Thursday, August 18, 2016

From Ian:

Khaled Abu Toameh: "No Room for the Zionist Entity in the Region"
"The Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) believes that the land of Palestine has been an Islamic Wakf throughout the generations and until the Day of Resurrection, no one can renounce it or part of it, or abandon it or part of it. There is no solution to the Palestinian problem except Jihad." — Hamas Charter.
Hamas's decision to participate in the upcoming local and municipal elections will further strengthen the movement and pave the way for it to extend its control from the Gaza Strip to the West Bank.
"The Zionist entity will not be part of this region. We will continue to resist it until the liberation of our land and the return of our people." — Musa Abu Marzouk, senior Hamas official.
How precisely Hamas intends to "serve" the Palestinians by running in the elections is somewhat murky. Abu Marzouk did not talk about building new schools and parks for the Palestinians. When he talks about "serving" the people, he means only one thing: recruiting Palestinians to Hamas and jihad against Israel and the Jews.
PMW: PA TV song: “We are a thorn in the throat of Zionism”
A song with an upbeat tune broadcast twice on PA TV celebrates that Palestinians are “not afraid of the enemy [Israel],” are “a thorn in the throat of Zionism” who “have given them [Israelis] a taste of grief.” The song identifies the “Palestinians” as people from cities of the West Bank and Gaza, as well as the cities of Israel. As the names of cities are sung, different people, adults and children, respond “We are!” while raising their arm with a clenched fist.
While singing the words "in place of one [prisoner] here are ten" - the singer points to the young boy he is holding: He is the "one" future prisoner who will be replaced by ten others.
PA TV song: Palestinians are “thorn in the throat of Zionism”


Liberman unveils ‘carrot and stick’ policy to combat terror, weaken Abbas
Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman unveiled a new plan on Wednesday to punish Palestinians who support terrorism, while making life easier for those who don’t.
Under the proposal, known as “The sticks, the hits and the carrots,” Liberman also intends to take some of the power away from Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, whom Israel has long accused of recalcitrance over the peace process.
Palestinian villages in the West Bank from where attackers regularly emanate, which are marked in red on Liberman’s map, will face a series of consequences — which he referred to as “the burden of security” — including additional IDF presence in the area and increased enforcement of pre-existing laws.
The project is expected to cost NIS 400 million ($105 million) over the next two years, but Liberman said that was necessary in order for both Israelis and Palestinians to live in peace.
Abbas' channel has been closed for years
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has been irrelevant for years. He has no influence on the ground, and he will make every effort not to hold elections, understanding that he would lose to Hamas. The Israeli Left placed a great deal of hope in this Holocaust-denier and, in an absence of existential logic, claims that given the alternative, a deal with Abbas is preferable. There are only two problems: The day Abbas signs a deal is the day he will be killed, and no Palestinian will honor such an agreement.
It seems there is some wisdom to Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman's proposal to look for alternative channels to Abbas, a channel that has been closed for years. There is room for discussions with other officials in the area, and anyone who knows Judea and Samaria knows that the Palestinian entity, which never existed, is anything but unified -- rather it is divided along familial, tribal and geographic lines. In addition, it is important to encourage the rational actors among the Palestinians and make it clear that anyone who extends even a finger out to peace will get a warm handshake in return, and anyone who turns to terror and war will contend with the strong arm of Israel's security forces.
The solution for our complicated environment will not come as a result of diplomatic cocktails in the halls of the U.N. or the marble rooms of the White House. If there is in fact a solution to be found -- an assumption that in itself needs to be examined -- it will be on the ground.



Netanyahu Likens Judo to Israel, Combining Brains, Brawn, Heart (VIDEO)
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu greeted the country’s returning Olympic judokas at his office in Jerusalem on Wednesday, and lauded them for more than their athletic prowess and success in Rio.
