PUTIN’S REAL SYRIA AGENDA


While Dems are crying about the unproven collusion between President Trump and the Russians to win Election-2016 AND ignoring Dem collusion with the Russians (which is better documented), Russia is quietly changing the balance of power in the Middle East by colluding with Iran for geopolitical regional power.

The Dems are either saps or more than willing to stealthily cooperate with the former Soviet Union whose President is a former uber-spy Vladimir Putin.

 

JRH 3/20/17

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PUTIN’S REAL SYRIA AGENDA [Summary/Intro]

 

By Genevieve Casagrande

Mar 20, 2017

Institute for the Study of War [ISW]

 

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s primary objective in Syria is to constrain U.S. freedom of action – not fight ISIS and al Qaeda. Russia’s military deployments at current levels will not enable the Iranian-penetrated Assad regime to secure Syria. Moscow’s deepening footprint in Syria threatens America’s ability to defend its interests across the Middle East and in the Mediterranean Sea. The next U.S. step in Syria must help regain leverage over Russia rather than further encourage Putin’s expansionism.

 

The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) produced this report with the Critical Threats Project (CTP). The insights are part of an intensive multi-month exercise to frame, design, and evaluate potential courses of action that the United States could pursue to destroy the Islamic State in Iraq and al Sham (ISIS) and al Qaeda in Syria. The ISW-CTP team recently released “America’s Way Ahead in Syria,” which details the flaws in the current U.S. approach in Iraq and Syria and proposes the first phase of a strategic reset in the Middle East.

 

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Putin’s Real Syria Agenda

By Genevieve Casagrande and Kathleen Weinberger

March 2017

ISW – PDF

 

Russia’s intervention in Syria in September 2015 fundamentally altered the balance of the Syrian Civil War.1 Russia re-established momentum behind Syrian President Bashar al Assad and his Iranian allies at a moment when major victories by ISIS and Syrian rebels threatened to force the regime to contract into Syria’s central corridor.2 The capabilities Russia deployed were not limited to the airframes, artillery, and personnel needed to conduct a counter-terrorism or counterinsurgency mission, however. Russia deployed advanced air defense and ballistic missile systems, naval units, air superiority aircraft, and other capabilities in a display of major Russian force projection in the region. Russian President Vladimir Putin is altering the balance of power in Syria and the Eastern Mediterranean through sustained Russian military operations and additional deployments of high-end capabilities.

 

Russian Force Projection

 

Russia ultimately seeks to expand its permanent naval and air bases on the Syrian coast in order to further project force into the Mediterranean and Middle East. Russia’s establishment of an anti-access and area denial (A2/AD) exclusion zone from its bases at Latakia and Tartous allows Russia to create de-facto no fly zones in the Eastern Mediterranean as well as over most of Syria. These A2/AD zones constrain U.S. freedom of movement and ultimately raise the cost of U.S. involvement in Syria.3 Russia deployed the naval version of the S-300 to protect the airspace over Latakia airbase in Syria in November 2015.4 Russia also deployed the S-400 in late November 2015 shortly after the Turkish downing of a Russian jet.5 Russia has since deployed an additional seven S-300 systems in an effort to build in redundancies, advance the integration of its air defenses, and provide more comprehensive coverage.6 The S-300 and S-400 systems are road mobile and interoperable, increasing the difficulty of neutralizing the systems. [See Appendix I]

 

Putin wants to challenge the U.S. and its allies by increasing Russian military and political influence in the Middle East. Russia has rotated a wide range of naval vessels to participate in the conflict in order to demonstrate the capabilities of these units and Russia’s willingness to deploy them in the Mediterranean. Russia has deployed some of its most advanced non-nuclear naval capabilities to the Eastern Mediterranean.7 Russian subsurface and surface vessels successfully engaged ground targets in Syria after launching Kalibr cruise missiles from the Mediterranean and Caspian Seas.8 Russia has shown it can undertake precision strikes with the nuclear-capable Kalibr cruise missile at significant distance.

 

Russia also maintains anti-ship capabilities in the Mediterranean, including the Bastion-P coastal defense system. Russia demonstrated the land attack capabilities of the Bastion in November 2016.9 Russia has also deployed battle cruisers that bring advanced anti-ship and air defense capabilities off the Syrian coast. Russia’s deployment of its much-ridiculed aircraft carrier the Admiral Kuznetsov nevertheless showcased its force projection capabilities and intent to exhibit its naval presence in the Mediterranean.10 [See Appendix II]

 

Putin has deployed air defense and anti-ship systems to Syria in order to threaten the United States. Russia does not need these systems to support the counter-terrorism campaign it claims it is waging against anti-Assad opposition groups in Syria. Those groups do not operate aircraft or naval vessels. Russia also deployed the nuclear capable SS-26 ‘Iskander’ ballistic missiles to Syria and used the systems to attack opposition held terrain.11 The Iskander missiles provide no meaningful additional advantage against the opposition. The only conceivable target for these advanced systems is the U.S. and its allies. [See Appendix III]

 

Constrain U.S. Freedom of Action

 

Russia has used its deployment to constrain U.S. freedom of action and limit American policy options in Syria. Russia deployed the S-300 and S-400 air defense systems to deter the U.S. from direct military action against the Assad regime through the unilateral establishment of a no-fly zone. Russia has also forward deployed assets beyond its air and naval bases on the coast in order to further complicate the personnel are primarily concentrated in Latakia, Aleppo, and Tartous Provinces, but are also active in Hama, Homs, Damascus, and Hasakah and include a wide range of units including air assault, tank, medical, naval infantry, and special operations forces. [See Appendix IV]

 

Russia has intentionally removed potential U.S. partners within the armed opposition from the battlefield in Syria. Russian airstrikes from October 2015 to March 2017 have primarily targeted the mainstream Syrian opposition – not ISIS – in order to ensure the opposition’s defeat through its submission, destruction, or transformation. The Russian air campaign has driven what remains of the mainstream opposition closer to Salafi-jihadi groups, which are stronger and better able to defend against intensified pro-regime military operations. Russia is also exacerbating radicalization through its deliberate, illegal targeting of civilians. Russia has consistently targeted hospitals, schools, and other critical civilian infrastructure throughout the sixteen months of its air campaign.

 

Russian Testing Grounds

 

Russia has also used sustained use of transport aircraft in Syria to exercise the Russian military’s overall combat readiness and force projection capabilities. Expeditionary logistics and force projection is difficult for militaries to exercise, in general. Russia is exercising expeditionary logistics by air and sea in Syria.13 Russia is refining its ability to deploy its military personnel and equipment rapidly at a large scale in order to message its ability to threaten the U.S. and its NATO and European allies. Russia announced its intent to prioritize the development of naval equipment for troop transport on March 8 in order to increase the Russian Navy’s ability to provide logistical support in Syria and in other coastal zones.14 Russia also re-supplies and provides combat support for prospect of direct U.S. strikes against the Syrian regime for fear of inadvertently hitting Russian troops. Sources estimated that Russia maintains between 1,500 and 4,000 military personnel in Syria.12 These forces in Syria through frequent deliveries from Russian Il-76 and An-124 transport aircraft. As of October 2016, these transport aircraft were making multiple trips to Syria each month and it is likely that these aircraft continue to make regular trips to Syria. [See Appendix V]

 

Limitations of Russian Capabilities

 

Putin faces a number of economic and military constraints that limit the resources Russia can bring to bear in Syria. Russia’s economic crisis has forced Russia to balance limited resources across key theaters like Ukraine, the Baltics, the Middle East, and domestically in Russia. Putin has opted to pursue multiple, mutually reinforcing lines of effort using a diverse set of naval, air, missile, and ground capabilities in Syria. The overlap allows Russia to extract significant benefits with minimal cost. The Russian military has demonstrated its many shortcomings during its deployment to Syria, including frequent friendly fire incidents, losses of Russian aircraft, a poor performance by Russia’s aging aircraft carrier the Admiral Kuznetsov, and reports of mechanical failure of Russian equipment.15

 

The Russian deployment, at current levels, will be insufficient to grant Assad victory over the opposition, al Qaeda, or ISIS. Russia, Iran, and the regime have been unable to sustain significant simultaneous operations against ISIS and the Syrian opposition, despite Russia’s considerable airframe deployments. Russian airframes were unable to prevent ISIS’s recapture of Palmyra in December 2016 alongside a final pro-regime push to defeat the opposition in Aleppo, for example.16 Russia has instead used ‘cessation of hostilities’ agreements to drawdown its airstrikes against the opposition and surge its air campaign against ISIS for limited periods of time.17 Salafi-Jihadi groups have meanwhile begun to consolidate the opposition under more effective command-and-control structures, increasing rebels’ capabilities and resiliency.18 This dynamic will not only lead to a protracted and bloody civil war for the foreseeable future, but it ultimately raises the requirements for the U.S. to deal with the conflict.

 

Implications

 

Russia is both an unacceptable and ineffective partner against jihadists in Syria. The Russian deployment is inconsistent with Putin’s narrative that Russia intervened in Syria in order to combat terrorists. Many of its capabilities have no utility in the anti-ISIS fight. Putin instead seeks to use Russia’s deployment to subordinate U.S. military action and policies to Russian objectives in Syria. Russia’s aggressive deployment to Syria intends to deter the U.S. from intervening for fear of incurring significant costs. Russia has largely pursued its objectives in Syria with impunity. It has deprived the U.S. of freedom of maneuver, disrupted U.S. partnerships with key allies in the region, and facilitated Russia’s emergence as a geopolitical force in the region. Any potential partnership with Russia in Syria will further strengthen jihadists and force the U.S. to capitulate to a Russian vision for the broader Middle East that endangers America’s security interests.

 

Genevieve Casagrande is a Syria Analyst at the Institute for the Study of War. Kathleen Weinberger is a Russia and Ukraine Analyst at the Institute for the Study of War. Institute for the Study of War Twitter: @TheStudyofWar Critical Threats Twitter: @criticalthreats

 

[Blog Editor: From this point forward the rest of the report are the Appendices (i.e. charts) and Notes. The last section is actually longer than the report itself. To view the Appendices and Notes go to the PDF.]

 

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©2007 – 2017 THE INSTITUTE FOR THE STUDY OF WAR

 

Who is ISW

 

We are on the front lines of military thinking.

 

Our Mission

The Institute for the Study of War advances an informed understanding of military affairs through reliable research, trusted analysis, and innovative education. We are committed to improving the nation’s ability to execute military operations and respond to emerging threats in order to achieve U.S. strategic objectives. ISW is a non-partisan, non-profit, public policy research organization.

 

Our History

Dr. Kimberly Kagan founded ISW in May 2007, as U.S. forces undertook a daring new counterinsurgency strategy to reverse the grim security situation on the ground in Iraq. Frustrated with the prevailing lack of accurate information documenting developments on the ground in Iraq and the detrimental effect of biased reporting on policymakers, Dr. Kagan established ISW to provide real-time, independent, and open-source analysis of ongoing military operations and READ THE REST

 

Potential Ways to Defeat ISIS and Assad


John R. Houk

© October 22, 2015

An email sent by ACT for America highlights the reality that ISIS (ISIL, IS or Daesh) uses oil fields they have captured to finance their terrorist war machine that targets non-Muslims (primarily Christians and Yazidis) for slaughter, rape, pillaging and dhimmitude. The email links to a very informative article entitled, “Isis Inc: How Oil Fuels the Jihadi Terrorists” co-written by Erika Solomon, Guy Chazan and Sam Jones originally sourced at the Financial Times but cross posted on the ACT for America website.

The ACT for America email introduction to the entitled article is a pitch for Americans to support the House Bill Fuel Choice for American Prosperity and Security Act of 2015 (HR 2418). After reading HR 2418 that Bill actually has little to do with targeting ISIS’ oil financing of their terrorism agenda to establish an Islamic Caliphate. The Bill focuses on providing incentives to power vehicles with alternative resources other than fossil fuels that would reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases that pollutes the air we breathe.

