Daily TIP

The Daily TIP: TIP CEO: Iraq is First Test of U.S. Pushback Against Iran's Regional Influence

Posted by Tip Staff - May 25, 2018

TIP CEO: Iraq is First Test of U.S. Pushback Against Iran's Regional Influence
Bipartisan Anti-Semitism Awareness Act Introduced in Congress to Help Fight On-Campus Hate
Airfield Housing Hezbollah Ammo Dump Hit by Airstrikes
IsraAID Brings U.S. Doctors to Join Israeli Team at Kenyan Refugee Camp

TIP CEO: Iraq is First Test of U.S. Pushback Against Iran's Regional Influence

“Any discussion of an end to Iran’s power grab in Iraq would be premature — speculative at best, and potentially dangerous,” TIP CEO and President, Joshua S. Block, warned in an op-ed for The Hill published on Friday. Block argued that “Iraq would be a good place to start to put Pompeo’s words to the test,” referring to the Secretary of State’s speech from earlier this week, in which he outlined the White House’s new Iran strategy.

In the first parliamentary election in Iraq since the defeat of the terror group ISIS, the political bloc led by Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr emerged as the strongest force, beating his rival, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, the candidate supported by the United States.

Al-Sadr, a sectarian leader with a history of anti-American propaganda who controls powerful militias responsible for the killing of U.S. servicemen during the 2003 Iraq war, scored a surprising victory on a national and anti-corruption ticket, critical of outside interference in Iraqi politics.

However, Block said, “While al-Sadr’s victory complicates the situation for Tehran, the election turned America’s Iraq policy upside down, thus placing vital U.S. interests in the country at severe risk.”

Block concluded that, “Withdrawing from the JCPOA was the beginning of countering Iran’s illicit activities, but for the White House’s strategy to work, the nuclear accord needs to be replaced by a broader strategy that addresses all of Iran’s malign behavior.” He added: “Iraq would be a good place to start to put Pompeo’s words to the test.”

Bipartisan Anti-Semitism Awareness Act Introduced in Congress to Help Fight On-Campus Hate

A bipartisan bill to define anti-Semitism to fight the prevalence of anti-Semitism on campus was introduced in Congress, The Times of Israel reported Thursday.

The Anti-Semitism Awareness Act, which is sponsored by Rep Jerrold Nadler (D - N.Y.), Rep. Peter Roskam (R - Ill.), Rep. Doug Collins (R - Ga.), Sen. Tim Scott (R - S.C.), and Sen. Bob Casey (D - Pa.), instructs the Department of Education to adopt the definition of anti-Semitism that was formulated by the State Department in 2010.

The sponsors of the bill say that the Education Department needs criteria to identify anti-Semitism so that action can be taken against those who violate U.S. anti-discrimination laws.

A 2016 Brandeis University study found that campuses with anti-Israel boycott movements had a greater number of anti-Semitic incidents.

“I’ve heard far too many stories from Jewish students of the anti-Semitism they face in schools and on college campuses every day,” one of the sponsors, Deutch, said.

"There is no place for anti-Semitism or religious discrimination on our college campuses,” said Roskam.

Kenneth Marcus, president of the Louis D. Brandeis Center, said that adopting a standard definition of anti-Semitism is an important "first step" for government agencies' anti-discrimination efforts.

The ACLU opposes the legislation saying that it will target legitimate criticism of Israel. However, the State Department working definition of anti-Semitism clearly states, "criticism of Israel similar to that leveled against any other country cannot be regarded as anti-Semitic."

Airfield Housing Hezbollah Ammo Dump Hit by Airstrikes

A military air base in western Syria was hit in an airstrike Thursday night, in what a Syrian war-monitoring group says was a suspected Israeli strike on munitions depots belonging to the Iranian-backed Hezbollah terrorist group, The Times of Israel reported.

“Six missiles were fired at the Daba’a military airport and surrounding area in the western sector of Homs province, targeting Lebanese Hezbollah weapons warehouses,” Rami Abd el-Rahman, director of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, told AFP. Syrian media outlets charged that S-200 anti-aircraft missiles were fired during the attack on the air base.

The Observatory group identified Israel as the likely perpetrator. “The missiles would have been fired by Israel,” el-Rahman said. The Israeli military refused to comment on the strike.

The attack sparked large explosions, which were heard throughout the area. The monitoring group said Friday that it's not clear if there were any casualties in the strikes on the Daba’a air base in central Homs province. However, Syrian opposition news sites reported that at least 25 Iranian and Hezbollah fighters were killed in the attack.

The installation, which is located north of the town of al-Qusayr, was captured by Hezbollah forces from opposition troops in 2013, in a game-changing development in the civil war. Today, the airbase is known as a stronghold for Hezbollah and has previously been targeted by Israel, including in an attack on May 10 when IRGC-Quds forces launched 32 rockets at Israel’s forward defensive line on the Golan Heights.

IsraAID Brings U.S. Doctors to Join Israeli Team at Kenyan Refugee Camp

Marking its first joint Israeli-American medical specialist mission, Israeli humanitarian aid organization IsraAID arranged for a delegation of American pediatricians to join IsraAID’s ongoing medical program in Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya.

According to IsraAID, Kakuma is one of the world’s oldest and largest refugee camps and is chronically understaffed. Kakuma houses more than 185,000 refugees from countries across the region, including South Sudan, Somalia and the Democratic Republic of Congo, in addition to a host community from the Turkana ethnic group. Nearly 60 percent of Kakuma’s refugee population is under the age of 18.

The mission participants, led by Dr. Michelle Sandberg and Dr. Sabrina Braham from the Stanford University School of Medicine in California, landed on May 16 and were greeted by Israeli peers in the camp’s two hospitals and six clinics operated by the International Rescue Committee and Kakuma Mission Hospital. The US doctors also will train Kakuma’s medical staff.

“Major health issues affecting Kakuma’s residents vary, and have recently included malaria, lung infections, tuberculosis, HIV, malnutrition and cholera,” said IsraAID in a press statement. “By providing up-to-date training in pediatrics, the visiting physicians can make a real difference to the long-term prospects of Kakuma’s children.”

Sandberg, who previously visited Kenya to provide specialist training in Nairobi, said it will be challenging to work in an area with limited resources.

The mission is supported by the Koret Foundation.

(via Israel21c)

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