Friday, January 12, 2018

From Ian:

JPost Editorial: Paradigm-changing murder
The argument against the Trump administration’s approach, which has been used by Palestinians for years, is that if the PA is not kept afloat the alternative will be much worse. The occasional drive-by shooting, like the one that ended the life of Shevach, is the price to pay for this arrangement.

This is too high a price. The time has come to challenge this paradigm. It might seem as though the PA is the only thing preventing complete anarchy in the West Bank and that UNRWA is the only safety net preventing a full-flung humanitarian disaster in Gaza. But it is impossible to know whether Palestinian society is capable of positive change unless it is given a fair chance. Precipitating a budget crisis designed to end the PA’s support for terrorism is risk worth taking. And the same goes for phasing out UNRWA.

There are only so many bypass roads, security fences and security cameras that Israel can install to defend the lives of Israelis living in Judea and Samaria. And while the IDF and the Shin Bet will undoubtedly redouble efforts to confiscate the massive amounts of illegal arms in places like Nablus so that no terrorist has the ability to shoot 22 bullets at a man like Shevach, Israel’s ability is limited as long as the PA offers incentives to prospective terrorists and Hamas actively provides material and training.

Ultimately, the only way to end terrorism is by replacing or radically changing the Palestinian political leadership. For this to happen, the PA and Hamas must know they risk losing power if they continue with their charade.

The loss of men like Shevach is a too dear price to pay for maintaining the status quo.
British-Israeli victim triggers UK probe into funds for Palestinian terrorism
Kay Wilson, who barely survived a Palestinian terrorist attack, prompted MP Stephen Twigg, chairman of International Development Committee in the UK Parliament, to conduct talks with fellow lawmakers about the misuse of British funds to support Palestinian terrorism.

The Jerusalem Post obtained a copy of Wilson’s letter on Thursday and conducted an interview with the British Israeli on the parliamentary action and the chances of the UK replicating the American Taylor Force Act, which would bars US funds for the Palestinian Authority that are used for terrorism.

“I have not heard back from Mr. Twigg, and was therefore surprised to read in the Daily Express that he had received my letter, yet had not acknowledged this personally to me,” said Wilson.

The Daily Express wrote on Wednesday that “a powerful commons committee is to consider launching an inquiry into the way the Palestinian Authority is giving British taxpayers’ money to terrorists in prison.”

Wilson told Twigg in her letter that “My co-signatories and I are writing to you about the glorification of violence, the incitement of violence and misuse of British Aid funds by the Palestinian Authority. We also draw to your attention evidence that strongly suggests that DFID [Department for International Development] civil servants and minsters have misled Parliament. In 2010 I was hiking in the Judean Hills with my friend Kristine Luken, when two Palestinian terrorists attacked us. We were held for 30 minutes at knife-point, then gagged and bound before being butchered with machetes. Kristine was murdered. I watched my friend being killed before my eyes.”

She added, “I only survived because I played dead. I was stabbed 13 times and had over 30 bones broken by the sheer force of the blows. Each time my attackers plunged their machetes into me I could hear my bones crunch, and my flesh ripping from the serrated blade. They left, only to return moments later and roll me over. I watched my attacker plunge the knife into my chest, just missing my heart. I attach pictures of my injuries. The two men who attacked us were jailed. They were part of a terrorist cell aligned to the Fatah group, the group that runs the Palestinian Authority.”
Caroline Glick: Curing Trump’s quarterly Iran headache
Israeli experts who were close to the Obama administration are calling for Trump to keep the deal alive. A paper published on Thursday by the left-leaning Institute for National Security Studies called for Trump to keep the deal alive, but enforce it fully.
Co-authored by Obama’s ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro and former security brass who oppose the Netanyahu government, the paper claimed that the US should insist that Iran open its military nuclear sites to UN inspectors.

The problem with the recommendation is that there is no chance it will be implemented. Iran refuses to open its military sites to inspectors, and the Europeans side with them against the US.

Trump is right that he’s damned if he maintains Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran and damned if he kills the deal. But his supporters are right on this issue and the Washington establishment, Europe and the media are wrong.

If Trump walks away, he will empower the Iranians calling for a new regime. He will weaken the regime’s ability to maintain its global war against the US and its allies. He will force the Europeans to abandon their love affair with the corruption kings in Tehran by making them choose between the US market and the Iranian market.

