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Hours after an ISIS-claimed triple bombing killed at least 45 in Damascus, Secretary of State John Kerry on Sunday addressed the ongoing Syrian conflict, speaking starkly about a humanitarian crisis in which starving villagers have been forced to eat grass and leaves, but also hopefully of creating a “peaceful, pluralistic Syria.”
That optimistic note, however, was overshadowed by the deadly blasts in the Syrian capital, which Kerry mentioned near the end of his speech.
Sunday, January 31st, 2016 at 2:57 PM | Stand For Israel
As we reported today, Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon has been in Washington, D.C., to discuss the Jewish state’s defense with American officials. While speaking to Congress yesterday, Ya’alon warned of Iran’s continued and threatening actions in Syria and the rest of the Middle East:
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“We are very worried about Iran’s presence in Syria,” Ya’alon said.
“Iran’s Quds Force is currently the only source actively working in Syria to attack us, trying to smuggle weapons and run messengers,” he continued…
Ya’alon in particular highlighted chemical and “advanced” weapons transfers to groups such as Hezbollah as key threats to Israel’s security. Syria agreed to hand over 1300 tons of declared stocks of chemical weapons to an international team in 2013, however it is widely believed that the regime held back much of its undeclared supplies.
Thursday, December 3rd, 2015 at 7:37 AM | Stand for Israel
As the world hopes for peace in Syria and that all refugees can finally find safety from the brutal and ongoing war, we also continue to support and pray for the millions who’ve been displaced. But why isn’t anyone talking about the Christians in the Middle East? Writing at the Jewish Journal, David Suissa wonders why we have forgotten about the many persecuted Christians, who suffer oppression every day because of their faith:
In all the self-righteous talk we’ve been hearing about Muslim refugees from Syria, who’s talking about the Christians? Over the past several years, no religious group has been more persecuted throughout the Middle East than the Christians. And yet, hardly a peep.
Yes, the Jewish way is not either/or. We’re supposed to be inclusive. So, with all the beautiful, heartfelt sentiment so many American Jews are expressing for Muslim refugees, why are we not including oppressed Christians in our hearts?…
The irony is that the very persecution of Christians makes it harder to rescue them. As Patrick Goodenough reports on CNSNews.com, the U.S. federal government relies on the United Nations in the refugee application process – and since Syrian Christians are often afraid to register with the U.N., they and other non-Muslims are left out.
This means that refugees in most need of rescue are hardest to reach. But isn’t that the real meaning of compassion — to go the extra mile for those in greatest need? Even if we put aside the charged issue of Muslim terrorists possibly infiltrating the refugees, and just look at basic human need, don’t we owe it to the Christians to pay more attention to their plight?
If the most powerful country on Earth can’t go the extra mile to rescue Christian refugees, who will?
If the most powerful man on Earth can’t bring justice to the most oppressed, who will?
Who will speak up for the most persecuted religious group in the world?
