Tuesday, January 07, 2020

From Ian:

The Death of Qassem Suleimani Is a Strategic Victory for the U.S.
Last week, an American drone strike killed Qassem Suleimani, who for over two decades led Iran’s Quds Force—which of late has been fighting wars in Syria, Iraq, and Yemen—and managed a network of proxy militias and terrorist groups throughout the Middle East. Among Suleimani’s accomplishments are the transformation of Hizballah into a military powerhouse and the creation of guerrilla forces that have killed hundreds of Americans in Iraq, and many more Iraqis. President Trump had until now refrained from responding militarily to the Quds Force’s multiple attacks on American allies and even military hardware throughout the region since he came to office. But the killing of a U.S. contractor changed the equation.

Joining a number of other Israeli experts in commenting on the significance of Suleimani’s death, Hillel Frisch explains why it is more than a merely tactical success:

Suleimani’s death is a major blow to Iran. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s designation of Esmail Ghaani, Suleimani’s second-in-command, as his successor as head of the Quds Force is an indicator of the magnitude of that blow. Ghaani is in his sixties (as was Suleimani)—not the ideal age to take over a major undercover organization with tentacles throughout much of the Middle East and beyond.

Over twenty years ago . . . a younger, more vibrant Islamic revolutionary leadership chose then-forty-year-old Suleimani over his superiors to head the elite [Quds Force]. Khamenei is older now, and less willing to take the risk of choosing a daring young commander, but that is not the only reason why he did not do so.

Even if the ayatollah were inclined to select a younger replacement, the targeting of Soleimani prevents him from making such a choice. The killing proves beyond doubt that the Iranian security system is riddled with informants. . . . The killing of Soleimani was, [moreover, a meaningful] show of American force because he was touted by Iran as invincible.

Soleimani, the Blob, and the Echo Chamber
At one level the complaints are inescapably partisan; Democrats complaining about the Trump Administration is the first and only law of American politics today. Parallel complaints regarding process, wisdom, and ultimately fitness for office were leveled at Obama by Republicans and will be again, but they hardly reached the current level of antipathy directed at Trump. The questions then become not simply whether Trump's policy decision was correct, but whether critics adopting such tones of ill-disguised hatred are themselves to be trusted.

But the responses to Soleimani have additional relevance not simply because of their partisanship and self-referential elevation of expertise, which illustrate if nothing else the processes of elite groupthink. They anticipate a possible future, namely the way Democratic presidential candidates uniformly disapproved of killing Soleimani.

Current frontrunner and former Obama Vice President Joe Biden likened the act to throwing "a stick of dynamite into a tinderbox." Elizabeth Warren acknowledged "Soleimani was a murderer, responsible for the deaths of thousands, including hundreds of Americans. But this reckless move escalates the situation with Iran and increases the likelihood of more deaths and new Middle East conflict." Finally, Bernie Sanderswarned "Trump's dangerous escalation brings us closer to another disastrous war in the Middle East that could cost countless lives and trillions more dollars."

The parallels between the blob/echo chamber and the Democratic candidates illustrate their interlocking nature; Obama veterans would return under Biden or Warren, while Sanders likely bring in ideologue outsiders, such as his foreign policy advisor, progressive blogger Matt Duss. But they also illustrate common intellectual foundations, the elevation of process and celebration of expertise, the search for predictability and corresponding avoidance of disruption. Readiness to be gamed by canny adversaries is thus built in.

The candidates' responses are thus a foreshadowing of a future Democratic administration. Like most members of the blob and the echo chamber, the candidates have already stated they would recommit to the JCPOA nuclear deal (which of course may not longer be possible). But they would likely return to the Obama policy of indulging Iran's 'legitimate regional aspirations,' 'security concerns,' and Islamic government, even as they offer tepid criticism, as means of restructuring American relations away from Israel and Saudi Arabia.

Still, every new administration has to deal with reality bequeathed by its predecessors. The killing of Soleimani may, or may not, upend the chessboard of Iranian imperial expansion, much less unleash World War III. As the new reality unfolds, the question remains whether experts on all sides of the equation are willing to rethink their premises and contend with the world as it is now. First indications are not promising.
Alan M. Dershowitz (WSJ Google Link): Easy Call: The Strike on Soleimani Was Lawful
There can be no serious debate about the president's constitutional authority to order a single attack on an enemy combatant who has killed and is planning to kill American citizens. Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama issued such orders.

The targeting of Soleimani was more justified, as a matter of law, than the targeting of Osama bin Laden in 2011. The killing of Soleimani was in large part an act of prevention, whereas the killing of bin Laden was primarily an act of retaliation.

