Archive for Syria

Foley Murdered By Brit With London Accent

Because British culture produces the best butchers.

British Foreign Minister Philip Hammond says that the government is “urgently investigating” the identity of the apparently British executioner of US reporter James Foley, whose death was shown in a video released by members of the self-declared Islamic State in Syria. The IS member’s apparent ties to Britain highlight increasing concern in the West about the radicalization of European and American nationals by jihadi groups and the threat they pose if they return home.

The video published overnight on YouTube shows the hooded, black-clad IS member speaking extensively in both English and Arabic before killing an orange-jumpsuited man described as “James Wright Foley, an American citizen.” In what the Daily Telegraph describes as a London accent, the executioner says that the US has “been at the forefront of the aggression towards the Islamic State,” before killing Foley.

But at least David Cameron takes this seriously:

Over there: “U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron cut short his summer vacation to return to London and chair urgent meetings on the threat posed by ISIS in Iraq and Syria, calling the video ‘shocking and depraved.’”

Over here:

President Obama went back to his vacation on Martha’s Vineyard Tuesday evening following less than 48 hours in Washington, leaving people puzzled over why he came back in the first place.

Obama’s two days in Washington were mostly quiet, and concluded with the president receiving his daily national security briefing in the morning, and joining Vice President Biden to huddle with members of his economic team in the afternoon.

Administration officials have insisted for weeks that the president just wanted to return to the White House for a series of meetings, but the explanation was met with a healthy dose of skepticism, since Obama rarely interrupts his vacations.

Oh, Obama did make a statement about the beheading, before heading off to play a round of golf:

President Barack Obama said Wednesday that the entire world is “appalled” by the brutal death of American journalist James Foley, who was shown in a video released by the Islamic State of Syria and Iraq being beheaded.
“No faith teaches people to massacre innocents,” Obama said in his statement. “No just God would stand for what they did yesterday and what they do every single day.”

“People like this ultimately fail because the future is won by those who build and not destroy,” Obama said.
Obama also called Foley’s parents to offer his condolences and told them that a nation was heartbroken for their loss.
According to a pool report obtained by Politico, Obama went to the Vineyard Golf Club following his statement.

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Meanwhile, Our Brave And Brilliant President Refuses Help To Families Trapped On A Mountain

You thought we were helping those poor people, didn’t you? Mission Accomplished!

The United States military has concluded that there are too few Yazidi refugees still trapped in the mountains of northern Iraq to warrant mounting a potentially risky rescue, the Pentagon said late Wednesday.

Military advisers who earlier in the day visited the Sinjar mountains, where as many as 30,000 people were thought to still be trapped, said that they found “far fewer” Yazidis than expected and that those who were there were in better condition than anticipated. Food and water dropped in recent days have reached those who remain, the Pentagon statement said.

The Pentagon said the visit proved that the actions the United States had taken in recent days had succeeded in preventing the Islamic State from capturing and executing the Yazidis, members of a religious sect that Sunni extremists view as heretics. It said the assessment team encountered no hostile forces during its visit and “did not engage in combat operations.”

Brett McGurk, the State Department’s deputy assistant secretary for Near East Affairs, said the assessment team had spent 24 hours in the mountains. He declared via Twitter that the U.S. actions had “broken the siege,” a sentiment repeated by State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf: “President said we’re going to break the siege of this mountain, and we broke that siege.”

Well, aren’t we special? We broke the siege. Phew. The people who are still on that mountain are just fine, don’t you worry your pretty little head.

And what exactly was happening on that mountain anyway? There are reports that children are so thirsty, their parents are cutting their own hands so that their kids can drink the blood of the parents. Sounds sort of religious, doesn’t it? Only as I understand it, ordinary parents are not supposed to be offering their blood up to their children.

So I don’t know, and I don’t suppose that any of us really do. If it is ok for more than 170,000 civilians to die in Syria, why are we obsessing about this group on the mountain? On the other hand, how can we be so cruel as to ignore this? What is the matter with us?

Here’s the real question: If we’d had competent leadership in the White House, would we be talking about any of this?

- Aggie

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How to Lie

Not that I’m an expert (more than any other blogger), but one of the first rules of lying is to commit to one lie at a time.

Isn’t that right, Mr. President?

