The Pronk Pops Show 1312, August 27, 2019, Breaking News — Story 1: Islamic Republic of Iran Will Not Meet With United States Until Sanctions Are Lifted — Trump Waiting for A Pretext To Attack — Iranian Will Give Him One — Iranian People Must Overthrow Their Totalitarian Theocracy Regime — Videos — Story 2: Johnson and Johnson Ordered To Pay $572 Million in Case Involving Marketing of Opioids to Doctors — Videos — Story 3: 19 States Sue Federal Government Over Longer Detention in Family Residential Centers (FRCs) Until Processed Under New Rule

Posted on August 28, 2019. Filed under: 2020 Republican Candidates, Addiction, Addiction, American History, Banking System, Blogroll, Breaking News, Budgetary Policy, Communications, Congress, Constitutional Law, Corruption, Countries, Crime, Culture, Defense Spending, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Drugs, Economics, Education, Elections, First Amendment, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Free Trade, Freedom of Speech, Government, Government Dependency, Government Spending, Health, History, House of Representatives, Human, Human Behavior, Illegal Drugs, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Impeachment, Independence, Labor Economics, Law, Legal Drugs, Legal Immigration, Life, Lying, Media, Medicare, Mental Illness, Military Spending, Monetary Policy, National Interest, National Security Agency, News, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Polls, Privacy, Progressives, Public Corruption, Radio, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Regulation, Resources, Scandals, Second Amendment, Security, Senate, Spying, Surveillance and Spying On American People, Surveillance/Spying, Tax Policy, Taxation, Taxes, Trade Policy, Unemployment, United States Constitution, United States of America, Videos, Violence, Wealth, Welfare Spending, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

 

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Pronk Pops Show 1312 August 27, 2019

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Pronk Pops Show 1307 August 15, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1306 August 14, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1305 August 12, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1304 August 8, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1303 August 7, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1302 August 6, 2019

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Pronk Pops Show 1299 July 31, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1298 July 30, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1297 July 29, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1296 July 25, 2019

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Pronk Pops Show 1294 July 23, 2019

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Pronk Pops Show 1292 July 18, 2019

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Pronk Pops Show 1286 July 9, 2019

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Pronk Pops Show 1284 July 2, 2019

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Pronk Pops Show 1282 June 27, 2019

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Pronk Pops Show 1280 June 25, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1279 June 24, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1278 June 20, 2019 

Pronk Pops Show 1277 June 19, 2019

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Pronk Pops Show 1274 June 13, 2019

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Pronk Pops Show 1270 June 6, 2019

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Pronk Pops Show 1268 June 3, 2019

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Pronk Pops Show 1249 May 2, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1248 May 1, 2019

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Story 1: Islamic Republic of Iran Will Not Meet With United States Until Sanctions Are Lifted — Trump Waiting for A Pretext To Attack — Iranian Will Give Him One — Iranian People Must Overthrow Their Totalitarian Theocracy Regime — Both Iran and North Korea Must Denuclearize of Face Sanction Forever — Videos

 

Iran will meet with US if sanctions are lifted

Donald Trump calls Iran ‘number one nation of terror’

[9AM] America’s Newsroom 8/27/19 | FOX News Today August 27, 2019

Trump: Iran cannot have a nuclear weapon

Trump confronts nuclear threats from Iran and North Korea

President Donald Trump On The Iran Nuclear Deal | CNBC

Sanctions aren’t enough to end Iran’s nuclear program: Walid Phares

President Trump Open To Meeting With Iran, Says China Wants To Make A Trade Deal | NBC Nightly News

Iran FM Zarif: “If the US stops bothering the rest of the world, everything will be fine”

Iran’s Zarif grabs #MSC2019 spotlight, slams Trump and Israel (Munich Security Conference)

Iran’s Zarif thrashes Trump, “US driven by pathological obsession” (Munich Security Conference 2019)

The Middle East’s cold war, explained

Inside Iran

Iran: Why are people protesting?

Protests in Iran enter sixth day

Published on Jan 2, 2018

 

Iran’s Rouhani Says No Talks With Trump Until Sanctions Are Lifted

CreditCreditIranian Presidency, via Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

President Hassan Rouhani of Iran said on Tuesday that he would not sit down for a meeting with President Trump until Washington had lifted all of its economic sanctions against Iran.

His comment came a day after President Emmanuel Macron of France said he would try to arrange a meeting between Mr. Trump and Mr. Rouhani in the next few weeks to ease the strained relationship between the United States and Iran.

That relationship has worsened since Mr. Trump abandoned the Iranian nuclear agreement last year and imposed crippling sanctions on Iran’s economy.

Mr. Macron said at a news conference on Monday at the conclusion of the Group of 7 meeting in France that he had spoken with his Iranian counterpart to determine whether a meeting was possible.

Opioid Overdose Crisis

Revised January 2019

Every day, more than 130 people in the United States die after overdosing on opioids.1 The misuse of and addiction to opioids—including prescription pain relieversheroin, and synthetic opioids such as fentanyl—is a serious national crisis that affects public health as well as social and economic welfare. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that the total “economic burden” of prescription opioid misuse alone in the United States is $78.5 billion a year, including the costs of healthcare, lost productivity, addiction treatment, and criminal justice involvement.2

How did this happen?

In the late 1990s, pharmaceutical companies reassured the medical community that patients would not become addicted to prescription opioid pain relievers, and healthcare providers began to prescribe them at greater rates. This subsequently led to widespread diversion and misuse of these medications before it became clear that these medications could indeed be highly addictive.3,4 Opioid overdose rates began to increase. In 2017, more than 47,000 Americans died as a result of an opioid overdose, including prescription opioids, heroin, and illicitly manufactured fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid.1 That same year, an estimated 1.7 million people in the United States suffered from substance use disorders related to prescription opioid pain relievers, and 652,000 suffered from a heroin use disorder (not mutually exclusive).5

What do we know about the opioid crisis?

  • Roughly 21 to 29 percent of patients prescribed opioids for chronic pain misuse them.6
  • Between 8 and 12 percent develop an opioid use disorder.6
  • An estimated 4 to 6 percent who misuse prescription opioids transition to heroin.79
  • About 80 percent of people who use heroin first misused prescription opioids.7
  • Opioid overdoses increased 30 percent from July 2016 through September 2017 in 52 areas in 45 states.10
  • The Midwestern region saw opioid overdoses increase 70 percent from July 2016 through September 2017.10
  • Opioid overdoses in large cities increase by 54 percent in 16 states.10
The graph shows that the Northeast had the highest rate of suspected opioid overdose in Q3 of 2017. Rates in the Midwest have increased largely between Q2 and Q3 of 2017.Quarterly rate of suspected opioid overdose, by US region
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.10

This issue has become a public health crisis with devastating consequences including increases in opioid misuse and related overdoses, as well as the rising incidence of neonatal abstinence syndrome due to opioid use and misuse during pregnancy. The increase in injection drug use has also contributed to the spread of infectious diseases including HIV and hepatitis C. As seen throughout the history of medicine, science can be an important part of the solution in resolving such a public health crisis.

What are HHS and NIH doing about it?

In response to the opioid crisis, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is focusing its efforts on five major priorities:

  1. improving access to treatment and recovery services
  2. promoting use of overdose-reversing drugs
  3. strengthening our understanding of the epidemic through better public health surveillance
  4. providing support for cutting-edge research on pain and addiction
  5. advancing better practices for pain management

The National Institutes of Health (NIH), a component of HHS, is the nation’s leading medical research agency helping solve the opioid crisis via discovering new and better ways to prevent opioid misuse, treat opioid use disorders, and manage pain. In the summer of 2017, NIH met with pharmaceutical companies and academic research centers to discuss:

  1. safe, effective, non-addictive strategies to manage chronic pain
  2. new, innovative medications and technologies to treat opioid use disorders
  3. improved overdose prevention and reversal interventions to save lives and support recovery

In April 2018 at the National Rx Drug Abuse and Heroin Summit, NIH Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., announced the launch of the HEAL (Helping to End Addiction Long-term) Initiative, an aggressive, trans-agency effort to speed scientific solutions to stem the national opioid public health crisis.

Related Resources

https://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/opioids/opioid-overdose-crisis

Types of Pain

Acute pain can last a moment; rarely does it become chronic pain. Chronic pain persists for long periods. It is resistant to most medical treatments and cause severe problems.

  1. Pain ClassificationsEven though the experience of pain varies from one person to the next, it is possible to categorize the different types of pain.
  2. Chronic PainLearn about how chronic pain occurs, and why chronic pain sometimes lingers.
  3. Nerve PainWhen nerve fibers get damaged, the result can be chronic pain. Read about the very common causes of neuropathic pain, like diabetes.
  4. Psychogenic PainDepression, anxiety, and other emotional problems can cause pain — or make existing pain worse.
  5. Musculoskeletal PainMusculoskeletal pain is pain that affects the muscles, ligaments and tendons, and bones. Learn about the causes, symptoms, and treatments.
  6. Chronic Muscle PainUse your muscles incorrectly, too much, too little — and you’ve got muscle pain. Learn the subtle differences of muscle injuries and pain.
  7. Abdominal PainLearn common causes of abdominal pain and when to contact your doctor.
  8. Joint PainSee the causes of joint pain and how to treat it with both home remedies and prescribed medication.
  9. Central Pain SyndromeA stroke, multiple sclerosis, or spinal cord injuries can result in chronic pain and burning syndromes from damage to brain regions. Read this brief overview.
  10. Complex Regional Pain SyndromeIt’s a baffling, intensely painful disorder that can develop from a seemingly minor injury, yet is believed to result from high levels of nerve impulses being sent to the affected disorder. Learn more about this disorder.
  11. Diabetes-Related Nerve Pain (Neuropathy)If you have diabetes, nerve damage can be a serious complication. This nerve complication can cause severe burning pain especially at night. Learn more about diabetic neuropathy.
  12. Shingles Pain (Postherpetic Neuralgia)Shingles is a painful condition that arises from varicella-zoster, the same virus that causes chickenpox. Learn more about the symptoms and risk factors.
  13. Trigeminal NeuralgiaIt’s considered one of the most painful conditions in medicine. The face pain it causes can be treated. Learn more about what causes trigeminal neuralgia and treatments for face pain caused by it. 

https://www.webmd.com/pain-management/guide/pain-management-overview-facts

(more…)

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The Pronk Pops Show 1251 May 6, 2019, Story 1: United States Sends Aircraft Carrier Group and Bomber Task Force To Middle East to Counter Iranian Threats — Videos — Story 2: After Nearly 700 Rockets From Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza Strip Kills 4 Israelis and 22 Palestinians — Israeli Airstrikes Attack Hamas and Kill Commander in Gaza City — Ceasefire Reached But Most Likely Will Not Hold — Videos — Story 3: President Trump Threatens To Impose a 25% Tariff on $200 Billion of Chinese Exports into United States After Chinese Communist Renege on Trade Deal Commitments — Time To Pull The Trigger on 25% Tariff on Chinese Goods — Videos

Posted on May 7, 2019. Filed under: 2020 Democrat Candidates, 2020 President Candidates, 2020 Republican Candidates, Addiction, American History, Banking System, Blogroll, Breaking News, Budgetary Policy, Business, China, Clinton Obama Democrat Criminal Conspiracy, Communications, Congress, Corruption, Countries, Crime, Deep State, Defense Spending, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Economics, Education, Egypt, Elections, Empires, Employment, Energy, European History, Federal Government, First Amendment, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Free Trade, Freedom of Speech, Government, Government Spending, Health, History, House of Representatives, Human, Human Behavior, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Independence, Iraq, Islamic Republic of Iran, Israel, Joe Biden, Labor Economics, Legal Immigration, Life, Lying, Media, Middle East, News, People, Politics, Polls, Progressives, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Regulation, Rule of Law, Scandals, Senate, South America, Tax Policy, Taxation, Taxes, Trade Policy, United States Constitution, United States of America, Videos, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

 

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Pronk Pops Show 1251 May 6, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1250 May 3, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1249 May 2, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1248 May 1, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1247 April 30, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1246 April 29, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1245 April 26, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1244 April 25, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1243 April 24, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1242 April 23, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1241 April 18, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1240 April 16, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1239 April 15, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1238 April 11, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1237 April 10, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1236 April 9, 201

Pronk Pops Show 1235 April 8, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1234 April 5, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1233 April 4, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1232 April 1, 2019 Part 2

Pronk Pops Show 1232 March 29, 2019 Part 1

Pronk Pops Show 1231 March 28, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1230 March 27, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1229 March 26, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1228 March 25, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1227 March 21, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1226 March 20, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1225 March 19, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1224 March 18, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1223 March 8, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1222 March 7, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1221 March 6, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1220 March 5, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1219 March 4, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1218 March 1, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1217 February 27, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1216 February 26, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1215 February 25, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1214 February 22, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1213 February 21, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1212 February 20, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1211 February 19, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1210 February 18, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1209 February 15, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1208 February 14, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1207 February 13, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1206 February 12, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1205 February 11, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1204 February 8, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1203 February 7, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1202 February 6, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1201 February 4, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1200 February 1, 2019

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Story 1: United States Sends Aircraft Carrier Group and Bomber Task Force To Middle East to Counter Iranian Threats — Videos —

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US vs Iran – Strait of Hormuz

HOW THE U.S. MILITARY WOULD STRIKE IRAN: EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW || RHINO 2018

U.S. sends USS Lincoln to Mideast to warn Iran

U.S. sending aircraft carrier, bomber to Middle East to warn Iran

US sends aircraft carrier and bomber task force to Middle East

Top CIA analyst: Israel partisans push US to war

Iran threatens to block main oil rout

With China Defiant on Iranian Oil, Trump’s Sanctions Strategy is Tested

China accuses the US of having a “mobster” mentality

The Collapse of the American Empire?

Chris Hedges – American Empire In Decline

Billy Joel Goodnight Saigon Vietnam Tribute

American Pie Don McLean Full Length 1989 Video from Original 1971 72 Song

Don McLean – American Pie better quality

American Pie

A long long time ago
I can still remember how
That music used to make me smile
And I knew if I had my chance
That I could make those people dance
And maybe they’d be happy for a while
But February made me shiver
With every paper I’d deliver
Bad news on the doorstep
I couldn’t take one more step
I can’t remember if I cried
When I read about his widowed bride
Something touched me deep inside
The day the music died
So
Bye, bye Miss American Pie
Drove my Chevy to the levee but the levee was dry
And them good ole boys were drinking whiskey and rye
Singin’ this’ll be the day that I die
This’ll be the day that I die
Did you write the book of love
And do you have faith in God above
If the Bible tells you so?
Do you believe in rock and roll?
Can music save your mortal soul?
And can you teach me how to dance real slow?
Well, I know that you’re in love with him
‘Cause I saw you dancin’ in the gym
You both kicked off your shoes
Man, I dig those rhythm and blues
I was a lonely teenage broncin’ buck
With a pink carnation and a pickup truck
But I knew I was out of luck
The day the music died
I started singin’
Bye, bye Miss American Pie
Drove my Chevy to the levee but the levee was dry
And them good ole boys were drinking whiskey and rye
Singin’ this’ll be the day that I die
This’ll be the day that I die
Now, for ten years we’ve been on our own
And moss grows fat on a rolling stone
But, that’s not how it used to be
When the jester sang for the king and queen
In a coat he borrowed from James Dean
And a voice that came from you and me
Oh and while the king was looking down
The jester stole his thorny crown
The courtroom was adjourned
No verdict was returned
And while Lennon read a book on Marx
The quartet practiced in the park
And we sang dirges in the dark
The day the music died
We were singin’
Bye, bye Miss American Pie
Drove my Chevy to the levee but the levee was dry
Them good ole boys were drinking whiskey and rye
And singin’ this’ll be the day that I die
This’ll be the day that I die
Helter skelter in a summer swelter
The birds flew off with a fallout shelter
Eight miles high and falling fast
It landed foul on the grass
The players tried for a forward pass
With the jester on the sidelines in a cast
Now the half-time air was sweet perfume
While sergeants played a marching tune
We all got up to dance
Oh, but we never got the chance
‘Cause the players tried to take the field
The marching band refused to yield
Do you recall what was revealed
The day the music died?
We started singin’
Bye, bye Miss American Pie
Drove my Chevy to the levee but the levee was dry
Them good ole boys were drinking whiskey and rye
And singin’ this’ll be the day that I die
This’ll be the day that I die
Oh, and there we were all in one place
A generation lost in space
With no time left to start again
So come on Jack be nimble, Jack be quick
Jack Flash sat on a candlestick
‘Cause fire is the devil’s only friend
Oh and as I watched him on the stage
My hands were clenched in fists of rage
No angel born in Hell
Could break that Satan’s spell
And as the flames climbed high into the night
To light the sacrificial rite
I saw Satan laughing with delight
The day the music died
He was singin’
Bye, bye Miss American Pie
Drove my Chevy to the levee but the levee was dry
Them good ole boys were drinking whiskey and rye
Singin’ this’ll be the day that I die
This’ll be the day that I die
I met a girl who sang the blues
And I asked her for some happy news
But she just smiled and turned away
I went down to the sacred store
Where I’d heard the music years before
But the man there said the music wouldn’t play
And in the streets the children screamed
The lovers cried, and the poets dreamed
But not a word was spoken
The church bells all were broken
And the three men I admire most
The Father, Son, and the Holy Ghost
They caught the last train for the coast
The day the music died
And they were singing
Bye, bye Miss American Pie
Drove my Chevy to the levee but the levee was dry
And them good ole boys were drinking whiskey and rye
Singin’ this’ll be the day that I die
This’ll be the day that I die
They were singing
Bye, bye Miss American Pie
Drove my Chevy to the levee but the levee was dry
Them good ole boys were drinking whiskey and rye
Singin’ this’ll be the day that I die
Songwriters: Don McLean

Scoop: Israel passed White House intelligence on possible Iran plot

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu with national security adviser John Bolton. Photo: Kobi Gideon/GPO via Getty Images

Israel passed information on an alleged Iranian plot to attack U.S. interests in the Gulf to the U.S. before national security adviser John Bolton threatened Iran with “unrelenting force” last night, senior Israeli officials told me.

Why it matters: Bolton’s unusual and aggressive statement included news that the U.S. would move an aircraft carrier to the region. The officials said intelligence gathered by Israel, primarily by the Mossad intelligence agency, is understood to be part of the reason for Bolton’s announcement.

Behind the scenes: Information about possible Iranian plots against the U.S. or its allies in the Gulf were raised two weeks ago in talks held at the White House between an Israeli delegation headed by national security adviser Meir Ben Shabbat and a U.S. team led by Bolton, the Israeli officials told me.

  • The intelligence about a possible Iranian plot is not very specific at this stage, but the officials said it was clear the threat was against a U.S. target in the Gulf or U.S. allies like Saudi Arabia or the UAE.

The bottom line: An Israeli official told me Mossad drew several scenarios for what the Iranians might be planning:

“It is still unclear to us what the Iranians are trying to do and how they are planning to do it, but it is clear to us that the Iranian temperature is on the rise as a result of the growing U.S. pressure campaign against them, and they are considering retaliating against U.S. interests in the Gulf.”

— Israeli official

US sending aircraft carrier to Mideast, citing Iran threats

49 minutes ago
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo talks to the media on the sidelines of the Arctic Council ministers’ working dinner at the Arktikum museum in Rovaniemi, Finland, Monday, May 6, 2019. The U.S. is dispatching an aircraft carrier and other military resources to the Middle East following what it says are indications that Iran and its proxy forces are preparing to possibly attack U.S. forces in the region. (Mandel Ngan/Pool Photo via AP)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. is sending an aircraft carrier group to the Middle East ahead of schedule and warning that Iran and its proxy forces are showing “troubling and escalatory” indications of a possible attack on American forces in the region.

Exactly what prompted the action was unclear, but it marked a further step in sharply rising tensions between the Trump administration and the Islamic Republic.

National Security Adviser John Bolton said Sunday night the U.S. was deploying the USS Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group and a bomber task force to the Middle East, intending to send a message that “unrelenting force” will meet any attack on American forces or allies.

Neither Bolton nor other officials would provide any details about the supposed threat, which comes as the Trump administration wages a campaign of intensifying pressure against Iran and nearly a year after it withdrew from an Obama-era nuclear deal with Tehran.

In Iran, the semi-official ISNA news agency on Monday quoted an anonymous official as saying that Iranian President Hassan Rouhani planned a broadcast address Wednesday and might discuss “counteractions” Tehran will take over America’s withdrawal from the international nuclear deal.

The agreement limited Iran’s enrichment of uranium amid Western concerns that Tehran’s program could allow it to build nuclear weapons. Iran insists its program is for peaceful purposes.

With its pressure campaign, the U.S. administration is trying to get Iran to halt activities such as supporting militant activities that destabilize the Middle East and threaten U.S. allies, including Israel, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said.

“Our objective is to get the Islamic Republic of Iran to behave like a normal nation,” Pompeo told reporters during a visit to Finland. “When they do that, we will welcome them back.”

The order to the carrier group would get the Abraham Lincoln into the Middle East about two weeks earlier than initially planned following exercises in the Mediterranean region, according to a U.S. defense official who wasn’t authorized to speak publicly, so spoke on the condition of anonymity. It forces the ships to cancel a planned stop in Croatia.

For years, the U.S. maintained a carrier presence in the Persian Gulf and Middle East region. During the height of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, there were two carriers in the area, but that was reduced to one.

Last year the administration decided to end the continuous carrier presence, and send a strike group only intermittently into the region. The U.S. Navy currently has no aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf.

Bolton said the U.S. wants to send a message that “unrelenting force” will meet any attack on U.S. interests or those of America’s allies.

Jon Alterman, senior vice president at the Center for Strategic & International Studies, questioned whether the U.S. adequately understands Iranian motivations and actions, and whether the military move was warranted.

“I don’t think we should let the Iranians pull our chain at the time and place of their choosing,” he said. “You can communicate seriousness to the Iranians without moving a lot of assets around, because moving assets is expensive and keeps assets from being in other places.”

He added, however, that Iran has the capability to harm Americans, but it’s difficult to assess the situation without knowing more about the intelligence that prompted the move.

Along with the Lincoln, Bolton mentioned “a bomber task force,” which suggested the Pentagon is deploying land-based bomber aircraft somewhere in the region, perhaps on the Arabian Peninsula.

Pompeo said the actions undertaken by the U.S. have been in the works for a while. The request for the accelerated move came over the weekend from the military’s U.S. Central Command after reviewing various intelligence reports for some time, according to the U.S. official. Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan approved the request on Sunday.

“It is absolutely the case that we have seen escalatory actions from the Iranians and it is equally the case that we will hold the Iranians accountable for attacks on American interests,” Pompeo said. “If these actions take place, if they do by some third-party proxy, a militia group, Hezbollah, we will hold the Iranian leadership directly accountable for that.”

Asked if the Iranian action was related to the deadly events in Gaza and Israel — militants fired rockets into Israel on Sunday and Israel responded with airstrikes — Pompeo said, “It is separate from that.”

The Trump administration has been intensifying its pressure campaign against Iran.

Last month, President Donald Trump announced the U.S. would no longer exempt any countries from U.S. sanctions if they continue to buy Iranian oil, a decision that primarily affects the five remaining major importers: China and India and U.S. treaty allies Japan, South Korea and Turkey.

The U.S. also recently designated Iran’s Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist group, the first ever for an entire division of another government.

Trump withdrew from the Obama administration’s landmark nuclear deal with Iran in May 2018 and, in the months that followed, reimposed punishing sanctions including those targeting Iran’s oil, shipping and banking sectors.

 

Lincoln Carrier Strike Group, other resources dispatched to Middle East over unspecified Iran threats

Story 2: After Nearly 700 Rockets From Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza Strip Kills 4 Israelis and 22 Palestinians — Israeli Airstrikes Attack Hamas and Kill Commander in Gaza City — Ceasefire Reached But Most Likely Will Not Hold — Videos

See the source imageSee the source imageSee the source image

Israel’s Netanyahu orders ‘massive strikes’ on Gaza militants | DW News

State of Palestine: Hamas official reportedly killed in Israeli air strike

Gaza Fires Rockets and Israel Strikes Targets in Latest Flare-Up

Ceasefire reached between Israel, Gaza militants

In The News: Hamas Rocket Attack

The Occupation is a Crime of Aggression: Gazans React After 25 Palestinians, 4 Israelis Die

Hamas militants fire rockets towards Israel as an Israeli airstrike on the Gaza Strip can be seen fr

Meet Israel’s Super Weapon: Why No One Wants to Mess With Israel’s Air Force

Future Weapons of Israel 2019.(צְבָא הַהֲגָנָה לְיִשְׂרָאֵל‬)

Israeli military: Rockets fired from Gaza toward Tel Aviv

Who are the Palestinians? An Arab Invention. CBN.

Israel and Palestine Explained

War – Edwin Starr

Billy Joel – Piano Man (Video)

Piano Man
It’s nine o’clock on a Saturday
The regular crowd shuffles in
There’s an old man sitting next to me
Makin’ love to his tonic and gin
He says, “Son, can you play me a memory
I’m not really sure how it goes
But it’s sad and it’s sweet and I knew it complete
When I wore a younger man’s clothes”
La la la, di da da
La la, di da da da dum
Sing us a song, you’re the piano man
Sing us a song tonight
Well, we’re all in the mood for a melody
And you’ve got us feelin’ alright
Now John at the bar is a friend of mine
He gets me my drinks for free
And he’s quick with a joke or to light up your smoke
But there’s someplace that he’d rather be
He says, “Bill, I believe this is killing me”
As the smile ran away from his face
“Well I’m sure that I could be a movie star
If I could get out of this place”
Oh, la la la, di da da
La la, di da da da dum
Now Paul is a real estate novelist
Who never had time for a wife
And he’s talkin’ with Davy, who’s still in the Navy
And probably will be for life
And the waitress is practicing politics
As the businessmen slowly get stoned
Yes, they’re sharing a drink they call loneliness
But it’s better than drinkin’ alone
Sing us a song you’re the piano man
Sing us a song tonight
Well we’re all in the mood for a melody
And you got us feeling alright
It’s a pretty good crowd for a Saturday
And the manager gives me a smile
‘Cause he knows that it’s me they’ve been comin’ to see
To forget about life for a while
And the piano, it sounds like a carnival
And the microphone smells like a beer
And they sit at the bar and put bread in my jar
And say, “Man, what are you doin’ here?”
Oh, la la la, di da da
La la, di da da da dum
Sing us a song you’re the piano man
Sing us a song tonight
Well we’re all in the mood for a melody
And you got us feeling alright
Songwriters: Billy Joel
Piano Man lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

Billy Joel – We Didn’t Start the Fire (Official Video)

 

Israel kill Hamas commander in airstrike and ‘prepares Gaza ground invasion’ as it hits back after 600 militant rockets kill four and injure 66

  • An Israeli man, 58, became the first citizen to be killed in the Middle East hostilities since the 2014 war
  • Seven Palestinians, including a pregnant mother and her baby daughter, were also reportedly killed 
  • Israeli PM Netanyahu said Hamas is paying a ‘heavy price’ and has ordered ground troops up to Gaza’s border
  • Three Israelis, including an 80-year-old woman, were also wounded by rocket fire in the weekend of combat

Israel has reportedly killed a Hamas commander in a series of airstrikes amid reports it is planning to invade Gaza following a series of skirmishes with Palestinians.

A military statement said that commander Hamed Ahmed Abed Khudri had been killed in a targeted air strike on his car on Sunday.

Khudri was reportedly responsible for transferring funds from Iran to armed factions in Gaza. Palestinian witnesses said he was killed in an air strike on his car.

Four Israelis and 22 Palestinians, including two pregnant woman and an infant, have died so far in air strikes which began as Palestinians fired 600 rockets across the border on Friday.

It comes as Israel’s ground troops are reportedly preparing to siege the Gaza perimeter.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says Hamas, the dissident group which rules Gaza, is paying a ‘heavy price’ for its attacks on his country.

And he has ordered a large military corps up to the besieged enclave as the month-long ceasefire is left in tatters.

A building in Gaza city is totally destroyed by an explosion on Sunday as Israel fired high-powered missiles across the border into Palestinian territory

A building in Gaza city is totally destroyed by an explosion on Sunday as Israel fired high-powered missiles across the border into Palestinian territory

A missile from Israel's 'Iron Dome' defence system is launched to defend the border from Palestinian rocket attacks. The Iron Dome works to intercept the rockets and explode them in midair

A missile from Israel’s ‘Iron Dome’ defence system is launched to defend the border from Palestinian rocket attacks. The Iron Dome works to intercept the rockets and explode them in midair

Palestinians inspect a destroyed car of Hamas member Hamed Al-Khodari after it was hit by an Israeli airstrike in Gaza City on Sunday

Smoke rises after Israeli warplanes carried out airstrikes in Gaza City as part of Benjamin Netanyahu's retaliation front

Smoke rises after Israeli warplanes carried out airstrikes in Gaza City as part of Benjamin Netanyahu’s retaliation front

Israel's troops are reportedly preparing to siege the Gaza border (airstrikes aftermath in the Strip) after Palestinian militants fired more than 450 rockets on to their territory which killed the first Israeli citizen since 2014

Israel’s troops are reportedly preparing to siege the Gaza border (airstrikes aftermath in the Strip) after Palestinian militants fired more than 450 rockets on to their territory which killed the first Israeli citizen since 2014

Seven Palestinians have also died, including a pregnant woman and a one-year-old-baby, in airstrikes which formed part of Israel's retaliation (pictured: building in the enclave destroyed)

Seven Palestinians have also died, including a pregnant woman and a one-year-old-baby, in airstrikes which formed part of Israel’s retaliation (pictured: building in the enclave destroyed)

Palestinians are seen in a damaged house near a totally collapsed building after Israeli army carried out airstrikes in Rafah, Gaza

Israelis take cover as a siren sounds warning of incoming rockets from Gaza during cross-border hostilities in the southern city of Ashkelon

Israelis take cover as a siren sounds warning of incoming rockets from Gaza during cross-border hostilities in the southern city of Ashkelon

Israeli airstrikes targeted the city of Rafah on the Gaza strip after Hamas militants launched a barrage of rockets across the border

I

In a statement to his cabinet this morning, Mr Netanyahu said: ‘I instructed the military this morning to continue its massive strikes on terror elements in the Gaza Strip and ordered it to reinforce the troops around the Gaza Strip with tanks, artillery and infantry force.’

Moshe Agadi, a 58-year-old father of four, was struck in the chest by shrapnel during a missile strike on the city of Ashkelon near the border and marked the fighting’s first Israeli fatality in five years.

Eight Palestinian militants have also died in airstrikes which formed part of Israel’s retaliation that Mr Netanyahu has vowed to continue.

A pregnant woman and a one-year-old baby were also killed, but Israel is claiming that their deaths were caused by a misfired Palestinian rocket.

And Israeli Defence Forces are standing by to invade the blockaded Gaza strip, according to the Independent.

