The United States accepted Iranian participation in talks regarding Syria for the first time on Tuesday, even while Iran has increased its support for Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad, the Associated Press reported. Iran has not yet sent a response. The next round of talks is set to begin on Thursday in Vienna and will include the United States, Russia, Britain, France, Germany, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and the United Arab Emirates. Saudi Arabia had reportedly “been [the] most determined to block Iran from the meeting,” but “relented after lengthy discussion” with the U.S. State Department Spokesperson John Kirby said Monday that in order to have a political solution in Syria, “you’re going to have to have a conversation with Iran about this… Nobody said that there wouldn’t be a role for Assad or for the institution of his…government in the transition…It’s just that a meaningful transition can’t leave him in power.”
The invitation comes as Iran is increasing its military presence in Syria to support the Assad regime, which is driving a war that has killed at least 250,000 people and displaced 11 million, and has been responsible for a myriad of war crimes. Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) deputy commander Hossein Salami told Iranian state television on Tuesday that the IRGC has sent more military advisors to Syria. Three IRGC generals have been killed in Syria this month, including Brig. Gen. Hossein Hamedani, a veteran of the Iran-Iraq War for whom Iran held a state funeral. Ali Alfoneh, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, wrote recently, “This marks a much more extensive deployment by the Tehran regime…[It] means that, in effect, the Syrian war is transforming the entire IRGC into an expeditionary force. This is likely to increase IRGC military interventions in the Middle East in the future and suggests that more Iranian forces could be deployed in Syria.” In a hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee Tuesday, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joe Dunford said, "The balances of forces are now in Assad's advantage.”
Syrian regime forces, the IRGC, and Hezbollah, backed by Russian air support, launched a major offensive in Aleppo province on October 15. As a result, more than 120,000 Syrian civilians have fled Aleppo, Hama, and Idlib provinces this month, the United Nations announced on Monday.
The civil complaint filed late on Sunday but announced only on Monday, seeks an injunction to require Facebook to block all racist incitement and calls for violence against Jews in Israel, but no damages.
A 76-page list of plaintiffs contend that “Facebook’s refusal to remove the flood of extremist videos, statements and cartoons being posted by Palestinians is encouraging imminent violence and fanning the flames of the terrorist attacks that have overwhelmed Israel in the past month.” […]
“Many of these murderers were motivated to commit their heinous crimes by incitement to murder they read on Facebook – demagogues and leaders exhorting their followers to ‘slaughter the Jews,’ and offering instruction as to the best manner to do so, including even “anatomical charts showing the best places to stab a human being.”
The suit was filed on behalf of the plaintiffs by attorneys Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, director of Shurat HaDin-Israel Law Center (ILC), Robert Tolchin, American counsel for ILC, and Asher Perlin. The suit “claims that Facebook has a legal and moral obligation to monitor and restrict racist incitement and calls to violence against Jews.” While the lawsuit acknowledges that Facebook has taken action to limit “extreme calls for murder,” it notes that this content has only been removed in reaction to user complaints.
The suit further argues that Facebook isn’t simply a passive bulletin board as it has sophisticated algorithms that can detect content that promotes violence.
The New York Post, which also reported on the lawsuit, quoted Tolchin as saying, “Facebook connects the whole world, and they need to be sensitive that their algorithms are spanning decades of hatred and murder, and connecting people who are not only interested in malicious activities, but are actually going through with these activities. Facebook needs to be sensitive to that, especially when it’s a call to murder.”
The Jerusalem Post reports that the lead plaintiff in the case was Richard Lakin, a retired American principal and grandfather of eight who moved to Israel over 30 years ago. Lakin, who was critically injured two weeks ago in a terror attack on a bus in Jerusalem, died today.
According to Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Magen David Adom emergency medical service reports that 11 people have been killed and 126 injured, 13 seriously, in the recent wave of Palestinian terror. The IDF reported 46 stabbings, 4 shootings, and 5 car ramming attacks between October 1-26. (via TheTower.org)