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The Caliphate

The Islamic State's Terror Laptop of Doom

August 30th 2014

ISIS

Abu Ali, a commander of a moderate Syrian rebel group in northern Syria, proudly shows a black laptop partly covered in dust. "We took it this year from an ISIS hideout," he says.

Abu Ali says the fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), which have since rebranded themselves as the Islamic State, all fled before he and his men attacked the building. The attack occurred in January in a village in the Syrian province of Idlib, close to the border with Turkey, as part of a larger anti-ISIS offensive occurring at the time. "We found the laptop and the power cord in a room," he continued, "I took it with me. But I have no clue if it still works or if it contains anything interesting."

As we switched on the Dell laptop, it indeed still worked. Nor was it password-protected. But then came a huge disappointment: After we clicked on "My Computer," all the drives appeared empty. Read more ..


Broken Borders

White House Refuses to Set Deadline for Immigration Action

August 29th 2014

Immigration Protest

The White House refused Friday to commit to executive actions on immigration by the end of summer, stirring speculation that President Obama might be planning to delay some of the more controversial steps until after the November elections.

"I just don’t have any additional information to share with you about what that time frame is," White House press secretary Josh Earnest said.

Earlier this year, Obama told reporters he expected recommendations "before the end of summer" and, after receiving them, planned to adopt them "without further delay." But asked Thursday whether the timeline for executive actions could be pushed back, the president pointedly did not repeat that pledge. Read more ..


The Battle for Ukraine

Russia Invades Ukraine and Establishes New Front along Shared Border

August 28th 2014

Russian heavy weaponry has reportedly crossed the border into southern Ukraine, U.S. and Ukrainian officials said Wednesday, aiding rebels in what appeared to be a major counteroffensive in a new front along the border with Russia.

With battles raging to the north – near the rebel-held city of Luhansk, and southeast of the city of Donetsk — the fighting near Novoazovsk, a southern town along the Sea of Azov, appeared to be the most blatant incursion by Russian forces to date.

Western reporters around Novoazovsk said Ukrainian forces were abandoning vehicles and ammunition as they retreated from the advancing forces. The U.S. State Department said Russian military hardware crossing the border included tanks and rocket launchers and there were reports of separatists shelling residential areas in the port city of Mariupol, west of Novoazovsk. Heavy fighting had also erupted at the Donetsk airport. Read more ..


Operation Protective Edge

Another Hamas Ceasefire -- Cement and War

August 27th 2014

Tunnel  Access Point

Amid a shaky and uncertain ceasefire with Hamas, Israelis did not celebrate in the streets as Hamas and the people in the Gaza Strip did with fireworks and rifles shot in the air. As long as the force behind the rocket fire and a massive underground tunnel terror network remains in power and is backed by Qatari funds, Israelis remain wary.
 
An article published in the Institute for Palestine Studies two years ago by The Economist reporter, Nicolas Pelham, thoroughly examines the development of Gaza’s tunnel phenomenon over the past 10 years – a network described as “an underground city,” according to an Israeli military spokesman, Capt. Eytan Buchman in July.
 
“Much to the misfortune of the people of Gaza, Hamas has invested far more resources in “underground Gaza” than in “upper Gaza” wrote Shlomi Eldar in an article for news source Al-Monitor. “The change and reform that Hamas offered its voters was invested in its tunnels at the expense of the people of Gaza.”
Read more ..

The Battle for Damascus

'Humble, Caring' American Jihadi Terrorist Succumbs in Syria

August 27th 2014

Victor McArthur McCain

An American, identified as 33-year old Douglas McArthur McCain, has been killed while fighting alongside militants in Syria. Concerns about foreign fighters joining the ranks of radical groups comes as an American journalist returned to the United States after nearly two years of captivity by militants in Syria.

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Tuesday U.S. officials are aware of reports of McCain’s death in Syria and made contact with the family.

"As you know, there’s typically a process that needs to be gone through before any confirmation can be made. And, certainly, out of respect for the family, we’re not going to be adding any more comment at this time,” said Psaki.

However, in a statement, White House National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said, “We were aware of U.S. citizen Douglas McArthur McCain’s presence in Syria and can confirm his death.” Read more ..


Obama's Second Term

Obama's Message to ISIS: 'America Does Not Forget'

August 26th 2014

Iraq ISIL double file of militants

President Obama on Tuesday vowed to address the threat posed by the "barbaric terrorists" of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), as the administration weighs the possibility of expanding U.S. airstrikes to target militants operating in Syria. Airstrikes are already taking place in Iraq.

"Our message to anyone who harms our people is simple: America does not forget; our reach is long; we are patient; justice will be done," the president said during a speech to the American Legion in Charlotte. "We have proved time and time again we will do what’s necessary to capture those who harm Americans. And we’ll continue to take direct action where needed to protect our people and to defend our homeland."

While acknowledging that "rooting out a cancer" like ISIS would not be easy or quick, the president said terrorist leaders "recognize that kind of hateful vision ultimately is no match" for the United States. Read more ..


Obama's Second Term

Following a Two-Week Hiatus, Obama is Called to Executive Action

August 25th 2014

Expectations are high that President Obama can move ahead with controversial executive actions now that he has returned from his vacation.

Obama’s two weeks on Martha’s Vineyard were plagued by dual crises, in Iraq and in Ferguson, Mo. But his break was also something of a blackout period for news about actions the White House is weighing on immigration reform and so-called corporate “inversions,” a business maneuver companies use to reduce their tax burdens.

Obama will be in Washington for just one full week before departing on a trip to Estonia and Wales in early September to reassure NATO allies amid conflict with Russia. Read more ..