At a Saturday press conference, a reporter asked President Obama a question that’s been on our mind since Obama announced a new U.S. military intervention in Iraq: “Mr. President, do you have any second thoughts about pulling all ground troops out of Iraq? And does it give you pause as the U.S.–is it doing the same thing in Afghanistan?”

“What I just find interesting is the degree to which this issue keeps on coming up, as if this was my decision,” Obama replied. “Under the previous administration, we had turned over the country to a sovereign, democratically elected Iraqi government.”

So, he’s going to blame Bush. Five and a half years into his administration, almost a lame duck himself. Very well, if that’s his plan.

Why then, pray tell, this?

“We needed assurances that our personnel would be immune from prosecution if, for example, they were protecting themselves and ended up getting in a firefight with Iraqis, that they wouldn’t be hauled before an Iraqi judicial system,” the president said. The Iraqis rejected that demand. “So let’s just be clear: The reason that we did not have a follow-on force in Iraq was because . . . a majority of Iraqis did not want U.S. troops there, and politically they could not pass the kind of laws that would be required to protect our troops in Iraq.”

What do you mean “we”, Kimosabe? Don’t you mean “they”, the previous administration? Or is there more to this “we” than we thought?

In an April story for The New Yorker, Dexter Filkins painted a more complicated picture. U.S. military commanders told Filkins that Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki “said that he wanted to keep [U.S.] troops in Iraq,” but that “parliament would forbid the troops to stay unless they were subject to local law.” But “President Obama, too, was ambivalent about retaining even a small force in Iraq”:

For several months, American officials told me, they were unable to answer basic questions in meetings with Iraqis–like how many troops they wanted to leave behind–because the Administration had not decided. “We got no guidance from the White House,” [James] Jeffrey [the U.S. ambassador to Baghdad in 2011] told me. “We didn’t know where the President was. Maliki kept saying, ‘I don’t know what I have to sell.’ ” At one meeting, Maliki said that he was willing to sign an executive agreement granting the soldiers permission to stay, if he didn’t have to persuade the parliament to accept immunity. The Obama Administration quickly rejected the idea. “The American attitude was: Let’s get out of here as quickly as possible,” Sami al-Askari, [an] Iraqi member of parliament, said.

How many different euphemisms for the First Prevaricator did you count? And how many ways does he sound responsible for the decision?

Obama himself said as much, during the third 2012 presidential debate with Mitt Romney:

Romney: With regards to Iraq, you and I agreed, I believe, that there should have been a status-of-forces agreement. Did you–

Obama: That’s not true.

Romney: Oh, you didn’t–you didn’t want a status of forces agreement?

Obama: No, but what I–what I would not have done is left 10,000 troops in Iraq that would tie us down.

So, somewhere between 0 and 9,999 troops, sir? Or are you saying you would have stationed more than 10,000? It’s so hard to tell with you.

It’s hard to take responsibility for your hopeless eff-ups in politics, I get that. But it’s easier than this game of solitaire Twister.

Speaking of hopeless eff-ups:

In a wide-ranging interview with the New Yorker, President Barack Obama compared Al-Qaeda-linked militants in Iraq and Syria to junior varsity basketball players, downplaying their threat as small-league. He also shared what he thought were the chances of reaching Middle East peace agreements.

New Yorker editor David Remnick pointed out to the president that the Al Qaeda flag is now seen flying in Falluja in Iraq and in certain locations in Syria, and thus the terrorist group has not been “decimated” as Obama had said during his 2012 reelection campaign.

“The analogy we use around here sometimes, and I think is accurate, is if a jayvee team puts on Lakers uniforms that doesn’t make them Kobe Bryant,” Obama told Remnick. “I think there is a distinction between the capacity and reach of a bin Laden and a network that is actively planning major terrorist plots against the homeland versus jihadists who are engaged in various local power struggles and disputes, often sectarian.”

Remnick characterized Obama’s analogy as “uncharacteristically flip.”

Yeah, I’d say so. But don’t say that to Obama or he’ll call “horse[bleep]“.

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Meanwhile, ISIS Is Forcing Christians To Convert To Islam, And Then Beheading Them

Hey Europe! Where are the protests? Why aren’t you attacking people on the streets over this? And for that matter, where are the protests in the US? Where is our State Department or our Great Leader, President Obama?

