Wednesday, November 08, 2017

  • Wednesday, November 08, 2017
From Ian:

In recording, John Kerry says Israeli government doesn’t want peace
Former US secretary of state John Kerry blamed the Israeli government’s resistance to the establishment of a Palestinian state for harming the prospects of a peace deal, while warning Israel could face a future violent Palestinian uprising if there was no progress in peace talks.

In recordings published Tuesday by Channel 10, America’s former top diplomat can be heard praising the Palestinian Authority’s commitment to nonviolence following a wave of terror attacks beginning in the fall of 2015, which he said has been ignored by Israelis due to right-wing configuration of the current government.

“The Palestinians have done an extraordinary job of remaining committed to nonviolence. And in fact when the [knife] intifada took place they delivered non-violence in the West Bank,” Kerry is heard saying in the recording.

“This is overlooked by the general [Israeli] population because it is not a topic of discussion. Why? Because the majority of the cabinet currently in the current Israeli government has publicly declared they are not ever for a Palestinian state,” he adds.

Channel 10 said the recording was made at a conference in Dubai in the past year attended by Middle East leaders and Israel’s Joint (Arab) List chief Ayman Odeh. The television channel also said opposition leader Isaac Herzog (Zionist Union) addressed the conference by video.

It was not clear if Kerry was aware he was being recorded or if the segments released were his full remarks.
IsraellyCool: Recordings Demonstrate the Dangerous Ignorance of John Kerry
Recordings just released by Israel’s Channel 10 reveal that Former US Secretary of State John Kerry really had no John “F*cking” Kerry of a clue about anything.
It is actually scary just out of touch with reality he was, and presumably still is.
For instance:

He praised the PA for their supposed commitment to nonviolence, despite the fact they continue to incite violence and pay the families of terrorists to this day

Compared palestinian ‘resistance’ to civil rights movements
  • Kerry warned in the recording that frustrations among Palestinians could boil over into violence and that the current status quo cannot last.
  • “If you see 40,000 kids marching up to the wall everyday with signs saying ‘give us are rights,’ I mean, I don’t think Palestine is going to be immune forever to the civil rights movements that have swept other nations in the world,” he says.
Criticized Israel’s leadership (not the palestinian leadership) as being ones not wanting peace

  • Despite this, Kerry said Israel is ignoring the threat posed by the diplomatic stalemate. “That is not leadership,” says Kerry.
  • “If you don’t have leaders who don’t want to make peace, if the equation doesn’t change, I’ll be amazed if within the next 10 years if we don’t see some young [Palestinian] leader come along who says we have tried non-violence for the last 30 years and look, it hasn’t gotten us anything,” he says.

Evelyn Gordon: Why Israel Threatened Military Action to Save an Enemy
For many, it is assumed that Israel is a racist state that considers its Arab minority second-class citizens. I wonder, then, how they explain what happened last Friday?

For the third time in the last two years, Israel threatened military action to stop an attack by extremist Syrian rebels on the Syrian Druze village of Khader. It did so despite the fact that Syrian Druze have sided with the Assad regime in that war, meaning they’re aligned with Israel’s arch-enemies, Iran and Hezbollah; despite the fact that Khader itself has been the source of several anti-Israel terror attacks; and despite the fact that such intervention risks entangling Israel in Syria’s civil war, something it has hitherto tried hard to avoid–and all just because it was asked to do so by its own Druze minority, which was worried about its coreligionists across the border.

To most Israelis, it seems both obvious and unremarkable that Israel should accede to this request. But in fact, though Israel has always considered itself obligated as a Jewish state to try to protect Jews anywhere, it’s not at all obvious that it would consider itself equally obligated to try to protect Druze beyond its borders. Threatening cross-border military action on behalf of foreign nationals aligned with your worst enemies, simply because they’re the coreligionists of one of your own ethnic minorities, isn’t an obvious step for any country. And it’s especially not obvious for a country accused of considering said minorities to be second-class citizens.

Thus, the fact that Israel has repeatedly taken action to protect the Syrian Druze says a lot about the true state of anti-Arab “racism” in the country. But to understand exactly what it says, it’s first necessary to understand the difference between Israeli Druze and other Arab Israelis.

