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The Daily TIP: Despite UN-Declared Ceasefire, Iran, Syria Bomb Civilian Neighborhoods in Damascus Suburb

Posted by Tip Staff - February 26, 2018

Despite UN-Declared Ceasefire, Iran, Syria Bomb Civilian Neighborhoods in Damascus Suburb
Warren Buffett: "I'm a Big Believer in the Israeli Economy"
Iranian Officials Push Back Against McMaster for Warning Against Doing Business with IRGC
Israeli Textile Firm Empowers Bedouin Women by Selling Their Crochet Creations


Despite UN-Declared Ceasefire, Iran, Syria Bomb Civilian Neighborhoods in Damascus Suburb

Iran and the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad will continue attacks on Damascus suburbs held by "terrorists” the Iranian military chief of staff said on Sunday, Reuters reported.

"We will adhere to the ceasefire resolution, Syria will also adhere. Parts of the suburbs of Damascus, which are held by the terrorists, are not covered by the ceasefire and clean-up (operations) will continue there," the semi-official news agency Tasnim quoted General Mohammad Baqeri as saying.

The United Nations Security Council called for the 30-day truce in all of Syria on Saturday to allow aid deliveries and medical evacuations in the war-torn regions. The resolution does not cover Islamist terror organizations from ISIS, al-Qaeda, and Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, previously known as Jabhat al-Nusra.

The unanimous vote came as regime warplanes pounded Eastern Ghouta, the last rebel enclave near Syria's capital, for the seventh day. The latest escalation by Damascus and its allies has killed more than 500 people in the area over the last week.

Eastern Ghouta was the location of an August 2013 sarin attack by the Assad regime on the civilian population there killing more than 1,400 people.

The two main rebel factions in Ghouta – Faylaq al-Rahman and Jaish al-Islam – said after the vote that they would implement the ceasefire and facilitate humanitarian operations, but also vowed to respond to any attacks.

Several previous ceasefires have fallen apart during the eight-year civil war, where support from Iran and Russia have helped turn the conflict in favor of the Assad regime.



Warren Buffett: "I'm a Big Believer in the Israeli Economy"

In an interview about his growing portfolio of Israeli businesses, American billionaire investor Warren Buffett said that he views Israel now as being similar to the United States "after its birth," praised Israel's "determination, motivation, intelligence and initiative," and declared, "I’m a big believer in Israel’s economy," according to an article published Monday in Forbes.

Buffett's initial investment in Israel was in 2006, when his company Berkshire Hathaway bought an 80% stake in Iscar, an industrial toolmaker for $4 billion. In May 2013, Berkshire Hathaway bought the remaining 20% of the business for $2 billion. At the time he called Israel the "most promising investing hub outside of the United States."

According to Berkshire Hathaway's most recent filing, Buffett has invested in Israel's pharmaceutical giant, Teva, which has been struggling of late, breaking with a longtime hesitation to invest in biotech stocks. Berkshire Hathaway bought a 1.9% stake in the company for $358 million. The value of the stock has risen to $400 million as share prices went up with news of the purchase.

In addition to his investments in Israeli companies, Buffett has promoted Israel Bonds, and purchased $5 million worth of bonds at a 2016 event in Omaha, at which $60 million in bonds were sold. At the time, Buffett said that if you're looking for "brains, energy and dynamism," Israel was the place to go.



Iranian Officials Push Back Against McMaster for Warning Against Doing Business with IRGC

Two top Iranian officials pushed back against comments recently made by American National Security Adviser H. R. McMaster urging the world to stop funding Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), which he said played "a central role" in Iran's becoming the world's top state sponsor of terrorism, accusing the United States of violating the 2015 nuclear deal reached with Iran, the Washington Free Beacon reported last week.

Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif said in a response to McMaster's speech at the Munich Security Conference, "The U.S. is in violation of the deal, that doesn't mean the deal is broken." "So we believe the U.S. is already in violation," Zarif said, adding that he demanded that Trump "respect" the obligations agreed to by the Obama administration.

Similarly, last week, Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi, in an apparent reaction to McMaster's speech also accused the U.S. of violating the nuclear accord and threatened that Iran would walk away from the deal.

“If the same policy of confusion and uncertainties about the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) continues, if companies and banks are not working with Iran, we cannot remain in a deal that has no benefit for us,” Araqchi told an audience in London, adding, “that’s a fact.”

Contrary to Araqchi's claim, in 2016 Iran's economy was projected to grow 4% a year over five years as a result of sanctions relief. Since the deal was concluded, Iran has also significantly increased its military spending a number of times.



Israeli Textile Firm Empowers Bedouin Women by Selling Their Crochet Creations

Some of the best projects are born out of a desire for change – at least that was the case with Iota, an Israel-based textile company empowering unemployed women through the art of crochet.

Each one of the company’s rugs, pillows and home accessories is hand-crocheted by Bedouin women from their own homes, providing them with meaningful work and an independent source of income.

Bedouins are an Arab Israeli subgroup, mainly in the south, with their own distinct culture and social norms. Historically, Bedouins lived a nomadic lifestyle, and many still herd livestock. The women traditionally tend to the house and children, resulting in high unemployment and poverty. A 2015 survey showed the employment rate among Bedouin women was just 22 percent, compared to 32% for all Arab women.

Founded by Shula Mozes, an active social entrepreneur for more than 16 years, Iota aims to support the many women, all over the world, who are unable to work outside of the home due to cultural, religious and geographical reasons.

When she started the company in 2014, Mozes chose crochet, a self-taught hobby, as a means to create a business that could empower these women and fuel social change.

“I realized that if I can learn to make things by crocheting small elements and putting them together, maybe we can teach women who don’t have work how to do the same,” Mozes said.

(via Israel21c)


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