Friday, September 09, 2016

From Ian:

PM: World silent as Palestinians seek ‘ethnic cleansing’ of Jews in West Bank
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday accused the Palestinians of advocating ethnic cleansing of the Jewish population in the West Bank, and decried what he said was the world’s silence on the issue.
Speaking in English in a video message posted on his Facebook page, Netanyahu asked whether people in other parts of the world would accept such demands in their own countries.
It’s “outrageous that the world doesn’t find it outrageous,” Netanyahu said, urging viewers to ask themselves whether they would accept “a territory without Jews, without Hispanics, without blacks” in their nation.
“Since when is bigotry a foundation for peace?” he asked.
“At this moment, Jewish schoolchildren in Judea [and] Samaria are playing in sandboxes with their friends,” he said, referring to the West Bank by its biblical Hebrew name. “Does their presence make peace impossible? I don’t think so.”
He said he envisioned a Middle East “where young Arabs and young Jews learn together, work together, live together side by side in peace.”

Caroline Glick: Mahmoud Abbas and other Soviet ghosts
This then brings us back to KGB agent Abbas and his target, Israel.
Against great odds, and at a steep price, over the past 10 years Israeli society stopped listening to the voices on the Left parroting Abbas’s lies that Israel was born in sin, as a Western colonialist implant. Given the stakes, most Israelis today also have come to realize that our national self-confidence is a vital component of our long-term survival.
This understanding, along with a clear-eyed assessment of what drives our interlocutors in Moscow, Paris, New York and Brussels, must inform our foreign policy in the coming years.
When faced with foreign governments whose societies lack long-term prospects, Israel needs to put aside its yearning for long-term peace and stability and focus on short-term cooperative ties. It must also recognize that our partners’ interests are subject to change at a moment’s notice.
The revelation of Abbas’s KGB service requires us to recognize that the Soviets’ long game of subversion continues on today. Whether or not Western societies persevere and reject the Soviets’ central contention that they are unworthy of survival is not for Israel to decide. So, too, Israel will not convince the Russians to embrace a future based on freedom and the sanctity of life.
All we can do is wish them the best and play the short-term game with them – while keeping our long-term interests front and center in our minds.
'In Moscow, in the 1980s, you didn't go to university for free'
Former Shin Bet security agency director MK Avi Dichter (Likud), who now chairs the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, on Thursday addressed the report alleging that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas was a KGB agent in the 1980s, saying that at the time getting higher education in the Soviet Union came "with a price."
"[Abbas] went to university in the former Soviet Union," Dichter told fellow committee members. "We need to remember that in those years, going to Moscow and to university, certainly if you were Palestinian, came with a price of sorts."
Dichter added: "In Arabic there is a saying that 'only being blind and deaf is free.' In Moscow, you didn't go to university for free.
With that, he cautioned, "We need to be careful. I saw the reports that [Abbas] had a code name. Having a code name does not necessarily mean you are an agent. There are code names given for procedural reasons, and even if he provided information it doesn't mean he was an agent."
Meanwhile, the former Shin Bet chief rejected Palestinian claims that Israel's political leadership was behind the publication, calling the accusations "nonsense."
"This information came from untainted academic research and sources who acquired these documents. It's embarrassing for the Palestinians to say such things," Dichter said.

Does Abbas’s KGB Past Matter?
It’s possible that Abbas and his Fatah party are worried that this reminder of his past will give a boost to their Hamas rivals. Hamas was contesting the local elections in the West Bank that were scheduled to be held on Oct. 8 and were just postponed by a PA court. Fatah might worry that Abbas’s Soviet ties undermine their efforts to compete with the rulers of Gaza for the title of Palestinian defender of Islam.
Apologists for Abbas will likely argue that the Palestinians had no choice but to accept Soviet help during a period when they had few other friends. That’s true, but the connection with the anti-Semitic Soviet leadership was always more than an alliance of convenience for men like Arafat and Abbas. Moscow was interested in using the Palestinians to undermine the U.S. and its Israeli ally and didn’t care if that meant subsidizing a movement dedicated to terrorist violence against Jews.
