Monday, July 08, 2019

From Ian:

The Mirage of an International Jerusalem
The United States decision on December 6, 2017 to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and to transfer the American embassy there from Tel Aviv was one of the more momentous acts of diplomacy ever undertaken by a U.S. administration in Middle Eastern affairs. So much so that nobody believed President Donald Trump would actually do it, until he did.

When he did, most Israelis and most pro-Israel Americans approved or were positively delighted. By contrast, the American political class, Republicans and Democrats alike, was stunned—even though the president had merely fulfilled a legislative mandate, the Jerusalem Embassy Act, that had been passed near unanimously by both houses of Congress and promulgated by another president, Bill Clinton, 22 years earlier in 1995, only to be repeatedly deferred by successive White Houses for over two decades. The Department of State, for its part, put on a stern face and obeyed.

What came next was no surprise. The “international community,” from the United Nations General Assembly to the European Union, not to mention the Arab League and the World Islamic Conference, stridently rejected the American initiative. Two weeks after the decision was announced, 128 of the 193 member states of the General Assembly approved a resolution—ES-10/L.22—drafted by Turkey and Yemen and demanding that “all states comply with Security Council resolutions regarding the Holy City of Jerusalem and do not recognize any actions or measures contrary to those resolutions.” Only eight countries, including Israel, sided with the United States.

This international condemnation relied on a venerable notion: that the legal status of Jerusalem—does it belong to Israel? To the Palestinians? To both? To neither?—was a settled matter, and that the answer to those questions was “none of the above.” Instead, international law and legal precedent had carved out the city as an international ward.

There is, indeed, a long legal history, built of many resolutions and agreements, to just that effect. But there are two problems with this settled conviction. First, its roots in law have been egregiously misrepresented. Second, the claim that Jerusalem actually belongs to the state of Israel rests on strong legal, moral, and demographic foundations.

Let’s start with the law.
Prominent Imam Decries 'Palestine' Obsession of U.S. Muslim Leaders
As Islamist Watch has pointed out many times before, Islam is enormously diverse – containing many competing schools of theology, schools of jurisprudence, sects, ethnicities, cultures and mysticisms. Islamism is also not a single force; it comprises dozens of (both) competing and collaborating radical ideologies.

One of the most intriguing divisions, then, within both American Islam and Islamism of late has been growing dissent over the question of liberalism.

Should Muslims seek partnerships with left-wing organizations, given that some progressivist policies evidently conflict with both conservative Muslim and theocratic Islamist beliefs?

There is growing dissent within U.S. Islamism on the question of partnerships with progressives.

We addressed this issue in a recent piece on "theo-progressivism" – the curious rise of Islamists who appear to have genuinely embraced progressivist politics, and the anger of more traditional voices who believe progressivism to be a corrupting influence. ... This is a fascinating topic, and we will continue cataloguing the fractious debate over the issue among Muslim communities and Islamists.

The latest example comes from Abdullah bin Hamid Ali, founder of the Lamppost Education Initiative. Writing on Facebook, Ali laments:

Muslim national political and social agenda = free Palestine, marriage equality, gender equality, LGBTQIA equality, legalize marijuana, infanticide, sanctuary cities for illegal immigrants, and socialist economic policies. Soon it will include legalize prostitution, pedophilia, and incest. Polygamy is a long shot.

Not everything on this list is bad. But, one does need to ask just how many of these are islamic or universally acknowledged moral goods?

PMW: PA lies to its own people to justify cutting health care
As part of its self-inflicted financial crisis, in March 2019 the Palestinian Authority decided that Palestinians would no longer be referred to Israeli hospitals. At the time, the PA justified this by claiming it was costing the PA $100 million a year. PMW has just learned that this figure is false and that the PA was in fact lying to its own people by exaggerating the cost of treatment to justify the prohibition.

When the decision was announced, PA Ministry of Health Spokesman Osama Al-Najjar explained:

"This decision was made in response to the deduction of sums [Israel transfers] from the taxes that [Israel] collects each month for the Palestinian coffers. He added that the cost of the referrals to the Israeli hospitals is $100 million a year."
[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, March 27, 2019]

However, comprehensive statistics provided to Palestinian Media Watch by Israel's Ministry of Finance in response to a freedom of information request prove that the PA leadership are once again not telling their people the truth.

