Archive for August 12, 2017

Trump ‘fire and fury’ is justified; America won’t back down in the face of bullies like North Korea

August 12, 2017

Trump ‘fire and fury’ is justified; America won’t back down in the face of bullies like North Korea, Washington Times,, August 12, 2017

(Let’s give Kim Jong-un a lifetime supply of his favorite booze. A quart should be more than enough. –DM)

Participants carry an American flag during the 4th of July parade in Santa Monica, Calif. on Tuesday, July 4, 2017. Decked out in red, white and blue, Californians waved flags and sang patriotic songs at Independence Day parades

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

The hand-wringers were out in full force this past week, moaning and wailing about President Donald Trump’s rhetoric regarding North Korea.

But why? We are America. We don’t bow down; we don’t quiver in fear.

That the left, the weak-kneed and the RINOs have filled a week of media coverage with rants and dire pronouncements about the supposed dark effect of Trump’s bold message to the regime only shows how far down the progressive path Barack Obama managed to push the nation — how far away from the Founding Father we’ve strayed.

America is the nation that thrives against-all-odds, the country of the come-from-behind.

We’re the nation that took on the greatest sea power in the world, the British, and won; the nation that told a king to stand down — and he did; the nation that forged, on the backs of common people and colonists, with prayer and supplication, the greatest and most powerful country the world’s ever seen.

We’re George Washington on his knees in prayer. We’re George Patton, smashing with tanks across German enemy lines. We’re Desmond Doss, saving dozens of fellow soldiers, bodies and souls, during the bloody battle of Hacksaw Ridge, without even carrying a weapon.

And we’re this, as Trump put it, circa 2017: Able and willing to take on North Korea “with fire and fury and frankly, power, the likes of which this world has never seen before.”

The left, predictably perhaps, slammed Trump for that rhetoric.

“Trump is not helping the situation with his bombastic comments,” said California Sen. Dianne Feinstein.

This, from New York Rep. Eliot Engel: “[T]he president’s unhinged reaction suggest he might consider using American nuclear weapons in response to a nasty comment from a North Korean despot.”

This, from Maryland Sen. Ben Cardin: “Trump’s comments were not helpful and once again show that he lacks the temperament and judgment to deal with the serious crisis the United States confront.s”

This, from New York Sen. Chuck Schumer: “[R]eckless rhetoric is not a strategy to keep America safe.”

The Republican Party’s Sen. John McCain weighed in similarly, intimating Trump was foolish because “the great leaders I’ve seen don’t threaten unless they’re ready to act and I’m not sure President Trump is ready to act.”

But all this boo-hooing does is reinforce the fact that America, under the previous administration, had grown accustomed to a foreign policy that required talk at all costs — diplomacy as both offense and defense, as both wielded weapon and proffered shield.

Let’s remember the roots of our nation — the long-time historical wins of our military, the righteous fights of our citizens, the eleventh- and even twelfth-hour victories in the arenas that range from politics to sports, medicine to science. We are a nation of leaders, not followers, of innovators and triumphant victors, not copycats and red-faced back-of-the-liners.

Trump, who only responded in kind to the fiery rhetoric of North Korea’s bully leader, Kim Jong Un, hat tipped this recognition of America as the leader — as the best the world has to offer — with his response to the collective hand-wringing that went like this: “Maybe [my fire and fury comment] wasn’t tough enough.”

Bam. That’s what Americans do.

This isn’t to say North Korea is a cakewalk, or that Pyongyang’s threats to attack Guam should be taken lightly. But it is to say that when it comes to the war of words, Trump is hitting the nail on the head. North Korea has been shooting off its mouth against America for years, vowing destruction and demise, devastation and death.

Trump’s simple reminder of America’s historical greatness, and modern day strengths, is not a fueler of fire. It’s a tit-for-tat response, a long time in coming. And if this country hadn’t become so consumed by progressive ideology and socialist weakness and leftist and globalist calls for concession at all costs, then the media wouldn’t be so successful in slinging Trump as the bad guy here.

Remember that Kim’s the crazed aggressor. America, both historically and now, is the defender of freedom. We are America — standing tall in the face of adversity, unafraid to make a principled stand, fight a righteous fight, win either war of words or might.