If you’re following the news about ISIS, which now calls itself the Islamic State, you might think you’ve mistakenly clicked on a historical story about barbarians from millennia ago.

In a matter of months, the group seized territory in both Iraq and Syria and declared an Islamic caliphate, celebrating its own shocking slaughter along the way.

“I don’t see any attention from the rest of the world,” a member of the Yazidi minority in Iraq told the New Yorker. “In one day, they killed more than two thousand Yazidi in Sinjar, and the whole world says, ‘Save Gaza, save Gaza.’”
In Syria, the group hoisted some of its victims severed heads on poles. One of the latest videos of the savagery shows a Christian man forced to his knees, surrounded by masked militants, identified in the video as members of ISIS. They force the man at gunpoint to “convert” to Islam. Then, the group beheads him.

ISIS has targeted members of numerous minority groups in the region, including Christian nuns, Turkmen and Shabaks, according to Human Rights Watch.

ISIS is apparently beheading children too. So, again, where is the Western world? Or don’t you care?

- Aggie

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Hey World, Wanna Know Where The Genocide Is?

Try Iraq. And Syria.

While all the haters are accusing Israel of genocide, they are happily ignoring this:

A group of men is placed in several trucks. They are driven through the streets and out of town into an open area surrounded by trees. They are beaten around the head with rifle butts, made to run in a group towards an open mass grave. A mere handful of armed guards make them lie in the grave like sardines. Then they are shot one by one in broad daylight.

The horrific spectacle, highly reminiscent of the Nazi Einsatzgruppen Aktions in the Soviet Union in 1941, was, in fact, the mass murder of some 30 men that took place in Iraq just this week.

While the numbers in Gaza creep horrifically higher by a hundred or so a day in the full glare of the media,

ISIS makes short work of its executions, whose numbers are not yet known. So belligerent is the “Islamic State,” that they proudly released the video with music accompanying the execution. The victims, whose lives are seen being ended on the video, were dressed in civilian clothes and are believed to have been Iraqi Army deserters, although they were clearly not being shot for any military purpose (no matter how criminal that would have been). Their lives were ended for being Shia Muslims. The 1948 United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide states clearly that the killing of a religious group, in whole or in part, is an act of genocide.

When ISIS warns Christians “there is nothing to give them but the sword,” we need to take their threat seriously. Over 35,000 Christians have fled Mosul to escape their murderous intent. When would-be victims leave, it is generally a clear sign of real threat. People do not leave their home, heritage and livelihood without considerable fear. Such is the level of the intolerance of religious freedom held by ISIS that all religious groups in the territories they currently have control of are under imminent threat. And the threat does not stop there. When ISIS supporters recently marched through the Netherlands chanting “death to Jews,” be clear, they really mean it.

We have made the mistake many times before of conflating conflict and genocide. Every effort was going into defeating the Nazis, but the Holocaust was not diagnosed despite ample evidence that genocide was being committed. Had the ideology of genocide been detected earlier, more could have been done sooner to save lives. When the Tutsi were being butchered in the genocide in Rwanda, it was billed as “civil war” and “tribal conflict” and the word “genocide” studiously avoided. We must not make the same mistake with ISIS. Power struggles and violent conflict often happen at the same time as genocide, but they are not the same thing. The only way to tell the difference is to look at the ideology at play and diagnose the intent. We now have sufficient insight into ISIS to know that their ideology is the pursuit of exclusive utopian power with a willingness to use lethal means against all groups it deems unworthy to live in its new world order.

Make no mistake: This is genocide in the making, and would-be victims feel its imminence and are the most powerless to act. Shia Muslims are a majority in Iraq. If civilian and military forces are unable to protect them — and there is no sign that they can — there could be a bloodbath of unthinkable proportions.

There’s more at the link.

Yawn. Hey, how’s your summer been? We’re having great weather here in New England. Tough to worry about any of this, ya’ know?

- Aggie

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While I Have Your Attention…

Speaking of the UN (as we were below, last night):

Testimony before the UN Human Rights Council, delivered by UN Watch Executive Director Hillel Neuer, 18 June 2014, during the Interactive Dialogue with the UNHRC Commission of Inquiry on Syria.

In November 2011, well into Syria’s atrocities, UNESCO elected the Syrian regime—unanimously—to its human rights committee.