Seth Frantzman: Armchair demographers, the Diaspora, Israel and baby-counting racism
A recent study by The Jewish People Policy Institute shows that Diaspora Jewish leaders and active community members are deeply connected to Jerusalem. They are also concerned about Jerusalem.

They worry that Israel doesn’t take into account the desires of Jewish communities around the world to determine the status of Jerusalem or run its holy sites.

They are also concerned about what goes on in the bedrooms of Jerusalem residents. The ultra-Orthodox community is having too many children, according to people in New York, Palm Beach, Paris and other places.

The recent study, called “Jerusalem and the Jewish People,” presents many unsurprising findings, such as that Jerusalem is “crucially important” to Jews worldwide.

The study was derived from dozens of discussion groups in cities around the world, including the US, Canada and Brazil. According to the report, many felt the city was moving in the “wrong direction.” Many of those who took part are in Jewish community leadership roles.

According to a report, participants were asked if “the growth of the non-Jewish and ultra-Orthodox population is a positive development because it contributes to urban diversity.” Almost 50% agreed when it comes to the “non-Jewish” population, whereas only 29% agreed with regard to the ultra-Orthodox. In short, they were worried about “demographic” trends in the city.

We’ve heard this before. For decades the Diaspora has been fed propaganda about the bogeyman of “demographics” in Israel and Jerusalem. Ari Shavit wrote in Haaretz in 2013 that the “battle for Jerusalem is almost lost. Haredi [ultra-Orthodox] students currently account for 39 percent of all the capital’s school children.

Arab students account for 37 percent.” Jerusalem will have “no secular Jewish hope,” he claimed.

The Jewish Press told readers in 2016 about “Arabs in Jerusalem, the fastest growing population.”
Khaled Abu Toameh: The Iran-Hamas-Hezbollah Connection
Abbas has multiple reasons to be worried about the Hamas-Hezbollah alliance. Here is another one: a recent meeting in Beirut between Hamas leader Saleh Arouri and Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah was yet another sign of Hamas's effort to pave the way for Iran and Hezbollah to infiltrate the Gaza Strip and meddle in the internal affairs of the Palestinians.

Hamas has already stated repeatedly that it has absolutely no intention of laying down its weapons as promised for the "reconciliation" agreement with the Palestinian Authority. Hamas is prepared to cede to PA President Mahmoud Abbas limited civilian control of the Gaza Strip, but has been clear that it will never dismantle its security apparatus or military wing. Hamas wants to bring the Iranians and Hezbollah into the Gaza Strip to counterbalance pressure from Abbas and Egypt and other countries to disarm and hand control over to Abbas. If Abbas ever returns to the Gaza Strip, he will find himself sitting not only with Hamas, but also with Iran and Hezbollah, who consider him a traitor and puppet in the hands of Israel and the US.

Alarmed by the rapprochement between Hamas and Hezbollah and Iran, Saudi Arabia earlier this week summoned Abbas for urgent talks in Riyadh. The Saudis have been following with concern the visits by Hamas leaders to Iran and Hezbollah, and are worried that Abbas may face the same fate as Hariri.

Abbas may well wish to steer clear of the Gaza Strip: Iran and Hezbollah are working with Hamas to establish a "joint front" against Israel. Hamas's decision to tilt towards Iran and Hezbollah discloses the truth: it is not headed towards moderation and pragmatism, but the very opposite. This does not bode well for the current Trump Administration's efforts to achieve peace in the Middle East.

Without stopping Iran and Hezbollah from spreading their influence and control to the Gaza Strip and Arab countries, the prospects of peace seem rather dim. In fact, the prospects of war seem pretty close, as Iran, Hezbollah, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad meet in the middle to discuss their plans for war against Israel. Failing to stop Iran and Hezbollah would mean that Abbas may soon find themselves hiding with Hariri in Saudi Arabia.
PM: Seeing the Balfour Declaration as a crime is the root of the Israeli-Arab conflict
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the Knesset plenum on Tuesday, to mark the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration, which recognized the Jewish people’s right to a "national home" in the Land of Israel. "When the leaders of the Palestinian leadership define the Balfour Declaration as a 'crime', when they call on the British government to apologize for it, they are not going forward—they are going back, a hundred years back," Netanyahu said. "And that is the root of the conflict—the 100-year refusal to recognize Zionism, to recognize the Jewish national home in the Land of Israel, to recognize the State of Israel within any borders."