At the gathering, attended by Israeli’s national judo team, Culture and Sport Minister Miri Regev and Netanyahu’s wife, Sara, the prime minister said, “First of all, anyone who made it to our Olympic team is equivalent to a general…It’s like getting accepted to an elite [IDF] unit. It’s not easy. Secondly, to see the dedication, the struggle, is an inspiration to everybody [to know that] you can lose in a competition and come back. I’m saying this from personal experience. Yes, you can lose and come back.”
Likening judo to the state of Israel, Netanyahu said it’s a combination of “brains, brawn and heart.” Turning to the judokas and their coaches assembled, he added, “You have all exhibited all of those traits. And we’ll support you and all our Olympic teams,” referring, among other plans, to a Knesset bill proposing life-long salaries for Israeli Olympic medalists.
Israeli Judo Bronze Medalist: Disgraced Egyptian Opponent Shouted 'Allahu Akbar' Before Fight
After winning the bronze medal at the Rio Olympics and returning home to Israel, judo fighter Ori Sasson shared his perspective on his Egyptian opponent's infamous handshake snub. Refusing to shake Sasson’s hand (the most basic gesture of respect in martial arts), disgraced Egyptian judo fighter Islam El Shehaby officially left professional judo shortly after leaving Rio and getting reprimanded by the Olympic committee. Since then, he has garnered international attention for poor sportsmanship and raw hatred, highlighting the disease of Arab anti-Semitism on the world stage.
On Tuesday, Sasson provided extra insight into his encounter with El Shehaby in an interview with Israel’s Yedioth Ahronoth. El Shehaby and his coach “said Allahu Akbar' to each other" before the fight,” Sasson said in the interview. “This shouting reminded me of what's going on in Israel, before a terror attack."
Sasson suggested he didn’t harbor any animus toward his opponent before the fight. I "never developed hatred towards him,” he stated, adding, “But I realized I was going to fight against an athlete, and it didn't matter to me if he were Egyptian.”
Nonetheless, El Shehaby treated Sasson with disrespect from beginning of the match. "He never spoke to me. He always had a hostile expression. He would always look like he wanted to murder us," Sasson stressed.
David Singer: Abbas Abandons Peace Negotiations With Israel
Abbas effectively abandoned further peace negotiations with Israel when his Foreign Minister Riad al-Maliki announced Abbas’s decision during an Arab League meeting in the Mauritanian capital of Nouakchott on 25 July:
"We are working to open up an international criminal case for the crime which they [Britain] committed against our nation – from the days of the British Mandate all the way to the massacre which was carried out against us from 1948 onwards …
With the commemoration of 100 years since this historic massacre, and following the continuity of this tragedy, we request that the Secretary General of the Arab League assist us in prosecuting the British government for publishing the Balfour Declaration which caused this catastrophe against the Palestinian people."

The Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), from its founding in 1964, had labelled the Balfour Declaration a “fraud” – revising this position in 1968 by claiming it was “deemed null and void”.
Such unsubstantiated assertions of British fraud and illegality are supposedly now to be legally challenged – but can Abbas be taken seriously?
Abbas has not similarly threatened France, although France’s Secretary General For Foreign Affairs, Jules Cambon, informed Nahum Sokolow on 4 June 1917 – 5 months before the Balfour Declaration:
“You were good enough to present the project to which you are devoting your efforts, which has for its object the development of Jewish colonization in Palestine. You consider that, circumstances permitting, and the independence of the Holy Places being safeguarded on the other hand, it would be a deed of justice and of reparation to assist, by the protection of the Allied Powers, in the renaissance of the Jewish nationality in that Land from which the people of Israel were exiled so many centuries ago.
Two kinds of peace
The bottom-up approach to solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict posits that peace begins with people.
Only when both Israelis and Palestinians accept the notion that their societies are inexorably tied to one another will it be possible to realize peace.
The two societies must reconcile themselves to the fact that they share the same geographic area; that their economies are intertwined in deep and intricate ways; that the environmental negligence of one people has ramifications for the other; and that Israelis and Palestinians must learn to communicate with one another for the betterment of both peoples.