The Shaking Earth

California Declares Disaster Following Worst Quake in 25 Years

August 24th 2014

California Governor Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency for portions of the state, following the biggest earthquake to shake the San Francisco Bay area in 25 years.

The 6.0 magnitude quake struck in the middle of the night Sunday, jolting people out of bed and knocking merchandise off store shelves.

More than 100 people were reported injured.

The quake was centered between San Francisco and Sacramento. Most of the damage is in and around the town of Napa, in northern California's picturesque wine-making region.

The quake was centered between San Francisco and Sacramento. Most of the damage is in and around the town of Napa, in northern California's picturesque wine-making region. Read more ..


Obama's Second Term

Obama Orders Review of Military Equipment Supplied to Police

August 23rd 2014

Paramilitary police Ferguson Missouri

President Obama ordered the review of federal programs that provide military equipment to local law enforcement amid criticism of police tactics in Ferguson, Mo.

The White House confirmed the review but said no other information is available since the details are still taking shape.

The New York Times first reported the review would look into whether the administration should continue with the policy, which supplies equipment such as generators to M-16s and mine resistant vehicles to local law enforcement. 
The review, according to senior administration officials cited in the newspaper, will also look at whether local police units are receiving proper training for the equipment they receive and whether that equipment is being effectively tracked. It will look at Justice Department grants to police, according to The Times. Read more ..


The Battle for Iraq

For Obama, the Islamic State is Now Job No. 1

August 22nd 2014

The Obama administration has elevated the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) to enemy No. 1 following the brutal murder of the American journalist James Foley.

Top administration officials in recent days have denounced that the group in the strongest possible terms while warning it poses an imminent threat to American interests.

Officials have hinted that the U.S. might consider expanding the scope and intensity of airstrikes to take on ISIS, potentially by moving the bombing campaign in Iraq across the border into Syria.

But whether the administration’s rhetorical shift will be matched by action remains to be seen. Read more ..


The Battle for Ukraine

Russian Incursion into Ukraine--Fires Artillery without Resistance

August 22nd 2014

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Russian convoy

Russia has emplaced army artillery units manned by Russian personnel inside Ukraine and is firing at Ukrainian military units. NATO officials averred the report on August 22. This is the first time NATO has announced that it had evidence of the direct involvement of the Russian military in the fighting between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russia separatists. Currently, Ukraine is fighting a pitched battle with the separatists in the eastern cities of Luhansk and Donetsk.

The former has been without water, electricity or phone services for nearly two weeks. This report came on the same day that a convoy of Russian trucks, ostensibly carrying only humanitarian supplies, crossed from Russia into Ukraine without official permission from the government in Kyiv. A statement from the Ukrainian government concurred that Russian artillery support — both cross-border and from within Ukraine — is being employed against the Ukrainian armed forces. Read more ..


Ukraine on Edge

Russian Aid Convoy Enters Ukraine, Undeterred

August 22nd 2014

Witnesses say the first trucks from a Russian aid convoy crossed the border into Ukraine without official permission from Kyiv after Moscow said it was tired of waiting. Russia's foreign ministry said in a statement on August 22 that all excuses for the delay have been "exhausted" and that the convoy was heading toward the eastern Ukrainian rebel stronghold of Luhansk, where pro-Russian rebels are fighting government forces. Luhansk has been without running water, electricity, and phone service for at least 20 days.

Russia's foreign ministry said Ukraine had held up the convoy in order to pursue war against rebels surrounded in Luhansk, where the aid is destined. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said it was "not part of that convoy in any way." The stream of 70 white trucks that entered Ukraine is being escorted by rebel fighters. "Our humanitarian aid convoy is starting to move towards Luhansk," the Russian foreign ministry said in a statement, while it warned against any action on the part of Ukraine. Russia did not specify the consequences.
Read more ..


The 2016 Campaign

Hillary Rodham Clinton Seeks Redemption in Iowa

August 21st 2014

Hillary Clinton is seeking redemption in the state that threw her 2008 presidential bid into turmoil.

Clinton will be the star guest at retiring Sen. Tom Harkin’s (D) final steak fry in Iowa on September 14. It’s an early trip for the former senator and secretary of state, who will be accompanied by former President Clinton.

Harkin’s annual event is a must-visit for Iowa Democrats.

It’s also a chance for presidential hopefuls to introduce themselves, up-close and personal, to the people who will cast the first votes in the 2016 contest. Read more ..


The Caliphate

What is ISIS, Where did it Come From, and When Did the US Know it was There?

August 20th 2014

ISIS

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), also known as the Islamic State in the Levant (ISIL), currently controls about one-third of Iraq. It is a combination of:

  • A non-al-Qaeda revival of the al-Qaeda-sponsored Islamic State of Iraq (ISI) organization that tried to take over western Iraq 2003—2006, and
  • Sunni Syrian rebel groups including the Nusra Front (Jabhat al Nusra), which also has ties to al Qaeda.

Turkey, Qatar, and – indirectly – the United States supported the Nusra Front early in its existence in the Syrian civil war, although it is on the U.S. list of terrorist organizations. In 2011/12, the U.S. was supplying arms from Libya to Turkey for distribution to Syrian rebels, and both Turkey and Qatar provided them to their preferred radical jihadist groups, not the so-called "moderate" Syrian rebels at least politically favored by the U.S. The Nusra Front was a recipient of both arms and money. The CIA was working in the area at the time, ostensibly helping the Turks "vet" the opposition groups and providing them "non-lethal" aid. Read more ..


