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The Daily TIP: Tillerson: Iran-Backed Militias in Iraq Must "Go Home"

Posted by Tip Staff - October 23, 2017

Tillerson: Iran-Backed Militias in Iraq Must "Go Home"
Deputy Hamas Leader: Iran is our "Main and Primary Benefactor"
IDF Chief of Staff to Attend U.S.-Sponsored Int'l Counterterror Conference in DC
BBC to Feature Reality Show with British Jews on Kibbutzim for Israel's 70th Anniversary

Tillerson: Iran-Backed Militias in Iraq Must "Go Home"

United States Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has said Iranian-backed militias that are fighting alongside the Iraqi army should “go home” in an attempt to curb the Islamic Republic’s growing influence in Iraq, CNN reported Monday.

A senior U.S. official said the Secretary of State was referring to a militia known as the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), or Hashd al-Shaabi, and the Quds Force, the foreign arm of Iran's powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC).

The PMF is an umbrella group of mostly Shiite militia, many backed and funded by Iran, with allegiances to powerful clerics such as Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, as well as Iraqis, Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, and Muqtada al-Sadr. Some of these units have been accused by leading human rights organizations of war crimes and sectarian violence, including torture and killings of Sunni civilians.

The PMF were also involved in last week's takeover of large areas held by the Kurds since 2014, when Islamic State swept through northern Iraq amid an Iraqi army collapse. Qassem Soleimani, the commander of the Quds force, had traveled to the region on Sunday and hours later, Kurdish forces came under fire by Shiite militia in the city of Kirkuk.

Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has lobbied world leaders to throw their support behind the Kurds and contain Iran’s hegemonic ambitions in the Middle East.

Deputy Hamas Leader: Iran is our "Main and Primary Benefactor"

A deputy leader of the Gaza-based terror group Hamas, said that Iran is the "main and primary benefactor" of Hamas, as he visited Tehran, while Hamas and the Palestinian Authority are engaged in reconciliation talks.

Saleh al-Arouri, the deputy political chief who was in Tehran leading a delegation from Hamas who were meeting top officials of the Islamic Republic's government, called Iran "the main and primary benefactor supporting the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades in developing their capabilities, whether through knowledge or assistance," referring to the terrorist operations of the group, Ynet reported Sunday.

Speaking for Hamas, Al-Arouri openly defied the Quartet conditions, which requires both Israelis and Palestinians to reject “incitement, and terror,” and accept of “the two-State solution, building upon previous agreements and obligations,” calling into question if the unity government recently announced by the Palestinians can make peace.

"We don’t accept it at all," al-Arouri said of the condition that Hamas disarm, Iran's PressTV reported Sunday. Al-Arouri said that Hamas also rejected the condition that it must recognize Israel.

Later in the week, Jason Greenblatt, the Trump administration’s Special Representative for International Negotiations, released a statement largely in agreement the Israeli conditions for engaging in talks with the Palestinian unity government.

Al-Arouri's boast about Iran's support recalls a similar one made by Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah last year who said, "we are open about the fact that Hezbollah’s budget, its income, its expenses, everything it eats and drinks, its weapons and rockets, are from the Islamic Republic of Iran."

IDF Chief of Staff to Attend U.S.-Sponsored Int'l Counterterror Conference in DC

The Israeli Chief of Staff, Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot, will attend a United States-led international counterterrorism conference in Washington this week. The conference is being hosted by U.S. Chief of Staff Joe Dunford and attended by military chiefs from 43 countries including Australia, Jordan and Egypt, as well as countries with which Israel has no diplomatic relations such as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

The conference will focus on developing a global strategy to defeat terrorism with participants expected to discuss how to best share lessons from military activities and how to identify ways to contribute to essential cooperation issues. The IDF said that “during these meetings, the commanders will discuss shared security challenges, situation assessments, security related developments in the Middle East and military collaborations”.

Speaking at the beginning of the conference, Dunford said, “Meetings like this have been more regionally focused in the past, but the nature of the violent extremism threat is transregional, and its effects in one often are felt in others at the beginning of the conference.”

During his visit, Eisenkot will meet senior American defence officials as well as the heads of U.S. European Command (EUCOM) and U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM). The Israeli delegation is also scheduled to visit a joint exercise by the IDF and the U.S. Cyber Command on electronic warfare.

Eisenkot’s visit to the U.S. follows last week’s visit by Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman to Washington, where the Defense Minister held meetings with US Defense Secretary James Mattis and US National Security Adviser HR McMaster. Liberman reportedly discussed the Iranian influence in Syria and the growing threat of Iranian proxies near the Israeli-Syrian border.

In the past few weeks, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Liberman and the director of the National Security Council have held talks with their Russian and US counterparts to raise Israeli regional security concerns.

(via BICOM)

BBC to Feature Reality Show with British Jews on Kibbutzim for Israel's 70th Anniversary

A reality show set on an Israeli kibbutz is on the BBC’s 2018 broadcast schedule, according to press reports. BBC to Feature Reality Show with British Jews on Kibbutzim for Israel's 70th Anniversary

The British TV network is recruiting 10 Jewish participants of various ages and backgrounds to fly over from the UK and spend two weeks volunteering on a kibbutz, an Israeli farming or manufacturing community founded on socialist principles. BBC to Feature Reality Show with British Jews on Kibbutzim for Israel's 70th Anniversary

The Kibbutz Movement, which represents about 250 kibbutzim, is helping to scout the best location for the show. BBC to Feature Reality Show with British Jews on Kibbutzim for Israel's 70th Anniversary

The volunteers and the BBC crews are to arrive in December and the program is to air sometime next year in coordination with Israel’s 70th Independence Day in May.

A BBC spokesperson told The Jewish Chronicle of London that the reality show “aims to explore what it means to be British and Jewish.”

The spokesperson said that participants “will come from a broad cross-section of the population and the faith, will travel to Israel to discover more about their cultural identity and discuss the most significant issues in modern Judaism.”

Jewish and gentile volunteers from countries across the world have come to volunteer their manual labor for weeks or months on Israeli kibbutzim for the past 50 years.

“These volunteers are the best ambassadors Israel has anywhere in the world,” Kibbutz Movement Director of the Volunteer Program Center Aya Sagi told Ynet.

(via Israel21c)

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