Iraq, Syria, Gaza and Libya in flames


Libya-explosionBy Holly Yan
Sometimes it’s the fear of rockets dropping from the sky. Sometimes it’s violent fundamentalists taking over their cities. Sometimes it’s the barrel bombs stuffed with TNT and nails.

Exactly what horror they face depends on which border they live within.

Syria, Iraq, Gaza, Israel and Libya.

Each with its unique crisis, but all now unified in a heightened sense of anxiety as years of conflict come to a head.

“I would argue,” U.S. Sen. John McCain said this week, “that given conditions in the Middle East, this might be more dangerous than any time in the past.”

Here’s where the crises stand:


Al-Assad wins … again

With carnage mounting every day across the country, it’s hard to find reason to celebrate in Syria.

And yet President Bashar al-Assad and his supporters find a way. On Wednesday, al-Assad was sworn in for his third term.

It’s an outcome pretty much everyone expected — not because he is popularly adored, but because his family has ruled Syria since 1971. And no real contender ran against him.

Three years of civil war have left much of the country in shambles. While regime helicopters drop barrel bombs on opposition neighborhoods, dissidents say, the government maintains its stance that it’s only fighting terrorists.

As if the civil war wasn’t enough, the radical Sunni group Islamic State in Iraq in Syria is using this opportunity to carve its own swath of territory from the Iraq border to deep inside Syria.

The United Nations says more than 170,000 people have been killed in the past three years. But at this point, many have stopped counting.

“No one is winning; no one can win,” U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said. “Even if one side were to prevail in the short term, the devastating toll will have sown the seeds of future conflict.”

Why US should care:

For Americans thinking the Syrian crisis doesn’t hit home, think again.

U.S. intelligence and law enforcement have dozens of investigations under way, tracking Americans who traveled to Syria to join the fight.

“The FBI and other members of the intelligence community have made this a top priority and are taking whatever steps they can under the law to monitor and prevent those coming back from doing us harm,” Assistant Attorney General John Carlin said.


Threat of fundamentalism looms

This month was supposed to mark Iraq’s first steps toward a new government. But it’s hard to tout political gains when ISIS militants keep barreling across the country, snatching entire cities and threatening to take over Baghdad.

ISIS now controls land on both sides of the Iraq-Syria border — opening the floodgates for weapons and fighters between the two countries.

On Wednesday, Iraqi security forces had to withdraw from central Tikrit after fierce fighting with militants believed to be ISIS members. At least 52 Iraqi security forces were killed.

Now, an unlikely pair of countries are coming to assist the embattled government — the United States and Iran.
While U.S. advisers are on the ground assisting security forces, Iraq is increasingly relying on Iranian-backed Shiite militias to stave off radical Sunni ISIS militants — especially around the capital.

Former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney said the crisis in Iraq now involves throngs of foreigners — possibly including Americans.
“One of the problems you’ve got now is a caliphate that includes part of Syria, part of Iraq, and you’ve got literally thousands of jihadist wannabes flooding into that part of the world from Europe — some of them probably from the United States — who want to participate in that conflict,” Cheney told CNN’s Jake Tapper.

“It’s a threat to us, to the United States, not just to that part of the world.”


A free-for-all

Nearly three years after Libyan rebels overthrew a longtime dictator, the country is no closer to lasting stability.

The civil war that culminated in Moammar Gadhafi’s 2011 death has given way to warring militias fighting over Tripoli’s international airport.

At least 90% of the planes there have been damaged, and it would cost hundreds of millions of dollars to repair them, the government said.

Maintenance buildings are destroyed. So are fuel tanks and trucks. Even the control tower has been hit.

The chaos in the capital is so dire now that officials are considering asking for international troops — even though the government is virtually powerless and has very little influence on what’s happening on the ground.

Not only is government is weak, but militias actually outnumber and outgun its security forces.

Why US should care:

The U.S. State Department said the fighting could lead to widespread conflict.

“We affirm our support for Libya’s democratic transition and urge the seating of the new Council of Representatives as soon as possible,” the State Department said. “We stress the vital role Libya’s Constitution Drafting Assembly plays in building the new country for which Libyans sacrificed so much during the revolution.”

And of course the U.S. is still trying to figure out more details on the 2012 attack that killed four Americans at a U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, including U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens.


Retaliation and recrimination

What was supposed to be a cease-fire between Israeli forces and Palestinian militant group Hamas this week now seems like a joke.

Rockets fired by Hamas on Tuesday were quickly matched by airstrikes from Israel.

And so the exchanges continue.

Now, a leading member of Hamas says he’s not opposed to peace — but says there needs to be more compromise.