In short, Israelis and Palestinians need to internalize the idea that relations cannot be reduced to a zero-sum game in which one side must lose and the other must win.
Rather, the growth and prosperity of one side is ultimately beneficial to the other.
A new mall launched this week in Gush Etzion, which caters to both Israelis and Palestinians living in the area, exemplifies the potential power of the bottom- up approach to bringing about positive change. The three-story, 5,000-meter structure has 15 shops, including a FOX clothing outlet and home goods retailer.
IDF Flies in U.S. Air Force Drill Alongside Pakistan and UAE—Which Don’t Recognize Israel
Despite not having diplomatic relations, Israel’s air force is participating in joint exercises this week with the air forces of Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates at a U.S. Air Force base in Nevada.
It is highly unusual for countries that don’t officially recognize each other to work together in military drills, but being invited to train with the United States at their elite “Red Flag” exercise is an opportunity few nations would pass up.
The exercise will include simulated dog fights and other challenging missions including trying to evade surface to air missiles, like the ones Israel could be facing in a conflict with Hezbollah.
An Israeli Defense Forces spokesperson demurred when asked by The Jerusalem Post about Israel’s participation alongside countries that don’t recognize it. But he noted that the IDF greatly benefits from participating in exercises like Red Flag. “The air force trains regularly in Israel and abroad in order to maintain operational readiness for different operational situations,” the spokesperson said. “The ‘Red Flag’ exercise is a unique and high quality exercise. When the air force was invited to participate, it responded by accepting.”
IsraellyCool: How Hamas And Fatah Work Together To Perpetuate The Conflict
Hamas and the Palestinian Authority are the best of frenemies. Even while they squabble and fight for power, the so-called moderates in the PA and Fatah work in tandem with the fundamentalists in Hamas to prevent the realization of the two-state solution.
The PA has repeatedly rejected offers of partition. Arafat rejected an offer of independence and peace at Camp David in 2000, and current President Mahmoud Abbas has admitted that he rejected Ehud Olmert’s offer in 2008. He recently reiterated his categorical rejection of any territorial compromise, calling for a “Palestinian state whose capital is east Jerusalem on the ’67 borders,” and he continues to reject peace negotiations
This demand, of course, is impossible to grant. In his book Like Dreamers: The Story of the Israeli Paratroopers Who Reunited Jerusalem and Divided a Nation, Yossi Klein Halevi described the way that Jordanian forces fired indiscriminately on homes in Jewish neighborhoods of west Jerusalem from positions in the West Bank during the 1967 war.In Times of Israel, Caitlyn Martin explained,
"70 percent of Israel’s population lives in the area that you can see from Alfe Menashe [in Samaria]. Prior to 1967 nobody lived there. It was used as a gun emplacement by the Jordanian army. It was used to shell Israeli cities during times of conflict."
UN: Israel may ’forcibly transfer’ 46 West Bank Beduin communities
Forty-six Palestinian herding and Beduin West Bank communities outside of Jerusalem are at risk of population transfer, the United Nations warned on Wednesday as a top official attended a protest ceremony against the pending IDF demolition of a small, unauthorized school in one of those encampments.
Under a hot morning sun, David Carden, who heads the UN’s West Bank Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, sat with Palestinian officials at a long folding table, set up on an artificial green lawn outside the eight-room compound, nicknamed “the tire school.” It services some 170 boys and girls from grades one to nine.
Communities such as this one, Khan al-Ahmar, “in the central West Bank [are] identified as being at risk of forcible transfer due to Israeli ‘relocation’ plans,” Carden said.
These people are “among the scores of vulnerable Palestinian communities across the occupied Palestinian territory who struggle daily to meet their basic needs and realize their rights in a coercive environment that creates pressure on them to leave their homes,” he said.
Above his head plastic Palestinian flags hung off on a string that was stretched out across the lawn.