But the rejectionism of the Palestinians wasn’t merely a strategy but an expression of their identity. Their national purpose was and still is inextricably linked to their century-old war against the Zionists. If men like Abbas can’t rise above their sordid past and make peace, it is not just a matter of habit, but also a natural consequence of the political culture steeped in hate that they have helped create.
Being a former Soviet agent doesn’t prevent Abbas from making peace. But it does supply a partial explanation for why he refuses to do it.
Israeli settlements are not the obstacle to peace
Why are United Nations officials so oblivious to their own documents, let alone to the truth? This appears to be the case with Nicolay Mladenov, the Bulgaria-born UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process.
He appears to be unaware of the crucial cornerstone document on the Process for a just and lasting peace, the UN Security Council Resolution 242 of November 22, 1967.
It stated the two principles that were necessary for peace in the Middle East. One was withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories, though not all territories, occupied as a result of the 1967 Six Day War. The second was termination of all claims, and the right of every State in the area to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force.
It said nothing about settlements. The call for negotiations to start was declared in UNSC Resolution 338 of October 22, 1973.
The forgetful Mladenov repeated the UN politically correct formula in a speech in Cairo on August 29, 2016. He was increasingly troubled by the “near daily advancement of the illegal settlement enterprise” in the “occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem.” Interestingly, he did not speak of Israel’s right to live in peace, or the unceasing Palestinian aggression that prevents a peaceful resolution.
Israeli Settlements, the Violet Line and the Cheshire Cat
All the settlements created by Israel before the Oslo accords are legitimate, including the new Israeli housing estates created in the extended boundaries of Jerusalem. As long as the "interim period" envisaged in those accords remains in force, Israel is allowed to build within the originally defined pre-Oslo boundaries of the settlements, but is not allowed to change their pre-Oslo status. As initial negotiating positions on the final status agreement, the Palestinians are not excluded from demanding a total Israeli withdrawal to the ceasefire lines of 1949, but Israel is likewise not excluded from demanding the retention not merely of the settlements but also of any other part of the Mandatory Palestine of 1947.
The Fourth Geneva Convention contains a Part I that applies to wars both within a Power and between Powers. Otherwise, the Convention applies primarily to wars between Powers alone. The conflict between Israelis and Palestinians began as a civil war under the British Mandate for Palestine and continued as such until at least the late 1980s. Until then, consequently, Part I of the Convention applied to the conflict, including Israeli settlements beyond the Green Line, but Part III – which purportedly forbids the existence of such settlements – did not yet apply. Part III became relevant, if at all, only for events that postdated the Oslo accords of the 1990s.
JPost Editorial: Transformative meet
Face-to-face meetings between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas have been few and far between.
Though there have been casual verbal exchanges between the two – for instance in 2015, during a UN climate summit in Paris – there probably has been no substantive dialogue since 2010.
At the time, Israel under Netanyahu’s leadership had acquiesced to a demand by US President Barack Obama to impose a 10-month building freeze in Judea and Samaria as a confidence-building step. However, no headway was made – nine months into the building moratorium, Abbas remained intransigent. Netanyahu offered to extend the moratorium on condition Abbas recognize Israel as a Jewish state. Abbas refused. The opportunity was missed.
Meeting face-to-face with rivals has the potential to be transformational. Sitting at the negotiating table across from one’s enemy, one is faced with his or her humanity, and can sense a human being with needs and aspirations and desires like anyone else.
Too much cannot be expected of every face-to-face meeting.
Yitzhak Rabin’s historic handshake with Yasser Arafat came to nothing. Shortly after their meeting, the Palestinian leader orchestrated a wave of terrorist attacks. But there were other historic meetings, like the one between Menachem Begin and Anwar Sadat. Elsewhere, the faceto- face meeting between Richard Nixon and Mao Zedong, or between Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev, seem to have been transformative both symbolically and as an expression of deeper geopolitical currents.