And he will accomplish all of these things while freeing himself from the quarterly requirement to either lie and pretend Iran is behaving itself and be pilloried by his supporters, or tell the truth about its behavior and be pilloried by the people who always attack him.

Most important, by walking away from a deal built on lies, distortion and corruption, Trump can quickly pivot to a policy based on truth. Unlike the nuclear deal, such a policy would have a chance of ending Iran’s nuclear ambitions, its sponsorship of terrorism, and its oppression of its long-suffering people once and for all.

Victor Davis Hanson: The faded Palestinian issue
Given that the U.S. channels much of its Palestinian aid through third-party UN organizations, U.S. aid may exceed $700 million per year. But the entire Middle East has radically changed - and along with it the role and image of the Palestinians. Iran is the greatest supporter of Palestinian armed resistance, while the so-called "moderate" Sunni autocracies despise Iran.

Moreover, the terrorist bloodlettings perpetrated by Islamic State and al-Qaeda have discredited terror as a legitimate means to an end in the eyes of the Arab world, despite previous support for Palestinian terrorists.

Israel was founded in 1948. Palestinian rhetoric that they would push the Jews into the sea is by now stale. There have been seven decades of failed intifadas and suicide bombing campaigns, along with full-scale Arab-Israeli wars.

Around the time Israel was created, 13 million German-speakers were ethnically cleansed from East Prussia and Eastern Europe. Seven decades later, the grandchildren of refugees do not replay World War II. "Prussians" do not talk about reclaiming their ancestral homelands in present-day Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic. German-speaking youth do not demand a "right of return" to their grandparents' homes to the east.

Since the Palestinian proclamation of independence in 1988, there have been only two "presidents": Yasser Arafat and Mahmoud Abbas. Neither has allowed open and transparent elections. A Palestinian president gets power by seizing it. He loses it only by dying in office. Over the same period, Israel has elected seven different prime ministers from a variety of political parties.

Polls show that less than 20% of Americans support the Palestinian cause. Many U.S. citizens are tired of subsidizing those who claim that they do not like their U.S. benefactors. It finally may be time for the Palestinian factions to fund their own causes. (h/t Cliff)
Evelyn Gordon: The Fiction that Destabilizes the Middle East
If I were compiling a foreign policy wish list for 2018, high on the list would be ending the fiction that Lebanon is an independent country rather than an Iranian satrapy governed by Iran’s foreign legion, Hezbollah. The Western foreign policy establishment maintains this fiction out of good intentions; it wants to protect innocent Lebanese from suffering the consequences of Hezbollah’s military provocations against its neighbors. But this policy has enabled Hezbollah to devastate several neighboring countries with impunity, and it’s paving the way to a war that will devastate Lebanon itself.

Sheltering Lebanon from the consequences of Hezbollah’s behavior is both a bipartisan and a transatlantic consensus. This was evident from the West’s wall-to-wall outrage in November, when Saudi Arabia abortively tried to end the pretense that Hezbollah doesn’t rule Lebanon by pressuring the organization’s fig leaf, Prime Minister Saad Hariri, to resign. The International Support Group for Lebanon, which includes the U.S., UN, European Union, Arab League, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, China, and Russia, issued a statement demanding that Lebanon be “shielded from tensions in the region.” The State Department’s acting assistant secretary for Near Eastern Affairs, David Satterfield, demanded that Saudi Arabia “explain why Riyadh was destabilizing Lebanon.” French President Emmanuel Macron proclaimed it vital that Lebanon remains “disassociated” from regional crises. And the list goes on.

Yet the West has shown no similar concern for shielding the many Mideast countries which Lebanon’s de facto ruling party has destabilized for years. Thousands of Hezbollah troops have fought in Syria’s civil war, helping the Assad regime to slaughter hundreds of thousands of its own citizens. Hezbollah also has troops in Yemen to support the Houthi rebels in that country’s civil war, and it may have been involved in firing missiles from Yemen at Saudi Arabia. It has trained Shi’ite militias in Iraq and fought alongside them. And, of course, it has built an arsenal of some 150,000 missiles–bigger than that of most conventional armies–for eventual use against Israel.
Tommy Vietor just encapsulated team Obama's Iran delusions
Team Obama never understood the reality of the Iranian hardliners or their exigent threat to the United States.

Still, we've gained a new insight into this philosophy over the past couple of days. It has come in the form a Twitter showdown between New York Times columnist Bret Stephens and former Obama national security council spokesman Tommy Vietor.

