Category Archives: Middle East News

Middle East News

President Trump Delivers Powerful Speech To Arab Leaders

Great speech and an important message!

Before President Trump delivered his first big international speech, an address in Saudi Arabia to dozens of Arab leaders, reports swirled that he would not utter the words “radical Islamic terror.”

Of course he said the words — repeatedly — and much more. He lectured the Saudis on human rights, including the nation’s long repression of women. And most of all, he laid out — in simple black and white terms — the real battle that is has been raging for two decades.

“This is not a battle between different faiths, different sects, or different civilizations,” Trump told some 50 Muslim leaders gathered in an ornate conference center in Riyadh. “This is a battle between barbaric criminals who seek to obliterate human life, and decent people of all religions who seek to protect it. This is a battle between good and evil.”

And Trump said the Muslim world has an obligation — even a moral imperative — to squelch terror emanating from the Muslim faith. “Every time a terrorist murders an innocent person, and falsely invokes the name of God, it should be an insult to every person of faith,” Trump said. “That means honestly confronting the crisis of Islamist extremism and the Islamist terror groups it inspires.”

And Trump appeared to give the Muslim leaders a direct order about the terrorists who declare their Muslim faith demands they kill infidels.

“Drive them out!” Trump said. “Drive them out of your places of worship, drive them out of your communities, drive them out of your Holy Land, and drive them out of this Earth!”

Read full article at DailyWire

Full transcript President Trump’s speech on terrorism in Riyadh (The Washington Post)

Full Video

President Trump Signs $110 Billion Arms Deal With Saudi Arabia

Jobs!

President Trump on Saturday signed a $110 billion arms deal between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia.

The arms transaction is intended to bolster national security in Saudi Arabia as well as the country’s ability to combat terrorism. The White House says the agreement will provide fighter jets, tanks, radar, combat ships and anti-missile defense systems to Saudi Arabia and will create defense-related jobs in the U.S.

The defense cooperation agreements signed Saturday offer the Saudis $110 billion immediately, and ultimately worth $350 billion over the next decade. WashingtonExaminer

The agreement will provide fighter jets, tanks, combat ships and anti-missile defense systems and create defense-sector jobs in the U.S., according to the White House. The deal includes additional private-sector agreements and a joint vision statement with Saudi Arabia, one of the world’s largest oil producers.

“That was a tremendous day,” Mr. Trump told reporters. “Tremendous investments in the United States.”

“Hundreds of billions of dollars of investments into the United States and jobs, jobs, jobs.” he continued.

The agreement signals a strengthening relationship between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia and distances the U.S. from Iran, Saudi Arabia’s adversary. KtVA

UN Official Condemns Israeli for Defending Himself

Mob vs 1 man trapped in his car.  The UN official implies the mob was the victim not the man that could have been killed by them.

A resident of Samaria who was attacked by an Arab lynch mob on his way home from grocery shopping was forced to open fire to defend himself Thursday, killing one of his attackers and wounding another.

The man, a social worker and father of eight from the town of Itamar in Samaria, was on his way home from the Rami Levy supermarket in Shaar Binyamin, when he found himself under attack by an angry mob of some 200 Arabs. INN

On Friday, the IDF and Shin Bet (Israel Internal Security) arrested the driver who used his ambulance to cut off the escape of a Jew being attacked by an angry mob of Arabs in Huwara. The Jew was forced to exit his car and open fire, killing one attacker and injuring an Associated Press reporter.

Arabs were rioting in Huwara near Nablus (Shechem) for three days. On Thursday, a Jew travelling in a car on Route 60, a major thoroughfare that passes through Huwara, was surrounded by a mob of about 200 Arabs. A Red Crescent Ambulance drove in front of his car, preventing the Jewish motorist from escaping. Approximately 20 Arabs attacked the car, smashing the front and rear windshields and causing serious damage to the vehicle. The driver exited his car and shot one attacker, killing him, and wounding a reporter who was in the crowd.

Overnight Thursday, Israeli security forces arrested at least two of the suspected attackers and impounded a bus believed to have transported rioters to the scene.The ambulance used to aid the attack was also impounded. BreakingNewsIsrael

Nickolay  Mladenov, the United Nations Special
Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process.  

Turkey Slams U.S. Plan To Arm Syrian Kurdish Fighters, Demands Decision Reversed

The Kurds have proven to be the most effective force in fighting ISIS.

President Trump has approved a plan to arm Syrian Kurds so they can participate in the battle to retake Raqqa from the Islamic State, a strategy that has drawn deep opposition from Turkey, a NATO ally.