IsraellyCool: Palestinia Phone 56Y
The establishment and early life in Kefar Tavor was not easy.
In 1921, they got the first and only phone for the community. The number was 56Y, and it was located in a private home. A whistle was used to notify the recipient of an important call. In those days, any call must have been considered important.
Phone number for phone at Kfar Tavor dated 1926

The text of the Hebrew notice from the phone center got my attention.
For those who do not read Hebrew, it says
“Telephone Service of Palestina.”
The abbreviation that follows is for “Eretz Yisrael” (like with those Palestine Mandate coins)
Eretz Yisrael, the land of Israel, the land of the Jewish people, a small detail, but too many seem to overlook it or do not want to notice it these days. As shown many times, the builders of Palestine were Jews.
Evacuate UN from East Talpiot
Op-ed: The first and most illegal outpost in east Jerusalem is none other than the United Nations headquarters in the Armon Hanatziv neighborhood.
After a bunch of obscene, harsh condemnations from United Nations representatives in recent weeks, the UN representative for the Middle East, Nickolay Mladenov, went as far as issuing a particularly insolent statement against the Israeli governments' policy against terror in particular and against the settlement in Judea, Samaria and east Jerusalem in general.
According to Mladenov, it turns out that any Israeli activity, settlement and outpost in those areas, including any house built in neighborhoods such as Ramot, Gilo or Armon Hanatziv (East Talpiot) – "all (these) outposts remain illegal under international law."
So the time has probably come to listen to these logical comments and successfully dismantle at least one large, illegal outpost: the UN headquarters' settlement in the East Talpiot neighborhood in Jerusalem.
The area and buildings known as "Armon Hanatziv" (the Governor's Palace) are located on a mountain where the high priest of Israel used to live in ancient times (and is known by the Christians as "The Hill of the Evil Council"), south of the Old City. They were built in the 1930s as the British government center in the Land of Israel.
After the Brits left Israel, one of the most difficult battles of the War of Independence in the Jerusalem area took place nearby, leaving 11 IDF soldiers dead. At the end of the war, Israel and Jordan agreed to leave the compound as a demilitarized area and allow the UN to locate the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO) there.
Hillel Neuer: UN antisemitism forum: General Assembly chief blasts Israeli “oppression”
When Israel, the U.S. and Canada hosted a forum on anti-Semitism at the U.N, the General Assembly president, former Danish foreign minister Mogens Lykketoft, spoke of Israeli “oppression” of the Palestinians:
“We the United Nations gave an enormous responsibility to go up against all expressions of prejudice and incitement… But we have also to be extremely careful and precise in what is and what is not antisemitism. It’s not anti-Semitic to call for an end of the occupation and oppression of the people of Palestine, and to demand an end to illegal settlements on occupied Palestinian land.”
If this were a forum on discrimination against blacks, women, or gays, do you think the top U.N. official would lecture delegates on what statements are not discriminatory?
Do you think there would be any “But”?
Lone Wolf at the UN
Rumor is circulating that a significant diplomatic proclamation is discreetly brewing in the Oval Office. Should this rumor come to pass, it will mark a level of diplomatic perfidy not seen since the backstabbing that took place at the Munich Conference in September 1938.
The surprise introduction by the United States of a UN Security Council resolution to establish parameters for territorial concession in Judea and Samaria – without the input or consent of Israel – should hardly be viewed as unlikely in view of Obama’s flagrant circumvention of Congress to consummate his Iran deal. Seeking to cement his imprimatur, Obama isn’t above using the UN as a cudgel to deliver this parting kiss to Congress.
When the concept of a Palestinian state was first floated on the White House lawn in 1993, the world was in an entirely different place. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, the US had definitively taken on the role of “go-to power.” Regionally, Arab dictatorships were managing to hold down the surge of radical Islamist movements, and trading land for peace would have fit within the pattern of Palestinian nationalist aspiration.