I ask the commission: what message did the UN send, when—up until only a few months ago—it allowed the Assad regime to sit as a judge of petitions submitted by human rights victims from around the world?

But Mr. President, it didn’t stop there. On February 20th of this year, as Syria’s Juhayna news trumpeted with glee, that country, that mass murdering regime, was “unanimously re-elected as Rapporteur of the UN Special Committee on Decolonization.”

In fact, as we meet, that committee—with Syria as its Rapporteur—is in session this week in New York, debating the future of Gibraltar, the Falklands, Bermuda, French Polynesia and New Caledonia.

So while Assad’s forces starve Palestinians to death in Yarmouk, his representative sits on a UN podium telling democracies like Britain, France, the U.S. and New Zealand how to treat their populations—all in exercise of his UN-elected mandate to end the “subjugation, domination and exploitation of peoples.”

But Mr. President, it didn’t stop there. In March, this Council undermined its own credibility on Syrian human rights, by adopting a resolution entitled “Human rights in the occupied Syrian Golan” — a resolution drafted by Syria itself.

The U.S. delegate commented at the time: “To consider such a resolution—while the Syrian regime continues to slaughter its own citizens by the tens of thousands—exemplifies absurdity.”

It’s rare that diplomats use plain language, but “exemplifies absurdity” comes pretty close to describing the United Nations. It also exemplifies cruelty, corruption, venality, racism, hypocrisy, and five out of the Seven Deadly Sins.

We will now let the subject of the UN slip back into the septic tank whence it came.

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Syriasly?

Syria is a mess. News flash, I know. There is a lot of blame to go around, a bit of which falls on Obama’s feckless “red-line” comment, a check his mouth wrote but his resolve could not cash.

But Israel’s fault?

The Syrian revolution did not have to turn violent, Labwani told The Times of Israel in a telephone conversation from Amman, Jordan, recalling the early days of the uprising, which erupted in the southern city of Daraa in March 2011. Syrians took up arms, he said, after the Assad regime treated the population in a “criminal, unacceptable way.” Now, he asserted, there’s no going back on toppling Bashar Assad by all possible means.

It is extremely rare for a Syrian dissident to speak openly with Israeli media, but Labwani, who has sought political asylum in Sweden, believes the Syrian uprising has shattered many Arab taboos, including the cultural Arab taboo on engaging Israel.

“I am not the only one [who speaks to Israelis]; there are many others like me. Three years of revolution have destroyed many intellectual and cultural principles,” he said. “People today have begun thinking outside the box, exploring two fundamental things: changing ourselves and seeking help.”

Discouraged by the opposition’s traditional allies, Labwani now believes Israel is the Syrians’ best hope. The Jewish state has both the military capacity to help the Syrian opposition and the strategic incentive to do so.

“Israel is able to change the international mood,” he said. “You have ties with all decision-making centers in neighboring countries, and could change opinions if you would be convinced to.”

The field hospital established by the IDF on the Syrian border has had a significant positive impact on Israel’s image among the population of southern Syria, Labwani said. Nevertheless, most Syrians are still convinced that Israel is backing Bashar Assad, a sentiment that can be changed through a clear Israeli stance.

“If today 90 percent of Syrians believe you support Assad, what have you gained? Nothing. In my opinion, a clear political declaration from Israel saying Assad is a criminal will have a very important impact. Today, we hear conflicting statements.”

But a moral position by Israel is not enough. Israel must extend military assistance to Syrian forces fighting Assad, based on the internationally recognized “responsibility to protect,” he said.

Now, hold on, Ahmed. Israel didn’t start your civil war. Why should a single drop of Jewish blood be spilled to finish it? Because Syrians will be their bestest friends forevah if they do? I rather see a scenario where every Al Qaeda tool in the world joins the jihad against the Zionists. Such a headache Israel doesn’t need.

But you know what else Israel does to Syria? Are you sitting down?

In countless papers, including presumed studies published in the British medical journal, The Lancet, Israel has been accused of causing Arab men to beat Arab women because of the so-called Israeli “occupation.”

You bastards! Why are you making Arab men beat their women?

Accordiong to Khetam Malkawai, in today’s Jordan Times, “almost 88.9 per cent of Syrian women refugees who visited (18) counselling centers in Jordan are victims of violence.”