ACT for America’s support for HR 2418 as a tool that would lessen the marketability of ISIS oil misses a short term targeting of ISIS. The thing for me is that it seems any actual effect on ISIS oil production would occur way down the road on any timeline hurting an ISIS oil economy. Apparently if the Bill became law the standards would not go into effect until 2018. HOWEVER on a long term basis in time, the design of HR 2418 would affect America’s dependence on foreign oil from nations that might have a contrary agenda to the USA’s National Security and national economy.

The FT article suggests the best way to slow down ISIS terrorism is to demolish any ISIS infrastructure – especially oil production – that provides material support for the existence of ISIS. I don’t have a problem with a long term plan to stifle American dependence on foreign oil in our economy; however to begin placing nails in ISIS’s coffin in a quicker time frame, it would be more advisable to attack any infrastructure controlled by ISIS.

America should provide air support to the Syrian rebels that do not have an immediate Radical Islamic agenda (I’m no friend of Islam in any form because of its antichrist/anti-Jew emphasis in the religion’s Quran and other revered writings [Hadith & Sira]) AND begin destroying the ISIS infrastructure and the Jew-hating Assad’s Syrian infrastructure.

Thanks to Obama Foreign Policy fecklessness the Russians have entered the Syria-Iraq-ISIS conflict to the favor of Assad’s Syrian dictatorship who is an ally of Iran, Hezbollah terrorists and probably Hamas terrorists. This means providing direct air support to protect the non-Islamist Syrian rebels will undoubtedly place America and Russia in a crisis that could be a situation comparable to the Kennedy-Khrushchev Cuban Missile Crisis that placed the USA and Russia on the brink of nuclear war in the early 1960s.

We all know who would blink in an Obama-Putin faceoff. Thus if such a crisis of supporting diverging allies in the conflict in Syria-Iraq-ISIS under Obama’s watch I am fairly confident that Russia will turn that region over to a cabal of Hezbollah, Assad and Iran. Guess which ally of America this affects the most in the Middle East? That would be Israel!

So if or when Obama a Middle Eastern chunk of land to Putin’s Russian designs, what do you think Obama will do to protect our ally Israel?

I think Obama will do his best to sell out Israel before he leaves Office in January 2017 making difficult for a new President to set things aright to reestablish American military superiority in the region without probable occurrence of a global war igniting. God help America and our exceptionalism that makes the world a safer place for Americans and our allies.

JRH 10/22/15

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ISIS Inc: How Oil Fuels the Jihadi Terrorists

Email Sent: ACT for America

Sent: 10/21/2015 7:03 AM

There is a “silver bullet” when it comes to stopping jihadi terror around the world: cut off their money supply.

See the important article below to learn more about how “oil is the black gold that funds Isis’ black flag — it fuels its war machine, provides electricity and gives the fanatical jihadis critical leverage against their neighbors.”

Then help do something about it, by taking action today.

Please contact your U.S. Representative to register your strong support for H.R. 2418, the Fuel Choice for American Prosperity and Security Act. We’ve done all the work for you, all you need to do is send the e-mail.

H.R. 2418 will help reduce the strategic importance of oil worldwide — while at the same time using an “all of the above” approach to transportation fuel that will provide consumer choice and create jobs. No preferred fuels, no mandates, no tax dollars.

It’s a win win — for our security, for our nation, and for the world.

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Isis Inc: How Oil Fuels the Jihadi Terrorists

 

By Erika Solomon in Beirut, Guy Chazan and Sam Jones in London

Originally: Financial Times

ACT for America Action Center

2015-10-20

 

On the outskirts of al-Omar oilfield in eastern Syria, with warplanes flying overhead, a line of trucks stretches for 6km. Some drivers wait for a month to fill up with crude.

Falafel stalls and tea shops have sprung up to cater to the drivers, such is the demand for oil. Traders sometimes leave their trucks unguarded for weeks, waiting for their turn.

This is the land of Isis, the jihadi organisation in control of swaths of Syrian and Iraqi territory. The trade in oil has been declared a prime target by the international military coalition fighting the group. And yet it goes on, undisturbed.

Oil is the black gold that funds Isis’ black flag — it fuels its war machine, provides electricity and gives the fanatical jihadis critical leverage against their neighbours.

But more than a year after US President Barack Obama launched an international coalition to fight Isis, the bustling trade at al-Omar and at least eight other fields has come to symbolise the dilemma the campaign faces: how to bring down the “caliphate” without destabilising the life of the estimated 10m civilians in areas under Isis control, and punishing the west’s allies?

The resilience of Isis, and the weakness of the US-led campaign, have given Russia a pretext to launch its own, bold intervention in Syria.

Despite all these efforts, dozens of interviews with Syrian traders and oil engineers as well as western intelligence officials and oil experts reveal a sprawling operation almost akin to a state oil company that has grown in size and expertise despite international attempts to destroy it.

Minutely managed, Isis’ oil company actively recruits skilled workers, from engineers to trainers and managers.

Syria-Iraq ISIS map

Estimates by local traders and engineers put crude production in Isis-held territory at about 34,000-40,000 bpd. The oil is sold at the wellhead for between $20 and $45 a barrel, earning the militants an average of $1.5m a day.

“It’s a situation that makes you laugh and cry,” said one Syrian rebel commander in Aleppo, who buys diesel from Isis areas even as his forces fight the group on the front lines. “But we have no other choice, and we are a poor man’s revolution. Is anyone else offering to give us fuel?”

Oil as a strategic weapon

Isis’ oil strategy has been long in the making. Since the group emerged on the scene in Syria in 2013, long before they reached Mosul in Iraq, the jihadis saw oil as a crutch for their vision for an Islamic state. The group’s shura council identified it as fundamental for the survival of the insurgency and, more importantly, to finance their ambition to create a caliphate.

Most of the oil Isis controls is in Syria’s oil-rich east, where it created a foothold in 2013, shortly after withdrawing from the north-west — an area of strategic importance but with no oil. These bridgeheads were then used to consolidate control over the whole of eastern Syria after the fall of Mosul in 2014.

When it pushed through northern Iraq and took over Mosul, Isis also seized the Ajil and Allas fields in north-eastern Iraq’s Kirkuk province. The very day of its takeover, locals say, militants secured the fields and engineers were sent in to begin operations and ship the oil to market.

“They were ready, they had people there in charge of the financial side, they had technicians that adjusted the filling and storage process,” said a local sheikh from the town of Hawija, near Kirkuk. “They brought hundreds of trucks in from Kirkuk and Mosul and they started to extract the oil and export it.” An average of 150 trucks, he added, were filled daily, with each containing about $10,000-worth of oil. Isis lost the fields to the Iraqi army in April but made an estimated $450m from them in the 10 months it controlled the area.

While al-Qaeda, the global terrorist network, depended on donations from wealthy foreign sponsors, Isis has derived its financial strength from its status as monopoly producer of an essential commodity consumed in vast quantities throughout the area it controls. Even without being able to export, it can thrive because it has a huge captive market in Syria and Iraq.

Syrian Rebel Quote on buying ISIS oil

Indeed, diesel and petrol produced in Isis areas are not only consumed in territory the group controls but in areas that are technically at war with it, such as Syria’s rebel-held north: the region is dependent on the jihadis’ fuel for its survival. Hospitals, shops, tractors and machinery used to pull victims out of rubble run on generators that are powered by Isis oil.

“At any moment, the diesel can be cut. No diesel — Isis knows our life is completely dead,” says one oil trader who comes from rebel-held Aleppo each week to buy fuel and spoke to the Financial Times by telephone.

A national oil company

Isis’ strategy has rested on projecting the image of a state in the making, and it is attempting to run its oil industry by mimicking the ways of national oil corporations. According to Syrians who say Isis tried to recruit them, the group headhunts engineers, offering competitive salaries to those with the requisite experience, and encourages prospective employees to apply to its human resources department.

A roving committee of its specialists checks up on fields, monitors production and interviews workers about operations. It also appoints Isis members who have worked at oil companies in Saudi Arabia or elsewhere in the Middle East as “emirs”, or princes, to run its most important facilities, say traders who buy Isis oil and engineers who have worked at Isis-controlled fields.

Some technicians have been actively courted by Isis recruiters. Rami — not his real name — used to work in oil in Syria’s Deir Ezzor province before becoming a rebel commander. He was later contacted by an Isis military emir in Iraq via WhatsApp.

Targeting ISIS infrastructure by airstrikes infitisimalTargeting ISIS infrastructure by airstrikes infinitesimal

“I could choose whatever position I wanted, he promised me,” he said. “He said: ‘You can name your salary’.” Sceptical of the Isis project, Rami ultimately turned down the offer and fled to Turkey.

Isis also recruits from among its supporters abroad. In the speech he gave after the fall of Mosul, Isis leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi called not only for fighters but engineers, doctors and other skilled labour. The group recently appointed an Egyptian engineer who used to live in Sweden as the new manager of its Qayyara refinery in northern Iraq, according to an Iraqi petroleum engineer from Mosul, who declined to be named.

The central role of oil is also reflected in the status it is given in Isis’ power structures.

The group’s approach to government across the territories it controls is highly decentralised. For the most part, it relies on regional walis — governors — to administer territories according to the precepts laid down by the central shura.

However, oil — alongside Isis’ military and security operations and its sophisticated media output — is centrally controlled by the top leadership. “They are organised in their approach to oil,” said a senior western intelligence official. “That’s a key centrally controlled and documented area. It’s a central shura matter,” he added, referring to Isis’ ruling “cabinet”.

Until recently, Isis’ emir for oil was Abu Sayyaf, a Tunisian whose real name, according to the Pentagon, was Fathi Ben Awn Ben Jildi Murad al-Tunisi, and who was killed by US special forces in a raid in May this year. According to US and European intelligence officials, a treasure trove of documentation relating to Isis’ oil operations was found with him. The documents laid bare a meticulously run operation, with revenues from wells and costs carefully accounted for. They showed a pragmatic approach to pricing too, with Isis carefully exploiting differences in demand across its territories to maximise profitability.

Cut-Off ISIS kills ISIS

Oversight of the oil wells is carefully controlled by the Amniyat, Isis’ secret police, who ensure revenues go where they should — and mete out brutal punishments when they do not. Guards patrol the perimeter of pumping stations, while far-flung individual wells are surrounded by protective sand berms and each trader is carefully checked as he drives in to fill up.

At the al-Jibssa field in Hassakeh province, north-eastern Syria, which produces 2,500-3,000 bpd, “about 30-40 big trucks a day, each with 75 barrels of capacity, would fill up”, according to one Hassakeh oil trader.

Isis’ distribution network

But the biggest draw is al-Omar. According to one trader who regularly buys oil there, the system, with its 6km queue, is slow but market players have adapted to it. Drivers present a document with their licence plate number and tanker capacity to Isis officials, who enter them into a database and assign them a number.

ISIS oil: from well to market

Most then return to their villages, shuttling back to the site every two or three days to check up on their vehicles. Traders say that towards the end of the month, some people come back and set up tents to stay close to their trucks while they wait their turn.

Once in possession of al-Omar’s oil, the traders either take it to local refineries or sell it on at a mark-up to middlemen with smaller vehicles who transport it to cities further west such as Aleppo and Idlib.

Isis’ luck with oil may not last. Coalition bombs, the Russian intervention and low oil prices could put pressure on revenues. The biggest threat to Isis’ production so far, however, has been the depletion of Syria’s ageing oilfields. It does not have the technology of major foreign companies to counteract what locals describe as a slow drop in production. Isis’ need for fuel for its military operations means there is also less oil to sell in the market.

For now, though, in Isis-controlled territory, the jihadis control the supply and there is no shortage of demand. “Everyone here needs diesel: for water, for farming, for hospitals, for offices. If diesel is cut off, there is no life here,” says a businessman who works near Aleppo. “Isis knows this [oil] is a winning card.”

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Potential Ways to Defeat ISIS and Assad

John R. Houk

© October 22, 2015

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ISIS Inc: How Oil Fuels the Jihadi Terrorists

ACT for America Action Center home page

 

Engage FAQ

What is Engage?


Engage is ACT! for America’s new and improved grassroots advocacy platform.


Through Engage, ACT! for America members can:


• receive time-sensitive action alerts on important national security-related legislation

 

• become informed about critical national security-related public policy issues

 

• easily access information about their individual legislators

 

• easily and effectively make their voice heard on Capitol Hill and in their state legislatures.