It’s North Korea, not America, not Americans, who should be afraid, very afraid right now.

Humor | Political correctness gone too far? High school refuses to let ISIS recruit wear suicide vest at graduation

August 12, 2017

Political correctness gone too far? High school refuses to let ISIS recruit wear suicide vest at graduation, Duffel Blog, August 12, 2017

(Just one more example of academia’s Islamophobia. — DM)

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Youngstown High School had been thrust into the spotlight after school administrators on Friday refused to let new recruit Martin Ostermule walk in his high school graduation after he arrived in his new uniform.

“We’re very proud of Martin and everything that he’s accomplished at Youngstown High School,” said principal Steven O’Riley. “But we have a strict rule that students must wear a cap and gown to walk in the processional.  It’s a long tradition at Youngstown High, and if we make an exception for Martin, the situation could really explode.”

O’Riley went on to explain that they try to make Youngstown High a place where all students feel welcome and accepted. “We have students with different backgrounds and experiences,” said O’Riley, “And seeing Martin in suicide vest could be a trigger.”

“Of course we understand that Islam is a religion of peace, and we respect Martin’s religious freedoms,” said O’Riley.  “But we stand firm on our policy. If we let Martin where his uniform, we’d have to allow the same of everyone.”

Ostermule looked at joining other services to include the US Army, Marine Corps, and Air Force, but decided on ISIS after he discovered they were more lenient about his ADHD medication.

“Joining ISIS is the greatest accomplishment of my life,” said Ostermule. “I wanted to serve my Caliphate, and be part of something bigger than myself. After attending ISIS basic training in Syria this summer, I came back to Youngstown stronger and more focused. Wearing my uniform at my high school graduation signals that I’m ready to make the ultimate sacrifice. I’m mad that my overly sensitive, politically correct high school doesn’t understand.”

“Martin knew so young that he wanted to be a fighter,” said Karen Ostermule, Martin’s mother. “I thought he was too young to go off to training, but he wanted it so badly that I would have signed the parental permission slip if ISIS had one. When he came back home, fit and trim in his new suicide vest, I teared up a little at the man my little boy had become. It’s mommy’s little jihadi! He’s so proud that he’s earned the title ISIS Fighter, and I can’t believe his high school is full of libtards that think he shouldn’t be within 200 meters of a public gathering in his uniform.”

Martin’s school counselor, Peggy Mason, said that she was “very proud of anyone from Youngstown who finds a job after graduation,” but she felt that “Martin was making the graduation ceremony about himself and not the group.”

School administrators allowed that Martin could wear his suicide vest under his gown, but Martin declined, saying that he thought this would be disrespectful to the uniform.

Ostermule will receive his diploma in the mail, but it’s too little too late for Karen who says that Martin is “in pieces” after his school rejected him.

Karen is now fighting to change the name on Martin’s diploma to Mohammad Gulab, which was his chosen, though not legally adopted, jihad name.

Korea and the Democrats’ Deep Psychological Fear that Trump Is Right

August 12, 2017

Korea and the Democrats’ Deep Psychological Fear that Trump Is Right, PJ MediaRoger L Simon, August 11, 2017

(When everything else fails, perhaps it’s time to try something different. That’s what President Trump is doing and will continue to do, unless McMaster et al find ways to make him stop. I hope that President Trump gets rid of McMaster, soon. Please see also, Sources: These McMaster Advisors Are Running the ‘Smear’ Campaign to Save His Job. — DM)

President Donald Trump gestures as he answers a question regarding the ongoing situation in North Korea, Friday, Aug. 11, 2017, at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

One of the unspoken ‘indications’ in the medical sense of the ever-metastasizing Trump Derangement Syndrome is that the sufferers have a deep conscious/unconscious fear that Trump is right. What if the man they have excoriated unremittingly as a barbarian-racist-xenophobe-homophobe -misogynist-nitwit turns out to have been on the correct side of a fair number of issues on which they have failed, sometimes miserably, for decades?  Talk about personality disintegration — it would be hari-kari meets the Wicked Witch of the West. Well, emotionally anyway.