The fighting came as leaders from Hamas, the militant group that rules Gaza, and the smaller armed faction Islamic Jihad, were in Cairo for talks with Egyptian mediators aimed at preventing a fraying ceasefire from collapsing altogether.

It also comes at a sensitive time for Israel, which is to mark its Memorial Day and Independence Day holiday this week, before hosting the Eurovision song contest in the middle of the month. Prolonged fighting could overshadow the Eurovision and potentially deter international travelers from coming in for the festive event.

On Saturday video footage of a family screaming in fear during rocket attacks was posted on social media.

Israel and Hamas, an Islamic group that opposes Israel’s existence, have fought three wars and dozens of smaller flare-ups of violence since Hamas seized control of Gaza in 2007.

A picture taken in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, on May 5, 2019 shows an explosion following an airstrike by Israel

The fighting came as leaders from Hamas, the militant group that rules Gaza, and the smaller armed faction Islamic Jihad, were in Cairo for talks with Egyptian mediators (pictured: A target explodes during airstrikes in Gaza City, May 4)

An explosion is pictured among buildings during an Israeli airstrike on Gaza City on May 4, 2019

Palestinians gather on the beach in Gaza City as smoke and fire billow following airstrikes by Israel in response to rockets fired by Palestinian militants

The Gaza health ministry reported a 22-year-old man as well as a 14-month-old baby and her pregnant mother killed, with 17 others wounded

The Gaza health ministry reported a 22-year-old man as well as a 14-month-old baby and her pregnant mother killed, with 17 others wounded

An Israeli army spokeswoman said the military did not have any information on the incident involving the baby. The army said earlier it was targeting only military sites (pictured: Gaza City)

An Israeli army spokeswoman said the military did not have any information on the incident involving the baby. The army said earlier it was targeting only military sites (pictured: Gaza City)

Missiles are fired from Israel's Iron Dome air defence system, designed to intercept and destroy incoming short-range rockets and artillery shells,

Missiles are fired from Israel’s Iron Dome air defence system, designed to intercept and destroy incoming short-range rockets and artillery shells,

Gaza's militant strongholds came under fire (fireball pictured) from Israeli troops after they launched rockets into southern Israel

Gaza’s militant strongholds came under fire (fireball pictured) from Israeli troops after they launched rockets into southern Israel

One woman was seriously injured in a rocket strike on the Israeli city of Kiryat Gat, some 13 miles from the Gaza border, police said (pictured: Gaza City)

One woman was seriously injured in a rocket strike on the Israeli city of Kiryat Gat, some 13 miles from the Gaza border, police said (pictured: Gaza City)

They engaged in several days of heavy fighting in March before Egypt brokered a truce in which Israel agreed to ease a crippling blockade on Gaza in exchange for a halt in rocket fire.

In recent days, Hamas accused Israel of reneging on its pledges as militants began to fire rockets into Israel.

In a familiar scene, air raid sirens wailed across southern Israel throughout the day and into the evening as barrages of rockets were repeatedly fired.

Retaliatory airstrikes caused large explosions to thunder across Gaza, as plumes of smoke rose into the air. Outgoing Palestinian rockets left long trails of smoke behind them.

Gaza’s Health Ministry said a 14-month-old girl, Seba Abu Arar, was killed in an Israeli airstrike that hit their home in east Gaza City. Her pregnant mother, 37, was severely wounded and died later at the hospital, the ministry added. Another child was moderately injured.

Pictured: Smoke and flames rise following an Israeli airstrike on a building in Gaza city Israeli airstrike
Retaliatory airstrikes caused large explosions to thunder across Gaza, as plumes of smoke rose into the air. Outgoing Palestinian rockets left long trails of smoke behind them (pictured: An explosion caused by an Israeli airstrike)

Retaliatory airstrikes caused large explosions to thunder across Gaza, as plumes of smoke rose into the air. Outgoing Palestinian rockets left long trails of smoke behind them (pictured: An explosion caused by an Israeli airstrike)

The Israeli military accused the Iranian-backed Islamic Jihad of instigating the latest round of violence by shooting and wounding two Israeli soldiers Friday (pictured: Fire rises in Gaza on May 4)

The Israeli military accused the Iranian-backed Islamic Jihad of instigating the latest round of violence by shooting and wounding two Israeli soldiers Friday (pictured: Fire rises in Gaza on May 4)

In the morning, Gaza’s Health Ministry said a 22-year-old Palestinian man was killed by an Israeli airstrike, and 13 other Palestinians were wounded. Late on Saturday, health officials said a 25-year-old man was killed by an Israeli drone missile as he was traveling on a motorbike in northern Gaza.

In Israel, medical officials said an 80-year-old woman was severely wounded by rocket fire, a 50-year-old man was moderately wounded by shrapnel and a teenage boy was mildly hurt as he ran for cover. Israeli police said a house in the coastal city of Ashkelon was damaged.

The Israeli military accused the Iranian-backed Islamic Jihad of instigating the latest round of violence by shooting and wounding two Israeli soldiers Friday. It said the shooting was not coordinated with Hamas, but said it holds Hamas, as the territory’s ruling power, responsible for all fire emanating from Gaza.

State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said ‘the United States strongly condemns the ongoing barrage of rocket attacks by Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad from Gaza upon innocent civilians and their communities across Israel.’

‘We stand with Israel and fully support its right to self defense against these abhorrent attacks,’ she said in a statement.

Smoke rises after Israeli army carried out airstrike in Rafah, Gaza on May 4, 2019

Smoke rises after Israeli army carried out airstrike in Rafah, Gaza on May 4, 2019

Israeli bomb squad inspect the remains of a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip in the southern Israeli Kibbutz of Yad Mordechai

Israeli bomb squad inspect the remains of a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip in the southern Israeli Kibbutz of Yad Mordechai

A picture taken from the southern Israeli village of Netiv Haasara shows an explosion caused by an Israeli air strike across the border in the Gaza Strip+28

A picture taken from the southern Israeli village of Netiv Haasara shows an explosion caused by an Israeli air strike across the border in the Gaza Strip

By nightfall, the army said militants had fired well over 200 rockets into Israel. It said dozens of the rockets were intercepted by its Iron Dome rocket-defense system. But it closed roads near the Gaza border to civilian traffic and closed a popular beach as a security precaution.

The military said it struck some 120 targets in Gaza, including Hamas and Islamic Jihad military compounds, a Hamas rocket-manufacturing site and a ‘high-end Islamic Jihad tunnel’ that it said stretched into Israel for use in attacks.

Late on Saturday, Israel struck a building that it said housed Hamas military intelligence offices in Gaza City. Another airstrike hit a six-story commercial and residential building. Journalists said the building housed the office of Turkey’s news agency Anadolu. There was no immediate comment from the Israeli military.

COGAT, the Israeli defense body responsible for Palestinian civilian affairs, said it was closing the fishing zone off Gaza’s coast altogether and sealing Israel’s two land crossings with Gaza. The crossings are used by Palestinian medical patients to enter and exit the territory, and provide the main entry for cargo into the blockaded territory.

The U.N.’s Mideast envoy, Nickolay Mladenov, said the United Nations was working with Egypt to restore calm and called on all sides to ‘de-escalate’ and restore recent understandings.

A missile fired from Israel's Iron Dome air defence system, designed to intercept and destroy incoming short-range rockets and artillery shells races towards Gaza

A missile fired from Israel’s Iron Dome air defence system, designed to intercept and destroy incoming short-range rockets and artillery shells races towards Gaza

Damage to a house is seen after a rocket fired from Gaza Strip hit in the southern Israeli city Kiryat Gat, May 4

Damage to a house is seen after a rocket fired from Gaza Strip hit in the southern Israeli city Kiryat Gat, May 4

A statement from Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad, allied to Hamas, claimed responsibility for at least some of the rocket fire and said it was prepared for more if necessary (pictured, rocket fired from Gaza towards Israel)

‘Those who seek to destroy them will bear responsibility for a conflict that will have grave consequences for all,’ he said in a statement.

The European Union’s ambassador to Israel, Emanuele Giaufret, sharply criticized the rocket attacks on Twitter, saying ‘firing indiscriminately against civilians (is) unacceptable.’

Islamic Jihad, which sometimes acts independently of Hamas, threatened to fire longer range rockets toward Israel’s heartland. In a video that also was seen an implicit claim of responsibility, it showed archived footage of militants attaching warheads to rockets.

Israel and Egypt have maintained a crippling blockade on Gaza since Hamas seized control of the territory in 2007.

Under the recent understandings, Israel agreed to expand a fishing zone off Gaza’s coast, increased imports into Gaza and allow the Gulf state of Qatar to deliver aid to cash-strapped Gaza. But like previous Egyptian-mediated agreements, those understandings have shown signs of unraveling in recent days.

On Friday, two Palestinians were fatally shot by Israeli forces during the weekly protests along Israel-Gaza perimeter fence. Palestinian militants also shot and wounded two Israeli soldiers along the border fence. No group claimed responsibility for the shooting. In response, Israeli aircraft carried out retaliatory strikes, killing two Hamas militants.

Hamas has hoped that Egyptian mediators could further ease the blockade, which has ravaged Gaza’s economy. For over a year, the Islamic group has orchestrated mass demonstrations each week along the Israeli frontier to draw attention to Gaza’s plight. More than 200 Palestinians and an Israeli soldier have been killed in the border protests.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6994193/Israels-army-ready-launch-ground-invasion-Gaza-militants-fired-450-rockets.html

Hamas

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Hamas
حركة المقاومة الاسلامية
Spokesperson Fawzi Barhoum
Chief of the Political Bureau Ismail Haniya
Deputy Chief of the Political Bureau Mousa Abu Marzouq and Khaled Mashal[1]
Founder Sheikh Ahmed YassinAbdel Aziz al-RantissiMahmoud Zahar and 4 others.
Founded 1987
Preceded by Palestinian Muslim Brotherhood
Headquarters GazaGaza Strip
Ideology
Religion Sunni Islam
International affiliation Muslim Brotherhood
Axis of Resistance
Colours Green
Legislative Council (2006)

74 / 132

Party flag
Flag of Hamas.svg
Website
hamas.ps/en

Hamas (Arabic: حماس Ḥamās, an acronym of حركة المقاومة الاسلامية Ḥarakat al-Muqāwamah al-ʾIslāmiyyah Islamic Resistance Movement) is a Palestinian SunniIslamist fundamentalist organization.[9][10] It has a social service wing, Dawah, and a military wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades. It has been the de facto governing authority of the Gaza Strip since its takeover of that area in 2007.[11][12] During this period it fought several wars with Israel.[13] It is regarded, either in whole or in part, as a terrorist organization by several countries and international organizations, most notably by Israel, the United States and the European Union.[14][15][16] Russia, China, and Turkey are among countries who do not regard it so.[17][18][19][20]

Hamas was founded in 1987,[21][22] soon after the First Intifada broke out, as an offshoot of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood,[23][24] which in its Gaza branch had been non-confrontational towards Israel, refrained from resistance, and was hostile to the PLO.[25] Co-founder Sheik Ahmed Yassin stated in 1987, and the Hamas Charter affirmed in 1988, that Hamas was founded to liberate Palestine, including modern-day Israel, from Israeli occupation and to establish an Islamic state in the area that is now Israel, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.[26][27] The group has stated that it may accept a 10-year truce if Israel withdraws to the 1967 borders and allows Palestinian refugees from 1948, including their descendants, to return to what is now Israel,[28][29][30][31] although clarifying that this does not mean recognition of Israel or the end of the conflict.[32] Hamas’s military wing objected to the truce offer.[33] Analysts have said that it seems clear that Hamas knows that many of its conditions for the truce could never be met.[34]

The military wing of Hamas has launched attacks against Israeli civilians and soldiers, often describing them as retaliatory, in particular for assassinations of the upper echelon of their leadership.[35] Tactics have included suicide bombings and, since 2001, rocket attacks.[36][37][38][39] Hamas’s rocket arsenal, though mainly consisting of short-range homemade Qassam rockets,[40] also includes long-range weapons that have reached major Israeli cities including Tel Aviv and Haifa.[41][42] The attacks on civilians have been condemned as war crimes and crimes against humanity by human rights groups such as Human Rights Watch.[43][44] A 2017 Palestinian Center for Public Opinion poll in the Palestinian territories revealed that Hamas violence and rhetoric against Israelis are unpopular and that a majority of Palestinians would rather Hamas “accept a permanent two-state solution based on the 1967 borders.”[45]

In the January 2006 Palestinian parliamentary elections, Hamas won a plurality in the Palestinian Parliament,[46] defeating the PLO-affiliated Fatah party. Following the elections, the Quartet (the United States, Russia, United Nations, and European Union) made future foreign assistance to the PA conditional upon the future government’s commitment to non-violence, recognition of the state of Israel, and acceptance of previous agreements. Hamas rejected those changes, which led to the Quartet suspending its foreign assistance program and Israel imposing economic sanctions on the Hamas-led administration.[47][48] In March 2007, a national unity government headed by Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas was briefly formed, but this failed to restart international financial assistance.[49] Tensions over control of Palestinian security forces soon erupted in the 2007 Battle of Gaza,[49] after which Hamas took control of Gaza, while its officials were ousted from government positions in the West Bank.[49] Israel and Egypt then imposed an economic blockade of the Gaza Strip, on the grounds that Fatah forces were no longer providing security there.[50] In 2011, Hamas and Fatah announced a reconciliation agreement that provides for creation of a joint caretaker Palestinian government.[51] Progress stalled, until an April 2014 agreementto form a compromise unity government, with elections to be held in late 2014.[52]

Contents

Etymology

Hamas is an acronym of the Arabic phrase حركة المقاومة الاسلامية or Harakat al-Muqāwama al-Islāmiyya, meaning “Islamic Resistance Movement”. The Arabic word ‘hamas’ (حماس) means “courage” or “zeal”.[53] The Hamas covenant interprets its name to mean “strength and bravery”.[54][55]

Aims

Hamas, as its name (Islamic Resistance Movement) implies, aims to liberate Palestine from the Israeli occupation by resisting it.[56] And according to Hamas armed branch Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades:

To contribute in the effort of liberating Palestine and restoring the rights of the Palestinian people under the sacred Islamic teachings of the Holy Quran, the Sunnah (traditions) of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and the traditions of Muslims rulers and scholars noted for their piety and dedication.[57]

Al-Qassam Brigades aims to liberate all of Palestine from what they describe as Zionist occupation, and to achieve the rights of the Palestinian people that were robbed by the occupation, and it consider itself part of the movement of a project of national liberation.[58]

Leadership and structure

Map of key Hamas leadership nodes. 2010

Longtime leader, Khaled Meshaal

Hamas inherited from its predecessor a tripartite structure that consisted in the provision of social services, of religious training and military operations under a Shura Council. Traditionally it had four distinct functions: (a) a charitable social welfare division (dawah); (b) a military division for procuring weapons and undertaking operations (al-Mujahideen al Filastinun); (c) a security service (Jehaz Aman); and (d) a media branch (A’alam).[59] Hamas has both an internal leadership within the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, and an external leadership, split between a Gaza group directed by Mousa Mohammed Abu Marzook from his exile first in Damascus and then in Egypt, and a Kuwaiti group (Kuwaidia) under Khaled Mashal.[60] The Kuwaiti group of Palestinian exiles began to receive extensive funding from the Gulf States after its leader Mashal broke with Yasser Arafat‘s decision to side with Saddam Hussein in the Invasion of Kuwait, with Mashal insisting that Iraq withdraw.[61] On 6 May 2017, Hamas’ Shura Council chose Ismail Haniya to become the new leader, to replace Mashal.[62]

The exact nature of the organization is unclear, secrecy being maintained for fear of Israeli assassinations and to conceal operational activities. Formally, Hamas maintains the wings are separate and independent. Matthew Levitt maintains this is a public myth. Davis argues that they are both separate and combined for reasons of internal and external political necessity. Communication between the political and military wings of Hamas is difficult, owing to the thoroughness of Israeli intelligence surveillance and the existence of an extensive base of informants. After the assassination of Abdel Aziz al-Rantisi the occasional political direction of the militant wing diminished, with field commanders given discretional autonomy on operations.[63]

Consultative councils

The governing body is the Majlis al-Shura. The principle behind the Council is based on the Qur’anic concept of consultation and popular assembly (shura), which Hamas leaders argue provides for democracy within an Islamic framework.[64] As the organization grew more complex and Israeli pressure increased it needed a broader base for decisions, the Shura Council was renamed the ‘General Consultative Council’, elected from members of local council groups and this in turn elected a 15-member Politburo (al-Maktab al-Siyasi)[65] that made decisions at the highest level. Representatives come from Gaza, the West Bank, leaders in exile and Israeli prisons.[66] This organ was located in Damascus until the Syrian Civil War led it to transfer to Qatar in January 2012, when Hamas sided with the civil opposition against the regime of Bashar al-Assad.[66][67]

Social services wing

Hamas developed its social welfare programme by replicating the model established by Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood.For them, charity and the development of one’s community are prescribed by religion, and, at the same time, are to be understood as forms of resistance.[68] In Islamic tradition dawah (lit.’the call to God’) obliges the faithful to reach out to others by both proselytising and by charitable works, and typically the latter centre on the mosques which make use of both waqf endowment resources and charitable donations (zakat) to fund grassroots services like nurseries, schools, orphanages, soup kitchens, women’s activities, library services and even sporting clubs within a larger context of preaching and political discussions.[69] In the 1990s, some 85% of its budget was allocated to the provision of social services.[70] It has been called perhaps the most significant social services actor in Palestine. By 2000 it or its affiliated charities ran roughly 40% of the social institutions in the West Bank and Gaza and, with other Islamic charities, by 2005 was supporting 120,000 individuals with monthly financial support in Gaza.[71] Part of the appeal of these institutions is that they fill a vacuum in the administration by the PLO of the Palestinian territories, which had failed to cater to the demand for jobs and broad social services, and is widely viewed as corrupt.[72] As late as 2005, the budget of Hamas, drawing on global charity contributions, was mostly tied up in covering running expenses for its social programmes, which extended from the supply of housing, food and water for the needy to more general functions like financial aid, medical assistance, educational development and religious instruction. A certain accounting flexibility allowed these funds to cover both charitable causes and military operations, permitting transfer from one to the other.[73]

The dawah infrastructure itself was understood, within the Palestinian context, as providing the soil from which a militant opposition to the occupation would flower.[74] In this regard it differs from the rival Palestinian Islamic Jihadwhich lacks any social welfare network, and relies on spectacular terrorist attacks to recruit adherents.[75] In 2007, through funding from Iran, Hamas managed to allocate at a cost of $60 million, monthly stipends of $100 for 100,000 workers, and a similar sum for 3,000 fishermen laid idle by Israel’s imposition of restrictions on fishing offshore, plus grants totalling $45 million to detainees and their families.[76] Matthew Levitt argues that Hamas grants to people are subject to a rigorous cost-benefit analysis of how beneficiaries will support Hamas, with those linked to terrorist activities receiving more than others.[77] Israel holds the families of suicide bombers accountable and bulldozes their homes, whereas the families of Hamas activists who have been killed or wounded during militant operations are given an initial, one-time grant varying between $500–$5,000, together with a $100 monthly allowance. Rent assistance is also given to families whose homes have been destroyed by Israeli bombing though families unaffiliated with Hamas are said to receive less.[78][79]

Until 2007, these activities extended to the West Bank, but, after a PLO crackdown, now continue exclusively in the Gaza Strip.[80] After the 2013 Egyptian coup d’état deposed the elected Muslim Brotherhood government of Mohamed Morsi in 2013, Hamas found itself in a financial straitjacket and has since endeavoured to throw the burden of responsibility for public works infrastructure in the Gaza Strip back onto the Palestinian National Authority, but without success.[81]

Military wing

The Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’s military wing was formed in either mid-1991[82][83] or 1992, under the direction of Yahya Ayyash, a Hamas field-commander and bomb-maker assassinated by Israel in 1996. It was constituted from units associated with the earlier al-Jihad wa Da’wa, an umbrella group that had gathered in militants from various Islamic resistance cells like the Al-Mujahidun al-Filastiniun (Palestinian fighters).[84][85] established by Salah Shehade in 1986.[86]

The wing takes its name from the prewar militant Palestinian nationalist Sheikh Izz ad-Din al-Qassam, though Hamas cells sometimes refer to themselves as “Students of Ayyash”, “Students of the Engineer”, or “Yahya Ayyash Units”.[85] At the outset, weapons were hard to come by, and the organization began to resort to intermittent kidnappings of soldiers to secure arms and munitions. This approach had been justified two years earlier when, in the wake of the killing of some 20 Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces dispersing protestors at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in 1990, Hamas had declared every Israeli soldier a legitimate target.[87]

Weapons found in a mosque during Operation Cast Lead, according to the IDF

Ayyash, with a degree in electrical engineering, quickly improved Hamas’s strike capacity by developing IEDs and promoting the tactic of suicide bombings.[88] By the time of the Al-Aqsa Intifada, Hamas’s laboratories had devised a primitive form of rocketry, the Qassam 1, which they first launched in October 2000, carrying a 500 gram warhead with a throw range of 4 kilometres. Both propellant and the explosive were manufactured from chemical fertilizers, though TNT was also tried.[89] Over the next five years of the conflict, a 3-kilogram-warhead-armed version with a strike range of 6–8 kilometres, the Qassam 2, was also produced[90] and in an incremental rise, these rocket types were fired towards Israeli settlements along the Gaza Strip: 4 in 2001, 35 in 2002, 155 in 2003, 281 in 2004, and 179 in 2005. By 2005, the Qassam 3 had been engineered with a 12–14 kilometre range and a 15 kilo warhead. By 2006, 942 such rockets were launched into southern Israel.[91] During the War with Israel in 2008–2009, Hamas deployed 122-mm Grad rocketry with a 20–40 kilometre range and a 30 kilogram warhead and a variety of guided Kornet antitank missiles.[92] By 2012 Hamas had engineered a version of the Fajr-5 rocket, which was capable of reaching as far as Tel Aviv, as was shown after the assassination of Ahmed Jabari in that year. In the 2014 war its advanced rocketry reached Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Haifa.[93] Hamas deployed its increasingly sophisticated[dubious] rocketry to replace its martyrdom operations.[94]

While the number of members is known only to the Brigades leadership, Israel estimates the Brigades have a core of several hundred members who receive military style training, including training in Iran and in Syria (before the Syrian Civil War).[85] Additionally, the brigades have an estimated 10,000–17,000 operatives,[95][96] forming a backup force whenever circumstances call for reinforcements for the Brigade. Recruitment training lasts for two years.[85]

The group’s ideology outlines its aim as the liberation of Palestine and the restoration of Palestinian rights under the dispensations set forth in the Qur’an, and this translates into three policy priorities:

To evoke the spirit of Jihad (Resistance) among Palestinians, Arabs, and Muslims; to defend Palestinians and their land against the Zionist occupation and its manifestations; to liberate Palestinians and their land that was usurped by the Zionist occupation forces and settlers.[97]

According to its official stipulations, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades’ military operations are to be restricted to operating only inside Palestine, engaging with Israeli soldiers, and in exercising the right of self-defense against armed settlers. They are to avoid civilian targets, to respect the enemy’s humanity by refraining from mutilation, defacement or excessive killing, and to avoid targeting Westerners either in the occupied zones or beyond.[98]

In practice, Hamas altered its approach restricting actions to ‘legitimate military targets’ by extended them to Israeli civilians after 7 years.[96] Though between 1996 and 2001 it generally refrained from targeting Israeli civilians,[99] it adopted sporadic suicide bombings in the wake of the Cave of the Patriarchs massacre, when an Israeli settler in military fatigues, Baruch Goldstein, shot dead 29 Muslims at prayer in 1993.[100][101][102] After the Al Aqsa revolt, the Brigades were behind most of the suicide bombings in Israel, a measure it defended as a form of “reciprocity”.[99]

Down to 2007, the Brigades are estimated to have lost some 800 operatives in conflicts with Israeli forces. The leadership has been consistently undermined by targeted assassinations. Aside from Yahya Ayyash (5 January 1996), it has lost Emad Akel (24 November 1993) Salah Shehade, (23 July 2002), Ibrahim al-Makadmeh, (8 March 2003) Ismail Abu Shanab, (21 August 2003) Ahmed Yassin (March 22, 2004) and Abdel Aziz al-Rantisi,( April 17, 2004).,[54][94][103]

After Israel arrested hundreds of its members in May 1989, Hamas regionalized its command system to make its operative structure more diffuse,[72] and minimize the chances of being detected.[104] The Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades groups its fighters in 4–5 man cells, which in turn are integrated into companies and battalions. Unlike the political section, which is split between an internal and external structure, the Brigades are under a local Palestinian leadership, and disobedience with the decisions taken by the political leadership have been relatively rare.[105]

Although the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades are an integral part of Hamas, the exact nature of the relationship is hotly debated. They appear to operate at times independently of Hamas, exercising a certain autonomy.[106][107][108][109][110] Some cells have independent links with the external leadership, enabling them to bypass the hierarchical command chain and political leadership in Gaza.[104] Ilana Kass and Bard O’Neill, likening Hamas’s relationship with the Brigades to the political party Sinn Féin‘s relationship to the military arm of the Irish Republican Army. quote a senior Hamas official as stating: “The Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigade is a separate armed military wing, which has its own leaders who do not take their orders from Hamas and do not tell us of their plans in advance.”[111] Matthew Levitton the other hand argues vocally for the idea that Hamas’s welfare institutions act as a mere façade or front for the financing of terrorism, and dismisses the idea of two wings as a ‘myth’.[107] He cites Sheikh Ahmad Yassin stating in 1998: “We can not separate the wing from the body. If we do so, the body will not be able to fly. Hamas is one body.”[112]

Finances and funding

At the 1993 Philadelphia conference, Hamas leaders’ statements indicated that they read George H. W. Bush‘s outline of a New World Order as embodying a tacit aim to destroy Islam, and that therefore funding should focus on enhancing the Islamic roots of Palestinian society and promoting jihad in the occupying territories.[113]

Hamas’s budget, calculated to be roughly US$70 million (2011), is derived in large part (85%)[114] from foreign, rather than internal Palestinian, sources. Only two Israeli-Palestinian sources figure in a list seized in 2004, while the other contributors were donor bodies located in Jordan, Qatar, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Britain, Germany, the United States, United Arab Emirates, Italy and France. Much of the money raised comes from sources that direct their assistance to what Hamas describes as its charitable work for Palestinians, but investments in support of its ideological position are also relevant, with Persian Gulf States and Saudi Arabia prominent in the latter. Matthew Levitt states that Hamas also taps money from corporations, criminal organizations and financial networks that support terror,[115]and is believed to engage in cigarette and drug smuggling, multimedia copyright infringement and credit card fraud.[114] Vittori states that, more than other similar organizations, it is particularly careful about keeping resources for its militant, political and public works activities separate.[114] The United States, Israel and the EU have shut down many charities and organs that channel money to Hamas, such as the Holy Land Foundation for Relief.[116] Between 1992 and 2001 this group is said to have provided $6.8 million to Palestinian charities of the $57 million collected. By 2001 it was alleged to have given Hamas $13 million, and was shut down shortly afterwards.[117]

About half of Hamas’s funding came from states in the Persian Gulf down to the mid 2000s. Saudi Arabia supplied half of the Hamas budget of $50 million in the early 2000s,[118] but, under U.S. pressure, began cut its funding by cracking down on Islamic charities and private donor transfers to Hamas in 2004,[114] which by 2006 drastically reduced the flow of money from that area. Iran and Syria, in the aftermath of Hamas’s 2006 electoral victory, stepped in to fill the shortfall.[119][120] Saudi funding, negotiated with third parties like Egypt, remained supportive of Hamas as a Sunni group but chose to provide more assistance to the PNA, the electoral loser, when the EU responded to the outcome by suspending its monetary aid.[121] Iran in the 1980s began by providing 10% of Hamas’s funding, which it increased annually until by the 1990s it supplied $30 million.[118] It accounted for $22 million, over a quarter of Hamas’s budget, by the late 2000s.[114] According to Matthew Levitt, Iran preferred direct financing to operative groups rather than charities, requiring video proof of attacks.[114][122] Much of the Iran funding is said to be channeled through Hezbollah.[114] After 2006 Iran’s willingness to take over the burden of the shortfall created by the drying up of Saudi funding also reflected the geopolitical tensions between the two, since, though Shiite, Iran was supporting a Sunni group traditionally closely linked with the Saudi kingdom.[123] The US imposed sanctions on Iran’s Bank Saderat, alleging it had funneled hundreds of millions to Hamas.[124] The US has expressed concerns that Hamas obtains funds through Palestinian and Lebanese sympathizers of Arab descent in the Foz do Iguaçu area of the tri-border region of Latin America, an area long associated with arms trading, drug trafficking, contraband, the manufacture of counterfeit goods, money-laundering and currency fraud. The State Department adds that confirmatory information of a Hamas operational presence there is lacking.[125]

After 2009, sanctions on Iran made funding difficult, forcing Hamas to rely on religious donations by individuals in the West Bank, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia. Funds amounting to tens of millions of dollars raised in the Gulf states were transferred through the Rafah Border Crossing. These were not sufficient to cover the costs of governing the Strip and running the al Qassam Brigades, and when tensions arose with Iran over support of President Assad in Syria, Iran dropped its financial assistance to the government, restricting its funding to the military wing, which meant a drop from $150 million in 2012 to $60 million the following year. A further drop occurred in 2015 when Hamas expressed its criticisms of Iran’s role in the Yemeni Civil War.[126]

History

Gaza Islamic roots and establishment of Hamas

Hamas rose as an offshoot of the Gaza Mujama al-Islamiya branch of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood,[127][128] which had been actively encouraged by Israel to expand as a counterweight to the influence of the secular Palestine Liberation Organization[23][129][130][131][132] and had since 1973 been quiescent and non-confrontational towards Israel.[133] Aside from developing Islamic charities to provide humanitarian assistance to Palestinians, it emphasized social justice (adala) and the subordination of the world to the sovereignty of God (hakmiyya).[103][134] Hamas was founded in 1987,[103][135] soon after the outbreak of the First Intifada, the first popular uprising against the Israeli occupation. Creating Hamas to participate in the revolt was regarded as a survival measure to enable the Brotherhood itself, which refused to fight against Israel,[136] to hold its own against other competing Palestinian nationalist groups. By forming a military wing distinct from its social charity organizations, it was hoped that the latter would be insulated from being targeted by Israel.[137] Co-founder Sheik Ahmed Yassin was convinced that Israel was endeavouring to destroy Islam, and concluded that loyal Muslims had a religious obligation to destroy Israel.[134] The short term goal of Hamas was to liberate Palestine, including modern-day Israel, from Israeli occupation. The long-term aim sought to establish an Islamic state from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea.[138]

Hamas Charter (1988)

