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All-Female Christian Militia Takes on ISIS in Syria

All-Female Christian Militia Takes on ISIS in Syria
Image: All-Female Christian Militia Takes on ISIS in Syria (AFP/Reuters/Getty Images)

Image: All-Female Christian Militia Takes on ISIS in Syria
Monday, 18 Jan 2016 02:34 PM

 

Babylonia has no regrets about leaving behind her two children and her job as a hairdresser to join a Christian female militia battling against the Islamic State group in Syria.

The fierce-looking 36-year-old in fatigues from the Syriac Christian minority in the northeast believes she is making the future safe for her children.

“I miss Limar and Gabriella and worry that they must be hungry, thirsty and cold. But I try to tell them I’m fighting to protect their future,” she told AFP.

Babylonia belongs to a small, recently created battalion of Syriac Christian women in Hasakeh province who are fighting IS.

They are following in the footsteps of Syria’s other main female force battling the jihadists – the women of the YPJ, the female counterpart to the Kurdish People’s Protection Units or YPG.

So far the new force is small, with around 50 graduates so far from its training camp in the town of Al-Qahtaniyah, also known as Kabre Hyore in Syriac, and Tirbespi in Kurdish.

But the “Female Protection Forces of the Land Between the Two Rivers” – the area between the Tigris and Euphrates waterways historically inhabited by Syriacs – is teeming with women eager to prove their worth against IS.

It was actually Babylonia’s husband who encouraged her to leave Limar, nine, and six-year-old Gabriella and join the unit whose first recruits graduated in August.

Himself a fighter, he urged her to take up arms to “fight against the idea that the Syriac woman is good for nothing except housekeeping and make-up”, she said.

“I’m a practicing Christian and thinking about my children makes me stronger and more determined in my fight against Daesh,” added Babylonia, using the Arabic acronym for IS.

Syriac Christians belong to the eastern Christian tradition and pray in Aramaic. They include both Orthodox and Catholic branches, and constitute around 15 percent of Syria’s 1.2 million Christians.

Before the conflict began in March 2011, Christians from some 11 different sects made up around five percent of the population.

The unit’s first major action was alongside the newly created Syrian Democratic Forces, a coalition of Kurdish, Arab and Christian fighters, which recently recaptured the strategic town of Al-Hol.

“I took part in a battle for the first time in the Al-Hol area, but my team wasn’t attacked by IS,” said 18-year-old Lucia, who gave up her studies to join the militia.

Her sister also joined up, against the wishes of their reluctant mother.

“I fight with a Kalashnikov, but I’m not ready to become an elite sniper yet,” the shy teenager said, a wooden crucifix around her neck and a camouflage bandana tied round her head.

Al-Hol, on a key route between territory IS controls in Syria and Iraq, was the first major victory for the SDF, which has captured around 200 villages in the region in recent weeks.
It has received air support from the US-led coalition fighting IS, as well as drops of American weapons.

Ormia, 18, found battle terrifying at first.

“I was afraid of the noise of cannons firing, but the fear quickly went away,” she said.
“I would love to be on the front line in the fight against the terrorists.”

– ‘Not afraid of Daesh’ –

The battalion’s fighters train in an old mill in a program that includes military, fitness and academic elements.

With its limited combat experience, the unit for now focuses mainly on protecting majority Christian parts of Hasakeh province.

Thabirta Samir, 24, who helps oversee the training, estimates that around 50 fighters have graduated so far.

“I used to work for a Syriac cultural association, but now I take pleasure in working in the military field,” she said.

“I’m not afraid of Daesh, and we will be present in the coming battles against the terrorists.”

Samir said both local and “foreign forces” helped train the women, without specifying the nationality of the foreigners.

In late November, Kurdish sources said US soldiers had entered the town of Kobane in northern Syria to train Kurdish fighters and plan offensives.

