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The Daily TIP: Expert: After Fall of Kirkuk, Kurds Fear Genocide at Hands of Iran-Backed Forces

Posted by Tip Staff - October 26, 2017

Expert: After Fall of Kirkuk, Kurds Fear Genocide at Hands of Iran-Backed Forces
Int'l Military Experts: Next Hezbollah War with Israel is Inevitable
Study: Faculty Can Help Fight Anti-Israel Boycotts on Campus
Israeli High-Tech Firms Raise Record-Breaking $1.44 Billion in 3rd Quarter of 2017

Expert: After Fall of Kirkuk, Kurds Fear Genocide at Hands of Iran-Backed Forces

Following the fall of Kirkuk, Kurds believe that they are possibly facing prospects of ethnic cleansing and genocide at the hands of the Iraqi government and allied Shiite militias, both backed by Iran, Julie Lenarz, an expert on Kurdistan and Islamic extremism, said in a conference call on Wednesday.

Since the fall of Kirkuk last week, in which the semi-autonomous Kurdish region in northern Iraq lost roughly 40% of the territory it controlled, including three major oil fields, Kurdish homes have been targeted by looting.

"Shiite militia forces are committing war crimes against Kurdish civilians, they are forcing them from their homes, they are losing their homes. I've heard stories of torture and rape. Some of my sources on the ground say all shops have been closed. They marked Kurdish homes and Kurdish shops," Lenarz, a senior fellow at The Israel Project and executive director of the London-based Human Security Centre, said. "So I can understand where the fear is coming from especially given the history that they've been through."

Lenarz said that Kurdish vote for autonomy, the death Kurdish leader Jalal Talabani and President Donald Trump’s speech on October 13 laying out a plan for countering Iran’s aggression all prompted the invasion and capture of Kirkuk, which was spearheaded by Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani.

Instead of taking a stand against the Iranian-led aggression the Trump administration just said that it wasn’t taking sides, which effectively legitimized the Iranian aggression against the Kurds, who had long been staunch American allies.

Int'l Military Experts: Next Hezbollah War with Israel is Inevitable

A war between Israel and the Iranian-backed terrorist organization Hezbollah is inevitable and will likely be “more violent and destructive” than previous conflicts, according to a report released on Wednesday by former senior defense officials, known collectively as the High Level Military Group (HLMG).

In the report, Hezbollah’s terror army: How to prevent a third Lebanon war, the officials describe Hezbollah as being “widely considered to be the most powerful non-state armed actor in the world.”

The terrorist organization, which is in complete political and military control of Lebanon, “has the political clout of a government, the firepower of an army and the strategic approach of a terrorist organization,” according to their assessment.

The HLMG believes that a war with Hezbollah is not imminently on the horizon, as the terrorist group is still fighting at the behest of Iran in Syria, where the regime in Tehran is sponsoring Bashar al-Assad with weapons, money and fighters. However, the experts warn “its actions and propaganda suggest that it considers its ability to fight a war with Israel as a given.”

The HLMG further notes that “The timing of such a conflict is likely to be determined by miscalculation as much as decision-making in Iran and Lebanon.”

The HLMG brings together several former army chiefs of staff from Western nations, including from the United States, Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, Colombia, India, and Australia.

Study: Faculty Can Help Fight Anti-Israel Boycotts on Campus

A recent study showed ways in which faculty can play a role in fighting the BDS campaign on campus.

The challenge can be seen in two studies released last year that revealed how the BDS campaign stifled the free exchange of ideas and how the presence of BDS on campus correlated with more anti-Semitic incidents.

The new study conducted by the Academic Engagement Network (AEN) showed ways in which faculty can address issues "that directly impact students, particularly BDS-inspired divestment campaigns, biased teaching, and efforts to exclude Jewish and pro-Israel students from social justice coalitions."

The issue of BDS on campuses, as the AEN study clarifies, is not about stifling debate but about combating the tactics of the BDS campaign to delegitimize Israel.

While the BDS has often focused on trying to get universities to divest from companies doing business in Israel, lately the campaign has increasingly turned to shouting down pro-Israel speakers, which occurred, the study noted, “on more than a score of campuses during the 2015-16 academic year.”

However, faculty members planning a pro-Israel event can counter this form of organized intimidation by anticipating possible interruptions. For example, A faculty member should monitor the publicity of campus pro-BDS groups, and have copies of the school's code of conduct on hand. Last month, University of California Irvine put its chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), a prominent pro-BDS organization, on probation violating the school's code of conduct regarding freedom of expression.

Israeli High-Tech Firms Raise Record-Breaking $1.44 Billion in 3rd Quarter of 2017

A record-breaking $1.44 billion was raised by 144 Israeli high-tech companies in the third quarter of 2017, according to a report from the Tel Aviv-based IVC Research Center.

Capital-raising in Q3/2017 showed an increase of 14 percent over the $1.27 billion raised in Q2/2017, and a 54% surge from $933 million raised in Q3/2016.

The average financing round was $10 million in Q3/2017, the highest amount in five years, compared with an average of $8 million and $6.7 million in Q2/2017 and Q3/2016, respectively. Five deals of more than $50 million each were made in Q3/2017, accounting for one-third of the quarterly total.

VC-backed deals in Q3/2017 accounted for the largest quarterly amount in the past five years, with $1.2 billion raised in 89 deals. The VC-backed share of total capital increased steadily throughout the first three quarters of 2017 to 84% in Q3/2017, compared with 67% in Q3/2016.

In the first nine months of 2017, Israeli high-tech companies raised a record amount of $3.8 billion, but the number of deals – 457 in total – declined to the lowest number in the past five years due to a decrease in seed- and early-stage deals.

Some 43% of the total capital ($618 million) raised specifically in Q3/2017 was invested in late-stage companies, according to IVC.

“The trend of investing larger amounts in fewer companies indicates that investors have an appetite for greater risk,” commented Shmulik Zysman, managing partner at the Israel-based international law firm Zysman Aharoni Gayer & Co.

(via Israel21c)

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