July 12, 2006, 9 A.M. Another beautiful, clear morning in Israel’s coastal resort city Nahariya. As an IDF liaison officer, I sat with my UNFIL counterpart over coffee to discuss heightened tensions on the Lebanese border. The situation was already tense in the wake of the Gilad Shalit kidnapping two weeks earlier by Hamas, the ideological comrades-in-arms of Lebanon’s Hezbollah.
The coffee wasn’t yet finished when I received an urgent call ordering me back to base immediately. Two IDF soldiers had been kidnapped, several others killed and wounded in an unprovoked Hezbollah attack 20 km from where we sat that violated Israeli sovereignty and sparked the Second Lebanon War.
Ten years later the Middle East continues to be rocked by violence and instability, and Hezbollah is still here and more powerful. Continue reading
Suicide attacks on the rise worldwide
JERUSALEM—In what may be the first time since the Japanese kamikaze attacks of the Second World War, the army of an organized state—if Syria can still be considered such—has formed a suicide unit.
A video clip posted Dec. 30 on the Internet shows a small group of soldiers from the Syrian Army’s Mountain Battalion wearing pouches around their waists, presumably for explosives, facing the camera. All wear white headbands and masks.
“In the name of Allah, we, the commandos of the Mountain Battalion, declare from the peak of Mount Nabi Yunis the establishment of a martyrdom-seeking platoon,” declares one of them, reading from a paper. “This is our response to all the foreigners who have distorted the religion of Islam and have defiled the soil of our country.” Continue reading
BERLIN/BAGHDAD (Own report) – Western aggressions in the Middle East and support from the West’s important regional allies have facilitated the rise of the terrorist organization, the “Islamic State” (IS), as observers point out. According to an expert at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP), the IS predecessor, “Al-Qaida in Iraq,” was able to develop into a “powerful organization” only after the US led aggression against Iraq (“liberation from Saddam”). Not until the chaos provoked by the war in Syria, which Germany also helped fuel (“liberation from Assad”) was the IS predecessor the “Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant” (ISIL) in a position to conquer and control whole regions and set up a power base for its further expansion. IS could not have reached its current strength without the financial and logistical support furnished by Saudi Arabia and Turkey, two close allies of the West. The SWP reports that there are even “indications” that “the cross-border traffic between the IS-controlled territory in Syria and Turkey” is still “considerable” – thus also, presumably, the transport of supplies. Meanwhile Western governments are preparing a “long military operation” against IS. Continue reading