1. US honors memory of Marines killed in 1983 Beirut bombing
Vice President Mike Pence on Monday honored the memory of 241 US service members killed in the 1983 Marine barracks bombing in Beirut, calling the three-decade-old attack the “opening salvo” in the war against terrorism.
Pence and White House National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster paid tribute to the service members, including 220 Marines, on the anniversary of the deadly truck bombing during President Ronald Reagan’s first term.
The vice president pointed to President Donald Trump’s recent decision to decertify the 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran, which was tied to the bombing, and placed the 1983 attack as the first battle in the nation’s ongoing war against terrorism. He also recalled the 58 French paratroopers who died when a second terrorist struck their installation in Beirut.
“The Beirut barracks bombing was the opening salvo in a war that we have waged ever since — the global war on terror. It’s a conflict that has taken American troops across the wider world — from Lebanon to Libya, from Nigeria to Afghanistan, from Somalia to Iraq, and many other battlefields in between”, he said.
Under Trump’s leadership, “we will drive the cancer of terrorism from the face of the earth”, Pence stated.
The Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for the bombings. The chain of command likely ran from Tehran, through the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), as the Iranians drew on assets in Lebanon.
Hezbollah, Iran and Syria have continued to deny any involvement in any of the bombings, even though Iran erected a monument in Tehran to commemorate the bombings and its “martyrs” in 2004.
in April 2016, the US Supreme Court cleared the way for families of victims of the 1983 Marine barracks bombing in Beirut and other attacks linked to Iran to collect nearly $2 billion in frozen Iranian funds.
The Beirut bombing was the deadliest attack against US Marines since the battle over Iwo Jima in February 1945.
The ceremony and parade at the Marine Barracks in Washington was attended by retired Lt. Col. Larry Gerlach, the commander of the battalion landing team who survived the bombing, and families of service members who were killed.
Pence told the audience of his personal connection to the incident: His brother, Greg Pence, served in the Marines and was stationed at the Beirut barracks around the time of the attack.
The vice president said he and his parents and other family members worried about his brother’s safety when they heard about the bombing. Days later, Greg Pence, who is now running for Congress in Indiana, called home to tell his family that his battalion had shipped out shortly before the bombing.
“I promise all of you, just like my brother, we’ll never forget. We’ll never forget the 241 who never had that chance,” Pence said.
By: AP and World Israel News Staff
2. Iran to execute ‘Mossad agent’ for killing Iranian scientists
While Iranian officials attempted to maintain secrecy with regard to a scientist who was recently doomed to be put to death, international organizations are releasing the man’s identity, naming him as Ahmadreza Djalali. While Djalali is affiliated with prestigious institutions in Italy, Belgium and Sweden, he was arrested in April 2016 in Tehran during an academic visit.
While visiting the Islamic Repbublic, Djalali was accused of “collaboration with a hostile government”, as prosecutors attempted to pin on him the deaths of several Iranian scientists associated with the nation’s nuclear weapons program. Among the Iranian government’s accusations were claims that Djalali received remuneration, academic positions and research initiatives as compensation for espionage activity on behalf of Israel.
In reality, Djalali “works on improving hospitals’ emergency responses to armed terrorism and radiological, chemical and biological threats”, according to Nature, one of the top peer-reviewed publications in the world.
Not long before the death sentence was revealed, “A close contact of Djalali’s (who would prefer to remain anonymous) circulated a document that claims to be a literal transcription of a handwritten text produced by Djalali inside Evin prison, where he is being held. The document states that Djalali believes he was arrested for refusing to spy for the Iranian intelligence service”, Nature reported.
The Djalali episode is only the latest chapter in Iran’s atrocious record of human rights violations and horrific atrocities committed against its own citizens and foreign nationals. In 1988, for instance, the Iranian regime hung literally tens of thousands of political prisoners and supporters of opposition movements, burying the victims in mass graves, based on a decree issued by Iranian regime founder Ayatollah Khomeini.
Iran is also widely believed to have been behind bombings in the 1990s targeting Jews in Argentina that claimed the lives of over 100 victims and injured hundreds of others. Politically motivated executions and the persecution of various minority groups are currently widespread practices in Iran.
By: Ebin Sandler, World Israel News
3. U.S. Military Adapting in Complex Environment, Mattis Says
By Lisa Ferdinando DoD News, Defense Media Activity
WASHINGTON, Oct. 9, 2017 – The U.S. military is adapting to remain the most lethal joint force on the planet and to respond to evolving global security challenges, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said here today.
“The international situation is the most complex and demanding that I have seen in all my years of service — and that’s over four decades“, Mattis said in the keynote address at the Association of the United States Army’s annual meeting and exposition.
Terrorists in the Middle East continue to conduct murder and mayhem despite significant and accelerating losses, Mattis said. And “one state sponsor of terror in the Mideast cannot hide behind its nation-state status while, in effect, it is actually a destabilizing revolutionary regime,” he added.
In Europe, for the first time since World War II, national borders have been changed by the force of arms, Mattis told the audience. “One country proved willing to ignore international law to exercise a veto authority over its neighbors’ rights to make decisions in the economic, diplomatic and security domain,” he said.
