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In September, Turkish air forces shot down a Syrian helicopter after it flew across the border into Turkish air space. And, yesterday, the border skirmish continued as a Turkish fighter shot down a Syrian jet that had also flown where it shouldn’t have.
On the one hand, the Turks have every right to defend their airspace. If foreign jets were flying into U.S. airspace, how long would we sit back and allow it? Of course, we wouldn’t.
On the other hand, Turkey has, for years, allowed foreign jihadist elements to operate on the Turkish side of the Turkey-Syria border. Under normal circumstances, the country in which these elements are based is responsible for policing their activities. But, when jihadists stream over the border into Syria, make trouble, and try to run away, the Syrians are understandably called on to give chase. Those who think it’s easy to stop at an imaginary line in the sky are seeing this conflict as little more than an episode of the Dukes of Hazzard where Sheriff Coltrane stops chasing the Duke boys at the county line.
It’s also worth remembering that conflict with Syria furthers the jihadist ambitions of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. We’ve written many times about the sad, terrible path down which he has taken his country, which was once on a path to E.U. membership and remains (inexplicably) a NATO ally. In the battle over Syria, in which dictator Bashar al-Assad has aligned himself with Sunni Iran and Iranian proxy Hezbollah against the Shiite rebels and their al-Qaeda-inspired allies, Erdogan has firmly planted himself on the side of the rebels. And his air force isn’t afraid to let Syria know it. As with recent Israeli air strikes inside his country, Syrian dictator Bashar Assad – who is not in a position to open another front in his continuing war – has little choice but to ignore these attacks.
As the Syrian war continues – and as Assad and his Iranian backers seem to…Read More » Comments (7) »
Monday, March 24th, 2014 at 8:19 AM | Stand For Israel
An IDF jeep traveling on the Golan Heights near the Syrian border came under attack Tuesday, when an explosive device was detonated in its vicinity.
Three soldiers sustained light-to-moderate injuries.
The incident came after an IDF convoy traveling in the Har Dov (Shaba Farms) area, on the border with Lebanon, was the target of a bomb set off by Hezbollah on Friday night.
Please pray for the swift recovery of the three injured soldiers — and, as always, for safety and protection for all Israel’s fighting men and women.
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Tuesday, March 18th, 2014 at 8:56 AM | Stand For Israel
We all know that there is a disconnect between what the world says it believes about countries and leaders that wage aggressive war and purposefully kill civilians and what the world’s actions in response to those events suggest. Michael Young, writing at The Daily Star in Lebanon , illustrates this disconnect in regards to Syria and Russia:
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A belief in implementing and expanding international humanitarian norms can only grow if there is a conviction that the international community will join together to take up such a burden. But the frequent inability of the U.N. to act decisively on humanitarian matters, as in Syria, has pushed states to act unilaterally in given crises, further eroding the idea of a common interest in defending human rights and international law.
Friday, March 14th, 2014 at 8:13 AM | Stand For Israel
Adam Taylor, writing at the Washington Post, discusses the impact a picture that is making the rounds on social media might have. The picture shows Palestinians in the refugee camp of Yarmouk lining up to receive UN food aid. Will anything convince the world to get involved in the fight in Syria? Taylor is skeptical:
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It’s been almost two years since we first began seeing striking images from Homs after heavy government shelling, for example, and almost a year since we saw the videos showing the truly horrific aftermath of an alleged government gas attack. The Syrian conflict has lasted almost three years, but broader public interest, not to mention the possibility for intervention, appear to have waned over the years.
Thursday, February 27th, 2014 at 8:37 AM | Stand For Israel
For years, Hezbollah has imported Iranian weapons across the Lebanese border with Syria. It is the main pipeline for the rearmament of the Iranian proxy that, before 9/11, had killed more Americans than any other terror organization.
The United Nations Interim Forces in Lebanon (UNIFIL) — which has been “interim” since 1978 — was mandated in the cease-fire following the last Israeli-Lebanese conflict in 2006 to interdict arms shipments and prevent Hezbollah from resupplying. That effort (calling it an “effort” is extremely generous) has entirely failed. If the U.N. soldiers were to simply hand their own weapons over to Hezbollah, the resupply might go slower out of sheer lack of challenge. Instead, Hezbollah now has more and better rockets than they did before the 2006 war.
Israel has, out of international political necessity, tolerated this intolerable situation for years. One can stand on the Israeli side of the Lebanese border and, with binoculars, see the Hezbollah fortifications (openly flying the bright yellow Hezbollah flag) dug in directly in front of the UNIFIL positions on the other side of the border. To strike at Hezbollah is to risk hitting U.N. troops.
