Report: U.S.-Led Syria Strikes Kill at least 860 (AP-Washington Post)
U.S.-led coalition airstrikes in Syria have killed more than 860 people since mid-September, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Wednesday.
Of those killed, 746 were Islamic State militants, 68 were members of the al-Qaeda-linked Nusra Front, and at least 50 were civilians.
See also U.S. Drone Strike Kills Six Al-Qaeda Militants in Yemen (AP-Washington Post)
Iran Built Syrian Missile Production Plants (Fars-Iran)
Brig.-Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh, commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) Aerospace Force, said Tuesday: "The missile production plants in Syria have been built by Iran and the missiles designed by Iran are being produced there."
He added that the Palestinians in Gaza and Lebanese Hizbullah also received training in missile production from Iran.
Israel Sending Ebola Field Clinics to Africa (Reuters-Jerusalem Post)
Israel on Friday will send six cargo containers of special equipment to set up field hospitals in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea, the West African nations worst-affected by Ebola.
"Each clinic consists of 20 beds" with "treatment carts and oxygen and certain medications and protection gear," said Gil Heskel, the head of Mashav, Israel's Agency for International Aid and Development in the Foreign Ministry. Israel will also send staff to constructs the clinics.
Further aid will be distributed to Cameroon and the Ivory Coast in an attempt to stop the disease from spreading.
See also Operation Hospitals of Hope: Israel's Contribution to the Fight Against Ebola (Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
See also Israel Gives Palestinians Ebola Screening Equipment - Elior Levy (Ynet News)
Following a Palestinian request, Israel transferred Ebola screening tools on Sunday to the PA to help diagnose the virus among those entering the West Bank from Jordan and Gaza from Egypt.
The equipment includes a special thermometer that can measure a person's temperature with no bodily contact, and dozens of laboratory kits for diagnosing the virus through a blood test, as well as protective suits.
Knesset to Honor Canadian Who Shot Parliament Gunman (JTA)
Kevin Vickers, the Canadian Parliament's sergeant-at-arms who shot a gunman inside the Parliament building last month, is in Israel for a security conference and will be honored by Israel's Knesset.
Vickers, 58, a former Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer, shot and killed Abdullah Zehaf-Bibeau in Parliament in Ottawa on Oct. 22.
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- Russia Reaches Deal with Iran to Construct Nuclear Plants - Andrew E. Kramer
Russia agreed on Tuesday to build two new nuclear power reactors in Iran, with a possibility of six more after that. Russia is seeking to supply civilian power technology that will operate under international monitoring, with all the nuclear fuel used at the plant supplied and reprocessed by Russian companies.
By demanding that Iran buy Russian reactor fuel, the authorities in Moscow deprived Iran of part of its justification for developing the ability to enrich uranium at home. But this has not halted the Iranian enrichment program. (New York Times)
- Veterans Accuse Iran of Funding the Killing of Hundreds of Americans in Iraq through International Banks - Joe Palazzolo
More than 200 veterans and their families filed a lawsuit Monday accusing six major banks of helping Iran move tens of millions of dollars to groups targeting U.S. soldiers in Iraq during the war.
The banks include HSBC Holdings PLC, Barclays PLC, Standard Chartered PLC, Royal Bank of Scotland PLC, Credit Suisse Group, and the UK-based subsidiary of Bank Saderat Iran.
The lawsuit alleges that banks ignored the risk that some of the billions of dollars they helped Iran secretly funnel through the U.S. financial system would wind up in the hands of Iran's Revolutionary Guards Corps and its proxies that orchestrated attacks against U.S. troops in Iraq.
(Wall Street Journal)
- To Counter Rise of Islamic State, Jordan Imposes Rules on Muslim Clerics - William Booth and Taylor Luck
Stunned by the rapid advance of the Islamic State in neighboring Syria and Iraq, Jordan has fortified its borders and put its air force and intelligence service to work in the U.S.-led alliance against the self-declared caliphate in Syria and Iraq. To counter the low thrum of support for extremist movements on the home front, the kingdom is not only prosecuting Islamic State recruiters and cracking down on anyone waving an Islamic State banner, but it has turned its attention to the nation's 7,000 mosques.
"You clerics are our ground forces against the extremists," minister of Islamic affairs Hayel Dawood told several hundred Muslim clerics in Zarqa. Jordanian authorities have begun a campaign to coax - and, when necessary, pressure - Muslim clerics to preach messages of peaceful Islam.
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
- Netanyahu: Abbas Is Educating His People for Terrorism
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Tuesday:
"The terrorism being directed against us knows no borders. It is trying to uproot us from all parts of the country. From the terrorists' point-of-view, we do not need to be in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Gush Etzion or anywhere."
Today, "instead of calming the situation, [PA leader Mahmoud Abbas] is inflaming it. Instead of speaking the truth, he is disseminating lies to the effect that we intend, or are operating in some way, to change the status of the holy places - this is a gross lie. Instead of educating his people for peace, Abu Mazen [Abbas] is educating them for terrorism. The sad thing is that the international community...simply ignores this wild incitement of Abu Mazen's and thus it encourages him to continue actions that could ignite the entire Middle East." (Prime Minister's Office)
- Ya'alon: Israel Will Act Decisively to End the Violence - Yoav Zitun
Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon said Tuesday: "We are in the midst of an escalation, and we will take a firm hand to stop this wave of violence, including more widespread arrests than in the past and the demolition of the homes of terrorists....The fate of any terrorist who raises his hand with a knife or uses a car to run people over is death."
