Thursday, November 21, 2019

From Ian:

Canada's support for UN resolution condemning Israel 'occupation' blasted as 'Faustian bargain'
Canada has reversed course and voted in favour of a United Nations resolution condemning Israel for its “occupation” of Palestinian Territories, prompting a backlash of anger from Jewish groups.

The move marks a further departure between the U.S. and Canada on their posture toward Israel and a potential reversal of long-standing Canadian foreign policy.

The Trudeau government on Tuesday supported a resolution put forward by “the state of Palestine”, North Korea, Zimbabwe and others that calls for a “just, lasting and comprehensive peace settlement” to the Israel-Palestine conflict, and explicitly refers to contested lands between the two countries as “Occupied Palestinian Territories.” It also cites a 2004 International Court of Justice decision that said Israel’s construction of a protective wall in the West Bank “severely impedes the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination.”

The U.S. was among five countries that rejected the resolution, while Australia abstained. A total of 164 countries voted in favour, including the U.K., Germany and others.

The vote could mark a departure in Canadian foreign policy, which has been loosely aligned with the United States’ more pro-Israel stance since the early 2000s, when Paul Martin shifted his posture away from the previous government. The Conservatives under Stephen Harper then became an even more regular supporter of Israel.

Pro-Israel groups blasted Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for the vote on Tuesday, saying it was a betrayal of more than 10 years of staunch support for the country.

“Trudeau is trading Canada’s bedrock principles of fairness & equality for a UN Security Council seat,” Hillel Neuer, founding chairman of the Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy, said on Twitter. Neuer was referring to a bid by Canada to gain a UN Security Council seat next year. “By voting for a resolution co-sponsored by North Korea & Zimbabwe, he has entered a Faustian bargain with dictatorships that does not bode well for a free & democratic society.”

He said Canada had “joined the jackals” in a separate tweet.





Noah Pollak: Trump Endorses Controversial, Unprecedented Policy on Settlements Held by Previous Administrations
Liberal critics are condemning the announcement as unprecedented—but in fact the U.S. position that settlements are illegal under international law only dates to the final days of the Obama administration. The Trump administration is bringing U.S. policy in line with the positions held by successive Republican and Democratic administrations dating back to 1967, when Israel acquired the West Bank in the Six Day War.

It was only in late December 2016, after President Trump won the presidential election and weeks before Inauguration Day that the Obama administration supported a U.N. Security Council resolution declaring settlements a violation of international law. The move was widely condemned by pro-Israel groups and even many Democrats as a spiteful, abrupt, and illegitimate policy shift by an administration days before its departure from the White House.

In fact, during the Obama administration in 2011, U.N. ambassador Susan Rice vetoed a similar resolution declaring settlements illegal, consistent with longstanding U.S. policy to both reject their illegality and to block anti-Israel activism in the Security Council. Until the administration reversed itself in late 2016, it regularly referred to settlements as "illegitimate," but not illegal.

Before that, in 2004, the United States exchanged letters with the Israeli government explicitly endorsing Israel's retention of major West Bank settlement blocs in any peace deal with the Palestinians. As part of Israel's plan to withdraw from Gaza the next year, President Bush wrote to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon that:
NGO Monitor: PodCast: Season 2, Episode 7: Human Rights Watch v. The State of Israel
On November 5, the Israeli Supreme Court rejected Human Rights Watch's demand that Israel renew “Israel/Palestine Director” Omar Shakir’s work visa- acknowledging his BDS activism. How did the court come to this decision? What was NGO Monitor’s role in the case? Join our host Yona Schiffmiller, Legal Expert Anne Herzberg, and Researcher Ariella Esterson as they explain this story.

Host: NGO Monitor Director of Research Yona Schiffmiller

Guests: NGO Monitor Legal Advisor Anne Herzberg and Harry C Wechsler Fellow Ariella Esterson



PMW: Major PMW success in Europe: Following lecture by PMW director, Dutch Government to stop all aid to the PA
After a lengthy process that started in November 2018 with a lecture in Dutch Parliament by Palestinian Media Watch’s director Itamar Marcus and terror attack survivor Kay Wilson, the Dutch Government has announced that it will no longer provide aid to the Palestinian Authority’s budget. The decision was made as a result of PMW’s documenting to the MPs the PA’s “Pay-for-Slay” terror reward policy and its refusal to abandon it.