The killing of Soleimani was also entirely legal under international law. The Quds Force commander was a combatant in uniform who was actively engaged in continuing military and terrorist activities against Americans. The rocket that killed him and a handful of others was carefully calibrated to minimize collateral damage, and the resulting death toll was proportionate to the deaths it may have prevented.
Shmuley Boteach: Killing Soleimani was a moral response
Like Hitler, Soleimani had a knack for survival. He was reported killed in 2006, 2012 and 2015 – only to show up, time after time, alive and well with a sinister grin. Would yet another practitioner of genocide be allowed to live, into the second decade of the second millennium?

He would, but only for a mere few days. His being considered the second-most powerful man in Iran wouldn’t stop Trump from imposing the most basic law of human justice – that there’s a death sentence for those who engage in genocide.

IN KILLING Soleimani, Trump has finally managed to do what no American president has managed to do before: put Iran on notice that it’s not primarily ordinary Iranians who will suffer for the crimes of their leaders, but, rather, the leaders themselves would pay the ultimate price.

The corrupt Iranian mullahs who slaughter their own people, steal their wealth, and bring terrorism and mayhem to the world are now on notice that they are squarely in American sites for justice.

In his lifetime, Soleimani sought to prove that evil and brutality will ultimately triumph over goodness and mercy. With Soleimani’s death, Trump has proven that those tactics are no match for God’s cosmic force of justice.

Martin Luther King, the greatest American of the 20th century, put it best: “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.

Honest Reporting: Why Israel Cannot Simply “End The Occupation”
Anyone hoping an Israeli withdrawal from Judea and Samaria may at least gain Israel goodwill from the other countries of the world and various non-governmental organizations (NGOs) should note that Israel is still pilloried in the UN over Gaza. In 2018 Amnesty International wrote: “Israel’s illegal air, land and sea blockade of the Gaza Strip entered its 11th year.” The UN itself stated in 2012 that it still considers Gaza to be under occupation:
Asked about the status of Gaza, the Spokesperson said that under resolutions adopted by both the Security Council and the General Assembly on the Middle East Peace Process, the Gaza Strip continues to be regarded as part of the occupied Palestinian Territory. He said the United Nations would accordingly continue to refer to the Gaza Strip as part of the occupied Palestinian Territory until such time as either the General Assembly or the Security Council take a different view.

There has been no change in the diplomatic attacks on Israel around the world in response to removing 9,000 settlers from Gaza and the soldiers who were protecting them. On the contrary, the IDF has simply been attacked over the measures it has been required to take to keep Israel safe from terror attacks. Ironically the only reason it has been forced to take these measures is because of Israeli withdrawal. Even when Israel “ends the occupation,” it does not lead to an improvement in the situation of either side.

Nothing could hammer home to Israelis the implications of a Hamas-run West Bank more than running to the bomb shelters. Hamas control over the territories of Judea and Samaria would bring Israeli civilians well within range of even the most rudimentary Hamas artillery.

The freedom of action IDF withdrawal has given Hamas and Hezbollah has led to both terror organizations making effective preparations for war in terms of stockpiling arms, constructing terror infrastructure and firing projectiles at Israel. In return for withdrawal Israel has faced continued conflict and international opprobrium.

As the situation currently stands, “occupation” is not an option for Israel. It is a continued necessity.
Nitsana Darshan-Leitner: ICC is undercutting its own legitimacy
We at Shurat Hadin Israeli Law Center predicted all this. We knew back in 2015 that Bensouda sought to improve the ICC's fading luster and that she would be only too happy to do so by investigating the PA's claims against Israel. After all, the tribal wars of obscure African tribes are nowhere near as attractive to the media as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

And so, we sprung into action: To counter the PA's claims against IDF soldiers, we filed ICC claims against Hamas and Fatah leaders for crimes against humanity. We countered anti-settlement action in The Hague by filing a suit over occupied areas around the world, such as northern Cyprus, claiming that Turkey commits war crimes there, by building hospitals and universities and by encouraging settlement through tax benefits.

The ICC has yet to hear any of these suits but now, it will have to. Bensouda has already said it plans to investigate Hamas officials, but it is unlikely she would go after Fatah leaders of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who are near and dear to her heart.

For this reason, Shurat Hadin plans to pursue ICC action against Abbas over his "pay-for-slay" policy of paying terrorists and their families stipends – an act that clearly demonstrates the PA's support of terrorism.

To counter the claims about the settlements, we will re-issue our claims against Turkey and add another lawsuit against Russia for the occupation of Georgia's and Crimea. I wonder if The Hague would dare to investigate Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan or Russian leader Vladimir Putin for war crimes.

If the ICC continues to ignore these claims, it will prove that it cannot or does not want to serve justice and that it has marked Israel as a target in the first place. This will also prove that the ICC, designed to save nations from catastrophes and to punish those who butcher whole nations, has become a political battering ram, a biased court that no longer has the right to exist.

