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False Sense of Security on Iran Deal is Dangerous

U.S. Army Gen. Joseph Votel recently expressed his support for the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (the Iran nuclear accord reached with Iran, in Vienna, Austria, in July of 2015 ): “The JCPOA addresses one of the principle threats that we deal with from Iran, so if the JCPOA goes away, then we will have to have another way to deal with their nuclear weapons program.” (Reuters, March 13, 2018).

I have enormous respect for Gen. Votel, and for his service to our nation. But he, and Secretary of Defense James Mattis, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunford, are just totally wrong in their position on the JCPOA.

The JCPOA does not deal with any nuclear threat coming from Iran. It is a political agreement that is totally toothless when it comes to Iran, and actually counterproductive to the U.S. national interests.

Of crucial importance, the JCPOA provides us no assurance that Iran is keeping to its’ nuclear restrictions. Iran does not allow the international inspectors into its military sites, where any nuclear development would actually occur. Physical inspections are a necessity; satellite surveillance can only show so much, and sometimes it raises more questions than it answers.

The inspectors have diplomatically, and cowardly, chosen to avoid any controversy with the Iranians by not asking for any inspections of military sites. This, in no way, can be said to be addressing the threat of a nuclear Iran.

Iran may also be working with North Korea to conduct nuclear and ballistic missile tests.

The international inspectors have no way of knowing what is going on in that hermit Asian nation, so this is yet another avenue for Iranian violations.

Iran also defies a number of another supposed requirements from the JCPOA. Iran has produced excessive heavy water and sold it for profit. It has exceeded the limits on advanced centrifuge research and development by building (IR-8) and operating (IR-6) larger numbers of advanced centrifuges than is allowed. Iran is also continuing to produce uranium enriched to 5 percent beyond the quantity it is permitted.

Further, aside from the nuclear restrictions, Iran has violated the five-year conventional arms embargo that was part of the JCPOA. Iran illegally ships weapons to Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, and many other nations.

Iran has also taken advantage of the JCPOA’s change in ballistic missile language to step up its ballistic missile tests. Until the JCPOA, UN. Security Council Resolution 1929, from 2010, said “Iran shall not undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using ballistic missile technology, and that States shall take all necessary measures to prevent the transfer of technology or technical assistance to Iran related to such activities.”

However, under the JCPOA and the accompanying UN resolution, Iran is “called upon not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using such ballistic missile technology . . . ” “Called upon,” of course, is much weaker language than “shall not,” which explicitly forbids the actions. Further, the Iranians have also blatantly lied by claiming the missiles they are testing are not designed to carry nuclear warheads, even though ballistic missiles are meant to deliver nuclear weapons.

Meanwhile, the JCPOA has provided Iran with tremendous amounts of monies to continue their aggressive and dangerous behavior in the Mideast. Simply to negotiate with the P 5 plus 1 (the U.N. Security Council’s five permanent members: China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the U.S.) the Iranians received $12 billion or more in frozen funds.

For the deal itself, Iran obtained another $115 billion — or more — in frozen funds. Then, they collected another $1.7 billion in cash, at the exact same time, for some American hostages. And none of this includes the money Iran earned and is continuing to earn from the lifting of sanctions, which is valued at billions more.

Iran has put all this money to good use. In tandem with the Russians, they kept their bloodthirsty puppet Assad in power, and are currently helping him pummel the remaining rebel groups and slaughter civilians in Syria. They have been sponsoring jihadist groups in Lebanon, Gaza, Yemen and Bahrain.

And they have effectively come to dominate Iraq, thanks to their Popular Mobilization Front troops. They are even “mucking around” by funneling money into Iraq to sway the outcome of its coming elections, according to Secretary of Defense Mattis.

So, to sum up, the JCPOA has been a total disaster for the U.S. Under it, Iran is still able to work on the nuclear program and its affiliated ballistic missile program. Thanks to it, “(a) cross the greater Mideast, Iran is proliferating dangerous weapons, fueling sectarian violence, and supporting terrorist proxies and militias, such as Hezbollah.