Prior to the Syrian civil war, the border with Lebanon and Iran’s ability to move within the country was at least theoretically limited by the Assad regime. Today, in the chaos of Assad’s fight to survive and the life-or-death struggle between Al-Qaeda-allied terrorists and the Iran/Hezbollah terror axis (if it were a soccer match, you’d root for the stadium to collapse), the border has become totally uncontrolled.
But, if the chaotic situation in Syria makes the border more porous, it also allows Israel to act with diminished potential for repercussions. Assad, Hezbollah, and Lebanon don’t have bandwidth to look cross-eyed at Israel right now. And that means that Israel can risk doing what they did earlier this week: take out a convoy that probably was shipping weapons.
But Israel can’t police a foreign border perfectly or permanently. And, with Iran developing more advanced…Read More » Comments (13) »
Wednesday, February 26th, 2014 at 8:22 AM | Stand For Israel
Writing at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, retired Israeli Brigadier General Shimon Shapira wonders if the ongoing debate inside Iran on the expenditure on behalf of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad is a portent of an upcoming Iranian disengagement from civil war-torn Syria in the form of pulling out Iran’s client terror organization, Hezbollah:
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Although Hezbollah’s leaders claim it is fighting in Syria in order to protect Lebanon, Lebanese Shiites are not convinced and Hezbollah’s supporters are dubious. Hezbollah has now lost almost 350 men in Syria, not all of whom have been brought back to Lebanon for burial, while the number of wounded has passed a thousand. This puts into question Hezbollah’s ability to keep sacrificing its fighters in Syria when its target of jihad is Israel.
Wednesday, January 29th, 2014 at 8:35 AM | Stand For Israel
Ignoring politics and conflict, a group of Israeli youth are collecting much-needed winter supplies for Syrian refugees facing the cold. Writing for Times of Israel, Debra Kamin applauds the altruism and care shown by Operation Human Worth. The drive run is collecting blankets, coats, and other items to be distributed to refugees by young Israelis, during a serious situation when politics are far from their minds:
“This is an emergency situation which we cannot ignore. Our history as a nation and the fact that we are a democratic society obligates us from a moral perspective in order to help all victims, no matter who they are,” Layish said in a press release. “A human disaster of enormous proportions is taking place four hours by car from Tel Aviv, and a mere hour from the Sea of Galilee, committing us as Israelis and human beings to act so lives are saved.”
The actions of these young people mirror times when Israel itself has ignored political divisions in order to help those in need. Despite initial resistance to assistance from Israel after suffering a devastating earthquake in 2011, Turkey accepted mobile homes and other aid flown in by the Jewish state, as well as by the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, collected to “ensure the victims’ immediate needs are addressed.”Comments (1) »
Tuesday, January 7th, 2014 at 2:19 PM | Stand For Israel
Writing for Commentary, Max Boot delivers a strong indictment of U.S. policy regarding Syria – or, at least, the outcome of that policy. According to Boot, the West, which was so adamant that Assad could not remain in power in Syria, has largely decided to tolerate his continued dictatorship in exchange, essentially, for not being required to do anything:
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Intelligence agencies have retracted their previous assessments that it was only a matter of time before Bashar Assad fell–a staple of the president’s own rhetoric from the start of the full-blown uprising in 2011 until early 2013. No longer. In 2013 Iran and Hezbollah increased their commitment to Assad while the U.S. and its allies made no comparable commitment to the rebels, preferring instead to strike a deal for Assad to give up his chemical weapons–while he goes right on pulverizing the opposition and any civilians unlucky enough to be caught in his indiscriminate attacks.
Friday, January 3rd, 2014 at 8:33 AM | Stand For Israel
With all of the news about Iran, we haven’t carried much news of the ongoing catastrophe in Syria. Fred Hiatt, the editor of the Washington Post Editorial Page, has put together a timeline that shows the conflict from spring of 2011 to the present – a conflict that has worsened and deepened and, recent U.N.-sanctioned peace talks notwithstanding, only shows signs of accelerating:
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Last Friday: The number of refugees has more than doubled again, to 2,272,722. Given their relative populations, this would be the equivalent of 32 million Americans having fled to Mexico and Canada.
About half of the refugees are children.
Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013 at 9:04 AM | Stand For Israel
Elliott Abrams, who served as National Security Advisor under President George W. Bush, writes at the Council on Foreign Relations that, among the groups that has suffered the most during the Syrian civil war, Palestinian “refugees” living in Syria (that is, Palestinians and their descendants who fled Israel during the 1948 war) have had it worse than most. But Palestinians living in other Arab countries suffer terrible treatment, too:
In one sense this is an old story: Arab states using the Palestinian issue against Israel often treat Palestinians badly. Jordan is the only country that has given them full citizenship rights. But there is another story here: the way UNRWA’s special treatment of Palestinians has backfired.Comments (8) »
Thursday, November 21st, 2013 at 9:22 AM | Stand For Israel