It is not for nothing that the Trump administration has been lambasting the ICC. Israel can only hope that Trump will stand by its side and exercise the same power against it if it really comes after Israel. Because a court that acts as the neighborhood bully and takes authority it does not have will only respond to power. Our great friend has much of it. Let's hope it uses it for good.
In possible hint at new international bid, Abbas vows to use ‘soft diplomacy’
In a possible reference to a new effort to join international organizations and agreements, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas vowed on Monday to employ “soft diplomacy.”

He made the comment at an Orthodox Christmas Eve dinner in Bethlehem, which was attended by Christian leaders and Palestinian officials, after expressing frustration about recent Israeli government decisions.

“We will not use force, violence or terrorism but rather soft diplomacy as we have done for more than the past decade,” Abbas said, according to the official PA news site Wafa.

“We are able to use it to achieve our goals but it may have difficult consequences — we will endure them because we no longer can endure what Israel is doing,” the PA news site quoted him as saying.

The transcript of Abbas’s comments posted on Wafa did not specify what Abbas was explicitly referring to as “soft diplomacy.”

But Ahmad Majdalani, a PA minister and Palestine Liberation Organization Executive Committee member, told The Times of Israel that he believed Abbas’s comments were alluding to the possibility of the Palestinians joining new international organizations and agreements.
Ukraine pulls out of ‘anti-Israeli’ UN committee on Palestinians
Ukraine has left the UN Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People. The decision was approved by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

The 25-country committee is the source of many resolutions criticizing Israel, which are often adopted by the UN General Assembly. It was established in 1975 “to enable Palestinian people to exercise their inalienable rights, including the right to self-determination... the right to national independence and sovereignty, and the right to return to their homes and property from which they have been displaced.”

The Foreign Ministry tweeted congratulations to Ukraine for quitting the “anachronistic anti-Israeli” committee. “We urge other committee members to follow suit. What are you still doing there???” the tweet reads.

Israeli Ambassador to Ukraine Joel Lion said Israel “constantly” asked all of the friendly countries on the committee to leave it.

“There’s no need for such a committee. It’s the example of singling out” Israel at the UN, he said. “It’s the committee that always makes decisions against Israel... I feel that people understand that [the committee’s] time has passed.”
Honduras to declare Hezbollah a terrorist organization
Honduras will join Guatemala and other allied nations in declaring Hezbollah an international terrorist organization, the office of the Latin American country’s president announced Tuesday.

Last year, Argentina and Paraguay took the step against Hezbollah, prodding Guatemala’s incoming president to announce in November that his country would follow suit.

Foreign Minister Israel Katz welcomed the move as an “important step in the global war on terrorism,” adding that Israel was holding talks with other countries such as Germany, Australia, and Brazil in hopes they will follow suit.

The government of Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez is generally very pro-Israel, recently opened a trade office in Jerusalem and is expected to move its embassy to Jerusalem in the coming weeks.
Honduras’ President Juan Orlando Hernandez at the AIPAC Policy Conference in Washington on March 24, 2019. (Screen capture/AIPAC)

Hezbollah is defined as a terror organization by the US, UK, Canada and the Arab League. The European Union currently deems only the group’s military wing as such.

Hezbollah was formed in 1982 under the guidance of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps to combat Israel. It has since served as the Islamic Republic’s arm at Israel’s doorstep.
Court gives nod to settlement largely built on private Palestinian land
The High Court of Justice on Monday dismissed a petition against the legality of a central West Bank settlement’s construction master plan, in a move that residents hope will pave the way for the legalization of the entire community, which was largely built on private Palestinian land.

The petitioners, from the Palestinian villages of Ein Yabrud and Silwad, had argued that the master plan submitted by the neighboring Ofra settlement in 2014 covering approximately one-third of its area should have been dismissed due to its inclusion of nearly a dozen acres of land that had been registered to residents of their respective towns.

Rejecting the Palestinian claims, the panel of judges ruled that the majority of the master plan — roughly 60 acres’ worth — which had been a Jordanian military base before 1967 but was subsequently expropriated by Israel, could be used by the residents of Ofra.

Regarding the remaining 17 percent of the master plan, the state argued that while it had accidentally expropriated an additional 12 acres of private Palestinian land in its seizure of the Jordanian base, a legal mechanism should be employed in order to avoid nullifying the entire expropriation. Known as “market regulation,” the tactic relies on the notion that wildcat Israeli homes built on private Palestinian land were done so in good faith. Its use was first green-lighted by Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit in 2018.
Twitter suspends terror victim’s page: Photo of wounds ‘gratuitous gore’
Twitter temporarily shut down the account of terror survivor Kay Wilson after she posted a picture of her wounds on the microblogging platform.
Wilson, who survived a machete attack by Palestinian terrorists in 2010 - an attack which murdered her friend Kristen Luken - posted an image of the bloody and near-deadly slashes across her back that she received in the attack with an appeal to the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to stop funding terrorists.