Immediately following the PMW presentation, Dutch MP Joël Voordewind announced his intention to seek a cut in funding to the PA:
“I was very impressed with the story of Kay Wilson, that she survived 13 stabbings in her body. This makes Itamar Marcus’ appeal even stronger, that the [PA’s] paying of convicted terrorists should stop, and we’ll put this forward in our Parliament again.” [Parliament of The Netherlands, Nov. 7, 2018]

Just three weeks after that, MP Joël Voordewind submitted a resolution and Dutch Parliament voted 94-56 to cut 7% of Dutch funding to the Palestinian Authority. The cut of 7% was chosen because PMW documented that the PA spends 7% of its budget on payments to terrorists in jail and to families of killed terrorists (the so-called "Martyrs").

The new decision to cut all Dutch aid is a major development. The Netherlands, that had until now been funding the PA’s Ministry of Justice, is saying that the PA’s paying salaries to terrorists makes the PA ineligible for any funding – even if the donor money pays for a legitimate need- such as the Ministry of Justice. In addition, money is fungible and any donor money frees up other PA money for terror support and terror rewards.

While accepting the evidence provided to them by PMW documenting the PA’s terror rewards, other European governments have responded that they “have guarantees” that their donor money is not being used to fund this policy, but rather to fund other legitimate PA expenses. The Netherlands is now rejecting this European excuse to continue funding the PA even though it incentivizes terror.

PMW director Itamar Marcus called MP Joël Voordewind today to personally thank him and congratulate him on the government's decision.

It’s worth noting that the Dutch report of the new decision states that since Marcus’ trip to the Dutch Parliament in 2013, the Dutch government has raised the subject of the PA’s “Pay-for-Slay” policy over 20 times with PA officials but they have refused to budge and declined to abandon their terror reward policy.
Netherlands cuts aid to Palestinian Authority over terrorist salaries
The Dutch government has cut funding for the Palestinian Authority over its salaries to terrorists serving time in Israeli jails.
The aid ministry announced the move Wednesday during annual budget talks.

In 2017, the Palestinian Authority paid about $198 million to a fund for the families of terrorists killed during their attacks and about $160 million to Palestinians being held in Israeli jails, according to Israeli Defense Ministry figures.

The Netherlands spends several million dollars each year on aid to the Palestinian Authority and Palestinian populations elsewhere in the Middle East but most of that money is given to agencies and nongovernmental organizations.

The country had given about $1.6 million directly to the Palestinian Authority annually to pay the salaries of justice ministry employees.

The aid ministry said that talks with the Palestinian body “did not lead to the desired outcome.”
Typology of Terror — The Backgrounds of Australian Jihadis
Contrition and rehabilitation
The question of whether jihadi are repentant for their actions and to what degree, is, like the issue of mental health, for the courts to determine. This is also the case for their prospects for rehabilitation. From the available data, however, it is apparent that Australian courts have been unimpressed by the level of contrition shown by those convicted of terrorist offences and are generally pessimistic about their prospects for rehabilitation.

Indeed, less than 10 per cent of offenders in the data set have been found to be truly contrite for their crimes, and around 29 per cent have been judged to have good prospects for rehabilitation. This illustrates the problems that correctional services and government face in attempting to de-radicalise incarcerated jihadis who see little wrong with their actions and who show meagre prospects of rehabilitation.

Conclusion
This study seeks to document and analyse a range of selected characteristics of Australian jihadis in the era of Islamic State. The actions of these people have understandably shocked and disappointed mainstream Australian society, and attitudes towards them and their motivations have been formed based largely on anecdotal evidence and incomplete media reporting. This Working Paper sheds light on the phenomenon by collating selected data in order to give a better understanding of the backgrounds of people drawn to jihad from within a multicultural, liberal democratic society.

The study is a starting point in the recording of this data. While the sample size is large and much has been gleaned from the information gathered to date, further data will emerge in the future. This will be accommodated in the Typology of Terror live digital portal that accompanies this paper at https://interactives.lowyinstitute.org/features/typology-of-terror/, and the results updated as the data is received.
UN Security Council rebukes US over Israel settlements
In a sharp rebuke to the Trump administration, the 14 other UN Security Council members on Wednesday strongly opposed the US announcement that it no longer considers Israeli settlements to be a violation of international law.