As someone who is studying honor-based violence and honor killing, I found that the following statistics, gathered by the Arab Women’s Organization, confirm my anecdotal and interview-obtained information. In terms of domestic violence, “83 per cent of the Syrian women reported they are victims of violence inflicted on them by their parents, while 72 per cent cited their husbands and 56 per cent their brothers.”

As long as young Arab and Muslim girls are normatively beaten by their parents and brothers; forcibly veiled, secluded, and monitored; forced into marriage at young ages, often to their first or second cousins; not allowed to obtain an education and a profession, and prevented from becoming independent—just so long will Arab civilization remain stagnant.

That doesn’t sound like “the occupation”. You know what it does sound like?

Winston Churchill:

‘How dreadful are the curses which Mohammedanism lays on its votaries! Besides the fanatical frenzy, which is as dangerous in a man as hydrophobia in a dog, there is this fearful fatalistic apathy. Improvident habits, slovenly systems of agriculture, sluggish methods of commerce, and insecurity of property exist wherever the followers of the Prophet rule or live. A degraded sensualism deprives this life of its grace and refinement; the next of its dignity and sanctity. The fact that in Mohammedan law every woman must belong to some man as his absolute property – either as a child, a wife, or a concubine – must delay the final extinction of slavery until the faith of Islam has ceased to be a great power among men.

‘Individual Moslems may show splendid qualities. Thousands become the brave and loyal soldiers of the Queen: all know how to die. But the influence of the religion paralyses the social development of those who follow it. No stronger retrograde force exists in the world.

You know what happened to the British political candidate who read those words aloud?

On Saturday, Paul Weston of Liberty GB, a candidate in next month’s European elections, was speaking on the steps of Winchester Guildhall and quoting Winston Churchill on the matter of Muslims (from The River War, young Winston’s book on the Sudanese campaign). He was, in short order, arrested by half-a-dozen police officers, shoved in the back of a van and taken away to be charged under a “Section 27 Dispersal Notice”. I had charitably assumed this was a more severe equivalent of the parade licensing that American municipalities use to discourage public participation by disfavored groups – ie, Mr Weston was arrested because he did not have his paperwork in order. I dislike such laws, but in America their use testifies at least to a certain squeamishness about directly punishing someone for the content of his speech.

Not so in Britain. The coppers dropped the Section 27 Dispersal business, and instead charged Mr Weston with a “Racially Aggravated Crime” – in other words, he’s being charged explicitly for the content of that Churchill passage, and the penalty could be two years in jail.

CAnt say this often enough: what a effed-up world.

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Another Reason To Hate The Military…

Some of them are talking about Benghazi

As usual, if you want to know what happened in the US, read the British press. We are such a banana republic.

Benghazi attack could have been prevented if US hadn’t ‘switched sides in the War on Terror’ and allowed $500 MILLION of weapons to reach al-Qaeda militants, reveals damning report
Citizens Committee on Benghazi claims the US government allowed arms to flow to al-Qaeda-linked militants who opposed Muammar Gaddafi
Their rise to power, the group says, led to the Benghazi attack in 2012
The group claims the strongman Gaddafi offered to abdicate his presidency, but the US refused to broker his peaceful exit
The commission, part of the center-right Accuracy In Media group, concluded that the Benghazi attack was a failed kidnapping plot
US Ambassador Chris Stevens was to be captured and traded for ‘blind sheikh’ Omar Abdel-Rahman, who hatched the 1993 WTC bombing plot

The Citizens Commission on Benghazi, a self-selected group of former top military officers, CIA insiders and think-tankers, declared Tuesday in Washington that a seven-month review of the deadly 2012 terrorist attack has determined that it could have been prevented – if the U.S. hadn’t been helping to arm al-Qaeda militias throughout Libya a year earlier.

‘The United States switched sides in the war on terror with what we did in Libya, knowingly facilitating the provision of weapons to known al-Qaeda militias and figures,’ Clare Lopez, a member of the commission and a former CIA officer, told MailOnline.

She blamed the Obama administration for failing to stop half of a $1 billion United Arab Emirates arms shipment from reaching al-Qaeda-linked militants.
‘Remember, these weapons that came into Benghazi were permitted to enter by our armed forces who were blockading the approaches from air and sea,’ Lopez claimed. ‘They were permitted to come in. … [They] knew these weapons were coming in, and that was allowed..

