Zio-Watch News Round-up

Pro-ISIS US, Turkey, Qatar, Saudi to launch op in north Syria: Zio-Watch, May 16, 2016

From PressTV

Mon May 16, 2016 10:37AM

Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the US and Turkey have agreed to form a coalition to launch a large-scale military operation in northern Syria, the Rai al-Youm newspaper reports. 

The paper, edited by prominent Palestinian journalist Abdul Bari Atwan, on Monday quoted Mohib Shalati, a former major general with the Syrian army, as making the announcement on his Twitter account.

Shalati was himself citing the US State Department’s website as announcing that the US has agreed with Turkey to launch a massive military campaign in northern Syria.

The campaign will be backed by American and Turkish airstrikes as well as Turkish artillery attacks, it said.

Shalati said a meeting had been held in Turkey last Monday with the participation of representatives from the CIA, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey as well as commanders of militant groups in Syria to coordinate the operation.

The report said the so-called “North Army” coalition will be completely financed by Qatar and Saudi Arabia.
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From Ynet News

Gazans say Jordan restricting movement

Jordan has restricted travel of Gazans through its territory since last spring; amid pressure from human rights’ groups and NGOs, government spokesperson says will do everything it can to facilitate movement. Gazans who endured a border blockade by neighboring Egypt and Israel for almost a decade thought they were finally catching a break when Israel slightly eased restrictions on travel from the Hamas-ruled territory in recent months.
But now Jordan appears to be emerging as an obstacle, routinely denying transit permits for Gazans and effectively preventing patients, university students and others with business abroad from leaving the territory. With the Egyptian-controlled Rafah border crossing — Gaza’s main gateway to the outside world — all but shuttered, Jordan has emerged as a key player in enabling Gazans to travel abroad. Over the past year or so, Israel has begun to allow growing numbers of Gazans to cross through its territory and the West Bank into Jordan, where they can catch flights to their final destinations.
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From Ynet News

Former IDF generals come out in support of defense minister

Maj.-Gen. (res.) Gadi Shamni says officers should speak their minds as ‘army of Yes-Men’ is dangerous for Israel’; while Maj.-Gen. (res.) Avi Mizrachi argues ‘opinions should be expressed in the right forum, not in the media.’ Even though Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon have “settled their differences” on Monday following Ya’alon’s comments the night before urging the IDF’s top brass to continue “speaking their mind,” several senior officers in reserves came out in support of the defense minister.
The controversy was prompted by comments this month by IDF deputy chief, Maj.-Gen. Yair Golan, who compared recent trends in Israeli society to the atmosphere in Nazi-era Germany. Netanyahu called Golan’s statement, made in a speech marking Holocaust memorial day, as “outrageous” – while Ya’alon supported the general’s right to speak.

On Sunday, Ya’alon encouraged top military generals to continue speaking their mind in public, even if their comments contradict government sentiments.
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From PressTV

Tue May 17, 2016 12:37AM

The Daesh terrorist group has carried out massive bomb attacks against a key gas field in central Syria, setting off a minor earthquake in the nearby city of Palmyra, a monitoring group says.

The so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), a UK-based monitoring group, said there were three huge blasts conducted by Daesh at the Shaer gas field on Monday.

A Syrian man inspects his home upon his return to the city of Palmyra, April 9, 2016. (AFP)

The gas field — one of the biggest in Homs province — has been the scene of heavy clashes between Daesh elements and Syrian government forces. The terrorists captured the gas field on May 5.

Rami Abdel Rahman, the head of the SOHR, said Daesh was thought to have blown up several of Shaer’s pumping stations. He gave no details about possible casualties.

A Russian army sapper demines the territory in the historical part of Palmyra, Syria, April 7, 2016. (Russia’s Defense Ministry via EPA)

The blasts reportedly even shook the ancient city Palmyra, some 50 kilometers (30 miles) southeast of Shaer.

Syrian state news agency SANA said on Monday evening that government forces had recaptured a hilltop just west of the gas field. It did not mention the explosions.