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Wednesday, November 25th, 2015 at 10:43 AM | Stand for Israel
This week, Russia has begun airstrikes in Syria, its major goal being to support the Assad regime. With these latest developments in the chaotic region, Commentary’s Max Boot writes that Russia, Syria, Iran, and Iraq have now formed a new axis of evil:
On Sunday, the administration was taken by surprise for the umpteenth time when Russia, Iraq, Iran, and Syria announced an agreement, ostensibly to share intelligence about ISIS. This is part of a widening role for Russia in the region, Moscow having already established a new airbase to go along with its existing naval base in Syria. It is also a sign that Iraq is getting pulled further into the Russia-Syria-Iran axis — a new Axis of Evil — that is far more determined to keep Bashar Assad’s murderous regime in power than it is to fight ISIS. It is telling that Russia has started drone surveillance flights in Syria over areas controlled not by ISIS but by other rebel groups. In fact the more this Axis keeps Assad in place, the stronger that ISIS gets because ISIS feeds off the understandable resentment that ordinary Sunnis feel towards a regime that has been responsible for the vast majority of the killing in a conflict that has claimed over 225,000 lives…
Thus when the U.S. has protested to Iraq not to allow its airspace to be used for Iranian flights to resupply Assad — or more recently for Russian flights to create a new Russian military base in Syria — the government of Iraq has ignored American protestations. The Iraqis are happy to accept U.S. F-16s and other weapons and money, but they willfully snub Washington on its most basic demands and they know they will pay no price for doing so. After all, if President Obama could not even act against Assad for violating a “red line” on chemical weapons or against Iran for building a nuclear weapons program, what is he going to do against the Iraqi government for being…Read More » Comments (4) »
Wednesday, September 30th, 2015 at 8:35 AM | Stand For Israel
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will be addressing the United Nations tomorrow. Israel Hayom reports that Netanyahu geared up for his speech by saying that Syria will not be used by Iran as a base from which to launch attacks against the Jewish state:
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu clarified on Tuesday after landing in New York ahead of his address to the U.N. that he will not allow Syria to be used as a base for Iranian attacks on Israel.
Netanyahu’s stance echoed the sentiments of National Infrastructure, Energy and Water Minister Yuval Steinitz who said on Tuesday that keeping Iranian forces inside Iran would be a top priority in all talks with the U.S. and other world powers.
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Wednesday, September 30th, 2015 at 8:19 AM | Stand For Israel
As we reported yesterday, rockets fired from Syria into northern Israel resulted in a response by the IDF. Israel Hayom reports that the rockets were fired by Islamic Jihad, with the backing of Iran, and were the first time in over 40 years that rockets have been fired from Syria into Galilee:
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For the first time since the Yom Kippur War in 1973, rockets fired from Syria on Thursday struck the Galilee region in northern Israel. In response, the Israeli military targeted more than a dozen Syrian military posts in the border area with airstrikes and artillery fire.
Around 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, a barrage of four rockets was fired at Israel from Syria. Local residents scrambled for cover as warning sirens sounded in the northern Israeli communities of Gonen, Kfar Blum, Kfar Szold, Neot Mordechai, Amir, Shamir, Lehavot Habashan and Sde Nehemia. All of the rockets exploded in open areas — two in the Galilee and two in the Golan Heights. No injuries or damage were reported. Firefighters quickly put out several small blazes that were sparked by the explosions.
Israel blamed the Iranian-backed Islamic Jihad terrorist group for the rocket fire. Islamic Jihad denied the allegation…
An IDF official said Thursday that commanders from Iran’s Quds Force had orchestrated the rocket fire.
“The attack was a clearly intentional one,” the official said. “For us this is a clear act of aggression meant by the Iranians to use the chaos in Syria to escalate tensions in the region.”
Friday, August 21st, 2015 at 8:21 AM | Stand for Israel
We just reported on the missiles fired into northern Israel from Syria. Now, Arutz Sheva is reporting that the IDF has responded to the rockets – shot by the terrorist group, Islamic Jihad – with artillery fire:
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After four rockets were fired at northern Israel from the Syrian Golan Heights on Thursday, the IDF responded with artillery fire just hours later.
Sources in Syria report that the 90th Brigade of President Bashar al-Assad’s regime army is coming under fire, reports Channel 2.
Israeli security sources said that the rockets were fired by the Islamic Jihad terrorist organization, funded and directed by Iran.
The attack comes even as an Islamic Jihad terrorist jailed in Israel ended his hunger strike on Thursday – a strike that led the group to threaten attacks if he were to die.
The IDF notes that the Syrian regime is responsible for the rocket attacks emanating from its sovereign territory, “and it will bear responsibility for the results.”