"The tragedy of the Balfour Declaration is that it took 30 years to implement it," said Prime Minister Netanyahu. "It is now absolutely clear: the key to the future of the Jewish people is the Jewish state, and our basic obligation is to stand firm against those who seek to harm us and ensure the existence and future of the State of Israel.

"After it was granted, the Balfour Declaration was supported not just by the League of Nations but also gained the sympathy of some in the Arab world. Prince Feisal (of Syria—ed) was at the head of the Arab camp that had rebelled against the Ottoman Empire—he recognized the right of the Jews to establish their national home in Palestine, and Faisal favored cooperation between Jews and Arabs on the basis of mutual understanding and brotherhood.

"The Arab nationalistic movement, however, strongly attacked the Balfour Declaration, providing grounds for incitement and violence, not least with the encouragement of the Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini.

"In 1943, he found a loyal partner—Heinrich Himmler, commander of the SS in Germany. Himmler sent the Mufti a congratulatory letter in which he wrote, "Warm Wishes for the continuation of your struggle until the great/final victory."
Fatah-Hamas reconciliation makes peace harder to achieve
Hamas seeks the annihilation of Israel, digs terror tunnels, launches rockets at Israeli civilians & blows up buses. Reconciling with mass-murderers is part of the problem, not part of the solution.

Israeli laughs last at UNESCO antisemitism....

Report: Israel Tells Its Envoys to Back Saudis, Hariri against Hizbullah, Iran
The Foreign Ministry has instructed Israeli ambassadors around the world to begin in earnest a diplomatic campaign against Iran and Hezbollah that includes backing Saudi Arabian claims that the two Shiite allies were behind a missile attack on Riyadh International Airport over the weekend.

Channel 10 reported Wednesday that the ministry sent a classified memo to Israel’s envoys around the world urging them to contact government officials and plead the case for reining in Iran and its Lebanese proxy.

The missive, reportedly sent Sunday, came the day after Lebanese prime minister Saad Hariri shocked Lebanon and the region by announcing his resignation while on a visit to Saudi Arabia, saying he feared an assassination plot against him. He used the opportunity to lash out at the influence of Hezbollah and Iran on his country.

“The events in Lebanon, and the ballistic missile launched by [Yemen’s rebel] Houthis toward the Riyadh international airport, should cause [the world] to increase the pressure on Iran and Hezbollah on a range of issues, from ballistic missile production to its efforts at regional subversion,” the Foreign Ministry memo read.

The Houthis, a Shiite militia backed by Iran, took credit for the missile, which was intercepted near the Saudi capital’s airport.
Exclusive: No 10 knew about Patel meetings
Number 10 instructed Development Secretary Priti Patel not to include her meeting with the Israel foreign ministry official Yuval Rotem in New York on 18 September in her list of undisclosed meetings with Israelis which was published on Monday, the JC has learned.

Ms Patel listed 12 meetings in the statement, and the emergence of two more last night is thought to have made her sacking imminent.

But the JC understands, from two different sources, that Ms Patel did disclose the meeting with Mr Rotem but was told by Number 10 not to include it as it would embarrass the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

In addition, the JC can reveal that although Ms Patel’s meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was not authorised in advance, the British government was made aware of it within hours.

On 22 August - the same day as Ms Patel spoke to Mr Netanyahu - Middle East minister Alistair Burt and David Quarrey, the British Ambassador to Israel, met Michael Oren, Deputy Minister at the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office. According to the notes of the meeting, Mr Oren referred to Ms Patel having had a successful meeting with Mr Netanyahu earlier.