Operation Protective Edge

Israel Strikes at the Heart of Hamas as Ceasefire Breaks Down

August 20th 2014

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Israel attempted to assassinate Hamas commander Muhammed Deif in an airstrike on Gaza following a series of rocket volleys originating in Gaza. Deif’s wife and child were killed, while a third unidentified body was found. Israel, however, Israel has not confirmed that the body is Deif’s. He had survived an earlier attempt on his life by Israeli defense forces. Deif has topped Israel's wanted lists for years, as mastermind of deadly suicide bombings more than a decade ago. He is currently believed to be a behind-the-scenes leader of Hamas's campaign against Israel.

Palestinian health officials said the strike on a house in Gaza City killed three people but did not provide any details about the third victim. Palestinian medical sources claim that at least 16 Gazans have been killed since August 19.

The air strike was one of a series of responses by the Israeli air force to renewed attacks from Gaza. The strikes have killed 11 Palestinians, according to Hamas. For its part, Israel has recalled 2,000 reservists who had been sent home during a truce between the sides. Read more ..


Ukraine on Edge

Separatists Kill Dozens of Civilians Fleeing Violence in Eastern Ukraine

August 19th 2014

Ukraine says pro-Russian separatists attacked a convoy of civilians trying to escape fighting in the east Monday, killing "dozens," including children. A senior Ukrainian spokesman said on August 18 that the rebels used Russian-made mortars and rocket launchers to strike the column ferrying the terrified civilians. Many of the dead and injured are children. The spokesman said the convoy of buses was flying white flags as it traveled along the main road away from the city of Luhansk.

Dozens of people, including women and children, were killed in the shelling on August 18, said Andriy Lysenko, a spokesman for Ukraine's national security council. “The rebels were expecting the convoy and destroyed it entirely. We haven't been able to count the number of victims ... dozens [were killed],” spokesman Andriy Lysenko said, adding that he was unable to provide exact casualty figures. Military spokesman Anatoly Proshin said that evacuees were hit by mortars and Grad rockets. "As a result, there were a huge number of casualties. People were burned alive in the vehicles that were taking them out," Proshin told the Ukrainian Pravda newspaper. Read more ..


Obama's Second Term

Obama May Get Involved in Resolving Ferguson Riots

August 18th 2014

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Attorney General Eric Holder will brief President Obama Monday on a possible federal response to violence in Ferguson, Mo., after another night of clashes prompted Gov. Jay Nixon (D-Mo.) to call in the Missouri National Guard.

Police used tear gas Sunday night on demonstrators protesting the killing of an unarmed black teenager, who a private autopsy report found was shot at least six times. A white police officer, Darren Wilson, has been named as the shooter of 18-year-old Michael Brown.

White House adviser Valerie Jarrett said Obama's primary objective in meeting with Holder is to find a way to end the violence in Ferguson, which is now in its second week. Read more ..


Broken Government

Texas Gov Rick Perry "Indicted" for Vetoing Spending Bill

August 16th 2014

Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) was indicted on felony charges Friday by a grand jury in Austin for allegedly abusing his veto power to force the resignation of a Democratic prosecutor. The grand jury indicted the 2016 presidential hopeful on two felony counts – coercion of public official and abuse of official capacity, according to The Associated Press.

[READ FULL INDICTMENT AGAINST RICK PERRY]

Perry, 64, must turn himself in to the Travis County Jail, where he will be booked, fingerprinted and have his mug shot taken, according to KVUE-TV.

The charges stem from an ethics complaint filed last year by Texans for Public Justice, a left-leaning government watchdog group, claimed that Perry abused his official powers by threatening to veto money for public corruption prosecutors in the state in order to pressure a local district attorney to resign. The public integrity unit is housed in the Travis County district attorney's office. Perry called for the resignation of District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg after she was arrested and pled guilty in April 2013 to drunken driving.  Read more ..


Crisis in Central Europe

Ukraine Reports a Strike on a Russian Armored Column in Ukrainian Territory

August 15th 2014

Russian tourist in Ukraine

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said on August 15 that Ukrainian forces have destroyed substantial part of a Russian column of armored personnel carriers that crossed into Ukrainian territory from Russia. The Ukrainian presidential press service said that Poroshenko told British Prime Minister David Cameron that "a significant part of the equipment" had been destroyed by Ukrainian artillery.

Ukrainian border guards and customs officers had crossed today into Russia to inspect a convoy of more than 250 trucks. Russia says the trucks were carrying water, food, and other aid for people in eastern Ukraine, where Ukrainian forces are fighting pro-Russian separatists. Western officials and media had expressed concern that the aid convoy was a mere pretext for a military incursion. Read more ..


Operation Protective Edge

Palestinian Official Says 'the War is Behind Us' in Exchange for Funds Transfer

August 15th 2014

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A fragile ceasefire extension between Hamas and Israel entered its second day on Friday as the two sides in the Gaza conflict ponder Egyptian-mediated efforts to secure a lasting peace.

Deputy chief of Islamic Jihad, Ziad Nahalla, told Friday morning the London-based Al-Hayat newspaper that "the war is behind us. At this point we have no choice but to reach an agreement."

On Thursday Nahalla said a permanent deal with Israel is near, adding the agreement will include a guarantee to lift the blockade over Gaza. Nahalla said the two sides agreed on the openings of the crossings, easing the restrictions on material import into Gaza, the expansion of the limited fishing zone around the Strip and the dismantling of the security "perimeter" maintained by Israel along the border. Read more ..