From 2010 - 2018, the years covered by the statistics, the cost of treating the Palestinians in Israeli hospitals never reached $100 million. In the nine years covered by the statistics, the PA expenditure on treatment for Palestinians in Israeli hospitals averaged $62 million year, with the highest expenditure ($83 million) registered in 2014, the year of the last Gaza war.



PA liable for Second Intifada terror attacks, up to 1b. NIS in damages
The Palestinian Authority is liable for civil damages for a series of terror attacks carried out during the Second Intifada (2000-2005), the Jerusalem District Court ruled on Monday.

The unprecedented decision was obtained by Shurat Hadin on behalf of eight victims' families. As the case moves forward to its next stage, the PA could be responsible for compensating the families with a maximum of $1 billion in damages.

Some of the attacks involve Hamas and Islamic Jihad, but the court, based on the evidence presented, still held the PA liable.

In January, the same court placed a temporary lien on a plot of land in Jerusalem owned by the late PA leader Yasser Arafat after Shurat Hadin - Israel Law Center's filed a civil damages lawsuit against the PA.

Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, President of Shurat Hadin, had told the court that if they won the lawsuit, it would be difficult to collect the compensation from the Arafat estate, and as a result she requested a lien on the property.

The land in question is mainly situated in the Mount of Olives Cemetery, overlooking the Old City of Jerusalem.

“Yasser Arafat was the grandfather of modern terrorism, responsible for the murder of thousands of innocent men, women and children,” said Darshan-Leitner at the time. “This move is one step closer toward justice for the victims and their families. We will not allow a situation in which the Arafat Estate can own land in the heart of Jerusalem, while avoiding paying damages to his victims.”
Greenblatt, Friedman violated laws of war in Jerusalem, PA tells UNHRC
US envoys Jason Greenblatt and David Friedman violated the Fourth Geneva Convention when they participated in the ceremony marking the opening of the biblical Pilgrimage Road in Jerusalem, Palestinian Authority Ambassador Ibrahim Khraishi said on Monday.

The ancient road runs underneath the homes in the east Jerusalem Arab neighborhood of Silwan and extends to the Temple Mount.

“We have sent to you a video of the American ambassador for the settlers Friedman, and his emissary Greenblatt, carrying the shovels and participating in digging a tunnel under the village of Silwan near the Aksa Mosque, which constitutes a dangerous precedent and a grave violation of international law and the Fourth Geneva Convention,” Khraishi said. He spoke at the 41st session of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva, which began on June 24 and ends this week.

“The shovels of American ambassadors tried to destroy the international legal system,” Khraishi said. He warned that US peace efforts would fail unless the Trump administration protects human rights, respects international legal obligations and enforces international legitimacy.

Khraishi took a swipe at the administration’s economic workshop held last month in Bahrain to help boost the Palestinian economy, calling it a “fake event.”

The “occupying power,” he said, is continuing with its “Judaizing Jerusalem,” and “withdrawing the identities of its population.”
Syria has right to recover the Golan Heights from Israel, envoy tells UNHRC
Syrian Ambassador to the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) Hussam Edin Aala called on Israel to withdraw from the Golan Heights and swore that his country had a right to “recover” that territory from Israel.

“We demand accountability and we call for impunity to be combated,” Aala said. “We condemn the decision of the Trump administration which is illegal, regarding the occupied Golan.” In doing so, the US has also “flouted” UN Security Council resolutions, he added.

“We need to put an end to the actions of the occupation,” which is “confiscating” land and “pillaging” resources, Aala said. Syria opposes the Israeli government practice to hold meetings on the Golan and its decision to create a new town named for US President Donald Trump, he said.

Such steps, Aala said, are “provocative.” The US has encouraged the “occupying power to perpetrate further war crimes” by flouting UN organs that carry out field investigations, he added.

“Our country in no way recognizes any of the administrative measures taken by the Israeli occupying power in the Syrian Golan,” the ambassador said.

Syria “reiterates that the sovereign right to recover the occupied Syrian Golan up to the line of June 4, 1967, is an inalienable right and it can not be in any way restricted,” he said.

Syria also calls on Israel to withdraw from the “occupied Lebanese territories,” Aala said.


Diplomatic Relations between Pakistan and Israel Are Long Overdue
Pakistan's long-held position against diplomatic relations with Israel makes little sense. Reason above passion and emotion is the pillar of a successful foreign policy.

One wonders what strategic benefit is derived by Pakistan by keeping overtures to Israel on hold, to curry favor with the Arab world. Since the early years, our brotherly Arabs have treated Pakistan with a mixture of condescension and derision.
Many Arab states are themselves lining up to establish ties with a militarily and economically strong Israel.