Events on the Temple Mount in the year 2000 abruptly shattered the viability of that simple equation. The intensity of Palestinian rage exposed a loathing by Palestinians that was utterly incompatible with a future of peaceful coexistence. Punctuating that hopeless reality was the reaction of Palestinians in Gaza who, upon Israel’s unilateral withdrawal in 2005, wasted no time in demolishing the agricultural greenhouse facilities that had purposely been bequeathed by the Israeli government as a potential platform for economic cooperation. Instead, the scrap metal was used to build Qassam rockets.
The US has largely withdrawn from the region, leaving a vacuum quickly filled by Hamas terrorists now poised to take control from the thoroughly corrupt Palestinian Authority and extend its reign of terror to Judea and Samaria. An Israeli withdrawal from Judea and Samaria would duplicate the now failed Gaza experiment that ended up creating a launching pad for the export of radical Islamist violence.
David Singer: United Nations Must End Hamas and PLO Stranglehold On Power
The United Nations' effort to create a second Arab State in former Palestine – in addition to Jordan – has suffered another death blow following the Palestinian Supreme Court ordering the suspension of local elections in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) and the Gaza Strip scheduled for October 8.
No parliamentary elections have been held since the 2006 – which Hamas won – but which the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) refused to accept.
A bitter internecine struggle saw Hamas end up governing the Gaza Strip and the PLO controlling areas “A” and “B” in Judea and Samaria.
No Palestinian presidential election has been held since PLO Chairman Mahmoud Abbas was elected in 2005.
Hamas boycotted the last Palestinian municipal elections in 2012 – but was due to participate this year.
Nothing has changed.
These irreconcilable differences between Fatah – the dominant faction in the PLO – and Hamas – not a member of the PLO – are still omnipresent in 2016.
The United Nations should be demanding that Hamas and the PLO end their decade-long occupation of power by allowing their respective populations the right to vote in internationally supervised elections.
“End the Occupation” would then become a meaningful metaphor rather than a meaningless signpost that continues to lead nowhere.
Coming full circle on 9/11
In the decade and a half since, much has changed, but even more has stayed the same. Most rational people today are unable to escape the conclusion that understanding the "gripes" of Islamic radicals does nothing but feed their bloodlust. Even willfully ignorant Europeans are being forced to remove their blindfolds. Nevertheless, the phenomenon is spreading, not receding.
Which brings us back to America. In the past eight years, the administration in Washington -- which sits in the very neighborhood of the 9/11 Pentagon bombing -- has signaled to Islamists who believe it is their political and religious duty to subjugate, kill or maim all infidel Jews, Christians and Muslims that their path will not be hindered.
U.S. President Barack Obama even put this in writing last year, when he signed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the Iran nuclear deal. With each passing day, new details of the agreement itself and of off-the-record addenda emerge to indicate just how completely and purposefully the White House bowed down to the ayatollahs in Tehran. In so doing, Obama gave the regime the bright green light to continue to serve as the greatest state sponsor of global terrorism -- but with deadlier weapons of mass destruction.
American taxpayers now can lie awake at night knowing that their tax dollars are paying for the slaughter of innocent people, just like those who went to work on the morning of 9/11 and never returned. What a way to come full circle on a crystal anniversary.
Israel said to encourage Western ties with Sudan
Israel is trying to drum up support for Sudan within the international community, after the African country, which has faced severe criticism for its human rights record, severed its ties to Iran. Israeli and American diplomats met last week to discuss the issue, the Haaretz daily reported Wednesday.
On August 28, US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Thomas Shannon visited Jerusalem for meetings with Israeli officials. According to the report, one major focus of meetings in the Foreign Ministry was the possible rebuilding of US ties with Sudan.
US-Sudan relations have been strained since 1967 when Sudan broke off ties in the wake of the Six Day War. In 1997 the US imposed comprehensive sanctions against Sudan due to its human rights violations and ongoing support of international terrorism.