It began when Stephens asked Vietor whether, as a Kuwaiti news outlet reported this week, the Obama administration had indeed warned Iran of an impending Israeli strike against Qassem Soleimani three years ago. Suleimani is the 20-year head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps' external action unit, the Quds Force.

Vietor's responses were quite pathetic.

To begin, Vietor implied that any action to take out Soleimani would have been unjustified because the general is an "Iranian political leader."

When Stephens pushed back on this description, Vietor tried a tougher stance.

Let's be clear, when it's Soleimani, you're dealing with a blood-drenched terrorist mastermind. Not a politician.

In turn, when you offer "Obama sanctioned them" as a representation of effectively countering Soleimani, you are either a complete moron or utterly delusional.

I'm going with the latter here.

Yet this is deadly serious stuff. To understand why Vietor's apparent defense of Soleimani is so problematic, we need only consider present reality.
Forcing the EU to snap out of its cowardice on Iran
To understand Europe’s misguided policy toward the hundreds of thousands of brave Iranians who have blanketed cities across their country to demand the end of the nearly 40-year-old mullah-led regime, it is worth recalling the words of Dan Schueftan, chairman of the National Security Studies Center at the University of Haifa: “Whenever you don’t know what to do, ask the Europeans. Then do the opposite.”

In sharp contrast to the U.S. policy of taking the side of Iranian demonstrators, the European Union response to the protests reflects the moral collapse of its foreign policy. The 28-member EU has largely aligned itself with the reactionary ayatollahs who control the Islamic Republic.

The EU’s chief diplomat Federica Mogherini, who was in Cuba to promote better relations with the communist dictatorship, waited a week before wading gingerly into the subject of the regime’s violent repression of peaceful protests. Thus far at least 21 people have been murdered by the security apparatus, and more than 2,000 people have been imprisoned. The real numbers are certainly higher, hidden by the regime’s restrictions on press freedom.

Mogherini bemoaned the “unacceptable loss of life,” but her nebulous statement did not pin the blame on the perpetrators of the killings: the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps and its wholly-owned subsidiary, the Basij militia.

While there exists a sizeable divide between the EU and the U.S. over Iran policy, the U.S. government has considerable economic leverage available to influence a change in EU behavior. The U.S. Treasury Department last week imposed new sanctions on Iranian entities for their involvement in Tehran’s illicit missile program.

The U.S. could raise the stakes and impose secondary sanctions on European banks and companies involved with Iran’s banks, including its powerful central bank and the IRGC. European countries wish to protect their businesses operating in the Islamic Republic and their credit insurance availability; we propose a seven-point human rights plan to advance Iranian democracy and liberty.
Michael Totten: Iran's Protests Reveal the Truth About Hassan Rouhani
The protests that rocked Iran in December and early January largely fizzled out after the government arrested more than 3,000 people. We’ll have to wait to find out if this was the beginning of an era of upheaval or a brief spasm of malcontent followed by a longer period of silent malaise. Either way, it should put to bed once and for all the myth that Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is some kind of reformer.

Rouhani famously ran as a so-called “moderate” during the farcical 2013 election where, as always in the Islamic Republic, only the hand-picked candidates of “Supreme Guide” Ayatollah Khamenei can get their names on the ballot. He was a moderate in a relative sense compared with his hard-line opponent and former Revolutionary Guard commander Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf, but he’s still a regime creature who participated in nearly every state crackdown against dissidents and protesters since the revolution against the Shah in 1979.

Even so, Western foreign policy makers have treated him as an objective moderate and reformer for more than four years now, and far too many journalists have likewise described him as such. Most reporters who aren’t Middle East specialists have only a passing familiarity with Iranian politics on their best days, so let’s look at what happened as if it took place in the West instead of a foreign land on the other side of the world.

Imagine that, in the 2024 election in the United States, Americans face two choices for president, both of them hand-picked by Donald Trump. And let’s say that one is disgraced former Senate candidate Roy Moore of Alabama, accused of sexual assault against minors and twice removed from the Alabama Supreme Court, and the other is Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Arizona, accused of abuse of power and civil rights violations and recently pardoned by Trump for a criminal contempt of court charge. No one on earth with a lick of political sense would describe such an election as anything but a sham, nor would any serious person describe Sheriff Joe as a “moderate” just because Moore is even more extreme. (If you don’t like that analogy, ask yourself how you’d feel if, in the 2024 election, you face a choice between Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, both hand-picked by Hillary Clinton, with everyone to the right of Elizabeth Warren outlawed and threatened with prison.)
Trump Expected to Extend Iran Sanctions Relief, but Set Deadline for Congress, European Powers to Improve Nuclear Deal
President Donald Trump will extend sanctions relief granted to Iran under its 2015 nuclear deal with the United States and other world powers, leaving the accord intact for now, according to a person familiar with the decision.