Why should I use Engage?


Your right to express your views and opinions to your legislators is explicitly protected in the U.S. Constitution. It is a critical component of our nation’s democratic form of government. Each day, issues are discussed in the federal and state legislatures that affect our national security. ACT! for America’s goal is to make it as easy as possible for you to be involved in the legislative process, so that good policies are enacted and bad policies are blocked. Through Engage you will be provided with all the tools possible to make you a better and more effective advocate.

How do I use Engage?


There are several ways to use Engage. ACT! for America members may be driven to Engage by action alerts emails. In addition, they may access national security-related legislation that ACT! for America has placed on its “High Priority List.” ACT! for America members are encouraged to review these bills at any time by logging on to their Engage account. Further, at any time they may register support for these bills with their legislators via e-mail, phone call, or social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.). When timely, ACT! for America’s members will
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Russia Enters Syria – Is it Geopolitics or Prophecy?


A rebel group in Syria said to be backed by the US, claimed that Russian warplanes have hit its positions in the centrre (sic) of the country.

John R. Houk

© September 30, 2015

Pertaining to Israel, I have to be upfront. My view of the Jewish State is through the lens of the Holy Bible. As a Christian that means I am labelled a Christian Zionist. The kind of guy that Orthodox Jews mistrust due to history and the viewpoint that Christian evangelism is a threat to Judaism. I am also the kind of guy Left Wing (sometimes called Liberal and sometimes called Progressive) Jews loathe due to a non-secular pigeon-holing Israel in Biblical terms rather than a secular homeland for Jews to escape centuries of global antisemitism. Frankly I’m not claiming to know an Israeli/Jewish middle ground of the acceptance Christian Zionist friendship. I just pray a growing trust for Christians supporting Israel grows. At the same time I advise Jews – particularly Israeli Jews – to be wary of Western Leftists and of Progressive (Leftist) Christians who have disowned Biblical essentials and the reality of God Almighty.

NIV Quotes:

Ezek 39:27-29 “When I have brought them back from the nations and have gathered them from the countries of their enemies, I will show myself holy through them in the sight of many nations.” 28 “Then they will know that I am the LORD their God, for though I sent them into exile among the nations, I will gather them to their own land, not leaving any behind.” 29 “I will no longer hide my face from them, for I will pour out my Spirit on the house of Israel, declares the Sovereign LORD.”

Amos 9:13-15 “The days are coming, declares the LORD, when the reaper will be overtaken by the plowman and the planter by the one treading grapes. New wine will drip from the mountains and flow from all the hills. 14 I will bring back my exiled people Israel; they will rebuild the ruined cities and live in them. They will plant vineyards and drink their wine; they will make gardens and eat their fruit. 15 I will plant Israel in their own land, never again to be uprooted from the land I have given them, says the LORD your God.”

Jer 30:2 “This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: ‘Write in a book all the words I have spoken to you. 3 The days are coming,’ declares the LORD, ‘when I will bring my people Israel and Judah back from captivity and restore them to the land I gave their forefathers to possess,’ says the LORD.”

Jer 31:10 “Hear the word of the LORD, O nations; proclaim it in distant coastlands: ‘He who scattered Israel will gather them and will watch over his flock like a shepherd.”

Jer 33:7 “I will bring Judah and Israel back from captivity and will rebuild them as they were before.”

Ezek 37:21-27 …..“I will take the Israelites out of the nations where they have gone. I will gather them from all around and bring them back into their own land. 22 I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel. There will be one king over all of them and they will never again be two nations or be divided into two kingdoms.” (Quotes taken from: Israel: The Greatest Sign; By Ken Marineau; Bible Probe for Christians and Messianic Jews)

Stratfor bills itself as a geopolitical intelligence firm and as such does not look geopolitically through a Biblical lens. From Stratfor I have learned the strategic importance of Israel from history to the present. A Stratfor email was sent out that I believe is no coincidence of the timing of Putin’s Russia demanding the USA to stop bombing inside Syria. Russia is deploying troops to Syria AND so far its own strafing is occurring where ISIS is not in control. Could it be that Russia is engaging the Syrian rebels trying to topple Bashar al-Assad – the same rebels not connected to the brutal Islamic terrorists of ISIS and al Nusra?

Does Secretary of State John Kerry (representing Obama Administration) sound clueless to Russian intentions or what?

VIDEO: Kerry: US Welcomes Russia Strikes if Target IS

 

Published by Associated Press

Published on Sep 30, 2015

Secretary of State John Kerry announced that the United States is prepared to welcome Russia’s actions in Syria if they are directed at the Islamic State group and al-Qaeda. (Sept. 30)

Subscribe for more Breaking News:
Get updates and more Breaking News here:

The Associated Press is the essential global news network, delivering fast, unbiased [cough] news from every corner of the world to all media platforms and formats.

AP’s commitment to You can read the rest of the lame self-promotion

Is Russia jockeying itself to be the prophetic invaders from the north of Israel that ironically lines up with the Stratfor analysis of the geopolitical importance of Israel? Here is the Stratfor tease from the PDF:

Israel exists in three conditions. First, it can be a completely independent state. This condition occurs when there are no major imperial powers external to the region. We might call this the David model.

Second, it can live as part of an imperial system — either as a subordinate ally, as a moderately autonomous entity or as a satrapy. In any case, it maintains its identity but loses room for independent maneuvering in foreign policy and potentially in domestic policy. We might call this the Persian model in its most beneficent form.

Finally, Israel can be completely crushed — with mass deportations and migrations, with a complete loss of autonomy and minimal residual autonomy. We might call this the Babylonian model.

Below is the Stratfor PDF reformatted for blogging:

JRH 9/30/15

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The Geopolitics of Israel: Biblical and Modern

STRATFOR PDF

Downloaded 9/30/15

Notification Sent: 9/29/2015 9:42 PM

This study was originally published by Stratfor in 2008 as the first in a series of monographs on the geopolitics of globally important countries.

Introduction

The founding principle of geopolitics is that place — geography — plays a significant role in determining how nations will behave. If that theory is true, then there ought to be a deep continuity in a nation’s foreign policy. Israel is a laboratory for this theory, since it has existed in three different manifestations in roughly the same place, twice in antiquity and once in modernity. If geopolitics is correct, then Israeli foreign policy, independent of policymakers, technology or the identity of neighbors, ought to have important common features. This is, therefore, a discussion of common principles in Israeli foreign policy over nearly 3,000 years.

For convenience, we will use the term “Israel” to connote all of the Hebrew and Jewish entities that have existed in the Levant since the invasion of the region as chronicled in the Book of Joshua. As always, geopolitics requires a consideration of three dimensions: the internal geopolitics of Israel, the interaction of Israel and the immediate neighbors who share borders with it, and Israel’s interaction with what we will call great powers, beyond Israel’s borderlands.

Table of Contents

Introduction 2

Table of Contents 3

Israel in Biblical Times 4

Israeli Geography and Borderlands 6

Israeli Geography and the Convergence Zone 11

Internal Geopolitics 13

Israel and the Great Powers 15

The Geopolitics of Contemporary Israel 16

Israel in Biblical Times

Israel has manifested itself three times in history. The first manifestation began with the invasion led by Joshua and lasted through its division into two kingdoms, the Babylonian conquest of the Kingdom of Judah and the deportation to Babylon early in the sixth century B.C.

FIRST MANIFESTATION (1200 BCE)

 

The second manifestation began when Israel was recreated in 540 B.C. by the Persians, who had defeated the Babylonians. The nature of this second manifestation changed in the fourth century B.C., when Greece overran the Persian Empire and Israel, and again in the first century B.C., when the Romans conquered the region.

SECOND MANIFESTATION

The second manifestation saw Israel as a small actor within the framework of larger imperial powers, a situation that lasted until the destruction of the Jewish vassal state by the Romans.

Israel’s third manifestation began in 1948, following (as in the other cases) an ingathering of at least some of the Jews who had been dispersed after conquests. Israel’s founding takes place in the context of the decline and fall of the British Empire and must, at least in part, be understood as part of British imperial history.

THIRD MANIFESTATION (1948)

 

 

Israeli Geography and Borderlands

At its height, under King David, Israel extended from the Sinai to the Euphrates, encompassing Damascus. It occupied some, but relatively little, of the coastal region, an area beginning at what today is Haifa and running south to Jaffa, just north of today’s Tel Aviv. The coastal area to the north was held by Phoenicia, the area to the south by Philistines. It is essential to understand that Israel’s size and shape shifted over time. For example, Judah under the Hasmoneans did not include the Negev but did include the Golan. The general locale of Israel is fixed. Its precise borders have never been.

Thus, it is perhaps better to begin with what never was part of Israel. Israel never included the Sinai Peninsula. Along the coast, it never stretched much farther north than the Litani River in today’s Lebanon. Apart from David’s extreme extension (and fairly tenuous control) to the north, Israel’s territory never stretched as far as Damascus, although it frequently held the Golan Heights. Israel extended many times to both sides of the Jordan but never deep into the Jordanian Desert. It never extended southeast into the Arabian Peninsula.

Israel consists generally of three parts. First, it always has had the northern hill region, stretching from the foothills of Mount Hermon south to Jerusalem. Second, it always contains some of the coastal plain from today’s Tel Aviv north to Haifa. Third, it occupies area between Jerusalem and the Jordan River — today’s West Bank. At times, it controls all or part of the Negev, including the coastal region between the Sinai to the Tel Aviv area. It may be larger than this at various times in history, and sometimes smaller, but it normally holds all or part of these three regions.

Israel is well-buffered in three directions. The Sinai Desert protects it against the Egyptians. In general, the Sinai has held little attraction for the Egyptians. The difficulty of deploying forces in the eastern Sinai poses severe logistical problems for them, particularly during a prolonged presence. Unless Egypt can rapidly move through the Sinai north into the coastal plain, where it can sustain its forces more readily, deploying in the Sinai is difficult and unrewarding. Therefore, so long as Israel is not so weak as to make an attack on the coastal plain a viable option, or unless Egypt is motivated by an outside imperial power, Israel does not face a threat from the southwest.

Israel is similarly protected from the southeast. The deserts southeast of Eilat-Aqaba are virtually impassable. No large force could approach from that direction, although smaller raiding parties could. The tribes of the Arabian Peninsula lack the reach or the size to pose a threat to Israel, unless massed and aligned with other forces. Even then, the approach from the southeast is not one that they are likely to take. The Negev is secure from that direction.

The eastern approaches are similarly secured by desert, which begins about 20 to 30 miles east of the Jordan River. While indigenous forces exist in the borderland east of the Jordan, they lack the numbers to be able to penetrate decisively west of the Jordan. Indeed, the normal model is that, so long as Israel controls Judea and Samaria (the modern-day West Bank), then the East Bank of the Jordan River is under the political and sometimes military domination of Israel — sometimes directly through settlement, sometimes indirectly through political influence, or economic or security leverage.

Israel’s vulnerability is in the north. There is no natural buffer between Phoenicia and its successor entities (today’s Lebanon) to the direct north. The best defense line for Israel in the north is the Litani River, but this is not an insurmountable boundary under any circumstance. However, the area along the coast north of Israel does not present a serious threat. The coastal area prospers through trade in the Mediterranean basin. It is oriented toward the sea and to the trade routes to the east, not to the south. If it does anything, this area protects those trade routes and has no appetite for a conflict that might disrupt trade. It stays out of Israel’s way, for the most part.

Moreover, as a commercial area, this region is generally wealthy, a factor that increases predators around it and social conflict within. It is an area prone to instability. Israel frequently tries to extend its influence northward for commercial reasons, as one of the predators, and this can entangle Israel in its regional politics. But barring this self-induced problem, the threat to Israel from the north is minimal, despite the absence of natural boundaries and the large population. On occasion, there is spillover of conflicts from the north, but not to a degree that might threaten regime survival in Israel.

The neighbor that is always a threat lies to the northeast. Syria — or, more precisely, the area governed by Damascus at any time — is populous and frequently has no direct outlet to the sea. It is, therefore, generally poor. The area to its north, Asia Minor, is heavily mountainous. Syria cannot project power to the north except with great difficulty, but powers in Asia Minor can move south. Syria’s eastern flank is buffered by a desert that stretches to the Euphrates.