Some women cited what is known as the Sayfo (“Sword”) massacres in 1915 of Syriac, Assyrian and Chaldean Christians as reasons for joining the unit.

“We are a community that is oppressed by others,” said 18-year-old Ithraa. She joined four months ago inspired by the memory of Sayfo, in which Ottoman authorities are said to have killed tens of thousands of Christians in Turkey and Iran.

She said the community hoped to prevent “a new massacre like that committed by the Ottomans… when they tried to erase our Christian and Syriac identity”.

 

Source: Will County News

Cruz is the true blue conservative establishment hates more than Trump

This is How Much the GOP Establishment and Donor Class Hate Ted Cruz

By  |  January 15, 2016, 09:47pm


I said the other day that the Establishment rather go all in with Trump than nominate Ted Cruz. They hate him. They think that Trump is an opportunist they can cut a deal with while Cruz is the true blue conservative.

And it is. They know it.

The Politico ran a story the other day that reported House Republicans fear Cruz would destroy down ballot races. Why? Because they took a poll on Donald Trump and it showed Donald Trump would destroy the GOP down ballot. Perversely, they read the poll to mean Cruz would be terrible for them.

Then there is this from National Review about the House Republican retreat with Paul Ryan where party leaders decided to embrace Trump to stop Cruz.

The member says he believes that, when it comes down to it, “almost all of the candidates would subscribe to” the conservative agenda [Paul Ryan] and the rest of leadership are hoping to advance. Except, that is, for Cruz.

The latest data comes from the Washington Post, which reports the donors are now embracing Trump because Ted Cruz would take their corporations off the government dole.

Spencer Zwick, the national finance chairman for Mitt Romney’s 2012 campaign, said power brokers and financiers are now trying to cozy up to Trump in various ways, such as reaching out through mutual friends in New York’s business community.

“A lot of donors are trying to figure their way into Trump’s orbit. There is a growing feeling among many that he may be the guy, so people are certainly seeing if they can find a home over there,” he said.

Likewise, “Eric Fehrnstrom, a former Romney adviser, said Trump remains in ‘total command of the field.’”

Got this? They think they can suck up to Trump, cut deals with him, and accommodate each other. They think if Cruz came in the status quo would get rocked and they could possibly find themselves shut out of power.

The Republican Establish is more afraid of losing power than they are saving the country and reducing government.

Source: Will County News

Happenings for Will County Republicans

 

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The only alternative to Mark Kirk on the Republican ballot for U.S. Senate isJames Marter, so come out and size up Jim in person at his fundraiser on Wednesday, January 20, 2016 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at Mullets Sports Bar & Restaurant, 14903 S Bell Rd, Homer Glen, $35 per person.  Hosted by Steve Balich.

Meet an energetic conservative Kristin Cross running for Will County Recorder at her fundraiser on Thursday, January 21, 2016 from 6:00 p.m. to about 9:00 p.m. at the Double J’s Sports Bar, 1001 Essington Rd., Joliet.  Cost of admissions: $20 in the door, entered to win 3 Blackhawk Tickets for 2/9/16 Sharks vs Blackhawks Section 325, Row 12. Food, Fun, Raffles and a few surprises.

If you want to hear the latest on the Will County and Illinois political scene, you  should attend the Will County Republicans Monthly Meeting, on Thursday,January 21, 2016 from 7:30 p.m. to about 8:45 p.m. at Gatto’s Restaurant, 1938 E. Lincoln Highway/ U.S. 30, (southwest corner of U.S. 30 and Schoolhouse Road) New Lenox, Illinois, public invited.

Free screening of the movie, Agenda 2 Masters of Deceit, a new film is the sequel to Agenda:Grinding America Down on Tuesday, January 26, 2016 at 7:30 PM at Smokey Barque, 20 Kansas St., Frankfort, Illinois.  Hosted by theIllinois Family Institute.