“We hope we can achieve a cease-fire — but a cease-fire which can protect the Palestinians and guarantee that there will be no violations,” Hamas spokesman Osama Hamdan said.

Israel, which accepted a cease-fire proposal by Egypt, defended its decision to strike back against Hamas.

“Instead of having this door open to a diplomatic solution, they closed the door,” said Mark Regev, spokesman for the Israeli prime minister. “We now have to, unfortunately, protect our people through military means.”

While both rockets and rhetoric fly, Human Rights Watch said Israeli air attacks have been “killing civilians in violation of the laws of war.”

An Israeli military spokesman said civilian casualties in Gaza are “a human tragedy” — but that it’s Hamas’ fault. The military accuses Hamas of taking civilians hostage by using places like houses, hospitals and schools to hide weapons.

More than 200 people have been killed in Gaza since the offensive started a week ago, Palestinian officials said. One Israeli has also died.

Why US should care:

Many credit Israel’s Iron Dome for saving untold lives on the Israeli side. In 2014, the United States provided $235 million for Iron Dome research, development and production, according to the Congressional Research Service.

Israel is also the biggest recipient of U.S. foreign aid, much of which has gone toward Israel’s military spending.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry say’s he’ll return to the region if a cease-fire doesn’t materialize.

“I am prepared to fly back to the region tomorrow, if I have to, or the next day, or the next, in order to pursue the prospects if this doesn’t work,” Kerry said. “But they deserve, the Egyptians deserve the time and the space to be able to try to make this initiative work.”

Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat put it bluntly: “We need the United States.”

“Now the region is really boiling,” he said. “Failure is not an option here.”




30 responses to “Iraq, Syria, Gaza and Libya in flames”

  1. and the common thing to all these places is….

    1. MekensehParty Avatar

      aggressive people?

    2. 5thDrawer Avatar


      1. TheUSequalsTheIS Avatar

        this is the stupidest thing i have ever heard..

        1. 5thDrawer Avatar

          Oh. I forgot the question marks. ?? :-))
          or …
          “We need the United States.” ??

          1. TheUSequalsTheIS Avatar

            u dont need the marks as it is the goddamn united states

    3. sweetvirgo Avatar

      Ignorant people??

    4. TheUSequalsTheIS Avatar


    5. Arabs and Islam

    6. agrresive religion of peace

      1. TheUSequalsTheIS Avatar

        i really like that u reply to urself.

        1. saw so many correct answers here, seems rude i’d answer only one of you
          went for a general replay

          1. TheUSequalsTheIS Avatar


    7. Ivana Humpalot Avatar
      Ivana Humpalot

      common thing is that allah wrote in the Quran toilet scrolls that Tel Aviv is a muslim city but lowlifes are fighting each other instead

      1. Anti ISIS Avatar
        Anti ISIS

        Allah also mentioned you in the Glorious Quran. I believe the word pig was mentioned. However unfortunately your second name wasn’t, The word Kaleb. Ah well, at least you were mentioned somewhere you low life piece of shit.

        1. Ivana Humpalot Avatar
          Ivana Humpalot

          “13 terrorists attempted to cross into Israel through a tunnel from Gaza, but were thwarted and killed by the Israeli army.”

          Let’s hope theyre buried in pig skin, dinner for Haifa zoo…. lol

          1. did you notice how venomous the haters here since the op started and Hamas didn’t kill enough jews??really gets under their skin to see jews living in safty
            but why are they angry at us instead of Hamas i will not understand.

          2. Ivana Humpalot Avatar
            Ivana Humpalot

            haha, only once here in Haifa we had a siren at 3:30 am, but it was intercepted. On the news you will read “rockets reached Haifa bla bla bla” but not a single one has hit. Must be so sad that for 222 palis killed, only 1 Israeli is killed.

            Did you read about Sderot cinema? LOL

          3. working like crazy today, read nothing of that, but i heard the fools from Hamas dig another tunnel into israel and when they poped their head out of it they saw the IDF is waiting for them LOL
            13 bastards dead

          4. Ivana Humpalot Avatar
            Ivana Humpalot

            Just like the 5 killed at the beach, lol. And now the losers are giving a shopping list of terms for a ceasefire hahhahaha

          5. yeah i was laughing about it so hard 🙂
            Hamas terms:
            we build them airport,
            we build them a harbor
            we remove all restriction,
            in return they “promise” only 10 years of
            some one needs to explain them they didn’t win but lost this war as well.
            they are in no position to dictate terms lol
            much cheaper to wipe them out ..and more reliable too

          6. Ivana Humpalot Avatar
            Ivana Humpalot

            Israel’s terms should be:

            Build an Israeli airport
            Build an Israeli harbor
            No restrictions on Israeli settlements in Gaza
            palis have 10 years to emigrate elsewhere………… lol

          7. :))
            terms should be:
            running the border crosings should be in the hands of the UN or other impartial body.
            cleaning the strip from rockets,stoping all terror buildups
            after 10 years, if they keep up to their part of the deal, we can discuse building an airport or harbor.
            till then – quiet will be answered with quiet.

