Adolf Hitler: A Last Appeal to Reason

http://www.renegadetribune.com/adolf-hitler-last-appeal-reason/

 

Here lie the accounts of Adolf Hitler’s pleas to the world during the largest bloodshed in mankind’s history, World War 2. Adolf Hitler’s most poignant orations during the second World War which had been buried for almost a century are now available for the world to hear.

Visit the voices of the past to bear witness their side of history. The unabridged Adolf Hitler, who tried incessantly to avoid the continuation of the senseless war. Stark contrast to the Western Allies and their pet Bolsheviks in the East.

They said Adolf Hitler was a warmonger who wanted to rule the world and subjugate all non-Germanic people. He did not.

I say take an impartial look at history and learn the real Adolf Hitler.

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Japanese Government Rejects Article Blaming Stock Market Trouble on Jews

http://www.jta.org/1992/07/13/archive/japanese-government-rejects-article-blaming-stock-market-trouble-on-jews
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The Japanese government has taken the unusual step of repudiating an article in a major Japanese magazine that blamed an international Jewish conspiracy for a 27 percent tumble this year in the Tokyo stock market.

At a news conference held last Friday in Tokyo. Foreign Ministry spokesman Sadaaki Numata labeled the anti-Semitic article “undesirable,” “inappropriate” and prejudicial.

The article appeared in the weekly Shukan Post, a sensationalist Japanese magazine with a circulation of 800,000, under the headline “Stock Price Manipulated by Jewish Capital.” It charged that “Jewish money” engineered the sharp drop in stock prices as part of an “invisible economic war” meant to weaken Japanese companies for foreign takeover.

The four-page article claimed that Japan’s capitalist system was being destroyed by the arbitrage firms of Salomon Brothers Inc. and Morgan Stanley & Co., both described as controlled by Jewish forces linked to the Rothschild banking family.

For good measure, the article added that undeclared presidential candidate H. Ross Perot had made $1 million out of Tokyo’s troubles.

A report on the Shukan Post article appeared in the Wall Street Journal of July 3, filed by the paper’s Tokyo correspondent, Quentin Hardy, who also wrote that the Tokyo branch of Salomon Brothers had received a series of hate messages by fax, accusing the firm of being part of a Jewish conspiracy to dominate Japan.

The next working day, two leaders of the Los Angeles-based Pacific Rim Institute of the American Jewish Committee telephoned the Japanese Foreign Ministry to express their concern.

‘HIGHLY UNUSUAL STEP’

Bruce Ramer, the institute’s chairman, and Neil Sandberg, its director, who made the calls, spoke following the news conference, praising the Japanese government for acting promptly and publicly to repudiate the article.

Sandberg, who deals frequently with Japanese officials as part of the institute’s efforts to combat anti-Semitism and improve Japanese trade ties with Israel, said that the Tokyo government was normally extremely reluctant to comment on free press issues, and that its repudiation in this case represents a “highly unusual step.”

In a transcript of the Tokyo news conference, Hardy of the Wall Street Journal brought up the Shukan Post article and asked, “How does this affect the way Japan is viewed? Why does the Japanese government tolerate such irresponsible accusations?”

Responding, spokesman Numata said, in part, “We do feel that it is undesirable that such reports with anti-Semitic overtones stir up prejudices. We also feel that in the light of the history of persecution of the Jewish people, we should understand the sensitivity of the Jewish people to such reports. He also said the government considers it “inappropriate to link the movements in the market to conspiracy theories.”

In recent years, numerous anti-Semitic books and articles have appeared in Japan, often claiming that an international Jewish conspiracy is plotting to take over the world economy.

Why Jews from Libya are worried about the fate of the country’s Jewish artifacts

(JTA) — Gina Waldman was forced to flee her native Libya in 1967 as anti-Jewish mobs took to the streets of Tripoli, burning down her father’s warehouse.