The current North Korea crisis is a perfect case in point. Susan Rice — has this woman no shame — took to the pages of The New York Times to inveigh against Trump for “bluster” regarding the NORKS.  The integrity-challenged former national security adviser was far from alone, however. Virtually all Democrats and their local media minions plus a good swatch of Republicans (including repellently vengeful John McCain) criticized the president for the same thing — using blunt language to counter the crazed dictator in Pyongyang when Trump should have been “diplomatic.”

This although almost any grown-up not comatose knows that “diplomatic” language has been employed by the U.S. ad nauseam for that purpose for the last twenty-five years through three administrations with no discernible impact whatsoever. Indeed, “abject failure” would be an accurate characterization of our diplomatic policy vis-a-vis the NORKS.  If you view this video of Bill Clinton extolling his administration’s “successful,” diplomatically-achieved nuclear deal with Pyongyang back in 2006, the word “nitwit” does come to mind, but it’s not about Trump. Here’s Madeleine Albright in another glorious moment of diplomatic achievement with Kim Jong-un’s dad Kim Jong-il laying on the splendor in Pyongyang Stadium before signing some meaningless agreement whose import is known only to Dennis Rodman.

How do you spell hornswoggled?

Of course, George W. Bush didn’t do much better and Barack Obama — who evidently hid the North Koreans’ development of mini-nuclear warheads for several years from the sensitive ears of the American public, only to leave us in the disastrous situation we are in today —  was considerably worse. This is the same Obama who pushed through the still mysterious Iran Deal handing the NORKs’ best friends the mullahs enough cash to run rampant in Syria. Soon thereafter Barack reneged on his pledge to prevent the use of chemical weapons by that very country’s leader. Sense a pattern?

And yet it’s the “blusterous” Trump who is supposed to be the problem.  Actually, he’s the one left to pick up the pieces of an American reputation in tatters.

Perhaps what we need is a little bluster. It’s an old technique and a sound one — good cop/bad cop. It was played out well by Nixon and Kissinger when Henry went to Beijing to negotiate with Mao and Chou. Kissinger threatened to let his “madman back home” (Nixon) loose unless the Chairman cooperated and made a deal. It worked.

Now we have Trump, Tillerson, Mattis and McMaster playing various levels of good cop/bad cop. They are even reportedly working the backchannels in the old diplomatic game. Let’s hope they learn from the past and do it better this time. Color me skeptical because without a serious military threat, I doubt the Chinese will listen.

Did I say Chinese? Of course, I did, because they are the true audience for what is going on. Mr. Kim is a whack job sideshow. The Chinese are the ones with the power to do something and stop a conflagration. And, like the Democrats and the Never Trumpers, they may be more afraid of Trump than they let on. Unlike Obama, he has shown he is not afraid to use force — and he did that while having dinner with Xi Jinping. Friday night he is supposed to be having a chat with Xi.

By now we may all know what happened — at least the part the leakers deign to tell us — but we do not know what will happen. The facts on the ground have yet to be revealed.

What has been revealed, however, is the psychology of those attacking Trump on this matter. They fear that they will be revealed as having been fools for the last twenty-five years — and indeed they were.

Palestinians Escalate War on Journalists

August 12, 2017

Palestinians Escalate War on Journalists, Gatestone Institute, Bassam Tawil, August 12, 2017

They said they did not know what “sensitive information” Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian Authority (PA) were trying to hide.

Today, it is safe to say that the situation of the freedom of the media under the PA and Hamas is not much different than that under Bashar Assad’s Syria or even North Korea.

Palestinian journalists’ hateful obsession with Israel brings them no dividends. Rather, such venomous bias diverts attention from the true challenges and threats they face from the PA and Hamas. By expending their efforts in this twisted fashion, the journalists aid and abet their leaders in building dictatorial regimes that suppress public freedoms.

As part of its overarching effort to silence critics, President Mahmoud Abbas’s Palestinian Authority (PA) has resumed its war against Palestinian journalists who refuse toe the line or are suspected of being insufficiently loyal to their leaders in Ramallah.

But this is nothing new: Abbas and his team have long been notoriously intolerant of news stories that reflect negatively on them in particular and on Palestinians in general.