“The regime proudly chants “Death to America” and “Death to Israel . . . (i)n Syria, Iran’s actions have directly interfered with efforts to de-escalate violence, defeat ISIS, and protect innocent civilians.”

And just by agreeing to it, the JCPOA has given Iran respectability with the outside world, despite its continuing human rights abuses and undemocratic actions. It has also helped end Iran’s economic isolation.

General Votel is simply incorrect when he claims the JCPOA has addressed the nuclear threat (and other threats) from Iran. It hasn’t. And it is way past time for the U.S. to acknowledge that fact, and act accordingly.
Originally published at: https://www.newsmax.com/adamturner/hezbollah-jcpoa-votel/2018/03/27/id/851073/

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Press Release: EMET Applauds the US Congress for the Imminent Passage of the Taylor Force Act

EMET Applauds the US Congress for the Imminent Passage of the Taylor Force Act
Legislation Holds Accountable the Palestinian Authority for Paying Terrorists and their Families

March 22, 2018 (Washington, DC) Today, the Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET) praised U.S. Senator Lindsay Graham (R-SC) and Representative Doug Lamborn (R-CO), as well as Representatives Lee Zeldin (R-NY), Eliot Engel (D-NY), Ed Royce (R-CA); and Senators Roy Blunt (R-MO), Tom Cotton (R-AR), Tim Scott (R-SC), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Richard Burr (R-NC), John Thune (R-SD), Marco Rubio (R-FL), and John Boozman (R-AR) for leading the effort in Congress to pass the Taylor Force Act.  EMET particularly thanks citizen activist Sander Gerber who worked more than anyone else to expose the Palestinian Authority’s heinous ‘pay for slay’ program, and to ensure that America does not turn a blind to this practice.

The Senate is expected to pass the Taylor Force Act (TFA) as part of an omnibus appropriations bill by Friday, in order that it be signed into law by the President.  The House passed the Taylor Force Act in December 2017, with overwhelming bipartisan support.  The Taylor Force Act is key legislation which conditions aid to the Palestinian Authority (PA) until it stops financially rewarding Palestinian terrorists through their “martyrs’ fund” and “prisoners’ fund.”  The bill also calls on the PA to takes steps to end acts of violence against the U.S. and Israeli citizens, including publicly condemning acts of terrorism, and helping to bring Palestinian terrorists to justice.

The bill is named for former U.S. Army officer and Vanderbilt University graduate Taylor Force, an American citizen who served one tour of duty in Iraq and one tour of duty in Afghanistan and came home unscathed, only to be stabbed to death in Israel in March 2016 by a Palestinian terrorist.

Palestinian terrorists that are arrested and imprisoned by Israel are glorified by the PA as heroes and treated as employees of the PA government.  While in prison, these terrorists and their families are paid salaries and receive benefits as rewards for their service.  The more heinous the crime, the more money the terrorists and their families receive.  Since September 2015, 65 innocent people have been killed by Palestinian terrorists in Israel and Judea and Samaria, and more than 900 wounded.  They have been killed or harmed by car rammings, stabbings, shootings, and bombing attacks.  This includes many Americans, including U.S. Army veteran Taylor Force.

For the past two Congresses, EMET has arduously educated the Congress about the importance of the Taylor Force Act.  Last month, EMET also spearheaded a letter signed by 13 pro-Israel organizations, representing at least 4.1 million Americans, to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell urging him to bring the Taylor Force Act to the floor for a full vote, or to attach it to a legislative vehicle that will ensure it will be sent to President Trump to enshrine into law.

“I wish to express my deep appreciation to Senator Lindsay Graham and Congressman Doug Lamborn, and all of the Congressmen and Senators that have worked tirelessly to ensure that the Taylor Force Act pass. I would also like to particularly thank citizen activist Sander Gerber who worked more than anyone else to expose the PA’s heinous ‘pay for slay’ practice,” Sarah Stern, the founder and president of EMET said.