The foundational document, the Hamas Charter (mīthāq ḥarakat), is dated 18 August 1988, and contains both antisemitic passages, characterizations of Israeli society as Nazi-like in its cruelty,[139] and irredentist claims that have never been revoked despite what some observers say are later policy changes in the organization regarding Israel[140][141] and the Jews.[142][143] It declares all of Palestine waqf property endowed by God to Muslims,[144] with religious coexistence under Islam’s wing.[145] The charter rejects a two-state solution, envisaging no peaceful settlement of the conflict apart from jihad.[146][147] It states that the movement’s aim is to

raise the banner of Allah over every inch of Palestine, for under the wing of Islam followers of all religions can coexist in security and safety where their lives, possessions and rights are concerned’ (Article 6)[148][149]

and adds that, ‘when our enemies usurp some Islamic lands, jihad becomes a duty binding on all Muslims’,[150] for which the whole of the land is non-negotiable, a position likened, without the racist sentiments present in the Hamas charter, to that in the Likud party platform and in movements like Gush Emunim. For Hamas, to concede territory is seen as equivalent to renouncing Islam itself.[151][152][153][154][155][156][157][158]

Decades down the line, Hamas’s official position changed with regard to a two-state solution. Khaled Mashaal, its leader, has publicly affirmed the movement’s readiness to accept such a division.[159][160] When Hamas won a majority in the 2006 Palestinian legislative election, Haniyeh, then president-elect, sent messages to both George Bush and Israel’s leaders asking to be recognized and offering a long-term truce (hudna), along the 1967 border lines. No response was forthcoming.[161]

Mousa Marzook said in 2007 that the charter could not be altered because it would look like a compromise not acceptable to the ‘street’ and risk fracturing the party’s unity. Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal has stated that the Charter is “a piece of history and no longer relevant, but cannot be changed for internal reasons”. Ahmed Yousef, senior adviser to Ismail Haniyeh, added in 2011 that it reflected the views of the Elders in the face of a ‘relentless occupation.’ The details of its religious and political language had not been examined within the framework of international law, and an internal committee review to amend it was shelved out of concern not to offer concessions to Israel, as had Fatah, on a silver platter.[162] While Hamas representatives recognize the problem, one official notes that Arafat got very little in return for changing the PLO Charter under the Oslo Accords, and that there is agreement that little is gained from a non-violent approach.[163] Richard Davis says the dismissal by contemporary leaders of its relevance and yet the suspension of a desire to rewrite it reflects the differing constituencies Hamas must address, the domestic audience and international relations.[164] The charter itself is considered an ‘historical relic.’[165]

In March 2006, Hamas released its official legislative program. The document clearly signaled that Hamas could refer the issue of recognizing Israel to a national referendum. Under the heading “Recognition of Israel,” it stated simply (AFP, 3/11/06): “The question of recognizing Israel is not the jurisdiction of one faction, nor the government, but a decision for the Palestinian people.” This was a major shift away from their 1988 charter.[166] A few months later, via University of Maryland‘s Jerome Segal, the group sent a letter to U.S. President George W. Bush stating they “don’t mind having a Palestinian state in the 1967 borders”, and asked for direct negotiations: “Segal emphasized that a state within the 1967 borders and a truce for many years could be considered Hamas’s de facto recognition of Israel.”[167]

In an April 2008 meeting between Hamas leader Khaled Mashal and former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, an understanding was reached in which Hamas agreed it would respect the creation of a Palestinian state in the territory seized by Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War, provided this were ratified by the Palestinian people in a referendum. Hamas later publicly offered a long-term truce with Israel if Israel agreed to return to its 1967 borders and grant the “right of return” to all Palestinian refugees.[168] In November 2008, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh re-stated that Hamas was willing to accept a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders, and offered Israel a long-term truce “if Israel recognized the Palestinians’ national rights”.[169] In 2009, in a letter to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Haniyeh repeated his group’s support for a two-state settlement based on 1967 borders: “We would never thwart efforts to create an independent Palestinian state with borders [from] June 4, 1967, with Jerusalem as its capital.”[170] On December 1, 2010, Ismail Haniyeh again repeated, “We accept a Palestinian state on the borders of 1967, with Jerusalem as its capital, the release of Palestinian prisoners, and the resolution of the issue of refugees,” and “Hamas will respect the results [of a referendum] regardless of whether it differs with its ideology and principles.”[171]

In February 2012, according to the Palestinian authority, Hamas forswore the use of violence. Evidence for this was provided by an eruption of violence from Islamic Jihad in March 2012 after an Israeli assassination of a Jihad leader, during which Hamas refrained from attacking Israel.[172] “Israel –– despite its mantra that because Hamas is sovereign in Gaza it is responsible for what goes on there – almost seems to understand,” wrote Israeli journalists Avi Issacharoff and Amos Harel, “and has not bombed Hamas offices or installations”.[173]

Israel has rejected some truce offers by Hamas because it contends the group uses them to prepare for more fighting rather than peace.[174] The Atlantic magazine columnist Jeffrey Goldberg, along with other analysts, believes Hamas may be incapable of permanent reconciliation with Israel.[175][176] Mkhaimer Abusada, a political scientist at Al Azhar University, writes that Hamas talks “of hudna [temporary ceasefire], not of peace or reconciliation with Israel. They believe over time they will be strong enough to liberate all historic Palestine.”[177]

1990s

Hamas carried out its first attack against Israel in 1989, abducting and killing two soldiers. The Israel Defense Forces immediately arrested Yassin and sentenced him to life in prison, and deported 400 Hamas activists, including Zahar, to South Lebanon, which at the time was occupied by Israel. During this time Hamas built a relationship with Hezbollah. Hamas’s military branch, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, was created in 1991.[178] During the 1990s the al-Qassam Brigades conducted numerous attacks on Israel, with both civilian and military victims. In April 1993, suicide bombings in the West Bank began.[179] After the February 1994 massacre by Baruch Goldstein of 30 Muslim civilians in a Hebron mosque, the al-Qassam Brigades began suicide attacks inside Israel.[180]

In December 1992 Israel responded to the killing of a border police officer by deporting 415 leading figures of Hamas and Islamic Jihad to Lebanon, which provoked international condemnation and a unanimous UN Security Council resolution condemning the action.[181][182] Although the suicide attacks by the al-Qassam Brigades and other groups violated the 1993 Oslo accords (which Hamas opposed[183]), Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat was reluctant to pursue the attackers and may have had inadequate means to do so.[184] Some analysts state that the Palestinian Authority could have stopped the suicide and other attacks on civilians but refused to do so.[185] According to the Congressional Research Service, Hamas admitted to having executed Palestinians accused of collaborating with Israeli authorities in the 1990s. A transcript of a training film by the al-Qassam Brigades tells how Hamas operatives kidnapped Palestinians accused of collaboration and then forced confessions before executing them.[24] In 1996, Yahya Ayash, the chief bombmaker of Hamas and the leader of the West Bank battalion of the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, was assassinated by the Israeli secret service.[184][186]

In September 1997, Israeli agents in Jordan attempted but failed to assassinate Hamas leader Khaled Mashal, leading to chilled relations between the two countries and release of Sheikh Yassin, Hamas’s spiritual leader, from Israeli prison. Two years later Hamas was banned in Jordan, reportedly in part at the request of the United States, Israel, and the Palestinian Authority.[187] Jordan’s King Abdullah feared the activities of Hamas and its Jordanian allies would jeopardize peace negotiations with Israel, and accused Hamas of engaging in illegitimate activities within Jordan.[188][189] In mid-September 1999, authorities arrested Hamas leaders Khaled Mashal and Ibrahim Ghosheh on their return from a visit to Iran, and charged them with being members of an illegal organization, storing weapons, conducting military exercises, and using Jordan as a training base.[188][189][190] Hamas leaders denied the charges.[187] Mashal was exiled and eventually settled in Syria. He fled to Qatar in 2012 as a result of the Syrian civil war.[citation needed]

Second Intifada

The aftermath of a bus bombing in Haifa in 2003.

Al-Qassam Brigades militants were among the armed groups that launched both military-style attacks and suicide bombings against Israeli civilian and military targets during the Second Intifada (also known as the Al-Aqsa Intifada (Arabicانتفاضة الأقصى‎, Intifāat El AqaHebrewאינתיפאדת אל-אקצה‎, Intifādat El-Aqtzah), which began in late September 2000. This Palestinian uprising against Israeli rule in the occupied territories was much more violent than the First Intifada. The military and civilian death toll is estimated at 5500 Palestinians and more than 1100 Israelis, as well as 64 foreigners.[191] A 2007 study of Palestinian suicide bombings during the second intifada (September 2000 through August 2005) found that about 40 percent were carried out by the al-Qassam Brigades.[192]

The immediate trigger for the uprising is disputed, but a more general cause, writes U.S. political science professor Jeremy Pressman, was “popular Palestinian discontent [that] grew during the Oslo peace process because the reality on the ground did not match the expectations created by the peace agreements”.[193] Hamas would be the beneficiary of this growing discontent in the 2006 Palestinian Authority legislative elections.

In January 2004, Hamas leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin said that the group would end armed resistance against Israel in exchange for a Palestinian state in the West BankGaza Strip, and east Jerusalem, and that restoring Palestinians’ “historical rights” (relating to the 1948 Palestinian exodus) “would be left for future generations”.[194] On January 25, 2004, senior Hamas official Abdel Aziz al-Rantissi offered a 10-year truce, or hudna, in return for the establishment of a Palestinian state and the complete withdrawal by Israel from the territories captured in the 1967 Six-Day War.[194] Al-Rantissi stated that Hamas had come to the conclusion that it was “difficult to liberate all our land at this stage, so we accept a phased liberation”.[194][195] Israel immediately dismissed al-Rantissi’s statements as insincere and a smokescreen for military preparations.[195] Yassin was assassinated on March 22, 2004, by a targeted Israeli air strike,[196] and al-Rantisi was assassinated by a similar air strike on April 18, 2004.[197]

2006 presidential and legislative elections

While Hamas boycotted the 2005 Palestinian presidential election, it did participate in the 2005 municipal elections organized by Yasser Arafat in the occupied territories. In those elections it won control of over one third of Palestinian municipal councils, besting Fatah, which had for long been the biggest force in Palestinian politics.[198] In its election manifesto for the 2006 Palestinian legislative election, Hamas omitted a call for an end to Israel, though it did still call for armed struggle against the occupation.[199][200] Hamas won the 2006 elections, winning 76 of the 132 seats to Fatah’s 43.[201] Seen by many as primarily a rejection of the Fatah government’s corruption and ineffectiveness, the Hamas victory seemingly had brought to an end 40 years of PLO domination of Palestinian politics.[201][202]

Following its electoral victory, Hamas assumed the administration of the Gaza strip and introduced radical changes. Writing in Foreign AffairsDaniel Byman stated that

After it took over the Gaza Strip Hamas revamped the police and security forces, cutting them 50,000 members (on paper, at least) under Fatah to smaller, efficient forces of just over 10,000, which then cracked down on crime and gangs. No longer did groups openly carry weapons or steal with impunity. People paid their taxes and electric bills, and in return authorities picked up garbage and put criminals in jail. Gaza-neglected under Egyptian and then Israeli control, and misgoverned by Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat and his successors-finally has a real government.’ [203]

In early February 2006, Hamas offered Israel a 10-year truce “in return for a complete Israeli withdrawal from the occupied Palestinian territories: the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem,”[46] and recognition of Palestinian rights including the “right of return”.[204]Mashal added that Hamas was not calling for a final end to armed operations against Israel, and it would not impede other Palestinian groups from carrying out such operations.[205] After the election, the Quartet on the Middle East (the United States, Russia, the European Union (EU), and the United Nations) stated that assistance to the Palestinian Authority would only continue if Hamas renounced violence, recognized Israel, and accepted previous Israeli-Palestinian agreements, which Hamas refused to do.[206] The Quartet then imposed a freeze on all international aid to the Palestinian territories.[207] In 2006 after the Gaza election, Hamas leader sent a letter addressed to George W. Bush where he among other things declared that Hamas would accept a state on the 1967 borders including a truce. However, the Bush administration did not reply.[208]

Legislative policy and reforming the judiciary

Stress the separation between the three powers, the legislative, executive and judicial; activate the role of the Constitutional Court; re-form the Judicial Supreme Council and choose its members by elections and on the basis of qualifications rather than partisan, personal, and social considerations … ; enact the necessary laws that guarantee the neutrality of general prosecutor … [and] laws that will stop any transgression by the executive power on the constitution.[209]

Public freedoms and citizen rights

“Achieve equality before the law among citizens in rights and duties; bring security to all citizens and protect their properties and assure their safety against arbitrary arrest, torture, or revenge; stress the culture of dialogue … ; support the press and media institutions and maintain the right of journalists to access and to publish information; maintain freedom and independence of professional syndicates and preserve the rights of their membership”.[209]

Hamas–Fatah conflict

Hamas rally in Bethlehem

After the formation of the Hamas-led cabinet on March 20, 2006, tensions between Fatah and Hamas militants progressively rose in the Gaza strip as Fatah commanders refused to take orders from the government while the Palestinian Authority initiated a campaign of demonstrations, assassinations and abductions against Hamas, which led to Hamas responding.[210] Israeli intelligence warned Mahmoud Abbas that Hamas had planned to kill him at his office in Gaza. According to a Palestinian source close to Abbas, Hamas considers president Abbas to be a barrier to its complete control over the Palestinian Authority and decided to kill him. In a statement to Al Jazeera, Hamas leader Mohammed Nazzal, accused Abbas of being party to besieging and isolating the Hamas-led government.[211]

On June 9, 2006, during an Israeli artillery operation, an explosion occurred on a busy Gaza beach, killing eight Palestinian civilians.[212][213] It was assumed that Israeli shellings were responsible for the killings, but Israeli government officials denied this.[214][215] Hamas formally withdrew from its 16-month ceasefire on June 10, taking responsibility for the subsequent Qassam rocket attacks launched from Gaza into Israel.[216]

On June 25, two Israeli soldiers were killed and another, Gilad Shalit, captured following an incursion by the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam BrigadesPopular Resistance Committees and Army of Islam. In response, the Israeli military launched Operation Summer Rains three days later, to secure the release of the kidnapped soldier,[217][218][219] arresting 64 Hamas officials. Among them were 8 Palestinian Authority cabinet ministers and up to 20 members of the Palestinian Legislative Council,[219] The arrests, along with other events, effectively prevented the Hamas-dominated legislature from functioning during most of its term.[220][221] Shalit was held captive until 2011, when he was released in exchange for 1,027 Palestinian prisoners.[222] Since then, Hamas has continued building a network of internal and cross-border tunnels,[223] which are used to store and deploy weapons, shield militants, and facilitate cross-border attacks. Destroying the tunnels was a primary objective of Israeli forces in the 2014 Israel–Gaza conflict.[224][225]

In February 2007 Saudi-sponsored negotiations in Mecca produced agreement on a signed by Mahmoud Abbas on behalf of Fatah and Khaled Mashal on behalf of Hamas. The new government was called on to achieve Palestinian national goals as approved by the Palestine National Council, the clauses of the Basic Law and the National Reconciliation Document (the “Prisoners’ Document”) as well as the decisions of the Arab summit.[226]

In March 2007, the Palestinian Legislative Council established a national unity government, with 83 representatives voting in favor and three against. Government ministers were sworn in by Mahmoud Abbas, the chairman of the Palestinian Authority, at a ceremony held simultaneously in Gaza and Ramallah. In June that year, renewed fighting broke out between Hamas and Fatah.[227] In the course of the June 2007 Battle of Gaza, Hamas exploited the near total collapse of Palestinian Authority forces in Gaza, to seize[228] control of Gaza, ousting Fatah officials. President Mahmoud Abbas then dismissed the Hamas-led Palestinian Authority government.[229] and outlawed the Hamas militia.[230] At least 600 Palestinians died in fighting between Hamas and Fatah.[231] Human Rights Watch, a U.S.-based group, accused both sides in the conflict of torture and war crimes.[232]

Human Rights Watch estimates several hundred Gazans were “maimed” and tortured in the aftermath of the Gaza War. 73 Gazan men accused of “collaborating” had their arms and legs broken by “unidentified perpetrators” and 18 Palestinians accused of collaborating with Israel, who had escaped from Gaza’s main prison compound after Israel bombed the facility, were executed by Hamas security officials in the first days of the conflict.[233][234] Hamas security forces attacked hundreds Fatah officials who supported Israel. Human Rights Watch interviewed one such person:

There were eight of us sitting there. We were all from Fatah. Then three masked militants broke in. They were dressed in brown camouflage military uniforms; they all had guns. They pointed their guns at us and cursed us, then they began beating us with iron rods, including a 10-year-old boy whom they hit in the face. They said we were “collaborators” and “unfaithful”.

They beat me with iron sticks and gun butts for 15 minutes. They were yelling: “You are happy that Israel is bombing us!” until people came out of their houses, and they withdrew.[233]

In March 2012 Mahmoud Abbas stated that there were no political differences between Hamas and Fatah as they had reached agreement on a joint political platform and on a truce with Israel. Commenting on relations with Hamas, Abbas revealed in an interview with Al Jazeera that “We agreed that the period of calm would be not only in the Gaza Strip, but also in the West Bank,” adding that “We also agreed on a peaceful popular resistance [against Israel], the establishment of a Palestinian state along the 1967 borders and that the peace talks would continue if Israel halted settlement construction and accepted our conditions.”[235][236] Progress has stalled, until an April 2014 agreement to form a compromise unity government, with elections to be held in late 2014.[52]

2008–2009 Gaza War

On June 17, 2008, Egyptian mediators announced that an informal truce had been agreed to between Hamas and Israel.[237][238] Hamas agreed to cease rocket attacks on Israel, while Israel agreed to allow limited commercial shipping across its border with Gaza, barring any breakdown of the tentative peace deal; Hamas also hinted that it would discuss the release of Gilad Shalit.[239] Israeli sources state that Hamas also committed itself to enforce the ceasefire on the other Palestinian organizations.[240] Even before the truce was agreed to, some on the Israeli side were not optimistic about it, Shin Bet chief Yuval Diskin stating in May 2008 that a ground incursion into Gaza was unavoidable and would more effectively quell arms smuggling and pressure Hamas into relinquishing power.[241]

While Hamas was careful to maintain the ceasefire, the lull was sporadically violated by other groups, sometimes in defiance of Hamas.[240][242][243] For example, on June 24 Islamic Jihad launched rockets at the Israeli town of Sderot; Israel called the attack a grave violation of the informal truce, and closed its border crossings with Gaza.[244] On November 4, 2008, Israeli forces, in an attempt to stop construction of a tunnel, killed six Hamas gunmen in a raid inside the Gaza Strip.[245][246] Hamas responded by resuming rocket attacks, a total of 190 rockets in November according to Israel’s military.[247]

Destroyed building in Rafah, 12 January 2009

With the six-month truce officially expired on December 19, Hamas launched 50 to more than 70 rockets and mortars into Israel over the next three days, though no Israelis were injured.[248][249] On December 21, Hamas said it was ready to stop the attacks and renew the truce if Israel stopped its “aggression” in Gaza and opened up its border crossings.[249][250]

On December 27 and 28, Israel implemented Operation Cast Lead against Hamas. Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak said “We warned Hamas repeatedly that rejecting the truce would push Israel to aggression against Gaza.” According to Palestinian officials, over 280 people were killed and 600 were injured in the first two days of airstrikes.[251] Most were Hamas police and security officers, though many civilians also died.[251] According to Israel, militant training camps, rocket-manufacturing facilities and weapons warehouses that had been pre-identified were hit, and later they attacked rocket and mortar squads who fired around 180 rockets and mortars at Israeli communities.[252] Chief of Gaza police force Tawfiq Jabber, head of the General Security Service Salah Abu Shrakh,[253] senior religious authority and security officer Nizar Rayyan,[254] and Interior Minister Said Seyam[255] were among those killed during the fighting. Although Israel sent out thousands of cell-phone messages urging residents of Gaza to leave houses where weapons may be stored, in an attempt to minimise civilian casualties,[252] some residents complained there was nowhere to go because many neighborhoods had received the same message.[252][256][257] Israeli bombs landed close to civilian structures such as schools,[258][259] and some alleged that Israel was deliberately targeting Palestinian civilians.[260]

Israel declared a unilateral ceasefire on January 17, 2009.[261] Hamas responded the following day by announcing a one-week ceasefire to give Israel time to withdraw its forces from the Gaza Strip.[262] Israeli, Palestinian, and third-party sources disagreed on the total casualty figures from the Gaza war, and the number of Palestinian casualties who were civilians.[263][264] In November 2010, a senior Hamas official acknowledged that up to 300 fighters were killed and “In addition to them, between 200 and 300 fighters from the Al-Qassam Brigades and another 150 security forces were martyred.” These new numbers reconcile the total with those of the Israeli military, which originally said were 709 “terror operatives” killed.[265][266]

After the Gaza War

On August 16, 2009, Hamas leader Khaled Mashal stated that the organization is ready to open dialogue with the Obama administration because its policies are much better than those of former U.S. president George W. Bush: “As long as there’s a new language, we welcome it, but we want to see not only a change of language, but also a change of policies on the ground. We have said that we are prepared to cooperate with the US or any other international party that would enable the Palestinians to get rid of occupation.”[267]Despite this, an August 30, 2009 speech during a visit to Jordan[268] in which Mashal expressed support for the Palestinian right of return was interpreted by David Pollock of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy as a sign that “Hamas has now clearly opted out of diplomacy.”[269] In an interview in May 2010, Mashal said that if a Palestinian state with real sovereignty was established under the conditions he set out, on the borders of 1967 with its capital Jerusalem and with the right of return, that will be the end of the Palestinian resistance, and then the nature of any subsequent ties with Israel would be decided democratically by the Palestinians.[270][271] In July 2009, Khaled Mashal, Hamas’s political bureau chief, stated Hamas’s willingness to cooperate with a resolution to the Arab-Israeli conflict, which included a Palestinian state based on 1967 borders, provided that Palestinian refugees be given the right to return to Israel and that East Jerusalem be recognized as the new state’s capital.[272]

In 2011, after the outbreak of the Syrian Civil War, Hamas distanced itself from the Syrian regime and its members began leaving Syria. Where once there were “hundreds of exiled Palestinian officials and their relatives”, that number shrunk to “a few dozen”.[273] In 2012, Hamas publicly announced its support for the Syrian opposition.[274] This prompted Syrian state TV to issue a “withering attack” on the Hamas leadership.[275] Khaled Mashal said that Hamas had been “forced out” of Damascus because of its disagreements with the Syrian regime.[276] In late October, Syrian Army soldiers shot dead two Hamas leaders in Daraa refugee camp.[277] On November 5, 2012, the Syrian state security forces shut down all Hamas offices in the country.[278] In January 2013, another two Hamas members were found dead in Syria’s Husseinieh camp. Activists said the two had been arrested and executed by state security forces.[279] In 2013, it was reported that the military wing of Hamas had begun training units of the Free Syrian Army.[280] In 2013, after “several intense weeks of indirect three-way diplomacy between representatives of Hamas, Israel, and the Palestinian Authority”, no agreement was reached.[281] Also, intra-Palestinian reconciliation talks stalled and, as a result, during Obama’s visit to Israel, Hamas launched five rocket strikes on Israel.[281] In November, Isra Almodallal was appointed the first spokeswoman of the group.[282]

2014 Israel–Gaza conflict

On 8 July 2014 Israel launched Operation Protective Edge to counter increased Hamas rocket fire from Gaza. The conflict ended with a permanent cease-fire after 7 weeks, and more than 2,200 dead. 64 of the dead were Israeli soldiers, 7 were civilians in Israel (from rocket attacks), and 2,101 were killed in Gaza, of which according to UN OCHA at least 1,460 were civilians. Israel says 1,000 of the dead were militants. Following the conflict, Mahmoud Abbas president of the Palestinian Authority, accused Hamas of needlessly extending the fighting in the Gaza Strip, contributing to the high death toll, of running a “shadow government” in Gaza, and of illegally executing scores of Palestinians.[283][284][285] Hamas has complained about the slow delivery of reconstruction materials after the conflict and announced that they were diverting these materials from civilian uses to build more infiltration tunnels.[286]

Reconciliation attempts

In 2016, Hamas began security co-ordination with Egypt to crack down on Islamic terrorist organizations in Sinai, in return for economic aid.[287]

In May 2017, Hamas unveiled its new charter, in an attempt to moderate its image. The charter no longer calls for Israel’s destruction, but still calls for liberation of Palestine and to ‘confront the Zionist project’. It also confirms acceptance of the 1967 borders as the basis for establishing a Palestinian state as well as not being an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood.[288][289]

In October 2017, Fatah and Hamas signed yet another reconciliation agreement. The partial agreement addresses civil and administrative matters involving Gaza and the West Bank. Other contentious issues such as national elections, reform of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and possible demilitarization of Hamas were to be discussed in the next meeting in November 2017, due to a new step-by-step approach.[290]

Media

In 2005, Hamas announced its intention to launch an experimental TV channel, Al-Aqsa TV. The station was launched on January 7, 2006, less than three weeks before the Palestinian legislative elections. It has shown television programs, including some children’s television, which deliver anti-semitic messages.[291] Hamas has stated that the television station is “an independent media institution that often does not express the views of the Palestinian government headed by Ismail Haniyeh or of the Hamas movement,” and that Hamas does not hold anti-semitic views.[292] Hamas produced several propaganda songs aimed to scare Israeli citizen including Shock Israel’s Security and “Go, call a Gazan to rip Giv’ati“.[293]

Children’s magazine

Al-Fateh (“the conqueror”) is the Hamas children’s magazine, published biweekly in London, and also posted in an online website. It began publication in September 2002, and its 108th issue was released in mid-September 2007. The magazine features stories, poems, riddles, and puzzles, and states it is for “the young builders of the future”.[294]

According to MEMRI (three of whose seven founding staff had formerly served in the IDF), the magazine includes incitement to jihad and martyrdom and glorification of terrorist operations and of their planners and perpetrators. as well as characterizations of Jews as “murderers of the prophets” and laudatory descriptions of parents who encourage their sons to kill Jews. In each issue, a regular feature titled “The Story of a Martyr” presents the “heroic deeds” of a mujahid from one of the organizations who died in a suicide operation, including operations against civilians, or who was killed by the IDF. MEMRI also noted that the magazine includes illustrations of figures, including child warriors, who embody the ethos of jihad and martyrdom, presenting them as role models. These include the magazine’s titular character, Al-Fateh (“The Conqueror”) – a small boy on a horse brandishing a drawn scimitar – as well as children carrying guns, and photos of Hamas fighters launching Qassam rockets.[295][296]

Al-Aqsa TV

Al-Aqsa TV is a television channel founded by Hamas.[297] The station began broadcasting in the Gaza Strip on January 9, 2006.[298][299] Its programming includes ideologically tinged children’s shows, news talk, and religiously inspired entertainment.[300] According to the Anti-Defamation League, the station promotes terrorist activity and incites hatred of Jews and Israelis.[299] Hamas has stated that the television station is “an independent media institution that often does not express the views of the Palestinian government headed by Ismail Haniyeh or of the Hamas movement,” and that Hamas does not hold anti-semitic views.[292] Al-Aqsa TV is headed by Fathi Ahmad Hammad, chairman of al-Ribat Communications and Artistic Productions – a Hamas-run company that also produces Hamas’s radio station, Voice of al-Aqsa, and its biweekly newspaper, The Message.[301]

Islamization efforts

In the Gaza Strip

The gender ideology outlined in the Hamas charter, the importance of women in the religious-nationalist project of liberation is asserted, while defining that role as one of manufacturing males and caring for their upbringing and rearing. This is not so different from Fatah’s view of women in the First Intifada and it also resembles the outlook of Jewish settlers, and over time it has been subjected to change.[302][303]

In 1989, during the First Intifada, a small number of Hamas followers[304] campaigned for the wearing of the hijab, which is not a part of traditional women’s attire in Palestine,[305] for polygamy, and also insisted women stay at home and be segregated from men. In the course of this campaign, women who chose not to wear the hijab were verbally and physically harassed, with the result that the hijab was being worn ‘just to avoid problems on the streets’.[306] The harassment dropped drastically when, after 18 months UNLU condemned it,[307] though similar campaigns reoccurred.

