The UN Human Rights Council’s Latest Libel against Israel

March 15 2019

Much like its predecessor, the UN Commission on Human Rights, the Human Rights Council (UNHRC)—whose current member nations include Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Cuba—dedicates much if not most of its time to condemning the Jewish state for imaginary crimes. Its recent report, produced by an “independent” commission of inquiry and concerning the violence along the Gaza border, is no exception. Alan Baker writes:

The commission’s legal assessment determines that the demonstrations [at the border fence] “were civilian in nature, had clearly stated political aims and, despite some acts of significant violence, did not constitute combat or a military campaign.” As such, the commission interprets the applicable legal framework to be that of law enforcement and policing, [rather than of] “combat or a military campaign.”

In making this curious assessment and determination, the commission totally ignores both the declared and documented intentions of the organizers as well as the declarations by the Hamas leadership calling upon the demonstrators to . . . charge the border fence, hurl explosive devices toward the Israeli soldiers guarding the fence, attach explosive devices to the fence, break through and infiltrate into Israeli territory, and attack and kill Israeli residents in towns and villages in the vicinity of the fence. . . .

In making their legal assessment, and in so downplaying the illegal nature of the demonstrations, the commission is, in effect, denying Israel’s sovereign right to defend its border against armed assault and to prevent illegal and violent infiltration into its sovereign territory.

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Read more at Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs

More about: Gaza Strip, Israel & Zionism, UNHRC, United Nations

The Syrian Civil War May Be Coming to an End, but Three New Wars Are Rising There

March 26 2019

With both Islamic State and the major insurgent forces largely defeated, Syria now stands divided into three parts. Some 60 percent of the country, in the west and south, is in the hands of Bashar al-Assad and his allies. Another 30 percent, in the northeast, is in the hands of the mostly Kurdish, and American-backed, Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). The final 10 percent, in the northwest, is held by Sunni jihadists, some affiliated with al-Qaeda, under Turkish protection. But, writes Jonathan Spyer, the situation is far from stable. Kurds, likely linked to the SDF, have been waging an insurgency in the Turkish areas, and that’s only one of the problems:

The U.S.- and SDF-controlled area east of the Euphrates is also witnessing the stirrings of internal insurgency directed from outside. According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, “236 [SDF] fighters, civilians, oil workers, and officials” have been killed since August 2018 in incidents unrelated to the frontline conflict against Islamic State. . . . The SDF blames Turkey for these actions, and for earlier killings such as that of a prominent local Kurdish official. . . . There are other plausible suspects within Syria, however, including the Assad regime (or its Iranian allies) or Islamic State, all of which are enemies of the U.S.-supported Kurds.

The area controlled by the regime is by far the most secure of Syria’s three separate regions. [But, for instance, in] the restive Daraa province in the southwest, [there has been] a renewed small-scale insurgency against the Assad regime. . . .

As Islamic State’s caliphate disappears from Syria’s map, the country is settling into a twilight reality of de-facto division, in which a variety of low-burning insurgencies continue to claim lives. Open warfare in Syria is largely over. Peace, however, will remain a distant hope.

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Read more at Foreign Policy

More about: ISIS, Kurds, Politics & Current Affairs, Syrian civil war, Turkey