Chechen special forces during parachute drop in March 2016 Photo YouTube screenshot Ruptly TV channel LOGORussia's latest move is deployment of its largest-ever force of ground troops to Syria. With the possibility of more to come, 1,000 troops on their way are not common soldiers. They are special forces, and they come from Chechnya. Like the luminary that informed wise men two thousand years ago, Moscow's star is rising from the north. It is not the same star, however. And its message is quite different.

IDF infographic and Lieberman montage LOGOAlthough unacknowedged by Jersualem, everyone knows that Israel has recently engaged in an air raid campaign against targets in Syria. So far, it includes two bombing runs last week, and one yesterday morning. Why is Israel doing this, and why now? On Wednesday, without confirming the Israeli sorties, the nation's Defense Minister explained why they are taking place.

Iraqi commanders direct Mosul Op 2016 under US leadership Photo YouTube screenshot France 24 English channel LOGOThe US-led coalition to liberate Mosul from ISIS has petered out. ISIS leaders and troops are strolling back into town without a fight. Meanwhile in Aleppo, ISIS is on the run from a Moscow-Tehran coalition. Why has the US op failed? And when Trump inherits the problem, Jerusalem wonders, will he turn the entire fight against Islamic State over to Putin, and by default Iran?

Putin during Peres visit to Moscow Nov 2012 Photo Israeli GPO LOGOThe war in Syria is moving south, toward Jerusalem, and with an international coalition of stunning strength. That coalition includes the the first-ever Shiite army which is also a foreign legion. Expected to number 50-70,000, it is shifting the focus of soldiers from political and tribal allegiances to a single religious identity.

Iran Chief of Staff Mohamman Hossaian Bagheri Photo Tasmin Agency Mahmood Hosseini and Google Map highlighting Iran Syria Yemen Israel LOGOIran's vision for its future is vast. The "territory" it forsees as its own will require naval bases in Syria, Yemen, the Indian Ocean, and on manmade islands. Establishing these bases, it says, is "ten times more important than nuclear power."

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