Women react to damage as they visit the city of Palmyra, Syria, April 9, 2016. (Reuters)

Daesh captured the ruins of Palymra, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the adjacent modern city in May 2015, destroying ancient monuments there, including the 2,000-year-old Temple of Bel and the iconic Arch of Triumph.

The Syrian army, backed by volunteer forces and Russian air cover, wrested back control of Palmyra on March 27 following four weeks of military operations against Daesh.

A journalist stands at the remains of the Temple of Bel in the historic city of Palmyra, Syria, April 9, 2016. (Reuters)

Syria has been gripped by foreign-backed militancy since March 2011. The United Nations Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura estimates that over 400,000 people have been killed in the conflict, which has also displaced over half of the Arab country’s pre-war population of about 23 million.
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From PressTV

Mon May 16, 2016 11:59PM
Turkish forces greet Saudi troops upon their arrival in Turkey on May 14, 2016. (SPA)
Turkish forces greet Saudi troops upon their arrival in Turkey on May 14, 2016. (SPA)

Saudi ground and naval forces are taking part in multinational war games being held in the Turkish cities of Ankara and Izmir.

According to Saudi naval commander Colonel Ali Bin Mohammed Al-Shahri, the Turkish-led drill, dubbed EFES 2016, is one of the largest multinational military exercises of its kind, the Middle East Monitor reported on Monday.

He noted that the field exercises, which will last for about one month, will serve to “reinforce international security and stability, the solidarity of participating states, the willingness to confront terrorist organizations, highlighting capabilities and raising efficiency.”

“The exercise is aimed at enhancing cooperation, augmenting military understanding, implementing the hybrid tasks in a multinational environment, in addition to implementing the scheme of strategic loading and transporting of troops from areas where they are stationed,” Shahri added.

Saudi Arabia and Turkey are both part of an international US-led coalition purportedly conducting airstrikes against Daesh Takfiri terrorists inside Iraq and Syria.

This is while Riyadh and Ankara have also been implicated in supporting Takfiri groups operating in Syria with reports saying that Ankara actively trains and arms the Takfiri militants there and facilitates their safe passage into the Arab country. Turkey has also been accused of buying smuggled oil from Daesh.

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From PressTV

Mon May 16, 2016 10:29PM

A Turkish MP has suggested that another Russian plane should be shot down after a Turkish basketball team lost to a Russian squad in a major match.

Following the defeat of Istanbul’s Fenerbahce by Moscow’s CSKA in the Euroleague finals on Sunday, Samil Tayyar, an MP from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) tweeted, “I want another Russian plane downed,” RT reported on Monday.

Tayyar’s comment was retweeted over 8,000 times and received over 10,000 “likes”, although most of the comments he received were of an unenthusiastic nature.

Following the wave of negative reactions to his remarks, Tayyar took to Twitter again on Monday and posted that he had not been serious.

“This is a joke, guys, relax,” he said.

Turkish fighter jets shot down a Russian Sukhoi Su-24 bomber on the Syrian border on November 24, 2015, sparking a nosedive in their diplomatic ties.
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From PressTV

Mon May 16, 2016 9:55PM
A screen grab from a video released on December 7, 2015 shows the aftermath of a Russian airstrike on Daesh trucks transporting oil from Syria’s Aleppo province.
A screen grab from a video released on December 7, 2015 shows the aftermath of a Russian airstrike on Daesh trucks transporting oil from Syria’s Aleppo province.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov says Turkey is making a huge profit from illegal oil business with terrorists, who smuggle oil from neighboring Syria and Iraq.

Ankara and terrorist groups have “an oil business and business of contraband of artifacts and other illegal movements across the border,” Russia’s TASS news agency quoted Lavrov as saying on Monday.

Lavrov also said that the Turkish leadership is “lining its pockets” from the business.

Moscow has repeatedly said it has evidence showing Turkey is involved in the smuggling of oil from areas held by the Daesh terrorist group in Iraq and Syria. Ankara has strongly rejected the allegation.