Jerusalem until recently was also wary of Khartoum, which was traditionally seen as close to Tehran. However, in January, Sudan joined Sunni Bahrain and Saudi Arabia and severed its ties with the Islamic Republic. At the time, the country also appeared to make overtures toward Israel.
Sudan had been hostile to the Jewish state since gaining independence from Britain in 1956, claiming that Israel occupies Arab lands. However, speaking on January 14 about an American move to demand Sudanese normalization of ties with Tel Aviv as a precondition for lifting sanctions on Khartoum, Foreign Minister Ibrahim Ghandour said Sudan was open to the idea.
“We don’t mind studying any such proposal,” he said, according to Sudanese reports.
Palestinians try to block IDF from seizing their land
At least 13 Palestinians have claimed ownership of the land which the Defense Ministry has earmarked as the best site on which to relocate the West Bank outpost of Amona.
The High Court of Justice has ordered that the small hilltop community in the Binyamin region must be razed by December 25, because it was built without permits on private Palestinian property.
The 40 families that live there have insisted that, in spite of the court ruling, the government has a responsibility to legalize their community, and that they have no intention of abandoning their homes.
Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman has said that he intends to carry out the court’s ruling. However, he has offered a compromise, by which the outpost could be relocated to 35 abandoned property lots just a few meters away.
This proposal would allow the families to remain in essentially the same location.
IsraellyCool: Fatah Election Candidate Was Terrorist Accomplice Of World’s Best Teacher
Palestinian Media Watch reports that PA President (and former KGB agent) Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah has once again honored a terrorist murderer. But instead of naming a street or building after him, they have named him an election candidate.
And here’s a fact not being reported elsewhere: one of Abu Sneineh’s accomplices in this terror operation was Omar Al-Hroub – otherwise known as husband of the world’s best teacher, darling of the media.
It looks like the murderers of the 6 Israelis did pretty well for themselves – unlike their victims.
PreOccupiedTerritory: Report: Biblical Deluge Caused By Zionists Opening Dams (satire)
A new investigation into the flood that destroyed civilization and all but wiped out land-based animal life has concluded that the disaster occurred as a result of the Zionists opening dams.
A team of scholars from the School of Legal and Academic Noahide Deluvian Exploratory Research (SLANDER) looked into evidence for the cause of the Great Deluge in the third millennium BCE, and found that it fits the same pattern as floods that occurred later in history, notably in the Gaza Strip of the early 21st century CE – floods already widely associated with the accusation of Israel opening dams just to cause destruction and upheaval. The study results will be published in the next issue of Biblical Archaeology Review.
Lead SLANDER study author Dr. Moe Tzidibba explained that the evidence for the Deluge as recorded in the Biblical book of Genesis and the evidence for Israel opening dams is of similar strength. “We have essentially identical direct evidence for both phenomena, which is a big, fat bull’s eye as far as scholarship goes,” he noted. “With both, there are also millions of people with a powerful vested interest in believing things happened exactly as described in their respective narratives, so much so that their very identity and sense of self-worth has become dependent on that belief. It’s uncanny.”
Among other evidence, Dr. Tzidibba pointed to the notion of collective punishment that informs both stories, and the fraught relationship the survivors tended to have with alcoholic beverages. Additionally, skeptics have challenged the authenticity of both events, and have pointed to the various ways in which they were not physically possible, or do not conform to physical evidence of the period in question.
Syrian aid groups suspend ties with UN
More than 70 Syrian aid groups are suspending cooperation with the United Nations, accusing UN humanitarian agencies and their partners of being manipulated by the regime, according to a letter released Thursday.
In the letter to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the 73 signatories demanded an investigation of the UN agencies' in Syria and called for a monitoring body to be set up to oversee the relief effort.
"It has become clear to many organizations that the Syrian government in Damascus has a significant and substantial influence on the performance of UN agencies based in Damascus as well as their partners," including the Syrian Arab Red Cross, said the letter.
Among the signatories were the Syrian American Medical Society and the Syrian Civil Defense, known as the White Helmets, who are active in opposition-held areas.