Allies Object to U.S. “No First Use” Nuclear Pledge, Fearing It Will Undermine Deterrence
As President Barack Obama’s term in office comes to an end, a number of allies are expressing concern that he will publicly pledge that the United States would never be first to use nuclear weapons in a conflict, Josh Rogin of The Washington Post reported Sunday.
Japan, South Korea, France, and Britain have “all privately communicated their concerns” about what would be “a landmark change in America’s nuclear posture,” Rogin reported.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who relayed his nation’s concerns in a conversation with U.S. Pacific Commander Adm. Harry Harris Jr., is particularly worried that an American pledge of “no first use” of nuclear weapons will reduce deterrence of rogue nuclear states like North Korea and increase the possibility of conflict.
European allies have an additional concern:
They don’t want any daylight between their nuclear policies and those of the United States, especially since Britain, France and the United States all are permanent members of the U.N. Security Council. In the case of an emergency, those differences could cause real coordination problems.
Former Obama administration State Department official Joel Rubin explained the allies’ concerns, “While the goal of a ‘no first use’ policy is correct — to never be the first country to launch a cataclysmic nuclear strike — doing so unilaterally could run the risk of weakening our allies’ confidence in our security guarantees. This would not be in our interest.”
Police award posthumous honor to rabbi slain trying to prevent attack
Israel Police Commissioner Roni Alsheikh has approved posthumously awarding a special commendation from the police to Rabbi Nechemya Lavi, who died in a stabbing attack last October in Jerusalem's Old City.
During the attack, a terrorist armed with a knife attacked Aharon Banita-Bennett and his wife, stabbing them repeatedly. Lavi, who was at his home at the time, rushed to assist and was murdered. Border police troops who arrived at the scene shot and killed the terrorist.
Alsheikh telephoned the rabbi's widow, Neta, and informed her of the award. She said, commenting on the recognition of her husband's heroic act to provide aid, "It's good to see that the state doesn't forget, and that there's appreciation from the Israel Police."
Elkana Bar-Eitan Breton, Lavi's brother in law, wrote on his Facebook timeline, "Nechemya worked very hard every day for years in order to be the special person he was. Nechemya always put others before him so it was obvious to anyone who knew him that if he had to sacrifice his life in order to save others he would do so… I am lucky and honored to have these amazing people as family."
True revenge: Terror victim gets married
Meir Pavlovsky, who was seriously wounded in a stabbing attack in Kiryat Arba ten months ago, married his beloved, Katya, yesterday in front of the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem.
Last October an Arab terrorist stabbed Pavlovsky (31) in the back several times while the latter was on his way to synagogue in Hevron. He was quickly evacuated to the western gate of Kiryat Arba, where he received medical treatment in the field, and was later transferred to the trauma unit in Sha'arei Tzedek hospital in Jerusalem.
For several long days he fought for his life in the hospital, and when he triumphed and was eventually released, he took Katya to the place where he was stabbed, and proposed to her.
"We're very happy that we've merited building another family in Israel," the groom was quoted as saying in Yediot Aharonot, "this is like our 'little revenge' for the terror we went through. With God's help we'll keep getting stronger.
The wedding was officiated by Rabbi Dov Lior, formerly Rabbi of Kiryat Arba. Also in attendance were MKs Motti Yogev and Yehuda Glick.
IDF troops arrest 5, seize weaponry in West Bank raids
Israeli security forces arrested several suspected terrorists in the northern West Bank overnight Thursday and found thousands of shekels in cash as well as grenades and a shotgun during a search of the suspects’ homes.
Two suspects from the northern West Bank city of Nablus were arrested after security forces uncovered a homemade grenade and ammunition during the early morning raid, the army said in a statement Thursday morning.
The overnight sweep was carried out by IDF soldiers, Civil Administration officials and Israel Police.
In the West Bank village of Jaba, IDF soldiers seized a shotgun, ammunition and military equipment, and made one arrest.