Waldman, like thousands of other Libyan Jews who left the country amid public and state-sponsored anti-Semitism in the 20th century, was forced to leave behind both personal belongings — she was only allowed to bring a single suitcase with her — and a rich cultural heritage that testified to over 2,000 years of Jewish presence in the North African country. Today no Jews remain in Libya.

That heritage — including synagogues, cemeteries and ritual objects — has long been under threat. But now an additional obstacle is coming from an unlikely place, said Waldman, president and co-founder of the group Jews Indigenous to the Middle East and North Africa, or JIMENA.

The threat stems from a memorandum of understanding request by the Libyan government — currently under consideration by the State Department — that would prohibit artifacts dated 1911 and earlier, including Jewish ritual objects, from being brought into the United States from Libya.

That would mean that anyone attempting to bring in antique Torah scrolls, tombstones, books and other ritual objects would be stopped at the U.S. border, and the objects would be confiscated and sent back to Libya.

Waldman, who lives in San Francisco, called the measure “very, very offensive to the Jewish community.” She said the memorandum would block people from removing Jewish artifacts “when the very government itself has destroyed every single synagogue, every single [Jewish] cemetery.”

Waldman said she is not aware of anyone having attempted to take Jewish artifacts out of Libya, or of any plans to do so. But she worries that the memorandum would affect any future efforts to recover those materials.

The State Department’s Cultural Property Advisory Committee convened this week to discuss and consider the request, which Libya submitted in June. It has not announced a decision. The State Department, replying to a JTA request for comment, said it could not respond before deadline.

Libya claims that the request is necessary for curbing black market sales of artifacts from the country.

“Libya’s patrimony is now under severe and continuing threat of pillage due to ongoing conflict and the rise of violent extremist groups,” according to a State Department summary of the request. (The original request is not available publicly.)

In addition to mentioning threats to Islamic and Berber materials, the summary specifically refers to Jewish sites being pillaged.

“Many of the old Jewish cemeteries and sites are being looted for antiquities to export where there is an active transit or ultimate market for these objects,” it says, later adding that some Jewish materials are sold in Israel.

Critics say the request is illegitimate and allows for Libya to claim ownership of various artifacts, including those that belong to its exiled Jewish community.

Kate Fitz Gibbon, a lawyer who served on the Cultural Property Advisory Committee in 2002-03, spoke harshly of the memorandum.

“I was terrifically offended at this idea that a Middle Eastern country that has forcibly expelled all of its Jewish population should have whatever is left,” she told JTA. “This is the opposite of Holocaust repatriation. This is telling the survivors that they should give what’s left back to the oppressors.”

Fitz Gibbon added that there was no proof in the State Department summary that Jewish artifacts were in fact being taken out of Libya.

On Wednesday, she spoke in opposition to the memorandum on behalf of the Antique Tribal Art Dealers Association at a public open session organized by the State Department.

In addition to sharing objections on behalf of Jewish critics, Fitz Gibbon also said that Libya was not capable of properly preserving artifacts. The country, which has been in disarray following the 2011 fighting that toppled dictator Moammar Ghadafi, is currently under the rule of a provisional government and violent clashes continue to break out.

“Libya, which has no museums — they have 24 museums, they are all closed — no tourism, has never done cultural exchange, and in this actual request said ‘we’re not going to do any cultural exchange because we don’t have the money or time of the ability,’ there is no question that Libya doesn’t even meet one of these criteria for an MOU,” Fitz Gibbon said.

Libya’s request is not unprecedented. The U.S. has similar agreements with 17 countries, including one reached recently with Egypt. Congress also has passed emergency laws restricting artifacts from Iraq and Syria from entering the country. Such laws draw on a 1970 UNESCO convention that allows for the placing of import and export restrictions in cases where a country’s patrimony is under threat of pillaging and its artifacts in danger of entering the black market.

