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The Daily TIP: UN Report: Assad Regime Used Chemical Weapons More than Two Dozen Times During Civil War

Posted by Tip Staff - September 06, 2017

UN Report: Assad Regime Used Chemical Weapons More than Two Dozen Times During Civil War
Amb. Haley: Nuclear Deal with Iran May Not Be in “National Security Interests” of U.S.
California University Puts SJP Chapter on Probation for Violating Campus Policy
One in 10 Tel Aviv Jobs is in High-Tech Sector

UN Report: Assad Regime Used Chemical Weapons More than Two Dozen Times During Civil War

The regime of Bashar al-Assad in Syria has used chemical weapons on more than two dozen occasions since the outbreak of the civil war six years ago, including in April’s deadly attack on Khan Sheikhoun, a UN war crimes investigation revealed on Wednesday.

Reuters reported that the UN investigators interviewed 43 witnesses, victims, and first responders affected by the chemical weapons attacks. They also analyzed satellite imagery, photos of bomb remnants, and early warning reports to draw conclusions as to what happened.

In their 14th report since 2011, which includes the most conclusive findings to date from investigations into chemical weapons attacks in the Syrian civil war, the UN investigators said they had documented a total of 33 attacks.

On 27 occasions, the UN was able to verify that the regime of Bashar al-Assad was behind the use of chemical weapons, including seven attacks that took place between March 1 and July 7. They were unable to determine the perpetrators behind six early attacks.

The UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria said a regime warplane dropped sarin on Khan Sheikhoun in Idlib province in April, killing more than 80 civilians. The incident led United States President Donald Trump to launch the first U.S. air strikes on a Syrian air base.

Syrian authorities have repeatedly denied using any chemical weapons and claimed the strikes in Khan Sheikhoun hit a weapons depot belonging to opposition forces. The UN has dismissed this narrative of events.

Amb. Haley: Nuclear Deal with Iran May Not Be in “National Security Interests” of U.S.

In a speech delivered Tuesday at the American Enterprise Institute, United States Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, questioned whether the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran is in the national security interests of the United States.

According to the Corker-Cardin legislation, there are several reasons the president could choose not to certify Iran's compliance with nuclear deal. The first would be if Iran is found to be in material breach of the JCPOA. It also "asks the president to certify that the suspension of sanctions against Iran is appropriate and proportionate to Iran’s nuclear measures and that it is vital to the national security interests of the United States."

"In short, we must consider the whole picture, not simply whether Iran has exceeded the JCPOA’s limit on uranium enrichment," Haley explained. "We must consider the whole jigsaw puzzle, not just one of its pieces. That’s the judgment President Trump will have to make in October.”

However, failing to certify Iran's compliance on any ground, Haley continued, "does not mean the United States is withdrawing from the JCPOA."

"Ambassador Haley provided the predicate for the president to conclude that the JCPOA is not in the vital national security interests of the United States," wrote Mark Dubowitz, CEO of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, "while signaling to Congress that now may not be the opportune time to reinstate JCPOA sanctions and take America out of the deal."

California University Puts SJP Chapter on Probation for Violating Campus Policy

University of California Irvine put the campus chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), a group that advocates boycotts of Israel, on probation for two years stemming from an incident in May where members of the group prevented Israeli soldiers from speaking.

During an event sponsored by a pro-Israel group, Students Supporting Israel (SSI), members of SJP began asking questions of the soldiers who had come to speak, and then started chanting "Israel, Israel what you say? How many people did you kill today?” and “Free Palestine," disrupting the event, The Jerusalem Post reported. A student in attendance recorded the incident in a video.

The University's Office of Academic Integrity and Student Conduct after reviewing the video and interviewing the witnesses determined that SJP had violated university policy and put the group on probation for two academic years. A further violation of the school's policies could result in SJP losing its status as a campus group.

"UCI welcomes all opinions and encourages a free exchange of ideas – in fact, we defend free speech as one of our bedrock principles as a public university,” the university explained in a statement announcing the punishment. “Yet, we must protect everyone’s right to express themselves without disruption."

Although SJP has appealed the ruling, no decision on the appeal is expected for several weeks.

Three years ago, the SJP chapter in Loyola University Chicago was also suspended for violating at least six community standards and intimidating other registered student organizations.

One in 10 Tel Aviv Jobs is in High-Tech Sector

If there was ever any doubt that Tel Aviv is the beating heart of the startup nation, a new report by Tel Aviv Global settles it. Not only does Tel Aviv have 2,000 high-tech companies, but one out of every 10 jobs in the city is in the high-tech sector.

The report is based on data conducted by IVC Research in preparation for the DLD Tel Aviv Innovation Festival taking place this week.

Tel Aviv Global is a municipal agency that manages various incentives for entrepreneurs setting up in the city.

The new report points out that the city has doubled the number of international R&D centers over the past five years – from 35 in 2012 to 73 in 2017.

Well-known international companies now having a tech presence in Tel Aviv include Visa, Renault-Nissan, Bosch, MasterCard, Google, Facebook, Amazon, Coca-Cola, Microsoft, AOL, Samsung, Siemens, PayPal, Deutsche Telekom, Citibank, Intel, Yahoo, Barclays, IBM and Apple.

These international R&D centers provide over 6,200 jobs, according to the report. The 2,000 total high-tech companies in Tel Aviv, moreover, constitute about a quarter of the number of companies in the high-tech sector in Israel overall.

What kind of high-tech companies open shop in Tel Aviv? It used to be more seed-stage companies, but that’s shifted to more R&D-stage companies.

Tel Aviv Global isn’t the only organization that sees the value of Tel Aviv’s intense concentration of startups. The Virgin.com website called Tel Aviv “one of the world’s best startup hubs.”

(via Israel21c)

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