Tag Archives: Syria

#Syria: Witnessing Genocide, It is time to do something

Sednaya prison complex

A satellite view of part of the Sednaya prison complex near Damascus, Syria is seen in a still image from a video briefing provided by the US State Department on May 15, 2017. (photo credit:REUTERS)
It is time to realize that concerted action, not fruitless diplomacy, is the Syrian people’s lifeline.
The State Department estimated that some 50 prisoners are being hanged daily at Saydnaya Military Prison, north of Damascus, and are then burned in the crematorium to conceal these crimes against humanity.

While Israel should not act unilaterally, we should be leading the world’s efforts to halt these atrocities – even to the extent of offering to join a coalition aimed at ending Assad’s campaign of genocide. The self-destruction of Syria under Assad’s dictatorship has so far destroyed some 500,000 lives since 2011 and has brought about Europe’s worst refugee crisis since World War II, while enabling Islamic State jihadists to emerge as a global terrorism threat.

Israeli lawmakers from across the political spectrum are urging the IDF to bomb Syria’s crematorium, evoking inaction during the Holocaust in demanding military action to stop Assad’s atrocities. One minister has openly called for Assad’s assassination as the only way to halt the execution and cremation of thousands of political prisoners.

Some cabinet members who urge action say this is the responsibility of the United States, which revealed the crematorium’s existence. Rejecting this, Yesh Atid Party leader Yair Lapid posted on Facebook that Israel has a “moral responsibility to act, when within striking distance of the IDF people are being burned. We have to wipe that crematorium off the face of the Earth.”

Lapid drew a direct parallel between the Allies’ failure to bomb the railway lines to Auschwitz during the Holocaust and the international community’s failure to stop the bloodshed in Syria. “Why did the world know [what was happening], but not do anything? Well now we know, and we’re not doing anything,” he declared. “Chemical weapons and incinerators – both the crematorium and Assad must go.”

Zionist Union MK Tzipi Livni tweeted on Monday that “Assad cannot be a part of the region’s future,” while Interior Minister and Shas Party chairman Arye Deri also called for Assad’s crematorium to be bombed, but urged the US to carry out the strike.

On Tuesday, Construction Minister Yoav Gallant (Kulanu) accused Assad of genocide and called for the dictator’s assassination. “The reality of the situation in Syria is that they are executing people, using directed chemical attacks against them, and the latest extreme – burning their corpses, something we haven’t seen in 70 years,” Gallant said. “In my view, we are crossing a redline. And in my view, the time has come to eliminate Assad. It’s as simple as that.”

While nothing in the Middle East is nearly that simple, US Jews also drew parallels with the Holocaust. The head of the Anti-Defamation League, Jonathan Greenblatt, spoke for all Jews in a statement on Tuesday:

“As Jews, we are particularly shocked by the extreme brutality of the Syrian regime, which evokes the worst nightmares of Nazi atrocities against the Jewish people. The world learned from the 20th century that it did not do enough to stop the crimes of the Nazis, which led to the genocide of six million Jews.” He challenged the international community “to put an end to the inhumane actions of the Syrian government.”

The Assad regime’s use of the outlawed sarin gas to asphyxiate civilian opponents is well documented and should have already been brought before the International Court of Justice for it to issue a warrant for his prosecution.

The reason it has not yet done so – according to Jonathan Spyer, director of the Rubin Center for Research in International Affairs at the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya – is realpolitik. He warns that Russia’s ever increasing intervention in support of the Assad regime could result in a possibly violent showdown with the US.

It is time to realize that concerted action, not fruitless diplomacy, is the Syrian people’s lifeline. “It’s an insane regime and good that the administration is telling people about it,” Spyer concluded. But as a largely silent world contemplates the grim, black-and-white US satellite photos of the Syrian crematorium, Israelis cannot help but be reminded of how a similar silence condemned millions of Jews to death just a lifetime ago.

It is time to do something.


If at first you don’t succeed, the authorities will let you try, try again.

A South Carolina teenager plead guilty to gun charges after officials say he plotted to attack a US military base in hopes of joining ISIS.

“It wasn’t like some fantasy he was acting out and then was nothing to bear out,” says 16th Circuit Solicitor Kevin Brackett. “This was a legitimate and sincere desire and effort on his part to accomplish these things.”

The 16-year-old boy, whose name is not being released, lived in York County but his family is originally from Syria.

Authorities said the investigation shows he was involved in “some radical Islamic activities” and associated with people in “radical Islamic groups.” They say the teen had expressed some of these thoughts publicly for a while, but no one came forward.