American military commanders have long argued that arming the Y.P.G., a Kurdish militia fighting alongside Syrian Arab forces against the Islamic State, is the fastest way to seize Raqqa, the capital of the militants’ self-proclaimed caliphate. NYTimes

The United States must support its NATO ally Turkey and reverse its decision to arm Syrian Kurds in the battle against the Islamic State, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Wednesday. USA Today

Turkey slammed the Trump administration’s decision to supply Syrian Kurdish fighters with weapons against the Islamic State group and demanded Wednesday that it be reversed, heightening tensions between the NATO allies days before the Turkish leader heads to Washington for a meeting with President Donald Trump.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the fight against terrorism “should not be led with another terror organization” — a reference to the Syrian Kurdish militia, known as the YPG, which Turkey considers an extension of the decades-long Kurdish insurgency raging in its southeast. “We want to know that our allies will side with us and not with terror organizations,” he said.

Turkey, which has sent troops to northern Syrian in an effort to curtail Kurdish expansion along its borders, has for months tried to lobby Washington to cut off ties with the Kurds and work instead with Turkish-backed opposition fighters in the fight for Raqqa.

But the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, of SDF, which has driven IS from much of northern Syria over the past two years with the help of U.S.-led airstrikes, are among the most effective ground forces battling the extremists. In announcing the decision on Tuesday to arm the Kurds, the Pentagon’s chief spokeswoman, Dana W. White, called the militia “the only force on the ground that can successfully seize Raqqa in the near future.”

On Wednesday, the SDF said it captured the country’s largest dam from the Islamic State group. The fighters, which are Kurdish-led but also include some Arab fighters, said they expelled the extremists from the Tabqa Dam and a nearby town, also called Tabqa.

It was the latest IS stronghold to fall to the Kurdish-led fighters as they advance toward Raqqa — the seat of the militants’ so-called caliphate along the Euphrates River. The fall of Tabqa leaves no other major urban settlements on the road to Raqqa, about 25 miles (40 kilometers) away. NYDailyNews

Iran’s Potential Role In Enforcing Zones Along Israeli Border Raises Concerns

Russia, Turkey and Iran are to map out the specific zones by June 4th.

Netanyahu:  “With the framework of these arrangements, and also without them, there is an Iranian effort to become firmly established on a permanent basis in Syria, either through the presence of ground forces, or naval forces,” Netanyahu said. He also said the Syrians are involved in a “gradual attempt to open up a front against us on the Golan Heights.” JPost

Iran’s potential role in enforcing a security zone in southern Syria has raised concerns for Israel, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Joseph Dunford said Tuesday.

Under the terms of an agreement signed last week in Astana, Turkey, several large areas of western and southern Syria would become protected areas where the use of weapons, including airstrikes, would be prohibited. Russia, Iran and Turkey would be empowered to “take all necessary measures” to enforce the peace in these zones, including attacks inside those areas against Nusra Front, al-Qaida or ISIS.

One of the zones would be in southern Syria in rebel-held territory along the Israeli-Syrian border by the Golan Heights.

Dunford, who was traveling in Israel this week to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and top defense officials, said Israel is concerned about the possibility of having Iranian or Iranian-backed forces, such as Hezbollah, so close to its border….

Israel has supported the rebel presence along its border, providing field hospitals to maintain a buffer between it and the Iranian and Hezbollah-backed Assad regime, said Anthony Cordesman, a senior Middle East expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Cordesman said that Israel may endorse security zones to bring stability to Syria, but it’s unlikely to agree to any limits that would keep it from protecting interests in southern Syria or striking shipments.

Cordesman questioned whether the agreement would move forward.  Stars & Stripes

Saudi Arabia Relaxes Rules For Women

“If you’re not fully utilizing half the talent in the country, you’re not going to get too close to the top.”
-Bill Gates said of Saudi Arabia in 2007 World Economic Forum meeting

“The Saudi government’s denial of basic rights to women is not only wrong, it hurts Saudi Arabia’s economic development, modernization, and prosperity.”
-Barbara Boxer

It’s about the economy. A need for increased female labor participation and being attractive to Western investment.

Saudi Arabia can not remain a strictly oil-driven economy.  Its “Vision 2030” plan seeks to increase Saudi Arabia’s non-oil revenue as it faces growing deficits and depletion of financial assets within five years.

On May 4, the King Salman of Saudi Arabia issued a decree concerning opportunities for women in his country.

This decree has two parts. The first part orders government agencies to list services that women can seek from the government without permission from a male guardian (usually a father or husband). Until now women could not obtain government services without the presence and permission of a male guardian. The second part of the decree directs organizations to provide transportation for female employees, in a country in which women are not permitted to drive…

These changes are not drastic liberalizations. However, they could present significant improvement in the lives of many women. It is not clear yet which government services will become available to women now, but there is a hope that this can lead to greater economic and even social autonomy. Some in the country believe that this decree means that women will no longer need a guardian’s consent to obtain a passport, work outside the home and receive medical care. Forbes

Iran Using U.S. Cash To Fund Massive Military Buildup

Iran is using the nuclear deal money (1.7 billion) that was released with no strings attached.