They warned that the new American policy undermines a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The council’s monthly Mideast meeting, just two days after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s announcement, was dominated by negative reactions to the new American policy from countries representing all regions of the world who said all Israeli settlements are illegal under international law.

Only Israel’s UN ambassador, Danny Danon, who is not a council member, spoke in support of the US action, saying it “rights a historical wrong.” He also called the criticism an “obstacle to peace” that is “preventing direct negotiations” between Israelis and Palestinians.

“When the international community tries to force its solutions, it achieves the opposite effect,” Danon said. “When Palestinians see that their battles are being fought for them, why would they agree to come to the negotiating table where they would have to compromise?”

Before the meeting began, five European allies of the United States – Britain, France, Germany, Belgium and Poland – reiterated in a joint statement that “all settlement activity is illegal under international law.”

The Europeans called on Israel “to end all settlement activity, in line with its obligations as an occupying power,” saying such activity “erodes the viability of the two-state solution and the prospects for lasting peace.”


Why the U.S. Decision on Israeli Settlements Will Speed the Peace
Here are those current and enduring realities: Jerusalem is the real and functioning capital of Israel and has been for more than 70 years. The Golan Heights is a vital strategic, cultural, and economic part of the country that the Israelis will never give up. Jewish Israelis building homes in previously undeveloped and uninhabited land, despite competing historical claims on that land is a phony excuse for terrorism. The Palestinian leadership uses a major chunk of foreign aid money to directly fund and indirectly support terrorism.

By contrast, falsehoods and false hopes fuel war and terror. One of the biggest false hopes is that the Arabs are often convinced that Israel is just a temporary thing. There's always been a running belief that with enough political and military pressure, the Jews will pack up and leave.

Good things have happened multiple times when Arab leaders get the message that the Israelis are there to stay. The late Egyptian President Anwar Sadat figured this out after his Yom Kippur War invasion plan failed, thanks in no small part to then-President Richard Nixon's decision to resupply the Israel Defense Forces.

Sadat then realized the U.S. would never back down from its support for Israel and peace was the better move. Just four years after the Yom Kippur War, Sadat made his historic visit to Jerusalem despite the fact that in the interim years, Nixon had resigned and the Democrats had won the White House. The peace between Egypt and Israel has now lasted for more than 40 years.

A similar result came after the U.S.-Israel bond became even stronger during the first Gulf War. Saddam Hussein attempted to destroy the U.S.-Arab coalition against him by launching Scud missiles directly into Tel Aviv. But Israel's promise to the U.S. not to interfere in the war held firm and the U.S. rewarded Israel with more military support. King Hussein of Jordan then realized that his better move was to cut ties with Iraq and make some kind of peace deal with Israel instead. He did just that in 1994.


'Europe's automatic support for PA is propaganda campaign’
The UN Security Council convened on Wednesday in the aftermath of the US State Department’s policy change on Tuesday regarding the legal status of the Jewish communities in the West Bank.

“All settlements are illegal and hurt prospects for peace, as is in line with UN Resolution 2334,” said British Ambassador to the United Nations Dame Karen Pierce, speaking on behalf of the European Union. She also called on Israel to “cease all settlement activity.”

UN Security Council Resolution 2334 was passed in December 2016, denouncing Israeli settlements in the West Bank. The United States chose not to exercise its automatic veto and instead abstained from it, thereby allowing for the resolution to pass. The abstention was seen by critics to be a final parting shot at Israel by US President Barack Obama before leaving office.

“One of the main obstacles to a political settlement remains the ongoing Israeli occupation and settlement building in the territories. We remain our opposition to settlements, which are illegal under international law and undermine any prospect” for peace, said Jurgen Schulz, the German Deputy Permanent Representative.

Israel’s ambassador to the world body, Danny Danon, attacked the European position, saying it hampers prospects for resolving the conflict.

Danon responded to their criticism: “When the international community tries to force its solution, it achieves the opposite effect. When Palestinians see that their battles are being fought for them, why would they agree to come to the negotiating table, where they would have to compromise?”

“The automatic support of some European countries for the Palestinians has resulted in a propaganda campaign that starts in New York and ends in Ramallah,” he continued. “If you want to truly help, you must change your approach because your criticism is preventing direct negotiations.”
PA’s corruption dooms chances for peace
The Palestinian Authority has been a hotbed of corruption and financial mismanagement since its birth in 1993 under Yasser Arafat. This has been an impediment both to Palestinian self-rule and to peace with Israel.