Therefore, when there is no threat from the north, Syria’s interest — after securing itself internally — is to gain access to the coast. Its primary channel is directly westward, toward the rich cities of the northern Levantine coast, with which it trades heavily. An alternative interest is southwestward, toward the southern Levantine coast controlled by Israel.

THE GOLAN HEIGHTS

As can be seen, Syria can be interested in Israel only selectively. When it is interested, it has a serious battle problem. To attack Israel, it would have to strike between Mount Hermon and the Sea of Galilee, an area about 25 miles wide. The Syrians potentially can attack south of the sea, but only if they are prepared to fight through this region and then attack on extended supply lines. If an attack is mounted along the main route, Syrian forces must descend the Golan Heights and then fight through the hilly Galilee before reaching the coastal plain — sometimes with guerrillas holding out in the Galilean hills. The Galilee is an area that is relatively easy to defend and difficult to attack. Therefore, it is only once Syria takes the Galilee, and can control its lines of supply against guerrilla attack, that its real battle begins.

To reach the coast or move toward Jerusalem, Syria must fight through a plain in front of a line of low hills. This is the decisive battleground where massed Israeli forces, close to lines of supply, can defend against dispersed Syrian forces on extended lines of supply. It is no accident that Megiddo — or Armageddon, as the plain is sometimes referred to — has apocalyptic meaning. This is the point at which any move from Syria would be decided. But a Syrian offensive would have a tough fight to reach Megiddo, and a tougher one as it deploys on the plain.

On the surface, Israel lacks strategic depth, but this is true only on the surface. It faces limited threats from southern neighbors. To its east, it faces only a narrow strip of populated area east of the Jordan. To the north, there is a maritime commercial entity. Syria operating alone, forced through the narrow gap of the Mount Hermon-Galilee line and operating on extended supply lines, can be dealt with readily.

There is a risk of simultaneous attacks from multiple directions. Depending on the forces deployed and the degree of coordination between them, this can pose a problem for Israel. However, even here the Israelis have the tremendous advantage of fighting on interior lines. Egypt and Syria, fighting on external lines (and widely separated fronts), would have enormous difficulty transferring forces from one front to another. Israel, on interior lines (fronts close to each other with good transportation), would be able to move its forces from front to front rapidly, allowing for sequential engagement and thereby the defeat of enemies.

Unless enemies are carefully coordinated and initiate war simultaneously — and deploy substantially superior force on at least one front — Israel can initiate war at a time of its choosing or else move its forces rapidly between fronts, negating much of the advantage of size that the attackers might have.

There is another aspect to the problem of multifront war. Egypt usually has minimal interests along the Levant, having its own coast and an orientation to the south toward the headwaters of the Nile. On the rare occasions when Egypt does move through the Sinai and attacks to the north and northeast, it is in an expansionary mode. By the time it consolidates and exploits the coastal plain, it would be powerful enough to threaten Syria. From Syria’s point of view, the only thing more dangerous than Israel is an Egypt in control of Israel. Therefore, the probability of a coordinated north-south strike at Israel is rare, is rarely coordinated and usually is not designed to be a mortal blow. It is defeated by Israel’s strategic advantage of interior lines.

Israeli Geography and the Convergence Zone

Therefore, it is not surprising that Israel’s first incarnation lasted as long as it did — some five centuries. What is interesting and what must be considered is why Israel (now considered as the northern kingdom) was defeated by the Assyrians and Judea, then defeated by Babylon. To understand this, we need to consider the broader geography of Israel’s location.

Israel is located on the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea, on the Levant. As we have seen, when Israel is intact, it will tend to be the dominant power in the Levant. Therefore, Israeli resources must generally be dedicated for land warfare, leaving little over for naval warfare. In general, although Israel had excellent harbors and access to wood for shipbuilding, it never was a major Mediterranean naval power. It never projected power into the sea. The area to the north of Israel has always been a maritime power, but Israel, the area south of Mount Hermon, was always forced to be a land power.

The Levant in general and Israel in particular has always been a magnet for great powers. No Mediterranean empire could be fully secure unless it controlled the Levant. Whether it was Rome or Carthage, a Mediterranean empire that wanted to control both the northern and southern littorals needed to anchor its eastern flank on the Levant. For one thing, without the Levant, a Mediterranean power would be entirely dependent on sea lanes for controlling the other shore. Moving troops solely by sea creates transport limitations and logistical problems.

It also leaves imperial lines vulnerable to interdiction — sometimes merely from pirates, a problem that plagued Rome’s sea transport. A land bridge, or a land bridge with minimal water crossings that can be easily defended, is a vital supplement to the sea for the movement of large numbers of troops. Once the Hellespont (now known as the Dardanelles) is crossed, the coastal route through southern Turkey, down the Levant and along the Mediterranean’s southern shore, provides such an alternative.

There is an additional consideration. If a Mediterranean empire leaves the Levant unoccupied, it opens the door to the possibility of a great power originating to the east seizing the ports of the Levant and challenging the Mediterranean power for maritime domination. In short, control of the Levant binds a Mediterranean empire together while denying a challenger from the east the opportunity to enter the Mediterranean. Holding the Levant, and controlling Israel, is a necessary preventive measure for a Mediterranean empire.

Israel is also important to any empire originating to the east of Israel, either in the Tigris- Euphrates basin or in Persia. For either, security could be assured only once it had an anchor on the Levant. Macedonian expansion under Alexander demonstrated that a power controlling Levantine and Turkish ports could support aggressive operations far to the east, to the Hindu Kush and beyond. While Turkish ports might have sufficed for offensive operations, simply securing the Bosporus still left the southern flank exposed. Therefore, by holding the Levant, an eastern power protected itself against attacks from Mediterranean powers.

CONVERGENCE ZONE

The Levant was also important to any empire originating to the north or south of Israel. If Egypt decided to move beyond the Nile Basin and North Africa eastward, it would move first through the Sinai and then northward along the coastal plain, securing sea lanes to Egypt. When Asia Minor powers such as the Ottoman Empire developed, there was a natural tendency to move southward to control the eastern Mediterranean. The Levant is the crossroads of continents, and Israel lies in the path of many imperial ambitions.

Israel therefore occupies what might be called the convergence zone of the Eastern Hemisphere. A European power trying to dominate the Mediterranean or expand eastward, an eastern power trying to dominate the space between the Hindu Kush and the Mediterranean, a North African power moving toward the east, or a northern power moving south — all must converge on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean and therefore on Israel. Of these, the European power and the eastern power must be the most concerned with Israel. For either, there is no choice but to secure it as an anchor.

Internal Geopolitics

Israel is geographically divided into three regions, which traditionally have produced three different types of people. Its coastal plain facilitates commerce, serving as the interface between eastern trade routes and the sea. It is the home of merchants and manufacturers, cosmopolitans — not as cosmopolitan as Phoenicia or Lebanon, but cosmopolitan for Israel. The northeast is hill country, closest to the unruliness north of the Litani River and to the Syrian threat. It breeds farmers and warriors. The area south of Jerusalem is hard desert country, more conducive to herdsman and warriors than anything else. Jerusalem is where these three regions are balanced and governed.

Photos: Source: Lehava Taybe via Israeli Pikiwiki project* – Source: Israel Defense Force** – Source: Avishai Teicher via Israeli Pikiwiki project*

[*Images provided under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 license. These images have not been altered in any way other than cropped to fit available space. Terms of the license can be viewed here: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5/deed.en

**Image provided under the Creative Commons 2.0 Generic license. Terms of the license can be viewed here: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/ 2.0/deed.en]

 

There are obviously deep differences built into Israel’s geography and inhabitants, particularly between the herdsmen of the southern deserts and the northern hill dwellers. The coastal dwellers, rich but less warlike than the others, hold the balance or are the prize to be pursued. In the division of the original kingdom between Israel and Judea, we saw the alliance of the coast with the Galilee, while Jerusalem was held by the desert dwellers. The consequence of the division was that Israel in the north ultimately was conquered by Assyrians from the northeast, while Babylon was able to swallow Judea.

Social divisions in Israel obviously do not have to follow geographical lines. However, over time, these divisions must manifest themselves. For example, the coastal plain is inherently more cosmopolitan than the rest of the country. The interests of its inhabitants lie more with trading partners in the Mediterranean and the rest of the world than with their countrymen. Their standard of living is higher, and their commitment to traditions is lower. Therefore, there is an inherent tension between their immediate interests and those of the Galileans, who live more precarious, warlike lives. Countries can be divided over lesser issues — and when Israel is divided, it is vulnerable even to regional threats.

We say “even” because geography dictates that regional threats are less menacing than might be expected. The fact that Israel would be outnumbered demographically should all its neighbors turn on it is less important than the fact that it has adequate buffers in most directions, that the ability of neighbors to coordinate an attack is minimal and that their appetite for such an attack is even less. The single threat that Israel faces from the northeast can readily be managed if the Israelis create a united front there. When Israel was overrun by a Damascus-based power, it was deeply divided internally.

It is important to add one consideration to our discussion of buffers, which is diplomacy. The main neighbors of Israel are Egyptians, Syrians and those who live on the east bank of Jordan. This last group is a negligible force demographically, and the interests of the Syrians and Egyptians are widely divergent. Egypt’s interests are to the south and west of its territory; the Sinai holds no attraction. Syria is always threatened from multiple directions, and alliance with Egypt adds little to its security. Therefore, under the worst of circumstances, Egypt and Syria have difficulty supporting each other. Under the best of circumstances, from Israel’s point of view, it can reach a political accommodation with Egypt, securing its southwestern frontier politically as well as by geography, thus freeing Israel to concentrate on the northern threats and opportunities.

Israel and the Great Powers

The threat to Israel rarely comes from the region, except when the Israelis are divided internally. The conquests of Israel occur when powers not adjacent to it begin forming empires. Babylon, Persia, Macedonia, Rome, Turkey and Britain all controlled Israel politically, sometimes for worse and sometimes for better. Each dominated it militarily, but none was a neighbor of Israel. This is a consistent pattern. Israel can resist its neighbors; danger arises when more distant powers begin playing imperial games. Empires can bring force to bear that Israel cannot resist.

Israel therefore has this problem: It would be secure if it could confine itself to protecting its interests from neighbors, but it cannot confine itself because its geographic location invariably draws larger, more distant powers toward Israel. Therefore, while Israel’s military can focus only on immediate interests, its diplomatic interests must look much further. Israel is constantly entangled with global interests (as the globe is defined at any point), seeking to deflect and align with broader global powers. When it fails in this diplomacy, the consequences can be catastrophic.

Israel exists in three conditions. First, it can be a completely independent state. This condition occurs when there are no major imperial powers external to the region. We might call this the David model.

Second, it can live as part of an imperial system — either as a subordinate ally, as a moderately autonomous entity or as a satrapy. In any case, it maintains its identity but loses room for independent maneuvering in foreign policy and potentially in domestic policy. We might call this the Persian model in its most beneficent form.

Finally, Israel can be completely crushed — with mass deportations and migrations, with a complete loss of autonomy and minimal residual autonomy. We might call this the Babylonian model.

The Davidic model exists primarily when there is no external imperial power needing control of the Levant that is in a position either to send direct force or to support surrogates in the immediate region. The Persian model exists when Israel aligns itself with the foreign policy interests of such an imperial power, to its own benefit. The Babylonian model exists when Israel miscalculates on the broader balance of power and attempts to resist an emerging hegemon. When we look at Israeli behavior over time, the periods when Israel does not confront hegemonic powers outside the region are not rare, but are far less common than when it is confronting them.

Given the period of the first iteration of Israel, it would be too much to say that the Davidic model rarely comes into play, but certainly since that time, variations of the Persian and Babylonian models have dominated. The reason is geographic. Israel is normally of interest to outside powers because of its strategic position. While Israel can deal with local challenges effectively, it cannot deal with broader challenges. It lacks the economic or military weight to resist. Therefore, it is normally in the process of managing broader threats or collapsing because of them.