“Palestinian terrorists did this to me while hacking up my Christian friend in front of me,” tweeted Wilson. “The terrorists receive a Palestinian Authority salary, $3,000 a month, taken from UK @DFID foreign aid FYI @BorisJohnson thank you in advance for stopping it.
#JewishandProud @palwatch.”

Twitter then locked Wilson’s account, sending her a message that the post was in violation of its rules against posting media depicting gratuitous gore.

“You may not share excessively graphic media (e.g., severe injuries, torture),” Twitter messaged Wilson. “Exposure to gratuitous gore can be harmful, especially if the content is posted with the internet to delight in cruelty or for sadistic pleasure.”
Avi Abelow: My Friend's Murderer Convicted Today
Visiting his grave with Virag Gulyas, one of the most powerful non-Jewish pro-Israel activists and a friend of Ari’s.

PMW: PA condemns Israel's seizure of "Pay-for-Slay" funds from Israeli Arab terrorists, repeats lie that rewards are welfare
The reaction of the Palestinian Authority to the order of Israel’s Minister of Defense Naftali Bennett to seize the monies paid by the PA in salaries to Israeli Arab terrorist prisoners highlighted the false nature of the PA’s claims regarding its “Pay-for-Slay” policy. The decision of Minister Bennett to seize the funds followed the recommendation of Palestinian Media Watch days prior.

Condemning the order of Israel’s Minster of Defense to seize funds paid by the PA to eight Israeli Arab terrorists, Director of the Commission of Prisoners and Released Prisoners' Affairs Qadri Abu Bakr said that the “decision is blatant robbery and open theft” and repeated the claim that the salaries are welfare for the families. He also promised to continue paying the terrorists their monthly salaries:
“The salaries that the commission is paying the prisoners, independent of their place of residence, are allowances that provide their families with a living, a place to live, health, education, and so on, and we will not relinquish this obligation regardless of the extremist Israeli ways of thwarting them [the allowances], seizing them, or stealing them like highway robbers.” [Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Dec. 26, 2019]

The PA wants Israel to stand idly by and permit the PA to pay financial rewards to Israeli Arab terrorist prisoners who murdered other Israelis or otherwise participated in terrorism against Israel, and all under the pretext that the payments “provide their families with a living, a place to live, health, education, and so on.”

Needless to say, the PA’s claim is manifestly false as the payments of monthly salaries to the Israeli Arab terrorist prisoners fulfil none of the argued goals.
MEMRI: UK-Based Palestinian Academic Azzam Al-Tamimi: Only a Regional Movement Can Dismantle Zionist Regime
Muslim-Brotherhood affiliated Palestinian author and academic Azzam Al-Tamimi, the founder of the London-based Al-Hiwar TV channel, said in an interview on Islam21c’s Unscripted podcast that the concept of a territorial nation-state is one of the main causes of the decline of the Muslim nation and that the individual Arab states have to cease existing in their current form. He said that the Arab Spring revolutions will eventually succeed in uniting the Arab people and liberating Palestine. Al-Tamimi also said that the most antisemitic people in the world are supporters of Zionism, who he said support Israel in order to get rid of the Jews, and Christian Zionists, who he said believe that the Messiah will come and kill the Jews or force them to convert to Christianity when all the Jews are gathered in the Promised Land. Adding that the Palestinians cannot overthrow Israel on their own and that Israel must be dismantled by a large regional trend, he said that there can be no peace with people who believe they have a divine right to steal Palestinian land and homes. Al-Tamimi added that “Palestinians do not use bullets” and that they are non-violent. He continued to say that “it’s just that some of them believe that the majority of Zionist Jews will never treat them as equal citizens, so they say it’s futile. Actually, time has proven them to be right.” The interview was uploaded to the YouTube channel of Islam21c, a pro-Muslim Brotherhood media organization, on October 4, 2019. Azzam Al-Tamimi has publicly expressed support for Hamas.

Egypt reportedly simmers over Hamas chief’s trip to Iran
Egypt is displeased with Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh over his participation in a funeral for slain Iranian general Qassem Soleimani, the Arabic-language Dar al-Hayat news site reported, citing “trusted Egyptian sources.”

Haniyeh attended the Tehran funeral procession for Soleimani, who was killed in an American drone strike on Friday in Baghdad, and delivered a speech in which he called the Iranian general “the martyr of Jerusalem.”

Soleimani was the head of the elite Quds Force, the body in Iran’s Revolutionary Guard responsible for Tehran’s military campaigns and expeditions abroad.

The Hamas chief, whose home is in the Gaza Strip, had been permitted by Egyptian authorities, who along with Israel control the coastal enclave’s border crossings, to travel beyond the territory and Egypt on the condition that he not visit Iran, the Egyptian sources told Dar al-Hayat.
If US leaves the region, Israel will eventually go to war with Iran
Echoing Lavi, former commander of the IDF’s Strategic Planning Division Brig.-Gen.(res.) Ram Yavne said that, “it’s hard to predict American policies.”