Since Hamas took control of the Gaza Strip in 2007, some of its members have attempted to impose Islamic dress or the hijab head covering on women.[177][308] Also, the government’s “Islamic Endowment Ministry” has deployed Virtue Committee members to warn citizens of the dangers of immodest dress, card playing, and dating.[309] However, there are no government laws imposing dress and other moral standards, and the Hamas education ministry reversed one effort to impose Islamic dress on students.[177] There has also been successful resistance to attempts by local Hamas officials to impose Islamic dress on women.[310]

Hamas officials deny having any plans to impose Islamic law, one legislator stating that “What you are seeing are incidents, not policy,” and that Islamic law is the desired standard “but we believe in persuasion”.[309] The Hamas education ministry reversed one effort to impose Islamic dress on students.[177] When the BBC in 2010 interviewed five “middle-class” women in Gaza City, the subjects generally indicated Hamas attempts to enforce conservative religious standards of dress had been largely rejected by the local population, with some expressing concern that the closure of Gaza would allow the proliferation of extremist enforcement attempts by low-level Hamas officials, and others indicating they were happy to see Hamas enforcing such requirements. They also cited examples of leniency by Hamas authorities, such as allowing widowed women to keep custody of their children so long as they did not remarry, and other relaxations in the enforcement of Shariah law. One woman noted that the environment was “not as bad” as during the First Intifada, when women were subject to public criticism and stonings for failure to obey conservative Islamic standards of dress. One woman complained that women were not free to speak their minds or travel alone, and added: “Hamas want to force themselves onto the people. They want the people to submit to them, this is their cover. They destroyed the reputation of Islam, by saying we’re doing this because it is religion. This is how they won the elections.”[311]

In 2013, UNRWA canceled its annual marathon in Gaza after Hamas rulers prohibited women from participating in the race.[312]

In the West Bank

In 2005, the human rights organization Freemuse released a report titled “Palestine: Taliban-like attempts to censor music”, which said that Palestinian musicians feared that harsh religious laws against music and concerts will be imposed since Hamas group scored political gains in the Palestinian Authority local elections of 2005.[313]

The attempt by Hamas to dictate a cultural code of conduct in the 1980s and early 1990s led to a violent fighting between different Palestinian sectors. Hamas members reportedly burned down stores that stocked videos they deemed indecent and destroyed books they described as “heretical”.[314]

In 2005, an outdoor music and dance performance in Qalqiliya were suddenly banned by the Hamas led municipality, for the reason that such an event would be forbidden by Islam, or “Haram“.[315] The municipality also ordered that music no longer be played in the Qalqiliya zoo, and mufti Akrameh Sabri issued a religious edict affirming the municipality decision.[314] In response, the Palestinian national poet Mahmoud Darwish warned that “There are Taliban-type elements in our society, and this is a very dangerous sign.”[313][314][316][317]

The Palestinian columnist Mohammed Abd Al-Hamid, a resident of Ramallah, wrote that this religious coercion could cause the migration of artists, and said “The religious fanatics in Algeria destroyed every cultural symbol, shattered statues and rare works of art and liquidated intellectuals and artists, reporters and authors, ballet dancers and singers – are we going to imitate the Algerian and Afghani examples?”[314]

Tayyip Erdoğan’s Turkey as a role model

Some Hamas members stated that the model of Islamic government that Hamas seeks to emulate is that of Turkey under the rule of Tayyip Erdoğan. The foremost members to distance Hamas from the practices of Taliban and to publicly support the Erdoğan model were Ahmad Yousef and Ghazi Hamad, advisers to Prime Minister Hanieh.[318][319] Yusuf, the Hamas deputy foreign minister, reflected this goal in an interview to a Turkish newspaper, stating that while foreign public opinion equates Hamas with the Taliban or al-Qaeda, the analogy is inaccurate. Yusuf described the Taliban as “opposed to everything,” including education and women’s rights, while Hamas wants to establish good relations between the religious and secular elements of society and strives for human rights, democracy and an open society.[320] According to professor Yezid Sayigh of the King’s College in London, how influential this view is within Hamas is uncertain, since both Ahmad Yousef and Ghazi Hamad were dismissed from their posts as advisers to Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniehin October 2007.[318] Both have since been appointed to other prominent positions within the Hamas government. Khaled al-Hroub of the West Bank-based and anti-Hamas[321] Palestinian daily Al Ayyam added that despite claims by Hamas leaders that it wants to repeat the Turkish model of Islam, “what is happening on the ground in reality is a replica of the Taliban model of Islam.”[322]

Antisemitism and anti-Zionism

According to academic Esther Webman, antisemitism is not the main tenet of Hamas ideology, although antisemitic rhetoric is frequent and intense in Hamas leaflets. The leaflets generally do not differentiate between Jews and Zionists. In other Hamas publications and interviews with its leaders, attempts at this differentiation have been made.[323] In 2009 representatives of the small Jewish sect Neturei Karta met with Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh in Gaza, who stated that he held nothing against Jews but only against the state of Israel.[324] Some commentators have pointed out parallels between Hamas’s youth organization and Hitler Youth.[325] According to writer Tom Doran, Hamas is not recognized as a neo-Nazi group because its members are not “white Christians”.[326]

Hamas has made conflicting statements about its readiness to recognize Israel. In 2006 a spokesman signaled readiness to recognize Israel within the 1967 borders. Speaking of requests for Hamas to recognize agreements between the Palestinian Authority and Israel, senior Hamas member Khaled Suleiman said that “these agreements are a reality which we view as such, and therefore I see no problem.”[327] Also in 2006, a Hamas official ruled out recognition of Israel with reference to West and East Germany, which never recognized each other.[328]

Hamas Charter (1988)

  • Article 7 of the Hamas Covenant provides the following quotation, attributed to Muhammad:

The Day of Judgement will not come about until Moslems fight the Jews (killing the Jews), when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Moslems, O Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him. Only the Gharkad tree (evidently a certain kind of tree), would not do that because it is one of the trees of the Jews.[148]

You may speak as much as you want about regional and world wars. They were behind World War I, when they were able to destroy the Islamic Caliphate, making financial gains and controlling resources. They obtained the Balfour Declaration, formed the League of Nations through which they could rule the world. They were behind World War II, through which they made huge financial gains by trading in armaments, and paved the way for the establishment of their state. It was they who instigated the replacement of the League of Nations with the United Nations and the Security Council to enable them to rule the world through them. There is no war going on anywhere, without having their finger in it.[329]

Today it is Palestine, tomorrow it will be one country or another. The Zionist plan is limitless. After Palestine, the Zionists aspire to expand from the Nile to the Euphrates. When they will have digested the region they overtook, they will aspire to further expansion, and so on. Their plan is embodied in The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, and their present conduct is the best proof of what we are saying.[148]

Statements by Hamas members and clerics to an Arab audience

In 2008, Imam Yousif al-Zahar of Hamas said in his sermon at the Katib Wilayat mosque in Gaza that “Jews are a people who cannot be trusted. They have been traitors to all agreements. Go back to history. Their fate is their vanishing.”[175][330]

Another Hamas legislator and imam, Sheik Yunus al-Astal, discussed a Koranic verse suggesting that “suffering by fire is the Jews’ destiny in this world and the next.” He concluded “Therefore we are sure that the Holocaust is still to come upon the Jews.”[175][330]

Following the rededication of the Hurva Synagogue in Jerusalem in March 2010, senior Hamas figure al-Zahar called on Palestinians everywhere to observe five minutes of silence “for Israel’s disappearance and to identify with Jerusalem and the al-Aqsa mosque”. He further stated that “Wherever you have been you’ve been sent to your destruction. You’ve killed and murdered your prophets and you have always dealt in loan-sharking and destruction. You’ve made a deal with the devil and with destruction itself – just like your synagogue.”[331][332]

On August 10, 2012, Ahmad Bahr, Deputy Speaker of the Hamas Parliament, stated in a sermon that aired on Al-Aqsa TV:

If the enemy sets foot on a single square inch of Islamic land, Jihad becomes an individual duty, incumbent on every Muslim, male or female. A woman may set out [on Jihad] without her husband’s permission, and a servant without his master’s permission. Why? In order to annihilate those Jews. … O Allah, destroy the Jews and their supporters. O Allah, destroy the Americans and their supporters. O Allah, count them one by one, and kill them all, without leaving a single one.[333][334][335][336]

In an interview with Al-Aqsa TV on September 12, 2012, Marwan Abu Ras, a Hamas MP, who is also a member of the International Union of Muslim Scholars, stated (as translated by MEMRI):

The Jews are behind each and every catastrophe on the face of the Earth. This is not open to debate. This is not a temporal thing, but goes back to days of yore. They concocted so many conspiracies and betrayed rulers and nations so many times that the people harbor hatred towards them. … Throughout history – from Nebuchadnezzar until modern times. … They slayed the prophets, and so on. … Any catastrophe on the face of this Earth – the Jews must be behind it.[337]

On December 26, 2012, Senior Hamas official and Jerusalem bureau chief Ahmed Abu Haliba, called on “all Palestinian factions to resume suicide attacks … deep inside the Zionist enemy” and said that “we must renew the resistance to occupation in any possible way, above all through armed resistance.” Abu Haliba suggested the use of suicide bombings as a response to Israel’s plans to build housing units in East Jerusalem and the West Bank.[338]

In an interview on Lebanese television on July 28, 2014, Hamas spokesman Osama Hamdan repeated the blood libel myth:

We all remember how the Jews used to slaughter Christians, in order to mix their blood in their holy matzos… It happened everywhere.[339]

Statements by Hamas members and clerics to an international audience

In an interview with CBS This Morning on July 27, 2014, Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal stated:

We are not fanatics. We are not fundamentalists. We are not actually fighting the Jews because they are Jews per se. We do not fight any other races. We fight the occupiers.[340]

On January 8, 2012, during a visit to Tunis, Gazan Hamas PM Ismail Haniyeh told The Associated Press on that he disagrees with the anti-Semitic slogans. “We are not against the Jews because they are Jews. Our problem is with those occupying the land of Palestine,” he said. “There are Jews all over the world, but Hamas does not target them.”[341] In response to a statement by Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas that Hamas preferred non-violent means and had agreed to adopt “peaceful resistance,” Hamas contradicted Abbas. According to Hamas spokesman Sami Abu-Zuhri, “We had agreed to give popular resistance precedence in the West Bank, but this does not come at the expense of armed resistance.”[342]

In May 2009, senior Hamas MP Sayed Abu Musameh said, “in our culture, we respect every foreigner, especially Jews and Christians, but we are against Zionists, not as nationalists but as fascists and racists.”[343] In the same interview, he also said, “I hate all kinds of weapons. I dream of seeing every weapon from the atomic bomb to small guns banned everywhere.” In January 2009, Gazan Hamas Health Minister Basim Naim published a letter in The Guardian, stating that Hamas has no quarrel with Jewish people, only with the actions of Israel.[344] In October 1994, in a response to Isreael’s crackdown on Hamas militants following a suicide bombing on a Tel Aviv bus, Hamas promised retaliation: “Rabin must know that Hamas loves death more than Rabin and his soldiers love life.”[345]

Statements on the Holocaust

Hamas has been explicit in its Holocaust denial. In reaction to the Stockholm conference on the Jewish Holocaust, held in late January 2000, Hamas issued a press release that it published on its official website, containing the following statements from a senior leader:

This conference bears a clear Zionist goal, aimed at forging history by hiding the truth about the so-called Holocaust, which is an alleged and invented story with no basis. (…) The invention of these grand illusions of an alleged crime that never occurred, ignoring the millions of dead European victims of Nazism during the war, clearly reveals the racist Zionist face, which believes in the superiority of the Jewish race over the rest of the nations. (…) By these methods, the Jews in the world flout scientific methods of research whenever that research contradicts their racist interests.[346]

In August 2003, senior Hamas official Dr Abd Al-Aziz Al-Rantisi wrote in the Hamas newspaper Al-Risala that the Zionists encouraged murder of Jews by the Nazis with the aim of forcing them to immigrate to Palestine.[347]

In 2005, Khaled Mashal called Mahmoud Ahmadinejad‘s December 14, 2005 statements on the Holocaust that Europeans had “created a myth in the name of Holocaust”[348]) as “courageous”.[349] Later in 2008, Basim Naim, the minister of health in the Hamas-led Palestinian Authority government in Gaza countered holocaust denial, and said “it should be made clear that neither Hamas nor the Palestinian government in Gaza denies the Nazi Holocaust. The Holocaust was not only a crime against humanity but one of the most abhorrent crimes in modern history. We condemn it as we condemn every abuse of humanity and all forms of discrimination on the basis of religion, race, gender or nationality.”[350]

In an open letter to Gaza Strip UNRWA chief John Ging published August 20, 2009, the movement’s Popular Committees for Refugees called the Holocaust “a lie invented by the Zionists,” adding that the group refused to let Gazan children study it.[351] Hamas leader Younis al-Astal continued by saying that having the Holocaust included in the UNRWA curriculum for Gaza students amounted to “marketing a lie and spreading it”. Al-Astal continued “I do not exaggerate when I say this issue is a war crime, because of how it serves the Zionist colonizers and deals with their hypocrisy and lies.”[352][353]

In February 2011, Hamas voiced opposition to UNRWA’s teaching of the Holocaust in Gaza. According to Hamas, “Holocaust studies in refugee camps is a contemptible plot and serves the Zionist entity with a goal of creating a reality and telling stories in order to justify acts of slaughter against the Palestinian people.”[354][355] In July 2012, Fawzi Barhoum, a Hamas spokesman, denounced a visit by Ziad al-Bandak, an adviser to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, to the Auschwitz death camp, saying it was “unjustified” and “unhelpful” and only served the “Zionist occupation” while coming “at the expense of a real Palestinian tragedy”. He also called the Holocaust an “alleged tragedy” and “exaggerated”.[356][357][358][359] In October 2012, Hamas said that they were opposed to teaching about the Holocaust in Gaza Strip schools run by the UN Relief and Works Agency. The Refugee Affairs Department of Hamas said that teaching the Holocaust was a “crime against the issue of the refugees that is aimed at canceling their right of return”.[360]

Violence and terrorism

Hamas has used both political activities and violence in pursuit of its goals. For example, while politically engaged in the 2006 Palestinian Territories parliamentary election campaign, Hamas stated in its election manifesto that it was prepared to use “armed resistance to end the occupation”.[361]

From 2000 to 2004, Hamas was responsible for killing nearly 400 Israelis and wounding more than 2,000 in 425 attacks, according to the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs. From 2001 through May 2008, Hamas launched more than 3,000 Qassam rockets and 2,500 mortar attacks into Israel.[362]

Attacks on civilians

In the first years of the First Intifada (1987–1993), Hamas violence was directed first at collaborators with Israel and at individuals it considered moral deviants, and then later at the Israeli military.[363] A new direction began with the formation of the al-Qassam Brigades militia in 1992, and in 1993 suicide attacks began against Israeli targets on the West Bank.[364]

Aftermath of 1996 Jaffa Road bus bombings in which 26 people were killed

The first such attack occurred on April 16, 1993, when an al-Qassam Brigades operative detonated explosives in a car he parked next to two buses, one military and one civilian, in the West Bank town of Mehola, killing a Palestinian civilian and wounding 8 Israeli soldiers.[365] After the February 1994 massacre by Baruch Goldstein of 30 Muslim civilians in a Hebron mosque, the al-Qassam Brigades expanded suicide attacks to target primarily civilians.[180] The first of the suicide bombings that targeted civilians was at Afula on April 16, 1994, when a suicide bomber detonated an explosives-laden car next to a bus, killing nine (including the bomber) and wounding 50. The most deadly suicide bombing was an attack on a Netanya hotel on March 27, 2002, in which 30 people were killed and 140 were wounded. The attack has also been referred to as the Passover massacre since it took place on the first night of the Jewish festival of Passover at a Seder.

Hamas has defended suicide attacks as a legitimate aspect of its asymmetric warfare against Israel. In 2003, according to Stephen Atkins, Hamas resumed suicide bombings in Israel as a retaliatory measure after the failure of peace talks and an Israeli campaign targeting members of the upper echelon of the Hamas leadership.[35] but they are considered as crimes against humanity under international law.[366][367] In a 2002 report, Human Rights Watchstated that Hamas leaders “should be held accountable” for “war crimes and crimes against humanity” committed by the al-Qassam Brigades.[368][369][370]

In May 2006 Israel arrested a top Hamas official, Ibrahim Hamed, who Israeli security officials alleged was responsible for dozens of suicide bombings and other attacks on Israelis.[371] Hamed’s trial on those charges has not yet concluded.[372] In 2008, Hamas explosives engineer Shihab al-Natsheh organized a deadly suicide bombing in Dimona.[373][374]

Since 2002, paramilitary soldiers of al-Qassam Brigades and other groups have used homemade Qassam rockets to hit Israeli towns in the Negev, such as Sderot. Al-Qassam Brigades was estimated in 2007 to have launched 22% of the rocket and mortar attacks,[375] which killed fifteen people between the years 2000 and 2009 (see Palestinian rocket attacks on Israel).[376] The introduction of the Qassam-2 rocket in 2008 enabled Palestinian paramilitary groups to reach, from Gaza, such Israeli cities such as Ashkelon.[377]

In 2008, Hamas leader Khaled Mashal, offered that Hamas would attack only military targets if the IDF would stop causing the deaths of Palestinian civilians.[378] Following a June 19, 2008 ceasefire, the al-Qassam Brigades ended its rocket attacks and arrested Fatah militants in Gaza who had continued sporadic rocket and mortar attacks against Israel. The al-Qassam Brigades resumed the attacks after the November 4 Israeli incursion into Gaza.[240][379]

On 15 June 2014, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused Hamas of involvement in the kidnapping of three Israeli teenagers (including one who held American citizenship), saying “This has severe repercussions.”[380]On 20 July 2014, nearly two weeks into Operation Protective Edge, Netanyahu in an interview with CNN described Hamas as “genocidal terrorists.”[381]

On 5 August 2014 Israel announced that Israeli security forces arrested Hussam Kawasme, in Shuafat, in connection with the murders.[382] During interrogation, Kawasme admitted to being the mastermind behind the attack, in addition to securing the funding from Hamas.[383] Officials have stated that additional people arrested in connection with the murders are still being held, but no names have been released.[384]

On 20 August, Saleh al-Arouri, a Hamas leader in exile in Turkey, claimed responsibility for the kidnapping of the three Israeli teens. He delivered an address on behalf of Khaled Mashal at the conference of the International Union of Muslim Scholars in Istanbul, a move that might reflect a desire by Hamas to gain leverage.[385] In it he said: “Our goal was to ignite an intifada in the West Bank and Jerusalem, as well as within the 1948 borders. … Your brothers in the Al-Qassam Brigades carried out this operation to support their imprisoned brothers, who were on a hunger strike. … The mujahideen captured these settlers in order to have a swap deal.”[386] Hamas political leader Khaled Mashal accepted that members of Hamas were responsible, stating that he knew nothing of it in advance and that what the leadership knew of the details came from reading Israeli reports.[387] Meshaal, who has headed Hamas’s exiled political wing since 2004, has denied being involved in the “details” of Hamas “military issues”, but “justified the killings as a legitimate action against Israelis on “occupied” lands.”[388]

Hamas suicide attacks on Israeli civilians have largely disappeared since 2005; this has coincided with an increase in rocket attacks. One analysis suggests that the decline in suicide attacks is not motivated by any lack of supplies or volunteers to carry out such operations, by enhanced Israeli security measures such as the West Bank barrier (if Israeli actions were the reason, one would expect to see an equal decline in suicide attacks by all Palestinian factions, which is not observed), or by a newfound desire for reconciliation with Israel on the part of Hamas. Rather, suicide bombings provoked targeted killings that decimated the leadership of Hamas, whereas rocket attacks have elicited weaker Israeli reprisals that have tended to harm the Palestinian population as a whole more than Hamas (such as the blockade of the Gaza Strip) – thereby paradoxically increasing Hamas’s popular support.[389]

Rocket attacks on Israel

Rocket attacks by Hamas have been condemned by Human rights organizations as war crimes, both because they usually take aim at civilians and because the weapons’ inaccuracy would disproportionately endanger civilians even if military targets were chosen. After Operation Pillar of Defense, Human Rights Watch stated that armed Palestinian groups fired hundreds of rockets at Israeli cities, violating international humanitarian law, and that statements by Palestinian groups that they deliberately targeted Israeli civilians demonstrated an “intent to commit war crimes”. HRW’s Middle East director Sarah Leah Whitson said that Palestinian groups made clear that “harming civilians was their aim” and said that launching rockets at populated areas had no legal justification. International humanitarian law prohibits deliberate attacks on civilians and intentional violations can be war crimes.[390]

According to Human Rights Watch, Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups have launched thousands of rockets into Israel since 2001, killing 15 civilians, wounding many more, and posing an ongoing threat to the nearly 800,000 Israeli civilians who live and work in the weapons’ range. Hamas officials have said that the rockets were aimed only at military targets, saying that civilian casualties were the “accidental result” of the weapons’ poor quality. According to Human Rights Watch, statements by Hamas leaders suggest that the purpose of the rocket attacks was indeed to strike civilians and civilian objects. From January 2009, following Operation Cast Lead, Hamas largely stopped launching rocket attacks on Israel and has on at least two occasions arrested members of other groups who have launched rockets, “showing that it has the ability to impose the law when it wants”.[391] In February 2010, Hamas issued a statement regretting any harm that may have befallen Israeli civilians as a result of Palestinian rocket attacks during the Gaza war. It maintained that its rocket attacks had been aimed at Israeli military targets but lacked accuracy and hence sometimes hit civilian areas. Israel responded that Hamas had boasted repeatedly of targeting and murdering civilians in the media.[392]

According to one report, commenting on the 2014 conflict, “nearly all the 2,500–3,000 rockets and mortars Hamas has fired at Israel since the start of the war seem to have been aimed at towns”, including an attack on “a kibbutz collective farm close to the Gaza border”, in which an Israeli child was killed.[393] Former Israeli Lt. Col. Jonathan D. Halevi stated that “Hamas has expressed pride in aiming long-range rockets at strategic targets in Israel including the nuclear reactor in Dimona, the chemical plants in Haifa, and Ben-Gurion Airport”, which “could have caused thousands” of Israeli casualties “if successful”.[394]

In July 2008 Barack Obama, then the Democratic presidential candidate, said: “If somebody was sending rockets into my house, where my two daughters sleep at night, I’m going to do everything in my power to stop that, and I would expect Israelis to do the same thing.”[395] On December 28, 2008, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said in a statement: “the United States strongly condemns the repeated rocket and mortar attacks against Israel.”[396] On March 2, 2009, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton condemned the attacks.[397]

Attempts to derail 2010 peace talks

In 2010, Hamas, who have been actively sidelined from the peace talks by Israel, spearheaded a coordinated effort by 13 Palestinian militant groups, in attempt to derail the stalled peace talks between Israel and Mahmoud Abbas, President of the Palestinian Authority. According to the Israeli Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories Major Gen. Eitan Dangot, Israel seeks to work with Salam Fayyad, to help revive the Palestinian economy, and hopes to ease restrictions on the Gaza Strip further, “while somehow preventing the Islamic militants who rule it from getting credit for any progress”. According to Dangot, Hamas must not be seen as ruling successfully or be allowed to “get credit for a policy that would improve the lives of people”.[398] The campaign consists of attacks against Israelis in which, according to a Hamas declaration in early September, “all options are open”.[399][400][401][402] The participating groups also include Palestinian Islamic Jihad, the Popular Resistance Committees and an unnamed splinter group of Fatah.[403]

As part of the campaign, on August 31, 2010, 4 Israeli settlers, including a pregnant woman, were killed by Hamas militants while driving on Route 60 near the settlement Kiryat Arba, in the West bank. According to witnesses, militants opened fire on the moving vehicle, but then “approached the car” and shot the occupants in their seats at “close range”. The attack was described by Israeli sources as one of the “worst” terrorist acts in years.[404][405][406] A senior Hamas official said that Israeli settlers in the West Bank are legitimate targets since “they are an army in every sense of the word”.[407][408]

Themes of martyrdom

According to a translation by Palestinian Media Watch, in 2008, Fathi Hamad, a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, stated on Al-Aqsa TV, “For the Palestinian people death became an industry, at which women excel and so do all people on this land: the elderly excel, the Jihad fighters excel, and the children excel. Accordingly (Palestinians) created a human shield of women, children, the elderly and the Jihad fighters against the Zionist bombing machine, as if they were saying to the Zionist enemy: ‘We desire death as you desire life.'”[409]

In 2010, Hamas speaker Ahmad Bahr praised the virtues of martyrdom and Jihad, and said that 2.5 million black-eyed virgins were waiting in the Garden of Eden, which could be entered only by prophets, by the righteous, and by martyrs. He continued by saying that nobody on Earth “will be able to confront the resistance, or to confront the mujahideen, those who worship Allah and seek martyrdom”.[410]

Guerrilla warfare

Hamas anti-tank rockets, captured by Israel Defense Forces during Operation Protective Edge

Hamas has made great use of guerrilla tactics in the Gaza Strip and to a lesser degree the West Bank.[411] It has successfully adapted these techniques over the years since its inception. According to a 2006 report by rival Fatah party, Hamas had smuggled between several hundred and 1,300 tons of advanced rockets, along with other weaponry, into Gaza.[411]

Hamas has used IEDs and anti-tank rockets against the IDF in Gaza. The latter include standard RPG-7 warheads and home-made rockets such as the Al-Bana, Al-Batar and Al-Yasin. The IDF has a difficult, if not impossible time trying to find hidden weapons caches in Palestinian areas – this is due to the high local support base Hamas enjoys.[412]

Extrajudicial killings of rivals

In addition to killing Israeli civilians and armed forces, Hamas has also murdered suspected Palestinian Israel collaborators and Fatah rivals.[413] Hundreds of Palestinians were executed by both Hamas and Fatah during the First Intifada.[414] In the wake of the 2006 Israeli conflict with Gaza, Hamas was accused of systematically rounding up, torturing and summarily executing Fatah supporters suspected of supplying information to Israel. Human Rights Watch estimates several hundred Gazans were “maimed” and tortured in the aftermath of the conflict. Seventy-three Gazan men accused of “collaborating” had their arms and legs broken by “unidentified perpetrators” and 18 Palestinians accused of helping Israel were executed by Hamas security officials in the first days of the conflict.[233][234][415] In November 2012, Hamas’s Izzedine al-Qassam brigade publicly executed six Gaza residents accused of collaborating with Israel. According to the witnesses, six alleged informers were shot dead one by one in Gaza City, while the corpse of the sixth victim was tied by a cable to the back of a motorcycle and dragged through the streets.[416] In 2013, Human Rights Watch issued a statement condemning Hamas for not investigating and giving a proper trial to the 6 men. Their statement was released the day before Hamas issued a deadline for “collaborators” to turn themselves in, or they will be pursued “without mercy”.[417] In August 2014, during the 2014 Israel-Gaza conflict, at least 22 accused collaborators were executed by Hamas shortly after three of its commanders were assassinated by Israeli forces.[418] An Israeli source denied that any of the commanders had been targeted on the basis of human intelligence.[419]

Frequent killings of unarmed people have also occurred during Hamas-Fatah clashes.[420][421] NGOs have cited a number of summary executions as particular examples of violations of the rules of warfare, including the case of Muhammad Swairki, 28, a cook for Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas’s presidential guard, who was thrown to his death, with his hands and legs tied, from a 15-story apartment building in Gaza City.[422] Hamas security forces reportedly shoot and torture Palestinians who opposed Hamas rule in Gaza.[233] In one case, a Palestinian had criticized Hamas in a conversation on the street with some friends. Later that day, more than a dozen armed men with black masks and red kaffiyeh took the man from his home, and brought him to a solitary area where they shot him three times in the lower legs and ankles. The man told Human Rights Watch that he was not politically active.[233]

On August 14, 2009, Hamas fighters stormed the Mosque of cleric Abdel-Latif Moussa.[423] The cleric was protected by at least 100 fighters from Jund Ansar Allah (“Army of the Helpers of God”), an Islamist group with links to Al-Qaeda. The resulting battle left at least 13 people dead, including Moussa and 6 Hamas fighters, and 120 people injured.[424] According to Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas, during 2014 Israel–Gaza conflict, Hamas killed more than 120 Palestinian youths for defying house arrest imposed on them by Hamas, in addition to 30–40 Palestinians killed by Hamas in extrajudicial executions after accusing them of being collaborators with Israel.[425] Referring to the killing of suspected collaborators, a Shin Bet official stated that “not even one” of those executed by Hamas provided any intelligence to Israel, while the Shin Bet officially “confirmed that those executed during Operation Protective Edge had all been held in prison in Gaza in the course of the hostilities”.[419]

2011–2013 Sinai insurgency

Hamas has been accused of providing weapons, training and fighters for Sinai-based insurgent attacks,[426][427] although Hamas strongly denies the allegations, calling them a smear campaign aiming to harm relations with Egypt.[426] According to the Egyptian Army, since the ouster of Egypt’s Muslim-Brotherhood president Mohamed Morsi, over 600 Hamas members have entered the Sinai Peninsula through smuggling tunnels.[428] In addition, several weapons used in Sinai’s insurgent attacks are being traced back to Hamas in the Gaza Strip, according to the army.[428] The four leading insurgent groups in the Sinai have all reportedly maintained close ties with the Gaza Strip.[429] Hamas is also accused of helping Morsi and other high-ranking Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood members break out of the Wadi Natroun prison in Cairo during the 2011 revolution.[430] Hamas called the accusation a “dangerous development”.[431] Egyptian authorities stated that the 2011 Alexandria bombing was carried out by the Gaza-based Army of Islam, which has received sanctuary from Hamas and earlier collaborated in the capture of Gilad Shalit.[429][432][433][434] Army of Islam members linked to the August 2012 Sinai attack have reportedly sought refuge in the Gaza Strip.[429] Egypt stated that Hamas directly provided logistical support to the Muslim Brotherhood militants who carried out the December 2013 Mansoura bombing.[435]

International designations as a terrorist organization

Hamas, together with several charities it runs,[436] has been designated by several governments and some academics as a terrorist organization. Others regard Hamas as a complex organization with terrorism as only one component.[437][438] Israel outlawed Hamas in September 1989[439] The United States followed suit in 1995, as did Canada in November 2002.[440] The European Union outlawed Hamas’s military wing in 2001 and included Hamas in its list of terrorist organizations in 2003,[441] which Hamas successfully challenged in the courts,[442] and continued to do so under American and Israeli pressure.[443] The basis of Hamas’s challenge to the EU classification in 2007 was that it was drawn up on the basis of media reports, rather than grounded in any analysis of Hamas’s history. In July 2017, the European Court of Justice overruled this challenge, citing that the evidence of media reports was only used for keeping Hamas on the list, rather than to add it to the list in the first place.[444]

The European General Court found in favour of Hamas in 2014, though the verdict was appealed by the EU countries. In September 2016 a legal advisor to the European Court of Justice, Eleanor Sharpston, provided an advisory opinion, in favour of cancelling the listing of Hamas as a terrorist organization. She argued that the determination originally adopted was flawed, and that the EU cannot “rely on facts and evidence found in press articles and information from the internet” in order to list organizations as terrorists.[445] Egypt,[446]Saudi Arabia,[447] Japan,[448] New Zealand,[449] Australia and the United Kingdom[450] have designated the military wing of Hamas as a terrorist organization.[451] The organization is banned in Jordan.[452] It is not regarded as a terrorist organization by Iran,[453]Russia,[454] Norway,[455] Switzerland,[456] Turkey, China,[457] and Brazil.[458]

Criticism

Human shields

A Hamas rocket launch site and its civilian surroundings.