The Geopolitics of Contemporary Israel

Let us then turn to the contemporary manifestation of Israel. Israel was recreated because of the interaction between a regional great power, the Ottoman Empire, and a global power, Great Britain. During its expansionary phase, the Ottoman Empire sought to dominate the eastern Mediterranean as well as both its northern and southern coasts. One thrust went through the Balkans toward central Europe. The other was toward Egypt. Inevitably, this required that the Ottomans secure the Levant.

For the British, the focus on the eastern Mediterranean was as the primary sea lane to India. As such, Gibraltar and the Suez were crucial. The importance of the Suez was such that the presence of a hostile, major naval force in the eastern Mediterranean represented a direct threat to British interests. It followed that defeating the Ottoman Empire during World War I and breaking its residual naval power was critical. The British, as was shown at Gallipoli, lacked the resources to break the Ottoman Empire by main force. They resorted to a series of alliances with local forces to undermine the Ottomans. One was an alliance with Bedouin tribes in the Arabian Peninsula; others involved covert agreements with anti-Turkish, Arab interests from the Levant to the Persian Gulf. A third, minor thrust was aligning with Jewish interests globally, particularly those interested in the refounding of Israel. Britain had little interest in this goal, but saw such discussions as part of the process of destabilizing the Ottomans.

The strategy worked. Under an agreement with France, the Ottoman province of Syria was divided into two parts on a line roughly running east-west between the sea and Mount Hermon. The northern part was given to France and divided into Lebanon and a rump Syria entity. The southern part was given to Britain and was called Palestine, after the Ottoman administrative district Filistina. Given the complex politics of the Arabian Peninsula, the British had to find a home for a group of Hashemites, which they located on the east bank of the Jordan River and designated, for want of a better name, the Trans-Jordan — the other side of the Jordan. Palestine looked very much like traditional Israel.

The ideological foundations of Zionism are not our concern here, nor are the pre- and post- World War II migrations of Jews, although those are certainly critical. What is important for purposes of this analysis are two things: First, the British emerged economically and militarily crippled from World War II and unable to retain their global empire, Palestine included. Second, the two global powers that emerged after World War II — the United States and the Soviet Union — were engaged in an intense struggle for the eastern Mediterranean after World War II, as can be seen in the Greek and Turkish issues at that time. Neither wanted to see the British Empire survive, each wanted the Levant, and neither was prepared to make a decisive move to take it.

Both the United States and the Soviet Union saw the re-creation of Israel as an opportunity to introduce their power to the Levant. The Soviets thought they might have some influence over Israel due to ideology. The Americans thought they might have some influence given the role of American Jews in the founding. Neither was thinking particularly clearly about the matter, because neither had truly found its balance after World War II. Both knew the Levant was important, but neither saw the Levant as a central battleground at that moment. Israel slipped through the cracks.

Once the question of Jewish unity was settled through ruthless action by David Ben Gurion’s government, Israel faced a simultaneous threat from all of its immediate neighbors. However, as we have seen, the threat in 1948 was more apparent than real. The northern Levant, Lebanon, was fundamentally disunited — far more interested in regional maritime trade and concerned about control from Damascus. It posed no real threat to Israel. Jordan, settling the eastern bank of the Jordan River, was an outside power that had been transplanted into the region and was more concerned about native Arabs — the Palestinians — than about Israel. The Jordanians secretly collaborated with Israel. Egypt did pose a threat, but its ability to maintain lines of supply across the Sinai was severely limited and its genuine interest in engaging and destroying Israel was more rhetorical than real. As usual, the Egyptians could not afford the level of effort needed to move into the Levant. Syria by itself had a very real interest in Israel’s defeat, but by itself was incapable of decisive action.

The exterior lines of Israel’s neighbors prevented effective, concerted action. Israel’s interior lines permitted efficient deployment and redeployment of force. It was not obvious at the time, but in retrospect we can see that once Israel existed, was united and had even limited military force, its survival was guaranteed. That is, so long as no great power was opposed to its existence.

From its founding until the Camp David Accords re-established the Sinai as a buffer with Egypt, Israel’s strategic problem was this: So long as Egypt was in the Sinai, Israel’s national security requirements outstripped its military capabilities. It could not simultaneously field an army, maintain its civilian economy and produce all the weapons and supplies needed for war. Israel had to align itself with great powers who saw an opportunity to pursue other interests by arming Israel.

David Ben Gurion, Israel’s first prime minister (Public domain)

Josef Stalin, first Secretary-General of the Soviet Union (Public domain) – Robert Schuman, French prime minister, 1948 (Public domain)

Israel’s first patron was the Soviet Union — through Czechoslovakia — which supplied weapons before and after 1948 in the hopes of using Israel to gain a foothold in the eastern Mediterranean. Israel, aware of the risks of losing autonomy, also moved into a relationship with a declining great power that was fighting to retain its empire: France. Struggling to hold onto Algeria and in constant tension with Arabs, France saw Israel as a natural ally. And apart from the operation against Suez in 1956, Israel saw in France a patron that was not in a position to reduce Israeli autonomy. However, with the end of the Algerian war and the realignment of France in the Arab world, Israel became a liability to France and, after 1967, Israel lost French patronage.

Israel did not become a serious ally of the Americans until after 1967. Such an alliance was in the American interest. The United States had, as a strategic imperative, the goal of keeping the Soviet navy out of the Mediterranean or, at least, blocking its unfettered access. That meant that Turkey, controlling the Bosporus, had to be kept in the American bloc. Syria and Iraq shifted policies in the late 1950s and by the mid-1960s had been armed by the Soviets. This made Turkey’s position precarious: If the Soviets pressed from the north while Syria and Iraq pressed from the south, the outcome would be uncertain, to say the least, and the global balance of power was at stake.

The United States used Iran to divert Iraq’s attention. Israel was equally useful in diverting Syria’s attention. So long as Israel threatened Syria from the south, it could not divert its forces to the north. That helped secure Turkey at a relatively low cost in aid and risk. By aligning itself with the interests of a great power, Israel lost some of its room for maneuver: For example, in 1973, it was limited by the United States in what it could do to Egypt. But those limitations aside, it remained autonomous internally and generally free to pursue its strategic interests.

Celebrating the Camp David Accords, September 1978: Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin, U.S. President Jimmy Carter, Egyptian President Anwar El-Sadat (Source: Bill Fitz-Patrick, public domain)

The end of hostilities with Egypt, guaranteed by the Sinai buffer zone, created a new era for Israel. Egypt was restored to its traditional position, Jordan was a marginal power on the east bank, Lebanon was in its normal, unstable mode, and only Syria was a threat. However, it was a threat that Israel could easily deal with. Syria by itself could not threaten the survival of Israel.

Following Camp David (an ironic name), Israel was in its Davidic model, in a somewhat modified sense. Its survival was not at stake. Its problems — the domination of a large, hostile population and managing events in the northern Levant — were subcritical (meaning that, though these were not easy tasks, they did not represent fundamental threats to national survival, so long as Israel retained national unity). When unified, Israel has never been threatened by its neighbors. Geography dictates against it.

Israel’s danger will come only if a great power seeks to dominate the Mediterranean Basin or to occupy the region between Afghanistan and the Mediterranean. In the short period since the fall of the Soviet Union, this has been impossible. There has been no great power with the appetite and the will for such an adventure. But 15 years is not even a generation, and Israel must measure its history in centuries.

It is the nature of the international system to seek balance. The primary reality of the world today is the overwhelming power of the United States. The United States makes few demands on Israel that matter. However, it is the nature of things that the United States threatens the interests of other great powers who, individually weak, will try to form coalitions against it. Inevitably, such coalitions will arise. That will be the next point of danger for Israel.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses a joint session of the U.S. Congress in March 2015 — warning of dangers to Israel if Washington reaches an accord with Iran. (Public domain)

In the event of a global rivalry, the United States might place onerous requirements on Israel. Alternatively, great powers might move into the Jordan River valley or ally with Syria, move into Lebanon or ally with Israel. The historical attraction of the eastern shore of the Mediterranean would focus the attention of such a power and lead to attempts to assert control over the Mediterranean or create a secure Middle Eastern empire. In either event, or some of the others discussed, it would create a circumstance in which Israel might face a Babylonian catastrophe or be forced into some variation of Persian or Roman subjugation.

Israel’s danger is not a Palestinian rising. Palestinian agitation is an irritant that Israel can manage so long as it does not undermine Israeli unity. Whether it is managed by domination or by granting the Palestinians a vassal state matters little. Nor can Israel be threatened by its neighbors. Even a unified attack by Syria and Egypt would fail, for the reasons discussed.

Israel’s real threat, as can be seen in history, lies in the event of internal division and/or a great power, coveting Israel’s geographical position, marshaling force that is beyond its capacity to resist. Even that can be managed if Israel has a patron whose interests involve denying the coast to another power.

Israel’s reality is this. It is a small country, yet must manage threats arising far outside of its region. It can survive only if it maneuvers with great powers commanding enormously greater resources. Israel cannot match the resources and, therefore, it must be constantly clever. There are periods when it is relatively safe because of great power alignments, but its normal condition is one of global unease. No nation can be clever forever, and Israel’s history shows that some form of subordination is inevitable. Indeed, it is to a very limited extent subordinate to the United States now.

For Israel, the retention of a Davidic independence is difficult. Israel’s strategy must be to manage its subordination effectively by dealing with its patron cleverly, as it did with Persia. But cleverness is not a geopolitical concept. It is not permanent, and it is not assured. And that is the perpetual crisis of Jerusalem.

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Russia Enters Syria – Is it Geopolitics or Prophecy?

John R. Houk

© September 30, 2015

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The Geopolitics of Israel: Biblical and Modern

 

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Benghazi Conspiracy Now Closer to Criminal Behavior


John R. Houk
© May 19, 2015
 
[Blog Editor: In case you missed the import of this info the Most Watched Videos poster repeats same interview twice]
 
 
Largely thanks to Judicial Watch (JW), the Barack Hussein Obama Administration is being exposed to a nefarious cover-up which includes the current Dem Party front runner Hillary Clinton. America’s Liar-in-Chief has been smoking gun proven he was aware that a Benghazi attack was imminent on September 11, 2012. And it is now proven by documentation the Obama Administration was secretly transferring deposed Qaddafi weapons from Libya to Syrian rebels fighting Bashar Assad. The unproven matter is whether those weapons ended up with American backed Syrian rebels or Islamic purist rebels related to al Qaeda and some of which evolved into ISIS.
 
This is a cover-up because BHO acted surprised about the Benghazi attacked and then proceeded to blame an obscure movie trailer showing Mo in a negative light. After the fake blame game the Obama Administration had the film maker (now-a-days known as Mark Basseley Youssef) arrested in 2012 for breaking probation from a previous prison release. Apparently Mr. Youssef (an Egyptian Coptic Christian by profession of faith) has a history of tax evasion and con artist fraud schemes. Perhaps Obama new a fellow fraudster to blame to take eyes off his 2012 campaign for President.
 
It is my personal opinion that Obama and his minions went to such an effort to cover-up the truth about Benghazi to make sure the American voters elected him to a second term as President. Although I suspect the same bumbling GOP campaign staffers that failed to emphasize Obama’s deficiencies in both campaigns that elected Obama to POTUS in 2008 would also have failed to push the fact that Obama and Hillary lied and people died. I mean the Dems had no problem in debasing Bush’s reputation with warped facts by saying Bush lied and people died. Dear God in Heaven I pray the next round of GOP campaigners are bright enough to expose the Obama lies against whoever ultimately wins the Dem nomination in 2016.
 
In order to properly disseminate the news on the Obama/Hillary lies below you will find several cross posts reporting the implications of the JW FOIA documents recently released for public consumption.
 
JRH 5/19/15 (Video Hat Tip: Sharia Unveiled)

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New docs reveal administration knew about Benghazi 10 days before attack
Judicial Watch’s latest FOIA efforts pack a big punch
 
Posted By Kemberlee Kaye
May 18, 2015 at 7:30pm
hillary-gif-benghazi-FOI-dept-state-scandal-judicial-watch 
I’m struggling to concoct a scenario more damning than this.
 
After filing a FOIA suit, thanks to a court order Judicial Watch obtained documents from the Department of Defense and Department of State which indicate the Obama administration knew al Qaeda was planning the attack in Benghazi ten days before it happened. TEN DAYS.
 