A similar battle is playing out with an Iraqi Jewish archive uncovered by U.S. troops in 2003 in Baghdad. The artifacts were on tour in the U.S. in 2014 and were supposed to be returned to Iraq, but Jewish groups objected, saying they should be in the custody of the Iraqi Jewish community, which is living outside of the country after being driven out. The case of those artifacts remains unresolved.

Marc Lubin, a lawyer assisting Waldman’s group, said efforts to keep Jewish artifacts in Libya or Iraq do not guarantee the preservation of the objects.

“As was the case with the Iraqi Jewish artifacts, the Libyan MOU legitimizes Libya’s confiscation of the property of fleeing Jews by recognizing the Libyan government’s legal claim to that property,” Lubin told JTA in an email. “It gives a green light to future desecration by prohibiting the removal of sacred items from Libya for safe-keeping. It requires Libyan Jewry’s heritage remain in place as a target for fanatics, all in the name of preservation.”

Critics say Libyan-Jewish artifacts aren’t the only thing at stake. Granting the memorandum could set a precedent.

“JIMENA is fighting this MOU because it sets a precedent to all of the Muslim, mostly Arab countries who have desecrated and impounded all of our antiquities, all of our heritage,” Waldman said.

Fitz Gibbon echoed Waldman’s concerns.

“There was recently an MOU granted for Egypt, and the past pattern for MOUs has been that one nation, then two nations, then all nations within a specific region were covered,” Fitz Gibbon said.

Waldman said that JIMENA is not concerned with the artifacts’ monetary value but rather with establishing the fact that the objects belong to the exiled Jewish community.

“They’ve already taken private property, and now they are going after community property and our heritage,” she said. “It isn’t money value that we are fighting for, but it is the right to know we are the rightful owners — they are not.”

Senators Cardin and Portman (Kikes) write to ACLU to defend anti-BDS bill

Ben Cardin

WASHINGTON (JTA) — An anti-BDS bill with strong bipartisan backing would not infringe on First Amendment protections, its sponsors said in a letter to the American Civil Liberties Union, which opposes the proposal.

“We cannot state this strongly enough: the bill does not ‘punish U.S. persons based solely on expressed political beliefs,’” says the letter sent Thursday by Sens. Ben Cardin, D-Md., and Rob Portman, R-Ohio.

The measure would expand existing law that bans boycotts imposed by foreign governments to include those imposed by international organizations.

It comes in response to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement targeting Israel, but also includes the boycott of settlement goods. It was prompted specifically by a decision by the U.N. Human Rights Council to compile a list of settlement goods and a European Union decision to label settlement goods as being imported from the settlements and not Israel.

“Nothing in the bill restricts constitutionally protected free speech or limits criticism of Israel and its policies,” the letter says. “Instead it is narrowly targeted at commercial activity and is based on current law that has been constitutionally upheld.”

Companies could still boycott Israel, the letter says, and not face repercussions. However, cooperating with an international organization’s boycott — for instance, providing information to the U.N. Human Rights Council on an American company’s dealings with an Israeli company that operates in the settlements — would incur penalties.

The ACLU, in a letter to senators urging them not to back the measure, said that “the bill would punish businesses and individuals based solely on their point of view. Such a penalty is in direct violation of the First Amendment.”

Shuttered Bronx synagogue becomes a dumping ground

NEW YORK (JTA) — Neighbors of a shuttered synagogue in the Bronx want its apparent owners to clean up the trash that is accumulating on its property.

Congregation Hope of Israel on Walton Avenue in the lower Grand Concourse neighborhood — once the hub of a vibrant Jewish community in the New York City borough — closed in 2006. The local television station News 12 reported this week that garbage is piling up on the property and no one is taking responsibility.

New York City’s Department of Sanitation told residents it cannot clean up the trash because the property does not belong to the city, News 12 reported.

“It’s disrespectful for any community,” said Rabbi Levi Shemtov, director of Chabad-Lubavitch of Riverdale, a Bronx neighborhood. “It shouldn’t be this way.”

