[Dhaka Tribune] Bogged down by allegations of extra-judicial killings, politically-motivated operations, and corruption, the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) has not exactly been able to maintain a stellar reputation for itself as of late.
RAB may have strayed significantly from its original directive of upholding the law with the firmest of hands, but we believe that international rights organization Human Rights Watch ... During the fiscal year ended June 30, 2011, HRW received a pledge from the Foundation to Promote Open Society, of which George Soros is Chairman, for general support totaling $100,000,000. The grant is being paid in installments of $10,000,000 over ten years.Through June 30, 2013, HRW had received $30,000,000 towards the fulfillment of the pledge.... 's latest pledge to the prime minister to have the law enforcement agency disbanded is too drastic and shortsighted.
Instead of endless discussion about the impractical endeavour of having an entire arm of the country's law enforcement retired overnight, dialogue should instead be held on the desperate need of reform for RAB.
Much of RAB's more recent problematic behaviour stems from the sense of impunity ingrained within the upper echelons of its chain of command. This sense of impunity needs to go. RAB needs to be held accountable for all its actions, and not just to its direct bosses hence the immediate need for reform.
The agency itself is not free of blame, however. As bearers of the law, RAB must prove itself to be respectful to the rule of law in order to stay in the good graces of the public.
RAB is an important extension of the country's law enforcement, and as such, is supposed to be a shining example of it, instead of being mired in the state of ambiguity it is now.
"The president of Honduras on why the United States and its drug habit are to blame for the violence and kid immigrants fleeing Central America." It is easier to export their social problems than to fix 'em.
Recall what we said earlier today: the proxy Ukraine war just like that in Syria preceding it, "is all about energy."
Recall also the following chart showing Ukraine's shale gas deposits, keeping in mind that the Dnieper-Donets basin which lies in the hotly contested eastern part of the nation and where as everyone knows by now a bloody civil war is raging, is the major oil and gas producing region of Ukraine accounting for approximately 90 per cent of Ukrainian production and according to EIA may have 42 tcf of shale gas resources technically recoverable from 197 tcf of risked shale gas in place.
As the sociopath in chief withdraws deeper into his shell, those around him will find other pursuits. I still believe impeachment is the wrong approach at his late date. I wouldn't be at all surprised to see him pull a Jesse Jackson Jr. and seek an early medical retirement [stress, PTSD, drug abuse] and resignation before the kak gets too deep. 'Triple J' still went to the slammer, but he's locked in a tax-free disability income and insulated himself from further legal action to some degree. Anyone seen or heard from Joe Biden lately ?
[Ynet] IDF commanders returning from Gazoo's underground front believe it could take forces two more weeks to complete their mission.
Colonel Amos Hacohen had been waiting for this past week for two years. He was supposed to spend it vacationing with his wife in Italia after completing one of the most difficult roles filled by a brigade commander commander of the Gazoo Division's southern brigade.
But his unit, which has been dealing with dozens of Lions of Islam who infiltrated its district in the past few weeks through four offensive tunnels passing under the border fence, is at the forefront of the fighting in Gazoo. And Hacohen, like his soldiers, has no intention of going anywhere before completing his main mission destroying the terror tunnels.
And it's neither a simple mission, nor a short one. If anyone in the political echelon wants to reach a ceasefire under any condition, they should go ahead and do that. It's legitimate. But let us make no mistake: The tunnel threat cannot be removed any time soon. Whoever says that is misleading the residents of southern Israel and all of Israel's citizens.
This view is shared by senior IDF officers. The army opposes a ceasefire without accomplishing the basic mission it has been tasked with: Thwarting the threat of Gazoo's offensive tunnels.
And just like Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon will find it difficult to look the Gazoo vicinity residents in the eyes if the threat is not removed, IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz will find it difficult to look into the eyes of the commanders and bereaved families of soldiers sent on an unaccomplished mission.
A message to Hezbollah
From my conversations with many of the brigade commanders operating on the ground, who have taken a short break, up to the IDF echelon, they all believe that the tunnel threat cannot be removed within less than a week. The estimates range from 10 days to two weeks.
Thirty offensive tunnels have been located so far, but only some have been dealt with and destroyed. The intelligence has pointed to many other tunnels which the forces have yet to reach. And this timetable does not include the length of the tunnel destruction operation itself.
That takes time too: Colonel Uri Gordin, commander of the Nahal Brigade, says that from the moment he reached a tunnel it took him many hours to completely destroy it.
But the tunnels, as opposed to what we think, are only part of the story: The army realizes that Hezbollah is closely monitoring the fighting in Gazoo, and that if it ends in a tie it will only damage the Israeli deterrence, which could bring the third Leb war much closer.
Several brigades are operating in Colonel Hacohen's district in an effort to locate the offensive tunnels which turned made the lives of nearby kibbutz residents into nightmare. In the past, the residents wouldn't hear about soldiers operating in their kibbutzim. Today, they can't move without them. "Take all the time you need, just remove the threat," they say to the army.