With the assassination of Soleimani, who Yavne said was “central to Iran’s domestic arena” as well as being the commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Quds Force, America currently has the upper hand.

“But if they withdraw, the killing of Soleimani won’t be good because there won’t be any deterrence – and the Iranians will see and understand that.”

According to Lavi, Soleimani was the architect behind the fact that when a war breaks out in Israel’s North, the IDF will be at war across the entire northern border rather than fighting on one front.

Under Soleimani’s command, Iran has been trying to establish a land bridge from Tehran to the Mediterranean, a major concern for Israel which, since 2013, has been carrying out a “war-between-wars” campaign aimed at preventing Tehran from reaching its goal.

According to data released by Alma, there are Iranian corridors to the Mediterranean, the shortest being 1,710 km. and taking 20 hours through Tehran, Baghdad, Ramadi, al-Tanf and Damascus.

Along with connecting the two fronts to one main arena, the thousands of pro-Iranian militias and proxies – like Lebanese Hezbollah and the mainly Afghani Fatemiyoun Brigades, who are not far from Israel’s borders – are a major threat.

“Soleimani changed the reality and created a force to challenge our capabilities,” Lavi said. “He knew how to take the strong points of Iranian capabilities and bring them here. He knew how to build a new conceptual way of fighting with what he had, like a strong fighting force that could inflict high damage against modern maneuvering forces.”
Pompeo scoffs at ‘propaganda’ claim Soleimani was on diplomatic mission in Iraq
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo scoffed Tuesday at a suggestion that Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani was on a diplomatic mission to Baghdad when a U.S. drone strike killed him, insisting that the story is "fundamentally false" and "propaganda."

"Anybody here believe that?" Pompeo asked reporters when the claim was brought up during a Tuesday press briefing. "We know that wasn't true."
US' biggest concern is Iran with a bomb: Heritage Foundation senior fellowVideo

The notion that Soleimani was on some sort of peace mission was first floated by Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi, who reportedly said at a Sunday session he was scheduled to meet with Soleimani and discuss a message from Saudi Arabia regarding possible agreements in the region.

Pompeo addressed the claim that Soleimani was supposed to work on a peace agreement with Saudi Arabia, stating that he spoke to Saudi officials about this.

"I can assure you that they will share my view that he was not there representing some kind of agreement that was going to reduce risk or reduce the risk to the lives of Americans while he was on that trip."
US ambassador hosts Iranian dissidents grateful for Soleimani strike
The US government’s highest-profile ambassador in Europe, Richard Grenell – US ambassador to Germany – hosted Iranian dissidents in Berlin on Monday who praised the American action to eliminate the US and EU-designated terrorist Qasem Soleimani.

The embassy tweeted “Today, Amb. Grenell accepted thank you notes and homemade signs of support from Iranians grateful for US actions.”

The US military neutralized Iranian General terrorist Qasem Soleimani on Friday in Iraq because, the Pentagon claimed, he was planning attacks
against American diplomats.

In a Monday interview with Bild, a German tabloid newspaper, Grenell said Soleimani was a “cheerleader of the genocide in Syria.”

The US embassy noted on its Twitter account that ”The Council of the European Union just two months ago reaffirmed its sanctions against Qasem Soleimani for his involvement in terrorist acts.”

Grenell, who is being considered as the next secretary of state should the current top diplomat Mike Pompeo run for Senate, has garnered support of the Iranian diaspora community that seeks a free, democratic Iran.

The German-Iranian dissident Nila Behzadi wrote on Twitter: “We met the incredible US ambassador to Germany, Richard Grenell! We delivered Iranians’ overwhelming support messages for president Trump & and his decisive action to counter Iran regime terrorism.”
In Wake of Soleimaini Killing, US Denies Iran’s Zarif a Visa to Attend UN Meeting
The United States has denied a visa to Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif that would have allowed him to attend a United Nations Security Council meeting in New York on Thursday, a US official said.

Monday’s comments by the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, came as tensions escalate between the two countries after the United States killed Iran’s most prominent military commander, Qassem Soleimani, in Baghdad on Friday.

Under the 1947 UN “headquarters agreement,” the United States is generally required to allow access to the United Nations for foreign diplomats. But Washington says it can deny visas for “security, terrorism and foreign policy” reasons.

The US State Department declined immediate comment. Iran’s mission to the United Nations said: “We have seen the media reports, but we have not received any official communication from either the US or the UN regarding Foreign Minister Zarif’s visa.”

UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric declined to comment on the US denial of a visa for Zarif.
Putin makes unannounced visit to the Middle East
Russian President Vladimir Putin is visiting Syria where he has held talks with his Syrian counterpart Bashar al-Assad in Damascus, Syrian state media and Russia's Interfax said on Tuesday.