News 12 traced the ownership of the property to a post office box in Hartsdale, New York, in suburban Westchester County, but were unable to contact the man associated with the address. The man is said to be a board member of the synagogue.

Hope of Israel was the last functioning synagogue in the neighborhood, just behind the Bronx County Courthouse, when it closed. Its last rabbi died in 2003, when the Orthodox synagogue was barely able to make a 10-man minyan for prayers. For years the congregation board was led by Abraham D. Levy, a retired justice of the state Supreme Court who died in 2001.

B’nai B’rith slams State Dept. for saying ‘lack of hope’ drives terrorism

WASHINGTON (JTA) — B’nai B’rith International faulted the Trump administration for adopting the “Palestinian narrative” in the State Department’s annual report on terrorism.

In the report released this week, the State Department listed as “continued drivers of violence” a “lack of hope in achieving Palestinian statehood, Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank, settler violence against Palestinians in the West Bank, the perception that the Israeli government was changing the status quo on the Haram Al Sharif/Temple Mount, and IDF tactics that the Palestinians considered overly aggressive.”

“It is astonishing that State is parroting the false Palestinian narrative,” B’nai B’rith said in its statement Thursday. “If it were not released by the State Department, it would be easy to mistake the inflammatory and accusatory language as coming directly from the Palestinians.”

While such an assessment would be uncontroversial coming from a think tank or even Israeli security officials, it is unusual in a State Department statement, particularly under President Donald Trump, who has been outspoken in condemning Palestinian incitement.

B’nai B’rith noted that Trump and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley have repeatedly blamed terrorism on Palestinian incitement and payments by the Palestinian Authority to Palestinians who have carried attacks out on Israelis.

“Israel is not driving the violence committed by the Palestinians,” the statement said. “It’s Palestinian leadership — Fatah and Hamas — that incites violence against Israelis on a daily basis.”

The State Department report said that Palestinian leaders had addressed incitement.

“The PA has taken significant steps during President Abbas’ tenure (2005 to date) to ensure that official institutions in the West Bank under its control do not create or disseminate content that incites violence,” it said. “While some PA leaders have made provocative and inflammatory comments, the PA has made progress in reducing official rhetoric that could be considered incitement to violence.”

The report otherwise described Israel as a “committed counterterrorism partner” and detailed the threats that Israel continues to face, particularly from Iran-backed groups.

“Israeli security officials and politicians remained concerned about the terrorist threat posed to Israel from Hezbollah and Iran, highlighting that Iran, primarily through the efforts of its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force, continued to fund and supply Hezbollah,” the Lebanon-based militia, the report said. “Israeli experts believed that Iran has transferred to Hezbollah advanced weapons systems such as anti-aircraft and anti-ship cruise missile systems, and was continuing to transfer long-range rockets into Lebanon.”

A LOOK AT PRESS SECRETARY SPICER’S MOST MEMORABLE JEWISH MOMENTS AS HE RESIGNS

 

http://www.jpost.com/American-Politics/Sean-Spicer-resigns-The-press-secretarys-most-memorable-Jewish-moments-500420

 

Sean Spicer has resigned his post as White House press secretary, reportedly disappointed with the appointment of New York financier Anthony Scaramucci as communications director. According to some Jewish leaders, he should have quit three months ago.

Over six months as President Donald Trump’s mouthpiece, Spicer managed to get in two separate tiffs with Jewish leaders over the Holocaust, one which sparked calls for his job. For good measure, he also made controversial statements about Jerusalem and the rash of JCC bomb threats.

Here are four times Spicey mixed it up with the Jews, and a bonus from someone who played him on TV.

Spicer and the Holocaust, Episode I: Omission of the Jews

Spicer often had the unenviable task of doubling down on his boss’ more outlandish statements — for example, the visibly incorrect insistence that the inauguration crowd for Trump was larger than Barack Obama’s.