Last December, the UN Security Council adopted a resolution aimed at clogging up the revenue stream of Daesh. It threatened sanctions on parties buying oil from the terrorist group, and advised that countries resist its demands for ransom payments.

Daesh finances its acts of terror mainly through drug trafficking, the sale of oil and antiquities, and ransom from abductions. Furthermore, reports indicate that wealthy individuals in the Persian Gulf region have raised major funds for the terror group.

This picture, obtained from the Russian Defense Ministry’s official Facebook page on November 26, 2015, shows Russia’s S-400 air defense missile systems at the Hmeimim airbase in the Syrian province of Latakia. (AFP)

Elsewhere in his remarks, the Russian minister said Daesh is receiving support from neighboring countries.

“There is support coming from the outside, especially from those who neighbor Iraq and Syria,” Lavrov said.

Lavrov further noted that Russian airstrikes against terrorists in Syria, which began on September 30, 2015, are helping to “destroy infrastructure used by terrorists to replenish their purse.”
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From Russia Today

Young women sexually harassed & robbed in Cologne-style attack at Berlin street fest

Published time: 16 May, 2016 13:41

Dancers take part in the Karneval der Kulturen (Carnival of Cultures) street parade of ethnic minorities in Berlin, Germany, May 15, 2016 © Hannibal Hanschke Dancers take part in the Karneval der Kulturen (Carnival of Cultures) street parade of ethnic minorities in Berlin, Germany, May 15, 2016 © Hannibal Hanschke / Reuters

Two female teenagers, 17 and 18 years old, were sexually harassed by a group of 10 men during a street festival in Berlin. The assault brought back memories of the Cologne sex attacks, which occurred during New Year’s Eve celebrations in Germany.

According to police, a group of around 10 young men surrounded the women as the two were dancing in front of a stage at the “Karneval der Kulturen” festival on Saturday night, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reported.

The men allegedly pressed against the teens and groped them. The men blocked all the girls’ attempts to escape. One of the assailants reportedly stole the 17-year-old victim’s cell phone.

A 27-year-old bystander, who reportedly witnessed the scene, called the police. He began filming the incident after he saw one of the teens sitting down on the ground, shaking with fear. When one of the attackers in the group noticed it, he aggressively told the 27-year-old to get lost, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reported.

Shortly afterwards police arrived and arrested three youngsters in the group, aged from 14 to 17. The stolen cell phone was retrieved and returned to the woman.
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From the Jewish Telegraphic Agency

Boxer Tyson Fury, who accused Jews of brainwashing, apologizes for causing offense

Tyson Fury before the Heavyweight European Championship at Barclaycard Arena in Hamburg, Germany, May 7, 2016.  (Oliver Hardt/Bongarts/Getty Images)

Tyson Fury before the Heavyweight European Championship at Barclaycard Arena in Hamburg, Germany, May 7, 2016. (Oliver Hardt/Bongarts/Getty Images)

(JTA) — British boxing champ Tyson Fury apologized for causing offense with anti-Semitic, sexist and homophobic comments he made in a video posted online this month.

The vaguely worded apology does not mention Jews or anti-Semitism, nor does it specify exactly which of his comments he regrets. Fury’s comments in the video that surfaced Friday on YouTube included homophobic and sexist remarks along with claims that Zionist Jews have brainwashed people.

“I said some things which may have hurt some people — which as a Christian man is not something I would ever want to do. I apologize to anyone who may have taken offense at any of my comments,” Fury said, according to a BBC News article Monday.
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From the Jewish Telegraphic Agency

France’s Jewish student union joins hate-speech suit against Facebook, Twitter and YouTube

(JTA) — France’s Union of Jewish Students has joined two other French groups in suing Facebook, Twitter and YouTube for failing to remove anti-Semitic, racist and homophobic content.

SOS Racisme, France’s largest anti-racism group, and SOS Homophobie, a gay rights movement, announced Sunday in a statement that they were taking legal action against the three social media platforms, according to reports.

In a social media survey from March 31 to May 10, the groups said they found on those sites “586 examples of content that is racist, anti-Semitic or homophobic, denies the Holocaust or seeks to justify terrorism or crimes against humanity.”