Meanwhile in the Pacific, North Korean provocations are “threatening regional and even global peace despite universal condemnation by the United Nations,” the secretary said.
“This is the reality that faces our Department of Defense and our like-minded allies“, he said. “We must have militaries fit for their purpose, fit for their time in these days of emerging challenges.”
In addition, Mattis described challenges in new domains of conflict in space and in cyberspace, including “deniable attacks even on our democratic processes“.
First Line of Effort: Increasing Lethality
Mattis highlighted three lines of efforts to “maintain a safe and secure nuclear deterrent and maintain a decisive conventional force that can also fight irregular warfare“.
First, the Defense Department must ensure that everything it does contributes to the lethality of the force, he said. “We must never lose sight of the fact that we have no God-given right to victory on the battlefield,” he added.
Acting Army Secretary Ryan D. McCarthy and Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Milley are examining personnel policy, training time, the organization and more “to ensure they contribute to make us the most lethal joint force in the world“, Mattis said.
The secretary warned against automatic budget cuts under sequestration.
“I want the Congress back in the driver’s seat of budget decisions, not in the spectator’s seat of automatic cuts,” he said. “I have great confidence in the U.S. Congress, but I have no confidence in automatic mathematical budget cuts.”
Second Line of Effort: Strengthening Alliances
The second line of effort is to build or strengthen alliances, as was done after World War II, Mattis said. That effort includes relationships at NATO, in the defeat-ISIS coalition, in Afghanistan, and in expanding friend and partner bonds in the Indo-Pacific region, he said.
The retired Marine Corps general said he had the honor of fighting many times for America. “I never once fought in an all-American or solely American formation. It was always alongside allies,” he said. “I will just tell you from NATO in Europe and to the Pacific, the message to our allies is: we are with you.”
Third Line of Effort: Reforming Business Practices
Deputy Defense Secretary Pat Shanahan is responsible for most of the continued effort for the third line of effort, reworking business practices to gain full benefit from every dollar spent on defense, Mattis said.
“We are taking aggressive action to reform the way we do business”, he said, adding that those efforts include gaining and holding the trust of Congress and the American people.
The effort will show “that we are responsible stewards of the money allocated to us and that it translates directly every dollar into the defense of our country and what we stand for,” Mattis said.
Mattis Lauds ‘Greatest, Most Trusted Army on Earth’
The AUSA annual meeting and exposition is a multiday event attended by thousands of people, including current and retired military personnel. In his address, Mattis praised the Army for setting the standard for the last 242 years.
“I’m grateful to serve once again alongside soldiers of the greatest army, the most trusted army, on earth,” he said, adding that the Army’s members are “among the disciplined, ethical, capable high-spirited soldiers whose character I have seen rise to every occasion in the worst possible circumstances“.
Today’s Army is filled with willing, high-quality patriots — all volunteers, he said, and he commended the contributions of the soldiers of wars past.
“To all the veterans in the room: you set an uncompromising bar that every one of us on duty today must live up to,” he said.
4. ISIS ON THE RUN UNDER TRUMP
After 8 years of Obama’s lies and failures leading to genocide.
October 13, 2017
Last week Secretary of State Rex Tillerson announced that ISIS’s “fraudulent caliphate in Iraq and Syria is on the brink of being completely extinguished“, and credited “an aggressive new strategy led by the president.” President Trump trusted his military to carry out a robust strategy to quickly eliminate ISIS’s control of territories from which it could plan and direct terrorist attacks worldwide. As Defense Secretary Jim Mattis explained last May, “First, he delegated authority to the right level to aggressively and in a timely manner move against enemy vulnerabilities. Secondly, he directed a tactical shift from shoving ISIS out of safe locations in an attrition fight to surrounding the enemy in their strongholds so we can annihilate ISIS.”
Former President Barack Obama had allowed the ISIS cancer to metastasize in the first place, leading to the killing, maiming, kidnapping and sexual enslavement of many thousands of innocent men, women and children. That is because Obama initially considered ISIS a “J.V. team” and then failed to prosecute a meaningful counter-strategy to quickly eliminate the ISIS scourge before its killing machine could become a regional and then a global threat. There has been huge slaughter and a global security threat unleashed thanks to Obama’s handling of ISIS, and the reverse of that trend under President Trump.
When Obama left office in January 2017, after years of ISIS expansion and atrocities, the ISIS threat was finally beginning to recede in his slow war of attrition. However, ISIS still held on to significant territories in Iraq and Syria. While Obama slow rolled the fight against ISIS under overly restrictive rules of engagement that centralized tactical decision-making in the White House, President Trump has taken the gloves off. As commander-in-chief, he set the overall strategy and trusted his military to carry out their battle plans in the field with minimum interference and second-guessing. As a result, ISIS is finally on the run. ISIS territory has been reclaimed at a faster rate under President Trump than under Obama, with nearly a third of the territory taken by ISIS in Iraq and Syria since 2014 recovered during the first six months of the Trump administration. ISIS is on the verge of losing any remnant of control it has clung to in Raqqa, its de facto capital in Syria, since being largely routed from there last month. Earlier this month, ISIS lost control of its last major urban stronghold in Iraq, Hawija. Monthly revenue for ISIS in Iraq and Syria dropped about 49 percent from the third quarter of 2016 to the second quarter of 2017.