Days later, Spicer found himself on the defensive against nearly every major American Jewish group. On Jan. 27, Trump’s official statement marking International Holocaust Remembrance Day omitted any mention of Jews. Jewish groups — even those that supported Trump — slammed the statement. The Trump-friendly Zionist Organization of America expressed “chagrin and deep pain” at Trump “omitting any mention of anti-Semitism and the six million Jews.”

But the president’s deputies said the statement was “inclusive” of the Holocaust’s range of victims. Spicer in a media briefing called the critics “pathetic” and accused them of “nitpicking a statement.”

“To suggest that remembering the Holocaust and acknowledging all of the people — Jewish, gypsies, priests, disabled, gays and lesbians — I mean it is pathetic that people are picking on a statement,” he said. The January Holocaust controversy might have been bad. But the one to come would be much worse.

Spicer and the Holocaust, Episode II: “Hitler, who didn’t even sink to using chemical weapons”

Shortly after Trump ordered an attack on Syria in retaliation for a chemical weapons attack by Bashar Assad, Spicer wanted to accentuate Assad’s evil. So he compared the Syrian dictator to Adolf Hitler — in a way that made Hitler look good.

“We didn’t use chemical weapons in World War II,” he said. “We had someone as despicable as Hitler who didn’t even sink to using chemical weapons.”

Hitler did, of course, use chemical weapons on civilians, gassing millions of Jews with Zyklon B in concentration camps.

But when a reporter asked Spicer to clarify his words, he angered some critics even more, claiming that Hitler “was not using the gas on his own people,” then saying Nazis killed Jews in “Holocaust centers.”

The Jewish organizational wrath came swiftly. A range of groups criticized the statement, and the Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect, a vocal Trump critic, called for Spicer to resign — as did House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. Israeli Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz tweeted that Spicer must “apologize or resign.”

Later that day, Spicer apologized on CNN.

“Frankly, I mistakenly made an inappropriate and insensitive reference to the Holocaust, for which frankly there is no comparison,” he told host Wolf Blitzer. “And for that I apologize. It was a mistake to do that.”

Spicer says Trump was right about the JCC bomb threats.

A couple of weeks before his second Holocaust gaffe, Spicer enjoyed a rare moment of validation. Following the arrest of an Israeli teen for the rash of bomb threats phoned into Jewish community centers this year, Spicer took an opportunity to note that his boss had been right all along.

Discussing the threats in February, according to Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, Trump told a meeting of states’ attorney generals that “sometimes it’s the reverse” and attacks are made “to make people – or to make others – look bad.”

The comments — if accurate — were a shock to Jews who had faulted Trump for hesitating to condemn the attacks. Two liberal Jewish groups blamed him for fostering a climate conducive to hate.

The Israeli teen’s arrest, Spicer said, proved Trump right. Spicer called on left-wing groups to be “held accountable.”

“We saw these threats coming into Jewish community centers, and there was an immediate jump to criticize folks on the right, and to denounce people on the right and ask them to condemn them, and it turns out that in fact it wasn’t someone on the right,” Spicer said at a media briefing. “The president from the get-go had said ‘I bet you it’s not someone [on the right]’ and he was right.”

Spicer definitely knows where the Western Wall is.

In May, Jewish groups criticized the Trump administration — this time from the right — for not affirming that the Western Wall is part of Israel. National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster declined to say so, and a State Department staffer reportedly told Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office that the site is “not your territory.” While Israel has annexed eastern Jerusalem, where the wall is located, the international community does not recognize Israel’s claims.

In what may have been an attempt at compromise, Spicer told reporters the site is “clearly in Jerusalem.” But no one was disputing that.

In the end, Spicer did not address the question of sovereignty, adding that the debate over Jerusalem has “had serious consideration” and “will be a topic that’s going to be discussed during the president’s trip between the parties that he meets with.”

