they are. That means I will not hesitate to take action against ISIL in Syria, as well as Iraq. This is a core principle of my presidency: If you threaten America, you will find no safe haven.”

Sorry, Syrians, but if you thought you could keep your country if you liked it, you’re as big a bunch of saps as we are.

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Israel Reportedly Strikes Iranian Assets In Syria

Gearing up for a holiday war?

Syrian state television said on Sunday that Israeli jets had bombed targets near Damascus International Airport and in the town of Dimas, near the border with Lebanon.

A Lebanese TV correspondent reported that Israel struck 10 crucial intelligence-linked locations in Syria that belong to Iran. The outlet reported that explosions were heard near the Israeli-Lebanese border, allegedly the result of IDF maneuvers.

The IAF has struck Syria several times since the start of the three-year conflict, mostly destroying weaponry such as missiles that Israeli officials said were destined for their longtime foe Hezbollah in neighboring Lebanon.

Last week, the Lebanese Daily Star reported the army said it had fired anti-aircraft guns at an IDF drone flying low over the eastern part of the country.

“The Israeli enemy committed aggression against Syria by targeting two safe areas in Damascus province, in all of Dimas and near the Damascus International Airport,” state television said, adding that there were no casualties.

An IDF spokesman said he would not comment on “foreign reports.”

Huh. Is this why Obama has heartburn?

– Aggie

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Thots’n’Prayrs

As the Curies were the first to learn, atomic work is dangerous work:

Unknown assailants killed five nuclear engineers on Sunday while they were on a bus just north of Damascus near the research center where they worked, AFP reported on Sunday.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which relies on a network of sources on the ground for its reports, later told AFP four of the engineers were Syrian, while one was Iranian.

“Unidentified attackers murdered five nuclear energy engineers who worked in the scientific research centre near the neighborhood of Barzeh, northern Damascus,” said Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman, according to the report.

He later said, “Four of the engineers were Syrian, and one was Iranian. Their bus was ambushed while they were on their way to the research centre. Their assailants shot them dead.”

Ouch. We condemn such violence.

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I Hope the War Against Ebola is Going Better Than the War Against ISIS

It couldn’t be going worse:

BEIRUT — The Obama administration’s Syria strategy suffered a major setback Sunday after fighters linked to al-Qaeda routed U.S.-backed rebels from their main northern strongholds, capturing significant quantities of weaponry, triggering widespread defections and ending hopes that Washington will readily find Syrian partners in its war against the Islamic State.

Moderate rebels who had been armed and trained by the United States either surrendered or defected to the extremists as the Jabhat al-Nusra group, affiliated with al-Qaeda, swept through the towns and villages the moderates controlled in the northern province of Idlib, in what appeared to be a concerted push to vanquish the moderate Free Syrian Army, according to rebel commanders, activists and analysts.

Other moderate fighters were on the run, headed for the Turkish border as the extremists closed in, heralding a significant defeat for the rebel forces Washington had been counting on as a bulwark against the Islamic State.

A Jabhat al-Nusra base was one of the first targets hit when the United States launched its air war in Syria in September, and activists said the tensions fueled by that attack had contributed to the success of the group’s push against the moderate rebels.

“When American airstrikes targeted al-Nusra, people felt solidarity with them because Nusra are fighting the regime, and the strikes are helping the regime,” said Raed al-Fares, an activist leader in Kafr Nabel, in Idlib.

“Now people think that whoever in the Free Syrian Army gets support from the U.S.A. is an agent of the regime,” he said.

Doing to the Syrian opposition what he did to health care.

Obama does so many stupid things—I mean really numb-skulled, moronic, imbecilic things—I’m beginning to wonder if he’s as smart as they’ve been telling us. I’m thinking not.

PS: Didn’t Harry Reid declare Bush’s war in Iraq “lost”, when it was shortly after won? Where is he now (but on his way out, on his ass)?

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