Denying the Holocaust, justifying terrorism, and propagating racist, anti-Semitic or homophobic messages are illegal in France.
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From the Jewish Telegraphic Agency

Treasury secretary: US must make clear some Iran sanctions are lifted

WASHINGTON (JTA) — The United States is obliged to make clear that certain sanctions no longer apply to non-American banks when dealing with Iran, the U.S. Treasury secretary said.

“When Iran took the actions that it took, we took the actions that we committed to take, which is to lift nuclear sanctions,” Jacob Lew said Monday at the Anti-Defamation League’s annual leadership conference. “It was imperative that we be clear what that meant.”

Lew was asked at the conference to respond to Stuart Levey, a former undersecretary of the Treasury who was charged with implementing the sanctions. Levey, the top lawyer for HSBC, a British bank, said last week that the Obama administration is sending European banks mixed messages.

The Iranians have complained that the effect of the lifting of some sanctions as part of last year’s sanctions relief for nuclear rollback deal has yet to be felt because of an array of other sanctions that remain in place.
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From the Jewish Telegraphic Agency

Hezbollah says Israeli airstrikes did not kill top military commander

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Hezbollah said the airstrike that killed its top military commander was by Sunni Islamists, refuting reports that Israel was the perpetrator.

“Investigations have showed that the explosion, which targeted one of our bases near Damascus International Airport, and which led to the martyrdom of commander Mustafa Badreddine, was the result of artillery bombardment carried out by takfiri groups in the area,” Hezbollah said in a statement on Saturday, according to Reuters.

“Takfiri” is a word used by the group to refer to armed Sunni groups.

A military funeral was held for Badreddine on Friday, Al-Jazeera reported.
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From the Jewish Telegraphic Agency

ADL to recognize Ottoman Empire’s massacre of Armenians as ‘genocide’

BOSTON (JTA) — The Ottoman government’s massacre of 1.5 million Armenians in the early 20th century was “unequivocally genocide,” the head of the Anti-Defamation League said in the group’s strongest position on the subject.

Jonathan Greenblatt, the civil rights group’s CEO, also said in a blog post Friday that the ADL will support U.S. recognition of the Armenian genocide — a move the group resisted for many years.

Greenblatt, writing ahead of the organization’s national convention that began Sunday in Washington, D.C., tied the 1915 events to the Holocaust less than three decades later.

Saying he wanted to be “crystal clear,” Greenblatt wrote: “What happened in the Ottoman Empire to the Armenians beginning in 1915 was genocide. We believe that remembering and educating people about any genocide – Armenian, the Holocaust, Bosnia, Rwanda and others is a necessary tool to prevent future tragedies.”
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From the Jewish Telegraphic Agency

Anthony Weiner lets it all hang out in new documentary

Anthony Weiner's surprising, scandal-ridden NYC mayoral campaign is the subject of a new documentary film. (Courtesy of Sundance Selects)

Anthony Weiner’s surprising and scandal-ridden New York City mayoral campaign is the subject of a new documentary film. (Courtesy of Sundance Selects)

(JTA) — It’s just before Rosh Hashanah in 2013, and New York City’s mayoral campaign is heating up. Disgraced former congressman Anthony Weiner, who in a surprise move had thrown his hat in the ring a few months earlier, is doing one of those obligatory photo ops at a Jewish bakery in Brooklyn. 

All is going well. Weiner has picked up an order of cookies laced with honey — sweets for the New Year — and even insisted on paying full retail. As he is leaving the store, though, a man wearing a kippah calls him a “scumbag” and a “deviant.”

Perhaps not surprisingly, the combative politician loses his cool and gets into a verbal confrontation with the heckler — “takes one to know one, jackass” — that makes the evening news.

Such scenes are captured in unflinching detail in “Weiner,” a film that won the Grand Jury Prize for documentary at the Sundance this year. The film follows the campaign from its late but implausibly plausible start the other candidates had been campaigning for months to its headline-making flameout.

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