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Despite the increasing number of terror attacks in the United States, for most Americans the various Middle East conflicts remain a distant and misunderstood affair. Chris Mitchell, a Massachusetts native and the Middle East bureau chief for the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN), shed light on these issues from his perspective as an Evangelical Christian covering the Middle East.
A new organization, The Committee to Destroy ISIS, believes an alternative is needed to defeat the terror group. They propose creating a secular homeland for Sunni Muslims and other minority groups in western Iraq. JNS.org spoke with the organization’s executive director, Sam Patten, to get his thoughts on the current situation in Iraq and how the U.S., including the next president, can successfully destroy ISIS.
On Aug. 28, Iranian state television broadcast live images of Russian-made, highly advance S-300 surface-to-air missiles being transported by trucks to the Fordo nuclear facility south of Tehran. The move by Iran to further fortify one of its most secretive nuclear sites has led to questions over its intentions at the site, while also raising doubts about their commitment to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) or Iran nuclear deal that was agreed to by Iran and the world powers last July.
Just as the war against Islamic State has, for Russia and Iran, been a war to keep Assad in power and extend the territory under his control, so it is with Turkey, which last week sent its troops over the border into Syria. The Turks say they are targeting IS, but in the same way that the Russians and Iranians have turned their firepower on civilian targets and non-Islamist rebels alike – strengthening IS by default – Turkey's real agenda in Syria is to crush the burgeoning Kurdish national movement in the north and east of that country, writes JNS.org columnist Ben Cohen.
Still flushed with the success, for the Iranians anyway, of the 2015 nuclear deal reached with the United States and other powers, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif this week embarked on a five-nation tour of Latin America to spread the message that Tehran's global influence is on the up, writes JNS.org columnist Ben Cohen.
World Vision and other foreign aid organizations that have funneled millions of dollars to the terror group Hamas are directly responsible for the murder of scores of Israeli Jews, an Israeli legal expert contends. Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, president of Shurat HaDin Israeli legal center, warns that groups like World Vision cannot collect charity that ends up in the hand of terrorists “on the blood of the citizens of Israel."
Peter Hegseth, a rising figure in American conservative media, has one eye on the current war on terror and another on history. On a recent visit to Israel, Hegseth toured sites in Sderot, Judea and Samaria and the Golan Heights to see first-hand Israel’s national defense and the fight on terror. “It is fact-finding trip,” Hegseth told JNS.org reporter Maayan Jaffe-Hoffman in an exclusive interview, over sips of American-style coffee, with the sunlit Old City of Jerusalem gawping through the window.
Russia’s unprecedented move last week of dispatching warplanes to bomb targets in Syria through an Iranian airbase may have Israeli officials worried. The move shows growing cooperation between Russia and Iran, Israel’s biggest foe in the Middle East in recent years, and a regime that, like Russia, has been working to maintain the rule of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Could Russia’s apparent growing closeness to Iran affect its growing relationship with Israel?
In early August Israeli media reported that the campaign of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has launched outreach to an estimated 300,000 eligible American voters living in Israel. The Trump campaign is working with the Israel branch of Republicans Overseas, an organization that works to reach American citizens abroad who can vote via absentee ballot. JNS.org asks, could votes by Americans in Israel affect the presidential election’s outcome?
Could satellite photos of a tiny island in the South China Sea affect the debate over creating a Palestinian state? The photos, released earlier this week by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), show that China is building military aircraft hangars on the disputed Spratly Islands. That violates a promise China's president, Xi Jinping, made to President Barack Obama less than a year ago, that "China does not intend to pursue militarization" of the islands. Israeli policymakers might want to keep an eye on these developments, writes JNS.org contributor Rafael Medoff.
More than 11,000 world athletes have converged on Brazil’s second largest city, Rio de Janeiro, for the 2016 Summer Olympics, which began on Aug. 5. Despite the problems that led up to the games, such as Rio’s issues with pollution and crime, and the threat of the Zika virus, many have also hailed the games as bringing forth an Olympic spirit of peace and friendly competition during a time of global stress and conflict. Yet, before and shortly after the games began, athlete delegations from Lebanon and Saudi Arabia had already violated this spirit by bringing their respective countries’ ongoing conflict with Israel to the Rio games.
As anti-Semitism continues to rise in Germany, a new watchdog group in Berlin, the Department for Research and Information on Anti-Semitism (RIAS), is encouraging German Jews to speak up and report incidents in order to to expose, monitor and hence prevent attacks against Jews, writes JNS.org reporter Orit Arfa.
Since being elected as the leader of the world’s roughly 1.2 billion Roman Catholics in 2013, Pope Francis has never shied away from breaking with traditional Catholic dogma by speaking his mind. However, recent comments by the pontiff on radical Islamic terrorism have overshadowed his first official visit to Poland and Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp, writes JNS' Editorial Assistant Shalle' McDonald.
Long panned for harboring deep anti-Israel bias, the United Nations (UN) has often been discounted by critical Israeli leaders as an organization with little hope for any success. However, after a tireless effort by the Israeli delegation to the UN, earlier this summer the Jewish state was selected for the first time to head the UN’s Sixth Committee. In an interview with a UN expert as well as current Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon, JNS' Associate Editor Sean Savage asks: Can this new proactive strategy by Israel led to a seat on the UN Security Council?
Beginning with the bloody July 14 Bastille Day terror attack in Nice, France that left 84 people dead, Western Europe has seen an unrelenting wave of violence mainly perpetrated by individuals with connections to or sympathies with the Islamic State terror group. Amid the shock and confusion that many Europeans are grappling with over the unprecedented wave of terrorism, European media organizations are similarly confounded over how to report on the violence that conflicts with the values of liberalism and humanism that have long defined Europe.
It’s been a long time since JNS.org columnist Ben Cohen saw a gesture this desperate. At the recent Arab Summit in Nouakchott, the capital of Mauritania, the Palestinian Authority (PA) foreign minister announced that PA President Mahmoud Abbas had asked the Arab states prepare a legal case against Britain in retaliation for the Balfour Declaration of 1917. The Balfour Declaration, which took the form of a letter from British Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour to the Zionist leader Lord Rothschild, confirmed Britain’s favorable view of a “national homeland” for the Jewish people in Palestine, which came under British control towards the end of World War I. For that reason, the PLO’s National Covenant dates the beginning of the “Zionist invasion” to 1917—any Jews who arrived in the land after that date are considered to be illegal settlers. These days, that’s basically every Jew in Israel. Depicting the Balfour Declaration as a crime against the Palestinians suggests that Abbas still cannot stomach the idea of legitimizing Zionism, Cohen writes.