Of course they didn’t. It’s the Great Green Wall of Silence of Islam.

He was sentenced to be held by the Department of Juvenile Justice and was to attend counseling.

Brackett says the teen, in court, said he had changed his ways and no long believed the ideas he held before, but Brackett is skeptical. He says the teen appeared to hold the ideas fairly closely when he was first interviewed about them.

You can guess the sequel to the story two years later.

Brackett said Abdin told the court he was troubled, that his father had died, and swore this was an isolated incident, adding he had just been confused. He promised they wouldn’t hear from him again, Brackett said.

The judge sentenced Abdin to the maximum punishment, an indeterminate sentence that would keep him behind bars until his 21st birthday, Brackett said.

Abdin served time at the juvenile justice facility in Columbia but was paroled a few months ago, Brackett said. He said he and York Police Chief Andy Robinson had strong objections to Abdin’s parole.

“Given nature of allegations and the incident here, and evidence I saw in 2015, I’m not terribly surprised. I always thought these beliefs were much more deeply rooted,” Brackett said. “I’m grateful that the federal authorities were keeping close tabs on him and able to intervene before anyone got hurt.”

And he’s back…

An 18-year-old Ladson man appeared in federal court Friday following his arrest on charges he intended to join ISIS.

Zakaryia Abdin was arrested at the Charleston International Airport Thursday night, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Lance Crick. Abdin was arrested by special agents of the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force before he boarded an outbound flight.

He and his family should have been kept in Syria. It would have saved everyone a lot of trouble.

Extremely vetted Syria refugee had unvetted contacts with Islamic State


The liberal media like to say over and over that refugees from the Middle East are already subject to extreme vetting.  The most extreme!  The bureaucratic equivalent of waterboarding!  Why, they sat down refugees and actually asked them questions!  How much more thorough could they be than that?

Apparently, they missed something, because they let in at least one ISIS operative.

Federal agents are reinvestigating the backgrounds of dozens of Syrian refugees already in the United States after discovering a lapse in vetting that allowed some who had potentially negative information in their files to enter the country, two U.S. law enforcement officials said.

Do you appreciate the minimalist way this was written?  There’s nothing to worry about – merely “potentially negative information in their files.”  Doesn’t sound very serious, does it?

The refugees whose cases are under review include one who failed a polygraph test when he applied to work at a U.S. military installation overseas and another who may have been in communication with an Islamic State leader, according to the officials

I would say communicating with an Islamic State leader would be very “potentially negative information” in a refugee’s file.  Wouldn’t you?

President Obama ramped up the acceptance of Syrians last year to address the humanitarian crisis in that country, admitting 15,479 Syrian refugees, a 606% increase over the 2,192 admitted in 2015. Since the civil war started, the U.S. has accepted more than 18,000 Syrians seeking asylum, according to the State Department.

The vast majority pose no threat, officials say.

So what’s the problem?  If 60% or 70% or even 80% pose no threat, is there any reason to be concerned about Syrian refugees?

The 21-step screening process for Syrian refugees is among the most rigorous for anyone seeking to enter the United States.

The most rigorous!

Typically, the refugees are first screened by the United Nations and then referred to the State Department and other countries for potential resettlement.

Good to know we can rely on the U.N.!

As they review the applications, U.S. law enforcement and intelligence officials check the names and identities against databases.

What databases? When someone comes from a regime with no central government, what database is there to check against?  What do they do, a keyword search for ISIS on LinkedIn?

The vetting gap stemmed from a technological issue that for a period of time limited how agents searched CIA databases during the background check process, the officials said. As U.S. intelligence agents cross-checked refugees’ names and biographical information against CIA databases, the computer systems were not initially set up to automatically inspect data contained in “attachments” to the records, the officials said.

I have complete confidence in extreme vetting, don’t you?

Refugee applications have been rescreened before. In 2011, the files of more than 58,000 Iraqi refugees already living in the U.S. were vetted after the FBI learned that an Iraqi man living in Kentucky had participated in roadside bomb attacks in Iraq before he was granted asylum. He and another Iraqi refugee were arrested by the FBI and pleaded guilty in 2013 to trying to send explosives and missiles to the group known as Al Qaeda in Iraq.

Did they forget to check their email attachments?

Maybe they’re not doing the right keyword searches.  Or maybe there’s a problem with their spreadsheets.  Or maybe, just maybe, we shouldn’t let an incompetent bureaucracy let any of these people in.  One of the great things Donald Trump is doing is stopping immigration from Syria, on a temporary basis.  It should be made permanent.

Ed Straker is the senior writer at NewsMachete.com.