After Operation Pillar of Defense, Human Rights Watch stated that Palestinian groups had endangered civilians by “repeatedly fired rockets from densely populated areas, near homes, businesses, and a hotel” and noted that under international law, parties to a conflict may not to place military targets in or near densely populated areas. One rocket was launched close to the Shawa and Housari Building, where various Palestinian and international media have offices; another was fired from the yard of a house near the Deira Hotel.[390][459] The New York Times journalist Steven Erlanger reported that “Hamas rocket and weapons caches, including rocket launchers, have been discovered in and under mosques, schools and civilian homes.”[460] Another report published by Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center revealed that Hamas used close to 100 mosques to store weapons and as launch-pads to shoot rockets. The report contains testimony from variety Palestinian sources, including a Hamas militant Sabhi Majad Atar, who said he was taught how to shoot rockets from inside a mosque.[461] Hamas has also been criticized by Israeli officials for blending into or hiding among the Palestinian civilian population During the 2008–2009 Israel–Gaza conflict.[462] The Israeli government published what it said was video evidence of human shield tactics by Hamas.[463] Israel said that Hamas frequently used mosques and school yards[464] as hideouts and places to store weapons,[465][466] and that Hamas militants stored weapons in their homes, making it difficult to ensure that civilians close to legitimate military targets are not hurt during Israeli military operations.[467] Israeli officials also accused the Hamas leadership of hiding under Shifa Hospital during the conflict, using the patients inside to deter an Israeli attack.[460][468]

The Israeli government filed a report entitled “Gaza Operations Investigation: Second Update” to the United Nations accusing Hamas of exploiting its rules of engagement by shooting rockets and launching attacks within protected civilian areas.[469][470][471] Israel says 12,000 rockets and mortars were fired at it between 2000 and 2008 – nearly 3,000 in 2008 alone.[472] In one case, an errant Israeli mortar strike killed dozens of people near a UN school. Hamas said that the mortar killed 42 people and left dozens wounded. Israel said that Hamas militants had launched a rocket from a yard adjacent to the school and one mortar of three rounds hit the school, due to a GPS error. According to the Israeli military probe, the remaining two rounds hit the yard used to launch rockets into Israel, killing two members of Hamas’s military wing who fired the rockets.[473] Human Right Watch called Hamas to “publicly renounce” the rocket attacks against Israeli civilians and hold those responsible to account. Human Right Watch program director Iain Levine said the attacks by Hamas were “unlawful and unjustifiable, and amount to war crimes”, and accused Hamas of putting Palestinians at risk by launching attacks from built-up areas.[472] Hamas spokesman relied that the report was “biased” and he denied that Hamas uses human shields.[472]

Human Rights Watch investigated 19 incidents involving 53 civilian deaths in Gaza that Israel said were the result of Hamas fighting in densely populated areas and did not find evidence for existence of Palestinian fighters in the areas at the time of the Israeli attack. In other cases where no civilians had died, the report concluded that Hamas may have deliberately fired rockets from areas close to civilians.[474] HRW also investigated 11 deaths that Israel said were civilians being used as human shields by Hamas. HRW found no evidence that the civilians were used as human shields, nor had they been shot in crossfire.[475] The Israeli ‘human shields’ charge against Hamas was called “full of holes” by The National (UAE), which stated that only Israel accused Hamas of using human shields during the conflict, though Hamas “may be guilty” of “locating military objectives within or near densely populated areas” and for “deliberately firing indiscriminate weapons into civilian populated areas”.[476]

On July 8, 2014, Hamas’s spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri encouraged the “policy of people confronting the Israeli warplanes with their bare chests in order to protect their homes”, saying it has proven itself.[477] Israeli soldiers recounted “Suddenly, a small boy appeared, and the terrorist grabbed him and escaped with him”;[478] “I saw with my own eyes someone using another person, a woman, as a shield. … And I can see very clearly that the woman doesn’t want to be there and he’s pulling her with him”;[479] and “We even found explosives in nurseries. The whole neighborhood was practically a terrorist base.”[480]

Israel has accused Hamas of using children as human shields. The Israeli government released video footage in which it claims two militants are shown grabbing a young boy’s arm from behind holding him to walk in front of them toward a group of people waiting near a wall. The IDF argues the militants were placing the boy between themselves and an Israeli sniper. The second scene shows an individual, described as a terrorist, grabbing a school boy off of a floor, where he is hiding behind a column from IDF fire, and using him as a human shield to walk to a different location.[481] After 15 alleged militants sought refuge in a mosque from Israeli forces, the BBC reported that Hamas radio instructed local women to go the mosque to protect the militants. Israeli forces later opened fire and killed two women.[482]

In November 2006, the Israeli Air Force warned Muhammad Weil Baroud, commander of the Popular Resistance Committees who are accused of launching rockets into Israeli territory, to evacuate his home in a Jabalya refugee camp apartment block in advance of a planned Israeli air strike. Baroud responded by calling for volunteers to protect the apartment block and nearby buildings and, according to The Jerusalem Post, hundreds of local residents, mostly women and children, responded. Israel suspended the air strike. Israel termed the action an example of Hamas using human shields.[483] In response to the incident, Hamas proclaimed: ‘We won. From now on we will form human chains around every house threatened with demolition.'”[484] In a November 22 press release, Human Rights Watch condemned Hamas, stating: “There is no excuse for calling civilians to the scene of a planned attack. Whether or not the home is a legitimate military target, knowingly asking civilians to stand in harm’s way is unlawful.”[485] Following criticism, Human rights Watch issued a statement saying that their initial assessment of the situation was in error. They stated that, on the basis of available evidence, the home demolition was in fact an administrative act, viewed in the context of Israel’s longstanding policy of punitive home demolitions, not a military act and thus would not fall within the purview of the law regulating hostilities during armed conflict, which had been the basis for their initial criticism of Hamas.[482]

When the UN-sponsored Goldstone Commission Report on the Gaza War was commissioned in 2009, it stated that it “found no evidence that Palestinian combatants mingled with the civilian population with the intention of shielding themselves from attack” though they deemed credible reports that Palestinian militants were “not always dressed in a way that distinguished them from civilians”.[486] Hamas MP Fathi Hamed stated that “For the Palestinian people, death has become an industry, at which women excel…the elderly excel at this…and so do the children. This is why they have formed human shields of the women, the children.”[487] Following the release of the Goldstone Report, the former commander of the British forces in Afghanistan Col. Richard Kemp was invited to testify at the UN Human Rights Council 12th Special Session that during Operation Cast Lead Israel encountered an “enemy that deliberately positioned its military capability behind the human shield of the civilian population”.[488][489][490]

Children as combatants

The Israeli government released a video compiled mostly from Arab news sources showing Palestinian children under the age of 15 going through military training and carrying and firing arms. The video’s narration explains that Hamas indoctrinates these child combatants and that Hamas operators send the children “on missions from which they would not risk their own lives”. According to the Israeli government, the children are used as spotters, to transport explosives and weapons, sent to play in areas to deter Israeli attacks and are sent unknowingly with explosive devices in their schoolbags to be blown up in the vicinity of Israelis.[491] The United Nations defines the use of children for military purposes as a war crime and a form of slavery. See Military use of children.

Although Hamas admits to sponsoring summer schools to train teenagers in handling weapons they condemn attacks by children. Following the deaths of three teenagers during a 2002 attack on Netzarim in central Gaza, Hamas banned attacks by children and “called on the teachers and religious leaders to spread the message of restraint among young boys”.[492][493] Hamas’s use of child labor to build tunnels with which to attack Israel has also been criticized, with at least 160 children killed in the tunnels as of 2012.[494]

Political freedoms

Hamas mural in the West Bank

Human rights groups and Gazans have accused the Hamas government in the Gaza Strip of restricting freedom of the press and forcefully suppressing dissent. Both foreign and Palestinian journalists report harassment and other measures taken against them.[495][496] In September 2007 the Gaza Interior Ministry disbanded the Gaza Strip branch of the pro-Fatah Union of Palestinian Journalists, a move criticized by Reporters without borders.[497] In November of that year the Hamas government arrested a British journalist and for a time canceled all press cards in Gaza.[498][499] On February 8, 2008, Hamas banned distribution of the pro-Fatah Al-Ayyam newspaper, and closed its offices in the Gaza Strip because it ran a caricature that mocked legislators loyal to Hamas.[500][501] The Gaza Strip Interior Ministry later issued an arrest warrant for the editor.[502]

More widely, in late August 2007 the group was accused in The Telegraph, a conservative British newspaper, of torturing, detaining, and firing on unarmed protesters who had objected to policies of the Hamas government.[503] Also in late August, Palestinian health officials reported that the Hamas government had been shutting down Gaza clinics in retaliation for doctor strikes – The Hamas government confirmed the “punitive measure against doctors” because, in its view, they had incited other doctors to suspend services and go out on strike.[504] In September 2007 the Hamas government banned public prayers, after Fatah supporters began holding worship sessions that quickly escalated into raucous protests against Hamas rule. Government security forces beat several gathering supporters and journalists.[505] In October 2008, the Hamas government announced it would release all political prisoners in custody in Gaza. Several hours after the announcement, 17 Fatah members were released.[506]

On August 2, 2012, the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) accused Hamas of harassing elected officials belong to the Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate (PJS) in Gaza. The IFJ said that journalists’ leaders in Gaza have faced a campaign of intimidation, as well as threats designed to force them to stop their union work. Some of these journalists are now facing charges of illegal activities and a travel ban, due to their refusal “to give in to pressure”. The IFJ said that these accusations are “malicious” and “should be dropped immediately”. The IFJ explained that the campaign against PJS members began in March 2012, after their election, and included a raid organized by Hamas supporters who took over the PJS offices in Gaza with the help of the security forces, and subsequently evicted the staff and elected officials. Other harassment includes the targeting of individuals who were bullied into stopping union work. The IFJ backed the PJS and called on Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh to intervene to stop “his officials’ unwarranted interference in journalists’ affairs”.[507] In November 2012, two Gazan journalists were prevented from leaving Gaza by Hamas. There were scheduled to participate in a conference in Cairo, Egypt. After being questioned by security forces, their passports were confiscated.[508] In 2016 Reporters Without Borders condemned Hamas for censorship and for torturing journalists. Reporters Without Borders Secretary-General Christophe Deloire said “As living conditions in the Gaza Strip are disastrous, Hamas wants to silence critics and does not hesitate to torture a journalist in order to control media coverage in its territory.”[509]

Human rights abuses

In June 2011, the Independent Commission for Human Rights based in Ramallah published a report whose findings included that the Palestinians in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip were subjected in 2010 to an “almost systematic campaign” of human rights abuses by the Palestinian Authority and Hamas, as well as by Israeli authorities, with the security forces belonging to the PA and Hamas being responsible for torture, arrests and arbitrary detentions.[510]

In 2012, the Human Rights Watch presented a 43 page long list of human rights violation committed by Hamas. Among actions attributed to Hamas the HRW report mentions beatings with metal clubs and rubber hoses, hanging of alleged collaborationists with Israel, and torture of 102 individuals. According to the report, Hamas also tortured civil society activists and peaceful protesters. Reflecting on the captivity of Gilad Shalit, the HRW report described it as “cruel and inhuman”. The report also slams Hamas for harassment of people based on so called morality offenses and for media censorship.[511][512] In a public statement Joe Stork, the deputy Middle East director of HRW claimed, “after five years of Hamas rule in Gaza, its criminal justice system reeks of injustice, routinely violates detainees’ rights and grants impunity to abusive security services.” Hamas responded by denying charges and describing them as “politically motivated”[513]

On May 26, 2015 Amnesty International released a report saying that Hamas carried out extrajudicial killings, abductions and arrests of Palestinians and used the Al-Shifa Hospital to detain, interrogate and torture suspects during the Israel–Gaza conflict in 2014. It details the executions of at least 23 Palestinians accused of collaborating with Israel and torture of dozens of others, many victims of torture were members of the rival Palestinian movement, Fatah.[514][515]

In 2019, Osama Qawassmeh, a Fatah spokesman in the West Bank, accused Hamas of “kidnapping and brutally torturing Fatah members in a way that no Palestinian can imagine.” Qawassmeh accused Hamas of kidnapping and torturing 100 Fatah members in Gaza. The torture allegedly included the practice called “shabah” – the painful binding of the hands and feet to a chair. Also in 2019, Fatah activist from Gaza Raed Abu al-Hassin was beaten and had his two legs broken by Hamas security officers. Al-Hassin was taken into custody by Hamas after he participated in a pro-Abbas demonstration in the Gaza Strip.[516]

International support

Hamas has always maintained leadership abroad. The movement is deliberately fragmented to ensure that Israel cannot kill its top political and military leaders.[517] Hamas used to be strongly allied with both Iran and Syria. Iran gave Hamas an estimated $13–15 million in 2011 as well as access to long-range missiles. Hamas’s political bureau was once located in the Syrian capital of Damascus before the start of the Syrian civil war. Relations between Hamas, Iran, and Syria began to turn cold when Hamas refused to back the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Instead, Hamas backed the Sunni rebels fighting against Assad. As a result, Iran cut funding to Hamas, and their terror proxy Hezbollah ordered Hamas members out of Lebanon.[518] Hamas was then forced out of Syria. Since then, Iran and Hezbollah have tried to mend fences with Hamas.[518] Hamas contacted Jordan and Sudan to see if either would open up its borders to its political bureau. But both countries refused – though they welcomed many Hamas members leaving Syria.[519] In 2012 Hamas headquarters subsequently moved to Doha, Qatar.[520]

From 2012 to 2013, under the leadership of Muslim Brotherhood President Mohamed Morsi, Hamas had the support of Egypt. However, when Morsi was removed from Office, his replacement Abdul Fattah al-Sisi outlawed the Muslim Brotherhood and destroyed the tunnels Hamas built into Egypt. The United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia are likewise hostile to Hamas. Like Egypt, they designated the Brotherhood as a terrorist organization and Hamas was viewed as its Palestinian equivalent.[518]

Qatar and Turkey

According to Middle East experts, now Hamas has two firm allies: Qatar and Turkey. Both give Hamas public and financial assistance estimated to be in the hundreds of millions of dollars. Shashank Joshi, senior research fellow at the Royal United Services Institute, says that “Qatar also hosts Hamas’s political bureau which includes Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal.” Meshaal also visits Turkey frequently to meet with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.[518] Erdogan has dedicated himself to breaking Hamas out of its political and economic seclusion. Last year on U.S. television Erdogan said, “I don’t see Hamas as a terror organization. Hamas is a political party.”[517]

In 2007, Qatar was, with Turkey, the only country to back Hamas after the group ousted the Palestinian Authority from the Gaza Strip.[518] The relationship between Hamas and Qatar strengthened in 2008 and 2009 when Khaled Meshaal was invited to attend the Doha Summit where he was seated next to the then Qatari Emir Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, who pledged $250 million to repair the damage caused by the Israel in the Israeli war on Gaza.[519] These events caused Qatar to become the main player in the “Palestinian issue”. Qatar called Gaza’s blockade unjust and immoral, which prompted the Hamas government in Gaza, including former Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, to thank Qatar for their “unconditional” support. Qatar then began regularly handing out political, material, humanitarian and charitable support for Hamas.[519]

In 2012, Qatar’s former Emir, Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, became the first head of state to visit Gaza under Hamas rule. He pledged to raise $400 million for reconstruction. Some have argued that the money Qatar gives to reconstruct Palestine is an excuse to pour even more money into Hamas.[520] Qatar’s reason for funding Hamas, which is shared by Recep Tayyip Erdogan, is allegedly that Islamist groups are growing and will eventually play a role in the region; thus it is important for Qatar (and Turkey) to maintain ties. During the Arab Spring, for example, Qatar backed the Muslim Brotherhood, the Egyptian Islamist group whose offshoot is Hamas.[521] Other sources say that advocating for Hamas is politically beneficial to Turkey and Qatar because the Palestinian cause draws popular support amongst their citizens at home.[522]

Some began to label Qatar a terrorist haven in part because it is harboring Hamas leader Meshaal.[521] They also harbor Husam Badran, former leader of Hamas’s military wing in the northern West Bank.[523] Husam Badran, current media spokesman for Hamas, was the instigator of several of the deadliest suicide bombings of the second intifada, including the Dolphinarium discotheque bombing in Tel Aviv, which killed 21 people.[524] Turkey has also been criticized for housing terrorists including Saleh al-Arouri, the senior Hamas officer, known for his ability to mastermind attacks from abroad. Al-Arouri is alleged to have orchestrated the June 2014 abduction and killing of three Israeli teenagers and to have started the 50-day war between Israel and Palestine, and now lives in Turkey.[525]

Speaking in reference to Qatar’s support for Hamas, during a 2015 visit to Palestine, Qatari official Mohammad al-Emadi, said Qatar is using the money not to help Hamas but rather the Palestinian people as a whole. He acknowledges however that giving to the Palestinian people means using Hamas as the local contact. Emadi said, “You have to support them. You don’t like them, don’t like them. But they control the country, you know.”[526] Some argue that Hamas’s relations with Qatar are putting Hamas in an awkward position because Qatar has become part of the regional Arab problem.

But Hamas claims that having contacts with various Arab countries establishes positive relations which will encourage Arab countries to do their duty toward the Palestinians and support their cause by influencing public opinion in the Arab world.[519] In March 2015, Hamas has announced its support of the Saudi Arabian-led military intervention in Yemen against the Shia Houthis and forces loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh.[527]

In May 2018, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan tweeted to the Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu that Hamas is not a terrorist organization but a resistance movement that defends the Palestinian homeland against an occupying power. During that period there were conflicts between Israeli troops and Palestinian protestors in the Gaza Strip, due to the decision of the United States to move their embassy to Jerusalem.[528]

China

After the Hamas victory in 2006, China did not label it a “terrorist organization” and welcomed Hamas’ foreign minister, Mahmoud al-Zahar, to Beijing for the China-Arab Cooperation Forum ignoring protests by both the United States and Israel but receiving praise from Mahmoud Abbas.[529][530] China has harshly criticised Israel for its economic blockade of Gaza since 2007 when Hamas assumed control of the territory.[531][529] Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao stated, “We believe that the Palestinian government is legally elected by the people there and it should be respected”.[532] In April 2011, a spokesman from China’s foreign ministry embraced the Hamas-Fatah agreement to form an interim government.[533]

In 2014 Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi called on Israel to lift its blockade and advised both Israel and Hamas to cease fighting. He reaffirmed support from China to the Palestinian people’s right to establish an independent state. He told a joint press conference, “China will grant $1.5 million in emergency humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza.”[534]

In June 2018, China voted in support of a United Nations Security Council resolution vetoed by the US that criticized Israel of excessive, disproportionate and indiscriminate force by the Israeli forces against Palestinian civilians in Gaza during the 2018 Gaza border protests. Later the same day, China abstained from voting on a US drafted resolution that blamed Hamas for the escalated violence.[535][536]

U.S.-based support

Several U.S. organizations were either shut down or held liable for financing Hamas in early 2001, groups that have origins from the mid-1990s: the Holy Land Foundation (HLF), Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP), and Kind Hearts. The U.S. Treasury Department specially designated the HLF in 2001 for terror ties: “from 1995 to 2001 the HLF transferred “approximately $12.4 million outside of the United States with the intent to contribute funds, goods, and services to Hamas.” According to the Treasury Department, Khaled Meshal identified one of HLF’s officers, Mohammed El-Mezain as “the Hamas leader for the U.S.” In 2003, IAP was found liable for financially supporting Hamas, and in 2006, Kind Hearts had their assets frozen for supporting Hamas.[537] According to congressional testimony by Jonathan Schanzer in 2016, the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS) against Israel includes a web of Hamas supporters from the Illinois-based organization American Muslims for Palestine (AMP).[538]

See also

References …

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hamas

Story 3: President Trump Threatens To Impose a 25% Tariff on $200 Billion of Chinese Exports into United States After Chinese Communist Renege on Trade Deal Commitments — Time To Pull The Trigger on 25% Tariff on Chinese Goods — Walk Away Renee — Videos

Trump would walk away from a bad China trade deal

Have Trump’s threats derailed hopes for a US-China trade deal?

US-China trade deal in doubt after Trump’s tariff threat

Has China been duping the US for nearly half a century?

China made a mistake retaliating to Trump tariffs: Peter Navarro

Peter Navarro – How Trump Will Win Against China on Trade

Warren Buffett, Charlie Munger, Bill Gates on the state of the US-China trade talks

The Four Tops – Walk Away Renee (with lyrics on screen)

Walk Away Renee – The left Banke

THE LEFT BANKE- WALK AWAY RENEE- PERFORMED @ DROM.mov

Walk Away Renee

And when I see the sign that points one way
The lot we used to pass by every day
Just walk away Renee
You won’t see me follow you back home
The empty sidewalks on my block are not the same
You’re not to blame
From deep inside the tears that I’m forced to cry
From deep inside the pain that I chose to hide
Just walk away Renee
You won’t see me follow you back home
Now as the rain beats down upon my weary eyes
For me it cries
Just walk away Renee
You won’t see me follow you back home
Now as the rain beats down upon my weary eyes
For me it cries
Your name and mine inside a heart upon a wall
Still finds a way to haunt me, though they’re so small
Just walk away Renee
You won’t see me follow you back home
The empty sidewalks on my block are not the same
You’re not to blame
Songwriters: Bob Calilli / Mike Brown / Tony Sansone

Trump administration accuses China of “reneging” on trade deal commitments

Trump and Liu He
Trump and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

U.S. trade representative Robert Lighthizer said in a briefing with reporters Monday he will put out a Federal Register notice tomorrow saying that the Trump administration will raise tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods from 10% to 25%, and that importers will begin paying the new tariffs “the first minute of Friday.”

Why it matters: The business community and markets had been cautiously hopeful that Trump’s Sunday tweets were an empty threat to create leverage over China and that he’d ultimately back down. That’s still possible, of course, but Lighthizer made clear he didn’t think that was going to happen.

Driving the news: Lighthizer said he still expects the top Chinese negotiator, Liu He, to come to Washington on Thursday, though he said he hadn’t spoken to the vice premier since he and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin left Beijing last week. Mnuchin, who was also in the briefing, said he hadn’t spoken to Liu He either since he left China.

  • Mnuchin said he thought until recent days that the Trump administration was on the precipice of a “historic” deal with China — one that was hyper-detailed, running to almost 150 pages.
  • He said the past week had brought a “big change in direction for the negotiations” with the Chinese backtracking on specific commitments that they had made in writing.

Mnuchin and Lighthizer wouldn’t say what, specifically, the Chinese were trying to re-trade. But they both stressed that China’s team wasn’t squabbling over small stuff. Lighthizer and Mnuchin used words like “substantive” and “substantial” to characterize the attempted Chinese backflip.

Between the lines: Mnuchin left slightly more room for another twist this week. He made a point of saying that Liu He had been “very helpful to work with” and he’d built a strong relationship with the vice premier. He said President Trump had been willing to extend the deadline on tariff hikes previously because of the “substantial progress” they’d made.

  • Lighthizer said his interpretation of what happened was that some on the Chinese side found the commitments the negotiating team had already agreed on to be unacceptable. (Translation: The Chinese side has hardliners, too.) “I would use the word reneging on prior commitments,” Lighthizer said.
  • Mnuchin, who is less hawkish on China, left slightly more room for a last minute plot twist. He said if the Chinese come to Washington and are willing to go back to their original commitments and negotiate in good faith, then of course he and Lighthizer would take that to President Trump. But as of now, the tariffs are going ahead, he said.

What’s next? A reporter asked Lighthizer what he would say to American businesses who already have goods on the water headed to U.S. ports, which will face significantly higher costs if the tariffs go into effect. Lighthizer said, “There’ll be ways to work out” the situation but he gave no specifics. He said it’s been clear for some time that something like this — a dramatic tariff increase — could happen. U.S. businesses, in other words, should have been prepared for this.

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 904, June 5, 2017, Story 1: Breaking — Another Radical Islamic Terrorist Jihadist Attack In United Kingdom — 7 Killed By A Van or Large Knifes and 3 Terrorist Attackers Killed By Police On London Bridge and 48 Injured — Videos — Story 2: Big Lie Media and Lying Lunatic Left Losers Become Hysterical Over President Trump Withdrawal From Paris Climate Accord — Videos

Posted on June 5, 2017. Filed under: American History, Barack H. Obama, Blogroll, Breaking News, Business, Climate Change, Coal, Coal, Communications, Congress, Constitutional Law, Corruption, Countries, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Economics, Elections, Employment, Energy, European History, Free Trade, Freedom of Speech, Genocide, Government, Government Dependency, Government Spending, History, House of Representatives, Human, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Independence, Investments, Labor Economics, Law, Legal Immigration, Life, Media, Middle East, Natural Gas, Natural Gas, News, Nuclear, Obama, Oil, Oil, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Polls, President Barack Obama, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Regulation, Resources, Rule of Law, Scandals, Security, Senate, Solar, Success, Surveillance and Spying On American People, Taxation, Taxes, Terror, Terrorism, Unemployment, United Kingdom, United States of America, Videos, Violence, War, Wealth, Weapons, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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 Ringleader Abz from east London lays dying on the floor following hail of police bullets

Image result for dr. john christy slides climate change

Image result for dr. john christy slides climate change

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Story 1: Breaking — Another Radical Islamic Terrorist Jihadist Attack In United Kingdom — Videos —

Image result for june 3, 2017 london bridge attack map 8 minutesImage result for june 3, 2017 london bridge attack map 8 minutesImage result for june 3, 2017 london bridge attack map 8 minutesImage result for june 3, 2017 london bridge attack map 8 minutesImage result for june 3, 2017 london bridge attack map 8 minutesImage result for june 3, 2017 london bridge attack map 8 minutesImage result for june 3, 2017 london bridge attack map 8 minutes

American describes seeing van hit people on London Bridge

London attack: Eight minutes of terror

London Bridge attack: What happened

Canadian killed in London terror attack identified

London Bridge Terror Attack: Eyewitness Account #2 – John Stokes

London Bridge Attack: 19-year-old says taxi driver saved her life

Tucker: Our leaders help fanatics who hate our way of life

Krauthammer: London attacks a failure of assimilation

Mark Steyn: Britain must stop importing terrorism

Katie Hopkins! “London Bridge Has Fallen Down!”

Trump Hazes London’s Mayor On Twitter

Eyewitness describes horror as van mowed down pedestrians

Kallstrom on terror in London: We need to change the laws

‘Get down! Stay down!’ Police sweep restaurant in London

Report: London attackers yelled ‘This is for Allah’

Muslim man: This attack does not represent Islam at all

London Bridge Attack – June 3, 2017

Theresa May on London Bridge terror attack FULL STATEMENT from Downing St. (04Jun17)

British Prime Minister Theresa May on U.K. terror attack: ‘Enough is enough’ –

NIGEL FARAGE REACTS TO THE LONDON BRIDGE INCIDENT

London Bridge Attack: The Final Straw and Game Changer — What Needs to Be Done Immediately

London Bridge Attacks, Politicians Attempt to Respond and the Media Remain Dumbfounded

 

THE JIHADI NEXT DOOR

London Bridge attacker in Arsenal shirt was ex-Tube worker ‘family man’ called Abz, 27 who appeared on Channel 4 documentary

The maniac was gunned down along with two other terror thugs by armed cops on Saturday in Borough Market

THE Arsenal kit wearing ringleader of the London Bridge terror attack posed with a jihadi flag on Channel 4 documentary The Jihadis Next Door, was thrown out of a mosque and tried to radicalise kids in his local park in the years ahead of the devastating atrocity.

The ex-KFC and London Tube worker, known as Abz, 27, was quizzed by cops over his twisted views before he was gunned down along with his two accomplices down following the depraved assault on Saturday night.

Ringleader Abz from east London lays dying on the floor following hail of police bullets

Ringleader Abz from east London lays dying on the floor following hail of police bullets

Abz pictured here turning to the camera after posing with the jihadi flag in the park

Abz pictured here turning to the camera after posing with the jihadi flag in the park

The terrorist was pictured as part of a group in Regent’s Park brandishing a black flag

The terrorist was pictured as part of a group in Regent’s Park brandishing a black flag

 

The video showed the group gathered in a London park

Suspected London Bridge terror suspect appears with a group brandishing a Jihadi flag in TV documentary ‘The Jihadis Next Door’

Borough Market moments after the terrorists were shot by armed police

Borough Market moments after the terrorists were shot by armed police

The ringleader of the terror gang pictured here after being shot in Borough Market

The ringleader of the terror gang pictured here after being shot in Borough Market

The trio killed seven people after mowing down revellers in central London before going on a rampage wearing fake bomb vests and wielding hunting knives.

The man who went on to wage a horrific attack on people at London Bridge previously appeared in a programme called The Jihadis Next Door on Channel 4 and was also thrown out of his mosque for ranting about an election.

A former friend of the Watford-born married father-of-two has revealed he contacted police about the terror thug’s extremist views, and claims he was radicalised after watching twisted YouTube videos.


RED FLAGS ON HIS RISE TO TERROR ATROCITY:

  • Abz appeared on C4’s The Jihadis Next Door unfurling a jihadi flag
  • He was thrown out of his mosque for ranting that voting in an election was “un-Islamic”
  • A friend contacted police about him due to concerns – he was quizzed but not arrested and allowed to keep his passport
  • He attempted to radicalise children in a nearby park
  • He was reported for a demonstration in Regents Park

The unnamed man said he contacted cops in Barking, east London, after the maniac killer discussed ISIS-inspired terror attacks.

He told BBC’s Asian Network that the jihadi had become brainwashed after watching clips of US hate preacher Ahmad Musa Jibril.

He said: “He used to listen to a lot of Musa Jibril. I have heard some of this stuff and it’s very radical.

“I am surprised this stuff is still on YouTube and is easily accessible.

“I phoned the anti-terror hotline. I spoke to the gentleman. I told him about our conversation and why I think he was radicalised.”

After confirming Abz was allowed to keep his passport and was not arrested, he added: “I did my bit, I know a lot of other people did their bit, but the authorities did not do their bit.”


WHAT WE KNOW SO FAR:

Did you see the London Bridge terror attack, or know anyone involved? Please contact The Sun newsdesk on 020 7782 4100, text 07423720250 or email exclusive@the-sun.co.uk


Abz appeared on a Channel 4 documentary The Jihadis Next Door last year

Abz appeared on a Channel 4 documentary The Jihadis Next Door last year

The radical group he was part of featured heavily on the show

The radical group he was part of featured heavily on the show

The London Bridge attacker known as Abz was said to be radicalised after watching videos of hate preacher Ahmad Musa Jibril

The London Bridge attacker known as Abz was said to be radicalised after watching videos of hate preacher Ahmad Musa Jibril

Another neighbour Erica Gasparri also said she shopped the terrorist to police in Barking when he tried to “brainwash” her children.

The Italian mum-of-three sensationally revealed that two of her kids came home from the local park and said: “Mummy I want to become a Muslim,” reports the Telegraph.

She said: “He was trying to radicalise the children, he would go down to the park and talk to them about Islam.

“He also came to the houses and gave the kids money and sweets during Ramadan.”

A photographer captured a detective carrying notes yesterday which appeared to suggest a man in the investigation had been quizzed by police last year – while the name of the person has not been revealed, it is thought to be one of the three men who carried out Saturday’s terror attack.

Two killers stalk innocent victims in Borough Market on Saturday night

Two killers stalk innocent victims in Borough Market on Saturday night

The third jihadi monster can be seen in the middle of his killing spree

The third jihadi monster can be seen in the middle of his killing spree

A police officer comforts an emotional woman at the scene of the attack on Sunday

A police officer comforts an emotional woman at the scene of the attack on Sunday

The white van used in the deadly attack is removed by authorities on Sunday

21
The white van used in the deadly attack is removed by authorities on Sunday

Police storm into bar amid London Bridge terror attack

A YouTube video shows the extremist in Islamic dress and shades berating police outside a London mosque.

He was part of a group reported for demonstrating in Regent’s Park, central London.

A source said: “After that the word went around that he was someone to be avoided at all costs.

“With every passing day he began to look more and more like a terrorist.”

Other residents in Barking who knew the warped thug described him as a family man who held the door open for old ladies and played with local children.

But one neighbour said he constantly changed his facial appearance and “always looked different,” reports the Mail Online.

Another unnamed resident who knew him described him as a “generous” person who people would leave their children with.

Speaking with the Mail, he said: “He used to play table tennis and he was really generous with everyone’s kids. People would leave their kids to play with him.

“You’d never expect anything like this from him.”

A picture of the van used in the deadly terror attack which left seven innocent people dead in the London Bridge area

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A picture of the van used in the deadly terror attack which left seven innocent people dead in the London Bridge area

A victim being treated on a stretcher following the terror attack on London Bridge

A victim being treated on a stretcher following the terror attack on London Bridge

Dashcam footage shows bodies lying on pavement after London Bridge terror attack

The extremist was thrown out of an East London mosque two years ago for ranting that voting in an election was “un-Islamic”.

One local said: “On Saturday he was asking one of our other neighbours where he could rent a van and how much it would cost.”

The wife of the killer, who was of Pakistani origin, had just given birth to their second child, neighbours in Barking revealed.

The couple are believed to have been living with his mum — enjoying a comfortable lifestyle boosted by state handouts.