In the past few days, PA security forces arrested six Palestinian journalists from Bethlehem, Nablus and Hebron. The journalists — Mamdouh Hamamreh, Qutaiba Kassem, Tarek Abu Zeid, Amer Abu Arafeh, Thaer Al-Fakhouri and Ahmed Al-Halaykeh — are suspected of “leaking sensitive information to hostile parties.”

This is the first time that Abbas’s PA has made such a ridiculous charge against Palestinian journalists. In an attempt to justify the latest crackdown on freedom of the media, Abbas’s news agency, Wafa, published a statement by an unnamed “senior security source” who said that the detained journalists were being interrogated about their role in “leaking sensitive information to hostile parties.” The detained journalists, meanwhile, have gone on hunger strike to protest their incarceration.

Upon hearing about the baseless charge, many Palestinian journalists said they did not know whether to laugh or cry. They said they did not know what “sensitive information” Abbas and the PA were trying to hide.

“We don’t have nuclear facilities,” remarked a Palestinian journalist from east Jerusalem sarcastically. “It’s clear that the Palestinian Authority leadership is using the security issue as an excuse to justify its punitive measures against journalists.”

Another Palestinian journalist from Ramallah scoffed at the charge against his colleagues. “This is the most ridiculous claim I’ve heard in years,” he commented. “It reminds us of Arab dictators who accuse their opponents and critics of revealing state secrets and consuming narcotics.”

That the PA leadership has refused to provide further details about the nature of the offense committed by the suspected journalists has only reinforced the belief that they were targeted as part of an ongoing campaign by Abbas and his lieutenants to silence critics and deter other journalists from doing their job or reporting any story that could reflect negatively on the Palestinian leaders.

Some Palestinian journalists take a different view of the matter. These reporters trace the arrest of the six journalists to a desire to pressure Hamas to release two journalists it is holding in the Gaza Strip: Amer Abu Shabab and Fuad Jaradeh.

In other words, the PA security forces are holding the six journalists hostage until Hamas frees the two newsmen it is holding. The journalists detained by the PA work for Hamas-affiliated media outlets in the West Bank.

Notably, the two Palestinian regimes – the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and Hamas in the Gaza Strip — have hardly championed freedom of speech and freedom of the media. In fact, the two parties share the same values when it comes to silencing all forms of criticism. Dozens of Palestinian journalists have been targeted over the past two decades by both the PA and Hamas.

These regimes have their own special way of defining freedom of the press. That is, the press is utterly free to blacken the name of Israel. The name of Hamas or the PA, however, is sacrosanct: criticism of either would land a Palestinian reporter behind bars or in an interrogation room.

Hamas and the PA prefer that the press pound Israel. Short of that, they tolerate journalistic critique of municipal services or the shortage of medicine in hospitals.

Today, it is safe to say that the situation of the freedom of the media under the PA and Hamas is not much different than that under Bashar Assad’s Syria or even North Korea. The failure to achieve a free media for the Palestinians is yet another sign of the Palestinian failure to build proper and transparent state institutions.

The Palestinians have no functioning parliament, no open debate and no free media. In the West Bank, the media is controlled, directly and indirectly, by Abbas and his loyalists. In the Gaza Strip, the only “media” is that which is controlled by Hamas — again, directly and indirectly.

But there is an interesting twist to the latest story of Palestinian Authority and Hamas assaults on freedom of the media. Sadly, many Palestinian journalists do not seem to care much about the harassment and suppression of their colleagues at the hands of their leaders in Ramallah and the Gaza Strip.

Instead of organizing widespread protests to demand the release of their colleagues who are being tortured by PA and Hamas interrogators, Palestinian journalists are still scapegoating Israel. Incredibly, they continue to incite against Israel despite the fact that they are being detained and tortured by the PA and Hamas.

Instead of demanding the release of their six colleagues from PA prison, some Palestinian journalists are protesting because some Israeli (Jewish) journalists came to Ramallah last week to cover the visit of Jordan’s King Abdullah II.

The presence of the Israeli reporters in Ramallah enraged several Palestinian journalists, who took to social media to condemn the Palestinian Authority leadership that gave them permission to come and cover the monarch’s visit.