Operation Protective Edge

Operation Protective Edge War-Blog: August 14, 2014

August 14th 2014

8:00 AM ET August 14, 2014. A shaky Israel-Hamas was tested by an exchange of fire between terrorists in Gaza and Israel's military overnight. Israeli jets struck rocket launch sites and a terrorist base in the Gaza Strip shortly after midnight as a response to rocket attacks on southern Israel last night. This did not stop an apparent cease-fire extension from coming into effect at 12:00 a.m, which both sides accepted. - Jerusalem Post

7:55 AM ET August 14, 2014. According to the head of the Palestinian delegation in Cairo, Azzam al-Ahmed of Fatah, Israel and Palestinian factions agreed to extend a three-day Gaza truce an additional five days. Shortly after Ahmed's announcement two rockets fired from Gaza landed in open areas of the Sha'ar HaNegev Regional Council and another landed in the Eshkol Regional Council. The Iron Dome intercepted one rocket. - Jerusalem Post.


Operation Protective Edge

Operation Protective Edge War-Blog: August 13, 2014

August 13th 2014

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12:10 PM ET August 13, 2014. Israel and the Palestinians began talks in Cairo to end the conflict in Gaza and lift the blockade on the coastal enclave. MENA news agency.

12:00 PM ET August 13, 2014. Israel opened the Kerem Shalom crossing to allow goods to enter Gaza a day after having closed it due to rocket fire. Jerusalem Post.

11:45 AM ET August 13, 2014.  Israeli negotiators arrived in Cairo to meet with Egyptian mediators. - Jerusalem Post. 

11:00 AM ET August 13, 2014.  Palestinians in the West Bank town of Nablus reported early Monday that the IDF killed a suspected terrorist. The IDF the army surrounded the home belonging to the wanted Palestinians. When the Palestinian fired a shot at the IDF, the used a bulldozer and begin destroying parts to compel the suspect to surrender. The suspect died. - Israeli Army radio

07:14 AM ET August 13, 2014. In a BBC interview, former Israeli president Shimon Peres called on the international community to oppose Hamas’s presence in Gaza and to strip the Islamist group of its armaments. “The world needs to decide whether it’s ready for a terrorist state in Gaza or not,” Peres said. “Reconciling with terrorism in Gaza will be a tragedy for the Middle East and the entire world. Israel wants peace and believes in negotiations while Hamas –both philosophically and practically – proves that it is opposed to peace, opposed to talks, and in favor of terrorism.” He urged world leaders to ratify a document that would mandate the demilitarization of Gaza and install Palestinian AuthorityPresident Mahmoud Abbas as Gaza's ruler. -- i24News Read more ..


Operation Protective Edge

Operation Protective Edge War-Blog: August 12, 2014

August 12th 2014

8:20 PM ET August 12, 2014. Hamas claims no progress has been made in the Cairo talks and that the group will decide tomorrow on next steps. - i24News

8:17 PM ET August 12, 2014.  Israel's cabinet meeting has been canceled due to gaps between both sides' demands in the Cairo negotiations. - i24News

8:15 AM ET August 12, 2014. Prime Minister Netanyahu convened a security cabinet meeting over developments in the Cairo ceasefire talks. The meeting could herald the beginning of an agreement with the Palestinians for a long-term truce, although some of the ministers are expected to oppose the deal, which reportedly does not meet Israel's key demands. - i24News

8:10 PM ET August 12, 2014. Israeli Defense Minister  Ya'alon said Gaza operations have not ended,  "but Hamas and other terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip definitely suffered a hard blow." - i24News

7:45 PM ET August 12, 2014. Israeli Foreign Minister  Lieberman said that Israel's priority should be getting rid of Hamas before widening its diplomatic efforts. Lieberman said "as long as Hamas is strong on the ground, controls Gaza, and is popular in Judea and Samaria, a diplomatic process is simply impossible." -- Jerusalem Post.

6:20 AM ET August 12, 2014. The Israeli navy fired warning shots at a Gazan fishing boat that strayed outside of its allowed range.

Israel's Minister of Economics Naftali Bennet of the Jewish Home Party likened Israel's capitulation to Hamas demands to paying "protection" to mafia gangsters. According to an unconfirmed report in Ynet, Israel has tentatively agreed to transfer money to pay Hamas salaries through a third party. This is a formula of 'quiet in exchange for money for the terrorists,'" said Bennett. "We can't fight Hamas with one hand and sponsor it with the other."

The Knesset's Finance Committee has voted in favor of adding $949 million (3.3 billion shekels) to the Defense budget to make up for the expenses of the Gaza war. Cuts will thus be made in public transportation projects, water development and earthquake preparedness. During the debate Labor MK Stav Shafir was thrown out of the meeting after representatives of the finance ministry refused to answer her questions on the destination of the funds, citing security concerns. The precise purpose of the funds will be debated in a closed-door session of the committee.

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin welcomed a group of 110 Jewish youths from the US and Canada who came to enlist in the IDF. Thanking them, he said "Your presence here today lends us strength. With your help we feel the warm embrace of US and Canadian Jewry." 

A report in Egypt's Al-Quds says the current ceasefire may be extended by a further 72 hours in order to overcome the gaps between the Israeli and Palestinian delegations. The Palestinians had refused to discuss the fate of the bodies of Israeli soldiers left behind in Gaza and that they would be debated in separate talks. Senior Hamas official Moussa Abu-Marzouk says Cairo talks on long-term ceasefire are very serious. "We are facing difficult negotiations. The first ceasefire passed without any significant achievements. This is the second and final ceasefire. Things are clearly serious now. What's needed is for the delegation to achieve what the Palestinian people strive for," he told reporters in Cairo.

The Palestinians in Cairo rejected an Israeli proposal to allow a seaport to be built in Gaza in exchange for a demilitarization of the Strip. The offer was reportedly rejected, with a representative of the Islamic Jihad saying that the groups will only agree to disarm if Israel does. - agencies.