Immediately following the 9/11 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi in 2012, the DOD had identified the culprits and indicated the attack had been planned “ten days or more” prior.
 
A Defense Department document from the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), dated September 12, 2012, the day after the Benghazi attack, details that the attack on the compound had been carefully planned by the BOCAR terrorist group “to kill as many Americans as possible.” The document was sent to then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, then-Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Obama White House National Security Council. The heavily redacted Defense Department “information report” says that the attack on the Benghazi facility “was planned and executed by The Brigades of the Captive Omar Abdul Rahman (BCOAR).” The group subscribes to “AQ ideologies:”
 
The attack was planned ten or more days prior on approximately 01 September 2012. The intention was to attack the consulate and to kill as many Americans as possible to seek revenge for U.S. killing of Aboyahiye ((ALALIBY)) in Pakistan and in memorial of the 11 September 2001 atacks (sic) on the World Trade Center buildings.
 
“A violent radical,” the DIA report says, is “the leader of BCOAR is Abdul Baset ((AZUZ)), AZUZ was sent by ((ZAWARI)) to set up Al Qaeda (AQ) bases in Libya.” The group’s headquarters was set up with the approval of a “member of the Muslim brother hood movement…where they have large caches of weapons. Some of these caches are disguised by feeding troughs for livestock. They have SA-7 and SA-23/4 MANPADS…they train almost every day focusing on religious lessons and scriptures including three lessons a day of jihadist ideology.”
 
The Defense Department reported the group maintained written documents, in “a small rectangular room, approximately 12 meters by 6 meters…that contain information on all of the AQ activity in Libya.”
 
(Azuz is again blamed for the Benghazi attack in an October 2012 DIA document.)
 
But that’s not the end. Evidently, the administration was also aware of arms shipments from Benghazi to rebel troops in Syria.
 
The new documents also provide the first official confirmation that shows the U.S. government was aware of arms shipments from Benghazi to Syria. The documents also include an August 2012 analysis warning of the rise of ISIS and the predicted failure of the Obama policy of regime change in Syria.
 
Intelligence should be tracking who is shipping arms to whom, but according to Judicial Watch, this is the first documentation that shows the administration had constructive knowledge of the arms shipments.
 
Weapons from the former Libya military stockpiles were shipped from the port of Benghazi, Libya to the Port of Banias and the Port of Borj Islam, Syria. The weapons shipped during late-August 2012 were Sniper rifles, RPG’s, and 125 mm and 155mm howitzers missiles.
 
During the immediate aftermath of, and following the uncertainty caused by, the downfall of the ((Qaddafi)) regime in October 2011 and up until early September of 2012, weapons from the former Libya military stockpiles located in Benghazi, Libya were shipped from the port of Benghazi, Libya to the ports of Banias and the Port of Borj Islam, Syria. The Syrian ports were chosen due to the small amount of cargo traffic transiting these two ports. The ships used to transport the weapons were medium-sized and able to hold 10 or less shipping containers of cargo.
 
Of course the State Department has yet to turn over any documents from Hillary’s secret email accounts, as Judicial Watch notes.
 
The release of this information ahead of Hillary’s Congressional hearing will certainly serve to draw even more scrutiny to the former Secretary of State’s involvement in the Benghazi cover-up. Revelations like these exposed by Judicial Watch’s FOIA suit underscore the necessity of a forensic investigation of Hillary’s private email servers.
 
If ever there was a time to unearth all of those “deleted” emails, that time is now.
 
Follow Kemberlee Kaye on Twitter
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Military intel predicted rise of ISIS in 2012, detailed arms shipments from Benghazi to Syria
 
Published May 18, 2015
 
Seventeen months before President Obama dismissed the Islamic State as a “JV team,” a Defense Intelligence Agency report predicted the rise of the terror group and likely establishment of a caliphate if its momentum was not reversed.
 
While the report was circulated to the CIA, State Department and senior military leaders, among others, it’s not known whether Obama was ever briefed on the document.
 
The DIA report, which was reviewed by Fox News, was obtained through a federal lawsuit by conservative watchdog Judicial Watch. Documents from the lawsuit also reveal a host of new details about events leading up to the 2012 Benghazi terror attack — and how the movement of weapons from Libya to Syria fueled the violence there.
 
The report on the growing threat posed by what is now known as the Islamic State was sent on Aug. 5, 2012.
 
The report warned the continued deterioration of security conditions would have “dire consequences on the Iraqi situation,” and huge benefits for ISIS — which grew out of Al Qaeda in Iraq.
 
“This creates the ideal atmosphere for AQI (Al Qaeda in Iraq) to return to its old pockets in Mosul and Ramadi,” the document states, adding “ISI (Islamic State of Iraq) could also declare an Islamic state through its union with other terrorist organizations in Iraq and Syria, which will create grave danger in regards to unifying Iraq and the protection of its territory.”
 
ISIS would, in June 2014, go on to declare a caliphate in territory spanning Iraq and Syria, in turn drawing more foreign fighters to their cause from around the world.
 
CLICK TO READ THE DOCUMENTS GIVEN TO JUDICIAL WATCH FROM THE DEFENSE DEPARTMENT AND STATE DEPARTMENT.
 
Also among the documents is a heavily redacted DIA report that details weapons operations inside Libya before the 2012 terror attack in Benghazi. The Oct. 5, 2012 report leaves no doubt that U.S. intelligence agencies were fully aware that lethal weapons were being shipped from Benghazi to Syrian ports.
 
The report said: “Weapons from the former Libya military stockpiles were shipped from the Port of Benghazi, Libya to the Port of Banias and the Port of Borj Islam, Syria. The weapons shipped during late-August 2012 were Sniper rifles, RPG’s, and 125 mm and 155 mm howitzers missiles.”
 
Current and former intelligence and administration officials have consistently skirted questions about weapons shipments, and what role the movement played in arming extremist groups the U.S. government is now trying to defeat in Syria and Iraq.
 
In an interview with Fox News’ Bret Baier broadcast May 11, former Acting CIA Director Michael Morell, deflected questions:
 
Baier: Were CIA officers tracking the movement of weapons from Libya to Syria?
 
Morell: I can’t talk about that.
 
Baier: You can’t talk about it?
 
Morell: I can’t talk about it.
 
Baier: Even if they weren’t moving the weapons themselves, are you saying categorically that the U.S. government and the CIA played no role whatsoever in the movement of weapons from Libya…
 
Morell: Yes.
 
Baier: — to Syria?
 
Morell: We played no role.  Now whether we were watching other people do it, I can’t talk about it.
 
While the DIA report was not a finished intelligence assessment, such Intelligence Information Reports (IIRs) are vetted before distribution, a former Pentagon official said.
 
The October 2012 report may also be problematic for Hillary Clinton, who likewise skirted the weapons issue during her only congressional testimony on Benghazi in January 2013. In an exchange with Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., who is now a Republican candidate for president, the former secretary of state said, “I will have to take that question for the record. Nobody’s ever raised that with me.”
 
Referring to Fox News’ ongoing reporting that a weapons ship, Al Entisar, had moved weapons from Libya to Turkey with a final destination of Syria in September 2012, Paul responded, “It’s been in news reports that ships have been leaving from Libya and that they may have weapons.” He asked whether the CIA annex which came under attack on Sept. 11, 2012 was involved in those shipments.
 
Clinton answered: “Well, senator, you’ll have to direct that question to the agency that ran the annex. I will see what information is available.”
 
In a follow-up letter, the State Department Office of Legislative Affairs provided a narrow response to the senator’s question, and did not speak to the larger issue of weapons moving from Libya to Syria.
 
“The United States is not involved in any transfer of weapons to Turkey,” the February 2013 letter from Thomas B. Gibbons, acting assistant secretary of state for legislative affairs, said.
 
Heavily redacted congressional testimony, declassified after the House intelligence committee Benghazi investigation concluded, shows conflicting accounts were apparently given to lawmakers.
 
On Nov. 15 2012, Morell and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper testified “Yes” on whether the U.S. intelligence community was aware arms were moving from Libya to Syria. This line of questioning by Republican Rep. Devin Nunes, who is now the intelligence committee chairman, was shut down by his predecessor Mike Rogers, R-Mich., who said not everyone in the classified hearing was “cleared” to hear the testimony, which means they did not have a high enough security clearance.
 
An outside analyst told Fox News that Rogers’ comments suggest intelligence related to the movement of weapons was a “read on,” and limited to a very small number of recipients.
 
Six months later, on May 22, 2013, Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, now chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, asked if the CIA was “monitoring arms that others were sending into Syria.” Morell said, “No, sir.”
 
The Judicial Watch documents also contain a DIA report from Sept. 12, 2012. It indicates that within 24 hours of the attack that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens, Foreign Service Officer Sean Smith, and former Navy SEALs Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty at the CIA annex, there were strong indicators that the attack was planned at least a week in advance, and was retaliation for a June 2012 drone strike that killed an Al Qaeda strategist — there is no discussion of a demonstration or an anti-Islam video, which were initially cited by the Obama administration as contributing factors.
 
“The attack was planned ten or more days prior to approximately 01 September 2012. The intention was to attack the consulate and to kill as many Americans as possible to seek revenge for the US killing of Aboyahiye (Alaliby) in Pakistan and in memorial of the 11 September 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center buildings.”
 
The DIA report also states a little-known group, “Brigades of the Captive Omar Abdul Rahman,” claimed responsibility, though the group has not figured prominently in previous congressional investigations. The document goes on to say the group’s leader is Abdul Baset, known by the name Azuz, “sent by (Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri) to set up Al Qaeda bases in Libya.”
 
“The Obama administration says it was a coincidence that it occurred on 9/11. In fact, their intelligence said it wasn’t a coincidence and in fact specifically the attack occurred because it was 9/11,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton told Fox News.
 
Catherine Herridge is an award-winning Chief Intelligence correspondent for FOX News Channel (FNC) based in Washington, D.C. She covers intelligence, the Justice Department and the Department of Homeland Security. Herridge joined FNC in 1996 as a London-based correspondent.
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BOMBSHELL: What Was Just Revealed About Benghazi Gives Gowdy EXPLOSIVE New Fuel Against Hillary
A potentially damning memo from the Defense Intelligence Agency…
 
May 19, 2015 at 9:27am
 
Given the bombshell revelation about Benghazi that’s just been pried loose from the Obama administration, Hillary Clinton’s anticipated appearance before the House Select Committee investigating the deadly attack in Libya could prove to be even more explosive and potentially damaging for the Democrats’ leading presidential contender. Mrs. Clinton is expected to testify sometime this summer before the panel headed by GOP Rep. Trey Gowdy, reportedly after the State Department has provided the committee with a number of requested documents relating to the former secretary of state’s tenure.
 
Now, a potentially damning new document from the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) — a memo obtained by Judicial Watch after a court challenge to obtain its release — clearly shows that then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton did not disclose to the public credible intelligence that terrorists had planned for an attack on the Benghazi compound, even as she and other administration officials blamed the deadly assault on an amateur video. The Daily Caller provides details of the latest revelation showing that Clinton participated in an apparent cover up of believable intel while misleading the American people, and quite possibly congressional investigators as well:
 
A heavily redacted copy of a Sept. 12, 2012, Defense Intelligence Agency memo to Clinton, then Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, the White House National Security Council and the Joint Chiefs of Staff said “the attack was planned 10 or more days prior on approximately 01 September 2012. The intention was to attack the consulate and to kill as many Americans as possible to seek revenge for U.S. killing of Aboyahiye ((ALALIBY)) in Pakistan and in memorial of the 11 September 2001 atacks (sic) on the World Trade Center buildings.”
 
And it wasn’t as though the DIA-provided intelligence was late in arriving on Mrs. Clinton’s State Department desk. The memo unearthed by Judicial Watch shows it was given to Clinton and other senior administration officials the day after the September 11, 2012, attack that took the lives of four Americans. As Breitbart News notes, “The details of the memo present an alternative explanation for the Benghazi attack that was given short shrift by the Obama administration after the attack. Instead, the State Department and the White House chose to emphasize a ‘demonstration’ (which it turned out had never happened) held in connection with a YouTube video critical of Islam.”
 