Arafat’s successor, PA President Mahmoud Abbas – now serving the fifteenth year of his four-year term of office – has elevated the crookedness of PA finances to a level even Arafat might admire. The misappropriation of billions in Western by PA cronies – facilitated by a lack of financial transparency or any sort of accountability – makes the realization of Palestinian aspirations more unrealistic by the day.

Thankfully, America has discontinued direct aid to the PA, due to the PA’s insistence on rewarding convicted terrorists under its repulsive “pay-for-slay” program. Israel has reduced its transfer of funds to the PA by the amount used to pay for that despicable program. In response, the PA has for months refused to accept any transfers from Israel less than the full amount it is due – and thus found itself in a financial crisis of its own making.

Moreover, since roughly 40 percent of the PA’s multi-billion dollar budget vanishes into private pockets in Ramallah and beyond, the PA’s financial crisis is also largely an illusion.
The PFLP: Abbas’s dirty little secret
Amid all the hubbub over the latest wave of Palestinian Arab rocket attacks against Israel, one extremely important part of the story passed almost unnoticed. I call it Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas’s dirty little secret.

A news brief carried by one of the wire services reported that the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) announced that it has “expanded its rocket range beyond Gaza border communities.”

The significance of the news, as presented by the media, was that a terrorist faction was boasting of new rocket ranges that could intensify the conflict. But the real significance is the fact that the PFLP is being coddled by “moderate” Palestinian leaders, even as it continues to play an active role in the terrorist war against Israel.

Remember: The entire premise of the 1993 Oslo Accords and the various “peace processes” that followed was that the Palestinian Arab leadership, headed by Yasser Arafat and his deputy, Mahmoud Abbas, had sincerely given up terrorism and the goal of destroying Israel.

Arafat and Abbas claimed that they had become “moderate,” and that the Palestine Liberation Organization and Palestinian Authority – which Arafat led, and which Abbas now leads – were committed to peace. The PLO consists of 10 individual factions. The largest, headed by Abbas, is Fatah. The second-largest is the PFLP.

Since joining the PLO at its inception in 1967, the PFLP has perpetrated numerous heinous terrorist attacks, including hijackings of airplanes and the murder of an Israeli cabinet minister. That was all supposed to have come to an end when the PLO claimed to give up terrorism at the Oslo signing in September 1993.

Except that the PFLP never gave up terrorism. It’s just that nobody talks about it.
Rivlin hands over mandate, begs MKs to prevent third election
President Reuven Rivlin and Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein scolded Israel’s politicians on Thursday for enabling the country to have two elections and possibly a third race that could take place in March.

Rivlin and Edelstein met at the President’s Residence, formally initiating a 21-day period in which any MK could obtain the support of a majority of the Knesset's members and form a government. Rivlin officially informed the speaker that both Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Blue and White leader Benny Gantz failed to build a coalition.

“When the last two Knesset terms began, I asked you to set aside your election swords and clean away the dirt,” Rivlin said. “I told you that political considerations must no longer be what solely guides you. You must show awareness of our sovereignty, statesmanship and responsibility for the people of this dear land.”

Rivlin told the MKs that their political fate does not matter as much as the everyday life of the average citizen.
“During these 21 days, consider your go obligation to the people,” he said.
Clifford D. May: Palestinian Islamic Jihad provokes Israel and finds itself a lonely combatant
No military in the world is more surgical than the IDF, but PIJ, like other terrorist groups, uses human shields which virtually ensures that some non-combatants will be killed. Israel’s enemies then charge Israelis — not PIJ — with war crimes.

Late last week, Egypt brokered a ceasefire which, as I write, appears to be holding. What has this most recent battle changed?

First: It seems to me that Israel has reinforced deterrence, a key objective. Its national security professionals have demonstrated that they are hard at work despite the fact that Israel’s politicians, after two elections, remain unable to form a coalition to replace the caretaker government led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Second: Mr. Netanyahu’s longstanding strategy vis-a-vis Hamas — sometimes called “mowing the lawn” — has again proven itself the least-bad option. More hawkish Israelis have called for defeating Hamas once and for all. But if such decisive action led to either PIJ taking over Gaza, or Israel having to assume responsibility for the territory, the victory would be Pyrrhic.