However, Trump, who has vowed to scrap the pact, was expected to give Congress and European allies a deadline for improving it, the person said. Without improvements, Trump would renew his threat to withdraw from the agreement.

Trump had faced a Friday deadline to decide on whether to waive the sanctions. A decision to withhold a waiver would have effectively ended the deal that limits Iran’s nuclear program. The White House is expected to announce the decision on Friday.

While Trump approved a sanctions waiver, he also decided to impose new, targeted sanctions on Iran, the person said.

Two senior Trump administration officials told Reuters on Wednesday that the president, a Republican, had privately expressed reluctance to heed the advice of top advisers recommending he not reimpose the suspended sanctions.

Trump has argued that his predecessor, President Barack Obama, a Democrat, negotiated a bad deal for the United States in agreeing to the nuclear accord.
Germany permits Iranian regime mass murderer to flee the country
Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi – considered a successor to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei – fled Germany on Thursday for Iran amid criminal complaints filed against him for crimes against humanity, after the cleric received medical treatment for a brain tumor.

Critics accuse Shahroudi, the who headed Iran’s judiciary system from 1999 to 2009, of imposing executions on 2,000 people, including adolescents.

“Germany has a choice,” Dr. Michael Rubin, an Iran expert with the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday. “Does it want to be a safe haven for terrorists and mass murderers? Alas, for Sigmar Gabriel [Germany’s foreign minister], it seems that the answer was and is ‘yes.’ But why should principle matter if German businesses can make an extra million euros?”

Shahroudi’s presence in Hanover prompted protests and widespread calls on social media for Germany’s government to arrest and prosecute the religious leader.

Shahroudi is believed to have fled on Iran Air’s flight 722 that departed Hamburg for Tehran.
Long-Awaited New York Times Iran Editorial Is a Blank Check for Blood-Soaked Ayatollahs
After nearly two weeks of suspicious silence about the protests in Iran, The New York Times editorial board finally waddled in with its hot take the other day.

The Times editorial made the case for America to take essentially an isolationist, ostrich-like, head-in-the-sand policy toward Iran. Said the Times:

Iran’s future is for the Iranians to determine. The United States needs to be humble about what it doesn’t know and cautious about more direct involvement in the country’s politics. America has a troubled history with Iran, including overthrowing the country’s democratically elected leader in 1953. Wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and Vietnam are haunting reminders of America’s failures at trying to orchestrate political and social change abroad.

There are plenty of problems with this Times view.

First, the claim that America overthrew Iran’s democratically elected leader in 1953 is false, as I explained in an earlier piece for the Algemeiner citing Ray Takeyh’s 2017 article in The Weekly Standard.

Second, the recital of “wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and Vietnam” as “haunting reminders of America’s failures at trying to orchestrate political and social change abroad” sounds like some kind of parody of a panel discussion between Howard Zinn and Noam Chomsky. Even these four cherry-picked examples don’t prove the point that the Times thinks they do. In the case of Afghanistan, we left it mostly alone in the 1990s, and it turned into a base for the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks that killed thousands of Americans. In the case of Syria, President Obama listened to his non-interventionist instincts, and instead other regional powers filled the vacuum, creating a bloodbath and a vast refugee crisis. Both were cases in which a problem was arguably a lack of American boldness, not a shortage of caution. In fact there are some victims of poison gas attacks and beheadings in Syria, or former residents of Aleppo, who almost certainly would wish America had been a little less cautious and humble there, and instead done some more to help them out.
South African Zulu King Invokes Fight Against AIDS, Drought, in Plea to ANC Government to Retain Close Israel Ties
Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithinii during the unveiling of a memorial to the Battle of Isandlwana, in which a Zulu force clashed with invading British soldiers in 1879. Photo: JN / JDP / Reuters.

The king of South Africa’s Zulu nation has urged the country’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) to retain close ties with Israel, following last month’s vote by the ANC at its national conference to downgrade the South African Embassy in Tel Aviv to a “liaison office.”