It is understood that this information was then conveyed to Number 10.
President criticizes Spain's stance on Israel in international forums
President Reuven Rivlin criticized Spain's lackluster support for Israel in international forums in a meeting with Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy at Madrid's Moncloa Palace on Tuesday,

Citing Spain's decision to abstain from a vote on a U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization resolution denying the Jewish people's ties to Jerusalem, Rivlin said, "I wish to remind you that the king of Spain is also called the king of Jerusalem, and to come to UNESCO and deny the connection between the Jewish nation and Jerusalem is not just ignorance, it is an affront to intellectual integrity."

Rivlin also asked Rajoy to take legislative action against the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement, which he said is "tainted with anti-Semitic elements."

Earlier in the day, Rivlin delivered a speech to the Spanish parliament in which he addressed Catalonia's bid for independence.

"Spain is one country for us, and the problems it faces are internal. Our relations with the citizens of Spain are dear to us, and we pray that the current challenge will be solved through understanding," he said, according to the European Jewish Press.

Rivlin also spoke about Iran and its threats to destroy Israel, which he said, "cannot be tolerated."
Korean F-16s Upgraded To Carry Israeli Weapon
The Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF) has performed numerous live drops of the Rafael Spice 2,000-pound guided glide bomb this year, suggesting that the weapon is fully certified on its F-16 fleet. The Israeli company does not discuss customers, but reports indicate that Seoul signed a deal with Rafael in late 2015, with deliveries due in the second half of 2016.

The weapon was seen in a quick-response exercise mounted by the ROKAF’s 19th Fighter Squadron in February this year. The unit employed both the Spice 2000 and the Boeing GBU-31 Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) on the Peace Bridge Upgrade (PBU) version of its Lockheed Martin F-16s. The PBUs are a group of 40 F-16C/D Block 32s that underwent an upgrade to employ JDAM, AIM-120 AMRAAM, plus installation of data modems and secure communications. This brought them up to the license-built KF-16 standards. The first F-16PBU was combat-ready in mid-2016.

“We have been doing our best to master the new armed capability with the F-16 PBU and Spice 2000,” a ROKAF pilot told Korean media. The Spice family deploys pop-out wings after launch and employs GPS/INS for midcourse navigation. When approaching the target, Spice employs a scene-matching algorithm that Rafael claims to be unique and compares the electro-optical image received in real time via the weapon seeker with mission reference intelligence data stored in the aircraft’s weapon computer memory. The Spice 2000 gives the Korean F-16s standoff and precision capabilities of approximately 60 km on Mk 84 2,000-pound bombs.(h/t Elder of Lobby)
UN agency building illegally in Jerusalem, advocacy group says
A U.N. agency is pursuing a building project in southeast Jerusalem despite understandings to the contrary between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres, an advocacy group trying to stop the project said.

Regavim, a nongovernmental organization that describes its mission as seeking to "ensure responsible, legal, accountable and environmentally friendly use of Israel's national lands," recently filed for a Supreme Court injunction against the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization's Jerusalem office, claiming it has issued a tender for the demolition of a British Mandate-era building in Armon Hanatziv neighborhood in Jerusalem, seeking to build on the historical site.

As the tender was issued without first obtaining the necessary permits from the Jerusalem Municipality, the project must be stopped, Regavim's motion said.

The group further claimed that UNTSO was pursuing the project despite statements by Netanyahu, who said he and Guterres agreed that current and future construction by the U.N. at Armon Hanatziv would follow Israeli zoning policies.

As the motion involves a U.N. agency, the State Attorney's Office was asked to file a response with the court.
Two-Thirds of Israeli Arabs Believe the State Has No Right to Define Itself as Jewish
A survey released yesterday by the Israel Democracy Institute found that a majority of the country’s Arab citizens rejected its right to call itself as a Jewish state. According to the study, entitled “A Limited Partnership,” 67 percent of Israeli Arab respondents said that “the State of Israel had no right to be defined as the national home of the Jewish people,” while 58 percent of Jews said that “those who are unwilling to declare that Israel is the national home of the Jewish people should lose the right to vote.” Similarly, 69 percent of Arabs believe their Jewish neighbors do not see them as an integral part of Israeli society, and 63 percent of Jews believe that Israeli Arabs do not perceive of themselves as part of Israeli society.