Hamas remains Israel’s sworn enemy. But its restraint in this instance suggests that its leaders see an informal truce as in their interest. How long that might last is hard to say. They will not want to give even the appearance of having lost their jihadi zeal.
PreOccupiedTerritory: Missiles Hit Damascus; Syrians Agree Gender Reveals Getting Out Of Hand (satire)
Israeli airstrikes hit weapons storage facilities and equipment in and around the Syrian capital two nights ago, with at least one attempted interception of an incoming strike missing its target and exploding in a residential neighborhood of the city, a development that has convinced most inhabitants that the dramatic lengths to which couples now go to announce the sex of their anticipated baby require significant reining in.

Social media and local discourse around the issue flared up in the aftermath of the strikes, which hit facilities and materiel of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and Hezbollah, both organs of Iran’s hegemonic ambition. In one northern neighborhood of Damascus a crowd came close to lynching the couple many believed responsible for the deadly gender reveal ritual, but who escaped with only minor injuries when a community figure assured the mob the woman was not even pregnant.

“This is getting out of control,” warned a police representative. “When did the simplest milestones or surprises become colorwar breakout? It used to be major things such as proposals, but in recent years everything’s become a pretext for elaborate, dangerous shenanigans. The narcissism of the era has really warped people’s common sense.”
Hamas deputy chief praises ‘political paralysis’ in Israel
The deputy leader of the Hamas terror group said ongoing political instability in Israel points to the decline of the Jewish state.

Saleh al-Arouri, who is a part of Hamas’s leadership based abroad, made the statement in an interview with the terror group’s Al-Aqsa TV Tuesday evening as the deadline for Blue and White’s Benny Gantz to form a coalition quickly approached.

Both Gantz and Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu have failed to form a government despite two successive elections. On Wednesday, Gantz ended his bid to cobble together a coalition, likely paving the way for a third election in under a year.

Arouri said Israel had seen an “extraordinary amount of stability,” especially under Netanyahu, who has been prime minister since 2009.

“Over the past number of decades, this Israeli regime has succeeded in building an effective political system that is internally efficient, able to serve this entity and build diverse and strong relations with the whole world — even to the point that it has made inroads in our Arab and Palestinian world. … Stability gives them power,” he stated.
Israel Police Close PA Institutions in Jerusalem
Multiple Palestinian institutions, including the office of the Palestinian Education Ministry and a TV station, were closed by Israel Police on Wednesday on orders issued by Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan.

Erdan issued the order after intelligence information revealed that the Palestinian Authority was operating a branch of the Palestinian Education Ministry in al-Aytam school (Orphan Islamic School) in Jerusalem’s Old City.

“A fierce battle is under way here for the future and identity of Jerusalem, and every step should be taken to thwart the PA’s attempts to incite residents of east Jerusalem against Israel,” said Erdan.

The ministry’s branch operated as the Palestinian Parents Committee, and was funded, supervised and directed by the PA. The branch undermined Israel’s sovereignty through the initiation and guidance of forceful and violent actions.

All staff were removed from the school, and security forces confiscated files from inside the office, according to the Palestinian Safa news agency.
Iran, Qatar, KSA, West Bank, Gaza among most dangerous for LGBTQ tourists
The travel website Asher & Lyric published a list of the most dangerous countries for LGBTQ tourists last week that included the Middle East nations of Iran, Qatar, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Yemen in its top 10.

The ranking could pose a challenge for Qatar’s Islamic regime, which earned the second spot for the most dangerous country for the LGBTQ community, because it is slated to host the next FIFA World Cup from November 21 to December 18, 2022. When asked by The Jerusalem Post in August if Qatar will allow LGBTQ people, Israelis, and Egyptians to attend the World Cup, Qatar’s regime declined to respond to numerous media queries.

Qatar’s regime punishes homosexual acts with one to three years in prison, flogging or execution under its Islamic Sharia law system.

The denial of LGBTQ people, Israelis and Egyptians would mean that Doha is not in compliance with the soccer federation’s ethical code.

According to the Asher & Lyric report, the 10 most dangerous nations for LGBT tourists in order of security risk are: Nigeria, Qatar, Yemen, Saudi Arabia,Tanzania, Iran, Sudan, Barbados, Malaysia and Malawi.