Iran is using the billions in cash resources provided under the landmark nuclear deal to engage in an unprecedented military buildup meant to transform the Islamic Republic’s fighting force into an “offensive” juggernaut, according to a largely unreported announcement by Iranian military leaders that has sparked concern among U.S. national security insiders and sources on Capitol Hill.

Iranian officials announced late last month that Iran’s defense budget had increased by 145 percent under President Hassan Rouhani and that the military is moving forward with a massive restructuring effort aimed at making it “a forward moving force,” according to regional reports.

Iranian leaders have stated since the Iran deal was enacted that they are using the massive amounts of cash released under the agreement to fund the purchase of new military equipment and other armaments. Iran also has pursued multi-million dollar arms deals with Russia since economic sanctions were nixed as part of the deal. Free Beacon

6 Out Of 60,000 Solve Shin Bet Cyber Riddle

Shin Bet released a recruitment video, a new website, and a cyber riddle ahead of Israel’s 69th Independence Day celebrations.

Video:  Shin Bet Recruitment Video


Video by JerusalemOnline

Sixty thousand Israelis attempted to solve a riddle published by the Shin Bet last Thursday as part of a new recruitment drive for its elite cyber unit. Only six have succeeded in solving the puzzle so far.

Only 20 out of the 60,000 who tried their hand at the riddle managed to solve the part aimed at those suited to the development section of the cyber unit, and only six succeeded in solving all three parts of the riddle aimed at the research section of the unit.

The Shin Bet launched the riddle online as part of a new campaign to recruit the best and brightest from Israeli society. The intelligence organization called the campaign “thwarting the next threat, defending Israel.”

The cyber geniuses who solved the riddle will be invited to apply for one of the unique technological posts at the forefront of IDF technology and to integrate into the unique and new developing cyber unit positions offered by the Shin Bet to these candidates. 25% of Shin Bet personnel are in the technology, IT and cyber sections of the service.  INN

Great Response

The campaign has thus far bore fruit, evidenced by 480 applications being submitted within 20 hours of the start of the campaign…

There was a much greater response the Shin Bet’s riddle than that of the Mossad. This has been attributed to the fact that a Shin Bet team implemented lessons from Mossad’s previous attempt and developed a much more complicated puzzle, comprising many different layers.

The exercise even managed to generate buzz in many mathematical forums across the world. YNet

Online: Shabak

New Hamas Policy Lays Claim To Holy Places In Jerusalem

Hamas rewriting history by claiming Jerusalem is a Muslim city and referring to Israel’s capital as the “birthplace of Jesus”.  Jesus was born in Bethlehem and was Jewish.

Hamas’ new policy paper, perceived by the world as softening of their position, calls for ethnically cleansing the region by force in order to create a Muslim state. Israel claims it is an attempt to fool the world, and fix Hamas’ image as a terror organization.

The five page document was presented on Monday at a news conference in Doha,Qatar, by Khaled Mashaal, the outgoing Hamas leader. The document stated that the State of Israel is, in entirety, illegal, and calls for the establishment of a Muslim State in its place.

The paper refers to Israel as “a racist, anti-human and colonial Zionist project”, while turning the regional conflict into a war of religion by calling Palestine “an Arab Islamic land…,a blessed sacred land that has a special place in the heart of every Arab and every Muslim.”

“Hamas rejects any alternative to the full and complete liberation of Palestine, from the river to the sea,” the document states.

The paper also lay claim to Jerusalem as a Muslim city, rewriting history by referring to Israel’s capital as the “birthplace of Jesus”. While making these exclusive Muslim claims to all of Israel, Hamas makes other claims that most people would disagree with.

Islam is a religion of peace and tolerance. It provides an umbrella for the followers of other creeds and religions who can practice their beliefs in security and safety. Hamas also believes that Palestine has always been and will always be a model of coexistence, tolerance and civilizational innovation.

The paper lay claims to all holy sites in Jerusalem, a claim that has been upheld by UNESCO in several resolutions.

 

UNESCO Disavows Israeli Sovereignty In Jerusalem

Ten UNESCO member states — the US, Germany, Greece, Italy, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Paraguay, Togo, Ukraine and the UK — voted against the resolution on Tuesday.

The low numbers in a UNESCO 22-10 vote disavowing Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem on the country’s birthday represent a diplomatic victory for Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.