The picture gets even grimmer as the survey unfolds. Asked about their beliefs regarding the other group, 50.5 percent of Arab respondents said they were convinced Jews were violent people, while 51 percent of Jews thought the same thing of Arabs.

But anyone looking for a silver lining has only to look into Israeli offices for a bit of unbridled hope. Among Jews and Arabs who work together, 89.5 percent of Jews and 95 percent of Arabs described relations between both groups as good or very good.
Road Safety Authority official slammed for anti-Israel activity
The National Road Safety Authority's new head of Arabic-language public relations, Israeli Arab Makbula Nassar, is an active member of anti-Zionist and pro-Palestinian organizations, Israel Hayom has learned.

Nasser's associations appear to have eluded NRSA Director Maj. Gen. (res.) Giora Rom and Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz during her vetting process.

Nasser, from the village of Araba in the western Galilee, takes part in events marking "Nakba Day" – when Israeli Arabs mark the "disaster" of Israel's establishment – and the Israeli-Arab "March of Return."

On her personal Facebook page, Nassar has testified to her membership in an organization that works to bring so-called Palestinian refugees back to Israel.

Earlier this year, in a post responding to plans by the Haifa Municipality to develop the city's Wadi Salib neighborhood, she called the project "plans by the Zionist Haifa Municipality to complete the theft of Palestinian homes in the city. Wadi Salib is being destroyed to build commercial projects."
IsraellyCool: WATCH: Breaking A Breaking the Silence ‘Activist’
The organization Breaking the Silence (BtS) goes around the world demonizing the IDF and Israel.

A couple of members of Students Supporting Israel recently confronted BtS ‘activist’ Avner Gvaryahu before a speech he gave to Columbia University Hillel.

It really was not a fair fight. As you will see, Gvaryahu could not keep track of his lies and contradictions, when confronted with facts in a calm and reasoned way.

In the meantime, did I mention that BtS’ main donors are European countries?
Morocco denies entry visas to Israel's national judo team
Morocco has refused entry visas to Israel's national judo team ahead of this Saturday's World Championships Open in Marrakech.

The team's scheduled 5 a.m. departure flight on Wednesday was canceled. However, there was still hope that the visa issue could be resolved and the team would be able to fly to the competition on Wednesday evening.

The visa ban comes on the heels of similar problems that arose prior to the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam judo tournament in October. Host nation the United Arab Emirates banned the Israeli flag and anthem at the competition.

Israeli judoka Tal Flicker, who won a gold medal at the tournament, sang the Israeli anthem, "Hatikvah," on the podium, with the International Judo Federation's flag and anthem in the background.

The International Judo Federation sent a letter to the president of the UAE Judo Federation last week, chastising the organization for its discriminatory treatment of Israeli athletes and demanding that "all delegations, including the Israeli delegation, be treated absolutely equally in all aspects, without any exception."
PA police chief confirms security cooperation with Israel back on track
According to multiple Israeli and international reports over the past two years, the PA security forces have foiled hundreds of attacks in the West Bank, which were supposed to target Israelis.

The police chief also reiterated Abbas’s position that the PA would not accept a scenario, in which it takes responsibility for Gaza and Hamas’s armed wing, the Ezzeldin Kassam Brigades, holds onto its weapons.

In mid-October, Egypt brokered an agreement between Fatah and Hamas to advance reconciliation efforts and restore the PA’s governing authority in the Gaza Strip. Hamas has controlled Gaza since ousting the Fatah-dominated PA from the territory in 2007.

“No way,” Atallah said when asked if he would accept the Kassam Brigades maintaining control of their weapons. “It is impossible. How can I do security when there are all these rockets and guns and whatever? Is this possible? It doesn’t work.”

Over the past several weeks, many Hamas officials have dismissed the possibility of disarming Kassam Brigades.
PA police chief: Hamas must disarm under unity deal
The head of the Palestinian Authority police said Wednesday that Hamas must disarm in order for a landmark reconciliation deal signed last month with rival Fatah to succeed.