Intifada mastermind Barghouti considering running for office
MK Yosef Jabarin (Joint List) traveled to Hadarim Prison today to visit with Palestinian arch-terrorist Marwan Barghouti - who told him he is seriously considering to run against Abu Maazen as chairman of the Palestinian Authority.
Barghouti, a one-time Palestinian peace politician, later turned to terror attacks, and is considered the driving force behind the first and second intifadas, which killed some 1,500 Israelis.
Barghouti is responsible, among many acts of terror, for a major attack at the gas station in Givat Ze'ev (northeast of Jerusalem) which killed Yoela Hen. According to the indictment submitted against him, Barghouti gave direct orders for the murderous attack.
Similarly, Barghouti is responsible for a terror attack in the eastern city of Maalei Adumim, in which a Greek priest was killed. Barghouti also gave his approval for the "Sea Food Market" attack which killed three Israelis. He was also the mastermind behind a car bomb explosion near Malha Mall in Jerusalem; no Israelis were wounded in the attack.
Barghouti has been sentenced to five life sentences in prison.
Co-founder of Hamas military wing issues startling apology to Palestinians
A Palestinian terrorist who co-founded Hamas’s notorious military wing in 1991 and was directly involved in the killing of Israeli soldiers, published a startling Facebook post in which he apologized to fellow Palestinians for his activities. He also indicated that he now considers the Islamist terror group, which he did not mention by name, to be “the devil,” sowing hatred and bringing destruction to the Palestinian people. He made no apology for terrorism and violence directed against Israel.
Muhammad Nazami Nasser was one of the founders of the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, which has been responsible for years of terrorism against Israel and is headed by terror chief Mohammed Deif. In 1989, Nasser was one of the Hamas team that kidnapped and murdered Israeli soldiers Avi Sasportas and Ilan Saadon. Those attacks marked the first time Hamas had kidnapped and killed Israeli soldiers.
Nasser was known to be close to Mahmoud Abdel Rauf al-Mabhouh, a senior Hamas military commander and weapons importer to Hamas-run Gaza, who was assassinated in Dubai in 2010, in an operation widely attributed to Israel’s Mossad. Mabhouh was also part of the 1989 Hamas squad that kidnapped and killed the Israeli soldiers.
In an emotional, fierce and at times incoherent Facebook post on Wednesday, Nasser apologized for his activities to nearly all of the various factions of the Palestinian people by name, including “Palestinians within and outside [of Palestine],” “the immortal Palestinian president Yasser Arafat,” Fatah, the PFLP, the DFLP and many others. The terror group Islamic Jihad – another militant Islamist group that sometimes cooperates with Hamas – was not included.
Conflicts Emerge Inside Hamas Over Creeping Iranian Influence
The commander of the West Bank wing of Hamas expressed concern that Iran’s growing financial and military support of the Palestinian terrorist group will turn it into “an Iranian executive tool,” the London-based newspaper Asharq al-Awsat reported on Wednesday.
Saleh al-Arouri, who lives in Turkey, said in a closed session that the head of Iran’s elite Quds Force, Qassem Soleimani, is trying to “lure Hamas by blurring the identity of the Qassam Brigades and integrate it with Quds Force to become an Iranian executive tool.”
He accused Iran of demanding the same loyalty from Hamas that it did of Palestinian Islamic Jihad, which was promised $70 million in May in return for its fealty to Tehran. Arouri observed that siding with Iran could lead Hamas to be ostracized by Sunni Arab states and the West.
Arouri specifically criticized Hamas official Mahmoud al-Zahar, who is closely affiliated with the group’s al-Qassam Brigade, for seeking closer ties with Iran. He did however agree with Zahar’s recent statement that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas should not be allowed to visit the Gaza Strip ahead of upcoming municipal elections.
Earlier this year, Subhi al-Tufayli, a founder of the Iran-backed terror group Hezbollah, expressed concern that support from Iran was distracting from the group’s responsibility toward Lebanese Shiites.