          8. Anti ISIS Avatar
            Anti ISIS

            I could careless about Hamas you tool, I responded to that piece of shit because of what he said about the Quran. Or can’t you read you scum bag. Chosen people my ass. Your day will come. Remember, If history has taught us anything, what goes up must come down. Enjoy you time in the lime light. Lets see how long it last.

          9. a. i thought i was replying on a different thread, i was not directly refering to you.
            b. yeah this is rude comment, replying here does not mean i support that
            c. you can’t deny , things here really heat up lately, i’m more busy trading insults then talking. and there is no other explanation then the Gazza op.

  2. libnan1 Avatar

    Glad to see that every fucker that had a hand in fucking with Lebanon is getting fucked …..

    1. nagy_michael2 Avatar

      Amen to

    2. 5thDrawer Avatar

      You have a point there, for sure.
      Now … about Aoun the Loon …. 😉

  3. -The ad says that you can take the quest – the half-elf said the mayor. – But it does not explain the essence. Could you clarify?

    Yes, – shrugged mayor. – Do you see that hill? Goblin sat down with the grenade. And periodically shelled the city. That’s the whole problem.

    -Yeah, of course. To kill a goblin …
    What you, what you are!? – Mayor stared and waved his arms. – Its not in any way can be killed!

    Why? – Dwarf surprised. – It’s a goblin!
    -That’s it! If we kill him, the world community will say that it is a genocide, and we are racists.

    -So what? Let him speak what he wants.
    AND introduce troops – grimly finished his thought Mayor.

    -Hmm … thought half-elf. – That is, this motherfucker is shooting at you from a grenade launcher, and you suffer and do not dare to fight back?

    Do not dare – shrugged mayor. – Otherwise, we called the aggressors.

    -Well, and if, for example, not to kill a goblin, and drive him somewhere far away?

    -With its hill? Impossible. Then call us occupiers.

    Catch-and select the launcher?
    -Locked up with a grenade launcher? .. Okay, okay, do not answer, – half-elf said quickly when Mayor opened his mouth. – I get it. Indeed, an interesting case.

    -Well, what do you want from us? – Princess broke. – You can not kill, can not disarm, catch and chase too impossible, and then what is left? To re? It is not our profile.

    No, you … For this work we would have called a psychologist. But, by the way, if the world community would blame us in providing psychological pressure.

    -And desecrating indigenous traditions – added Gnome, solidly shaking his head. – Shoot from a grenade launcher on little people – it’s goblins holy!

    -That’s it – happily exclaimed Mayor – you know what I mean.

    Well-us-what is required? – Again barged Princess.

    -Deliver the parcel – mayor sighed.
    -Who? Goblin?

    -Well, yes. For there, on the hill, there is no food reserves. An hour later, the goblin hungry, declare a truce and begin negotiations. He does so every day. Demands that he brought food, wine, weapons, sometimes something else … And then, when feels full, declares that the peace talks have stalled and he was forced to resume fire. World public opinion he was very sympathetic. Believes he principle.

    -And if you refuse to provide him with food and weapons …
    Then tell us about that …

    -Okay, okay, we realized – waved his hands half-elf.
    – … and introduce troops – Mayor mumbled.

    -Well, and we have something you why? Would send one of his carry bag.

    -We sent already. Nobody returned.
    What goblin killed them all?

    -He claims that there is.
    A …
    A world community believes him.

    A …
    -And then say that we provocateurs. You see, this is it, goblin, exhibits peace initiative, it is a gesture of goodwill. And if something goes wrong, it is only our fault. Obviously the same! And you … well, sort of like outsiders you he can not touch you.

    -Well, – summed up the half-elf. – If we reject all political husk, then we are required to take at the customer premise and take it to the client, right? Normal postal quest. But everything else – just your problem. So?

    -That’s right – confirmed Mayor – then, okay?
    -It’s a deal – half-elf nodded. Burgermeister relieved.

    -You can question? – Princess raised her hand. – Here you are so afraid that the world community will call you aggressors, or warlords, or even worse than – as you called now?

    Idiots – Mayor replied sadly

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