With 23 countries abstaining and 3 absent altogether, the 58 board members gathered in Paris approved the resolution referred to as “occupied Palestine” with minority support. The UNESCO Executive Board is expected to ratify the resolution on Friday.

“The number of countries who support this absurd UNESCO resolution is getting smaller,” Netanyahu told the diplomatic corps at an Independence Day reception.

It’s a significant shift from the passage of Jerusalem resolutions last year, with 33 nations approving a controversial anti-Israel text in April and 24 voting for it in October.

With a determined effort it will be possible to whittle that number down further, “because there is no need for these types of votes in the UN,” Netanyahu said.

Speaking at the International Bible Quiz prior to the vote, Netanyahu said that there was no nation in the world to whom Jerusalem was more holy than to the Jewish people.

“I know that today there is a vote in UESCO that will try to deny that simple truth, we reject UNESCO,” he said. Throughout Jewish history, he added, Jerusalem was “the heart of the people, the place to which everyone turned to, went to, and prayed toward.”  JPost

USA

A spokesperson for the American UN mission has roundly condemned the anti-Israel resolution that was passed by the global intergovernmental body’s cultural agency at a meeting in Paris on Tuesday.

“Once again, the United States rejects the adoption of these anti-Israel resolutions at UNESCO,” the spokesperson told The Algemeiner. “Like other parts of the UN system, UNESCO is too often used as a vehicle by member states inclined to deride and delegitimize the State of Israel. Although several of these anti-Israel resolutions are typically adopted biannually at UNESCO, over time they have become increasingly political in nature, and now attempt to deny the historic connections of the Jewish people to the holy sites of Jerusalem.”

The spokesperson continued: “These biased resolutions are counterproductive to the core work of UNESCO, discredit the organization, and do nothing to advance Israeli-Palestinian issues. There is no place for them in an organization that is meant to be impartial. The United States will continue to object to efforts to politicize the organization and its important function on world heritage issues.” Algeimeiner

The False Tyranny Narrative

Jerusalem Day (Yom Yerushalayim )is an Israeli national holiday commemorating the reunification of Jerusalem in June 1967.

Yom Yerushalayim [May 23, 2017] is still six weeks off, but foreign critics already have launched their attack.
In their view, there is no miraculous Six Day War victory to extol; no grand return to the Jewish heartland of Judea and Samaria to toast; no historic reunification of Jerusalem to celebrate; no liberation and redemption to commemorate; no flowering of religious culture and national creativity to admire; no jubilee to enjoy. Not at all.

Instead, there is only an entrenched “occupation” of the West Bank to bemoan. Palestinian self-determination is being stifled, and this casts a pall over all.

Worse still, in their view, is that “Israel’s soul has been corrupted,” ostensibly, by the occupation.

The British Guardian got the ball rolling on this sullying narrative last week by giving full play to the nasty remarks of former GSS chiefs Ami Ayalon and Carmi Gillon at a Jerusalem event in support of Breaking the Silence and Babur Gallery.

Gillon painted a bleak picture of Israel’s political trajectory, saying that the country was being “driven by the occupation towards disaster”. He added: “This country was established on the values of liberal democracy; values we don’t fulfill any more. You can analyze what happened to us in the last 50 years, but everything is under the shade of occupation. It has changed us a society. It has made us an unpleasant society.”

Ayalon dove even deeper into calumny by alleging that Israel is being overtaken by a process of “incremental tyranny.” He cited recent moves by ministers in the Netanyahu government to change the laws to hit groups such as Breaking the Silence by banning them from events in schools and targeting their funding, while also “taking aim” at the country’s supreme court and independence of the media.

In short, all liberal, progressive, democratic, good and holy values are being crushed by the shadow of occupation. Yada, yada, yada.

This is a very dangerous and delegitimizing storyline. The Guardian, of course, ate it up.

By perpetuating myths about the illegality and immorality of Israel’s presence in Judea and Samaria; by exaggerating the impact of Israel’s military rule in the territories and minimizing the evils of Palestinian kleptocracy and intransigence; and by insinuating a non-existent trend towards dictatorship in Israeli society and politics – these critics threaten to smear Israel permanently with the stink of a decaying carcass.

This cannot be tolerated. Such defamation cannot be brooked. Israeli and Jewish leaders worldwide must push back hard against such slander, beginning now. Otherwise, every newspaper around the globe is going to echo the same malevolent messages in their coverage of the June jubilee.

Israel must assert loudly and clearly that its return to Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) is legitimate, not immoral. Its security control of the “Greater Israel” envelope is a source of regional stability, not conflict. The absence of peace and mutual recognition stems from Palestinian rejectionism, not a lack of Israeli imagination.  JPost by David M. Weinberg