Animal rights group to close Gaza's 'worst zoo in the world'
The sole surviving tiger in a southern Gazan cage will soon make a cross-continental journey from the Middle East to South Africa, as Four Paws, an international animal rights organization, rushes to close the “worst zoo in the world.”
Along with the 16 other animals still residing at the Khan Yunis Zoo, “Laziz,” the tiger, is set to leave his desolate home in the coming days, the Vienna-based Four Paws group announced on Thursday. The operation follows a long series of negotiations with the various relevant authorities, and will involve several veterinarians and a logistical support team, the organization said.
“The closure of the zoo means a new life for the tiger and the other animals, which up to now have had to waste their lives away in desolate cages, suffering from a lack of food and medical care,” said Dr. Amir Khalil, who is heading the closure operation.
Laziz will be heading to the Big Cat Sanctuary in South Africa, while the tortoises, porcupines, the emu and other animals will be going to Jordan’s New Hope Center – part of the Al Ma’wa for Nature and Wildlife sanctuary, run jointly by Four Paws and the Princess Alia Foundation.
Egypt Launches Inquiry Into Two Prominent Politicians Suspected Of Spying For Hezbollah
Egypt’s Attorney-General has ordered an inquiry into two prominent politicians suspected of spying for Hezbollah.
Former presidential candidates Abdul Meneem Abnu Elfutuh, chairman of the Islamist Strong Egypt party, and Hamdin Sabahi, a frontbencher for the veteran WAFD party, have been accused of collaborating with the Iran-backed militia and its patrons, Iran’s Revolutionary Guards.
The two, who ran in the 2011 elections that followed Hosni Mubarak’s ouster, recently attended a “pro-resistance” conference organized by Hezbollah in Beirut. Following that, a police complaint was filed against them for allegedly colluding with Hezbollah and Iran to undermine Egypt’s national interests.
Meanwhile, on Tuesday, the Israeli Shin Bet Security Service reportedly uncovered a Hezbollah terrorist cell in Qalqilya, in the northern West Bank.
Shin Bet said that several groups of Palestinians have recently been detained as suspects in plotting attacks at the instructions of Hezbollah.
White House Partner Asked Soros for $750K to Fund Pro-Iran Deal ‘Echo Chamber’
An organization that played a key role in the White House’s effort to mislead the public and Congress about last summer’s nuclear agreement with Iran requested $750,000 for this campaign from a foundation backed by liberal billionaire George Soros, according to funding documents leaked to the public.
The Ploughshares Fund, a liberal organization cited by top White House officials as a chief architect of the Obama administration’s campaign to push the Iran deal, requested the cash from Soros’s Open Society Foundations so that it could pay off “experts and validators” of the administration’s diplomacy with Iran, according to a funding proposal titled, “Defending Iran Nuclear Diplomacy.”
The March 2015 funding request was leaked online as part of a massive document disclosure that revealed Soros’s efforts to fund a large network of liberal nonprofits and political groups.
The disclosure of the Ploughshares request shines further light on backroom efforts by the White House and its top allies to create what they called an “echo chamber” to galvanize public support for the nuclear deal with Iran.
Ploughshares was cited by senior White House officials as a chief architect of this campaign, which flooded the media with various experts touting the deal.
Ploughshares requested the $750,000 in order to solidify its pro-Iran network and bring others into the fold, according to the funding request.
Priebus Slams Obama In Light of Report Showing Admin Withheld Money For The Iranian Hostages
GOP chairman Reince Priebus released a statement on Wednesday tearing into the Obama administration after a new report shows they withheld money from the Iranian government until they released their American prisoners.
The report, coming from The Wall Street Journal, found that the administration would not let the Iranians have possession of the money until the plane carrying three Americans that had been jailed in Iran left, which essentially proves that the payment was indeed a ransom payment. The Obama administration had provided the money through an airplane carrying $400 million in foreign currency due to sanctions on the Iranian regime.
In light of this report, Priebus slammed President Barack Obama.