The presence of Israeli reporters in Ramallah last week, to cover the visit of Jordan’s King Abdullah II, enraged several Palestinian journalists, who took to social media to condemn the Palestinian Authority leadership that gave them permission to cover the visit. (Image source: Palestinian President’s Office)

In this cartoon by Palestinian cartoonist Mohammad Sabaaneh, an Israeli journalist, carrying a microphone dripping with blood, is interviewing a dog.

Such incitement was easy to find on Palestinian social media websites this week. The presence of several Israeli Arab journalists seemed to roll right over the racist, raging Palestinian journalists — it is the presence of Jewish journalists that they cannot stand.

This attack on Israeli journalists has been backed by the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate (PJS), a Fatah-affiliated group headed by Nasser Abu Baker, a correspondent of the evidently unprofessional Agence France-Press: Baker has also run for election in the Fatah Revolutionary Council.

In a statement published in Ramallah, the PJS strongly condemned the presence of Israeli (Jewish) journalists in Ramallah and urged Abbas to hold accountable whoever gave the Israeli journalists permission to come to the city to cover the Jordanian king’s visit.

It seems that for the PJS, the presence of Israeli (Jewish) reporters in Ramallah is more disturbing than the arrest of Palestinian journalists by the PA and Hamas.

For the record, in recent years the PJS has served as a mouthpiece for Abbas’s office; instead of defending the rights of Palestinian journalists, it devotes more than 95% of its words and actions to denouncing Israel and whipping up rage against Israeli journalists.

Palestinian journalists’ hateful obsession with Israel brings them no dividends. Rather, such venomous bias diverts attention from the true challenges and threats they face from the PA and Hamas. By expending their efforts in this twisted fashion, the reporters aid and abet their leaders in building dictatorial regimes that suppress public freedoms.

Bassam Tawil, an Arab Muslim, is based in the Middle East.

Anti-Israel Curricula Used in World History Courses Across the Country

August 12, 2017

Anti-Israel Curricula Used in World History Courses Across the Country, Washington Free Beacon, August 12, 2017

Getty Images

A monograph published late last month of anti-Israel curriculum used in Newton, Mass., public high schools has led to revelations of similar materials in circulation at other school districts in the country, the report’s researcher told the Washington Free Beacon on Thursday.

Steven Stotsky of the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA) said that since the release of his findings in “Indoctrinating Our Youth: How a U.S. Public School Curriculum Skews the Arab-Israeli Conflict and Islam,” he has received phone calls alerting him to disquieting curricula being used in Michigan and California.

“We turned over a rock and discovered a significant problem,” said Stotsky, about his deep dive into textbooks, articles, timelines, and maps used from at least 2011 to 2015—some possibly still in use—for World History course sections on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and Islam in Newton’s two public high schools, which are among the most prestigious in the country.

The materials included the Arab World Studies Notebook, a textbook the American Jewish Committee has previously condemned as filled with “factually inaccuracies,” “overt bias,” and “unabashed propagandizing”; a timeline of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that almost entirely omitted instances of Palestinian terrorism; and a misrepresentative translation of the Hamas charter.

Stotsky said procedures must be established for vetting all materials brought into the classroom.

“Teachers are pulling things off the Internet, and a lot of it is fine, but a lot of it not. They can’t just be giving this stuff to students,” said Stotsky.

He questioned the decision to teach the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in a history class at all.

“History is complicated enough when you are studying issues that are 100, 200 years old,” he said. “You further complicate things when you add current events, and the Israeli-Palestinian issue is still politically and ideologically active.”

Stotsky’s report was the first comprehensive study of these materials, which were only obtained after a years-long battle with Newton administrators by an ad-hoc group of parents and concerned citizens.

Questions about the Newton curriculum were first raised in 2011, but the school district delayed turning over the documents until the summer of 2016. They only complied with those demands after Judicial Watch submitted a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request in October 2014, and even then dragged their feet for another two-and-a-half years.

“The obstruction, the failure to respond to citizens’ concerned, the lack of transparency was shocking,” said Stotsky. “The fact that it had to go all the way to a FOIA request is outrageous.”

An easy fix to the transparency issue, said Stotsky, would be simply throwing all curricula up on the Internet as a matter of policy.