Palestinians have been repeatedly let down by their own myopic, inept and corrupt leadership. They have also suffered from betrayal by fellow Arabs.

It is illogical for Pakistan to wait for the complicated situation in the Middle East to resolve itself before establishing a relationship with Israel. India enjoys good relations with the Arab world, Iran and Israel.

Development of relations based on rational self-interest, rather than historical and entrenched positions, is critical for Pakistan in the modern world. Establishing long-overdue diplomatic ties with Israel should top the foreign policy agenda.
First Gay Tunisian running for president supports Israel
Openly gay Tunisian lawyer Mounir Baatour, who has voiced pro-Israel sentiments, announced on June 25 that he plans to run for president in the country’s November election.

In a hair-raising debate on Tunisian TV last year, Baatour said, “I told you that normalization [with Israel] is not treason. Normalization is in Tunisia’s best interests in terms of economy and international relations.”

It is the first reported case of a gay Tunisian seeking to win the presidency of the Muslim-majority north African country.

According to the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), which translated the debate on Tunisian TV, “Following an incident in which Tunisian MP Ammar Amroussia ripped up an Israeli flag in a parliamentary session, in a push for legislation criminalizing ties with Israel, a Tunisian TV channel held a debate on the issue of normalization of ties between the two countries. Mounir Baatour, head of the Liberal Tunisian Party, defended his party against MP Amroussia’s accusations that they were a ‘fifth column’ within Tunisia, ‘mercenaries fighting alongside the enemies.’”

Baatour sharply criticized the anti-Israel Amroussia during the debate about his pro-boycott Israel views, asking him: “How come you do not cut ties with Iran, which has been occupying three UAE islands since 1971? I’m talking about the islands of Greater and Lesser Tunbs and Abu Musa. Why don’t you boycott Turkey, which occupies the Sanjak of Alexandretta? The Sanjak of Alexandretta is larger than Palestine.”


Artist who drew anti-Semitic cartoon invited to White House
An artist who drew a “blatantly anti-Semitic cartoon” that showed US government officials as puppets of George Soros and the Rothschilds has been invited to the White House by US President Donald Trump.

The Anti-Defamation League called Ben Garrison’s cartoon published in 2017 “blatantly anti-Semitic” and said that “the thrust of the cartoon is clear: (then-national security adviser HR) McMaster is merely a puppet of a Jewish conspiracy.”

The cartoon, which the ADL said was commissioned by right-wing radio host Mike Cernovich, shows left-wing Jewish philanthropist Soros pulling the strings of McMaster and former CIA director General David Petraeus. Above Soros, a green hand labeled “Rothschilds,” the well-known Jewish banking family, manipulates him.

The image was a nod to an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory that a secretive international Jewish cabal controls the world.

Garrison, who works under the “GrrrGraphics” label, tweeted his invitation to the White House social media summit, which will be held on July 11.
IDF releases new findings into botched Gaza raid
The IDF released on Sunday the findings from a probe into a botched commando raid in the Gaza Strip last November, in which Lt. Col. M. was killed and another officer was moderately wounded.

IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi determined that the mission had failed, but nevertheless the findings demonstrated that the team had acted courageously.

According to the results of the probe, one of the commanders of the mission decided that they were in danger when the Israeli forces were caught and questioned by Hamas operatives near Khan Younis. That officer, Lt. Col. A., opened fire at the Hamas operatives, killing at least seven of them, including Nour Baraka, a top commander in the Izzedine al-Qassam Brigades. However, one of A.'s shots missed the target and hit Lt. Col. M, killing him.

Before he was killed, M. managed to stall for time and allow the members of the mission to create a distraction, which allowed A. to keep firing, A. then took two wounded personnel to the team's vehicle to be evacuated. The decision was made through the mission's command center, with then-Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eizenkot present. Once the wounded were loaded into the vehicle, it took off for the rendezvous point from where the Israeli forces could be rescued.

An IDF Yassur helicopter landed in a populated area and evacuated the wounded, all while attack helicopters and fighter jets carried out airstrikes on over 70 Hamas targets. The commander counted his men and women to ensure that no one was left behind. A total of 20 minutes elapsed from the time Lt. Col. A. opened fire until the rescue helicopter arrived.
Bennett on botched Gaza op: We avoided disaster on an unimaginable scale
"We avoided disaster on a scale we can not imagine," said former education minister and former security cabinet member Naftali Bennett in response to the findings of an investigation into the botched Israeli military operation in the Gaza Strip in November, Army Radio reported.