"It’s time for the Obama White House to drop the charade and admit it paid a $400 million ransom to the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism," Priebus said in a statement released on the GOP's official website. "President Obama has foolishly put a price on the head of every American abroad and it should be no surprise that Iran has since detained more U.S. citizens. Hillary Clinton’s support for this dangerous blunder shows once again she does not have the judgement to be president."
Obama and his sycophants in the media have attempted to spin the payment as being a part of a failed arms deal in 1979, but former CIA agent Phil Houston has pointed out in LawNewz that Obama never denied that the failed arms deal was a payment was a prerequisite toward freeing the Americans imprisoned in Iran. The Journal's latest report basically confirms that it was.
Iran Charges Dual Citizen with Espionage; Seventh Arrested in Recent Months
Iran has arrested an Iranian with dual citizenship over alleged ties to British intelligence, the Associated Press reported Tuesday.
Prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi identified the detained individual as “active in the economic field, related to Iran,” but gave no further details to local media except that the arrest occurred last week.
The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office issued a statement that they “are seeking information following the reported detention of a dual Iranian-British national in Iran,” but would not confirm whether the person arrested last week was British.
Iran does not recognize dual citizenship, and often deprives detainees of consular assistance. Details about the arrest of a dual citizen are usually only released weeks after the arrest, typically through media close to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). The detainees are tried by courts run by the IRGC and are often charged with trying to overthrow the government.
Reuters reported last month that the six dual nationals arrested in recent months comprised “the highest number of Iranians with dual-nationality detained at one time in recent years to have been acknowledged.”
Many analysts believe that Iran is “seeking concessions from the West in exchange for releasing them,” the AP wrote.
US moves nuclear weapons from Turkey to Romania
Two independent sources told EurActiv.com that the US has started transferring nuclear weapons stationed in Turkey to Romania, against the background of worsening relations between Washington and Ankara .
According to one of the sources, the transfer has been very challenging in technical and political terms.
“It’s not easy to move 20+ nukes,” said the source, on conditions of anonymity.
According to a recent report by the Simson Center, since the Cold War, some 50 US tactical nuclear weapons have been stationed at Turkey’s Incirlik air base, approximately 100 kilometres from the Syrian border.
During the failed coup in Turkey in July, Incirlik’s power was cut, and the Turkish government prohibited US aircraft from flying in or out. Eventually, the base commander was arrested and implicated in the coup. Whether the US could have maintained control of the weapons in the event of a protracted civil conflict in Turkey is an unanswerable question, the report says.
Another source told EurActiv.com that the US-Turkey relations had deteriorated so much following the coup that Washington no longer trusted Ankara to host the weapons. The American weapons are being moved to the Deveselu air base in Romania, the source said.
Deveselu, near the city of Caracal, is the new home of the US missile shield, which has infuriated Russia.
Analysis: Russian jets in Iran change Mideast game
Two weeks ago US President Barack Obama infuriated Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman by saying at a Pentagon press conference that Israeli officials are now supportive of the Iran nuclear deal.
The Israeli military and security establishment, Obama said, “acknowledges this has been a game changer.” And, he pointed out, Israel was the country most opposed to the deal.
The spectacle of Russian planes taking off from bases inside Iran on Tuesday to attack targets in Syria shows, indeed, that the deal was a game changer – but not in the way Obama had in mind.
As former National Security Council head Yaakov Amidror said on Israel Radio Wednesday, beyond the technical matter of it being easier and more effective for Russia to attack Syria from Iran, there is also huge diplomatic symbolism in their choosing to do so.
This was not, as Amidror noted, a nice little deconfliction mechanism like the one Israel and Russia set up in September so that their pilots don’t accidentally shoot each other down over Syrian airspace. The deployment of Russian jets to bases in Iran is, as far as cooperation goes between states, the “full monty.”
And it is a degree of cooperation made possible in large part by the Iranian nuclear deal.