Come meet one of Will County’s brightest rising conservative stars Raquel Mitchell running for Will County Board Dist. 3 at her Fundraiser/Birthday party on January 28, 2016 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Bolingbrook Golf Club, 2001 Rodeo Dr, Bolingbrook, $28 per person.

Save the Date:

Women for Tonia Khouri for Congress Event, January 31, 2016 from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. at Blu, 24027 Lockport St, Plainfield, IL

Homer Lockport Tea Party Iowa Caucus Returns Watch Party, February 1, 2016 from  7:30  p.m. where you can cheer or curse the results among like-minded people.

Tim Kraulidis for Will County Board Fundraiser on February 4, 2016 from 6:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. at Cemeno’s Pizza, 1630 Essington Rd, Joliet.

Augie Deuser for Congress 1st District Fundraiser on February 6, 2016 from 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. at Little Joe’s – Frankfort 20805 S. LaGrange Rd., Frankfort, Illinois.

For additional details on all of the above and additional local Republican meetings, see our calendar at:
http://willcountyrepublicans.org/calendar

Source: Will County News

Can we trust IRAN

JAN. 17, 2016

VIENNA — With three Americans long held in Iran flying to Europe on Sunday, President Obama urged young Iranians to “pursue a new path” with the West as he imposed modest new sanctions on the country for banned missile tests.

The images of long-delayed freedom and Washington’s double-edged message underscored the uncertainties about the long-term implications of a dizzying 48 hours of diplomacy between Washington and Tehran that yielded a mutual prisoner release. It had hints of a budding era of détente. But there were clearly forces in both capitals arguing against any form of cooperation.

In Tehran, Iranians Play Down MilestoneJAN. 16, 2016
By the end of the weekend, the three Americans — a Washington Post reporter, a former Marine and a pastor — were at an American air base in Germany undergoing medical examinations, almost home after languishing in Iran’s worst prisons. The Iranians, for their part, were trying to adjust to a new world in which they were free to sell their oil around the world, but at prices far lower than they had anticipated, and to reconnect with a global financial system that had been closed off to them while they were expanding their nuclear infrastructure.

 

And it was unclear how they would spend upward of $100 billion in newly unfrozen funds — on long-delayed social welfare projects, or on the proxy wars that have expanded Iranian influence.

Mr. Obama also announced the resolution of another argument between Tehran and Washington that dates to the Iranian revolution, this one over $400 million in payments for military equipment that the United States sold to the shah of Iran and never delivered when he was overthrown. The Iranians got their money back, with $1.3 billion in interest that had accumulated over 37 years.

But perhaps the most notable part of Mr. Obama’s statement on Sunday was its absence of triumphalism and its warning that problems with Iran over ideology, Syria and regional ambitions were not over.

The Swiss airplane that brought three American prisoners freed from Iran after landing in Geneva on Sunday. Credit Denis Balibouse/Reuters

 
“This is a good day,” Mr. Obama said. “We have a rare chance to pursue a new path, a different, better future that delivers progress for both our peoples and the wider world. That’s the opportunity before the Iranian people. We need to take advantage of that.”

It mirrored the words of Hassan Rouhani, the Iranian president, who, at a news conference in Tehran, wondered aloud whether the United States would take advantage of the opening. He did not mention the prisoner release or the dismantling of a nuclear infrastructure that Iran had spent billions building up.

“This success is the result of resistance, integrity, unity and linkage between different branches and pillars of the system,” he said. “Everybody is happy except the Zionists, the warmongers who are fueling sectarian war among Islamic nations, and the hard-liners in the U.S. Congress.”

Members of Iran’s Parliament kissed Mohammad Javad Zarif, the Iranian foreign minister, during a legislative session on Sunday after international sanctions against Iran were lifted. Credit Abedin Taherkenareh/European Pressphoto Agency
With critics of Mr. Rouhani saying that the latest sanctions reveal Washington’s true stripes, and elections looming in Iran, Mr. Rouhani has to make the case that his outreach to the United States brought tangible economic benefits. With Republican presidential candidates denouncing the prisoner release, Mr. Obama has to make the case that his decision to negotiate created a channel of communication that is in America’s interest. On Sunday, he took a swipe at his critics, recalling Iran’s seizure of Navy boats and sailors last week.