"This was one of the most difficult and complex operations ever done by Israel's special ops. It is natural that from time to time there are failures," Bennett added.

The report into the botched commando raid was concluded on Sunday, and presented to and accepted by IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi. The special review committee was established by the military to examine and learn from the raid which took place in Khan Yunis on November 11, 2018.

The raid in Khan Yunis left an IDF lieutenant-colonel dead and another officer moderately injured. Six Hamas terrorists, including Khan Yunis commander Nur Barakeh, were also killed in the gun battle.
Investigators: Cop who shot Ethiopian-Israeli fired at the ground
The Justice Ministry’s Police Internal Investigations Department confirmed Monday that a probe into the death of an Ethiopian-Israeli young man who was shot by an off-duty policeman had concluded the officer fired at the ground and the bullet apparently ricocheted into Solomon Tekah, 19.

PIID chief Keren Bar Menachem met with the attorneys for Tekah’s family and his cousin Ora Tasmah at the ministry in Jerusalem, where she informed them of the progress in the investigation. The family’s attorneys asked to see the ballistic reports and the results of Tekah’s autopsy and were told the request would be taken under consideration and an answer given soon, Hebrew media reported.

Attorney Yizhak Dasah, who is representing the Tekah family, said that the PIID investigation “is being carried out professionally,” Ynet reported.

“It is important for me to come and see what is going on with the process because at the moment they have not updated the family and it is important to us that there be a fair trial,” Tasmah said before the meeting. “The family will not accept a situation in which [the policeman] doesn’t go to prison, and is released to the streets. This was a murder, not manslaughter.”

The police officer, who has not been named in media, shot Tekah dead in Haifa on June 30, setting off protests across the country that have seen violence and destruction of property.
IDF shoots down drone after it infiltrates into Israel from Gaza Strip
A drone which infiltrated from the Gaza Strip and was seen over the community of Zikim was intercepted by the Israeli military and taken in for inspection, the army said on Monday.

The drone was identified by Israeli radar systems as crossing over the border in the northern Gaza Strip, flying near the communities of Karmiya and Zikim and tracked by troops until it was downed.

Its pieces were collected by the IDF and transferred for further inspection, and to determine where it came from and what it had been carrying.

Hamas has sent drones into Israel in the past, leading the IDF to scramble jets or fire missiles. The group is said to have been working on upgrading its UAVs for use in both offensive operations and intelligence gathering.
Saudi Arabia to host families of Palestinian ‘martyrs’
The Palestinian Authority on Monday welcomed Saudi Arabia’s decision to host 1,000 families of Palestinians killed while carrying out attacks against Israel.

Similar decisions by the Saudis were taken in the past few years. However, this year’s gesture coincides with the Israeli decision to cut Palestinian tax revenues over payments made by the PA to families of “martyrs” and security prisoners.

The Palestinian Ministry for Wafk and Religious Affairs said it received a letter from the Saudi authorities concerning the decision to cover the expenses of the families of “martyrs” during the Hajj pilgrimage rituals in September.

The ministry said the decision was taken by Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdel Aziz as part of a grant to the families.

The ministry said that 500 families from the West Bank and another 500 from the Gaza Strip would benefit from the Saudi monarch’s gesture.

A senior official with the ministry said that a special committee will choose the families of “martyrs” who will travel to Saudi Arabia for the annual pilgrimage.


Iran breaks deal’s 3.67% enrichment cap, warns it could go to 20% or higher
Iran on Monday said it would consider going to 20 percent or higher uranium enrichment as its next step in rolling back the commitments it made under the 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, rapidly bringing its program closer to weapons-grade levels.

Nuclear agency spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi confirmed in a state television interview that Iran had surpassed the 3.67% enrichment cap set by the faltering deal.

“This morning Iran passed the 4.5% level in uranium enrichment,” Kamalvandi said, according to the semi-official ISNA News Agency. “This level of purity completely satisfies the power plant fuel requirements of the country.”

He said the next and third stage in abandoning the agreement could be increasing uranium enrichment to 20% or more. That would worry nuclear nonproliferation experts, as 20% is a short technical step away from reaching weapons-grade levels of 90%.