The groups announced they were pulling out of a UN information-sharing program for aid deliveries and would propose a new mechanism "where there is no political influence in any aspect of it."
"The Syrian government has interfered with the delivery of humanitarian assistance in multiple instances," the aid groups wrote.
They took aim at the failure of the United Nations to deliver aid to nearly 600,000 people living in besieged areas, most of which are surrounded by President Bashar al-Assad's forces.
British newspaper The Guardian last month reported that UN aid contracts worth tens of millions of dollars have gone to people closely associated with Assad despite US and European Union sanctions.
Son of Imam Reveals ISIS Planned to Attack Christians at Mall With Chainsaw
ISIS planned to use chainsaws to murder Christians in a Belgian shopping center, according to the son of a radical imam.
The UK Mirror reports that the teenager, who cannot be named, is the son of radical imam Shayh Alami from the eastern Belgian city of Verviers - described by Belgian media as "one of the most important breeding grounds for Islamists in Belgium." The boy told cops about the plot after being arrested for appearing in a video in which he walked down a street allegedly calling out in Arabic for the murder of Christians.
In the short video published on the website of the Arabic-language media watchdog MEMRI, the teen can be seen strolling down the streets of Verviers, cursing Christians and praying for their annihilation.
He admitted to police during questioning that ISIS is recruiting people to carry out planned attacks, two of which involved a chainsaw massacre at a shopping center, and one of which involved targeting another imam who was "not radical enough."
Theo Francken, the Belgian Secretary of State for Asylum and Migration, has been trying for years to deport the imam and has begun to consider deporting his son as well. "I already signed the order to remove the Imam from Belgian soil. But he appealed the decision, so I can only hope for a quick sentence," Francken said. "Clearly radicalism runs in the family."
Israel condemns North Korea nuclear test, urges world to act
Israel on Friday joined the chorus of international condemnation of North Korea’s nuclear test earlier in the day.
“Israel condemns the nuclear test by North Korea,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement. The statement called the atomic tests “contrary to international norms and UN Security Council decisions,” and urged “continued action by the international community against proliferation” by Pyongyang.
North Korea claimed Friday it had successfully tested a nuclear warhead that could be mounted on a missile, drawing condemnation from the South over the “maniacal recklessness” of young ruler Kim Jong-un.
The blast at the Punggye-ri nuclear site was the North’s fifth and most powerful yet at 10 kilotons experts said.
“If we put that into perspective, it is smaller than Hiroshima or Nagasaki, but would still be capable of ripping the heart out of a city,” said Karl Dewey, an analyst at IHS Jane’s.
Pyongyang’s state media said the test, which comes after a series of ballistic missile launches, had realized the country’s goal of being able to fit a miniaturized warhead on a rocket.
Former Democratic Senator: Don’t Forget Iran’s Role in Assisting al-Qaeda on 9/11
Fifteen years after the September 11, 2001 terror attacks, American political leaders have forgotten about the role Iran played in the atrocity, former Democratic senator Joseph Lieberman wrote a Wall Street Journal op-ed Wednesday.
The 9/11 Commission found that “there is strong evidence that Iran facilitated the transit of al Qaeda members into and out of Afghanistan before 9/11, and that some of these were future 9/11 hijackers.” However, Lieberman argued, Iran “has never been held responsible for its enabling role.”
Iran’s alliance with al-Qaeda may seem unusual, given that Iran is Shiite and al-Qaeda is Sunni. But despite this theological divergence, Iran has shown that it is willing “to work with extremists of the Sunni sect in the Arab world and elsewhere—even though it views itself as the vanguard of the world’s Shiite community.”
The alliance between al-Qaeda and Iran, which the State Department designates as the world’s leading state sponsor of terror, began in the 1990s, when the leadership of the fledgling terror organization, including Osama bin Laden, then based in Sudan, was introduced to an Iranian envoy who, according to one researcher, “had access to the highest echelons of power in Tehran.”