Thursday, August 20th, 2015 at 1:07 PM | Stand for Israel
As Stand for Israel has mentioned before, Iran’s nuclear aspirations are not its only threat against Israel. Its sponsorship of terror across the Middle East and around the world is also of great concern. The Times of Israel reports that the IDF is preparing to defend the Jewish state against threats from Iran-backed Hezbollah and other jihadist groups along Israel’s northern border:
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The Israeli military is preparing for a possible ground operation on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights in the event of sustained rocket strikes or coordinated terror attacks against Israel either by Sunni jihadists or Hezbollah operatives.
The number of Islamists flooding into the area close to the border with Israel has the IDF on high alert, Channel 2 reported Sunday, adding that the military held a large-scale drill last week simulating a possible advance into Syria and the evacuation of Israeli civilians from border communities…
The IDF is also planning for a possible Hezbollah offensive directed by Iran, with an IDF source saying that hundreds of Hezbollah members are present in the Golan, and that Tehran has been behind several recent attacks against Israel. Israeli officials have routinely raised concerns over the presence of Iranian and Hezbollah fighters using positions in the Syrian Golan, partially held by rebel forces, to attack Israel.
“It’s clear that Iran is behind all of the terror attacks here [in the Golan] in the past two years,” the IDF officer said Sunday during a briefing with reporters. “The Iranians are using the border – they establish units – whether it’s [Jihad] Mughniyeh, [Samir] Kuntar, and more – to carry out [the attacks].”
Monday, August 17th, 2015 at 7:23 AM | Stand for Israel
While Israel must always be prepared for the threats that await her from every direction, Israelis are also prepared to show kindness and care for those who cross the borders needing medical treatment. Vice News’ Sara Elizabeth Williams takes us inside Ziv Medical Center in Safed, Israel, where Israeli doctors provide lifesaving care for many Syrians:
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In nearly two and a half years, around 2,000 Syrians have been admitted to Israeli hospitals. While the vast majority are male — up to 90 percent at Ziv, the hospital closest to the border — there are women, too, and 17 percent of all patients are children.
There are the very old, and the very new: At least 10 Syrian babies have been born at Ziv alone since Syrians began arriving in February 2013.
Word has spread that Syrians can access medical help over the border from people they’ve long believed are the enemy. Medics say more patients, and less urgent cases, are filling the beds of publicly-funded Israeli hospitals…
Ziv Medical Center in the mountain city of Safed, just west of the Golan Heights, is the first port of call for most patients who come through the border fence near the devastated Syrian city of Quneitra. With 331 beds and seven operating theatres, Ziv is modern, well-equipped, and only 40 minutes from the border in a fast-moving IDF ambulance…
Monday, July 27th, 2015 at 3:01 PM | Stand For Israel
While the possible nuclear agreement with Iran is indeed unsettling, the Islamic Republic’s reach across the Middle East threatens the region in other ways, too. Former national security adviser Elliott Abrams writes that “[t]he war in Syria is becoming increasingly an Iranian war rather than a civil war”:
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Consider this new report by Now Lebanon, entitled “Syria Alawites reportedly clash with regime, Iran troops.” Two facts are striking. First, the Alawite regime of Bashar al-Assad is having enormous trouble recruiting Alawite youths to join the military. It has long been said that the Alawite community is his base and will fight for him, if only out of fear that if the regime falls they will pay the price when Sunnis attack Alawites. But more and more Alawites, it seems, do not wish to risk their lives for Assad. This should not be quite so surprising, because only the Alawite upper classes benefitted financially from the regime (and some became millionaires and even billionaires), while many Alawites remained in poverty…
While we debate the possible nuclear deal with Iran, let’s not lose sight of Iran’s aggressive conduct throughout the region. If the nuclear deal does get signed and as planned gives Iran access to $150 billion, we can expect even more of an Iranian (and Hezbollah) role in Syria. Not only is there Sunni and Kurdish resistance but now some Alawite resistance. The usual way Assad and Iran deal with such resistance is murder. If the Iran deal comes to pass, let us hope that far stronger American action is planned to prevent even more killings in Syria and to see if the Alawite population can be turned against the regime.
Monday, July 13th, 2015 at 8:26 AM | Stand For Israel