Behrouz also suggested Iran could use new or more centrifuges, which are also limited by the deal.
Ex-IAEA Official: Iran Cutting Nuclear Breakout Time by Two Months
Heinonen explained that the key measurement is Separative Work Units (SWU) required to produce various uranium enrichments when one ton of natural uranium is “fed” into cascades.

To have nuclear power reactor grade uranium, it takes 800-900 SWU to achieve 4%-5% enrichment. “If you want to have weapons grade material, 1,300 SWU is needed,” Heinonen stated. “In other words, when you have reached the 4% enrichment level, you have already done (800/1,300 SWU) 60% of the enrichment effort required to have weapons grade material.”

However, jumping from 4% to 5% enriched material, 70% (900/1,300 SWU) of the road to having sufficient material for a bomb is complete.

Rounding down from 4% to the currently permitted 3.67% enrichment, the former IAEA official said that “we can say that perhaps 50% of the effort is done.”

Once you go through the number of centrifuges Iran has currently installed to enrich uranium, moving from completing 50% to 70% of the enrichment effort eventually translates into knocking about two months off the clock to break out to a nuclear weapon.

But that is assuming a static number and the kind of centrifuge being used by Tehran.
Seth Frantzman: Iran’s nuclear enrichment game - Analysis
In those business sections of bookstores where there are often books on “how to negotiate,” there should be a new book added that examines Iran’s negotiating strategy regarding its nuclear program.

Since Tehran successfully negotiated the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, it has also successfully put the Western powers on the defensive regarding its ambitions. This is not just about Iran getting a nuclear bomb, but really about Iran getting everything else it wants, including financial incentives and foreign policy incentives not to build a bomb.

This strategy was on display this week when Iran said that European countries had not met its demands, and that a 60-day ultimatum that the Islamic republic put out in May had not been met. What Tehran did in essence was give the Europeans a year to come up with a way to help it avoid a reimposition of US sanctions, which increased after America left the Iran deal in May 2018.

When May 2019 came around and the European countries had still not created a financial mechanism to help Iran avoid the biting US sanctions, Iran decided to move forward with its “good cop, bad cop” strategy.

Let’s recall that the Iran deal was entered into by the US, UK, Russia, France, China, Germany and the European Union. For Iran, the issue is not Russia, China or the US – it already has amicable relations with China and Russia, made clear by meetings last month in Central Asia, and the US and Iran are at odds under the Trump administration. For Tehran then the issues with Washington are sunk costs; it isn’t yet willing to re-negotiate the deal. The US has said that “maximum pressure” in terms of sanctions will result until Iran comes begging.

So Iran, which won’t beg or bend, eyes the European countries as the weakest link in the Iran deal framework. The UK is in the middle of Brexit chaos, so France and Germany are thus the addresses to whom Iran is writing.
Europe shows its true colors
Renowned physicist Albert Einstein once said, "Any fool can know, the point is to understand."

Any fool can understand that Iran does not intend to cease it efforts to acquire a nuclear weapon.

But the European Union and its leading representatives, Germany, France, and Britain, refuse to understand. After Iran announced it had blatantly violated the 2015 nuclear deal, the Europeans sufficed with ridiculous condemnations and expressions of "deep concern." They were "waiting for reports from the International Atomic Energy Agency," they said, amid calls for Iran to adhere to the accord, as if the regime in Tehran were comparable to some mischievous child that a disapproving parent could set back on the path to good behavior by simply wagging its finger.

Faced with a sophisticated Iran, the Europeans have come off as weak and devoid of principles. There is tremendous symbolism in the appointment of Spain's Foreign Minister Josep Borrell to the role of the next EU foreign policy chief. This is the same Borrell who shamelessly declared, "Iran wants to wipe out Israel? There's nothing new here. We have to live with it."

From Borrell's perspective, that is to say, from the EU's perspective, a desire to wipe out Israel is acceptable.

This is Europe's diplomacy vis-à-vis Iran in a nutshell: Surrender for the purpose of advancing economic ties.


JCPA: Iran’s Strategic Depth Expands from Yemen and Africa to the Mediterranean Coast
Ayatollah Ebrahim Raeesi, head of Iran’s judiciary, said in June 2019, “Today the Iranian border is what the Islamic Republic defines as its “strategic depth” – Yemen and Africa are (our) strategic borders.” Mohammed Reza Nakdi, vice-commander of the Revolutionary Guard for coordinating forces, stated that the Revolutionary Guard “reaches as far as the shores of the Mediterranean Sea.”