Stern added: “Although I would prefer a floor debate to further educate the public about the immorality of the Palestinians and their barbaric incentivization of the murder of innocent civilians, the most essential thing is that the Taylor Force Act finally be passed.  The willful blindness that the United States and the Western world has been giving to the Palestinians for 25 years, and their systematic incitement to despise and to murder American and Israeli civilians, and their brazen system of ‘pay for slay,’ has finally got to be put to an end.”

Stern concluded, “The Palestinians have been playing all of us by shielding their murderous actions under the phrase of a ‘peace process.’ One asks how this behavior can possibly fall under the banner of ‘Peace?’”  The Palestinians, and the Arab world in general, place a great  premium on honor, and a significant reduction in their funding will be a  tremendous wake-up call that not everyone in the world can continue to be duped by them.”

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About The Endowment for Middle East Truth
Founded in 2005, EMET’s mission is to educate policymakers in Washington and the general public about the importance of Israel to the United States in their common struggle against radical Islam. For more information, please visit, http://www.emetonline.org. Follow EMET on Twitter and Facebook.

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US Lawmakers can still undo a wrong in Afrin, Syria

In an unprovoked attack on American Kurdish allies in Afrin Syria, the Turks have continued a two-month long air and ground campaign with no end in sight. The Kurds have partnered with the international coalition including United States in defeating the Islamic State in Syria, most notably in recapturing Raqqa, the capital of the so called Islamic State.

To the Kurds betrayal is ever so common, the most recent example in Kirkuk as the oil-rich city was given to Shiite militias on a silver platter. A city now outside the control of Iraqi forces and riddled with ISIS once again. Just months later in Afrin, a predominately Kurdish region is being attacked by U.S. NATO partner Turkey.

Prior to the Turkish invasion, Afrin was untouched by the Assad regime and ISIS. It acted as a safe haven for hundreds of thousands of internally displaced Arabs, including Kurdish Yezedi refugees from Iraq. Today Turkey is targeting not only the indigenous Kurdish population in Afrin but Christians and Yezedi minorities as well.

The Trump administration has failed to react to Turkish President Erdogan’s aggressive actions against a staunch U.S. ally. The State Department has been cautious, hesitant to step on Erdogan’s toes while Turkey ignores all international laws including a U.N. Security Council cease-fire. But it is not too late for US lawmakers to act on this humanitarian crisis caused by America’s supposed ally. Eight members of Congress have previously signed a letter to then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on his recent trip to Ankara, urging to convince Erdogan to stop the incursion due to civilian deaths and injuries.

This was ignored.

Afrin is a humanitarian crisis. As Turkey continues to advance towards the center of the city, the number of civilian deaths will increase. Afrin is a bipartisan cause which demands Turkey to act within international laws and norms. Erdogan has threatened U.S. soldiers in Manbij positioned a little more than a hour away east of Afrin by stating he will “bury and strangle” anyone siding with the Kurds. Erdogan has called on his 90,000 mosques inside Turkey to recite the verse of conquest from the Quran, calling on Jihad aimed at Kurds.

Erdogan is not behaving as an ally of the U.S., but rather is shifting east in partnership with Russia and Iran. Russian president Vladimir Putin, soon set to win another term in office, is more than happy to welcome Erdogan into his sphere of influence if it means creating a rift between the NATO alliance.

If Afrin falls, two likely scenarios are to occur. The first is that Turkey will annex the territory. Turkey’s history of failing to return land to its rightful owners is a negative one. Cyprus, an EU partner, has been occupied by the Turks since 1974.

Second, if Erdogan is convinced by the Russians to not annex Afrin, he will be satisfied with forcing the Kurdish population out of their historical lands and allowing the Assad regime to move in, thus legitimatizing the regime furthermore.

It is critical that lawmakers on Capitol Hill fill the void of the administration and the State Department on their failure to act accordingly to Erdogan’s aggressive behavior. The longer the U.S. waits to respond, the more civilians deaths will occur.