In Syria, where the six-year-old civil war has claimed about 500.000 lives, civilian deaths decreased during the first half of 2017 as compared to the same period in 2016 — from 6567 to 5381, according to the Syrian Network for Human Rights. In June 2016, 1271 civilians were killed as compared to 848 civilians in June 2017. Thus, as the Trump administration was fighting ISIS more aggressively, while at the same time punishing the Syrian regime for its chemical attack in contrast to the Obama administration’s passivity, civilian deaths in Syria were actually dropping.
ISIS’s rise all started when, against military advice, Obama precipitously removed all U.S. combat troops from Iraq in 2011, creating a vacuum which allowed the defeated remnants of al Qaeda in Iraq to regroup and morph by 2014 into the self-declared caliphate of the Islamic State (i.e., ISIS). Obama did nothing as ISIS expanded its tentacles in Iraq and Syria. The same month in 2014 that ISIS seized Falluja, a city in Anbar Province, Iraq, and parts of Ramadi, the province’s capital, is when Obama dismissed ISIS as akin to a “J.V. team.” By that time, ISIS had controlled “more than 34,000 square miles in Syria and Iraq, from the Mediterranean coast to south of Baghdad,” according to figures cited by CNN.
In June 2014, ISIS took over the northern Iraqi city of Mosul. Finally, Obama began to take notice and ordered limited air strikes against ISIS, initially in Iraq and then in Syria. He said the goal was to work with a global coalition to “degrade and ultimately destroy” the militants. However, a year later, at a news conference held on June 8, 2015 following a G-7 summit meeting in Germany, Obama admitted that “we don’t have, yet, a complete strategy” to confront the threat posed by ISIS.
Moreover, Obama continued to deny that ISIS fighters were inspired by their Islamist ideology. At a prayer breakfast in February 2015, Obama sought to deflect attention from ISIS’s religiously motivated atrocities by referring to the centuries old Crusades and the Inquisition. “And lest we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place,” Obama said, “remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ. There is a tendency in us, a sinful tendency, that can pervert and distort our faith.”
Instead of castigating Christians for long ago events and engaging in moral relativism, Obama should have spent his time and attention devising an effective strategy to combat the genocide against Christians and other religious minorities inflicted in the name of Islam during his watch. Yet he could not even bring himself to utter the words “Islamic terrorism.”
While Obama fiddled, the Middle East was burning. ISIS targeted religious minorities with forced conversions, expulsions, death or captivity, particularly Christians. ISIS made its anti-Christian intentions clear in its magazine Dabiq: “We will conquer your Rome, break your crosses, and enslave your women, by the permission of Allah, the Exalted”.
A report dated March 9, 2016 submitted to former Secretary of State John Kerry by the Knights of Columbus and In Defense of Christians, entitled Genocide against Christians in the Middle East, laid out the particulars of the horrors ISIS was inflicting upon the dwindling Christian population. The report cited, for example, an estimate by Melkite Catholic Archbishop Jean-Clément Jeanbart of Aleppo, placing “the number of Christians kidnapped and/or killed in his city as in the hundreds, with as many as ‘thousands’ killed throughout Syria”.
In 2011, there were approximately 1,250,000 Christians in Syria. There were less than 500,000 in 2016. Some of those Christians not killed by ISIS have been forced to pay a tax to the Islamic terrorists. ISIS has also destroyed churches and Christian shrines. However, Obama never sought to protect Christians who were being massacred and displaced. Indeed, he sharply criticized the suggestion that persecuted Christians be given preference for admission as refugees. He said that “when I hear political leaders suggesting that there would be a religious test for which person who’s fleeing from a war-torn country is admitted… that’s shameful.” Obama added: “That’s not American, it’s not who we are”.
In Obama’s last full calendar year in office, 99 percent of the 12,587 refugees from Syria admitted to the U.S. were Muslims, while less than 1 percent were Christians. Estimates of the Christians’ proportion of the total population of Syria have ranged from 5 to 10 percent since the onset of the Syrian civil war. Muslims made up 87% of Syria’s total population. Thus Muslims were being admitted to the United States in a greater proportion than even their huge majority percentage of the total population in Syria itself. Obama clearly discriminated against Christians and other non-Muslim minority religious groups who needed refugee status protection the most, while vastly favoring the one group of refugees from Syria and other Middle Eastern countries who needed protection the least– Sunni Muslims.
After declaring that Christians have “been horribly treated” by the refugee program under Obama, President Trump has sought to reverse the Obama administration’s disgraceful discrimination against Christian refugees. Unfortunately, he has been stymied to date by the courts.
The best way for President Trump to stop the genocide being perpetrated by ISIS on Christians and other religious minorities will be to continue on his course of completely annihilating the monster that Obama’s feckless policies allowed to grow out of control in the first place.