The beast was thrown out of his local mosque in 2015 after he interrupted a sermon to shout that voting in a general election was “un-Islamic.”

A source said: “He had no special friends there. He would arrive, pray and then leave.

“He seemed an uneducated person who had no knowledge of religion.”

A neighbour said: “He was into football. He would play on the park.”

Ikenna Chigbo recognised the killer’s old Arsenal shirt in an image of the shot terrorists.

He said: “He was wearing the same top yesterday. He was saying to me, ‘Oh, where can I get a van from?

Masked military personnel patrol London Streets

Masked military personnel patrol London Streets

Police give urgent instructions to the public following the terror attack

Police give urgent instructions to the public following the terror attack

“He was just asking me all the details — how much was it, and just like asking where he could get a van, basically.”

Another neighbour, Furqan Nabi, 35, said: “Abz came from a Pakistani family but was brought up in this country from a very young age.

“He seemed like a totally normal, nice guy. I can’t believe what has happened.”

The accountant also told how the extremist asked about hiring a van.

He said: “He was a bit vague about why he wanted it.

“The reason was far more shocking than anyone could have realised.”

The family’s social housing flat was raided by counter-terror cops at 7am — one of a series of swoops in the wake of the atrocity that stunned Britain and the world.

A total of 12 people were arrested in the area and near, all of whom have since been released without charge.

The killer’s sister was held in East Ham.

A large area of an East Ham street was cordoned off this afternoon

A large area of an East Ham street was cordoned off this afternoon

Flats above a number of shops were raided as police swarmed on the area in East Ham

Flats above a number of shops were raided as police swarmed on the area in East Ham

Woman taken away on stretcher from the flats in Barking

Her husband said: “I don’t know anything. We haven’t been told what’s going on. We just want to grieve in peace.”

Half a mile from the brother’s flat, police blew in the door of an apartment and seized a mother of one aged 38 as she cradled her 18-month-old daughter.

The tearful mum was bundled into the back of an unmarked Ford Mondeo.

Her toddler was taken away in another car. A neighbour said: “Her ex-boyfriend Rashid used to live with them but moved out a few weeks ago.”

In another part of Barking — which is eight miles from the scene of Saturday night’s horror — armed cops had to talk a man out of jumping from the window of a flat they raided.

Terrified Londoners put their hands above their heads

Terrified Londoners put their hands above their heads

Police instructed the public to put hands above their heads to avoid terrorist hiding in the crowd

Police instructed the public to put hands above their heads to avoid terrorist hiding in the crowd

A witness said: “Five people were arrested and taken out of the house, including a woman.”

A friend of Abz, who quit his KFC job around two years ago to work on the Tube, said: “Back then he had a reputation for being a bit shady and taking drugs.

“But all that changed when he became radicalised. He began stopping his neighbours in the street and asking them if they had been saying their prayers and when they had been to the mosque.”

Deene Azak, 34, whose home is near where the killer lived, said: “I saw him two days ago and he had shaved his head. That’s how I recognised him when I saw a picture of an attacker dead at the scene at London Bridge.”

https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/3723382/attacker-arsenal-kit-kfc-c4-doc-jihadi-flag-radicalise-kids-thrown-out-mosque-quizzed-cops/

12 arrested in London’s night of terror; IS claims attack

LONDON (AP) – British police arrested a dozen people Sunday in a widening terrorism investigation after attackers using a van and large knives turned a balmy evening of nightlife into a bloodbath and killed seven people in the heart of London. The Islamic State group claimed responsibility.

Although the attackers were also dead, authorities raced to determine whether they had accomplices, and Prime Minister Theresa May warned that the country faced a new threat from copycat attacks.

The country’s major political parties temporarily suspended campaigning with only days to go before the general election. May said the vote would take place as scheduled Thursday because “violence can never be allowed to disrupt the democratic process.”

Police forensic officers on London Bridge Sunday June 4, 2017 following Saturday night's terrorist incident. The assault began Saturday night when a van veered off the road and barreled into pedestrians on busy London Bridge. Three men fled the van with large knives and attacked people at bars and restaurants in nearby Borough Market, police and witnesses said. The attack unfolded quickly, and police said officers had shot and killed the three attackers within eight minutes. (Andrew Matthews/PA via AP)

The assault unfolded over a few terrifying minutes late Saturday, starting when a rented van veered off the road and barreled into pedestrians on busy London Bridge. Three men then got out of the vehicle with large knives and attacked people at bars and restaurants in nearby Borough Market until they were shot dead by police.

“They went ‘This is for Allah,’ and they had a woman on the floor. They were stabbing her,” witness Gerard Vowls said.

Florin Morariu, a Romanian chef who works in the Bread Ahead bakery, said he saw people running and some fainting. Then two people approached another person and “began to stick the knife in … and then I froze and I didn’t know what to do.”

He said he managed to get near one attacker and “hit him around the head” with a bread basket.

“There was a car with a loudspeaker saying ‘go, go’ and they (police) threw a grenade. … and then I ran,” he said.

London police said officers killed the attackers within eight minutes of arriving at the scene. Eight officers fired some 50 rounds, said Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley, the force’s head of counterterrorism.

Islamic State’s statement from its Aamaq news agency claimed the group’s “fighters” were responsible, the SITE Intelligence Group said Sunday. IS has urged supporters to weaponize vehicles in attacks against the West.

It was the third attack in Britain this year that Islamic State has claimed – including the similar attack on Westminister Bridge in March and the Manchester concert bombing two weeks ago – and one of several involving vehicles in Europe, including last year’s Bastille Day rampage in the French city of Nice.

The three attackers Saturday were wearing what appeared to be suicide belts, but the belts turned out to be fake. Investigators were working to determine whether others assisted them, Rowley said.

A bystander was also wounded by the gunfire, but the civilian’s injuries were not believed to be critical.

Forty-eight people, including two police officers, were treated at hospitals. Twenty-one remained in critical condition Sunday. Among the wounded were German, French, Spanish and Australian citizens, officials said.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said a Canadian woman was among the dead, and a French national was also confirmed dead.

Counterterrorism officers raided several addresses in Barking, an east London suburb, and arrested 12 people there Sunday, police said.

Neighbors at the site of one raid in Barking said a man who lived there resembled one of the attackers shown in news photographs.

“He’s lived here for about three years,” Damien Pettit said. “He’s one of our neighbors. I’ve said hello in passing more than 50, 60 occasions. He has two young kids. He was a very nice guy.”

Armed officers also conducted a raid in the East Ham area of the city. Video showed police shouting at someone: “Get on the balcony. Stand up and show us your hands!”

The rampage was the third major attack in Britain in the past three months, including a similar vehicle and knife attack on Westminster Bridge in March that left five people dead.

On May 22, a suicide bomber killed 22 people and injured dozens at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, in northwest England. Grande and other stars performed Sunday night at a benefit concert for victims under tight security in Manchester.

“I don’t feel or smell or hear or see any fear in this building. All we feel here tonight is love, resilience, positivity,” said Pharrel Williams, who performed alongside Miley Cyrus.

May said the London and Manchester attacks were not directly connected, “but we believe we are experiencing a new trend in the threat we face” as “terrorism breeds terrorism” and attackers copy one another. She said five credible plots have been disrupted since March.

“It is time to say, enough is enough,” she said.

Britain’s official terrorism threat level was raised from “severe” to “critical” after the Manchester attack, meaning an attack may be imminent. Several days later it was lowered again to “severe,” meaning an attack is highly likely.

Home Secretary Amber Rudd said Sunday that the level would remain at severe because police believe there are no perpetrators still on the loose.

London Bridge and a large area on the south bank of the River Thames remained cordoned off Sunday, and police told people to avoid the area.

Hours earlier, the area packed with bars and restaurants around the foodie magnet of Borough Market had been a scene of panic, as people barricaded themselves in pubs and restaurants or fled through the streets.

Medics treated the wounded near the market as shocked people cried and shouted around them. Police officers yelled at people to run from the area, and blasts were heard as officers performed a series of controlled explosions.

Renan Marquese, a sous-chef at a tapas restaurant, said he was working when he heard chaotic sounds outside.

“When I open the door I see three dead people on the floor,” he said. “People running everywhere, police shouting to run away.”

He said that he helped a man and his partner, even taking the woman into his arms because she was too upset to walk properly. He said it took him 20 minutes to carry her across the bridge, stumbling all the way.

“It was really scary,” he said.

Amid the violence and fear were stories of compassion and heroism. The British Transport Police said one of their officers, among the first to arrive, took the attackers on armed only with his baton and was seriously wounded. He was later described as being in stable condition with injuries that were not life-threatening.

Witnesses described how passers-by threw chairs and beer glasses at the attackers in an attempt to stop them.

Richard Angell, who was in a restaurant, said he looked out and saw “a guy who is throwing a table at somebody, and it’s very unclear about what is happening. And it turns out to be a heroic guy who saw what was happening and just bombarded these terrible cowardly people with stuff.”

Vowls also saw people striking back at the attackers and said he joined in.

“I went ‘Oi, terrorists, cowards, Oi!'” he told The Associated Press. Then he picked up a chair.

“I chucked it, but I think I missed one of them, and then I picked up a stool, and I threw it at him. And he looked at me. He started running towards me, and then he decided not to.

“Then I was screaming at them, picking up bottles from a beer barrel. I was just throwing it at them, trying to get them to chase me so I could get them out into the main road where the police could see them and obviously take them down.”

___

Associated Press writers Lori Hinnant, Sylvia Hui, Raphael Satter, David Keyton and Niko Price in London and Alison Mutler in Bucharest contributed to this report.

A small child lays flowers at a corner tribute in the London Bridge area of London, Sunday, June 4, 2017. Police specialists collected evidence in the heart of London after a series of attacks described as terrorism killed several people and injured more than 40 others. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

A small child lays flowers at a corner tribute in the London Bridge area of London, Sunday, June 4, 2017. Police specialists collected evidence in the heart of London after a series of attacks described as terrorism killed several people and injured more than 40 others. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

Police guard a corner near a tribute of flowers and posters in the London Bridge area of London, Sunday, June 4, 2017. Police specialists collected evidence in the heart of London after a series of attacks described as terrorism killed several people and injured more than 40 others. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

Police guard a corner near a tribute of flowers and posters in the London Bridge area of London, Sunday, June 4, 2017. Police specialists collected evidence in the heart of London after a series of attacks described as terrorism killed several people and injured more than 40 others. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

Police surround the van used by the attackers at London Bridge, Saturday June 3, 2017. The assault began Saturday night when a van veered off the road and barreled into pedestrians on busy London Bridge. Three men fled the van with large knives and attacked people at bars and restaurants in nearby Borough Market, police and witnesses said. (AP Photo/Kevin Dunne)

Police surround the van used by the attackers at London Bridge, Saturday June 3, 2017. The assault began Saturday night when a van veered off the road and barreled into pedestrians on busy London Bridge. Three men fled the van with large knives and attacked people at bars and restaurants in nearby Borough Market, police and witnesses said. (AP Photo/Kevin Dunne)

In this image taken from video footage, people run from the scene of attack, alongside a man strolling holding a pint of beer, right, in London, late Saturday, June 3, 2017. People in the U.K. have responded to the deadly London Bridge attack with sorrow and distinctly British humor, hailing a man pictured walking away from the mayhem holding a pint of beer as a tongue-in-cheek symbol of defiance. (Sky news via AP)

In this image taken from video footage, people run from the scene of attack, alongside a man strolling holding a pint of beer, right, in London, late Saturday, June 3, 2017. People in the U.K. have responded to the deadly London Bridge attack with sorrow and distinctly British humor, hailing a man pictured walking away from the mayhem holding a pint of beer as a tongue-in-cheek symbol of defiance. (Sky news via AP)

A tribute of flowers has been placed on the pavement and a poster with a photo of London Bridge is taped on a wall in the London Bridge area of London, Sunday, June 4, 2017. Police specialists collected evidence in the heart of London after a series of attacks described as terrorism killed several people and injured more than 40 others. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

A tribute of flowers has been placed on the pavement and a poster with a photo of London Bridge is taped on a wall in the London Bridge area of London, Sunday, June 4, 2017. Police specialists collected evidence in the heart of London after a series of attacks described as terrorism killed several people and injured more than 40 others. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

Two women hug after bringing flowers to add to tributes laid on the north side of London Bridge following last night's terrorist incident, Sunday, June 4, 2017. Police specialists collected evidence in the heart of London after a series of attacks described as terrorism killed several people and injured more than 40 others. (David Mirzoeff/PA via AP)

Two women hug after bringing flowers to add to tributes laid on the north side of London Bridge following last night’s terrorist incident, Sunday, June 4, 2017. Police specialists collected evidence in the heart of London after a series of attacks described as terrorism killed several people and injured more than 40 others. (David Mirzoeff/PA via AP)

Two women hug after bringing flowers to add to tributes laid on the north side of London Bridge following last night's terrorist incident, Sunday, June 4, 2017. Police specialists collected evidence in the heart of London after a series of attacks described as terrorism killed several people and injured more than 40 others. (David Mirzoeff/PA via AP)

Two women hug after bringing flowers to add to tributes laid on the north side of London Bridge following last night’s terrorist incident, Sunday, June 4, 2017. Police specialists collected evidence in the heart of London after a series of attacks described as terrorism killed several people and injured more than 40 others. (David Mirzoeff/PA via AP)

A woman hands flowers to a police officer to lay on the north side of London Bridge following last night's terrorist incident, Sunday, June 4, 2017. Police specialists collected evidence in the heart of London after a series of attacks described as terrorism killed several people and injured more than 40 others. (David Mirzoeff/PA via AP)

A woman hands flowers to a police officer to lay on the north side of London Bridge following last night’s terrorist incident, Sunday, June 4, 2017. Police specialists collected evidence in the heart of London after a series of attacks described as terrorism killed several people and injured more than 40 others. (David Mirzoeff/PA via AP)

A man lays flowers at a corner tribute in the London Bridge area of London, Sunday, June 4, 2017. Police specialists collected evidence in the heart of London after a series of attacks described as terrorism killed several people and injured more than 40 others. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

A man lays flowers at a corner tribute in the London Bridge area of London, Sunday, June 4, 2017. Police specialists collected evidence in the heart of London after a series of attacks described as terrorism killed several people and injured more than 40 others. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

Armed police on St Thomas Street, London, Sunday June 4, 2017, near the scene of Saturday night's terrorist incident on London Bridge and at Borough Market. Several people were killed in the terror attack at the heart of London and dozens injured. Prime Minister Theresa May convened an emergency security cabinet session Sunday to deal with the crisis. (Dominic Lipinski/PA via AP)

Armed police on St Thomas Street, London, Sunday June 4, 2017, near the scene of Saturday night’s terrorist incident on London Bridge and at Borough Market. Several people were killed in the terror attack at the heart of London and dozens injured. Prime Minister Theresa May convened an emergency security cabinet session Sunday to deal with the crisis. (Dominic Lipinski/PA via AP)

Chairman of the London Fatwa Council, Mohammad Yazdani Raza hold a sign as he marches near Borough Market in London, Sunday, June 4, 2017. Police specialists collected evidence in the heart of London after a series of attacks described as terrorism killed several people and injured more than 40 others. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

Chairman of the London Fatwa Council, Mohammad Yazdani Raza hold a sign as he marches near Borough Market in London, Sunday, June 4, 2017. Police specialists collected evidence in the heart of London after a series of attacks described as terrorism killed several people and injured more than 40 others. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/ap/article-4570246/Terror-attacks-strike-heart-London-6-people-killed.html#ixzz4jAVTu5hl
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Story 2: Big Lie Media and Lying Lunatic Left Losers Become Hysterical Over President Trump’s Withdrawal From Paris Climate Accord —  Videos

Social scientists should never try to predict the future; they have trouble enough predicting the past.”

~James Q. Wilson

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Tucker: Trump gets US out of bad deal and left melts down

Amb. Bolton: Leaving Paris accord is an ‘excellent decision’

The optics of withdrawing from the Paris climate deal

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Global Warming

Professor Fred Singer on Climate Change Pt 1

Professor Fred Singer on Climate Change pt 2

Stossel: Blinding Us with “Science”

Climate Change: What Do Scientists Say?

Climate Change: What’s So Alarming?

Is Climate Change Our Biggest Problem?

What They Haven’t Told You about Climate Change

Do 97% of Climate Scientists Really Agree?

Why People Don’t Believe In Climate Science

Dr. John R. Christy on Climate Change at Congressional Hearing

John Christy on The Economics and Politics of Climate Change

John Christy: Climatologist – Science, Politics and Morality

Another scientist comes out against global warming

Exploring Climate Change: Full Length Interview with Dr. John Christy

Global Warming / Climate Change Hoax – Dr. Roy Spencer (1)

MIT Professor Richard Lindzen On the Corruption of Climate Science

Interview with Professor Richard Lindzen

Richard Lindzen “Global Warming Alarmism: Science in the Public Square”

Climate I: Is The Debate Over?

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Dr Easterbrook Global Warming HOAX & Facts

Climate Change in 12 Minutes – The Skeptic’s Case

Dr David Evans: Global Warming is Manmade? (1 of 2)

Dr David Evans: Global Warming is Manmade? (2 of 2)

Wikileaks on “Climategate” …

Climategate: What They Aren’t Telling You!

Climategate: Dr. Tim Ball on the hacked CRU emails

Climategate is Still the Issue

Climategate: The Backstory

The Climategate Scandal. (Part 1)

The Climategate Scandal. (Part 2)

The Climategate Scandal. (Part 3)

Fred Singer (Panel 4) – ICCC9 July 8, 2014

Fred Singer on Climate Change Data

S. Fred Singer | Global Warming: Scientific Fact or Fiction?

Freeman Dyson: A Global Warming Heretic

Freeman Dyson on the Global Warming Hysteria April, 2015

Freeman Dyson: Heretical Thoughts About Science and Society

Freeman Dyson – Where Do the Laws of Nature Come From?

Freeman Dyson on Global Warming 1 of 2 Bogus Climate Models

Freeman Dyson on Global Warming 2 of 2 Bogus Climate Models

More Scientists don’t see CO2 as temperature driver

Professor Bob Carter PhD on Global Warming

The more CO2, the better: Bob Carter

The Global Warming Hoax Explained for Dummies

Global warming and the Carbon Tax Scam

Can You Trust The Press?

The Dark Art of Political Intimidation

7 INSANE Effects of Climate Change in Your Lifetime

MAJOR REDUCTIONS IN CARBON EMISSIONS ARE NOT WORTH THE MONEY 4 /14- Intelligence Squared U.S.

What the media isn’t telling you about Climate Change

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Meet Maurice Strong

Life and Times: Maurice Strong (Complete)

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Maurice Strong Interview (BBC, 1972)

Maurice Strong’s unprecedented rise to power

Maurice Strong: Climate Change

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Global Warming 101 | National Geographic

The Great Global Warming Swindle Full Movie

60% Think Senate Should Vote on Paris Climate Accord

Friday, June 02, 2017

Most voters disagree with President Trump’s decision to quit the Paris anti-global warming agreement and think its fate should be decided by the U.S. Senate instead.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that just 30% of Likely U.S. Voters agree with the president’s decision to pull the United States out of the agreement signed by President Obama and the leaders of 194 other nations. Sixty percent (60%) think Trump should submit the treaty to the Senate for an up-or-down vote. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

(Want a free daily e-mail update? If it’s in the news, it’s in our polls). Rasmussen Reports updates are also available on Twitter or Facebook.

The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on May 31-June 1, 2017 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/general_politics/may_2017/60_think_senate_should_vote_on_paris_climate_accord

Voters Don’t Think Feds Do Enough to Fight Global Warming

Thursday, March 23, 2017

President Trump is expected to dismantle President Obama’s climate change policies, but most voters already think the government isn’t doing enough about the problem.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that just 20% of Likely U.S. Voters feel the federal government is now taking the right level of action to fight global warming. Fifty-three percent (53%) think the government is not doing enough, while 21% say it’s doing too much. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

(Want a free daily e-mail update? If it’s in the news, it’s in our polls). Rasmussen Reports updates are also available on Twitter or Facebook.

The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on March 20-21, 2017 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/archive/environment_energy_update_archive/voters_don_t_think_feds_do_enough_to_fight_global_warming

 

Voters Question Cost of Paris Climate Deal
in PoliticsFacebookTwitterEmail thisShareThis

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

While voters are evenly divided on the effectiveness of the new international climate change agreement, most think it will increase energy costs here at home, and few are willing to pay those additional costs. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

(Want a free daily e-mail update? If it’s in the news, it’s in our polls). Rasmussen Reports updates are also available on Twitter or Facebook.

The national survey of 1,000 Likely U.S. Voters was conducted on December 14-15, 2015 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Fieldwork for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC . See methodology.

http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/current_events/environment_energy/voters_question_cost_of_paris_climate_deal

 

John Christy, a professor of atmospheric science at the University of Alabama, Huntsville, with the weather data he recorded daily while growing up in Fresno, Calif., in the 1960s. CreditRob Culpepper for The New York Times

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — John Christy, a professor of atmospheric science at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, says he remembers the morning he spotted a well-known colleague at a gathering of climate experts.

“I walked over and held out my hand to greet him,” Dr. Christy recalled. “He looked me in the eye, and he said, ‘No.’ I said, ‘Come on, shake hands with me.’ And he said, ‘No.’ ”

Dr. Christy is an outlier on what the vast majority of his colleagues consider to be a matter of consensus: that global warming is both settled science and a dire threat. He regards it as neither. Not that the earth is not heating up. It is, he says, and carbon dioxide spewed from power plants, automobiles and other sources is at least partly responsible.

But in speeches, congressional testimony and peer-reviewed articles in scientific journals, he argues that predictions of future warming have been greatly overstated and that humans have weathered warmer stretches without perishing. Dr. Christy’s willingness to publicize his views, often strongly, has also hurt his standing among scientists who tend to be suspicious of those with high profiles. His frequent appearances on Capitol Hill have almost always been at the request of Republican legislators opposed to addressing climate change.

“I detest words like ‘contrarian’ and ‘denier,’ ” he said. “I’m a data-driven climate scientist. Every time I hear that phrase, ‘The science is settled,’ I say I can easily demonstrate that that is false, because this is the climate — right here. The science is not settled.”

Dr. Christy was pointing to a chart comparing seven computer projections of global atmospheric temperatures based on measurements taken by satellites and weather balloons. The projections traced a sharp upward slope; the actual measurements, however, ticked up only slightly.

Such charts — there are others, sometimes less dramatic but more or less accepted by the large majority of climate scientists — are the essence of the divide between that group on one side and Dr. Christy and a handful of other respected scientists on the other.

“Almost anyone would say the temperature rise seen over the last 35 years is less than the latest round of models suggests should have happened,” said Carl Mears, the senior research scientist at Remote Sensing Systems, a California firm that analyzes satellite climate readings.

“Where the disagreement comes is that Dr. Christy says the climate models are worthless and that there must be something wrong with the basic model, whereas there are actually a lot of other possibilities,” Dr. Mears said. Among them, he said, are natural variations in the climate and rising trade winds that have helped funnel atmospheric heat into the ocean.

Dr. Christy has drawn the scorn of his colleagues partly because they believe that so much is at stake and that he is providing legitimacy to those who refuse to acknowledge that. If the models are imprecise, they argue, the science behind them is compelling, and it is very likely that the world has only a few decades to stave off potentially catastrophic warming.

And if he is wrong, there is no redo.

“It’s kind of like telling a little girl who’s trying to run across a busy street to catch a school bus to go for it, knowing there’s a substantial chance that she’ll be killed,” said Kerry Emanuel, a professor of atmospheric science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “She might make it. But it’s a big gamble to take.”

By contrast, Dr. Christy argues that reining in carbon emissions is both futile and unnecessary, and that money is better spent adapting to what he says will be moderately higher temperatures. Among other initiatives, he said, the authorities could limit development in coastal and hurricane-prone areas, expand flood plains, make manufactured housing more resistant to tornadoes and high winds, and make farms in arid regions less dependent on imported water — or move production to rainier places.

Dr. Christy’s scenario is not completely out of the realm of possibility, his critics say, but it is highly unlikely.

In interviews, prominent scientists, while disagreeing with Dr. Christy, took pains to acknowledge his credentials. They are substantial: Dr. Christy, 63, has researched climate issues for 27 years and was a lead author — in essence, an editor — of a section of the 2001 report of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the definitive assessment of the state of global warming. With a colleague at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, Dr. Roy Spencer, he received NASA’s medal for exceptional scientific achievement in 1991 for building a global temperature database.

That model, which concluded that a layer of the atmosphere was unexpectedly cooling, was revised to show slight warming after other scientists documented flaws in its methodology. It has become something of a scientific tit for tat. Dr. Christy and Dr. Spencer’s own recalculations scaled back the amount of warming, leading to further assaults on their methodology.

Dr. Christy’s response sits on his bookshelf: a thick stack of yellowed paper with the daily weather data he began recording in Fresno, Calif., in the 1960s. It was his first data set, he said, the foundation of a conviction that “you have to know what’s happening before you know why it’s happening, and that comes back to data.”

Dr. Christy says he became fascinated with weather as a fifth grader when a snowstorm hit Fresno in 1961. By his high school junior year, he had taught himself Fortran, the first widely used programming language, and had programmed a school computer to make weather predictions. After earning a degree in mathematics at California State University, Fresno, he became an evangelical Christian missionary in Kenya, married and returned as pastor of a mission church in South Dakota.

There, as a part-time college math teacher, he found his true calling. He left the pastoral position, earned a doctorate in atmospheric sciences at the University of Illinois and moved to Alabama.

And while his work has been widely published, he has often been vilified by his peers. Dr. Christy is mentioned, usually critically, in dozens of the so-called Climategate emails that were hacked from the computers of the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Center, the British keeper of global temperature records, in 2009.

“John Christy has made a scientific career out of being wrong,” one prominent climate scientist, Benjamin D. Santer of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, wrote in one 2008 email. “He’s not even a third-rate scientist.”

Another email included a photographic collage showing Dr. Christy and other scientists who question the extent of global warming, some stranded on a tiny ice floe labeled “North Pole” and others buoyed in the sea by a life jacket and a yellow rubber ducky. A cartoon balloon depicts three of them saying, “Global warming is a hoax.”

Some, including those who disagree with Dr. Christy, are dismayed by the treatment.

“Show me two scientists who agree on everything,” said Peter Thorne, a senior researcher at Norway’s Nansen Environmental and Remote Sensing Center who wrote a 2005 research article on climate change with Dr. Christy. “We may disagree over what we are finding, but we should be playing the ball and not the man.”

Dr. Christy has been dismissed in environmental circles as a pawn of the fossil-fuel industry who distorts science to fit his own ideology. (“I don’t take money from industries,” he said.)

He says he worries that his climate stances are affecting his chances of publishing future research and winning grants. The largest of them, a four-year Department of Energy stipend to investigate discrepancies between climate models and real-world data, expires in September.

“There’s a climate establishment,” Dr. Christy said. “And I’m not in it.”

https://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/16/us/skeptic-of-climate-change-john-christy-finds-himself-a-target-of-suspicion.html?_r=0

The Creator, Fabricator And Proponent Of Global Warming – Maurice Strong

Isn’t the only hope for the planet that the industrialized civilizations collapse? Isn’t it our responsiblity to bring that about?” – Maurice Strong, founder of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP)

Current lifestyles and consumption patterns of the affluent middle class – involving high meat intake, use of fossil fuels, appliances, air-conditioning, and suburban housing – are not sustainable.” – Maurice Strong, Rio Earth Summit

“It is the responsibility of each human being today to choose between the force of darkness and the force of light. We must therefore transform our attitudes, and adopt a renewed respect for the superior laws of Divine Nature.“ – Maurice Strong, first Secretary General of UNEP

•••

12-l

Discovering Maurice Strong

by John Izzard January 31, 2010

The Yellow Brick Road to Climate Change Like Dorothy, Lion, Tin Man and Scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz, we’ve all been dancing down the Yellow Brick Road of “settled science” in search of answers from the Emerald City, only to find that what we suspected all along — the Wizard has been telling us fibs. But who exactly is the Wizard? And where did this seeming-madness all begin?

“Undoubtedly there are many “wizards”, but the man behind the green curtain, the man who managed to get the climate industry to where it is today is a mild mannered character by the name of Maurice Strong. The whole climate change business, and it is a business, started with Mr Strong.” Maurice Strong, a self-confessed socialist, was the man who put the United Nations into the environmental business, being the shadowy-figure behind the UN secretaries general from U Thant to Kofi Annan. Maurice-SstrongHis reign of influence in world affairs lasted from 1962 to 2005. Strong has been variously called “the international man of mystery”, the “new guy in your future” and “a very dangerous ideologue”. Strong made his fortune in the oil and energy business running companies such as Petro Canada, Power Corporation, CalTex Africa, Hydro Canada, the Colorado Land and Cattle Company, Ajax Petroleum, Canadian Industrial Oil and Gas— to name just a few.His private interests always seemed to be in conflict with his public persona and his work on the world stage. Strong’s extensive range of contacts within the power brokers of the world was exceptional. One admirer christened him “the Michelangelo of networking”. Maurice Strong described himself as “a socialist in ideology, a capitalist in methodology”. In 1972 he organised for U Thant the first Earth Summit, The Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment. This led to the formation of UN Environment Program with Maurice Strong at its head. Later, as the UNEP boss he organised the first international expert group meeting on climate change. This led to exotic UN sponsored organizations such at Earth Council and Earth Charter, The World Resources Institute, the World Wildlife Fund and later The Commission for World Governance and the UN’s University for Peace.

Strong was the driving force behind the idea of world governance by the United Nations when he dreamt up a world tax on monetary transactions of 0.5% which would have given theUN an annual income of $1.5 trillion. About equal then to the income of the USA. The stumbling block was the Security Council, and their power of veto. He devised a plan to get rid of the Security Council but failed to get it implemented. Then came along the idea that global warming might just be the device to get his World Governance proposal up and running.

In 1989 Maurice Strong was appointed Secretary General of the Earth Summit and in 1992, addressing Earth Summit II in Rio, he told the thousands of climate change delegates: It is clear that current lifestyles and consumption patterns of the affluent middle class— involving high meat intake, consumption of large amounts frozen and convenience foods, use of fossil fuels, appliances, home and work place air-conditioning, and suburbanhousing — are not sustainable. There goes the Sunday roast, a house to live in, the car, the occasional hamburger and generally, life on earth as we know it. But what Strong didn’t tell the delegates was that he was involved in the purchase of the Colorado Land and Cattle Company, which he bought from Adnan Khashoggi, an arms dealer who had strong connections with the Bin Laden family. Keep Reading »

https://climatism.wordpress.com/2013/09/17/the-creator-fabricator-and-proponent-of-global-warming-maurice-strong/

 

IPCC Control Calculations of Annual Human CO2 Production For Political Agenda

by DR. TIM BALL on JUNE 1, 2012

in ATMOSPHERE,DATA,OCEANS,THEORY

Almost every aspect of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) work is manipulated, selected, and controlled, to prove human CO2 is causing global warming. The objective was to prove the hypothesis, not to perform objective science.