King Goodwill Zwelithinii — the constitutionally-recognized monarch of the 12 million Zulus who make up South Africa’s largest ethnic group — told a delegation of the ANC’s senior leadership that he had developed a close relationship with Israel and the South African Jewish community since his 2009 decree introducing medical circumcision for boys in a bid to halt the spread of the AIDS virus.

According to the World Health Organization, there is “compelling evidence that male circumcision reduces the risk of heterosexually acquired HIV infection in men by approximately 60%.” More than 700,000 males have been circumcised since the decree was issued by the king.

“There are two clinics that have been built by Jewish organizations in this kingdom,” the king told the ANC delegation, whose members included the new party president, Cyril Ramaphosa, at last week’s meeting.

“They came here because I requested them to come,” the king said. “They (the South African Zionist Federation and South African Friends of Israel) built these clinics the day I announced circumcision on December 6, 2009.” The two clinics, in Mathubathuba and Emondlo, provide HIV-related health services and education for the surrounding communities.

The king urged Ramaphosa and his colleagues not to enmesh South Africa “in wars that we know nothing of.”
Case dropped against Lebanese academic extradited over 1980 synagogue bombing
A Lebanese-Canadian academic accused over the deadly 1980 bombing of a Paris synagogue is to be freed from custody after the case was dismissed for lack of evidence, legal sources said Friday.

In a decision seen by AFP, the French magistrates leading the investigation said the evidence against Hassan Diab, who was extradited from Canada in 2014, was “not convincing enough” and ordered his immediate release.

The October 3, 1980, bombing of a synagogue on Rue Copernic in Paris killed four people and injured about 40.

It was the first fatal attack against France’s Jewish community since the Nazi occupation in World War II.

Diab, a former professor of sociology at Ottawa University, fought his extradition to France to avoid what he said would be an unfair prosecution for a crime he did not commit.
Israel said to complain to Egypt over exclusion from diplomatic briefings
Israel has reportedly lodged a formal complaint with Egypt for regularly excluding it from diplomatic events and briefings.

A recent missive from Ambassador to Egypt David Govrin said “Israel’s embassy in Cairo wishes to express its chagrin over the fact that it has never been invited” to briefings held by the Egyptian Foreign Affairs Ministry, the Kan public broadcaster reported Thursday.

According to the report, that included a briefing on Islamic State in Sinai, a matter on which the Egyptian and Israeli militaries are believed to cooperate closely.

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Emmanuel Nahshon would not confirm the complaint, saying, “We do not comment on internal ministry communications.”

Since they established diplomatic relations in 1978 after years of hostility and a series of wars, ties between Israel and Egypt have historically been civil but frosty.
Follow the money
After a period of relative calm, terrorism has again reared its head and claimed Israeli lives. Tuesday's murder of Raziel Shevach near Nablus underscores Israel's dilemma in searching for effective ways to combat terrorism.

Let's be honest: The various statements made by politicians in the wake of the attack are nothing more than empty words. The government can approve additional construction in Judea and Samaria, or give Shevach's home settlement of Havat Gilad retroactive permits, but this will not stop terrorism. If anything, they are those who argue such moves only fan the flames.

Decades of fighting Palestinian terrorism have taught us that the solution lies with a combination of intelligence and operational activity, as well as an effort to prevent ordinary Palestinians from stepping into the world of terrorism, mostly by devising economic solutions.

But nothing guarantees a 100% success rate. Operation Defensive Shield in the West Bank in 2002 went a long way toward eliminating terrorist infrastructure in the area, but it was unable to completely eradicate it. There are enough weapons in the West Bank to make sure any terrorist, regardless of whether he is operating alone or on behalf of a terrorist organization, is able to carry out an attack. Fortunately, the IDF and the Shin Bet security agency are usually able to thwart such plots, for the most part. On Tuesday, they failed.

Past experience has shown that the terrorist will be caught. Security forces are sparing no effort to apprehend him as soon as possible because once an individual crosses the psychological hurdle of committing murder, it is only a matter of time before he kills again.
Clashes break out in Nablus as soldiers search for rabbi’s killers
Residents of the Palestinian city of Nablus threw Molotov cocktails at Israeli troops searching the area during a pre-dawn arrest raid on Friday, the army said.

The soldiers retaliated with riot dispersal methods, the military said in a statement.