The demurrals irked Jews who were hoping for a more hawkish Israel policy from the president, particularly in light of his repeated promises to move the US
Embassy to Jerusalem.

Live from New York, it’s Jewish Easter!

Spicer inspired one of the most talked-about comic creations of the early Trump era: Melissa McCarthy’s imitation of the press secretary on multiple episodes of “Saturday Night Live.” One of those skits may well enter the Jewish canon: Alluding to the mix-up over Hitler and the “Holocaust centers,” McCarthy’s version of Spicer, dressed as the Easter Bunny, uses toy vegetables to explain the story of Passover, or what he/she calls “Jewish Easter.”

The pharaoh is “a bad, bad hombre,” explains “Spicer,” using one of Trump’s catchphrases. “He’s doing some really bad stuff to the Jews. I mean, not even Hitler is –” (he catches himself, saying under his breath, “not going to go there again”). Then, manipulating the toys, he explains: “The Jews: These guys pass over, literally, these guys float above the pharaoh.”

As for “Holocaust centers,” the character makes one more effort to get it right: “I clearly meant to say ‘concentration clubs.’ Let it drop.”

SYRIA REBELS BLINDSIDED BY US MOVE, SAY JIHADISTS TO BENEFIT

 

BEIRUT/AMMAN – Syrian rebels said on Thursday a US decision to halt a covert CIA program of military aid would mark a big blow to the Syrian opposition and risked allowing jihadists to tighten their grip over the insurgency.

Rebels who have received aid under the CIA program said they had yet to be informed of the US decision first reported by the Washington Post on Wednesday and confirmed by two US officials to Reuters.

A Free Syrian Army (FSA) commander said the US decision risked triggering the collapse of the moderate opposition, which would benefit President Bashar al-Assad and jihadists linked to al Qaeda that have long sought to extinguish more moderate groups.

Other rebel sources said much would depend on whether US-allied regional states Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey kept up their support to groups fighting under the FSA banner, which had been the focus of the CIA program.

“We heard nothing about this,” said an opposition official familiar with the program, describing the decision as a complete surprise.

The US decision compounds an already bleak outlook for the Syrian opposition that has been battling since 2011 to unseat Assad, who appears militarily unassailable thanks in large part to staunch Russian and Iranian backing.

The CIA program which began in 2013 funneled weapons, training and cash to vetted FSA groups via Jordan and Turkey.

It regulated aid to the rebels after a period of unchecked support early in the war – especially from Gulf states – helped give rise to an array of insurgent groups, many of them strongly Islamist in ideology.

The support in some cases included anti-tank missiles that helped the rebels make big advances against the depleted Syrian army, triggering Russia’s intervention in September 2015.

FSA rebels have long complained the support fell well short of what they needed to make a decisive difference in the war against the better armed Syrian army and the Iran-backed militias helping it, including Lebanon’s Hezbollah.

One of the US officials said the decision was part of a Trump administration effort to improve relations with Russia.

Critics of the CIA program, including some US officials, have also said some of the armed and trained rebels defected to Islamic State and other radical groups.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov declined to comment when asked what he thought about the US move and said only that US President Donald Trump and Putin did not discuss the issue when they met at a G20 summit earlier this month.

“We welcome all the efforts aiming at de-escalation of the situation and building security in the Middle East. It’s OK if that is what it’s all about,” deputy foreign ministry spokesman Artem Kozhin told a news briefing on Thursday, according to Interfax.

NOT IN OUR INTEREST

Before taking office in January, Trump suggested he could end support for FSA groups and give priority to the fight against Islamic State.

A separate US military effort to train, arm and support other Syrian rebels with airstrikes and other actions will continue, the US officials said. The US military support has included backing for Kurdish fighters battling Islamic State.

Groups included in the CIA program operate mostly in northwestern and southern Syria.