Israel is reportedly considering to expand the fishing perimeter for the Gaza Strip from three to six naval miles (with a possible future expansion to 12 miles, as Hamas demands); more construction materials permitted into the Strip and raising the number of Gaza entry permits issued monthly up to 5,000.

A senior member of the Palestinian delegation to Cairo told the Ma'an news agency that Hamas "does not oppose" that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas will control the border crossings to Gaza. It was also reported that the Palestinian Authority will be tasked with the rebuilding of Gaza.

Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs blasted the UNHCR (the United Nations Refugee Agency) for its anti-Israel bias and says "Israel cannot expect justice" from the organization. “When the decision about the creation of the committee was made on July 23, the prime minister and Foreign Ministry announced that the Human Rights Council had long ago become the Terrorists’ Rights Council, a kangaroo court in which the results of its ‘investigations’ can be predicted in advanced," the ministry said.

Hamas' armed wing -- the al-Qassam Brigades -- says it is willing to give Israel information regarding the fates of soldiers Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin in exchange for the names of all the Palestinians who collaborated with Israel during its military campaigns in the West Bank and Gaza, Al-Jazeera reports. - i24News, Haaretz, BBC.


The Yazidi Genocide

Mount Sinjar: Iraq's Mountain of Death

August 11th 2014

Yazidis Escaping August 2014

On the dry mountain, the Yazidis fight with the goats for the remaining water. In the distance, the lights of Islamic State checkpoints loom menacingly.

On Sunday, those stuck behind Islamic State lines began reporting the group's latest slaughter: hundreds of members of their arcane but colourful sect massacred for refusing to convert to Islam.

On the mountain, the rumours from their relatives only added to the sense of panic and despair. One man, the only news reporter on Mount Sinjar, told me that jihadists had stormed through his village, killing every adult, healthy male. Others talked of hundreds of women being abducted. Reports came in elsewhere of women and children being buried alive.

Meanwhile, the survivors on the mountain were fighting off thirst and disease. There is no other way to put this: the thousands of people left on this mountainside are covered in goat droppings and have no water to drink, let alone to wash it off. Read more ..


Operation Protective Edge

Operation Protective Edge War-Blog: August 11, 2014

August 11th 2014

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10:05 AM ET August 11, 2014. No rockets have been fired at Israel since midnight Israel time. Hamas leaders says goal of talks is to see the lifting of the Gaza blockade. An Israeli delegation has landed in Cairo. -agencies

8:40 AM ET August 11, 2014. The IDF admits making a mistake in urging residents of southern Israel to return home during the previous 3-day ceasefire, which prompted Gazan rocket attacks. Maj.-Gen Sami Turgeman told the residents that the security situation in the south was about to change either through understandings with Palestinian factions or through the expansion of the military operation. He said that in any case, the situation now is better than it was before the ground operation because the IDF had managed to neutralize the Hamas tunnels. -Times of Israel

7:10 AM ET August 11, 2014. Palestinian Sawa news agency reported that salaries were paid to all members of Hamas’s military wing in Gaza, and the salaries of government officials in the Strip were expected to be paid as well. Hamas demanded payment of the salaries as one of the conditions for a ceasefire with Israel. -Sawa

6:17 AM ET August 11, 2014. A wanted Palestinian man was shot dead in a gunbattle with IDF troops who came to arrest him at a refugee camp near Nablus. Zakaria Al Akra resisted arrest, and opened on soldiers, who proceeded to fire back. Five people, including Al-Akra's parents and younger siblings were injured in the incident. -Jerusalem Post Read more ..


The Yazidi Genocide

Islamic State Kills at least 500 Iraqi Yazidis-- Buries Others Alive

August 10th 2014

Iraqi Yazidi man and children

Islamic State militants have killed at least 500 members of Iraq's Yazidi minority in northern Iraq, burying some of their victims alive and kidnapping hundreds of women, a Baghdad government minister said on Sunday.

The insurgents' advance through northern Iraq has forced tens of thousands to flee, threatened the capital of the Kurdish autonomous region and provoked the first U.S. air strikes in the area since Washington withdrew troops from Iraq in 2011.

Iraq's human rights minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani told Reuters that he had evidence that the Sunni militants had thrown the Yazidi dead into mass graves, adding that some of those buried alive were women and children. About 300 women had been forced into slavery, he said. Read more ..


Operation Protective Edge

Operation Protective Edge War-Blog: August 10, 2014

August 10th 2014

Iron Dome sunset

6:48 PM ET August 10, 2014.
Israeli and Palestinian negotiators accepted Egypt’s call for a new 72-hour cease-fire in Gaza to commence  one minute after midnight on August 11. Egyptian-mediated negotiations toward a more durable solution for Gaza are to be resumed.
The Israeli government accepted the Egyptian cease-fire request. Azzam al-Ahmad, the lead Palestinian negotiator in Cairo, said the delegation, which includes Hamas, had notified the Egyptians “that we agreed on the cease-fire based on the Egyptian statement.”
The last cease-fire expired on August 8, when Hamas fired rockets into Israel, prompting Israel to resume its airstrikes. -- NYT

7:00 AM ET August 10, 2014. Code Red sirens sounded in Sderot and surrounding communities, well as Ashkelon and Eshkol. There were no reports of injuries or damage. -Times of Israel

6:10 AM ET August 10, 2014. Palestinian negotiators will remain in Cairo for a meeting with the Arab League on August 11 to discuss the Gaza crisis. However, the Palestinian delegation had said it was likely to abandon the talks today unless Israel returns to the table without pre-conditions. Prime Minister Netanyahu had said today that Israel would stay away from the Egyptian-mediated talks with Hamas as long as Palestinian rocket and mortar attacks from the Gaza Strip continued. "Israel will not negotiate under fire," Netanyahu said at the weekly meeting of his cabinet. Foreign Minister Liberman said that the time had come for Israel to topple Hamas rule in the Gaza Strip. "The only thing left to do is defeat Hamas, clean up the territory and get out as quickly as possible." Egypt had reportedly proposed a compromised offer to the Palestinians and Israel that includes a cease-fire in Gaza and the opening of border crossings between the enclave and the Jewish state, according to pan-Arab daily al-Hayat. The discussion will be scheduled regarding the controversial demands of the parties only after tensions are eased. -agencies Read more ..