Inaccurate, misleading, and radical Israel education is an ongoing problem at area schools, Stotsky said, pointing to a May 2017 “Middle East History Day” program at Newton North High School, at which he described a speaker as giving an “anti-Israel rant” to 150 students.

According to Stotsky, all the members of the Newton School Committee were sent copies of the CAMERA monograph weeks ago, and were asked to respond. Stotsky has been met with silence.

Ruth Goldman, the chair of the Newton School Committee—one of whose roles she said is “transparent communication with parents”—said all of the committee members received the CAMERA monograph and that a few had skimmed through it.

“You have to understand, we receive a lot of materials, and we can’t look through everything. We proactively seek out things that are agenda items for the committee. We don’t take up every thing that comes across our email,” said Goldman.

Goldman also said she couldn’t speak to the details of the case because “all that happened before my time on the committee.” She has served as the committee chair since 2013, a year before the FOIA was first submitted.

“It really had all been taken care of by the time I got here. It’s an old subject at this point,” Goldman said. “We communicate regularly with parents. We have a transparent process at the school committee.”

She wouldn’t speak to specific school curriculum, but said the district adheres to state guidelines and that “history is a tricky subject” taught in a “narrative and critical framework.”

Other school committee members told the Washington Free Beacon that they had not received the monograph and were not familiar with the case.

The mayor of Newton, who also sits on the school committee, was “too busy” to comment.

The superintendent did not respond to the Free Beacon‘s inquiry.

Trump-Putin deal imperils Israeli, Jordan borders

August 12, 2017

Trump-Putin deal imperils Israeli, Jordan borders, DEBKAfile, August 12, 2017

Local US-backed Syrian rebel groups disbanded without a shot, went over to the Syrian government side and handed in their US-supplied weapons to Syrian army and Hizballah fighters.

Sooner or later, the Sweida model will be replicated in Quneitra. Neither the Russian troops nor UN peacekeepers will fight to stop it happening. By then, the Syrian rebel groups, in whose support Israel invested for years as a buffer against hostile Syrian, Iranian and Hizballah forces, are already falling apart. Disowned by their Saudi backers, they are being crushed by the US-Russian “de-escalation” steamroller. Israel like Jordan will soon find three hostile forces sitting pretty just across its border, far too close for safety.

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The transformation of a small, strategic wedge of land between the Syrian, Israeli, Jordanian and Iraqi borders is going forward apace without arousing much interest – even in Israel, where it should cause the most concern, DEBKAfile reports.

On Wednesday, Aug. 8, two Russian army companies of Ingushet troops from the northern Caucasus set up a command post in the Syrian village of Tal al-Shahm, 13km from Israel’s Golan border. Its commander, Col. Alexei Kozin, has thus taken charge of Syria’s border with Israel. As DEBKAfile reported last month, his task is to set up 10 control checkpoints along that border.

This border area was designated as one of four de-escalation zones agreed on between Presidents Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin at their meeting in Hamburg on July 7.

According to understandings reached between Washington, Moscow and Jerusalem, the UN separation force (UNDOF) will return to its Fawar base opposite Quneitra as a buffer between IDF and Russian forces. Its past history in this role between IDF and Syrian forces was never exactly impressive.

A piece of diplomacy consistent with this process was contributed by Russian foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Friday, Aug. 11. It was an assurance that Russia would take into account Israel’s interests in Jerusalem in the framework of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

It also fits in with the surprising statement from Washington on the same day, namely, that Donald Trump, although in the midst of a fearsome crisis with North Korea with military overtones, is planning to send his senior adviser, son-in-law Jared Kushner and Israel-Palestinian peace broker Jason Greenblatt, on an early visit to the Middle East to continue this mission.

To see how these disparate elements fill out the whole picture, we turn 70km east from Quneitra on the Syria Golan to the battles ongoing at Sweida in southeastern Syria opposite the Jordanian and Iraqi borders. Russian troops moved into the key town of Daraa, abutting on the Jordanian border on July 13. Like in Quneitra, a month later, they set up command posts to monitor the first de-escalation or ceasefire zone to be set up under the Hamburg accord.