To understand why the Obama administration was so intent on pushing the anti-Islam video explanation of the Benghazi attack, one must remember that Barack Obama was running for reelection in September of 2012 in what seemed at the time to be a close race. For it to appear that his administration ignored or downplayed evidence that a coordinated terror attack had been in the works in Benghazi might have helped put Mitt Romney in the White House.
 
Ironically, considering the new information in the just-released DIA memo — and the potential it has for lighting an even hotter fire under Hillary Clinton when she is put on Trey Gowdy’s congressional hot seat — it may turn out that Benghazi drives a big, sharp nail in the coffin of Mrs. Clinton’s bid to be the next Democrat to occupy the Oval Office.
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Clinton email mess multiplies with allegations over 2nd email address
 
May 19, 2015
FoxNews.com’s Judson Berger contributed to this report.
 
The Hillary Clinton email mystery took yet another confusing turn Tuesday with accusations from Republicans that the former secretary of state “misled” the public about her email practices, by using multiple “secret” addresses despite claims to the contrary.
 
However, a spokesman with the House committee probing the 2012 Benghazi attack, and Clinton’s handling of it, would not go so far. Rather, he told FoxNews.com the confusion only further underscores the need to subject Clinton’s private server to a third-party analysis, saying that’s the only way to resolve this.
 
The questions over multiple Clinton addresses were raised after emails were published as part of a lengthy New York Times report on Clinton confidante Sidney Blumenthal’s memos on Libya before and after the fall of Muammar Qaddafi. The emails show Clinton writing from the address, hrod17@clintonemail.com. This is distinct from the other address she has acknowledged using as secretary of state, hdr22@clintonemail.com.
 
“Hillary Clinton misled public about the use of only one secret email address,” Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus tweeted in reference to the documents, while promoting an RNC memo outlining the alleged discrepancies.
 
This, however, is not the first time the ‘hrod17’ address has turned up. The House committee investigating the Benghazi attacks earlier this year said it had records showing “two separate and distinct email addresses” from Clinton, and requested documents from both the ‘hrod17’ and ‘hdr22’ accounts.
 
At the time, Clinton’s lawyer and office attributed the appearance of two email addresses to a simple mix-up.
 
They maintained Clinton only used “one email account” as secretary of state, and that the ‘hrod17’ account did not exist during her tenure. They said she only launched that account in early 2013, after her prior address was published online.
 
As for why both email addresses were turning up in records, her office explained that the new email address (the ‘hrod17’ account) happened to show up on printed copies of old documents because it was the same account — but it did not exist at the time.
 
FoxNews.com has reached out to Clinton’s office asking if the emails published by The New York Times reflect a similar situation.
 
However, the spokesman for the Benghazi committee told FoxNews.com it’s simply not clear whether the multiple emails reflect a glitch — or prove Clinton really was using two email addresses, contrary to what her office claims. Spokesman Jamal Ware said in an email they need a neutral, third-party arbiter to investigate.
 
“There’s only one way to know that for certain,” Ware said in an email. “For Clinton to turn over the server for independent analysis.”
 
Clinton, a Democratic presidential candidate for 2016, so far has resisted doing so. But, taking the rare step Tuesday of answering reporter questions while on the campaign trail, Clinton said during a stop in Iowa that she wants the State Department to do all it can to expedite the release of her emails during her tenure as secretary.
 
“I have said repeatedly I want those emails out,” Clinton said.
 
Ware also referred FoxNews.com to a March 4 statement in which the Benghazi committee first revealed they had records with two distinct Clinton email addresses. At the time, the committee likewise said they need someone to have access to the server to determine why those two email addresses show up.
 
Amid the tug-of-war over the server, the State Department did propose, in connection with a separate court case, that they release part of the 55,000 pages of Clinton emails by January. A federal judge on Tuesday, though, rejected that plan and ordered the department to come up with a schedule by next week for releasing the emails on a rolling basis. A State Department spokesman said they would comply.
 
The New York Times story, meanwhile, covered much more than the existence of two email accounts. It detailed how Blumenthal sent multiple memos to Clinton during her State Department years on the situation in Libya, while he was advising business associates seeking contracts from Libya’s transitional government.
 
The venture reportedly was not successful. And it’s ultimately unclear what, if anything, Clinton and the State Department knew of Blumenthal’s involvement in any potential Libya projects.
 
Asked about the report on Tuesday, Clinton said she has “many old friends,” and it’s important to get “outside the bubble” to hear advice from other people. “I’m going to keep talking to friends,” she said.
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Benghazi Conspiracy Now Closer to Criminal Behavior
John R. Houk
© May 19, 2015
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New docs reveal administration knew about Benghazi 10 days before attack
 
© Copyright 2008-2015, Legal Insurrection, All Rights Reserved.
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Military intel predicted rise of ISIS in 2012, detailed arms shipments from Benghazi to Syria
 
©2015 FOX News Network, LLC. All rights reserved.
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BOMBSHELL: What Was Just Revealed About Benghazi Gives Gowdy EXPLOSIVE New Fuel Against Hillary
 
Copyright ©2015. All rights reserved.
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Clinton email mess multiplies with allegations over 2nd email address
 
©2015 FOX News Network, LLC. All rights reserved.

Intro to ‘The Terrorists Are Among Us’


Geert Wilders

By John R. Houk

© June 30, 2014

 

I just read a very praiseworthy essay written by Geert Wilders and posted at the Gatestone Institute. The essay reminds me why I like the Dutch politician so much and why Leftists and Muslims despise him so much. Since most Americans probably don’t have a clue who Geert is or if they had heard of him it is probably from our Leftist dominated Mainstream Media. Here is a (probably too long but good to know) profile excerpt from the Legal Project:

 

Geert Wilders is a member of the Dutch parliament and the head of its third largest party, the Party of Freedom (Partij voor de Vrijheid or PVV). He was criminally charged, and stood trial, for remarks he made that were critical of Islam. Wilders was acquitted of all charges on June 23, 2011.

 

Background:

 

Wilders is an outspoken critic of what he sees as an Islamist threat to Holland’s tolerant culture. In 2008, he released a documentary film, called Fitna (Arabic for “strife”), that juxtaposed violent passages from the Qur’an with video of imams advocating violence and footage of Islamist terrorism. Soon after the film’s release, a radical Dutch imam who appeared in it sued Wilders for “hurt feelings,” claiming 55,000 euros in damages. Meanwhile, the Jordanian government has requested that Holland extradite Wilders to stand trial for blasphemy, a capital offense under Islamic (Shari’ah) law.

 

In June 2010, Wilders’ party, the PVV, a libertarian and mainstream conservative party he founded in 2004, won 24 of the 150 seats in the Dutch legislature—an enormous feat, especially given that the PVV is the only party in Holland to refuse state subsidies.

 

Wilders has tapped into genuine concerns surrounding his country’s Muslim minority—without appealing to nativist, neo-fascist, or anti-Semitic sentiments. Nevertheless, he has been subjected to a full-on assault, spearheaded and supported by: (1) people seeking to suppress critical expression about Islam-related matters, and (2) people seeking to restrict political debate in the name of multiculturalism and political correctness. A stalwart defender of free speech in the face of such attacks, Wilders was nominated for the European Parliament’s 2010 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought in July 2010.

 

Until his recent acquittal, Wilders’ stature as one of Holland’s leading and most popular politicians did not protect him. On the contrary, Dutch hate speech laws may have served as a potent tool for his political adversaries.

 

Indeed, the case against Wilders arose after several leftist and Islamic organizations sought his indictment. The public prosecutor’s office initially declined to charge him, characterizing his film and other public statements as a contribution to the public discourse on Islam. However, in 2009, Wilders’ opponents convinced an Amsterdam Court of Appeals to order his prosecution for “insulting” Muslims and for “incitement to hatred and discrimination.” No court in the United States has similar authority to order prosecution when the prosecutor has declined to go forward.

 

A month later, British officials denied Wilders entry into READ THE REST

 

America needs more people in politics willing to stand against the political correctness of the propaganda that Islam is peace.

 

I debated with myself to show video of just how brutal the Syrian rebels are to the Christians that Geert writes about in Syria. After perusing some of the videos on Youtube I discovered most of videos are pro-Assad propaganda pieces by Iran’s Press TV and Pro-Iranian Russian outlet Russia Today (RT). Then I came across an actual beheading of a Christian forced to convert to Islam and then was beheaded anyway. It was so freaking gruesome I can’t show it. Here is an RT report showing a Catholic Priest beheading (actual footage blurred out thankfully) and the graphic piece NOT FOR the FAINT OF HEART beheading. If you are crazy enough to watch those videos it drives home the point Geert Wilders is making.

 

JRH 6/30/14

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The Terrorists Are Among Us

 

By Geert Wilders

June 30, 2014 at 5:00 am

Gatestone Institute

 

Ten concrete measures to prevent Islamic terrorism in the Netherlands.

 

In several Western countries, the authorities are concerned about the security risk posed by young Muslim immigrants who went to Syria and Iraq to wage jihad and are now returning home. They are considered the most serious security risk in decades.

 

The risk is not just theoretical. Indeed, on May 24, Mehdi Nemmouche, a young Muslim with a French passport, went on a killing spree with a Kalashnikov assault rifle in the Jewish Museum in Brussels. He killed four people. Nemmouche had previously been in Syria, where he was trained in guerrilla warfare.

 

During the past three years, thousands of young Islamic immigrants from all Western countries, Europe, Australia, America and even Russia, have gone to fight in Syria, where they have committed the most horrible atrocities. Some of them were killed in action, while others have since returned home. They carry Western passports but they hate the West. They walk our streets as ticking time bombs, eager to cause as much havoc in our cities as they have caused in Syria.

 

Photo: The Dutch-Turkish jihadist Yilmaz (center), who was previously a soldier in the Dutch army, poses with fellow jihadists in Syria.

 

The West cannot just sit idly by and wait for the next terror attack to happen. We must protect ourselves. If we do not, the barbaric scenes that play today in Syria and Iraq will soon be repeated in our countries. Ordinary people are well aware of the urgency of the problem. Last week, I proposed ten concrete measures to prevent Islamic terrorism in the Netherlands. A poll showed that a large majority of the Dutch support the plan.

 

The first measure I proposed was (1) automatically to strip immigrants with dual nationalities of their Dutch passports if they leave our country to fight for Islam in Syria. This way, they will not be allowed back into our country. Britain already uses such legislation. Last December, the British authorities stripped 20 people with dual nationality of their British nationality because they had traveled to Syria to fight. As Theresa May, the British Home Secretary, rightly declared: “Citizenship is a privilege, not a right.”

 

I also proposed (2) the immediate administrative detention of those fighters who have already returned, as well as (3) the reintroduction of border controls and (4) a halt to immigration of people from Islamic countries. International treaties prohibiting these measures should either be modified or terminated.

 

Another measure is (5) the encouragement of voluntary repatriation of people originating from Islamic countries. A survey shows that 73% of Dutch Muslims regard fighters in Syria as heroes. Such attitudes do not belong in the Netherlands. We should also (6) deal severely with the supporters of the fighters in Syria. Mosques, Islamic schools and other organizations that provide financial or other support to those who go to fight in Syria must be closed down immediately.

 

And we should (7) spend more money on security. Money that is currently being wasted on development aid would better be spent on the AIVD (the Dutch General Intelligence and Security Service).

 

Finally, there are three measures with an international rather than a domestic impact. We should (8) stop Dutch military intervention in the Islamic world and focus on the protection of the Netherlands. We should (9) support Israel and stimulate economic relations with the Jewish state. Israel is the front line in the fight against jihad. If Israel falls, the West falls. And (10) we should break diplomatic relations with countries, such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar, that support terrorist groups such as ISIS

 

The proposals were well received by the public. An opinion poll this week showed that 82 per cent of the Dutch believe that jihadists returning from Syria and Iraq increase the risk of an attack in the Netherlands. 76 per cent favor stripping jihadists of their Dutch nationality, 67 per cent want to introduce border controls to prevent them from returning, and 75 per cent want additional manpower for the AIVD. 65 per cent of all Dutch believe that Islamic culture does not belong in the Netherlands. Even a majority of the voters of Labour and the far-left Socialist Party share this opinion.