The goal was established by the Club of Rome whose member, Maurice Strong transmitted and translated it into world government policy through the United Nations.

“In searching for a new enemy to unite us, we came up with the idea that .. the threat of global warming.. would fit the bill…. the real enemy, then, is humanity itself….we believe humanity requires a common motivation, namely a common adversary in order to realize world government. It does not matter if this common enemy is a real one or….one invented for the purpose.” — Club of Rome

He was assisted by politicians like Al Gore and Tim Wirth. In 1993 the latter did not hide the naked political objective.

“We’ve got to ride the global warming issue. Even if the theory of global warming is wrong, we will be doing the right thing …”

They were aided by national weather agencies and bureaucratic scientists with similar political persuasions appointed to the IPCC.

They claimed their goal was achieved in the 2007 IPCC Report which concluded,

“Another unusual aspect of recent climate change is its cause: past climate changes were natural in origin, whereas most of the warming of the past 50 years is attributable to human activities.”

All the CO2 numbers used by the IPCC are very poor estimates and designed to underline the human impact. They are meaningless figures from the total volumes to the annual flows and the human inputs as depicted in the IPCC carbon cycle (diagram).

Human CO2 production is central to the IPCC objective so they control production of the information. Like most things they do it is disclosed, but they know few people realize the significance. Here they explain the process.

—————————————————————–

What is the role of the IPCC in Greenhouse Gas inventories and reporting to the UNFCCC?

A: The IPCC has generated a number of methodology reports on national greenhouse gas inventories with a view to providing internationally acceptable inventory methodologies. The IPCC accepts the responsibility to provide scientific and technical advice on specific questions related to those inventory methods and practices that are contained in these reports, online casino or at the request of the UNFCCC in accordance with established IPCC procedures. The IPCC has set up the Task Force on Inventories (TFI) to run the National Greenhouse Gas Inventory Programme (NGGIP) to produce this methodological advice. Parties to the UNFCCC have agreed to use the IPCC Guidelines in reporting to the convention.

How does the IPCC produce its inventory Guidelines?
Utilising IPCC procedures, nominated experts from around the world draft the reports that are then extensively reviewed twice before approval by the IPCC. This process ensures that the widest possible range of views are incorporated into the documents.

——————————————————————

In other words they control the entire process from the methodology, designation of technical advice, establishment of task forces, guidelines for reporting, nomination of experts to produce the reports and final approval of what the reports say. They rely on data from individual UN member nations, but any examination of UN data quickly reveals its inadequacies. For example, look at the countries that claim 99% or higher literacy rate.

IPCC figures for annual CO2 production per nation are equally distorted and wrong. Worse, they have no scientific purpose so they are strictly for the political agenda. Professor Murray Salby shows in this video how the human portion is of no consequence. He demonstrates that variation in natural (non-human) sources of CO2 explain almost all annual changes. He shows how just a 5% variation in these sources is more than the total annual human production.

A partial explanation for the IPCC error is because climate science assumes change and variability are abnormal as the diagram illustrates. They don’t show the error in the estimates of volumes, which in at least three instances, atmosphere, oceans, and vegetation/soil detritus, exceed estimates for total human production. This is true even with IPCC’s claimed annual increase.

IPCC wanted to prove human CO2 was causing global warming as part of their belief that industrialized populations would exhaust all resources and had to be shut down. Their only objective was to show human production was steadily, inexorably increasing. Their calculations predetermine that, because human CO2 production is directly linked to population increase. A population increase guarantees a CO2 increase. It is another of their circular arguments that has no basis in science.

http://drtimball.com/2012/ipcc-control-calculations-of-annual-human-co2-production-for-political-agenda/

Maurice Strong, Climate Crook

The consummate sleazebag, thief and all-round corruptocrat who launched and shaped the UN effort to rid the world of CO2 has died, appropriately enough as his heirs gather in Paris to rob the world blind. Good riddance

maurice strongEditor’s note: Five years ago, Quadrant Online published this profile of Maurice Strong (left), the man who, more than any other, redefined a trace gas as the meal ticket for tens of thousands of climate functionaries — the same people whose light-fingered heirs are today gathered in Paris. To mark his passing, we once again present John Izzard’s profile of the man who did very nicely by costing everyone else dearly.

___________________________________

The Yellow Brick Road to Climate Change

January has certainly been a defining month in the quest for truth about climate change, and the custodians of that “truth” aren’t looking that flash at the moment. Indeed in the month of January some of the major doomsday prophecies unravelled and the prophets themselves seemed to undergo vows of silence. Kevin Rudd, Penny Wong, Tim Flannery — who are never lost for words — seemed, well… totally lost for words!

Like Dorothy, Lion, Tin Man and Scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz, we’ve all been dancing down the Yellow Brick Road of “settled science” in search of answers from the Emerald City, only to find that what we suspected all along — the Wizard has been telling us fibs.

But who exactly is the Wizard? And where did this seeming-madness all begin?

Undoubtedly there are many “wizards”, but the man behind the green curtain, the man who managed to get the climate industry to where it is today is a mild mannered character by the name of Maurice Strong. The whole climate change business, and it is a business, started with Mr Strong.

Maurice Strong, a self-confessed socialist, was the man who put the United Nations into the environmental business, being the shadowy-figure behind the UN secretaries general from U Thant to Kofi Annan. His reign of influence in world affairs lasted from 1962 to 2005. Strong has been variously called “the international man of mystery”, the “new guy in your future” and “a very dangerous ideologue”.

Strong made his fortune in the oil and energy business running companies such as Petro Canada, Power Corporation, CalTex Africa, Hydro Canada, the Colorado Land and Cattle Company, Ajax Petroleum, Canadian Industrial Oil and Gas— to name just a few.His private interests always seemed to be in conflict with his public persona and his work on the world stage. Strong’s extensive range of contacts within the power brokers of the world was exceptional. One admirer christened him “the Michelangelo of networking”.

Maurice Strong described himself as “a socialist in ideology, a capitalist in methodology”.

In 1972 he organised for U Thant the first Earth Summit, The Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment. This led to the formation of UN Environment Program with Maurice Strong at its head. Later, as the UNEP boss he organised the first international expert group meeting on climate change.

This led to exotic UN sponsored organizations such at Earth Council and Earth Charter, The World Resources Institute, the World Wildlife Fund and later The Commission for World Governance and the UN’s University for Peace. Strong was the driving force behind the idea of world governance by the United Nations when he dreamt up a world tax on monetary transactions of 0.5% which would have given theUN an annual income of $1.5 trillion. About equal then to the income of the USA.

The stumbling block was the Security Council, and their power of veto. He devised a plan to get rid of the Security Council but failed to get it implemented. Then came along the idea that global warming might just be the device to get his World Governance proposal up and running.

In 1989 Maurice Strong was appointed Secretary General of the Earth Summit and in 1992, addressing Earth Summit II in Rio, he told the thousands of climate change delegates:

It is clear that current lifestyles and consumption patterns of the affluent middle class— involving high meat intake, consumption of large amounts frozen and convenience foods, use of fossil fuels, appliances, home and work place air-conditioning, and suburbanhousing — are not sustainable.

There goes the Sunday roast, a house to live in, the car, the occasional hamburger and generally, life on earth as we know it. But what Strong didn’t tell the delegates was that he was involved in the purchase of the Colorado Land and Cattle Company, which he bought from Adnan Khashoggi, an arms dealer who had strong connections with the Bin Laden family.

This 200,000 acre cattle property, called the Baca had two hidden secrets. One was that it sat above vast underground water systems, which Strong wanted to remove. He formed the American Water Development Corporation to exploit the water by pumping it out for commercial intent but was stopped by the locals as they feared it would destroy the delicate environment.

The second secret was that Maurice Strong had been told by a mystic that:

The Baca would become the centre for a new planetary order which would evolve from the economic collapse and environmental catastrophes that would sweep the globe in the years to come.

As a result of these revelations Strong created the Manitou Foundation, a New Age institution located at the Baca ranch — above the sacred waters that Strong had been denied permission to pump out. This hocus-pocus continued with the foundation of The Conservation Fund (with financial help of Laurance Rockefeller) to study the mystical properties of the Manitou Mountain. At the Baca ranch there is a circular temple devoted to the world’s mystical and religious movements.

The valley in which the Baca establishment is located is also traditional home for various Navajo tribes. They believe that their ancestors were led underground here by “Ant People” and according to Navajo tradition they were warned of a coming cataclysm by “sky katchinas” (sky spirits). No wonder Strong wanted to buy the Baca.

Meanwhile Maurice was also busy founding the Earth Council Institute in 1992 and recruiting world luminaries such as Mikhail Gorbachev, Shimon Peres, Al Gore and David Rockefeller. In 2000 Earth Charter was formed as a further push by Strong to create a world governing body.

Unfortunately, in 2005, the most powerful man in the push to save of humanity — by steady promotion of the theory of human induced greenhouse gases — was caught with his hand in the till.

Investigations into the UN’s Oil-for-Food-Program found that Strong had endorsed a cheque for $988,885 made out to M. Strong — issued by a Jordanian bank. The man who gave the cheque, South Korean business man Tongsun Park was convicted in 2006 in a US Federal court of conspiring to bribe UN officials. Strong resigned and fled to Canada and thence to China where he has been living ever since.

Strong is believed to have sanctuary in China because of his cousin, Anne Louise Strong, a Marxist who lived with Mao Tse Tung for two years, and when she died in 1970, her funeral was arranged by Premier Chou En-Lai. Anne Louise Strong was a Comintern member — an organization formed in 1919 as the Third International, with one of its aims to use “by all available means, including armed force, for the overthrow of the international bourgeoisie…”

Maurice Strong, as an 18-year-old Canadian from Manitoba, started work at the United Nations in 1947 as a junior officer in the UN Security Section, living with the UN Treasurer, Noah Monod. Following his exposure for bribery and corruption in the UN’s Oil-for-Food scandal Maurice Strong was stripped of many of his 53 international awards and honours he had collected during his lifetime working in dual role of arch conservationist and ruthless businessman.

The exposure and downfall of climate change’s most powerful wizard? Dorothy and Toto would have loved it!

http://quadrant.org.au/opinion/doomed-planet/2015/12/discovering-maurice-strong/

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Pronk Pops Show 838: February 14, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 837: February 13, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 836: February 10, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 835: February 9, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 834: February 8, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 833: February 7, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 832: February 6, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 831: February 3, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 830: February 2, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 829: February 1, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 828: January 31, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 827: January 30, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 826: January 27, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 825: January 26, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 824: January 25, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 823: January 24, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 822: January 23, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 821: January 20, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 820: January 19, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 819: January 18, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 818: January 17, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 817: January 13, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 816: January 12, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 815: January 11, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 814: January 10, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 813: January 9, 2017

Story 1: Turkey Votes To Change From Parliamentary to Presidential System of Government —  Videos —

Image result for turkey referendum 2017 result 51.4%Image result for cartoons erdogan

Where’s Turkey headed after its referendum? – Inside Story

Turkey Referendum: Erdogan’s new grip on power

Dispute over Turkey’s referendum results continues

Is Turkey Becoming a Dictatorship?: Erdogan Claims Victory in Vote to Give President Sweeping Powers

Turkey’s Choice: Nation deciding on changing political system

The Truth about Turkeys failed Coup (CIA designed Civil War)

Lionel on the Alex Jones Show: Syria False Flags, North Korea Lies, French Elections & Media Lies

The Idiot’s Guide to Turkey, Erdogan and the Phony Coup

Turkish Referendum Erdogan Wins ! | The Millennial Revolt

Published on Apr 16, 2017

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has claimed victory in a referendum granting him sweeping new powers, hailing the result as an “historic decision”. The leader called on the international community to respect the result and discouraged his critics from “belittling” the outcome, saying they “shouldn’t try, it will be in vain”. The state-run Anadolu news agency claimed that 51 per cent per cent of voters had sided with the “Yes” campaign, ushering in the most radical change to the country’s political system in modern time.

But the main opposition the Republican People’s Party (CHP) said they would demand a recount of up to 40 per cent of the vote, saying that “illegal acts” occurred during the vote and that there were up to 2.5m “problematic ballots”. The pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) also claimed they had information that voter fraud was implicated in up to four per cent of the ballots. Both parties said they would appeal the results. CLICK LINKS FOR SOURCES

Story 2: Coalition Against Islamic State in Syria — What is Next: Wrath of Euphrates: The Battle for Raqqa: Isolate and Assault  — Take No Prisoners — Videos 

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Image result for coalition to defeat isis list of 68 countries
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US eyes assault on ISIS stronghold

CNN’s Nick Paton Walsh talks to Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend near Mosul, Iraq, where coalition forces hope to make a push toward Raqqa, ISIS’ center of control in Syria.

U.S.-Led Coalition Has ‘Made Adjustments’ In Syria To Account For ‘Tensions’

Wrath of Euphrates Op: US troops spotted near Raqqa frontline (EXCLUSIVE)

400 US troops deployed outside ISIS capital Raqqa

Ministers of the Global Coalition on the Defeat of ISIS

Raqqa Battle Phase 3 outcome

Beginning of a new phase to free Raqqa

Battle for Raqqa. First phase of Wrath of Euphrates Initiative ends successfully.

Published on Nov 12, 2016

12 Nov 2016 Syria. Raqqa.
SDF, YPG, YPJ and International Brigade fighters had began to advance from Siluk and Eyn İsa southwards from two directions on November 5.

The Siluk branch has cleared an area of 30 kms and the Ayn İsa branch has cleared an area of 15 kms from ISIS gangs. Yesterday, the two branches united along the Beliz creek.

After the liberation of Xınıse and the unification of the two branches of fighters, the first phase of the initiative ended successfully.

Civilians flee Raqqa as Syrian forces advance

More U.S. Troops heading to Raqqa, Syria to fight ISIS

18 Allied Fighters Killed In US Led Syria Strike

100s killed following US-led airstrike in Syria

Assad: No one invited US to Manbij, all foreign troops in Syria without permission are ‘invaders’

U.S. military says misdirected airstrike in northern Syria killed 18 allied fighters

U.S.-led Coalition Accidentally Bomb Syrian Allies, Killing 18 | True News

Syria: Kurdish fighters make gains against IS behind enemy lines

Ross Kemp The Fight Against Isis

Turkey and Russia join forces against Islamic State

US Joins Ground Forces with Kurds, Syrian, & Russian Fighters Against ISIS in Syria

Targeting the High Value Terrorists

On The Road To Raqqa – Heavy Clashes Between Kurdish Forces And ISIS During The Battle Of Raqqa

US soldiers help Iraqi troops secure Mosul

Satellite Imagery: The Cutting of Mosul’s Bridges

Satellite Imagery: The Islamic State’s Mosul Defenses

Satellite Images: The Islamic State’s Scorched Earth Tactics

Why Did the Iraq War Start? The Untold Story – Seymour Hersh – Reasons, Justification (2005)

The Breathtaking Incoherence of American Foreign Policy as to North Korea and Syria

‘Defeating ISIS No.1 US goal’: Tillerson at coalition summit coinciding with London attack

Trump Gives Generals More Freedom on ISIS Fight

Pentagon brass take lead on decisions that were made by White House under Obama; ‘I authorize my military,’ Trump says

U.S. Army trainers watch as an Iraqi recruit fires at a military base in Iraq.
U.S. Army trainers watch as an Iraqi recruit fires at a military base in Iraq. PHOTO: JOHN MOORE/GETTY IMAGES

U.S. military commanders are stepping up their fight against Islamist extremism as President Donald Trump’s administration urges them to make more battlefield decisions on their own.

As the White House works on a broad strategy, America’s top military commanders are implementing the vision articulated by Defense Secretary Jim Mattis: Decimate Islamic State’s Middle East strongholds and ensure that the militants don’t establish new beachheads in places such as Afghanistan.

“There’s nothing formal, but it is beginning to take shape,” a senior U.S. defense official said Friday. “There is a sense among these commanders that they are able to do a bit more—and so they are.”

While military commanders complained about White House micromanagement under former President Barack Obama, they are now being told they have more freedom to make decisions without consulting Mr. Trump. Military commanders around the world are being encouraged to stretch the limits of their existing authorities when needed, but to think seriously about the consequences of their decisions.

The more muscular military approach is expanding as the Trump administration debates a comprehensive new strategy to defeat Islamic State. Mr. Mattis has sketched out such a global plan, but the administration has yet to agree on it. While the political debate continues, the military is being encouraged to take more aggressive steps against Islamic extremists around the world.

The firmer military stance has fueled growing concerns among State Department officials working on Middle East policy that the Trump administration is giving short shrift to the diplomatic tools the Obama administration favored. Removing the carrot from the traditional carrot-and-stick approach, some State Department officials warn, could hamper the pursuit of long-term strategies needed to prevent volatile conflicts from reigniting once the shooting stops.

The new approach was on display this week in Afghanistan, where Gen. John Nicholson, head of the U.S.-led coalition there, decided to use one of the military’s biggest nonnuclear bombs—a Massive Ordnance Air Blast bomb, or MOAB—to hit a remote Islamic State underground network of tunnels and caves.

Gen. Nicholson said Friday it was too early to say how many militants had been killed in the previous day’s bombing. The Afghan Defense Ministry retracted an earlier statement that the strike had killed 36 militants, saying it was unable to provide precise figures yet.

A military official for the coalition who viewed footage of the bombing said it was difficult to make out details of its effects beyond a “mushroom cloud” of smoke rising into the sky. He added that a second MOAB was available for use in the country, but no decision had been made on whether it should be deployed.

Islamic State’s Amaq news agency posted a statement on Friday saying none of its fighters were killed or wounded in the strike, which took place in Nangarhar province, along the country’s mountainous border with Pakistan.

Gen. Nicholson indicated that he—not the White House—decided to drop the bomb. “The ammunition we used last night is designed to destroy caves and tunnels. This was the right weapon against the right target,” he told reporters Friday. “I am fortunate that my chain of command allows me the latitude to make assessments on the ground.”

A senior administration official said Mr. Trump didn’t know about the weapon’s use until it had been dropped.

Mr. Mattis “is telling them, ‘It’s not the same as it was, you don’t have to ask us before you drop a MOAB,’” the senior defense official said. “Technically there’s no piece of paper that says you have to ask the president to drop a MOAB. But last year this time, the way [things were] meant, ‘I’m going to drop a MOAB, better let the White House know.’”

Indeed, on Thursday Mr. Trump himself emphasized the free rein he gives the Pentagon. “I authorize my military,” Mr. Trump said. “We have given them total authorization.”

On Friday, the U.S. military said it has sent dozens of soldiers to Somalia, where Mr. Trump recently gave the head of the U.S. Africa Command more leeway to carry out counterterrorism operations against al-Shabaab, the al Qaeda affiliate in the area.

The more aggressive military approach comes as the long slog against Islamic State is bearing fruit. The group is on the back foot in its Iraqi stronghold, Mosul, and is facing a hard battle to defend its de facto Syrian capital, Raqqa.

The U.S. has sent more forces into Iraq and Syria, stepped up support for Saudi Arabia’s fight against Houthi militants in Yemen, and dispatched an aircraft carrier to the Korean Peninsula amid growing evidence that North Korea is preparing for a new nuclear test.

Loren DeJonge Schulman, who served as senior adviser to Mr. Obama’s national security adviser, said a more assertive military campaign is destined to fail unless it is part of a broader strategy against Islamic State, also known by the acronyms ISIS and ISIL.

“It’s crazy that the Trump administration thinks that ‘taking the gloves off’ is either a winning strategy against ISIL or a useful narrative for the White House or the military,” said Ms. Schulman, now a senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security.

Derek Chollet, a former assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs in the Obama administration, said giving the Pentagon more freedom is one of the most significant things Mr. Trump has done.

“It’s not clear to me that he’s making any tough decisions,” said Mr. Chollet, now executive vice president at the German Marshall Fund of the United States. “All that he’s essentially done is ceded decision authority down to protect himself from making tough calls.”

The flip side of the Trump administration’s emphasis on a more-free-wheeling military approach to Islamic State is an apparent reduction of the use of soft-power tools—economic development, diplomacy and democracy-building—favored by the Obama White House.

Some State Department officials describe being cut out from the White House’s counterterrorism strategy in the Mideast, with efforts to nurture democratic governments and push for more secular education systems carrying less weight in the White House’s evolving approach.

“State is being systematically sidelined,” said a State Department official who has worked on counterterrorism issues in Washington and abroad.

The official said the White House strategy of prioritizing military might over diplomacy makes it hard to persuade Mideast allies to relax their grip on power. Many of Washington’s closest Arab allies are autocratic regimes guilty of human-rights abuses that critics say fuel terrorism.

“The problem there is that in many of the places where you need carrots, those carrots are often seen as threats to local governments,” the official said, referring to democracy and society-building programs the State Department funds across the Mideast.

Egypt offers a prime example of the Trump administration’s leanings. When Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi, a military strongman, visited the White House earlier this month, Mr. Trump gave him a warm welcome. Mr. Obama had refused to meet him because of his regime’s alleged human-rights abuses.

U.S. officials in the Mideast say a counterterror approach that focuses solely on military might without programs to fight the causes that feed extremism could backfire, leading groups like Islamic State to go underground and wait for future opportunities to re-emerge. They are particularly concerned about Raqqa, where a U.S.-led military coalition is closing in around the city but post-liberation stabilization plans aren’t finalized as State Department officials wait for White House guidance.

Write to Dion Nissenbaum at dion.nissenbaum@wsj.com and Maria Abi-Habib at maria.habib@wsj.com

Appeared in the Apr. 15, 2017, print edition as ‘Military Takes Lead on ISIS.’

https://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-gives-generals-free-rein-on-isis-fight-1492218994

Raqqa campaign (2016–present)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Raqqa offensive (2016–present))
Raqqa campaign (2016–present)
Part of the Syrian Civil War,
the Syrian Kurdish–Islamist conflict (2013–present), and
the American-led intervention in Syria
Northern Raqqa Offensive (November 2016).svgBattle of Raqqa2.svg
Top: Map showing the SDF advances; Bottom: A map of the situation in Raqqa itself
Date 6 November 2016 – present
(5 months, 1 week and 4 days)
Location Raqqa Governorate, Deir ez-Zor Governorate, Syria
35.9500°N 39.0167°ECoordinates: 35.9500°N 39.0167°E
Status Ongoing

  • The SDF captures more than 236 villages, hamlets and strategic hills, two water and power stations,[10][11] Al-Tabqa Airbase,[12][13]and reportedly Tabqa Dam[14][15][16]
  • The SDF, after latest advances, are now at a distance of 5 km from the ISIL capital city of Ar-Raqqah[17]
  • The SDF and allies cut off all main roads out of Raqqa (minus Baath Dam)[18]
Territorial
changes
The SDF capture more than 7,400 square kilometres (2,900 sq mi) of territory from ISIL during the first, second and third phases of the campaign[19][20]
Belligerents
Syrian Democratic Forces
Self Defence Forces (HXP)[1]
Leftist/Anarchist volunteers[a]
CJTF–OIR

 Iraqi Kurdistan[8]


 Russia[9] Islamic State of Iraq and the LevantCommanders and leadersRojda Felat[21]
(leading YPJ commander)[22][23]
Kino Gabriel[24]
(MFS commander)
Syrian opposition Fayad Ghanim[25]
(Raqqa Hawks Brigade commander)
Abu Issa
(Jabhat Thuwar al-Raqqa chief commander)
Syrian oppositionMuhedi Jayila[26]
(Elite Forces commander)
Bandar al-Humaydi[24]
(Al-Sanadid Forces military chief commander)
Siyamend Welat[27]
(HXP chief commander)
United States Lt. Gen. Stephen J. Townsend
(CJTF–OIR chief commander)

For other anti-ISIL commanders, see order of battleIslamic State of Iraq and the LevantAbu Bakr al-Baghdadi(WIA)[28][29]
(Leader of ISIL)
Abu Jandal al-Kuwaiti[30]
(leading ISIL commander for Raqqa defenses, c. 11–26 December)[31]
Abu Saraqeb al-Maghribi[32]
(Head of security in Al-Thawrah)
Abu Jandal al-Masri[32]
(Chief of Information in Raqqa)
Abu Muhammad al-Jazrawi[32]
(Chief of Al-Hisba secret police)
Mahmoud al-Isawi[33]
(ISIL proganganda chief)
Abd al-Basit al-Iraqi [34]
(ISIL commander of Middle Eastexternal networks)
Zainuri Kamaruddin[35]
(Katibah Nusantara commander)
Abu Luqman[36]
(ISIL governor of Raqqa)

For other ISIL commanders, see order of battleUnits involvedSee anti-ISIL forces order of battleSee ISIL order of battleStrength

30,000–40,000 SDF fighters[37][38][39](70% Arab acc. to the SDF)[40]

500 HXP soldiers[1]
United States 900 American special forces,[51][52][53] 1 artillery battery[54]


Russia Several Tupolev Tu-95 bombers[9]

10,000–20,000+ fighters[55][56][57][58][59](estimate by Western SDF volunteers & some experts)

Unknown number of UAVs (drones)[64]

Casualties and losses

235+ killed[65][66][67][c]

1 killed[71]
United States 1 killed[72]


232+ killed, 30+ wounded, 15 armored vehicles lost (ISIL claim)[73][74][31]

2,098+ killed and 20 captured (SDF and US claim)[75]95 civilians killed[76][77]
14,000+ displaced[78][79][80]

The Raqqa campaign[81] (codenamed Operation Wrath of Euphrates), is an ongoing military operation launched by the Syrian Democratic Forces against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in the Raqqa Governorate, with the goal of isolating and eventually capturing the Islamic State’s capital city, Raqqa. Another one of the main goals is to capture the Tabqa Dam, the nearby city of Al-Thawrah,[82] and the Baath Dam further downstream.[83] The offensive has also been dubbed the Battle to End All Battles in the War on ISIL.[84]

The offensive is concurrent with the Battle of al-Bab in the Aleppo governorate, the Battle of Mosul in Iraq, the Battle of Sirte (2016) in Libya, the Palmyra offensive (2017), and a reignition of fighting in Deir ez-Zor’s siege.

Background

In late October 2016, the United States Secretary of DefenseAsh Carter called for an offensive on Raqqa to take place concurrent with the Battle of Mosul in Iraq. He stated that the US was cooperating with its allies in order to launch an “isolation operation” around Raqqa. On 26 October, the President of TurkeyRecep Tayyip Erdoğan called the President of the United StatesBarack Obama and stated that he did not want the People’s Protection Units (YPG) to participate in the planned operation, and instead planned to involve the Turkish Armed Forces. The United Kingdom‘s Secretary of State for DefenceMichael Fallon rejected the idea of non-Arab forces taking part in the offensive and demanded a purely Arab force.[85]

On the same day, the commander of the Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve Lt. Gen. Stephen J. Townsend stressed that the YPG-led Syrian Democratic Forces was the only armed group capable of capturing Raqqa in the near future. Fewer US-led coalition troops were to be involved than in the Battle of Mosul.[86] On 3 November, the commander of the Seljuk Brigade and SDF spokesman Col. Talal Silo rejected the participation of Turkey in the operation.[87]

After the start of the Battle of Mosul (2016–17) in Iraq, many of the 20,000 ISIL fighters estimated to be living in the city[88] fled to Raqqa, boosting the ISIL forces that were already present in their de facto capital city.[89]

Announcement

The SDF officially announced the start of the operation on 6 November in the village of Ayn Issa.[90] The intention was to proceed in two phases, first seizing areas around Raqqa and isolating the city, advancing from three fronts, then taking control of the city itself.[91] The SDF general command called for the international coalition against ISIL to support the operation.[92] In response, Ash Carter welcomed the announcement and emphasized the importance of capturing Raqqa and defeating ISIL, while cautioning that “there is hard work ahead”.[93]

The offensive

Phase One: Isolating Raqqa from its northern hinterland[edit]

Tal Saman, ISIL headquarters in the northern Raqqa countryside, after being captured by the SDF.

On 6 November, the SDF captured six small villages,[37] including the villages of Wahid, Umm Safa, Wasita, Haran, al-Adriyah and Jurah south and southeast of Ayn Issa.[94] The Islamic State detonated four car bombs on the first day of the offensive.[95]

On 8 November, the SDF reported that they had taken control of 11 villages near Ain Issa. The SDF also claimed that ISIL used several car bombs against their forces.[96] By 11 November, the SDF had captured over a dozen villages and the strategically significant town of Al-Hisbah, which had served as a local headquarters and command center for ISIL.[97] On the next day, the SDF continued to advance against ISIL in the area around Tal Saman and Khnez, bringing the number of captured farms and villages to 26.[98]

As of 14 November, the SDF reported the completion of the initial phase of the operations, stating that 500 km2has been captured: 34 villages, 31 hamlets and seven strategic hills, along with 167 Islamic State casualties.[24]The SDF had also begun to besiege Tal Saman, the largest village and ISIL headquarters north of Raqqa,[99] while ISIL launched a counter-attack near Salok in the eastern countryside of Raqqa Governorate in order to force the SDF to split its forces and open a new front.[100] On the next day, the SDF advanced into Tal Saman, resulting in a fierce battle with its ISIL defenders.[101] At the same time, the SDF also captured 10 more villages and farms.[102][103] By 19 November, the SDF had fully captured Tal Saman and had driven ISIL completely from the surrounding countryside.[104][105] With this, the first phase of the offensive was considered completed.[106]On 20 November 2016, 200 fighters completed training, joined the SDF, and were sent to participate in the offensive.[107]

Stalemate and preparation for the second phase

A United States Air Force airstrike on an ISIL position to the north of Raqqa

The second phase of the offensive aimed to enforce a full blockade of the city of Raqqa.[106] On 21 November, the SDF captured two more villages,[108] while ISIL launched a counter-attack near Tal Saman.[109] Over the next days, the SDF attempted to further advance, such as at al-Qalita,[110] but was unable to break through ISIL’s defense line south of Tal Saman.[111] On 24 November, a US serviceman died from wounds he suffered after stepping on an improvised explosive device near the town of Ayn Issa, to the north of Raqqa.[112]

On 25 November, ISIL received reinforcements from Iraq, among them explosive experts and defected Iraqi Army personnel.[113] On the next day, ISIL launched a counter-attack, retaking parts of Qaltah village and a nearby water pump station, while the SDF managed to advance in the village’s vicinity.[114][115] Boubaker Al-Hakim, an ISIL commander who was linked to the Charlie Hebdo shooting, was reported to have been killed in an American airstrike in Raqqa on 26 November.[116][117] Iraqi military however later stated in April 2017 that he might still be alive.[118]

On 27 November, the SDF announced the offensive’s second phase was due to start,[119] though this was then delayed. At least five SDF fighters were killed in renewed clashes north of Raqqa on 29 November.[120] Meanwhile, ISIL suffered from the defection of two senior commanders, who fled from Raqqa to join Jabhat Fateh al-Sham in Idlib.[121] On 4 December, a coalition drone strike in Raqqa killed two ISIL leaders who had helped facilitate the November 2015 Paris attacks and another who was involved in a foiled suicide attack in Belgium in 2015.[116][122] Three days later, co-Chair of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) Salih Muslim said that the first phase to surround Raqqa was almost over, while a new Arab brigade consisting of more than 1,000 men and women from the al-Raqqa area had joined the SDF as part of the second phase which was slated to be launched on 10 December.[123] More than 1,500 Arab fighters who were trained and equipped by the anti-ISIL coalition joined the SDF for the second phase on its launch day.[124]

Phase Two: Isolating Raqqa from its western countryside

Initial advances[edit]

SDF fighters advance northwest of Raqqa after the start of the offensive’s second phase.

