Daily TIP

Sixth anniversary of the onset of the brutal Syrian civil war

Posted by Tip Staff - March 15, 2017
Sixth anniversary of the onset of the brutal Syrian civil war
U.S. seeks extradition for woman who killed Americans in Sbarro Pizza bombing
Intel CEO: “We see ourselves as an Israeli company as much as a U.S. company”
Fairy tale ends as Team Israel loses baseball bid 


Anniversary of horrors--

Wednesday marks the sixth anniversary of the beginning of the war in Syria, which began with peaceful anti-government protests but, due to the massively violent response of the regime of Bashar al-Assad, quickly spiraled into an armed conflict that continues to this day. In response to rallies against the regime, government forces fired into the crowds and arrested opponents of the government in the tens of thousands. The fate for many of them was bleak: Amnesty International reported last month that, at just one Syrian prison north of Damascus, as many as 13,000 people were hanged between 2011 and 2015.

To maintain control, Assad has carried out a campaign of systematic torture and indiscriminate murder of civilians through the use of barrel bombsmassacres, deliberate targeting of hospitals and schoolsintentional starvation as a tactic of war, and chemical weapons attacks, which has led to the deaths of more than 400,000 people and the world’s largest refugee crisis since the Second World War.

While he was once thought to be on the ropes, Assad has stayed in power due to the loyal support, and even guidance, of Iran, Hezbollah, and Russia—actors who have played a crucial part during turning points of the war in which Assad gained the upper hand, such as the Battle of Qusayr in spring 2013 and the fall of Aleppo in December 2016.

Israeli security officials are deeply concerned about an Iranian and Hezbollah presence on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights in the aftermath of military victories of the Assad regime. Prof. Asher Susser, a senior fellow at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Tel Aviv University, told BBC’s diplomatic correspondent Jonathan Marcus, “The changes in Syria [due to the civil war] have brought Iran closer to Israel’s borders than ever before.” Ehud Yaari, a veteran Arab affairs analyst, said, “The strategic objective of the Iranians today is to establish a land corridor between Iran and Hezbollah in Lebanon, to reach the Mediterranean and the Israeli frontier…This is strategically the major threat to Israel today.”


That's a first--

In a rare move, the U.S. Department of Justice announced an extradition request to try Ahlam Tamimi—a woman connected to multiple murders in the August 9, 2001 Sbarro Pizza suicide bombing in Jerusalem. Fifteen civilians—including 7 children and a pregnant American woman—were killed in the attack, which took place in broad daylight. One hundred and thirty were wounded. This is the first request for the extradition of a terrorist who killed people during the Second Intifada.

Tamimi was responsible for scouting a target before leading the bomber to the restaurant. She served time in Israeli jails, but was released in the 2011 Gilad Schalit prisoner exchange. The extradition request is addressed to Jordan, where she is currently a television host. She has bragged about the murders on air.


If businesses could have dual citizenship...

Intel’s record-breaking $15 billion acquisition proposal for the Israeli automotive technology company Mobileye demonstrates the company’s belief in Israel as a major business and technology center, the Fortune 500 company’s chief executive said Tuesday.

“We think of ourselves as an Israeli company as much as a US company,” Intel CEO Brian Krzanich said at a press conference in Jerusalem, which also included Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Mobileye founders Ziv Aviram and Amnon Shashua.

The acquisition is by far the largest in Israeli history, and is also the second-largest in Intel’s history, Krzanich said. He stressed that Mobileye will continue to operate from Jerusalem, led by Shashua, who will “lead Intel’s overall autonomous vehicle efforts, across the whole company, not just here in Israel. We will be folding in operations in the U.S. underneath the operations here.”

As part of the deal, Intel will move its autonomous driving operations to Israel, meaning that Israel will be able “to lead how these autonomous vehicles go out on their own, interact with cities, interact with government agencies and really set the standards for how this gets implemented into the world.”

“The future belongs to those nations who innovate,” Netanyahu said at the press conference—repeating one of his favorite expressions.


From Israel21c--

Team Israel had a great run at the World Baseball Classic tournament while it lasted. The ballplayers with a David vs. Goliath approach came out swinging hard and stunned the world with four consecutive wins in the preliminary and second rounds. But two losses in a row – today’s 8-3 loss to Japan and a 12-2 clobbering by the Netherlands (March 13) – made advancing to the finals a dream for the next global tournament. The World Baseball Classic is a tournament in which the best baseball players in the world compete. Team Israel had bookers betting against it even making the main event. But the blue-and-white uniformed ballplayers, who were ranked 41st going into the Classic, not only made it to the preliminary rounds but won an astounding four in a row at the tournament. Dubbed the Cinderella team of the contest, Team Israel stunned Cuba 4-1 in the first WBC quarterfinal game at the Tokyo Dome and before that swept the first-round of games by beating South Korea, Taiwan and the Netherlands.  “The players love playing for Israel,” Israel Association of Baseball President Peter Kurz told ISRAEL21c. “A lot of them want to come and visit after the tournament or after they retire.” For fans, that the ballplayers are proud to wear “Israel” on their uniforms and represent the country is more than enough. Team Israel will also be remembered for its hilarious mascot, Mensch on the Bench, a stuffed doll that was the Jewish answer to the popular Christmas toy and story “Elf on the Shelf.” (via Israel21c)

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