Operation Protective Edge

Operation Protective Edge War-Blog: August 9, 2014

August 9th 2014

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8:17 AM ET August 9, 2014. Ashkelon Regional Council, as well as other Gaz frontier areas, hear rocket sirens.  Israeli Police cancels leftist demonstration over security situation, following Home Front Command instructions. The demo was to take place this evening at Tel Aviv's Rabin Square. Rockets explode near a Negev community, Sha'ar Henegev and Eshkol, hear the Gaza border, as sirens wail throughout southern Israel. IDF confirms that two Palestinian militants who were riding a motorcycle in central Gaza were hit, along with 30 other sites since midnight. Ma'an wire service said three bodies were recovered from underneath rubble in the Nuseirat refugee camp. The Israeli air force has struck over 100 targets in Gaza in last 24 hours.

4:10 AM ET August 9, 2014. Following Code Red siren alerts, rockets landed outside the Eshkol community and Sha'ar Hanegeve Regional Council. The Israeli air forces struck an agricultural field early today near Gaza City. Israel struck two mosques overnight in the Nuseirat refugee camp in central Gaza, and another in the Zeitoun neighborhood.

3:46 AM ET August 9, 2014. Two homes in Beit Lahiya and Gaza City were hit overnight. More than 15,000 Muslim Brotherhood supporters gathered at a pro-Hamas rally in Jordan's capital yesterday. Many chanted "death to Israel" and urging the militant Palestinian group to step up rocket salvos against Israeli towns and cities. The evening rally, the largest such protest in Amman in years, saw scores of masked youths dressed in the uniform of Izzedine al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, stage a mock military parade to the cheers of a flag-waving crowd. Expressing hope that a new ceasefire between Israel and Hamas will soon emerge, State Department spokesperson Marie Harf told reporters on August 8 "Our hope is that the parties will agree to an extension of the ceasefire in the coming hours." -- Jerusalem Post, AFP, Ma'an news services


Operation Protective Edge

Operation Protective Edge War-Blog: August 8, 2014

August 8th 2014

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6:00 AM ET August 8, 2014. The Israeli Defense Forces responded with new airstrikes on Hamas targets shortly before 11:00 AM local time as retaliation for Hamas rocket attacks on southern Israel which broke the three-day truce that expired earlier on the same day. Israeli Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ya'alon had ordered a forceful response to the renewed Hamas rocket attacks. Israeli troops remain poised along the Gaza frontier, even after the IDF had staged a pull-out from the Gaza Strip before the cease-fire was announced on August 5. - Jerusalem Post and i24News

5:28 AM ET August 8, 2014. Operation Protective Edge has now entered its 32nd day. Security restrictions on southern Israel due to the resumption in rocket fire from Gaza were imposed by security officials. A building in the Sdot Negev Regional Council sustained a direct hit by a barrage of six rockets fired from Gaza, causing light injury to one person, while four other rockets exploded outside a community in the region in an open areas. Two people were injured by a rocket in the Sha'ar Hanegev Regional Council. A Gazan rocket hit an open area in the Eshkol Regional Council. There were no reports of injuries or damage. A rocket blast in Sha'ar Hanegev damaged a community's security fence and the rocket's shrapnel, as well as the force of the blast, caused damage to several houses. There were no injuries reported. Islamic Jihad took credit for the barrage of rockets fired at Israel. Army radio also reported that Gazan residents near the border are fleeing their homes once again, shortly after returning. --agencies Read more ..


Genocide

I Will Not Be Silent

August 7th 2014

Edwin Black

I will not be silent as the world was a generation ago. Christians, Yazidis, and Shia are being mass slaughtered, mass beheaded for public display, and mass shot in ditches by Sunni Islamic extremists--ISIS in Iraq.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HdIEm1s6yhY

http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=7fd_1406604477


The Ebola Outbreak

Israel Racing to Develop Ebola Cure

August 6th 2014

Victims of LRA

As the most severe Ebola epidemic on record spreads through central Africa, infecting and killing hundreds of citizens and foreign aid workers, and raising the specter of outbreaks all over the world, an Israeli research team is working with survivors to develop antibodies against the lethal virus.

Dr. Leslie Lobel tells ISRAEL21c that he and fellow principal investigator Dr. Victoria Yavelsky have spent many years studying native immunity to Ebola and another equally lethal Equatorial African virus, Marburg, at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev’s Center for Emerging Diseases, Tropical Diseases and AIDS.

Ebola, a hemorrhagic fever, is one of the deadliest viruses in the world. It kills up to 90 percent of its victims, while Marburg, another hemorrhagic fever, kills up to 88%.
Ebola can be spread through sweat and saliva and there is no vaccine or cure. In the latest outbreak, the worst ever, more than 670 people have died, including Americans. Read more ..


Operation Protective Edge

Operation Protective Edge War-Blog: August 6, 2014

August 6th 2014

Hamas troops w/rocket

8:30 AM ET August 6,2014. The Israeli army released  30,000 reservists called up during Operation Protective Edge. 55,000 reservists are left in the areas bordering with Gaza.