Iran May Have Received as Much as $33.6 Billion in Cash, Gold Payments From U.S.
Iran may have received an additional $33.6 billion in secret cash and gold payments facilitated by the Obama administration between 2014 and 2016, according to testimony provided before Congress by an expert on last summer’s nuclear agreement with Iran.
Between January 2014 and July 2015, when the Obama administration was hammering out the final details of the nuclear accord, Iran was paid $700 million every month from funds that had previously been frozen by U.S. sanctions.
A total of $11.9 billion was ultimately paid to Iran, but the details surrounding these payments remain shrouded in mystery, according to Mark Dubowitz, executive director at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.
In total, “Iran may have received as much as $33.6 billion in cash or in gold and other precious metals,” Dubowitz disclosed.
New questions about these payments are emerging following confirmation from top Obama administration officials on Thursday that it was forced to pay Iran $1.7 billion in cash prior to the release of several U.S. hostages earlier this year. The administration insisted that cash had to be used for this payment.
Iranian General Commands Shiite Expeditionary Forces in Aleppo
Photos have emerged claiming that Major General Qassem Soleimani, the commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ (IRGC) elite foreign operations unit, the Qods Force, is in Aleppo, Syria. Soleimani leads Iranian strategy in Syria in coordination with both Russia and Bashar al-Assad’s government. He commands the IRGC-led Shiite expeditionary force there, which includes the Afghan Fatemiyoun, Pakistani Zeynabiyoun, Lebanese Hezbollah, and the Iraqi Harakat al Nujaba.
Nujaba, which is now the largest Iraqi Shiite contingency in Syria, posted on September 6 photos of Soleimani inspecting positions in southern Aleppo. The commander “reviewed the strategic points of the siege of terrorists” in Aleppo and “made some notes to field commanders,” according to Nujaba’s Telegram post.
Soleimani also reportedly met with the chief commander of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) Tiger Forces on September 6, according to Al Masdar. A military source told the outlet that the two commanders discussed upcoming offensive battle plans in Aleppo province.
Why Iran keeps making anti-American propaganda videos
In Iran, there is an internal clash between the ultra-conservative wing – which includes Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard – and reformist-centrists, like Iran’s president Hasan Rohani. The president wants to develop Iran’s relationship with the West, especially with the United States. But the ultra-conservatives don’t see things quite the same way.
The ultra-conservatives didn’t fight the nuclear deal for a variety of reasons, but mainly because they wanted Iran to emerge from the financial crisis brought on by international sanctions. Still, they don’t want Iran to fully normalise its diplomatic relations with the United States.
Why? Because anti-American discourse is a key element in defining the Islamic Republic of Iran, and it is used to justify everything from financial crises to divorce rates. It also helps consolidate the ultra-conservative camp’s base of supporters. In domestic matters, the United States is a useful enemy.
The ultra-conservatives control the state media; they have endless money to spend on propaganda. Videos like this are their way of showing their supporters that yes, Iran agreed to the nuclear deal, but their position on the United States has never changed.
So not only have these videos never stopped, but we can expect to see more. Most Iranians, however, don’t take this propaganda seriously, and many criticise it.
The Silent Scream of Iran's Jews
What is it like to live as a Jew in a country that preaches the destruction of the Jewish state?
It’s 4:00 AM, and the departure hall in Istanbul is crowded and humid, bustling with activity despite the hour, and I’ve resigned myself to sitting on the floor with my cup of hot tea, bought mostly to occupy my hands, which are shaking with nervous excitement.
Three months prior to my midnight arrival at Ataturk Airport, I made the decision to apply for a journalist visa to go to Iran, without ever thinking it would really come to pass. I dreamed of visiting one of the most elusive Jewish communities in the world, of getting behind the veil of this ancient culture, but through all the arduous paperwork and embassy interviews that pushed the process forward, I kept the reality of entering Iran far from my mind.