Hazem Atallah’s comments came as cracks began to show in the Palestinian reconciliation deal mediated by Egypt over the issue of security control of the Gaza Strip.

The PA is due to retake control of the Strip, still run by the Hamas terror group, by December 1.

“We are talking about one authority, one law, one gun,” Atallah told journalists in Ramallah in the West Bank, echoing a line from Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

Asked whether he could allow Hamas’s armed wing to maintain its weapons while being in charge of police in Gaza, he said: “No way.”
5-year-old boy caught smuggling phones to Palestinian security prisoners
Guards caught a 5-year-old boy smuggling cellphones and SIM cards to security prisoners at the Ketziot Prison in southern Israel on Wednesday, Hebrew media reported.

The boy was the child of one of the convicts, a resident of the Palestinian village of Yatta serving 12 years for conspiracy to commit manslaughter and for manufacturing explosives. He was placed in solitary confinement following the incident, the Ynet news site said.

Upon noticing the boy making abnormal movements, the guards conducted a search of the 5-year-old. They found 10 cellphones and three SIM cards hidden in his underwear, Channel 2 said.

The family members who had visited with the boy were detained, and police opened an investigation into the matter.

The prison services have been waging a long-running battle to prevent the phones — many of them very small — from being smuggled to the prisoners.
Palestinian teen caught smuggling knife into Hebron’s Tomb of the Patriarchs
Border police Wednesday found a knife hidden in the sock of Palestinian teenager who tried to enter the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron without going through a metal detector.

The suspect, 17, was stopped and searched at the holy site in the West Bank city.

Security forces found the knife during the search.

The suspect was detained and taken away for questioning.

The flashpoint city of Hebron, where Palestinians live in close proximity to settlers who are guarded by Israeli troops, has been the scene of numerous stabbings and attempted stabbings since a wave of attacks carried out by Palestinians began in October 2015.
Michael Totten: Hezbollah Consolidates Its Stranglehold Over Lebanon
Saad Hariri resigned his post as Lebanon's prime minister, citing an assassination plot brewing against him, presumably from his former government coalition partner Hezbollah. "Wherever Iran settles," he said in a televised speech, "it sows discord, devastation and destruction, proven by its interference in the internal affairs of Arab countries." Iran's hands in the Middle East, he then said, "will be cut off." He delivered that speech and resignation not from Beirut but from Saudi Arabia.

In a sinister statement worthy of Syrian tyrant Bashar al-Assad himself, Lebanese President Michel Aoun, a long-time tool of Damascus, says he won't accept Hariri's resignation unless he returns to Beirut and hands it over in person.

Nobody really knows what's going on there right now. Lebanon is one of the hardest countries in the world to make sense of sometimes, even for experts, because there are easily ten different versions of every event, nearly everyone lies, and your average Lebanese media organ is a tribal sectarian fusion of Breitbart, Alex Jones and Pravda. For instance, Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah saysthe Saudis forced Hariri to step down, and the hysterical pro-Hezbollah news rag al-Akhbar goes even further and says Hariri is under house arrest in Riyadh, a story proven instantly false by the fact that Hariri is now in Abu Dhabi.

The Lebanese Army says it isn't aware of any assassination plots inside the country. Hardly a credible statement. Hezbollah effectively controls Lebanon's army now, and in 2011, an independent United Nations tribunal fingered Hezbollah for the assassination of Hariri's father on February 14, 2005, with a gigantic bomb in the city center. Not even a damn fool would expect the army to say, yes, our masters are planning to retire yet another prime minister.

MP Samir Geagea says Hariri stepped down "because the government was not able to practice its authority as was expected of it...The developments of the past eight months left no room for someone to continue on respecting themselves."
Lebanese PM Sa’ad Hariri Cancels His Deal With the Devil, Leaving Lebanon in the Hands of Iran
Of course, Hariri knew all this when he made a deal to return to the premiership last year. Under Hariri’s tenure, Hezbollah only consolidated its existing domination of the country by tightening its grip on the edifice of the state, winning key appointments in the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF), the intelligence and security agencies, the judiciary and state administrative offices. Hariri’s function was simply to provide Hezbollah with cover. He often ran interference abroad, lobbying Washington for softer sanctions and for increased assistance to an LAF working hand-in-glove with Hezbollah and Iran.