"The Palestinian Authority and the bodies working on the ground to prevent escalation are conducting coordination meetings with us, despite the rhetoric by the leaders of the Authority calling for escalation." (Ynet News)
- Riots Seen Lacking Popular Support on Arab Street
An Israeli military official said Tuesday that the Palestinian public "is still indifferent and uninvolved in the escalation and is not coming out in great numbers to protest and create unrest, as was the case at the beginning of the Second Intifada."
Security officials also said they were satisfied with security cooperation with the Palestinian Authority. Coordination on the ground was strong and Palestinian police were efficient in controlling crowds and keeping demonstrations from sweeping through the West Bank.
(Times of Israel)
- Why Did the New York Times Downplay Palestinian Responsibility for Stabbings?
The headline in Tuesday's International New York Times read "Stabbings by Palestinians Raise New Fears in Israel." But in the domestic edition, the headline was changed to "Palestinians Are Suspected as 2 Israelis Die in Knife Attacks." The first headline is active ("Palestinian stabs"), while the passive language in the second headline ("Palestinians are suspected") downplays Palestinian culpability. The first headline states as fact that Palestinians were responsible, while in the second version, Palestinians are only "suspected."
What is the justification for The Times' caution? Hours before the editors inserted "suspected" into the headline, Hamas had already claimed responsibility for the killing of soldier Almog Shiloni, while Islamic Jihad had claimed responsibility for the murder of Dalia Lemkus.
- Iran's Horrific Human-Rights Record - Senators Mark Kirk and Marco Rubio
The world is rightly focused on Iran's growing nuclear threat and the regime's destabilizing support for international terrorism. Yet Iran's state of injustice - the regime's systematic human rights abuses and suppression of the Iranian people's aspirations to be free - deserves equal attention.
A new report by the UN blasts Iran's growing use of executions, with 687 in 2013 and already 411 in the first half of 2014. The regime in Tehran is disproportionately executing individuals from religious and ethnic minority groups. Iranian authorities are also continuing the "widespread and systematic use" of psychological and physical torture to obtain confessions.
As the U.S. and its partners attempt to finalize a nuclear deal with Iran, we believe they must do more to back up growing attention to Iran's human rights violations with concrete actions to stop and reverse these abuses. (Daily Beast)
- Rebuild Gaza? Remove Its Rockets First - Lewis Libby and Hillel Fradkin
Recently, President Obama urged an international conference in Cairo to rebuild yet again the terrorist-led mini-state in Gaza.
Gaza was damaged because the terrorist organization that runs it fired thousands of rockets at Israel. Donors are weary because they know Hamas will just do it again.
Terrorists count on the international community to endlessly rebuild Gaza. Good countries bail out the perpetrators of terrorism and those who actively support them. So this time, aid must come with conditions that discourage a fourth round.
The Palestinians must turn in rockets currently in Gaza, and agree to inspections of Gaza itself. Lewis Libby is senior vice president at the Hudson Institute, where Hillel Fradkin is a senior fellow.
(New York Post)
We Must Prevent Iran from Developing Nuclear Weapons - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
Prime Minister Netanyahu told the General Assembly of the Jewish Federations of North America on Tuesday:
- "[Iran's] Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, brazenly calls for Israel's annihilation....Iran arms, trains, [and] finances the Palestinian terrorist groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad. It has supplied them, and its main terrorist proxy, Hizbullah, with tens of thousands of rockets to fire on Israeli citizens."
- "Iran's savagery abroad is also matched by its brutality at home. The ayatollah regime executes political opponents, religious and ethnic minorities, gays, feminists and journalists. And executions have increased, not decreased, under the supposedly moderate Rouhani regime. This is how Iran acts without nuclear weapons; now imagine how Iran will act if a deal is made that leaves it as a threshold nuclear power."
- "The international community is reportedly willing to leave Iran's nuclear program largely intact. They hope to rely on intelligence and inspectors to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons.
I believe this would be a bad deal and a huge mistake....If the ten-year run-around that Iran has given the International Atomic Energy Agency is any indication, inspectors won't stop Iran from getting the bomb."
- "The Islamic State of Iran is not a partner of America. It's an enemy of America. And it should be treated as an enemy - by keeping tough sanctions on the regime; by making clear that the international community is determined to do whatever it takes to prevent Iran from breaking out or sneaking out to get the bomb."
- "The worst thing that can happen now is for the international community to agree to a deal that leaves Iran as a threshold nuclear power and removes the sanctions....Israel cannot allow a regime committed to its destruction to develop the weapons to achieve that goal."
- "But the alternative to a bad deal is not war. It means giving existing sanctions and even stronger sanctions more time to work to achieve the goal of fully dismantling Iran's military nuclear capabilities. To remove sanctions before that goal is reached is to remove any hope of a genuine diplomatic solution."
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