IDF sends tanks south, readies for heavier Gaza conflict after largest barrage

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A convoy of Israeli tanks on the highway near the southern Israeli town of Sderot, on November 12, 2018. (Menahem KAHANA / AFP)

 

Military moves more troops to border as policymakers said to give go-ahead for intensified strikes against Hamas, which vows to target a million Israelis

The Israeli military deployed additional troops and tanks to the Gaza Strip border on Monday following the largest barrage of rockets and mortar shells fired at Israel from the coastal enclave in a single day.

The army was reportedly given a green light from policymakers to pummel terror groups in the Strip if they continued with the barrages, as the terror organizations in the Strip vowed to do.

“The resistance factions’ joint command center is holding a serious conversation about expanding its range of fire. Ashkelon is just the beginning. Approximately one million Zionists will be within the range of our missiles if the Zionist enemy’s decision is to continue its aggression,” said Abu Obeida, a spokesperson for Hamas’s military wing.

According to the Israel Defense Forces, over 300 rockets and mortar shells were fired at southern Israel from the Gaza Strip as of 10 p.m. Monday — a number that was expected to rise as barrages continued throughout the night. Continue reading

Russian special forces land in S. Syria. US Raptors “deter” Syrian, Iranian, Russian combat aircraft

 

Unfolding Russian, US and Israeli military steps are raising the big power stakes in Syria on the eve of a Trump-Putin summit, DEBKAfile’s military sources report. Russian special forces have arrived and been attached to the Syrian military command in the southern Al-Safa region east of the Druze town of Sweida – officially as “advisers” to the Syrian offensive against ISIS, and markers of Islamist targets for Russian air strikes. Russia pulled those units out in June after helping Bashar Assad’s army capture rebel-held territory on Israel’s Golan and Jordan’s borders. Now, the Russians are attached to the Syrian Army’s elite 42nd Brigade-Ghiath Forces of the 4th Division. Continue reading

Farrakhan in Iran: ‘Death to Israel,’ America Is ‘Satan’

 

Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan spoke in Tehran Sunday, leading chants of “death to Israel” and “death to America,” according to Iranian news agencies.

Farrakhan is a well-documented bigot, having made deeply misogynistic, homophobic, and anti-Semitic comments. The Anti-Defamation League describes the Nation of Islam as having “a consistent record of anti-Semitism” since the 1930s. Farrakhan called Jews “termites” earlier this month, and has called Adolf Hitler a “great man.” Continue reading

Inside China’s razor wire ringed ‘vocational schools’: Curriculum is taser-enforced re-education

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‘Graduates’ receive a certificate after they finish ‘vocational training.’ / Screen grab from CCTV

 

To build better “Chinese citizens,” officials at re-education camps which hold Muslim Uighurs and other ethnic minorities (referred to as “vocational schools” by China) are instructed to “break their lineage, break their roots, break their connections, and break their origins,” according to a Chinese government document.

“Thousands of guards equipped with tear gas, Tasers, stun guns and spiked clubs keep tight control over ‘students’ in facilities ringed with razor wire and infrared cameras,” said AFP, which examined more than 1,500 publicly available government documents. Continue reading

New Cold War In Africa? Russia Bolstering Military Advisers To Central African Republic

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Following the significant expansion of United States Africa Command (AFRICOM) forces throughout the African continent over the past half-decade, Russia is playing its own hand at advising indigenous forces while increasing its military footprint in central Africa.

At the end of last week Russia announced it would be significantly expanding its military advisory role in the Central African Republic (CAR) after earlier this year it established 175 trainers to CAR forces and donated hundreds of weapons weapons following an exemption from a United Nations arms embargo that would allow external forces to bolster the CAR government’s fight against militia groups waging an insurgency.  Continue reading

U.S. Foreign Policy Faces Grave Danger, Part 5

In March 2005, Bush adviser Karen Hughes was named to a State Department post, Deputy Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy. In late September 2005 she traveled to Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey to open a dialogue with important Muslim countries. Her task was to persuade them that Bush’s War on Terror was not a War against Islam.

On September 26, 2005, Hughes met with a small group of Egyptians who had studied in the U.S. She told them “it’s sometimes hard to talk about difficult issues,” but that “we’re open to ideas.”

Prominent Egyptians told Hughes that the U.S. can improve its image in the Middle East only by changing its policies, namely, that its policies on Iraq, Iran, Syria, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and what the U.S. said was inconsistent with its [favorable] treatment of repressive Arab governments. Continue reading

What Happens to the World When America Stops Standing for What’s Right?

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A security personnel looks out from the entrance of the Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018. (AP PHOTO/PETRAS GIANNAKOURIS)

 

The disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi drives home the consequences of the Trump administration’s refusal to champion democratic values around the globe.

The disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi has shocked many in the United States, but it should not come as a surprise. Indeed, it is a logical outgrowth of the policies that the Saudi leadership has been pursuing for the past two years, and the support that it has found for its approach in the Trump White House and parts of the American establishment. Continue reading

Iranian Militant Threatens to Open ‘Gates of Hell’ on U.S. Military

Getty Images

 

UPDATE: Pompeo heckled by Iranian protestors: ‘We’re sick of you’

An Iranian military leader on Tuesday threatened to open the “gates of Hell” on the U.S. military if the Trump administration moves to attack Iranian-backed forces in Iraq, according to new threats that come on the heels of the Islamic Republic declaring that it will not engage in direct talks with President Donald Trump.

Iran has amped up its military rhetoric, threatening the United States directly in recent weeks as the Trump administration readies new sanctions expected to cripple the Iranian economy and further fuel ongoing popular protests against the hardline regime. Continue reading

Turkish Intel Will Run ‘Operations’ Against Political Opponents On US Soil, Erdogan Spokesman Says

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  • A top adviser to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erodgan says that the president has ordered “operations” against his political opponents, even on U.S. soil
  • The adviser, Ibrahim Kalin, said that the operations could include kidnappings of supporters of Fethullah Gulen, a political opponent of Erdogan
  • Kalin said that operations will take place, “whether it be the U.S. or some other country”

The Turkish government plans to continue “operations,” including in the United States, against supporters of a political opponent of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a top adviser to the Turkish president said Friday. Continue reading

A Permanent Base in the Middle East

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BERLIN/BAGHDAD/AL AZRAQ (Own report) – Berlin is considering the establishment of a permanent Bundeswehr base in the Middle East, German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen said during her recent visits to Jordan and Iraq. German Armed Forces could be stationed at Jordan’s Al Azraq Airbase for an extended period in relative proximity to Iraq – similar to the US Persian Gulf bases. Despite the military victory already achieved over the IS, the Bundeswehr’s deployment will, for the time being, be continued within the framework of the Anti-IS Coalition, to help rebuild Iraq, the German minister announced in Baghdad. Berlin has been seeking new influence in Iraq, for quite some time, also because Iran has been able to enhance massively its position in the country over the past few years. German Tornados taking off from Al Azraq Airbase, have already furnished reconnaissance data leading to the bombing of a school. Their flights over Syria are possibly in violation of international law. Continue reading

Vatican’s deal with Beijing could end Taiwan’s ties with its last European ally

The Wanchin Basilica in Pingtung County, Taiwan was built in 1870. / Wikipedia

 

A deal between the Vatican and China, which would grant China the right to nominate future bishops, would likely end the diplomatic relationship between the Holy See and Taiwan that began in 1942.

Reports of the pending agreement come amid other reports of the suppression of religious expression throughout China.

A Human Rights Watch report estimates that over a million Muslim Uighurs are currently detained in re-education camps in the western province of Xinjiang. AP reported last week that reported that China’s government is seeking to drive citizens away from organized religion and toward the atheist Communist Party through scare tactics such as Bible-burning, shuttering churches, destroying crosses and forcing individuals to renounce their faith on paper. Continue reading

Iran Vows Strikes Outside Borders, ‘Beyond the Seas’

General Yahya Rahim Safavi

General Yahya Rahim Safavi / Getty Images

 

A top Iranian military leader warned on Monday that Iran is plotting strikes outside of its own borders and will even go “beyond the seas” to carry out attacks on those it perceives as enemies, statements that further highlight Iran’s clandestine operations inside the United States and in Europe. Continue reading

Turkey is Already Playing for the Other Team

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Last Friday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan took to the editorial pages of the New York Times threatening that: “Unless the United States starts respecting Turkey’s sovereignty and proves that it understands the dangers that our nation faces, our partnership could be in jeopardy.” Continue reading

U.N. Says It Has Credible Reports That China Holds Million Uighurs in Secret Camps

Men install a CCTV camera in a shopping street in the old town of Kashgar, Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, China / Reuters

 

GENEVA (Reuters) – A United Nations human rights panel said on Friday that it had received many credible reports that 1 million ethnic Uighurs in China are held in what resembles a “massive internment camp that is shrouded in secrecy.”

Gay McDougall, a member of the U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, cited estimates that 2 million Uighurs and Muslim minorities were forced into “political camps for indoctrination” in the western Xinjiang autonomous region. Continue reading

Chinese Ambassador To Syria: We Are Willing To Participate ‘In Some Way’ In The Battle For Idlib Alongside The Assad Army

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Chinese special forces (image: Youm7.com, December 15, 2017)

 

As the Syrian regime army prepares to launch a campaign for the recapture of Idlib in northern Syria, the Chinese Ambassador to Damascus, Qi Qianjin, told the pro-regime daily Al-Watan on August 1, 2018 that the Chinese military would be willing to participate “in some way”  in the campaign in Idlib or in other parts of the country. The ambassador expressed his support for what he called Syria’s war against the terrorists, and noted that there is cooperation between the Syrian and Chinese armies. The report also quoted the Chinese military attaché in Syria as saying that the Chinese military wishes to enhance its relations with the Syrian military, and as expressing regret that Chinese Uyghurs are taking part in the fighting against the Assad regime. Continue reading