Originally published at: http://thenationaldiscourse.com/us-lawmakers-can-still-undo-wrong-afrin-syria-2059/

Photo: AFP

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“Appropriating Apartheid: The Palestinian Leadership’s Ideological War Against the Jewish State“

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Following President Trump’s historic announcement recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, the Palestinian Authority (PA) and PA President Mahmoud Abbas waged a political and ideological war against the State of Israel. During a speech in Egypt, Abbas claimed that the Palestinians were the “original Canaanites” and lived in Jerusalem before the Jews. Abbas also called Trump’s statement “sinful” and “ill-fated,” and Fatah called for a “day of rage,” with approximately 800 Palestinians rioting as a result.

Abbas’ vilifying words and the Palestinians violent riots are only some of the political tactics the PA uses to undermine the State of Israel; another main tactic is the advancement of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS). The BDS movement seeks to delegitimize, demonize, and ultimately destroy the State of Israel by using political and economic warfare, and false accusations. The BDS movement uses gross lies to demonize the Jewish State of Israel – such as by falsely comparing Israel to apartheid South Africa – to win activists on its side. Yet the movement is inherently anti-peace, while opposed to any type of negotiations with Israel or Israelis, even if it is for the benefit of the Palestinians, and often uses-anti-Semitic tactics to delegitimize and undermine Israel’s existence as a sovereign state. The global BDS movement also gains support from various parts of the international community, including some European countries and the United Nations. To what extent is the PA’s use of political warfare a threat to the State of Israel? Who are the main drivers and supporters of the BDS movement? And what steps should Israel take to combat these threats? Please join us as we hear from Dan Diker as he explores these questions and more.

About Dan Diker

Dan Diker is a Fellow and Senior Project Director at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs where he heads the Program to Counter Political Warfare and BDS. In 2011, Dan co-founded the Global Coalition for Israel (GC4I) together with Brig Gen (res) Yossi Kuperwasser, former Director General, and Ministry of Strategic Affairs. Has authored several books on BDS and the anti-normalization movements including: BDS Unmasked, (2016), Defeating Denormalization, (2017), and Students for Justice in Palestine, Unmasked, (2017) Dan is also a Research Fellow at the International Institute for Counter Terrorism, IDC Herzliya, where he hosts Counter Terrorism Today on IDC International Radio. Dan appears as a Middle East and BDS commentator on news networks such as Al Jazeera, BBC, Fox, China CCTV, CBN , ILTV, and Russia Today. Dan Diker previously served as Secretary General of the World Jewish Congress, the global diplomatic organization representing Jewish communities in 100 countries. Dan received a BA Cum Laude from Harvard University and studied toward his MBA at the Harvard Graduate School of Business before earning an MA in Government and Counter Terrorism Policy, Summa Cum Laude, from the Interdisciplinary Center, Herzliya. He is married with 5 children and immigrated to Israel in 1990. He can be followed on Twitter @dandiker84.

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“Holding Social Media Accountable for Providing Support to Terror Organizations”

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

The creation of the Internet and the advent of the handheld Information Age have revolutionized every aspect of modern life. A dark side haunts these new technologies, however. The Internet and the social media platforms have been insidiously used by hate groups, criminal enterprises, and terrorist factions to promote their perilous agenda. Social media has allowed terrorist groups including Hezbollah, ISIS and Hamas to become public entities with tens of thousands of followers, fan pages, news sites, and media production companies. The use of social media to promote extremist ideologies and incite individuals to engage in terrorist violence is dangerously effective and has established a new front in the war on terror.

While US law, including the Anti Terrorism Act, plainly prohibits American companies from having any contact or providing any support or services to the terrorists groups, the social media giants in Paolo Alto continue to provide their platforms to these designated organizations with impunity. The companies claim a legal defense under the Communications Decency Act of 1996, which they contend provides them with blanket immunity for the extremist posts and terrorist incitement on their platforms. There is a need to aggressively challenge the social media companies for their role in aiding and abetting terrorist organizations and hold them accountable for their documented provision of material support to the designated groups.