It marks Putin's first trip to Syria since he visited Russia's Hmeymim air base in Latakia province in 2017.

Russia deployed its air force to Syria in 2015, decisively turning the against rebels who were battling to topple Assad in the country's civil war.
Will the Death of Qasam Soleimani Create a Safer Middle East?
Retired Major General Yaacov Amidror, Israel's former national security adviser on how Iran might retaliate against Israel and the United States. Story: Iran is unlikely to attack Israel in retaliation for the US airstrike last week that killed top general Qassem Soleimani in Iraq, security officials on Monday told the high-level security cabinet. According to several officials who were at the cabinet meeting and spoke to Hebrew media outlets, several scenarios were presented regarding Iran’s possible response to the attack, with security officials saying the chances of an attack on Israel were low.

MEMRI: Shi'ite Militias In Bahrain And Saudi Arabia Threaten To Avenge Soleimani And Al-Muhandis By Targeting U.S. Interests
Following the U.S. assassination of IRGC Qods Force commander Qassem Soleimani and PMF deputy-commander 'Abd Al-Mahdi Al-Muhandis, several Shi'ite factions in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia threatened to avenge their deaths by targeting U.S. interests.

Militias In Bahrain: American Forces And Interests In The Country Are Legitimate Targets
On January 3, 2020, several Bahraini militias issued a joint statement in response to the killing of Soleimani and Al-Muhandis. The statement was issued by the following organizations: Saraya Al-Mukhtar (The Al-Mukhtar Brigades), Saraya Tha'er Allah (The Vengeance of Allah Brigades), Saraya Al-Muqawama Al-Sha'biya (the Popular Resistance Brigades), Saraya Al-Ashtar (the Al-Ashtar Brigades, a U.S.-designated terror organization), and Saraya Wa'ed Allah (the Promise of Allah Brigades).

In the statement, the militias declared their intention to respond to the killing of the two senior figures, adding that they view all American interests and the American presence in Bahrain as legitimate targets. It should be noted that the headquarters of the U.S. Navy's Fifth Fleet is in the Bahraini capital of Manama.

The statement reads: "America, the country of arrogance, and its stupid president Trump have perpetrated a great and treacherous crime by assassinating the jihadi warrior and great commander Hajj Qassem Soleimani, commander of the Qods Force, as well as the great jihadi warrior Hajj Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis, deputy head of the PMF, along with many other commanders and jihadi warriors of the resistance axis."
Iran’s Semi-Official Fars News Agency Posts Video Showing Fake ‘Assassination’ of US President Trump
Iran’s semi-official Fars news agency posted a video on Monday showing a fake “assassination” of US President Donald Trump.

The video begins with the words, “Hey US, if you begin the war, we will end the war.”

It then shows a young man loading an assault rifle and aiming at Trump, whose image is taken from stock footage of his speech announcing the assassination of Iran’s Quds Force commander, Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani.

The “assassin” looks over at a photograph of Soleimani and then fires one shot, causing Trump’s security guards to hustle him offstage. The assassin then fires several more times, and Trump falls to the ground.

A title then reads, “In the name of god, the beneficent, the merciful,” making the clip appear to be a prayer for Trump’s murder.

MEMRI: Al-Jazeera Reporting Following Soleimani's Killing: Retaliation Is 'Something Absolute And Inevitable' And Its Arena Will Stretch From Palestine To Uzbekistan
In the days since the January 3, 2020 U.S. killing of IRGC Qods Force commander Qassem Soleimani, Al-Jazeera has published numerous op-eds on its English-language website. For example, Ibrahim Al-Marashi, identified as an associate professor at the Department of History, California State University, San Marcos, wrote on January 3 that Soleimani's assassination "may prove to be U.S. President Donald Trump's most reckless foreign policy decision in the Middle East" and that "the events of the last week demonstrate how the U.S. continues to misunderstand the ramifications of its actions in the Middle East."

Sultan Barakat, identified as Professor of Politics at the University of York, UK, provided a summary of the events leading up to Soleimani's killing, and termed "promising" the Qatari foreign minister's January 4 visit to Tehran and his call for "finding a peaceful solution to reduce the tension." He added: "Qatar enjoys the respect and trust of both Iran and the United States and has a direct interest in defusing the tension, given it hosts the largest U.S. airbase in the region and shares gas fields with Iran."

In fact, the Qatari foreign minister's visit to Iran conveyed a different message – he was accompanied by a delegation and met first with Iranian President Hassan Rohani, and only afterwards with his counterpart Javad Zarif. His meeting with Rohani bore all the trappings of a conventional condolence visit; indeed, on social media, one tweet described it as just that and quoting the foreign minister as telling Rohani: "We convey to you from Qatar our warm condolences for the martyrdom of General Qassem Soleimani, a loss to the people."