The SDF launched the second phase on 10 December, with the aim of capturing the northwestern and western countrysides of al-Raqqa and ultimately reaching and securing the Tabqa Dam. The same day, it was announced that Arab SDF groups, consisting of the Elite Forces, Jabhat Thuwar al-Raqqa and the newly formed Deir Ezzor Military Council would be taking part. During the first day, the SDF began to advance south of the Tishrin Dam and captured al-Kiradi village.[125][126] The United States announced that it would send 200 more troops to assist the SDF.[51] The next day, the SDF captured seven more villages from ISIL.[127][128] On 12 December, the SDF captured four villages as well as many hamlets south of Tishrin Dam.[129][130][128] The SDF captured five villages during the next two days.[131][132][133] On 15 December, the SDF captured three villages, taking the total number of villages captured by them in the second phase to 20.[134]

Over the next four days, the SDF captured 20 more villages, while finally reaching Lake Assad‘s shore, thereby cutting off and besieging 54 ISIL-held villages to the west. In response to these territorial losses, ISIL began to carry out more suicide attacks against both the SDF as well as civilian targets within SDF-controlled areas in an attempt to hinder the offensive.[135][136][137][138][139] On 19 December, ISIL launched a counter-attack to regain four villages in the northwestern countryside,[140] but the attack was repelled after a few hours.[141] The following night, ISIL forces retreated largely unopposed from the besieged 54 villages, leaving them to be captured by the SDF.[142][143] The SDF declared that they had captured 97 villages overall during the second phase, and had begun to advance against Qal’at Ja’bar.[144]

Battle of Jabar

Killed ISIL fighters near Mahmudli.

On 21 December, the SDF seized five villages near Qal’at Ja’bar, including Jabar,[143] which served as the main weaponry storage and supply centre for ISIL in the northwestern countryside.[145] The coalition then began to move toward Suwaydiya Saghirah and Suwaydiya Kabir, the last villages before Tabqa Dam.[143][146][147] Even though an ISIL counter-attack managed to retake Jabar village soon after,[148] the SDF attacked again on 23 December, and once again took control of it, while also capturing another village.[149][150] This prompted ISIL to launch yet another counter-attack later that day, which was accompanied by several suicide car bombs.[151][152][153] As a result, heavy clashes took place between them and SDF fighters in several villages along the frontline that lasted until the early morning of 24 December. The ISIL forces were eventually forced to withdraw after the SDF first shelled and then stormed their positions, whereupon the latter took control of most of Jabar as well as two more villages,[154][155][156] though some ISIL holdouts persisted in Jabar.[145]

ISIL was pushed out of the neighboring, strategic village of Eastern Jabar on the next day, bringing SDF within 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) of Tabqa Dam,[157][158] and by 26 December, the SDF had finally fully secured the main Jabar village, with the last ISIL defenders being expelled after heavy fighting.[145] An ISIL counterattack on the village later that day failed,[31][159] with a US airstrike killing Abu Jandal al-Kuwaiti as he commanded the assault. Al-Kuwaiti, also known as Abdulmuhsin al-Zaghelan al-Tarish, was a high-ranking ISIL commander leading the defense of the whole Raqqa region against the SDF.[31][30] Meanwhile, the Amaq News Agency declared that Iman Na’im Tandil (nom de guerre: Abu ‘Umar Al-Hindi), one of the few Indian ISIL fighters active in Syria, had also been killed during the fighting near Jabar. The Islamic State’s official media wing later also officially paid tribute to Iman.[160]

Battle for Jabar’s surroundings

A YPGBMP, loaded on a truck, being transported to the frontline near Mahmudli on 4 January.

On 27 December, ISIL launched an attack on the village of Secol in the northern countryside, reportedly breaching the local SDF defences.[161] On the next day, the SDF reportedly captured Hadaj village after two days of heavy fighting, while another ISIL counter-attack against Jabar was repelled.[162] Mahmud al-Isawi, a senior ISIL facilitator who was a manager of instructions and finances for the group’s leaders as well as a provider of propaganda and intelligence support, was killed on 31 December in a US-led coalition airstrike on Raqqa.[163] After three days of heavy fighting, the SDF captured all or most of Mahmudli, the largest town of the Al-Jarniyah Subdistrict, on 1 January 2017. ISIL counterattacked later in an attempt to regain the town.[164][165] The SDF leadership said that in the clashes since the launch of the second phase they had captured 110 villages, killed 277 ISIL fighters, and captured 13.[166]

Also on January 1, the SDF resumed its offensive on the northern front, reportedly advancing 6 km south of Tell Saman against ISIL positions.[11][167] The SDF reportedly captured nine more villages in this area, within the next three days.[168][169][170][171][172] Meanwhile, with the SDF edging closer to Raqqa, ISIL further restricted Internet access and increased surveillance over Internet users in Raqqa. There were harsh punishments for accessing anti-ISIL websites, with a new special unit within the ISIL’s security office searching for offenders. Several online activists in Raqqa were captured and tortured or executed.[173] Another two villages and hamlets were captured by the SDF on 5 January.[174]

SDF fighters examine Qal’at Ja’bar. ISIL had built tunnels and weapons depots into the medieval castle.[175]

The SDF captured Qal’at Ja’bar (Ja’bar Castle) from ISIL on 6 January.[176][177] The same day, ISIL was reported to have moved its 150 prisoners from Tabqa city due to the offensive.[178] The SDF later captured eight villages and five hamlets at the Ayn Issa front.[179] On 7 January, the SDF captured five villages including the strategic Suwaydiya Gharbi[180][181] and Suwaydiya Saghirah, reaching the outskirts of Tabqa Dam.[182] ISIL reportedly recaptured Suwaydiya Saghirah by the next day after a counterattack, while a local leader of the group was killed in clashes.[183] Meanwhile, ISIL was reported to have withdrawn 150 of its fighters towards Raqqa city.[184]

On 8 January 2017, US special forces raided the village of Al-Kubar, between Ar-Raqqah and Deir ez-Zor, killing at least 25 ISIL militants in the two-hour operation.[185] It was believed that the goal of the US may have been to rescue hostages from an ISIL secret prison in the village. After the raid, ISIL forces cut off access to the village.[185]

On 9 January, the SDF captured another village, along with three hamlets.[186]

On 10 January, ISIL launched a large-scale counter-attack at the Jabar frontline and reportedly recaptured several sites;[187] with pro-Free Syrian Army sources claiming Qal’at Ja’bar and the village of Jabar were among these.[188] ISIL consequently released photos of dead SDF fighters, while claiming that over 70 of them had been killed in the counter-attack.[189] However, the SDF was reported to still be in control of Jabar village and Qalat Jabar a few days later.[190][191]

An ISIL attack on Jib Shair village, trying to resist SDF advances from the north, was repelled on the next day, after which the SDF advanced and captured six hamlets around it.[192] The SDF later announced that their forces advancing from the Ayn Issa front and on the Qadiriya front linked up in Kurmanju village after capturing several villages over the past few days,[193] besieging a large pocket of about 45 villages and 20 hamlets.[194] All of them were captured by the next day, resulting in the alliance gaining about 460 square kilometres (180 sq mi) of land.[195] Another village was captured by the SDF on 13 January.[196][197] On 15 January, the SDF progressed to Suwaydiya Kabir village,[198] while ISIL launched a large-scale counter-attack against Mahmudli and a nearby village, resulting in clashes within these settlements.[199] The attack was repelled after several hours of fighting.[200] The SDF captured three villages during the day,[201] while Suwaydiya Saghirah was also reported to be under its control again.[202] On 17 January 2017, 28 Arab tribes from Raqqa announced their support for the offensive and encouraged locals to join the SDF.[203][204]

The SDF attacked Suwaydiya Kabir on the next day, leading to heavy clashes in the village.[205] Meanwhile, it was announced that about 2,500 local fighters had joined the offensive since it began.[206] On 19 January, ISIL launched a counter-attack against Suwaydiya Saghirah, supported by mortars and heavy machine guns, killing or wounding several YPG fighters.[207][208] Despite this, the SDF made further progress on the next day, capturing a village and advancing against many other ISIL-held villages.[209] The SDF again attacked Suwaydiya Kabir on 20 January, reaching the outskirts of the village, and captured it on 22 January after heavy clashes, with the support of U.S. special forces.[210][211]

Tabqa Dam raid and further SDF advances in the north

The Tabqa Dam in 2014.

In late January 2017, it was reported that a number of ISIL militants were hiding inside the structure of the Tabqa Dam, including senior militant leaders who used to be “very important prisoners” wanted by the US and several other countries, in order to deter a possible US-led coalition strike on them.[212]

On 23 January, the SDF began to advance on the Tabqa Dam, spurring ISIL to open its turbines to raise the Euphrates River’s water levels. This was seen as an attempt to hinder the progress of the Kurdish-led forces and a scare tactic,[213] and caused the water level of the Euphrates to rise to its highest level in 20 years, leading to record flooding downstream.[84] Coinciding with this, pro-SDF sources reported that US special forces and SDF units had launched a raid against Al-Thawrah across the river.[214] By 24 January, SDF forces had managed to capture parts of the town, and SDF forces on the dam began working towards the Tabqa Dam’s control rooms, at the southern part of the dam, in an attempt to stop the massive outflow of water released by ISIL. However, the entrance to the dam’s control rooms was too well defended, and with the continued threat of disastrous flooding downstream, SDF and the US forces withdrew from both the Tabqa Dam and the town of Al-Thawrah, after which ISIL closed the dam’s turbines again.[84]

Over the next three days, ISIL repeatedly launched fierce counter-attacks against SDF positions in the western and northern countryside.[215][216][217] ISIL managed to retake ground in the area around the dam,[218] but the attack was later repelled.[219]

Preparation for the third phase

An SDF IAG Guardian armoured personnel carrier in February 2017, one of several APCs that were supplied by the United States to the SDF.

On 31 January 2017, the SDF received a number of armoured personnel carriers supplied by the US. The SDF spokesman stated that preparations for a new phase of the operation were continuing and the operation would begin in “a few days”.[220] Meanwhile, the leader of the SDF-aligned Syria’s Tomorrow Movement and its paramilitary wing, Ahmad Jarba, announced that 3,000 Arab fighters under his command were training with US special forces to be deployed in the battle for Raqqa against ISIL.[45]

On the night of 2–3 February, intense CJTF–OIR airstrikes targeted several bridges in or near Raqqa city, destroying them as well as the local water pipelines, leaving the city without drinking water. Meanwhile, the SDF advanced against the village of Qaltah in the northern countryside,[221] which the coalition had already unsuccessfully attacked in November.[114] ISIL maintenance crews managed to fix the pipelines during 3 February, restoring Raqqa’s water supply.[222][223] On 3 February, 251 Arab fighters in Hasaka completed their training and joined the SDF.[224]

Phase Three: Isolating Raqqa from its eastern countryside

Pressing south[edit]

YPG and YPJ fighters in combat.

On 4 February, the SDF announced the offensive’s third phase, aiming at capturing Raqqa’s eastern countryside, and to separate Raqqa city from ISIL forces in Deir ez-Zor, though operations in the west and north would continue simultaneously.[225] The SDF captured a village and three hamlets to the northeast of Raqqa later that day, with clashes being reported at al-Qaltah and Bir Said, while 750 Arabs completed training and joined the SDF.[226][227] On the next day, the Kurdish-led forces captured another two villages along with a hamlet and two farms, and besieged Bir Said,[228][229] while especially intense airstrikes hit several ISIL targets in Al-Thawrah.[230] Bir Said, along with another village, was eventually captured by the SDF on 6 February.[231][232][233] In addition to these villages, the SDF also captured another five villages on two fronts.[234] The SDF made further progress, capturing three more villages on 7 February.[235] In early February 2017, US-led coalition airstrikes destroyed much of the Deir ez-Zor-Raqqa highway, reducing it to a single-file gravel road in some spots, with the SDF patrolling other areas with minefields, in order to prevent ISIL from reinforcing Raqqa city.[84] By this point, almost all of the five bridges leading to Raqqa had been destroyed either by the US-led coalition or by ISIL, with the only exceptions being the Tabqa Dam and the Baath Dam, both west of Raqqa city.[236]

As these advances continued, ISIL responded by launching several unsuccessful counter-attacks against Suwaydiya Kabir and other strategic territories captured by the SDF.[237][238] On 8 and 9 February, the SDF advanced at the northern and northeastern frontline, capturing several villages and besieging Mizella, a major strategic ISIL stronghold in the northern countryside. The advance put them within 11 kilometres (6.8 mi) of Raqqa.[239][240][241][242][243] The SDF captured Mizella the next day.[40][244] The two fronts of the alliance converged on 11 February as it also captured two villages and wheat silos to the north of Raqqa during the day;[245][246] the next day, the SDF attempted to cross the Balikh River northeast of Raqqa, leading to heavy fighting with local ISIL defenders.[247] On 12 February, a large-scale counter-attack by ISIL reportedly succeeded in retaking Suwaydiya Kabir and four other nearby villages.[248][249] However, pro-YPG sources denied these reports.[250] Another counterattack was carried out by ISIL to the northeast of Raqqa where the SDF had advanced to, leading to heavy clashes between both sides.[251] Clashes continued over the next few days.[252] On 16 February, 165 more SDF fighters completed training and joined the offensive.[253]

Capturing the eastern countryside

A destroyed bridge over the Euphrates in Deir ez-Zor Governorate. As result of the CJTF–OIR bombing campaign, as well as ISIL detonations, most bridges across the river were destroyed.

On 17 February 2017, the SDF announced the launch of the second stage of the third phase, aimed at capturing the eastern countryside of Raqqa near Deir ez-Zor, with the Deir Ezzor Military Council leading the operation.[254] On the same day the SDF captured two villages from ISIL to the north of Deir ez-Zor and came within 6 kilometres (3.7 mi) of the northeast of Raqqa,[255] while the Russian Air Force conducted airstrikes on ISIL forces in Raqqa city for the second time since its entry into the war.[9] The next day, the SDF captured another village to the southwest of the Makman front (north of Deir ez-Zor) as well as another near Raqqa.[256][257] On 18 February, the SDF stormed a prison a few kilometres northeast of Raqqa, freeing some of the inmates.[258] They later captured three villages in Deir ez-Zor’s northern countryside.[259] On the next day, the SDF captured five villages to the east of Raqqa.[260] On 20 February, they captured four villages on the Makmen front, including the strategic village of Sebah al-Xêr as well as a base station of Syriatel, thus cutting off the road between Makman and Raqqa and besieging three ISIL-held villages. Furthermore, the SDF took control of a significant bridge over the Balikh River on the western front.[261][262][263][264][265][266]

On 21 February, the SDF captured two villages on the Makman front and another one near Raqqa.[267][268][269] ISIL later again assaulted Suwaydiya Kabir, attacking it from three fronts, leading to heavy fighting around it.[270] The SDF continued advancing in the eastern countryside of Raqqa on 22 February, capturing three villages, and merging the two fronts at Makman and Bir Hebe. A YPJ commander declared that the SDF had cut the road to Raqqa and Deir ez-Zor.[271][272][273] The SDF stated that it had entered Deir ez-Zor Governorate for the first time in the offensive.[274] On the next day, they captured six villages and sixteen hamlets.[275]

Opening of a new front

On 24 February, the SDF captured four villages in the Makman front and another three in a fourth front to the northeast of Deir ez-Zor.[276][277] They captured the strategic Abu Khashab village later that day.[278] On 25 February, they captured another three villages on the fourth front.[279][280]

On 26 February, a US airstrike near Tabqa Dam destroyed a former government facility which was being used as a headquarters by ISIL. The airstrike’s vicinity to the dam’s structure led to fears that the dam could potentially be destabilized or destroyed during the fighting.[280] Later that day, it was reported that the SDF had captured the village of Al-Kubar, on the northern bank of the Euphrates in the Deir ez-Zor countryside, further tightening the siege on Raqqa.[281] On 28 February, it was reported that the US-led coalition had completely destroyed the Tabqa Airbase in an airstrike.[282]

On 27 February, the plan that the Pentagon submitted to US President Trump to significantly speed up the fight against ISIL included a significant increase in US participation in the Raqqa campaign, with the possibility of the US increasing its ground presence on the Raqqa front to 4,000–5,000 troops.[283]

Advance to the Raqqa-Deir Ezzor highway

YPG/SDF fighters on the bank of the Euphrates east of Raqqa.

The offensive resumed on 5 March, with the SDF capturing at least seven villages and 15 hamlets to the northeast of the Euphrates River, east of Raqqa. The offensive had previously been paused due to bad weather, according to the SDF.[284][285][286] The area captured by SDF forces on that day was about 19 square kilometers, and about 32 ISIL militants were killed in the clashes.[287] After further advances on 6 March, the SDF cut the highway between Raqqa and Deir ez-Zor, which was the last road out of the city,[288][18] and reached the Euphrates River.[289] The SDF captured six villages, the Al-Kubar Military Base (a former nuclear facility), and the Zalabiye Bridge, during the day.[290][291] On 8 March, the SDF took control of the strategic West Menxer hill in the eastern countryside,[292] while elements of the US 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit were deployed to northern Syria, bringing with them an artillery battery of M777 howitzers to support the attack on Raqqa.[54] Meanwhile, about 150 ISIL militants from Hama and Deir-ez Zor managed to reinforce Raqqa, by crossing the Euphrates, despite the partial siege that had been imposed by the SDF on the city.[293]

On 9 March, SDF captured the strategic East Menxer hill and captured three villages on two different fronts. Two villages, including Kubar, were captured on the front to the far east of Raqqa, and one near Raqqa.[294][295][296] 244 Arab fighters from the Raqqa countryside also joined the SDF during the day, for the protection of the people in the region.[297] On the next day, SDF forces advancing from the Abu Khashab front captured three villages, including two near Kubar.[298][299][299][300] On 12 March, the SDF captured Khas Ujayl village, to the southeast of Raqqa, on the Abu Khashab front,[301][302] while ISIL continued to launch repeated counterattacks in the area, in an attempt to check the SDF advances.[303] Meanwhile, 230 ISIL fighters entered Raqqa to reinforce the city.[303][304]

On 14 March, the SDF captured the Khass Hibal village, as well as the Al-Kulayb grain silos, along the Raqqa-Deir Ezzor highway.[305][306] An SDF spokeswoman stated that Raqqa had been isolated. The advance of the SDF put them in control of the land region used by ISIL to connect to their territories in the east, stretching from al-Kubar to the northern bank of the Euphrates and measuring 30 kilometres (19 mi).[307] The SDF captured the Hamad Asaf silos and the[308] Al Kulayb village the next day. Hamad Assaf was also reportedly captured.[309][310] On 17 March, a YPG commander stated that the SDF planned to storm Raqqa city in April 2017, and that the YPG would be participating in the attack, despite the fierce opposition from the Turkish government. However, Pentagon Spokesman Jeff Davis denied that any decision regarding when and how an assault on Raqqa city will be carried out.[311] Meanwhile, clashes continued to take place around Khas Ujayl.[312][313]

The town of al-Karama, after the SDF had captured it from ISIL.

Heavy clashes took place in the town of al-Karama, to the east of Raqqa, on 19 March.[314][315] On the next day, SDF captured al-Karama, along with Jarqa village as well as a train station and water pumping station nearby.[316][317][318][319][320] On 21 March, it was reported again that the SDF had captured Hamad Assaf in the eastern countryside from the Abu Khashab front.[321][322] Another village was captured on 22 March from the Abu Khashab front.[323][322] Meanwhile, Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) and Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently (RIBSS) stated that coalition airstrikes hit a school being used as a shelter for displaced people in a village to the west of Raqqa on 20 March. SOHR stated that 33 civilians were killed in the airstrikes while RIBSS stated that it was unknown what happened to 50 families who were there.[324] The SDF continued advancing in the eastern Raqqa countryside on 23 March, capturing two more villages on the Abu Khashab front, allowing them to capture a small ISIL pocket.[325][326][327][328]On 24 March, the SDF took control of two more villages in the eastern countryside of Raqqa.[329][330][331]

Battle for al-Tabqa countryside and other advances

SDF fighters near Tabqa Dam on 27 March.

On 22 March, the SDF began an assault to capture the Tabqa Dam, al-Thawrah (Tabqa) city, and its airbase. Five hundred SDF fighters and five hundred US Special Forces from CJTF–OIR were airlifted by helicopters of the United States military, across the Euphrates River and Lake Assad, and were dropped on the Shurfa Peninsula to the west of Al-Thawrah. The attack was supported by artillery support from United States Marines, as well as air support.[332][333][334][335] SDF and US forces also landed on the Jazirat al-‘Ayd Island (or Peninsula) to the west of Tabqa Dam, capturing it as well.[336] Four villages southwest of Tabqa were captured in the attack, including Abu Hurayrah, al-Mushayirafah, al-Krain, and al-Jameen. The SDF advanced towards the town of Al-Thawrah, where fliers were dropped, asking residents to stay indoors and avoid clashing against ISIL for now. These fliers were also dropped on Raqqa city.[337] An anti-ISIL coalition spokesman announced that the advance had cut off the highway linking the Aleppo, Deir ez-Zor, and Raqqa Governorates. He added that around 75-80% of the attacking force consisted of Arab fighters, with the rest being Kurds. The SDF stated that the advance was also meant to block any advance on Raqqa by the Syrian Arab Army from the west.[338]

On the same day, SDF and US forces stormed the Tabqa Dam, triggering “intense” clashes with ISIL forces. US officials stated that it may take several weeks to capture Tabqa Dam, Al-Thawrah city, and the surrounding countryside from ISIL.[339][340] Airstrikes by the coalition on Tabqa city were reported to have killed about 25 civilians.[341] On 23 March, some early reports circulated that the SDF had captured Tabqa Dam from ISIL, after clashing with ISIL forces for a few hours.[342][343][8] However, these reports were unconfirmed by other sources, with neither the SDF or CENTCOM confirming the capture of Tabqa Dam, and Rudaw reported that the SDF was still preparing to capture it.[342][344][345] SDF spokesman Talal Silo stated during the day that they were still advancing on the dam and the city and expected to attack the dam soon.[346] Later on the same day, it was reported that ISIL was redeploying a large number of fighters from the Deir ez-Zor Province to Al-Thawrah and Raqqa city, in order to reinforce those fronts.[347] ISIL’s Amaq News Agency later denied later that the SDF had captured the dam.[348]

Refugees from al-Thawrah (Tabqa) city, who have fled from the fighting between the SDF and ISIL.

On 24 March, SDF spokeswoman Jihan Sheikh Ahmed announced that they had reached the Tabqa Dam, and were fighting ISIL at its entrance.[349] The assault on the dam was spearheaded by SDF fighters who were backed by United States Special Operation Forces. According to early reports, the SDF and its allies had taken its outer perimeter, with the battle ongoing for its middle.[350] On the same day, it was also reported that the SDF had captured 8 villages to the southwest of Al-Thawrah.[351] On 25 March, pro-Kurdish news agency Kurdistan24 reported that the SDF had announced the capture of the Tabqa Dam.[352] On the same day, the SDF advanced on Al-Tabqa Airbase, setting off clashes in the vicinity.[353]Amaq meanwhile claimed SDF had withdrawn from the dam.[354]

On 26 March, the SDF captured 2 villages to the east of Al-Thawrah. It was also reported that ISIL was shelling the surroundings of Tabqa Dam with heavy weaponry.[355][356]On the same day, ISIL claimed that Tabqa Dam was on the verge of collapse and that all the floodgates were closed. The dam was reported to have become inoperable, which ISIL claimed was due to Coalition bombing and artillery strikes, though the SOHR stated that the actual reasons were unknown, adding that ISIL still held its main building and turbines.[357][358]SDF however denied that it had been hit, while RIBSS (Raqqa is Silently Being Slaughtered) stated that ISIL was informing fleeing civilians that the dam was safe.[359] Additionally, the US-led Coalition stated that the Tabqa Dam was structurally sound, and that the dam had not been targeted by any airstrikes. They also stated that the SDF controlled an emergency spillway at the northern part of the dam, which could be used in the event of an emergency.[360] On the same day, SDF spokesman Talal Silo announced that SDF had stormed the Tabqa military airport, and had taken sixty to seventy percent of it.[361] They later announced that they had completely captured the Al-Tabqa Airbase, following a 24-hour battle.[12][362][13]ISIL forces stationed at Al-Tabqa Airbase were reported to have withdrawn northward, to Al-Thawrah city. Additionally, SDF forces captured 2 villages near the airbase during the advance.[362][363]

SDF forces target ISIL positions near Tabqa Dam.

Late on 26 March, it was reported that the SDF had taken full control of Tabqa Dam, and that repairs on the dam by Coalition engineers had begun.[14][364] A day later however SDF announced they were temporarily pausing their offensive for the dam.[365][15][16] Later in the day, a spokeswoman of the SDF announced that engineers who had been permitted to check the dam and its operations did not find it was damaged or malfunctioning.[366] SDF also captured 2 villages to the west of Raqqa on the same day.[367][368][369] It resumed the offensive against ISIL at the Tabqa Dam on 28 March.[370] Syrian engineers worked on the dam during a pause in the fighting to open spillways and ease the pressure on the dam. Its southern reaches were reported to be under ISIL control. ISIL claimed that the maintenance team was killed in airstrikes by the anti-ISIL coalition while the SOHR stated that it had learned that the engineer administering the dam had been killed in airstrikes along with a technician. It also stated that the group had sent 900 fighters from Raqqa to fight against the SDF advance.[371]

On 29 March, the SDF cut the road between Al-Thawrah (Tabqa) city and Raqqa. The SDF stated that ISIL had shelled the Tabqa Dam during the day, causing repair work to be temporarily paused.[372][373][374] On 31 March, SDF forces attacked the town of Al-Safsafah, to the east of Al-Thawrah, in an attempt to besiege the city.[375][376] On the same day, the Ajeel tribe of al-Raqqa announced its support for the SDF’s Raqqa campaign and sent 150 fighters. On 1 April 2017, 200 Arab youths completed training and joined the SDF, also for the Raqqa campaign.[377][378] The SDF announced during the day that over 220 new recruits had joined the offensive.[379] Meanwhile, leaflets were dropped on the city calling on ISIL to surrender.[380] Clashes continued in the countryside of Tabqa on next day as both sides attempted to advance.[381]

The SDF and some activists stated on 2 April that it had repelled a major ISIL counterattack to the northeast of Tabqa city, near the Tabqa Dam and near the Tabqa airbase. They also continued to advance in villages to the east of Tabqa city.[382] On the same day, it was reported that SDF had completely besieged Al-Thawrah (Tabqa) city, with Kurdish activists stating that 2 SDF units linked up to the east of the city.[383][384] SOHR, however, stated that they were still trying to besiege the city.[385] SDF fighters continued battling for Safsafah and Ibad, on the next day, to fully encircle Tabqa.[386][387] On 3 April, it was reported that ISIL was possibly in the process of moving its capital from Raqqa city to Mayadin, in the Deir ez-Zor Governorate. This followed months of gradual relocation of resources and senior ISIL leaders from Raqqa to Mayadin.[388] SDF entered and besieged Safsafah on 5 April, thus also besieging Tabqa city while claiming that it had also taken control of a major part of Safsafah.[389][390] The village was captured by the next day, resulting in SDF completely encircling Tabqa city.[391][392]

The SDF captured Ibad village, to the east of Safsafah, on 9 April, further expanding their control in eastern countryside of Tabqa, while more than 25 ISIL fighters were killed in the clashes.[393][394] ISIL also launched unsuccessful counterattacks on Safsafah,[395] while also attacking Al-Tabqa Airbase.[396] The SDF captured another village near Tabqa on the next day.[397][398]

On 11 April, the US-led Coalition reported that the SDF had captured 60% of Tabqa Dam, and that they were “very close” to liberating the dam.[399][400] On 13 April, the United States military stated that CJTF-OIR had bombed a SDF fighting position near Tabqa as it was misidentified as belonging to ISIL. It added that the airstrikes resulted in deaths of 18 SDF fighters.[401]

Phase Four: Offensive directly north of and around Raqqa city; Assault on Tabqa city

On 13 April, the SDF announced the launch of the fourth phase of the campaign.[402] The new phase will involve capturing the entire area directly north of Raqqa city, including the Jalab valley, as well as completing the siege of Raqqa city.[403] The advancements may involve capturing the southern countryside of Raqqa as well, since the SDF stated that they plan to fully isolate the city before launching an attack on it.[404][403] A plan to attack Raqqa city itself was also scheduled to for April 2017, but it was postponed due to the Battle of Tabqa.[405] SDF was reported to have captured a village in the northern countryside of Raqqa on the same day.[406]

SOHR stated early on 15 April that the SDF had advanced to the edge of Tabqa, and was within hundreds of meters of the city.[407] Later, SDF captured the village of Ayad al-Saghir village near Tabqa and stormed the city itself, capturing the Alexandria suburb and bringing about 15% of the city under their control.[408][409][410] They also cleared the Mushayrifah village near Tabqa, killing 27 ISIL fighters.[411][412]

On 17 April, the SDF captured 3 villages in the northern countryside of Raqqa along with four hamlets.[413][414][415]

Civil administration of captured territory

Samer Kharkhi, one of the Raqqa Civil Council’s leading members.

On 14 November, the SDF’s civilian sister institution, the Syrian Democratic Council (SDC), started working on the establishment of a civilian administration to run the city of Raqqa after the expulsion of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. SDC co-chair Îlham Ehmed said “such an administration could provide a good example for democratic change in Raqqa, especially that the city has been for years a de facto capital for the ISIS terrorist group. This accomplishment would be a major change in the overall situation in Syria, and would help the country move towards stability, democratic change. Raqqa will be an example for the whole country.”[416]

On 8 December, Col. John Dorrian, the Operation Inherent Resolve spokesman, stated that “a governance structure representative of the local population” similar to that in Manbij is planned for Raqqa.[417] On 10 December, Cihan ShekhEhmed, the spokesman of the SDF-led operation, said that Raqqa would be run by a local elected civilian council after it was liberated.[124] On 27 March 2017, Salih Muslim Muhammad, co-chairman of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), said that as soon as the SDF had captured the city, “the people of Raqqa are the ones who [will] take the decision on everything”. If they wanted to do so, Muslim said, they could choose to join the Democratic Federal System of Northern Syria.[418] On the same day, the Raqqa Civil Council announced that it had taken over the administration of the eastern countryside.[419]

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