Contrary to conventional wisdom, the Saudis never supported Hariri’s deal with the devil. Instead, the Saudis cut him loose. They withdrew their grant to the LAF, which they had come to view, rightly, as an auxiliary force to Hezbollah. And they did not return their ambassador to Beirut during Hariri’s tenure. Although they would have done better to block Hariri’s stunt from the start, the Saudis have finally pulled the plug on a disastrous arrangement before it got even worse.

Hariri’s acknowledgement that Lebanon is an Iranian satrapy run by Hezbollah obviously vindicates Israel’s view of the country. Last month, Israel’s defense minister Avigdor Lieberman explained that in a future conflict with Lebanon, “we’re no longer talking solely about Hezbollah. We’re talking about Hezbollah and about the Lebanese military.” The Lebanese army, Lieberman added, “has become an integral part of Hezbollah’s campaign under its command… [It] has become inextricably linked to Hezbollah.”
Syrian official accuses Israel of 'trying to profit' from civil war
A top adviser to Syrian President Bashar Assad has accused Israel of "trying to profit from the war in Syria, which it caused together with its allies."

In an interview on Tuesday with the Hezbollah-affiliated Lebanese channel Al-Mayadeen, Bouthaina Shaaban, Assad's media adviser, said Israel "has proved it has a long reach when it comes to its war against Syria." She stressed Syria "would not hesitate to defend itself against Israel's greedy ambitions."

Commenting on Saudi Arabia's warnings against Hezbollah's involvement in Lebanon's politics, which it says destabilizes the region, Shaaban said, "The Saudi anxieties are similar to the Israeli anxieties. We will not allow Riyadh to undermine Lebanon's security. Lebanon's security is Syria's security.

"Israel understands the power the resistance axis wields and it will not risk a new act of aggression. The reality on the ground has proved that our cooperation with Iran and Hezbollah is very important to all sides. We will not allow Hezbollah to be attacked because our fates are linked."

She also criticized Saudi Arabia, saying, "Since 1945, Saudi leaders have agreed to the existence of an Israeli occupying state, and the rest of the Gulf states have made no effort to liberate Palestine."
After Joining Paris Agreement, Syria Switches to Eco-Friendly Cluster Bombs (satire)
Stressing its commitment to fighting climate change following its signing of the Paris Climate Accords, the Syrian government announced that it will begin using ecologically friendly explosives when cluster-bombing civilians.

“Dropping barrel bombs full of pollutants on schools, mosques and hospitals was not just irresponsible. It was flat-out wrong,” Syrian President Bashar al-Assad acknowledged. “As Paris Agreement signatories, our massive bombing campaigns will now be carbon neutral.”

Syria’s announcement angered US President Donald Trump, who said it has led him to question his support for the Russian-backed dictator. As the leader of the only country that has not signed the treaty, Trump vowed to only use coal-powered bombs when attacking Sunni neighborhoods.
US Calls for UN Action Against Iran for Supplying Missile to Houthi Rebels in Yemen
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said information released by Saudi Arabia showed the missile fired in July was an Iranian Qiam, which she described as “a type of weapon that had not been present in Yemen before the conflict.”

Saudi-led forces, which back the government in neighboring Yemen, have been targeting the Iran-allied Houthis in a more than two-year war. Saudi Arabia’s crown prince on Tuesday described Iran’s supply of rockets to the Houthis as “direct military aggression” that could be an act of war.

Haley said that by providing weapons to the Houthis, Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp‎s had violated two U.N. resolutions on Yemen and Iran. She said a missile shot down over Saudi Arabia on Saturday “may also be of Iranian origin.”