Hezbollah Ally Lists Locations of U.S. Bases, Troops as ‘Possible Targets’
A media outlet tied to the Iranian-backed Hezbollah terror organization published a list of American bases in the Middle East as "possible targets" for a retaliatory attack following the U.S. airstrike that killed Iranian military leader Qassem Soleimani.

The pro-Hezbollah Lebanese newspaper Al-Akhbar on Monday published a map detailing the locations of U.S. troops in the Middle East, describing them as "possible targets" for Iranian proxy groups operating in the region.

The map includes sites located in Kuwait, Bahrain, and Qatar—all countries that host major American military outposts. It also depicts areas where large groups of U.S. troops are stationed in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Oman, and Turkey.

Regarding Oman, the map says it "allows the U.S. to use its airports and seaports." It also shows a ship in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Oman, representing the area of operations of the Fifth Fleet, a U.S. naval fleet that operates in the Persian Gulf, Red Sea, Arabian Sea, and Indian Ocean.

The publication of these details is the latest intimidation effort by Iranian-allied terror groups following Soleimani's death by a U.S. drone strike in Iraq.
Iran Escalates with Threat to Strike Golf Courses (satire)
Iran has pushed the world closer to war with a new threat to target golf courses globally. A statement from the Supreme Leader’s office read, “You want to target our mosques and cultural sites? Well then, we will take what you hold most dear. The chance to hit a sweet birdie off the back nine. Unlike some people we’ve actually read the Hague Convention, and it definitely doesn’t mention lush greens and challenging water obstacles anywhere.”

A Pentagon spokesman commented, “The US takes such threats very seriously. Currently elements of the 82nd Airborne are digging in around Bedminster and the USS John S. McCain is poised off Mar-a-Lago. We are liaising with our British allies on supplying air cover over Scotland. Although to be honest they haven’t returned our calls yet. Apparently, they’re all bent out of shape about something.”

According to one reporter from The Mideast Beast, “President Trump was not available for immediate comment, as he was away at…well look you get the point we’re making here.”
Haley Blasts Democrats: They Are ‘The Only Ones That Are Mourning The Loss Of Suleimani’
Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley blasted the Democratic Party in a Fox News interview on Monday, saying that they are the only ones mourning the loss of Iranian terrorist Qassim Suleimani.

“What the president did left the Iranian regime completely flat-footed,” Haley told Fox News’s Sean Hannity. ” They did not see this coming. They thought they could continue to do their multiple strikes.”

“You could see the ayatollah crying today, because that was his number one strategist,” Haley continued. “That was the number one guy that has literally told all of the proxies in all of these countries who to kill, when to kill, how to kill. And that guy is now gone.”

“You don’t see anyone standing up for Iran,” Haley added several moments later. “You’re not hearing any of the Gulf members. You’re not hearing China. You’re not hearing Russia. The only ones that are mourning the loss of Suleimani are our Democrat leadership, and our Democrat presidential candidates. No one else in the world, because they knew that this man had evil veins. They knew what he was capable of. And they saw the destruction and the lives lost based from his hands.”

Soleimani's burial delayed after 50 killed, 213 injured in stampede
A stampede broke out at IRGC's Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani's funeral, killing 50 people and injuring more than 210, the semi-official Fars news agency reported, citing an emergency services official. Iran's ISNA news agency said the burial of Soleimani had been postponed due to the deaths and injuries, but did not say how long any delay would last.

The death toll in a stampede during the funeral rose to 50 on Tuesday, Iran's ISNA news agency reported.

The news agency was quoting the chief coroner for Kerman province, Abbas Amian. The funeral was taking place in the city of Kerman, Soleimani's hometown.

Tens of thousands of people had gathered in Kerman to pay tribute to Soleimani, who was killed in a US drone strike in Iraq on Friday.

"Today, because of the heavy congestion of the crowd, a number of our fellow citizens who were mourning were unfortunately injured and a number were killed," emergency medical services chief Pirhossein Kolivand told state television.
U.S. Journalists Mourn Death of Iranian Terrorist
The U.S. media's peculiar (albeit predictable) response to President Donald Trump's successful assassination of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani continued on Monday during their coverage of the terrorist's funeral in Tehran.

NPR had reporters on the ground covering the "historic day" and attempting to dispel claims that the grief on display in the streets of the Iranian capital was in any way "coerced" by the authoritarian regime.

Michael Barbaro of the New York Times highlighted the "amazing images and audio" from the NPR team. Several hours earlier, Barbaro posted a bizarre podcast interview with Times reporter Helene Cooper in which Cooper lamented that the U.S. military was "tragically … very good" at killing people.

ABC News's Martha Raddatz donned a (mandatory) headscarf and walked among the "massive and emotional" crowds of mourners. She declared that the Iranian people were "united against America."