 

There is an acute awareness among the Dutch that in order to have a safer Netherlands we need to exclude jihadists from our society. We have become so indoctrinated with political correctness that we might consider this as wonderful and surprising news, although it is just plain common sense. Those who travel abroad to kill people for the sake of Islam should not be allowed to walk our streets again.

 

Geert Wilders MP is a member of the Dutch parliament and leader of the Party for Freedom (PVV). He is the author of Marked for Death: Islam’s War against the West and Me (Regnery).

 

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Intro to ‘The Terrorists Are Among Us’

By John R. Houk

© June 30, 2014

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The Terrorists Are Among Us

 

Copyright © 2014 Gatestone Institute.

 

Assad is Winning Syrian Civil War


Bashar & Asma Assad voting 6-3-14

Bashar & Asma Assad voting 6-3-14

Assad is Winning Syrian Civil War

I.E. if Times of Israel Source is Accurate

 

John R. Houk

© June 6, 2014

 

I read in a Times of Israel article today that the government forces of the Shia-Alawite Syrian dictator Bashar Assad has “secured” 70-80% the Iranian client ally Syria. The source of this report is an unnamed Israeli diplomat.  

 

I’ve always had mixed feelings on the civil war in Syria. If you want an example of an Apartheid State one could say Syria fits the bill. The minority Shia-Alawite (A very secretive Shia sect ergo hard to pin down their exact beliefs: See HERE, HERE and HERE) regime ruled the majority Sunni population in Syria. Although the Assad family has ruled Syria prior to the Ayatollah Khomeini’s Iranian revolution, Bashar Assad has cozied up to the Shia-Twelver (See Also HERE and HERE) regime as a client state. This makes Syria a conduit of hate the connection between Iran and Hezbollah (Shia) ruled Lebanon. It is the military aid of Iran and the Hezbollah terrorists that have allowed Assad to survive the Sunni uprising.

 

My initial reaction to the Sunnis revolting against Assad was “fantastic”! The reason I felt that way is that a deposing of Assad would throw a monkey wrench into the geopolitical agenda of Iran to dominate the Middle East.

 

BUT THEN it became apparent the most powerful of the Sunni factions revolting against Assad were the Muslims the West categorizes as followers of Radical Islam which is essentially a politically correct term for Islamic terrorists that hate Jews and America. AND to make things even worse the Islamic terrorist Sunnis were attacking what’s left of an ancient Christian minority in Syria with convert or die ultimatums. In some cases plainly not waiting for a Christian response and simply murdering Christians in a horrific manner.

 

It is evident now that no real change in Syria would occur no matter who won the civil war. Assad’s Syria would remain a Jew-hating and American-hating client State of Iran. OR a Sunni victory would mean a Syrian-Christian genocide added to the mix of Jew-hatred and American-hatred. Assad used Conventional and Chemical Weapons on the Sunnis and the Sunnis butchered Alawite-Shias, Christians and the pseudo-Islamic Druze minority in horrific ways. Both sides of that civil war are guilty of what the West via the old Geneva conventions would call war crimes. But hey, the only reason a Muslim nation participates in the Geneva Conventions anyway is so that there is a flow of commerce between Islamic nations and the West (cough – can you say “oil”?).

 

Honestly as long as Assad sees the Syria-Christians as a political asset and protects them I am at least temporarily leaning toward his side winning. If it wasn’t for the Christians, I could care less who wins that civil war. I only can pray the U.S. Intelligence Community finds a way to exploit the Syrian civil war to the benefit of American National Interests and for the National Interests of the American ally Israel.

 

JRH 6/6/14

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Syria’s Assad has won civil war, Israeli diplomatic official says
Regime has secured ’70-80 percent of essential’ territory in the country and benefits from mass refugee exodus, source says

By MITCH GINSBURG

June 5, 2014, 11:46 pm

Times of Israel

Syrian President Bashar Assad, with Iran’s help, has attained most of the regime’s territorial goals and effectively won the civil war against the Sunni rebel forces, an Israeli diplomatic official told The Times of Israel on Thursday.

 

“Assad has secured 70-80 percent of essential Syria,” the official said, sketching a line from Aleppo in the north down through Hama, Homs, Damascus and the southern areas near Jordan and the city of Dara’a – a Syrian city where the war began and, currently, a channel through which Sunni extremists enter Syria from Jordan.

The capital, too, he said, remains very much in the hands of the regime. “The existential threat on Damascus has been lifted.”

 

Only the Kurdish regions have slipped irretrievably beyond Assad’s control, he added.

 

The official’s depiction of the situation in Syria contradicts an assessment given by a top defense official, who in May told several journalists that Assad’s forces have lost the entire Golan Heights, aside from Quneitra and one enclave, and that, “In Aleppo, in Damascus, in the north near the Turkish border, in the Golan Heights – in all of these places he is losing.”

 

The war in Syria has claimed some 165,000 lives since its outbreak in March 2011 and forced millions of Syrian’s to flee their homes and their country. Lebanon, for instance, has been radically altered by an influx of 1.5 million Syrian refugees who currently constitute 25 percent of the Lebanese population.

 

The diplomatic official said that the Sunni exodus from the country has “changed the demography in Assad’s favor,” and suggested that Assad, who has the support of most of the Druze and Christian minorities in Syria, did relatively poorly in this week’s national election, if one takes into account, among other factors, the nearly seven million displaced people and refugees who were not able to reach the ballot boxes. Assad ostensibly won over 88% of the votes, with more than 10 million in his favor. The official said he did not believe the figures, and also cited a survey suggesting that 88% of the refugees would have voted against him if they’d had the chance.

 

US Secretary of State John Kerry, noting that voting booths were stationed only in government-controlled areas, called the election “a great big zero,” because “you can’t have an election where millions of your people don’t even have an ability to vote.”

 

The Iranian influence in Syria, the Israeli diplomatic official said, was unaltered by President Hassan Rouhani’s rise to power, and a nuclear deal between Iran and the world powers, he added, will only encourage Iran to act more aggressively in pursuit of its goals in Syria.

 

The war effort is largely coordinated by Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps officers, he said, and carried out by loyalist troops and the 3,000-4,000 Hezbollah guerillas in Syria. A Baseej-like force of citizens loyal to the regime, the National Defense Army, has been established at the local level and is 60,000-people strong.

 

An indication of Hezbollah’s success, he asserted, was not merely the strategic territory held in places like Qusair, but the fact that in Lebanon the dominant concern today is the threat of Sunni jihadist fighters and not Hezbollah’s involvement in the civil war next door.

 

The official alluded to some of the difficult choices made by Hezbollah in recent years – the unpopular decision to fight in Syria, revealing the depth of its ideological ties to Iran and largely forsaking the fight against Israel – and said that while the Shiite terror organization is close to emerging victorious from the conflict, Israel remains very much ambiguous about its goals in the regional war. “We know what we don’t want,” he said, “but not what we do want.”

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Assad is Winning Syrian Civil War

John R. Houk

© June 6, 2014

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Syria’s Assad has won civil war, Israeli diplomatic official says

 

© 2014 The Times of Israel, All rights reserved.

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Syrian Women Targeted in War for Rape, Kidnapping


A Syria girl is led inside a truck to be raped by government troops.

Girl Raped by Syrian Soldier Inside a Truck

I just read an article from the Clarion Project about women being raped in the Syrian civil war. After my quick perusal of the article the focus seems to be on Muslim women being raped and yet I am certain this is also occurring to the Christian community in Syria. According to the article 70% of the rape victims are accosted by Bashir al-Assad’s government forces. AND the other 30% of the victims are from the Syrian rebels. So in generalizing the situation the Shia-Alawite government forces are raping 70% of the women while the Sunni-Rebels are raping the other 30%. To add a little more detail to this vile picture the Shia-Alawite Muslims are the minority in Syria but have been the ruling faction for over a half a century. The Sunni majority of Syria are now fighting to rid Syria of the Assad family regime. The Sunnis of the Syrian Rebels are beginning to lean toward the Radical Islam of the Muslim Brother, the Saudi-Wahhabi sect and the ideologues of al Qaeda.

 

Due to all the undercurrents internally in Syria, American Foreign Policy choices are a nightmare. Throwing a monkey wrench into Assad’s government for a rebel win would mess up Iran regional hegemonic desires. Supporting the Syrian Rebels would most likely be like favoring a group of radical religionists that view al Qaeda as mentors in the practice of Islam and how Muslims should treat non-Muslims (e.g. Christians, Jews, Americans et al). The Radical Islam among the Syrian Rebels thus makes them like the al Qaeda that attacked America’s Homeland with homicidal-suicide Islamic terrorists that murdered over 5000 people between the Twin Towers, the Pentagon and the ill-fated flight that probably defeated their hijackers only to tragically crash in Pennsylvania.

 

JRH 11/29/13

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Syrian Women Targeted in War for Rape, Kidnapping

 

By The Clarion Project

November 27, 2013

A Syrian woman grieves. (Photo- © Reuters)

A Syrian woman grieves. (Photo: © Reuters)

 

 

A new report issued by a human rights group on “International Day to End Violence Against Women” says Syria’s civil war “created a context ripe for violence against women, including sexual violence.”

 

The Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network names the deliberate use of kidnapping and rape of women and girls, especially during “raids, at check points and within detention facilities”  as a means to pressure and humiliate family members and take revenge. Women — with their children — have also been used in the conflict as human shields.

 

Abuses against women have been a “deliberate tactic to defeat the other party from a symbolic and psychological perspective, making women desirable targets as the conflict rages on,” the report says.

 

The report cites particularly horrific instances of abuse culled from cases documented inside seven provinces in Syria as well as in Damascus.

 

One such case was that of a nine-year-old girl, who was raped in front of her family by government forces in the Baba Amr district of the central Homs province in March 2012.

 

Another case quotes a teenager, a 19-year-old named Aida from Tartus, a town in the coastal region, who was held in detention for four months, from October 2012 to January 2013.

 

One of times she was raped occurred the day before a court hearing. She was assaulted by three government soldiers. The report documents Aida’s case in her own words:

 

“The interrogator left me in the room and came back with three personnel who took turns raping me. I fiercely resisted the first but when the second started, I became more terrified and couldn’t resist,” she said.

 

“When the third started, I totally collapsed. I was bleeding all the time. As the last one finished, I fell on the ground. Ten minutes later, the prison doctor came in and took me to the bathroom where he gave me an injection to enable me to stand before the judge.”

 

Although the reports says 6,000 cases of rape have occurred since the beginning of the conflict, the actual number is believed to be at significantly higher, since many cases go unreported due to the stigma such crimes carry in Syrian society.

 

The report states that, “Syrian women exposed to sexual abuses subsequently found themselves victimized not only by the crime itself, but also by enduring the silence that surrounds the crime and the social pressure related to it.”

 

The result of reporting such a crime in Syrian society can lead to honor killing (of the victim), divorce or further abuse from family members. Many women, whose abuse has become public, have fled their communities, exposing themselves to even more danger in the worn-torn country. Abuses have also been documented in refugee camps.

 

Regime forces are said to have perpetrated 70 percent of the crimes against women, with rebel forces guilty of the the rest. Rape by government forces is a common tactic used in conflicts when the opposition forces comes from within the society and rely on civilian support, according to prominent journalist Lauren Wolfe, an expert on rape in areas of war and the director of Women Under Siege, a organization that has documented sexual violence in Syria for the last year.

 

The London-based Syrian Network for Human Rights, cites 25 cases of women being kidnapped and held hostage for use in prisoner exchanges or “to pressure their male relatives to surrender.”

 

Sema Nasar, of the Syrian Network, collected first-hand testimonies from Syrian women during from January to June of 2013.

 

To date, 120,000 people have been killed in the Syrian conflict. Figures from the first two years of the conflict show that 5,400 women were detained during those years, the whereabouts of many remain unknown.

 

Further, in many of those cases, women have been “detained indefinitely without being presented to the judge, with no access to lawyers or family, and exposed to torture and ill treatment.”

 

VIDEO: Girl Raped by Syrian Soldier Inside a Truck

 

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