 

“When our sailors in the Persian Gulf accidentally strayed into Iranian waters,” he said, “that could have sparked a major international incident. Some folks here in Washington rushed to declare that it was the start of another hostage crisis.” Instead, he said, a few phone calls were made and the United States “secured the release of our sailors in less than 24 hours.”

Mr. Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry, who orchestrated the events over the weekend, decided several weeks ago to delay the imposition of sanctions against Iranian companies and individuals for two missile tests, one in October and another in November, that had violated United Nations resolutions.

Mr. Obama had vowed to continue to apply non-nuclear sanctions, even after last summer’s nuclear agreement was signed. But State Department officials worried that the prisoner release would be imperiled if the sanctions were announced before the swap was arranged. “We didn’t know how big the risk was,” one senior official said. “But it wasn’t trivial.”

While the appearance of the back-to-back sanctions announcements — lifting nuclear sanctions and adding missile sanctions — might seem to suggest that Washington was merely recategorizing old penalties, they are actually not comparable.

The lifting of nuclear sanctions on Saturday allowed Iran to re-enter the world’s oil markets; according to some estimates, by the end of the year its exports may increase by a million barrels a day, yielding about $30 million a day in revenue at current prices. Its ships will be able to enter and leave foreign ports, and its citizens will have access to global financial markets.
The new sanctions are aimed mostly at individuals and some small companies accused of shipping crucial technologies to Iran, including carbon fiber and missile parts that can survive re-entry forces. Because the sanctions are focused on those individuals and firms, most Iranians will never feel them, and the penalties are comparatively tiny.

The departure of three of the freed Americans — Jason Rezaian, Amir Hekmati and Saeed Abedini — came after a tense day in which the Swiss aircraft sent for them sat on the tarmac in Tehran. The main issue was the American insistence that Mr. Rezaian’s wife, Yageneh Salehi, and his mother be able to fly out with him. They were eventually allowed on the plane.

Mr. Rezaian, The Post’s Tehran correspondent, was arrested in July 2014 on vague charges that included spying. The Post and news media advocates around the world defended his innocence and protested increasingly loudly about his case.

“I am incredibly relieved that Jason is on his way home,” Mr. Rezaian’s brother Ali Rezaian said in a statement. He said he had received a call from Mr. Obama expressing concern for his brother’s well-being.

The fourth American freed in the exchange, Nosratollah Khosravi — whose incarceration had not been reported until the prisoner deal was announced on Saturday — was not on the plane, American officials said. He chose to stay in Tehran, where he has an apartment. A fifth American, Matthew Trevithick, left Iran on Saturday after being freed under an arrangement separate from the prisoner exchange.
The family of Mr. Hekmati, 32, a former Marine incarcerated in Iran longer than any of the others, issued a statement expressing relief that he was out of Iran. “It is hard to put into words what our family feels right now,” the statement said. “Today is an incredible day for all of us.”

Naghmeh Abedini, the wife of Mr. Abedini, a 35-year-old pastor from Boise, Idaho, said she had been up all night awaiting the State Department’s phone call. “They have finally left Iranian soil!” she said in a text message.

In a memo on Sunday to the Washington Post staff, Martin Baron, the executive editor, and Douglas Jehl, the foreign editor, reported that they had had a brief conversation with Mr. Rezaian, who was catching up on the news reports about his release on his mother’s iPad. “Asked how he was doing,” the memo said, he responded, “I’m a hell of a lot better than I was 48 hours ago.”

David E. Sanger reported from Vienna, Rick Gladstone from New York, and Thomas Erdbrink from Tehran. Peter Baker contributed reporting from Washington.

Source: Will County News