The Associated Press published a touching piece on Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's "rare display of emotion" at the funeral of the terrorist general "with whom he shared a deep bond." The AP noted that the Iranian despot's "voice cracked under the weight of the moment" as he "cried openly" while mourning the death of his friend.
American Mainstream Media Mourns Death Of Iran Terrorist Leader
On Monday, Grabien founder Tom Elliott released a new video montage that showed many in the American mainstream media idolizing and mourning terrorist Qassim Suleimani, leader of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’s Quds Force, after he was killed by American forces last week in Iraq.

Suleimani’s funeral was this week after the terrorist leader was killed last week in a Trump-authorized drone strike by the U.S. military on a convoy that he was riding in as he left Baghdad International Airport.

State Department Spox Fact-Checks CNN Anchor on Iran
State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus fact-checked a CNN anchor Monday who argued that the United States has no allies in the ongoing confrontation with Iran.

"With all due respect that is just another completely inaccurate observation," Ortagus said after CNN International anchor Becky Anderson said there was no international support for the United States strike that killed Iranian terror leader Qassem Soleimani. "You could look at the E3 statement this morning that was put out by the Germans, the British, and the French."

Ortagus said the statement by leaders of the so-called E3 countries "completely contradicts" anchor Becky Anderson's contention that the United States has isolated itself from its allies.

The E3 joint statement issued by German chancellor Angela Merkel, French president Emmanuel Macron, and United Kingdom prime minister Boris Johnson condemned Iran's "recent attacks on coalitions [sic] forces in Iraq." The leaders also said they were "gravely concerned by the negative role Iran has played in the region, including through the IRGC and the Al-Qods force under the command of General Soleimani."

"We specifically call on Iran to refrain from further violent action or proliferation," they said.

Ortagus said the Trump administration has confidence in U.S. allies.

MSNBC’s Chris Matthews: Trump Is ‘An Assassin’ For Ordering Lawful Military Strike On Soleimani
MSNBC’s Chris Matthews claimed on Monday night that President Donald Trump was an “assassin” for ordering the lawful military strike on Major General Qassim Suleimani, leader of Iran’s Quds Force, which is designated Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO).

“I’ve never seen so much news buffeting us in one couple of days,” Matthews began. “I mean, I was over in Vietnam for the last week-and-a-half and I was working with the university over there and I have to tell you that it all looks like it’s happening again.”

“You know, ZM was assassinated. We took over the war in Vietnam,” Matthews continued. “We lost all those men and women. And we all did it because we basically knocked off a leader. We had a hand in that. The generals did it, but we had a hand in it and here we are in the assassination business again.”

“I’m sorry, this is a top general,” Matthews continued. “He wasn’t operational. He was a leader. We killed this guy. A President of the United States, they used to hide from assassination responsibility. This president is bragging about it, his assassination. Pompeo is bragging about it. Is there a new deviancy in the American culture that we now support murder killing of political leaders? Is this what we do now? It shocks me.”

At the end of the segment, Matthews said to Klobuchar, “I don’t think you’re an assassin. … This president is anyway.”

NYT Reporter: Defense Department ‘Quite Tragically’ Good at Killing People
New York Times reporter Helene Cooper said Monday during a discussion of the death of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani that the U.S. Department of Defense was "quite tragically" good at killing people.

"This is something that the American Defense Department, quite tragically almost, is very good at doing. We know how to kill people," she said during an appearance on "The Daily" podcast. "And we had been tracking for more than a decade, almost two decades, Qassem Soleimani."

Cooper and spokespeople for the New York Times did not respond to requests for comment or elaboration.

Cooper, the Times‘s Pentagon correspondent, appeared on the podcast to discuss her reporting on how President Donald Trump arrived at his decision to order the drone strike on Soleimani, the terrorist leader of Iran's Quds forces and one of the country's top military commanders.

Terrorist Killed, Democrats Hardest Hit [Satire]
Democrats are calling for a day of mourning for Qassem Soleimani, the man who was called Iran’s “most revered military leader,” by The Washington Post, where Democracy Dies in Darkness if they have anything to say about it.

Soleimani, who was Iran’s most revered military leader because he was responsible for the deaths of hundreds of American soldiers, was in the midst of plotting more such deaths when he himself died under mysterious circumstances, namely a missile decorated with the words, “Dear Qassem, Here’s a missile in your ear from your friends in America. Love, President Trump, and all my fellow Americans, except Democrats and The Washington Post.”

Soon afterward, Soleimani woke up in Paradise surrounded by virgins, although it was a lot hotter than he thought it was going to be and the virgins were large, muscular men with tattoos that said things like, “Welcome to hell, my new be-yotch!’

Crowds gathered to mourn Soleimani in Tehran yesterday, and then rushed home in order to continue campaigning in Iowa.

Bernie Sanders responded to Soleimani’s death by saying, “Of course he was a terrorist, but who could forget his sparkling eyes, his charming smile, and that laugh that wrinkled his nose just before he slaughtered my countrymen.”

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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 14 years and 30,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.


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