MEMRI: Following Announcement Of EU Sanctions Over Turkish Drilling In Eastern Mediterranean, Turkey Doubles Down
On November 11, 2019, the foreign ministers of the EU adopted a framework for sanctions on Turkey over its drilling off the coast of Cyprus.[1] On November 15, Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay announced that on November 14, the Turkish drillship Fatih had begun drilling south of Cyprus's Cape Apostolos Andreas.[2] Vice President Oktay said: "We will not give the smallest concession regarding our valid interests on the issue of hydrocarbon resources." The Greek daily Ekathimerini, in an article titled "Turkey Responds To Sanctions With Drilling," also noted that Turkish violations of Greek airspace had spiked following the announcement of the sanctions, and that a Pakistani P-3 naval aircraft taking part in a multinational military exercise in the Aegean Sea had violated Greek airspace as well.[3]

Turkey's action also took place the day after the November 13 meeting in Washington, D.C., between U.S. President Donald Trump and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. In the press conference following the meeting, President Trump said of President Edoğan: "I'm a big fan of the President, I have to tell you that." President Trump said of Turkey's role in the raid that ended in the killing of Islamic State (ISIS) leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi: "They were very, very helpful, and we appreciate that very much." He also said that: "We've also recently agreed to work toward a $100 billion two-way trade agreement... That would be four times what it is right now." Finally, Trump said to Erdoğan: "You're doing a fantastic job for the people of Turkey."[4]

While the strongest reactions to the drilling have come from the EU, of which Cyprus is a member, in the form of the sanctions, the U.S. and Russia have reacted as well. U.S. State Department spokesman Morgan Ortagus has said of the drilling: "This step is highly provocative and risks raising tensions in the region. We urge Turkish authorities to halt these operations and encourage all parties to act with restraint." The Russian Foreign Ministry issued a statement in July, saying: "In connection with incoming reports on the visit of yet another Turkish ship to conduct geological prospecting in the exclusive economic zone of Cyprus, we are watching with concern the developments in this area. We believe that any violation of Cyprus’s sovereignty can only hinder conditions for a durable, viable and fair resolution of the Cyprus issue."[5]
Egyptian Actor Responds to Backlash for Starring With Israeli Actress Gal Gadot in ‘Wonder Woman’ Sequel
Egyptian actor Amr Waked took to Twitter on Sunday to defend himself after anti-Israel activists criticized him for starring alongside Israeli actress Gal Gadot in the “Wonder Woman” sequel, “Wonder Woman 1984.”

After Waked announced on Saturday that he would appear in the superhero film, set to premiere in 2020, social media users attacked him, with one writing on Twitter, “F–k you. Amr. You are a traitor,” and others expressing disappointment in his decision and calling on him to withdraw his part in the film.

One Twitter user wrote, “You are a man of morals..nothing moral in working with apartheid enthusiasts @amrwaked QUIT NOW!” while another tweeted, “you’re a hypocrite & a disgrace to all arabs. normalizers have absolutely no place among us. i hope u find whatever it is ur looking for in the us because we want u as far away from us as possible.”

Others attacked Gadot, saying, “Gal Gadot prayed for Israeli criminals who killed 2,400 Palestinians in 2014! Shame on Amr Waked,” while one BDS supporter asked Waked, “From a moral standpoint, are you okay with filming with an actress who is vocal in her support of her government which on a daily basis dehumanizes, kills, tortures, and imprisons another people? Or are the values you uphold elastic enough to accommodate such an issue? #BDS.”




MEMRI: The Iraqi Newspaper 'Tuktuk' – The Voice Of The Demonstrators At Baghdad's Tahrir Square, In The Shadow Of Censorship And Shutdowns Of Access To Internet
As the protests in Iraq against the government and the widespread corruption in the country that began in early October 2019 and escalated on October 25,[1] continue to gain momentum, some Iraqi journalists have launched a newspaper called Tuktuk to cover them. Based at the demonstrations' center, Baghdad's Tahrir Square, the newspaper covers protest events there and throughout the country, and is distributed among the demonstrators. The newspaper meets the protestors' acute need to quickly obtain reliable information about demonstrations, against the backdrop of the difficulties posed by shutdowns of access to the Internet and the slanted reporting by official Iraqi media.