Hossein Salami, present commander of the Revolutionary Guard, stated in January 2018 that Iran has managed to wage war on its enemies far from its geographic borders, and countries like Iraq, Lebanon, and Syria, as well as contested areas in Yemen, have become Iran’s first line of defense. This was the “skill of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard,” which managed to “tie up its enemies on many, varied fronts….And as the Revolution expands, its level of friction with its foes proportionally grows.”

In accordance with this perception, Iran is continuing to arm the Palestinian terror organizations in the Gaza Strip and Hizbullah to wear Israel down through incessant conflict. According to the Iranian strategy, this will weaken Israel’s ability to respond militarily.

The current harsh sanctions imposed by the U.S. on Iran and its leadership and the ongoing erosion of its oil profits have not significantly affected Iran’s continuing assistance to its cohorts in the Middle East. It appears that Iran has even increased its aid, primarily through expanding the operations of the Houthis against Saudi Arabia and the UAE and providing assistance to the Palestinian organizations and Hizbullah.
Iran Is Training Iraqis to Shoot Missiles at Israel, and the U.S. Is Paying for It
Although it was originally thought that Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen attacked a Saudi oil pipeline with a drone on May 14, the U.S. government recently confirmed that in fact it was Kataib Hezbollah, an Iraqi militia fully under Tehran’s control. Kataib Hezbollah is but one of several paramilitary groups the Islamic Republic funds and directs in Iraq, under the auspices of its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). Michael Pregent explains the implications:

[Iran’s] ability to carry out proxy attacks against a U.S. ally from Iraq, another supposed U.S. ally, highlights America’s failed strategy in Baghdad. As a result of American and Saudi pressure, Iraq’s Prime Minister Adil Abdul Mahdi ordered the closure of IRGC militia offices across the country on July 1. However, militias have ignored similar calls before; the Iraqi government either cannot or will not remove the Iranian-backed militias from its territory, nor will it prevent them from targeting U.S. allies. Senior Iraqi politicians will not dare challenge the militia leaders. . . .

Instead, the Iraqi government has been compromised by Iranian influence and allows senior Iranian figures to freely operate in Iraqi territory. [For instance], Abu Mahdi al-Mohandes, . . . holds an official Iraqi government position [and] is also the leader of Kataib Hezbollah. . . . As a member of government, Mohandes has access to U.S. intelligence, training, and equipment. . . . Kataib Hezbollah has [also] been trained by the IRGC and Lebanese Hizballah to fire advanced guided missiles from Southern Syria to Israel.


The Iraqi governments’ current strategy to counter Iranian influence involves integrating Kataib Hezbollah and other militias into its armed forces, a plan Pregent argues could make matters worse:
Two Former Senior Government Officials Chose To Believe A Wild Conspiracy Theory Before Agreeing Iran Bombed Oil Tankers
At Politico, two former national security officials — who each worked under Democrat presidents — admit that after learning oil tankers in the Persian Gulf were bombed a couple weeks ago, they decided to believe wild conspiracy theories rather than the simple, evidence-based answer: That Iran did it.

Former State Department counterterrorism coordinator (during Obama’s first term) Daniel Benjamin and former National Security senior director Steven Simon (who served under President Bill Clinton and Obama) wrote the following opening when discussing the future of war:

Who really bombed the oil tankers in the Persian Gulf two weeks ago? Was it Iran, as the Trump administration assured us? Or was it Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates or Israel—or some combination of the three?

Here’s a confession from two former senior government officials: For days after the attacks, we weren’t sure. Both of us believed in all sincerity there was a good chance these actions were part of a false flag operation, an effort by outsiders to trigger a war between the United States and Iran. Even the film of Iranians hauling in an unexploded limpet mine from near the side of tanker, we reasoned, might be a fabrication—deep fake footage just like the clip of Nancy Pelosi staggering around drunk.


So, instead of listening to the U.S. government’s intelligence or accepting the video evidence, these two concocted a wild theory that this was an Alex Jones-style false flag conspiracy and that the video was faked to accuse Iran. They bring up the video of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) appearing to sound drunk as an example of a “deep fake.”


Stop the Iranian regime's deadly exports
Iranian oil illegally flows to Assad’s murderous regime in Syria, where it is transformed into weapons, violence and death.

Iran is breaking every possible rule to promote its murderous agenda. Only sanctions can stop the regime's deadly exports.






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