State Dept: Russia’s Use of Iranian Air Base May Have Violated Security Council Resolution
Russia’s recent use of an Iranian air base to launch airstrikes in Syria “could very well be a violation of” the United Nations Security Council resolution that endorsed last year’s nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers, State Department spokesman Mark Toner said at a press briefing on Tuesday.
When asked about a provision in Security Council resolution 2231 that forbids the transfer of arms, including bombers, to Iran without prior approval, Toner said, “If these reports are true, it could very well be a violation of UN Security Council Resolution 2231, which, as you noted, prohibits the supply, sale, or transfer of combat aircraft to Iran unless approved in advanced by the UN Security Council.”
Resolution 2231 stipulates that the Security Council must sign off on any direct or indirect transfer “to Iran, or for the use in or benefit of Iran, of any battle tanks, armoured combat vehicles, large calibre artillery systems, combat aircraft, attack helicopters, warships, missiles or missile systems.” Toner said that he did not believe that the requisite approval was given, and that the State Department was looking into the matter.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov rejected the State Department’s criticism on Wednesday, arguing that Russia was not supplying Iran with the bombers. “These aircraft are being used by Russia’s air force with Iran’s agreement as a part of an anti-terrorist operation at the request of Syria’s leadership,” he said at a press conference in Moscow.
For first time in conflict, Assad launches airstrikes on US-backed Kurds
Syrian government warplanes bombed Kurdish-held areas of the northeastern city of Hasaka on Thursday for the first time in the five-year-old civil war, the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia and a monitoring group said.
People's Protection Units (YPG) spokesman Redur Xelil said the air strikes had hit Kurdish districts of the city, which is mostly controlled by Kurdish groups, and the positions of a Kurdish security force known as the Asayish.
"We, in the People's Protection Units, will not be silent over these barbaric, flagrant attacks against our people and will stand firmly to protect it. Every hand spattered with the blood of our people will be held to account through all possible and available means," a later statement said.
Bin Laden’s son urges overthrow of Saudi rulers
The son of al-Qaeda’s slain founder Osama bin Laden has urged Saudis to “overthrow” the kingdom’s rulers in order to “free” themselves from US influence, SITE Intelligence Group reported Wednesday.
In an undated audio message, Hamza bin Laden urged Saudi youth to join the Yemen-based al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) to “gain the necessary experience” to fight, according to SITE.
Classified by the United States as the network’s deadliest franchise, AQAP was formed in January 2009 as a merger of the Yemeni and Saudi branches of al-Qaeda.
Yemen is the ancestral home of Saudi-born Osama bin Laden, who was killed in Pakistan in 2011 by an elite team of US Navy SEALS after a decade on the run.
PreOccupiedTerritory: Hamas Saving Omran Daqneesh Syria Photos For Next War With Israel (satire)
Images of a bleeding, dust-covered, five-year-old Syrian boy from this embattled ancient city have resonated internationally, highlighting the ongoing misery wrought by the country’s five-year-old civil war and leading the Hamas movement to store the image in case it needs to use it to generate international sympathy in any future war with Israel.
Omran was rescued from the ruins of his home that had been shelled by troops loyal to President Basher Assad in a strike that killed several other people, including children. Video of his rescue and its immediate aftermath – when the boy, still evidently in shock, wiped his head with his hand and discovered it a bloody mess – went viral on social media and news sites. Hamas operatives in the Gaza Strip noticed the popularity of the clip, and realized how perfectly it could serve the movement’s public relations interests the next time Israel acts militarily to neutralize the rockets and infiltrators launched at its communities from the coastal territory.
“Oh my gosh, this is perfect,” remarked Ali Masri, who coordinates some of the organization’s online activities. “Imagine the effect on the international community when Israel hits some target or other, and regardless of its military value, we trot out these pictures of a poor, innocent, dusty, and bloodied five-year-old sitting in the back of an ambulance. It won’t matter to anyone that the images are from Syria – people are already primed to believe anything barbaric and evil about Israel, thanks in no small part to media efforts of this nature.”



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