‘The intelligence community was part of that, the Department of State was part of that, and certainly that means that the top leadership of the United States, our national security leadership, and potentially Congress – if they were briefed on this – also knew about this.’

The weapons were intended for Gaddafi but allowed by the U.S. to flow to his Islamist opposition.
The Citizens Committee on Benghazi released its interim findings on April 22, 2014 in Washington. Pictured [at link] are (L-R) Clare Lopez, Admiral (Ret.) Chuck Kubic, Admiral (Ret.) James ‘Ace’ Lyons, former CIA officer Wayne Simmons and civil rights attorney John Clarke

‘The White House and senior Congressional members,’ the group wrote in an interim report released Tuesday, ‘deliberately and knowingly pursued a policy that provided material support to terrorist organizations in order to topple a ruler [Muammar Gaddafi] who had been working closely with the West actively to suppress al-Qaeda.’

‘Some look at it as treason,’ said Wayne Simmons, a former CIA officer who participated in the commission’s research.

Retired Rear Admiral Chuck Kubic, another commission member, told reporters Tuesday that those weapons are now ‘all in Syria.’
‘Gaddafi wasn’t a good guy, but he was being marginalized,’ Kubic recalled. ‘Gaddafi actually offered to abdicate’ shortly after the beginning of a 2011 rebellion.
‘But the U.S. ignored his calls for a truce,’ the commission wrote, ultimately backing the horse that would later help kill a U.S. ambassador.
Kubic said that the effort at truce talks fell apart when the White House declined to let the Pentagon pursue it seriously.
‘We had a leader who had won the Nobel Peace Prize,’ Kubic said, ‘but who was unwilling to give peace a chance for 72 hours.’

More at the link, including names and pictures of committee members. Then, take the Aggie Challenge! Go to the NY Times and the Washington Post and see if you can find any mention of this. BTW did you notice that those weapons are now in Syria? If this President and his administration had declared their intent to allow the murder of as many Muslim civilians as possible, they couldn’t have done a better job. How many have died in Syria? How ’bout The Arab Spring™? Libya? Various drone attacks on wedding and such-like. You can see why they might not care for us.

- Aggie

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Dr. Kill Dare

We’ve covered this story before, but since our president and Secretary of State still seem ignorant of it, let’s hear it again:

“I’m not scared,” said the Syrian, whose name was withheld by the hospital because Israel and Syria are in a state of war. “Nothing worse will happen to me, so who cares if I’m in Israel?”

Despite decades of hostility between Israel and Syria, hundreds of victims of Syria’s 3-year-old civil war have received life-saving treatments in Israeli hospitals. Israeli medical personnel say that while they’re happy to treat Syrians, the wounded pose a unique set of challenges.

“As nurses, it’s unique to deal with wounded like this,” said Refaat Sharf, a nurse at Ziv, which has treated 162 Syrian patients. “We hadn’t been used to these injuries, neither in terms of their character nor their frequency.”

Since last year, more than 700 wounded Syrians have come to Israeli hospitals via the Syria-Israel border crossing on the Golan Heights. The Israel Defense Forces has set up a field hospital there, and transfers patients it cannot care for to nearby hospitals. In some cases it brings a family member as well.

Adi Pachter-Alt, Rambam’s deputy director of social work, said the patients’ reluctance to speak openly about their feelings comes more from the trauma of being injured and less from ill will toward Israel.

“It’s hard for us to give overall emotional support because they mistrust us,” Pachter-Alt said. “It’s not due to the state of war. It’s because you’re in a different state after trauma. You’re very alone, very suspicious.”

Medical personnel said that when they do leave the hospital, Syrians are grateful for the care they received. The Syrian patient in Ziv said his opinion of Israel had flipped during his stay there.

“Before the revolt, the authorities told us Israel was the enemy and we must fight them,” he said. “But after the recent events there, I saw that in Israel they take care of the patients. All of the Israelis I met, Arabs and Jews, seemed unified.”

Don’t tell Oxfam that! They’ll just want to hire Scarlett Johansson back, and they can’t have her!

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Good News From Syria!

Some kids aren’t being killed.

