Thursday, September 8, 2016

Hezbollah Moving Close To Israel Border, Syrian Army Regains Southern Aleppo, Russian Mideast Push, Anti-Semitism Rising

Hezbollah to move into south Syria, just across Israel border

Hezbollah fighters are preparing to move into southern Syria, a stone’s throw from the border with Israel’s Golan Heights, Iranian state media reported Monday.

“Hezbollah has deployed a large number of its forces at Quneitra passage which has connected the Syrian territories to the occupied Golan,” unnamed sources told the semi-official Fars news agency.
According to the sources, the Hezbollah fighters will be taking part in an “anti-terrorism” operation with Syrian ruler Bashar Assad’s army to fight the various militant groups located in the Syrian Golan Heights.

The IDF would not comment specifically on the reports that Hezbollah would be taking positions close to the Israeli border, but said it “closely monitors all of Israel’s borders, including in the north, and remains prepared for any scenario.”

An attempt by the United States and Russia to broker a partial peace deal in Syria fell through this week, though both sides said they were committed to continuing the effort.
Washington and Moscow support opposing sides in the five-year conflict, which has killed upwards of 300,000 people and forced millions to flee.

Syria's army and its allies have regained an important Aleppo district lost to rebels last month, state media and a war monitor said on Thursday, and were pressing an offensive south of the city to further squeeze the insurgents.
If sustained, the advance in Ramousah would reverse nearly all gains rebels made in a push last month, tighten a blockade over rebel-held eastern Aleppo and ease access for the army into government-held western districts through the city's south.
A second line of attack, aimed at villages south of Aleppo and supported by what a pro-government fighter called "dusk to dawn" bombardment, is intended to isolate Telat al-Eis, a hill captured by rebels in May that commands fire over the region.
The battle for Aleppo has become the focus both for President Bashar al-Assad, backed by Shi'ite militias from Iraq and Lebanon, Iran's Revolutionary Guards, and Russian air power, and for the Sunni rebels seeking to overthrow him.

American influence over the Middle East could slip a notch after Israel and the Palestinians agreed in principle to Russian-organized talks in Moscow. That is, if the negotiations ever happen.

Russia has clamored unsuccessfully for years to host such a gathering and the Russian Foreign Ministry’s announcement on Thursday included no date or agenda for the future get-together. Making the meeting even more uncertain: Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ demands that Israel first halt all settlement construction in east Jerusalem and the West Bank, and release about two dozen Palestinian prisoners. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejects the preconditions.

If the meeting occurs, it would surely rattle the region’s tumultuous ground further.

The United States has maintained a stranglehold over all Mideast peace processes since the Oslo Accords in the 1990s, seen by Israelis and Palestinians alike as the indispensable mediator and only power that could guarantee a two-state solution. But the Obama administration doesn’t appear to enjoy that recognition any longer.
The degradation of America’s standing coincides with its difficulty projecting its vision across the Middle East.

Jew hatred and demonization of Israel are at “the highest level of our lifetimes,” Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations said at a high-level forum on anti-Semitism held on Wednesday at the UN’s headquarters in New York.

“Over 1/3 of European Jews are afraid to wear a yarmulke or Star of David in public,” Danny Danon said. “More than half of French Jews have considered emigrating because they don’t feel safe living as Jews in France. Today we hear things about Jews and the Jewish people that we thought belonged to the pages of history. … Anti-Semitism is returning to everyday life without shame.”
Danon also said that social media presents a “new kind of threat” in that anti-Semitism goes global very quickly.
“We are living in a new era and we face a new kind of anti-Semitism,” Danon said. “Using the tools of online social networks to demonize the Jewish people and the Jewish state, this is Anti-Semitism 2.0.”
“The enemies of the Jewish people are using the tools of modern technology to target and harass Jews around the world,” he said, adding that the modern world makes life easier for anti-Semites since “all you need is a wireless connection, a Facebook account, and a deep hatred for the Jewish people.”
“It is more effective than The Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” he added.
He said that attacks against Jews online lead directly to attacks against Jews on the street.
“We know from history that during times of crisis, people look for scapegoats,” Danon said. “And time and time again that scapegoat has been the Jewish people. So we have to be proactive, we have to speak out and we have to educate our young people about the dangers of online anti-Semitism. And we also have to be honest. Talking is not enough. We need immediate and concrete action. … Media companies have to take preventative steps.”
Danon slammed some UN member states for expressing openly anti-Semitic sentiments.

Concern in Russia is increasing over the growing number of hard-to-access, double-purpose medical laboratories, financed by the US Department of Defense, appearing alongside its borders; they are researching biological weapons, indicating that they are "not entirely peaceful".

The US is constantly citing Russia as a "major threat" not only to itself but to its "European allies." Washington has been using this as a pretext for the deployment of additional contingents of NATO troops alongside Russia's borders.

However, it seems this is not the only "preventive measure" which is being set up on the Russian frontiers.
Earlier in September, Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov reminded that Washington opposes the idea of tightening international control over biological weapons.
During his yearly address to future diplomats at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO), Russia's top diplomat said that America's staunch opposition to Russian efforts to create a monitoring mechanism for the execution of the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC) indicates that the US may be conducting biological research that is "not entirely peaceful."

"It is known that the US has a number of projects in the field of biological research, particularly some joint research programs with our neighboring countries," Lavrov said.

Similar concerns were voiced back in 2015 by Secretary of Russia's Security Council Nikolai Patrushev, who said that the military biological infrastructure overseen by Washington is being set up increasingly closer to Russian borders.

"The number of laboratories which are being controlled and managed by the US has increased twentyfold, many of them have either functioned or currently function on the territories of the CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States) countries," he said, adding that the US is pouring tens of millions of dollars into military-focused biological weapons.

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