“Certainly this decision will have results and consequences on the Syrian scene, particularly in the north and the south. The halt of support to the FSA by the international community is a factor in escalation of Assad’s strength and the strength of the extremist groups,” the FSA commander said.

Backed by Jordan, FSA groups in southern Syria have helped contain jihadists such as the group formerly known as the Nusra Front, and have gone on the offensive against Islamic State.

FSA groups in northern Syria have had a tougher time withstanding the jihadists. Aid to the FSA in the northwest was temporarily suspended earlier this year following a major jihadist assault against them.

“The Americans have been informing us they have reached serious agreements with the Russians. The Americans are saying they have a new strategy towards Syria which is not like that of the Obama era,” said another rebel commander.

“Is this in our interest? Of course not,” the commander said of the reported US decision. “We are waiting to see.”

Turkey has supported FSA groups outside the CIA-backed channels to advance its interests in northern Syria, notably in its Euphrates Shield campaign last year that carved out a de facto buffer zone at the frontier

EUROPEAN COURT: ISLAMIST HATE SPEECH NOT PROTECTED UNDER LAW

 

Europe’s top human rights court ruled on Thursday (July 20) that online videos considered by a Belgian court to be Islamist hate speech were not protected under free speech provisions.

Fouad Belkacem is a Belgian national currently imprisoned for his activities as the head of Sharia4Belgium, an organisation banned for recruiting foreign fighters to participate in militant activities in the Middle East.

The European Court of Human Rights evaluated Belkacem’s argument that his remarks in a series of videos on online platform YouTube fell within his freedoms of expression and religion and were not meant to incite violence.

In the videos, Belkacem had called on viewers to “overpower non-Muslims, teach them a lesson and fight them”, content the Court called “markedly hateful” and “vehement”. He had also called for the violent establishment of Sharia law.

The ECHR upheld the 2013 decision of Belgium’s top court, which found that, far from simply expressing his views, Belkacem had incited others to discriminate on the basis of faith and to violence against non-Muslims.

LEBANON’S HEZBOLLAH, SYRIAN ARMY ADVANCE IN BORDER OFFENSIVE

 

Lebanon’s Shi’ite militia Hezbollah and the Syrian army advanced against Sunni militants on Saturday, the second day of an assault to drive them from their last foothold along the Syria-Lebanon border, pro-Damascus media reported.

The operation has targeted Sunni Muslim insurgents from the former Nusra Front, a group that was aligned to al-Qaida and who have controlled the barren, mountainous zone of Juroud Arsal.

A military media unit run by Hezbollah said its forces captured Jwar al Sheikh, Wadi Kriti and other areas in the southern part of Juroud Arsal.

Syrian warplanes struck militant positions on the Syrian side of the border, near the Syrian town of Fleita, it said.

The offensive began on Friday and killed at least 23 Nusra militants on the first day, the Hezbollah unit said. At least five Hezbollah fighters were also killed.

A security source put Hezbollah’s death toll at 15 early on Saturday, and said at least 43 militants had been killed.

The Lebanese army has taken up defensive positions around Arsal town, ready to fire at Sunni militants trying to break through its lines, and has beefed up security in the area.

The Lebanese army is not taking part in the operation, according to a commander in the pro-Damascus military alliance and a Lebanese security source.

The army is facilitating the passage of Syrian refugees fleeing the area, with UN supervision, the security source said.

UN refugee agency UNHCR and aid groups are preparing for an influx of Syrian refugees from Juroud Arsal and Arsal town. Only a handful of refugees were reported to have fled on Friday.

Several thousand Syrian refugees occupy camps east of Arsal.

Hezbollah, which is backed by Iran’s Shi’ite government, has played a critical part in previous campaigns against Sunni insurgents along Lebanon’s border, part of a wider role it has played in backing President Bashar al-Assad in the Syrian war.

Hezbollah’s role has drawn criticism from its Lebanese political opponents, including Sunni Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri, who is a Sunni.