“We encourage the United Nations and international partners to take necessary action to hold the Iranian regime accountable for these violations,” Haley said. It was not immediately clear what action the United States was calling for.
JCPA: Iran Plots Assassinations to Achieve Shiite Crescent in the Middle East
The Middle East was in turmoil after Lebanon’s Prime Minister Saad Hariri’s dramatic resignation out of fear of assassination. But Lebanon is not the only country threatened by Iran’s plots. Kurdistan is also the target for Iran’s intrigues, which may be behind the resignation of the president of Kurdistan, Masoud Barzani.

According to our sources, Iranian Revolutionary Guards’ Quds Force Commander, Qassem Soleimani, conducted his own business on the fringes of a condolence visit in Sulaymaniyah, Kurdistan, after the death of the Talabani Kurdish leader, Jalal Talabani. The Talabani Kurds are fierce rivals to the Barazani Kurdish faction. The meeting went beyond the Talabani family’s coordination with Soleimani’s Shiite troops for the capture of Kirkuk, but concerned the mobilization of the Kurds for a sweeping process of establishing together a Shiite Crescent. According to our sources, the move necessitates the recruitment of the Kurdish PKK underground in Turkey. Indeed, in the battles against ISIS for control of Raqqa in Syria, many were surprised to see Turkish PKK flags being hoisted by the Kurdish fighters and PKK fighters were seen also in Sinjar in Iraq side-by-side with the Shiite militias.

But with typical Iranian intrigue, Soleimani, after the PKK recruitment to establish the Shiite Crescent, spoke of the opportunity to undermine the good relationship in Irbil between the Barzani family and Turkey and to incite Turkey against Irbil. The special connection between the Barzani family and Israel is supposed to be the propaganda tool to oust the prominent Barzani family in favor of the rival Talabani family.

In Irbil, they suspected that in Soleimani’s talks in Sulaymaniyah, a plan was devised to remove Masoud Barzani from power, and perhaps even to murder him using the “Lebanon formula” — the Iranian plot to assassinate Saad Hariri 12 years after his father, Rafik Hariri, who was killed in a massive bombing.
Iran’s president calls on Saudis to switch sides, abandon US & Israel
As Sunni-Shi’ite tensions in the Middle East mount, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani said he wants Muslim states to come together and help each other instead of seeking friendships with the United States or Israel.

In a cabinet meeting on Wednesday, Rouhani called for an end to hostile relations with Saudi Arabia, adding that the Sunni Kingdom is wrong to put its trust in Israel and the US.

“You are mistaken if you think Iran is not your friend, but the US and Israel are. This mentality is a strategic mistake and miscalculation,” Iran’s Press TV reported Rouhani as saying. “Our path in the region is to establish and promote stability; we want the geographic borders not to change, nations to decide for themselves, and bombardments and aggression against regional nations to be stopped.”

Rouhani also addressed criticisms of Iran’s involvement in the Syrian Civil War stating that the Islamic Republic was invited to assist in the war against ISIS and promote stability.

He blamed Israel and the US for the instability in the region and claimed both countries were doing so to benefit from the arms trade. “The hegemonic [states] plunder the oil and wealth of the region and, in return, they sell their different weapons to fan the flames,” he said.
Iraqi VP calls Iran-backed militias his nation’s top threat
Iraq’s highest-ranking Sunni leader said Tuesday the growing influence of Iranian-backed Shiite militias looms as the nation’s most pressing future security threat and called for bolstering US military aid to Sunni forces.

In Washington for talks this week with Trump administration officials and congressional leaders, Iraqi Vice President Osama al-Nujaifi is hoping the administration will deliver on pledges to counter Iran’s growing influence inside Iraq and across the Middle East.

Al-Nujaifi is one of Iraq’s three vice presidents, and his brother heads a prominent Iraqi defense faction. Both have been represented in Washington by the same lobbyist employed last year by Michael Flynn, President Donald Trump’s first national security adviser. In February, Trump fired Flynn, who is now under investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller.

In remarks Tuesday at the US Institute of Peace, al-Nujaifi described Shiite militias in Iraq operating as a “parallel army” that could divide the nation even as Iraq’s military is driving out IS fighters with the aid of American troops.

The Iranian-backed factions “have gained a lot of power and maybe they can pose more problems,” al-Nujaifi said.

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