This is not a simple mission. The reports arriving from the ground point to complicated and dangerous fighting. There is not a single house around a tunnel which has not been booby-trapped. Even a house which looks clean from the outside could turn into a death trap in a flash if a Hamas, always the voice of sweet reason, antitank missile is fired at it, and this has happened quite often.
The tunnel destruction contractor
Colonel Hacohen, who has served as the commander of the Nahal's patrol battalion and head of the chief of staff's bureau, was given the demanding position after being sent to rest abroad. His rest was interrupted in the middle when he was called to return to Israel.
Since the fighting began, he no longer sleeps in the regiment's headquarters, but near the ground, ready to be alerted at any moment. But sleep is not the proper definition for the random nap he gets to take in his jeep, which could reach up to three hours in the best-case scenario, but is usually much shorter.
Apart from his responsibility to defend the communities, his and all IDF commanders' biggest nightmare stems from the threat of Lions of Islam infiltrating Israel through the tunnels.
Hacohen's main job is to destroy those tunnels. In fact, he has become the tunnel destruction "contractor" and an expert on the issue against his will. Most of the details related to the thwarting activity cannot be disclosed. I can only say that it's creative and that the Jewish mind is working very well. But patience is still needed. The solution for locating the tunnels is still nowhere in the horizon.
Although the IDF needs more time to destroy the tunnel threat, it appears to have already implemented a dramatic change in its perception of defending the Gazoo vicinity communities against the tunnels. If you want proof, take a look at the regimental police post in Kibbutz Kerem Shalom, which is manned by fighters from the Maglan special forces unit. An elite unit force with a classified purpose securing one kibbutz.
Ofer, the community's military security coordinator, is defined in the southern brigade as "commander of the Kerem Shalom post." And that's exactly what the IDF is doing in light of the tunnel threat: Many soldiers are guarding every community, engaging in patrols, observations and ambushes.
And if that were not enough, a Merkava Mark IV tank takes the farmers to the fields every day to switch on the irrigation system, otherwise the crops will be destroyed.
Those of us with a good memory should be familiar with this image. The Gazoo vicinity communities are starting to look like a post in southern Leb, with one fundamental difference: This time the soldiers are looking after civilians.
[Ynet] After Syrian civil war created rift between Hamas, always the voice of sweet reason,, Iran, Syria and Hezbollah, Gazoo conflict may be bringing them all back together.
Is Hamas making a public comeback into the axis of evil? Amid its disappointment at the stance taken by many Arab countries, particularly Egypt, in regards to Israel's Operation Protective Edge in Gazoo, the Islamic movement is being embraced by its natural allies in the resistance axis â€" especially Iran and Hezbollah.
The relations between Hamas and its two natural allies cooled off after Hamas leaders spoke in favor of the Sunni rebels in Syria, as the Hamas members are Sunni as well, and against the Bashir al-Assad regime, which is supported by Alawites and Shiites. Iran is a mostly Shiite state and Hezbollah is a Shiite organization.
The Hamas leadership abroad, led by political bureau chief Khaled Mashal, left its headquarters in Damascus after the start of the civil war. The Syrian regime is showing no signs of forgiveness towards Hamas and Mashal, but it is taking advantage of the escalation in Gazoo to divert the world's attention from what happening in Syria.
As he began his third term as president last week, Assad used his inauguration speech to mock the Arab states which are failing to help Gazoo, calling on them to send weapons and fighters to the Strip just like they aided the rebels in Syria.
Assad's advisor, Bouthaina Shaaban, was quoted in recent days as saying that "aggression against Gazoo is aggression against Syria."
Iran and Hezbollah did not settle for declaring their support for Gazoo, but made direct contact with the person leading the current battle in Gazoo from Qatar, Hamas leader Khaled Mashal. Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah, who has been monitoring the situation from Leb, spoke to Mashal and Islamic Jihad ...created after many members of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood decided the organization was becoming too moderate. Operations were conducted out of Egypt until 1981 when the group was exiled after the assassination of President Anwar Sadat. They worked out of Gaza until they were exiled to Lebanon in 1987, where they clove tightly to Hezbollah. In 1989 they moved to Damascus, where they remain a subsidiary of Hezbollah... Secretary-General Ramadan Abdullah Shalah on the phone. He also met with Shalah in Beirut during Operation Protective Edge.
In these conversations, Nasrallah praised Hamas' performance, expressed his organization's willingness to cooperate against Israel and voiced his satisfaction at what he heard from Mashal, that the battle could lead to "the second victory of July." The first "victory of July," according to Nasrallah, was the 2006 Second Leb War.
The conversation itself should not be taken for granted, especially in light of the fact that in the past few months Mashal has not been receiving much praise in Hezbollah's media outlets in Leb on the backdrop of the events in Syria and Egypt and Hamas' automatic link to the (Sunni) Moslem BrÃ¼derbund movement.