Israel's Foreign Ministry has reportedly recommended that Israel not to cooperate with a UN Human Rights Council investigation into Israel’s conduct in the Gaza Strip. “The committee decided on by the Council will be formed and will write a report, but if a committee is formed relying on the automatic anti-Israel majority, then we need to ask if Israel needs to cooperate,” a ministry source told Ynet. “We didn’t cooperate with Goldstone and it disappeared from the world.” Read more ..


Operation Protective Edge

Operation Protective Edge War-Blog: August 5, 2014

August 5th 2014

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7:37 PM ET August 5, 2014. Egyptian delegates have suggested to Israeli and Palestinian envoys in Cairo for indirect negotiations to extend the current 72-hour cease-fire to 120 hours. - Jerusalem Post.

7:30 PM ET August 5, 2014. SecState Kerry, in a BBC interview, urged Israel and the Palestinians to utilize the temporary cease-fire in Gaza and ensuing indirect diplomatic negotiations in Egypt to reach talks regarding a "bigger, broader approach to a two-state solution." -- Jerusalem Post.

7:25 PM ET August 5, 2014. "Disarming Palestinian resistance will not be negotiated during indirect [cease-fire] talks in Cairo," Islamic Jihad official said following the group's claim of  'victory': "Despite the pain, [the] resistance has made great achievement," deputy head Ziad al Nakhaleh says. -Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh says in a speech, "Military victory will lead to lifting of siege on Gaza Strip." - Jerusalem Post.  Read more ..


Operation Protective Edge

Operation Protective Edge War-Blog: August 4, 2014

August 4th 2014

IDF Smuggler Tunnels

12:30AM ET August 5, 2014.  Minutes prior to the cease-fire, Gaza militants fired a series of rockets into Israel and Israel struck back hitting targets in Gaza with tank and ship artillery.

4:06 PM ET August 4, 2014. According to CNN, Egypt has arranged for an unconditional 72 hour ceasefire that Hamas has agreed to.  Mark Regev, the Prime Minister's spokesperson told a reporter that calm will be met with calm.   

3:43 PM ET August 4, 2014.  Israel is considering pulling out from Gaza without a cease-fire agreement with Hamas. Fox News

Israel already has been drawing down its ground operation since the weekend, but has kept up heavy aerial, offshore and artillery bombardments of the strip. Read more ..


Operation Protective Edge

Operation Protective Edge War-Blog: August 3, 2014

August 3rd 2014

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11:59 AM ET August 3, 2014. Israel is withdrawing the bulk of its ground forces from Gaza. Analysts say that PM Netanyahu and advisors now understand the difference between Palestinian leader Abbas and the Hamas organization. The next steps, conclude Israeli analysts, depend on Hamas. Palestinian delegation in Cairo will present a list of demands while meeting with Egyptian representatives today. Among these: a ceasefire and IDF withdrawal from the Gaza Strip; removing the blockade over Gaza and opening fishing zones; releasing the Palestinian freed under the Shalit deal, and imprisoned again, and releasing the prisoners as discussed in the last peace talks; and the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip.

A U.S. delegation is expected to arrive in Cairo, as well as former British PM Blair. Egypt's Foreign Minister Shukri says the Egyptian initiative will lead to negotiations between Israel and Hamas, which will address the demands and needs of the Palestinians in Gaza, and will prevent military escalation in the future. In a joint press conference with his Chinese counterpart in Cairo, Shukri condemned Israeli military actions, which caused an "unacceptable casualty rate." -- Haaretz Read more ..


Operation Protective Edge

Operation Protective Edge War-Blog: August 2, 2014

August 2nd 2014

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5:05 PM ET August 2, 2014. The IAF struck 4 terrorists in southern Gaza Strip. Rocket sirens resume on the frontier. 84 rockets and mortar rounds were fired into Israel. Six were intercepted by Iron Dome. A civilian was wounded in Eshkol.

5:00 PM ET August 2, 2014. Israeli Finance Minister Yair Lapid thanked SecState Kerry and the U.S. Senate for providing  $225 million in emergency funding for Iron Dome. He said Israel deeply values strategic partnership with the U.S. Kerry said the U.S. will do everything in its power to help Israel track the missing Israeli officer.

Prime Minister Netanyahu praised the Obama administration as "terrific" in its support of Israel. Netanyahu also hailed SecState Kerry for his "untiring efforts," and President Obama for  statements condemning Hamas. He also thanked the U.S. for the "tremendous support" and its agreement to fund the Iron Dome anti-missile system. Netanyahu characterized as "incorrect" those media reports that he had chastised the American ambassador to Israel. Netanyahu said he carefully weighs all risks and dangers before deciding on military operations. "I'm committed to protect soldiers and civilians." Hamas will pay "an intolerable price" if it continues to launch rockets against Israel, he said. Netanyahu said that Israel will ensure security on all of its borders. He said that he was committed to finding "a long-term solution" that would restore calm to Israel's frontier communities. -- Jerusalem Post. Read more ..


Operation Protective Edge

Operation Protective Edge War-Blog: August 1, 2014

August 1st 2014

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8:36 PM ET August 1, 2014. The Hamas military wing, al-Qassam Brigades, they have no information regarding the fate of Second Lieutenant Hadar Goldin, who may have been taken in captivity on the morning of August 1. Goldin is officially regarded as missing. "We have lost touch with one of our squads fighting in the vicinity," the statement said, "it is possible they, together with the soldier, were killed."
 