The arrests came amid an ongoing manhunt after the perpetrators of a lethal terror attack in which an Israeli father of six was gunned down on a nearby West Bank highway on Tuesday night.

On Friday morning, the Israel Defense Forces announced that it was keeping in place a series of checkpoints in the Nablus area that it set up following the shooting attack.

“The entrances and exits to and from the villages surrounding Nablus and the city of Nablus are still accessible, but only after security checks,” the army said.

“The intelligence effort is ongoing, along with operations and searches conducted by [infantry units and] special forces,” the military added.
Ailing Gaza Teen Receives Kidney Transplant in Israeli Hospital
A 13-year-old boy from the Gaza Strip received a lifesaving kidney donation from his brother, an undergraduate student in Algeria, in an operation performed at Rambam Medical Center in Haifa.

The result: a functional kidney, a reunion between family members, and proof that conflict doesn’t penetrate hospital doors.

It wasn’t the first time the boy, K., had traveled to Israel for treatment. He was born with a hereditary kidney defect, leading to hospitalizations and surgeries at Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center and Sheba Medical Center in central Israel.

His condition worsened in recent years. When he reached Rambam in May 2017, his kidney function was estimated at less than 20 percent.

The dilemma for his mother, a resident of Gaza and mother of six, was whether to start dialysis or to seek out a kidney donation from a relative. After compatibility tests for her and the boy’s 24-year-old brother, also from Gaza, were deemed unsuitable, they needed to look elsewhere for a lifesaving solution.

A complex plan was constructed to bring M., another brother, across the Mediterranean from Algeria to Israel, despite the lack of diplomatic relations between the two countries. He arrived through Jordan in mid-August and was reunited with his family after spending a long period apart. Testing by Rambam’s Pediatric Nephrology Institute deemed M. a suitable donor.
Palestinian pleads guilty to Hamburg ‘Islamist’ knife attack
A 26-year-old Palestinian man admitted Friday to killing a man and wounding six others with a knife in a Hamburg supermarket, an attack that stoked fears of Islamist terrorism in Germany.

Ahmad Alhaw “declares that he takes responsibility for the very serious crimes he committed, and explicitly recognizes his guilt regarding all the charges,” the defendant’s lawyer Christoph Burchard told judges in the high-security courtroom.

Alhaw took a 20-centimeter (eight-inch) knife from the shelves of a supermarket last July, using it to kill one and wound six in the assault. He was arrested after passers-by overpowered him.

Charging him with murder, as well as six counts of attempted murder and grievous bodily harm, prosecutors said he acted with a likely Islamist motive.

He told interrogators that the crime “had some connection with events on the Temple Mount” in Jerusalem, where Israeli authorities had recently imposed security measures for Muslim worshipers, prosecutor Yasemin Tuz told the court.
Turkish Foreign Ministry: Citizens Traveling to United States Face Risk of Arbitrary Arrest (not satire)
Turkey has warned its citizens against travel to the United States, saying Turks face the risk of arbitrary arrest and should take precautions if they do decide to travel.

The comments from the Turkish Foreign Ministry come after the US Department of State this week made a similar warning to its citizens, saying Americans planning to visit Turkey should reconsider plans due to “terrorism and arbitrary detentions.”

Ties between Ankara and Washington, both NATO allies and members of the coalition against Islamic State, have been strained by the US arrest and conviction of a Turkish banker in an Iran sanctions-busting case, a trial Turkey has dismissed as politically motivated.

“Turkish citizens traveling to the United States may be subjected to arbitrary detentions based on testimonies of unrespected sources,” the ministry said in a statement dated Thursday.

Ankara has said that the case against the banker was based on false evidence and supported by the network of the cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom it blames for orchestrating a failed coup in 2016. Gulen, who has lived in self-imposed exile in the United States since 1999, has denied the charges and condemned the coup.
Saudi women to enter stadiums for first time to watch soccer
Saudi women will be allowed for the first time to enter a sports stadium to watch a soccer match between two local teams, though they will be segregated from the male-only crowd with designated seating in the so-called “family section.”

The first stadium is to open its doors to women in the Red Sea city of Jeddah on Friday.

The move is Saudi Arabia’s first social reform planned for this year giving women greater rights.

To prepare for the change, the kingdom has designated “family sections” in the stands for women. The stadiums have also been fitted with female restrooms and separate entrances and parking lots for female spectators.

On Saturday, the national stadium in the capital, Riyadh, will open its gates for women to attend a soccer game.

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