The Russian troops’ assignment was to stop the fighting there and execute the withdrawal of the combatant forces, the Syrian army, Iran, and its foreign Shiite militias, including Hizballah, to a distance of 40km from the border.

But that arrangement never stood up.

Nearly four weeks later, on Wednesday night, Aug. 9, on the same night that Russian troops moved into Quneitra, the Syrian army and Hizballah launched a major offensive in Sweida province. Three days later, by Saturday, they had forced the local rebel forces to retreat into Jordan and seized 57km of Syria’s southern frontier with the Hashemite Kingdom.

Neither the Russians nor the American interfered with the Syrian-Hizballah-led push, although the Russians took responsibility for maintaining the ceasefire, and US special forces were and still are posted to the east of Sweida at Al-Tanf in the Syrian-Jordanian-Iraqi border triangle.

(See attached map)

DEBKAfile’s military sources add that the Syrian-Hizballah offensive violated the ceasefire deal. Local US-backed Syrian rebel groups disbanded without a shot, went over to the Syrian government side and handed in their US-supplied weapons to Syrian army and Hizballah fighters.

The Sweida episode demonstrated how the Syrian-Iranian-Hizballah alliance sees its way to using the Trump-Putin ceasefire zones accord as an open door for seizing control of southern Syria and grabbing the Jordanian and Israeli borders.

The Syrian rebel movement is disintegrating at an alarming rate following the “Jubeir earthquake,” as it has become known – another momentous event which Western and Israeli front pages have chosen to ignore.

Last week, Saudi Foreign Mniser Adel al-Jubeir reportedly informed a delegation of Syrian opposition leaders invited to Riyadh that his government was pulling its support from their fighting militias, in the wake of President Trump’s decision to reduce US military action in Syria solely to the war on ISIS – and therefore end US resistance to the Assad regime.

Saudi officials did not deny the report, only termed it “inaccurate.”

But meanwhile, the decisions by Riyadh and Washington to abandon the anti-Assad cause spread like wildfire among Syrian rebel groups. Many responded by laying down their arms and surrendering.

The fate of the rebel movement after six years of cruel warfare against the dictator Bashar Assad should be an object lesson to other recipients of American and Russian promises. Therefore, Lavrov’s pledge to take Israel’s interests in Jerusalem into account should be taken with a pinch of salt. He was most likely shooting a line to allay Israeli skepticism about the prospect of Russian troops keeping Syrian, Iranian and Hizballah troops at bay from its northern border – even through this pledge was underwritten by Washington.

Instead of taking the two powers at their word, Israel need only watch what is going on in the last few hours just across the border at Sweida, to appreciate the value of such promises.

Sooner or later, the Sweida model will be replicated in Quneitra. Neither the Russian troops nor UN peacekeepers will fight to stop it happening. By then, the Syrian rebel groups, in whose support Israel invested for years as a buffer against hostile Syrian, Iranian and Hizballah forces, are already falling apart. Disowned by their Saudi backers, they are being crushed by the US-Russian “de-escalation” steamroller. Israel like Jordan will soon find three hostile forces sitting pretty just across its border, far too close for safety.

Trump: Military option for Venezuela on the table

August 12, 2017

While America’s tensions with North Korea continue to rise, US President Donald Trump clarified that his country has not ruled out military action in Venezuela amid the worsening political crisis in the country. Venezuela’s Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino condemned Trump’s statements, calling them “crazy threats.”

Aug 12, 2017, 5:00PM Becca Noy

Source: Trump: Military option for Venezuela on the table | JerusalemOnline

US President Donald Trump, US Secretary of Defense James Mattis and US Vice-President Mike Pence Photo Credit: EPA

US President Donald Trump said on Friday that he has not ruled out the possibility of taking military action against Venezuela in response to the worsening political crisis in the South American country. Trump’s remarks come after Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro established a constituent assembly, which is expected to replace the country’s parliament and rewrite the constitution.

Venezuela’s Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino condemned Trump’s statements, calling them “crazy threats.” Padrino added that Venezuela will release an official response soon.

The White House stated that Trump will speak with Maduro when democracy is returned to the country. The Pentagon quickly responded that it has not received any special orders from Trump regarding the South American country.