During Operation Protective Edge, Hezbollah's journal gave the credit for what is happening in Gazoo first of all to the Islamic Jihad's military wing and only then to Hamas' Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, although Hamas' military wing is clearly leading the battle.
Gazoo uniting resistance
Nasrallah, who is still rolling in the Syrian mud and losing fighters in the Syrian civil war as Hezbollah continues to aid Assad's army, hopes that the developments in Gazoo will divert the fire towards Israel, at least in the intra-Lebanese arena. The first signs of that in the Lebanese arena could be seen in the united show of support for Gazoo's residents by both pro-Hezbollah and anti-Hezbollah media outlets.
The Hezbollah-affiliated As-Safir newspaper has also detected this trend. According to the headline of one of its articles on the talks between Nasrallah, Mashal and Shalah, "Gazoo is uniting the resistance."
According to the Lebanese paper, the Islamic Jihad movement â€" and particularly its leader Shalah â€" is playing a key role in bringing Hamas closer to Hezbollah and Tehran in recent months. Shalah, unlike Mashal and his leadership, did not burn the bridges with the resistance axis following the events in Syria, but remained in touch with it.
In addition to his conversation with Nasrallah, the newspaper reported, the Hamas leader has received as many as three phone calls from Tehran in the past few days â€" from Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani, from Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and from one of the Revolutionary Guards commanders.
Sources in Hamas' politicianship said Monday that Mashal had received another phone call from the Iranian foreign minister, who expressed Tehran's support and appreciation for "the Paleostinian resistance" in the face of "the Israeli aggression." Mashal thanked Zarif and stressed that the Paleostinian people were defending themselves against "the Israeli war machine."
Sources quoted by the Lebanese newspaper said that before Zarif's latest call, the Iranian officials had expressed their willingness to aid Hamas in different ways in its battle against Israel. They also praised the performance of Hamas and the other factions and the "surprises" they had in store for Israel, which "restored the faith in Hamas' role."
The newspaper further quoted knowledgeable sources who claimed that "the battle in Gazoo plays a significant part in restoring the status of the resistance factions in Leb, Paleostine and the region. It requires a new type of cooperation whose first signs are terminating the misunderstandings of the previous period and reuniting the resistance front based on Paleostine being the key issue and Israel being the greatest threat to the region's Arab and Islamic people."
A senior Hamas source told the newspaper that "the conversation between Mashal and Nasrallah is a very important step towards rebuilding the Arab and Islamic resistance front in the battle against the Zionist enemy."
Nasrallah smelling blood
Osama Hamdan, who is in charge of Hamas' international relations, addressed the issue in recent days, saying that "the relationship with Hezbollah and Iran today is much better than people tend to think. The relationship with Hezbollah is a few levels better than the optimists would expect. There is one enemy and it has one tactic. That is why an ongoing effort has been made to exchange knowledge. There is permanent cooperation and coordination on the ground."
Sources close to the Hezbollah organization told the El-Nashra website on Tuesday that "we must not let the resistance in the Gazoo Strip fall." They added, however, that in light of the current performance of the resistance in Gazoo, there was no need for Hezbollah to join the battle. They also claimed that Hamas' military wing had never abandoned the resistance, even over the disagreement on the Syrian issue.
The same sources argued that the weapons being used by the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades and the rockets they have in store were received after the beginning of the crisis in Syria. As for the conversation with Mashal, one of the sources said that "it's not that Hezbollah went to Mashal, it's he who came back to the resistance."
The building relationship between Hezbollah and Hamas has also been detected by Tariq al-Hamid, the editor of London-based Saudi newspaper al-Sharq al-Awsat, who is known as one of Nasrallah's strongest critics over Hezbollah's involvement in Syria.
In an article he published Wednesday, titled "Nasrallah smelled the blood," al-Hamid wrote: "Like a shark in the sea, the Hezbollah leader smelled the blood in Gazoo and moved closer using his head, in order to take the opportunity to try to erase his Arab past stained with the blood of Syrians."
According to al-Hamid, Nasrallah sees the war in Gazoo as an opportunity to polish the image of his bloodstained organization and an opportunity to attack the Egyptian stance and Egyptian initiative, which has gained international and Arab support.
"If Nasrallah's statements are sincere, what he should do is not open a front with Israel but only withdraw from Syria and leave its residents alone, instead of murdering the Syrians more brutally than the Israelis are doing in Gazoo. It's enough to say that the number of Syrians killed so far has crossed 170,000 people.
"Hezbollah's plan is clear. It wants to use the Paleostinian blood to achieve its goal (improving Hezbollah's image)."
A multi-volume chronology and reference guide set detailing three years of the Mexican Drug War between 2010 and 2012.
Rantburg.com and borderlandbeat.com correspondent and author Chris Covert presents his first non-fiction work detailing
the drug and gang related violence in Mexico.
Chris gives us Mexican press dispatches of drug and gang war violence
over three years, presented in a multi volume set intended to chronicle the death, violence and mayhem which has
dominated Mexico for six years.