According to reports, the paper has six editors, headed by journalist and poet Ahmad 'Abd Al-Hussein, who is close to the Sadrist movement and has for years supported protests against government corruption in Iraq.[2]

The newspaper is called Tuktuk because of the vital role the young drivers of these three-wheeled motorized rickshaws play in the protests. They use their vehicles as ambulances to transport wounded protestors to hospitals and help bring food, water, and medicines to the protestors.[3] These young drivers, who have become a symbol of the Tahrir Square protests, are also in charge of distributing copies of the newspaper at demonstrations.[4]

Several issues of the paper have been published since the beginning of November 2019. The first issue, printed and distributed on November 4, 2019, featured an editorial explaining why the Iraqi people were rising up against the repression and the harsh socioeconomic conditions in the country, primarily in light of the widespread corruption and of the involvement of Iran and its militias in Iraq. Its front page featured a "Road Map to Save Iraq," enumerating the demonstrators' demands for a better future for their county, including the government's immediate resignation and criteria for electing public officials to senior posts.
Thanks to Trump, the Mullahs Are Going Bankrupt
The critics of President Trump's Iran policy have been proven wrong: the US sanctions are imposing significant pressure on the ruling mullahs of Iran and the ability to fund their terror groups.

Before the US Department of Treasury leveled secondary sanctions against Iran's oil and gas sectors, Tehran was exporting over two million barrel a day of oil. Currently, Tehran's oil export has gone down to less than 200,000 barrel a day, which represents a decline of roughly 90% in Iran's oil exports.

Iran has the second-largest natural gas reserves and the fourth-largest proven crude oil reserves in the world, and the sale of these resources account for more than 80 percent of its export revenues. The Islamic Republic therefore historically depends heavily on oil revenues to fund its military adventurism in the region and sponsor militias and terror groups. Iran's presented budget in 2019 was nearly $41 billion, while the regime was expecting to generate approximately $21 billion of it from oil revenues. This means that approximately half of Iran's government revenue comes from exporting oil to other nations.

Even though Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, boasts about the country's self-sufficient economy, several of Iran's leaders recently admitted the dire economic situation that the government is facing. Speaking in the city of Kerman on November 12, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani acknowledged for the first time that "Iran is experiencing one of its hardest years since the 1979 Islamic revolution" and that "the country's situation is not normal."
MEMRI: Iranians Protest In The Wake Of Increase In Fuel Prices, Burn Police Vehicles, Throw Stones At Policemen, Chant: 'Death To You Khamenei', 'Death To The Dictator!'
Numerous videos were uploaded to the Internet depicting the November 2019 protests in Iran in the wake of an increase in fuel prices. The protesters chanted "Death to you Khamenei!", "Death to the dictator!", and "Oh Shah of Iran, come back to Iran!" in the streets. People also burned pictures of Khamenei, burned police buildings and vehicles, and confronted riot police, in some cases by throwing stones at them and cursing them. In one video, a man shouted at a police officer: "Sir, are you not with the people?" In another video, a woman stood on a bridge cursed Supreme Leader Khamenei, Imam Khomeini, and the Iranian government as people cheered her on.

"Sir, Are You Not With The People? Sir! Mr. Police! Are You Not With The People, Brother?"
Demonstrator: "Sir, are you not with the people? Sir! Mr. Police! Are you not with the people, brother? What are you coming here for?"
Demonstrators: "Shame on you! Shame on you!"
[...]
Demonstrator 1: "Don't hit! Don't hit! Don't hit!"
Demonstrator 2: "You whoremongers... I'll f*** your mother... Hit those whoremongers."
[...]
"This Is The Traffic Police [Compound] In Karaj... The Compound Has Been Set On Fire... There Is Gunfire And People Are Still Standing In Front Of The Compound"
Iranian man: "We are in Tabriz. The police bus is burning."
[...]
Demonstrator: "This is the traffic police [compound] in Karaj. We are protesting against the rise in fuel prices. The compound has been set on fire, and the cars in the lot are also burning. There is gunfire and people are still standing in front of the compound. Everybody is still here."
After up to 200 killed, Iran’s Guards praise ‘timely’ action against protesters
Iran’s Revolutionary Guards on Thursday praised the armed forces for taking “timely” action against “rioters” and said calm had returned after days of unrest sparked by a hike in gasoline prices.