These details have recently come to light with the release of the book Harpoon: Inside the Covert War Against Terrorism’s Money Masters, co-authored by Nitsana Darshan Leitner of the Shurat HaDin Law Center. The book addresses how the terror groups are utilizing American social media.

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‘Operation Olive Branch,’ A Turkish Invasion of Kurdistan

On January 19, the Russians proposed an ultimatum to the Kurds: Allow Assad to have full authority over Afrin, Syria, or face a Turkish invasion. The Kurds of Afrin naturally rejected the offer, prompting the Russians to withdraw their troops from the enclave. The Turks invaded the very next day.

The dilemma Kurds faced could not be swallowed by the people of Afrin. For Assad to regain additional territory over Syria was not an option, and certainly a foreign entity to rule over historical lands was an unquestionable threat. Kurds feel betrayed by Russia but expect the U.S. to take a more responsible position. Kurdish official Keno Gabriel stated, “Therefore, we hold Russia as responsible as Turkey and stress that Russia is the crime partner of Turkey in massacring the civilians in the region.”

Into the second month, the fighting has been unrelenting. The second largest NATO ally, Turkey, aligned with the so-called Free Syrian Army and Al Qaeda-affiliate groups with the permission of the Russians, are fighting the very same Kurds who battled the Islamic State.

Afrin is home to some 1.2 million people, nearly 500,000 of those are internally displaced peoples and refugees who fled from both the Assad regime and ISIS. The United Nations reported an additional 15,000 people have been displaced with over 180 civilians killed and 310 injured. Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed that “Operation Olive Branch,” the Turkish name of the invasion, will be “complete in a very short time.”

Due to the unexpected length of the operation, the strategy shifted from penetrating deep into Afrin canton within days to establishing a security belt surrounding Turkey’s border. Turkey is now expected to conduct urban warfare, moving towards the city of Afrin.

The role of the U.S.

The Trump administration finds itself in a very difficult position, especially when it comes to Afrin. Although the Kurds are US allies in Syria, organized under the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), there is no U.S. stake in Afrin. Afrin is situated in northwest Syria, while the U.S. is positioned east of the Euphrates river.

Prior to the invasion, Afrin was controlled by the Kurds as it is today, but the airspace is controlled by the Russians and had Russian troops on the ground, which later withdrew. Perhaps the mistake of the Kurds was to not invite some sort of U.S. presence into Afrin earlier.

What sparked the invasion in Afrin was Washington’s call to set up a 30,000 border force with the YPG inside Syria. The Turks deliberately attacked Afrin due to the zero possibility of U.S. confrontation, Afrin was known as a weak territory of all the Kurdish regions in Syria.

The U.S. response has largely ignored Erdogan’s harsh rhetoric by continuing to back the Kurds east of the Euphrates under the SDF. However, Erdogan vows to “strangle” the Kurds regardless of U.S. support.

Erdogan has also threatened to continue his operation beyond Afrin and deep into Syrian territory, specifically Manbij. A region with heavy U.S. personnel and outposts, Manbij is strategic to United States’ long-term goal in Syria. General Joseph Votel, commander of the United States Central Command stated that “withdrawing U.S. forces from Manbij is not something we are looking into,” further angering Erdogan.

Russia’s Role

Russia has aimed to create a rift between NATO, Turkey and the US, a successful strategy so far. Russia only profited from the Afrin attacks by further strengthening its leverage over Erdogan.

Russian president Vladimir Putin’s long-term goal is to manipulate Erdogan into shifting towards the East without fully taking responsibility for his actions, and Erdogan has taken the bate.

Russia, after allowing the Turks to invade Afrin, has now allowed Syria regime forces to support the Kurds. This strategy may be an attempt to force Erdogan and Assad to mend ties, further legitimizing the Syrian regime. The biggest losers of Russia’s scheme are the Kurds. Once again, the Kurds are bullied around by more powerful state actors.

Erdogan’s goal

Erdogan’s ultimate goal in Afrin is to push back any Kurdish presence, despite the enclave being predominately Kurdish. A Kurdish-led government near Turkey’s border is viewed as a threat according to Turkey.