8:30 PM ET August 1, 2014. At least 29 Palestinians were killed in strikes in southern Gaza Strip, according to Palestinian sources. i24News. President Obama has demanded the release of a missing Israeli soldier.
 
3:00 PM ET August 1, 2014
The U.S. has cleared funding for Iron Dome. SecState Kerry asked foreign ministers of Turkey, Qatar to press Hamas to free abducted Israeli soldier. Osama Hamdan, top Hamas representative in Lebanon, denies group kidnapped Israeli soldier. -- i24News.
 
2:57 PM ET August 1, 2014. A Palestinian man was shot dead by Israeli forces during clashes in the northern West Bank, AFP reports, citing "security sources." Tamer Smour, 22, was hit by a live bullet in the chest in Tulkarem.
 
2:50 PM ET August 1, 2014. "Hamas will bear consequences. Israel will take all necessary actions against those who call to destroy it," said Israeli PM Netanyahu to Kerry. Israel's Security Cabinet met this afternoon. -- i24News.
 
11:55 AM ET August 1, 2014. Kerry calls for immediate, unconditional release of captured IDF soldier. Secretary of State John Kerry is condemning an "outrageous" violation by Palestinian militants of the Gaza ceasefire he helped to broker. Kerry is demanding the immediate release of an Israeli soldier apparently abducted by the radical Hamas movement. Kerry released a statement saying the militant attack was an affront to the assurances that both sides had given to the United Nations about respecting the ceasefire. The US secretary of state is demanding that Hamas move to 'immediately and unconditionally release' 2nd-Lt. Hadar Goldin, captured in an attack that also killed two Israeli soldiers. Kerry also calls on "those with influence over Hamas to reinforce this message." -Times of Israel

7:00 AM ET August 1, 2014.  Brig. Gen. Yoav Mordechai confirms a suspected kidnapping of a Givati Brigade's soldier in Gaza. Siren warning of incoming rockets activated in the city of BeerSheba. One rocket intercepted. at least 12 rockets fired into Israel since 0700GMT. -- i24News

Read more ..

Operation Protective Edge

Operation Protective Edge War-Blog: July 31, 2014

July 31st 2014

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5:45 PM ET July 31, 2014. US and UN Announce Deal on Gaza Cease-Fire, The United States and United Nations are announcing that Israel and Hamas have agreed to a humanitarian cease-fire to start Friday morning for 72 hours.  All parties have agreed to it and it will begin 1AM Eastern time, 8AM in Israel. --ABC News

2:40 PM ET July 31, 2014.  Rockets were intercepted above Ashkelon shortly after sirens sounded in the Ashkelon, Ashdod, and Eshkol regional councils during the night. -- Jerusalem Post.

2:35 PM ET July 31, 2014.  Police warned  the public against travelling to communities near the Gaza, following a mortar attack in the Eshkol Regional Council that left eight hurt.  -- Jerusalem Post. Read more ..


The Battle for Iraq

Sunni Muslim Jihadis Behead Christians in Northern Iraq

July 31st 2014

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Syriac Orthodox Bishop George Saliba of Mount Lebanon and Tripoli denounced Muslims as enemies of Jesus, while accusing them of a long history of violence and persecution of Christians. "What is happening in Iraq is a strange thing, but it is normal for Muslims, because they have never treated Christians well, and they have always held an offensive and defaming stand against Christians," said Bishop Saliba according to Elnashra.com "We are not calling for armament and war; we don't have the capacities," Saliba said. "We used to live and coexist with Muslims, but then they revealed their canines [teeth]."

The bishop accused Muslims of centuries of violence against Christians, while he condemned the attacks on the Christians of Iraqi Mosul. "[They don't] have the right to storm houses, steal and attack the honor of Christians," Saliba said. "Most Muslims do this, the Ottomans killed us and after that the ruling nation-states understood the circumstances but always gave advantage to the Muslims." Saliba also said Muslims are raised to have bad feelings about Christians, saying "Islam has never changed, and Muslims have been educated on the bad treatment of Christians."

"We are not surprised by these behaviors, but we [put hopes] on some Muslims brothers who do not support such behaviors, despite them being a minority." Read more ..


Operation Protective Edge

Operation Protective Edge War-Blog: July 30, 2014

July 30th 2014

Israeli soldier emerges from Hamas tunnel

5:20 PM ET July 30, 2014. Three IDF soldiers were killed on Wednesday in Gaza in an explosion at a booby-trapped UNRWA health clinic that housed the opening of a tunnel, the IDF's Gaza Division commander, Brig. Gen. Micky Edelstein, said. --Times of Israel

2:01 PM ET July 30, 2014. An Israeli delegation arrives in Cairo to discuss with Egyptian officials a possible ceasefire in the Gaza Strip, airport officials say. Cairo, a key mediator in truce negotiations between Israel and Gaza's Hamas rulers, was also expected to host a Palestinian delegation later this week. The Cairo airport official does not identify the two-member Israeli delegation, but says they were scheduled to depart after a visit of several hours, in which they would discuss proposals for a truce. – AFP

12:19 pM ET July 30, 2014. The United States is condemning the shelling of a UN school in the Gaza Strip that was sheltering displaced Palestinians. The US did not say who was responsible for shelling the school. Gaza officials say Israel shelled the school, killing 15 and wounding 90. The Israeli military says it fired back after soldiers were targeted by mortar rounds launched from the vicinity of the school. White House spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan says the US is also "extremely concerned" that thousands of Palestinians aren’t safe in UN-designated shelters in Gaza. Meehan says the US also condemns those responsible for hiding weapons in UN facilities in Gaza. She says the escalation shows the need for a ceasefire as soon as possible. – AP Read more ..



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