On June 9, the defense ministers of Russia, Syria and Iran met in Tehran to discuss counter-terrorism activities and security initiatives that would prevent jihadists from conducting wider operations in the region. Russian Defense Ministry statement said the talks were focused on «priority measures in reinforcing the cooperation» in the fight with Islamic State (IS) and al-Nusra terrorist groups.
The trio agreed that a «comprehensive ceasefire» and humanitarian aid were vital in establishing firm peace in Syria. The agenda also included «supporting the Syrian army» and «specified priorities», like preventing ammunition and weapons supplied by other countries from getting into the hands of internationally-recognized terrorist groups.
Russian Kommersant newspaper reported that the parties discussed the targets for air strikes to be delivered by Russian Aerospace Forces to support the operation of Syrian government troops in Aleppo. According to Kommersant, Syria’s government forces’ offensive to liberate Raqqa was also included into the agenda.
The visit of Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu to Tehran comes at the time the Jabhat al-Nusra terrorist group has become active in Aleppo and Idlib provinces.
Russia is concerned over the slowing political settlement process in Syria and is urging to start a new round of inter-Syrian peace talks as soon as possible.
The peace talks in Geneva have all but collapsed.
This is a decisive moment. The situation in Aleppo can hardly be tolerated anymore with civilian casualties mounting and Syria’s government troops more frequently coming under fire risking encirclement by enemy forces.
Russia has fulfilled its obligations according to the agreement reached with the US in early May.
The United States has failed to comply. The groups under Western control stage provocations acting as Jabhat al-Nusra fighters. The US ally Turkey continues to support terrorist groups in Aleppo and elsewhere in Syria. To a large extent, Washington is responsible for the consequences. With the peace process stalled and ceasefire breached, Russia has to act.
Omar Mateen called the cops to pledge his fealty to ISIS as he was carrying out his mass murderer in Orlando early Sunday morning. Twelve hours later, the president of the United States declared that “we have no definitive assessment on the motivation” of Omar Mateen but that “we know he was a person filled with hate.”
So I guess the president thinks Mateen didn’t mean it?
Here again, and horribly, we have an unmistakable indication that Obama finds it astonishingly easy to divorce himself from a reality he doesn’t like — the reality of the Islamist terror war against the United States and how it is moving to our shores in the form of lone-wolf attacks.
He called it “terror,” which it is. But using the word “terror” without a limiting and defining adjective is like a doctor calling a disease “cancer” without making note of the affected area of the body — because if he doesn’t know where the cancer is and what form it takes, he cannot attack it effectively and seek to extirpate it.
So determined is the president to avoid the subject of Islamist, ISIS-inspired or ISIS-directed terrorism that he concluded his remarks with an astonishing insistence that “we need the strength and courage to change” our attitudes toward the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community.
That’s just disgusting. There’s no other word for it.
America’s national attitude toward LGBT people didn’t shoot up the Pulse nightclub. This country’s national attitude has undergone a sea-change in the past 20 years, by the way, in case the president hasn’t noticed.
An Islamist terrorist waging war against the United States killed and injured 103 people on our soil. We Americans do not bear collective responsibility for this attack. Quite the opposite.
To suggest we must look inward to explain this is not only unseemly but practically an act of conscious misdirection on the president’ s part to direct out attention away from Omar Mateen’s phone call.
True to form, the president spoke more words about the scourge of guns than about the threat of terror. In doing so, he actually retards rather than advances the cause of gun control he so passionately advocates.
Wars in Iraq, Syria and Yemen have killed hundreds of thousands of people. Enforced disappearances, torture and extremist attacks infringe on human rights worldwide. Tyrannical, autocratic leaders and their allies from Belarus to Burundi repel dissent with an iron fist.
But while human rights abuses are legion in these troubled times, only one country has its record inspected at every single session of the United Nations Human Rights Council: Israel, over its policies in the occupied Palestinian territories.
Israel, which trumpets its bona fides as a democracy in a difficult neighborhood full of enemies, is crying foul. And it is not entirely alone: Other critics, notably the United States, also decry what they see as an entrenched bias in United Nations institutions and an obsession with the Palestinian issue at the expense of other crises around the globe.
As the council convenes Monday in Geneva for its second, weeks-long session this year, "Item 7" considers the human rights implications of Israel's occupation of Palestinian territory. The standing item at the 10-year-old council has come to exemplify the spotlight on Israel in a number of U.N. bodies.
"I don't know whether it's fair or unfair, but it's obvious that the majority of members want to continue to focus on the situation of Israel and Palestine," council president Choi Kyong-lim told The Associated Press.
Of 233 country-specific HRC resolutions in the last decade, more than a quarter — 65 — focus on Israel. About half of those are "condemnatory." Israel easily tops the second-place country in the infamous rankings: Syria, where since 2011 at least 250,000 have been killed, over 10 million displaced, and swaths of cities destroyed, was the subject of 19 resolutions.
"The U.N. continues to single out Israel, the one liberal democracy in the Middle East," said David Keyes, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's spokesman. "Imagine that. A country with free speech, free elections and minority rights is condemned more than mass murdering dictatorships like North Korea, Iran and Syria. That speaks
Shortly after taking office in 2007, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon criticized the standing item on Israel, saying he was "disappointed at the council's decision to single out only one specific regional item, given the range and scope of allegations of human rights violations throughout the world."
It hasn't budged since.
Over the years, the council has variously criticized Israel's presence in the Golan Heights and its detention of Syrian suspects without trial, a lack of cooperation with U.N. human rights investigators, its expansion of settlements in the West Bank, and its muscular and at times deadly response to militants' rocket attacks from Gaza that have killed Israeli civilians.
This session, no resolutions are planned on Israel, but it still gets automatic billing.
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