Erdogan’s fundamental fear of a successful Kurdish government in Syria is a spill over demand for greater self-rule in southeast Turkey, home to over 15 million Kurds. But there are a number of troublesome outcomes to this Turkish provoked war, such as prolonging the Syrian civil war, derailing a peace solution, giving rise to new Islamic State like groups while creating an uncontrollable humanitarian crisis.

Additionally, Afrin may be a launching point for a Syrian-Turkish conflict backed by Iran.

The Kurds worry that the continued silence on the part of the United States will result in an ethnic cleansing of their lands. Erdogan has promised to replace Kurds with either Turkman’s or Arab Syrian refugees from inside Turkey similar to when he threatened to flood the gates of Europe with migrants.

If the U.S. continues to allow Russia to have its way in Syria, it will undermine its own policy and will force the Kurds to rely on the Assad regime. The U.S. cannot afford to betray their partners in Syria, a sentiment all too familiar with the Kurds.

Originally published at: http://thenationaldiscourse.com/operation-olive-branch-turkish-invasion-kurdistan-1777/

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Stand Up to Erdogan, Protect Ethnic and Religious Minorities in Syria

Turkey’s latest incursion into the Kurdish- held territory of Afrin, located in northwest Syria, is yet another provocative and illegal act by the fascist Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Afrin has historically been a predominately Kurdish region. Afrin survived the brutal Assad regime, al-Qaida affiliate groups and Islamic State (ISIS), and now Erdogan has opened a new offensive against the indigenous people in this small region.

Afrin has sheltered nearly 400,000 internally displaced peoples (IDPs) who have fled both Assad and ISIS in Adlib, Aleppo and surrounding areas. In addition to the IDPs, Afrin is a multi-ethnic and multi-religious enclave, unlike anywhere else in Syria.

Kurdish forces have valiantly defended the world against ISIS, all while Erdogan’s troops silently watched from a hilltop on the Turkish- Syrian border. It was Erdogan who aided ISIS, after realizing it was failing to defeat the Kurds. Erdogan took it upon himself to finally “bury” and “strangle” the Kurds.

“Operation Olive Branch,” the name given to Erdogan’s invasion of Afrin, only prolongs the Syrian civil war. This benefits jihadists and Islamic regimes like Iran and Turkey, all while disturbing civilians and those truly aiming for peace.

The Kurdish force, the Peoples Protection Units (YPG), has successfully thwarted any attempts at infiltration into the region since the civil war began. Isolated from the rest of the Kurdish-controlled areas in northern Syria, Afrin is surrounded by the Turkish military, Free Syria Army (FSA), Assad forces and a handful of terrorist organizations prepared to shake the stability of the small enclave.

Erdogan’s aim is clear: to remove Kurds from their historical lands and replace them with Turkmans. If that doesn’t work, his next step is to flood the area with Arab Syrian refugees from inside Turkey. Publicly calling for ethnic cleansing against a peaceful people seems to be the new norm for American’s NATO ally.

Just as the international community failed to protect Jews persecuted under Adolf Hitler’s brutal Nazi regime, the world is once again turning a blind eye, this time to Islamo- fascist aggression against the Kurdish nation.

The muddled US response has emboldened Erdogan’s harsh rhetoric, paving the way for continuous hostility. The Kurds look to the West, especially the US, to use its leverage with its hostile NATO partner. The Kurds in Afrin have never provoked or threatened Turks or Turkish territory, yet it is the Kurds that are being labeled “terrorists” by the Erdogan regime.

If the Kurds in Afrin truly are terrorists, would they have protected Yazidi minority persecuted by ISIS in Iraq? Would terrorists have protected Christians in the Middle East, whose numbers have dramatically decreased?

The Kurds have even taken upon themselves to defend religious minorities fearing jihadist backlash. Christian Syrian officials who have aligned with the Kurds in Afrin have stated that many Muslims have converted to Christianity inside the Kurdish regions and have not suffered any repercussions from the Kurds.

This pluralistic ideal is how the Kurds wish to govern their territories. They do not wish to enforce an Islamic-like system of government which threatens the existence of a diverse Middle East.

