Daily TIP

The Daily TIP: No, Islamic State Has Not Been Defeated, and Why the U.S. Is Wrong To Leave Syria

Posted by Tip Staff - December 20, 2018

No, Islamic State Has Not Been Defeated, and Why the U.S. Is Wrong To Leave Syria
Albania Expels Iranian Diplomats, Including Ambassador, For Terrorism Targeting Israelis
TIP Senior Fellow: Houthis Must Be Labeled Terrorists, or They’ll Become Yemen's Hezbollah
Study: Israel is Third Most Educated Country in the World

No, Islamic State Has Not Been Defeated, and Why the U.S. Is Wrong To Leave Syria

The United States announced Wednesday that it was withdrawing troops from Syria after what it described as the “defeat” of the Islamic State terrorist group. The decision, however, is a fatal miscalculation with potentially devastating consequences for Syria and the region.

Our enemies are weakened, but by no means defeated. Our allies neither secure nor safe.

Islamic State has been driven out from all major cities in Iraq and Syria. Their fighting force has been greatly decimated and large sums of cash are no longer flowing into their pockets. But the ideological hinterland of the group is still intact. The dream of the caliphate lives on. And their leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is alive, still preaching to tens of thousands of angry young men ready to fight.

Just a few days ago, the Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS Brett McGurk, said that “nobody is saying that [IS fighters] are going to disappear. Nobody is that naive.” He’s right. The group has active franchises in Yemen, Afghanistan, Egypt, Libya, and Nigeria.

The rise of the Islamic State was a direct product of the brutality of the Syrian civil war. As long as Assad and his supporters continue to mass slaughter Syria’s tortured population, the emergence of another powerful terrorist group is just around the corner.

Which leads me to the second problem: The Kurds. Most of the 2,000 American troops stationed in Syria are advising militias made up of Kurdish and Arab soldiers, the so-called Popular Protection Units. They’re our most potent weapon in the fight against Islamist extremism.

To read the rest of the essay, please click here.

Albania Expels Iranian Diplomats, Including Ambassador, For Terrorism Targeting Israelis

Albania expelled two Iranian diplomats, including the ambassador, for "damaging its national security," Reuters reported Thursday.

Benjamin Weinthal reported in The Jerusalem Post that the two had been expelled for a terror plot that targeted a World Cup match between Israel and Albania in 2016.

The move to expel the Iranian diplomats was backed by the United States.

"Prime Minister Edi Rama of Albania just expelled the Iranian ambassador, signaling to Iran’s leaders that their support for terrorism will not be tolerated," National Security Adviser John Bolton wrote. "We stand with PM Rama and the Albanian people as they stand up to Iran’s reckless behavior in Europe and across the globe."

Since the summer, several other European countries have taken diplomatic actions against Iran for their roles in terror attempts and attacks on European soil.

Authorities in France, Germany, and Belgium arrested four people associated with the Paris attack on an Iranian opposition group. One of those arrested was an Iranian diplomat and French authorities charged that Iran’s intelligence agency was behind the plot.

In July, the Netherlands announced that it had expelled two Iranian diplomats two months ago. Iran’s Foreign Ministry subsequently announced that it had summoned the Dutch ambassador and conveyed to him that the expulsion was “unfriendly and nonconstructive,” and that Iran could choose to retaliate.

Though the Dutch government has given no reason for the expulsions, an Iranian-Arab separatist was killed in the Hague in November 2017.

TIP Senior Fellow: Houthis Must Be Labeled Terrorists, or They’ll Become Yemen's Hezbollah

The international community must rigorously enforce the United Nations-brokered peace deal between the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels and Yemen’s internationally recognized government or risk a permanent “Hezbollahisation” of the conflict, TIP Senior Fellow Julie Lenarz wrote in an op-ed published in the European Union's The Parliament Magazine on Thursday.

“From the conflict’s start, the Houthis have deployed tactics straight from the Hezbollah handbook at the expense of the Yemeni people,” Lenarz argued. “They embed themselves among the civilian population, deliberately intimidating entire communities. Human shields have become a tragic feature of their approach.”

To that end, Lenarz argued, “western powers should seriously consider designating the Houthis as a terrorist organisation.”

The two warring parties reached a fragile ceasefire in Sweden last week, which includes the full withdrawal of Houthi troops from Hodeidah’s three ports and city. “If fully implemented, the agreement should help alleviate Yemen’s devastating humanitarian crisis and could pave the way for a negotiated peace,” Lenarz noted.

If the terms of the agreement are breached, however, the international community risks the “Hezbollahisation” of the civil war and a scenario similar to that in Lebanon, where the Iranian-backed terrorist organization Hezbollah holds hostage an entire population.

“Iran is the common benefactor that binds these two groups together,” Lenarz explained, citing examples of Iran’s meddling in Yemen’s war, including financial assistance and training programs for Houthi rebels.

“The weapons transfers also include ballistic missile technology,” Lenarz wrote, “which have grabbed headlines with their regular launch against civilians in neighbouring states and commercial shipping in the Bab el-Mandeb strait.”

The evidence leads to only one conclusion, Lenarz argued: “The Houthis have proven utterly incapable and uninterested in governing those areas they illegally occupy, instead relying on violence and tyranny.” She charged that the “Hezbollahisation” of the civil war “must be stopped at all costs, before Iran can carve out a state within the state and further fulfil Tehran’s foreign adventurism under the guise of governance.”

Study: Israel is Third Most Educated Country in the World

Israel is the third most educated country, according to 2017 data compiled by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

OECD calculated the percentage of each country’s population between the ages of 25 and 64 who have completed a two- or four-year degree beyond high school – including both academic and vocational programs.

The data shows that 50.9 percent of Israelis in the target age bracket have a higher-education degree. The report noted that Jewish Israelis enter college at a later age than most Western counterparts because most serve in the military for at least two years after high school.

The United States came in at No. 5, with only 46.4 percent of its population in the target age group having completed a higher-education program – even though half of the world’s top-ranking universities are American.

South Korea came in at No. 4, with 47.7% having completed a higher-education program, but it tops the list of most educated people aged 25-34 (66.6%).

Japan is No. 2 (51.4%) and the most educated country in the world is Canada (56.7.%) – although Canada faces an overeducation, underemployment problem.

(via Israel21c)

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