Oh wait. That’s the bad news:

Syrian children are being intentionally targeted by snipers aiming to paralyze rather than kill them, an Israeli doctor told The Times of Israel.

Dr. Yoav Hoffman, a senior physician at the pediatric intensive care unit of Western Galilee Hospital in Nahariya, said that his department has received 25 seriously injured Syrian children between the ages of a few months and 17 since last July, delivered to the hospital by the IDF.

Located 10 kilometers (6 miles) from the border with Lebanon, Western Galilee Hospital has treated a total of 230 Syrians since March 2013, many of them sent to the facility’s new neurosurgery department.

Hoffman said that up to six of his unit’s patients have displayed distinct bullet injuries that indicate intentional sniper targeting.

“The injuries are very specific: gunshot wounds from a single bullet to the lumbar spine, near vertebrates 2 and 3,” Hoffman told The Times of Israel. “These shootings are not intended to kill, but to cause misery. They result in paralysis or slow death in Syria’s conditions.”

Hoffman said that he had never seen such injuries outside the battlefield; his colleagues initially believed that the spinal injuries were a coincidence. But when patients displaying the same injuries kept coming in, the hospital staff was “moved to tears” as it realized that the children were being targeted.

What are you crying about? There’s no crying in civil war!

Well over 1,000 Syrians have been treated by Israel so far, 700 of them in a field hospital set up by the military near the frontier on the Golan Heights and others in civilian hospitals across northern Israel.

The children left paralyzed return home to Syria in wheelchairs donated by the Friends of the Western Galilee Hospital, Hoffman said.

“You can tell they’re extremely scarred emotionally,” he said. “But they’re very grateful for the treatment.”

And then they have to go back. Cruel, cruel Israel.

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Goofus and Gallant

Goofus ships arms to an inter-Arab (intra-Arab?) civil war.

Gallant opens a hospital to treat people who hate him and his kind:


[It's mostly in Hebrew and Arabic, but you get the picture.]

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu visited a field hospital on the Golan Heights treating Syria’s wounded as part of a campaign to unveil “the true face of Iran” on Tuesday.

“On the day that the world powers are opening talks in Vienna with Iran it is important for the world to see pictures from this place,” he said. “This place separates the good in the world from the evil in the world.”

The good, he said, was Israel, which “saves lives from the daily slaughter taking place in Syria. This is the true face of Israel.”

The evil, he continued, is Iran, which is arming those carrying out the slaughter. “That is Iran’s true face,” he said. “All the children wounded, to say nothing of those killed, , were harmed as a result of Iran arming, funding, and instructing the Assad regime on the mass slaughter it is carrying out.”

“From here,” Netanyahu continued, “I want to say to the world, with the renewal of the talks, that Iran has not changed its aggressive policies. Iran has not changed its cruel character, Iran continues to support the Assad regime which is slaughtering its citizens. This is the true face of Iran, and the world must not forget that.”

And the true face of the world looks the other way.

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Is This Another “Red Line”?

President Obama famously stepped in it when he declared the alleged use of chemical weapons by Assad’s government (allegedly) in Syria as crossing a “red line”. It took weeks of backpedaling and tapdancing to get out of any responsibility for those words.

Why doesn’t someone ask him about this?

A team of internationally renowned war crimes prosecutors and forensic experts has found “direct evidence” of “systematic torture and killing” by the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, the lawyers on the team say in a new report.

Their report, based on thousands of photographs of dead bodies of alleged detainees killed in Syrian government custody, would stand up in an international criminal tribunal, the group says.

Is there such thing as an “internationally renowned war crimes prosecutor” or “forensic expert”, much less a team of them? I guess. I don’t doubt that Assad is capable of such brutality, I just wonder what we’re supposed to do about it. Root for Al Qaeda? No thanks.

But our president knows, or should know. He has opinions on so many subjects, including this one. Cat got his tongue? Lebanon is exploding (but it’s mostly Hezbollah-controled Lebanon, so carry on); Iraq is collapsing, ditto Afghanistan; Syria is a bloody mess. Oh yes, Egypt is returning to military dictatorship, so there is some good news.

And what is the the Man With All The Answers doing about it?


So, I took down my spinnaker and hoisted the jib and tacked into the wind roughly east-southeast. My she was yar.

If you laugh, it’s not because I’m funny. It’s because it’s true. Same goes if you cry.

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