It is long overdue that the world finally stand up to Erdogan, protect ethnic and religious minorities in Syria, and keep the promise made to the Kurds, who have courageously fought ISIS.

Having been betrayed on many occasions throughout history by the West, the Kurds have a saying: “no friends but the mountains.”

Kurds are more than just great fighters; they desire peace and yearn for democracy in a stable, secure region with neighbors who share the same values. Unfortunately, Erdogan is the Kurds’ neighbor, and he will not rest until they are eradicated from their historical lands.

Originally published at: http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Stand-up-to-Erdogan-protect-ethnic-and-religious-minorities-in-Syria-542974
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EMET Sends Letter to Senator Mitch McConnell Urging him to Bring the Taylor Force Act to the Floor for a Full Vote

On Thursday, February 15, 2018, EMET send a letter to Senator Mitch McConnell urging him to bring the Taylor Force Act to the floor for a full vote.

The letter was signed by 13 organizations, representing at least 4.1 million of Americans.

Click Here to Read EMET's Letter to Senator Mitch McConnell

 

 

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The Latest Situation in Israel’s Northern Border

Over the weekend, a series of extremely significant events happened in the skies over northern Israel and Syria.  An Iranian drone, dispatched from Syria, flew over the Golan Heights, violating Israeli sovereignty and Israeli airspace. Within one minute, the Israeli Air Force (IAF) downed the drone, and immediately embarked on a military campaign that struck at Iranian military sites inside Syria.

The Israeli military’s response was excellent. It was immediate. It was direct. And it was harsh. It struck down 12 military targets within Syria, which included four Syrian defense missile batteries, and four Iranian sites. Unfortunately, one IAF jet was downed and its pilot remains in serious condition.

On Saturday, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu said at a Cabinet meeting, “I have been warning for some time about the dangers of Iran’s military entrenchment in Syria. Iran seeks to use Syrian territory to attack Israel for its professed goal of destroying Israel. This morning, Iran brazenly violated Israel’s sovereignty. They dispatched an Iranian drone from Syrian territory into Israel. This demonstrates that our warnings were 100% correct. Israel holds Iran and its Syrian hosts responsible for today’s aggression. We will continue to do whatever is necessary to protect our sovereignty and our security.”

According to Amos Yadlin, the Executive Director of the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv, who spoke on a conference call for The Israel Project, this recent military action “is perhaps the most serious event since the second Lebanese war or the alleged Israeli attack on the Syrian nuclear reactor in 2007.  It is serious because for the first time we have targeted Iranian sites in Syria, and a lot [of] Iranian bases, which leads Damascus exposed. The rules of the game are not changing. There is a determination by Iran to build a serious military force inside Syria and Lebanon, and we have a serious determination not to allow this to happen.”

Thanks to the disastrous Iranian nuclear deal, the Iranians are using much of their recently acquired wealth to build factories inside Syria and Lebanon.  The Iranian mullahs, Turkey’s Erdogan, and Russia’s Putin are all using what is left of the decimated country of Syria, after its protracted seven year civil war, to flex their muscles.

This is a very dangerous situation.

The Iranians are turning Syria into a Shiite military base and weapons factory. Many of these weapons are being transferred directly into the hands of Hezbollah.

According to MEMRI, the Middle East Media Research Institute, the Lebanese, pro-Hezbollah website Dahiya boasted that Hezbollah has 70,000 missiles ready to launch at Israel, and by the end of the year, they will have 500,000.

Unfortunately, much of the Sunni world, who is just as fearful of an Iranian crescent as Israel is, is sitting back and letting Israel do its job (although I am certain they are applauding).

But Israel knows what it has to do to survive in the Middle East. And it has never been easy. Now, thanks to the newly enriched and emboldened Iran, the Levant might become the theater in which the attempt for Shiite hegemony will have to be confronted.

Watch this space.

Originally posted at https://voiceoftruth.fireside.fm/articles/watch-this-space

Photo: REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun

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