The protests erupted across the sanctions-hit country on November 15, hours after the price of gas was raised by as much as 200 percent.

Motorists blocked highways in Tehran before the unrest spread to cities and towns across the country, with gas pumps torched, police stations attacked and shops looted.

“Incidents, big and small, caused by the rise in gasoline price took place in (a little) less than 100 cities across Iran,” said a statement on the Guards’ official website Sepahnews.com.

The Guards said the “incidents were ended in less than 24 hours and in some cities in 72 hours” as a result of the “armed forces’ insight and timely action.”

The “arrest of the rioters’ leaders has contributed significantly to calming the situation.”
Nuclear agency tells Iran to explain uranium particles at site flagged by Israel
The UN nuclear watchdog on Thursday urged Iran to explain the presence of uranium particles at an undeclared site, as a landmark deal aimed at curbing Tehran’s atomic activities threatens to collapse.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said in a report seen by AFP last week that its inspectors had “detected natural uranium particles of anthropogenic origin at a location in Iran not declared to the agency.”

The agency’s acting head Cornel Feruta said IAEA and Iranian officials would meet in Tehran next week to discuss the matter, adding that the UN body had not received any additional information.

“The matter remains unresolved… It is essential that Iran works with the agency to resolve this matter promptly,” he said at a meeting of the agency’s board of governors.

A diplomatic source told AFP that the IAEA would send a high-ranking technical delegation to Iran next week.

The particles are understood to be the product of uranium which has been mined and undergone initial processing, but not enriched.
Iran's fourth violation brings it closer to a nuclear weapon
Iran's violations of the nuclear deal (JCPOA) are piling up and it's time for the international community to wake up. The brutal regime in Tehran must be blocked from ever achieving military nuclear capabilities.


Iranian American group follows Khamenei’s lead, misleading and distorting history
The National Iranian American Council is not having a good month. It often claims (falsely) that it is the largest Iranian American grassroots organization in the United States, but it is not: the Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans is.

As mass protests erupted across Iran, NIAC President Jamal Abdi blamed U.S. sanctions rather than Iranian security forces for the sudden shut down of the Iranian internet. This was completely disingenuous and ignores years of discussion among Iranian security organs about how to control the internet. Just days before the eruption of protests in Iran, for example, the Iranian government announced that it would create its own official VPNs to prevent Iranians from using other VPN services to bypass the regime information bubble.

Last May, Gholamreza Jalali, head of the Islamic Republic’s chief cyber unit, said that the regime would shut the internet in time of crisis. Debates about creating a national intranet extend back a decade. It is inconceivable that Abdi would be ignorant of such things if he follows Iranian politics and the press. This raises the troubling possibility that NIAC sought to lie by omission.

At a Nov. 7 NIAC briefing on Capitol Hill, a congressional staffer reportedly asked the panel how a panel would be different if Tehran hypothetically created a shadow lobby in the U.S. to bypass the Foreign Agents Registration Act and reach out to the congressional audience. NIAC members were flustered but could not provide a substantive response.

Still earlier in the month, both the U.S. and Iran marked the 40th anniversary of the seizure of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, NIAC President Jamal Abdi issued a statement remembering the event in which he got the basics of Iranian history wrong. He sought to create moral equivalence between the 1953 CIA-backed coup in Iran and the 1979 hostage crisis. What he ignored, however, was that Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh had usurped his constitutional authority. This is why, at the time, and for years after, the 1953 episode was called a countercoup.
Iran releases detained British-Iranian academic on bail
A British-Iranian anthropologist held in Iran for three months has been released on bail, his wife told state news agency IRNA on Wednesday.

“Kameel Ahmady was released on Sunday evening on a 500 million (toman, $42,000) bail after three months of temporary detention,” IRNA quoted Shafagh Rahmani as saying.

Iran confirmed Ahmady’s arrest in October, less than three months after the detention of Franco-Iranian academic Fariba Adelkhah was publicized.

French anthropologist Christian Bromberger wrote in August that Ahmady was “recently arrested,” in an article published on the French edition of The Conversation website.

Author of a book in English titled “In the Name of Tradition: Female Genital Mutilation in Iran,” Ahmady holds dual British and Iranian citizenship, according to Bromberger, himself an Iran specialist.



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