Persian Jewry dates back over 2,700 years, to the reign of the Persian Empire in 539 BCE, when Cyrus the Great conquered Babylon. But despite their proud ancestry, the Jews of Iran remain isolated and largely unknown to and undiscovered by the rest of the world.
At its height, just ahead of the Islamic Revolution, the Jewish community in Iran numbered approximately 80,000 individuals, and they were thriving. Overwhelmingly middle- or upper-middle class, the community boasted a wide array of educational and cultural institutions alongside at least 30 active synagogues in Tehran alone. While the ancient Jewish community had been growing steadily under the protection of the Shah, the Islamic Revolution brought on mass emigration, reducing the community to a tenth of its original size.
You Won't Fix Iraq Without Fixing This
Iraq is home to the Cradle of Civilization, where two mighty rivers helped create life as we know it. So what will happen now that Iraq’s water is drying up? And what can the country do to turn the tide?
For years, a host of analysts, pundits, and politicians have advocated the breakup of Iraq, and their calls have only grown louder since the Islamic State’s 2014 waltz through a solid third of the country. Some support independence for the Kurds in the north, Sunni Arabs in the west, and Shiite Arabs in the south. Others call for federalization, but foresee so much autonomy for the three regions that it differs from partition in name only. All hope that separation can lead to peace between the three communities. But these hopes are belied by the physical reality of Iraq, and especially its water.
Water does not know borders. It does not flow in neat lines or handily apportion itself into thirds. Yet water access is one of the most critical factors shaping Iraq today, and as existing shortages worsen to crisis levels, it has become clearer than ever that Iraq, and all its people, need a federal state powerful enough to manage the area’s remaining water resources.
Iraq is the land of the Tigris and Euphrates, the twin rivers that nourished the beginnings of human civilization. It was on their banks that agriculture, cities, and writing originated. The rivers so dominated the landscape that they lent the region its Greek name, Mesopotamia, “the land between the rivers,” and nourished lush landscapes that inspired the myths like the Hanging Gardens of Babylon and possibly even the Garden of Eden itself.
But those days are over. Due to waste, mismanagement, and unconscionable diplomatic missteps (both international and inter-ethnic), Iraq’s water situation has become dire. Only half of the demand for water in Iraq is being met, and the amount of water available per capita has declined over the last half century by a whopping 75 percent. “We have a real thirst in Iraq,” Iraqi Minister of Planning Ali Baban told The New York Times in 2009. “Our agriculture is going to die, our cities are going to wilt, and no state can keep quiet in such a situation.”
Gay Saudi Man Sentenced to Death Really Hopes U.S. College Students Get Their ‘Safe Spaces’ (satire)
Mohammad Mansour, 28, is a gay Saudi Arabian man, which is ironic because he hasn’t been very happy lately. Mansour has been upset because he hasn’t slept well in days, and also, he’s currently being held in a Saudi prison on charges of engaging in “icky, gay stuff.” Though he’s attempted to reach out for help from human rights groups, Mansour recognizes that his case is most likely hopeless, as the world often has trouble criticizing the only country that leaks oil the way people who eat Chipotle leak Chipotle. The key to staying positive, says the Homorabian, is to focus on a cause. In this case, the cause is privileged American college students.
“It just breaks my heart when I see their feelings hurt,” Mansour said via a message given to The Mideast Beast by the prison. “All they want is to have spaces where nothing makes them uncomfortable. I respect that.” But, there are those who think that the situation is a lot like seeing a dog, dressed in his Sunday best, walking down the street on his hind legs with his person wearing the collar and leash – backwards. They even think that it’s a bit like having a superfluously long set up for a joke that’s mediocre at best – sad. These misguided souls seem to think that the students would be better served fighting for the freedom of people like Mansour, rather than pursuing the narcissistic goal of creating a feelings-condom to act as a prophylactic against insult-STDs. But it seems that these students, who in the context of history are among some of the most privileged whiners that have ever lived, are so full up of indignant self-righteousness that they can’t hear Mansour’s cries for help.

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