Monday, January 26, 2015

From Ian:

Argentine Prosecutor: Rouhani Involved in AMIA Bombing Decision
Nisman, who was found shot in the head in his apartment just hours before he was scheduled to provide testimony against Argentine President Cristina Kirchner last Monday, denied the Free Beacon story in 2013 and suggested that Rouhani played no role in the attack.
“There is no evidence, according to the AMIA case file, of the involvement of Hassan Rouhani in any terrorist attack,” Nisman told the Times of Israel in response to the article.
However, Nisman said privately he had evidence that Rouhani was involved in the decision to authorize the bombing, according to Miami Herald reporter Andres Oppenheimer.
Nisman told Oppenheimer that Rouhani was on the committee that green-lighted the attack. “Nobody is pointing out that Rouhani participated in the decision of the AMIA attack,” wrote Nisman in a July 2013 email.
“In several telephone conversations and email exchanges I had with Nisman over the past three years, the prosecutor told me that Rouhani was among the top Iranian officials who had ‘participated in the decision’ to bomb the AMIA Jewish community center in Buenos Aires,” Oppenheimer wrote after Nisman’s death.
Journalist who reported Nisman's death lands in Israel
Damian Pachter, who first reported the story about the mysterious death of Argentine prosecutor Alberto Nisman and fled the country out of "fear for his life", has landed in Israel where he hopes to find safe haven.
"I came to Israel because I am an Israeli citizen I lived here the most important years of my life and this is a place where I feel safe," Pachter said Sunday after landing in Israel.
"I left because the Argentinean government persuade me because of my news report regarding the death of prosecutor Alberto Nisman who died in unresolved way last week, so I was the first who report on that and now I am kind of suffering the consequences of that," he said.
Interview with Damian Pachter (h/t Yoel)
After accusing the Argentine Government of going after him for breaking a story about the death of prosecutor Alberto Nisman, journalist Damián Pachter talked to The Bubble from Israel.

Argentinean Jews Boycott Shoah Ceremony Over Iran
The official Argentine Jewish community is planning to boycott the country's official Holocaust commemoration. The state ceremonies will be held on Tuesday, International Holocaust Day – and the Jews of Argentina will hold their own separate memorial ceremony the same day.
The Jews are protesting the suspicious death – and subsequent investigation thereof – of prosecutor Alberto Nisman, as well as ties between Argentina and Iran.
The official memorial ceremony happens to mark two years since Argentina and Iran signed an agreement to establish a “truth commission” into the bombing of the AMIA Jewish Community Center back in 1994 that left 85 dead and hundreds wounded.
It is widely believed that Iran was actually behind the bombing, and that top Argentinean government officials attempted to stymie investigations to this effect – so as not to stymie negotiations for a favorable oil deal with Iran.

Behind Obama’s love affair with Iran
Now, as America and Europe go helter skelter to ‘make nice’ with Iran, Obama has vowed to veto a congressional bill that would re-impose sanctions on Iran. Senator Robert Menendez, the ranking Democrat of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, considers Obama to be Iran’s leading defender.
Menendez claims that the administration is coordinating with Teheran in efforts to block U.S. sanctions. The US State Department may have been playing a supportive role as far back as 2013. In that year Alberto Nisman was invited by U.S. lawmakers to testify about his findings at a Congressional hearing on, “Threat to the Homeland: Iran’s extending influence in the Western Hemisphere.”
Argentina’s public prosecutor stopped Nisman from testifying, but in his absence, panel chairman Rep. Jeff Duncan noted that the State Department had omitted Nisman’s findings in its assessment that Iranian influence in Latin America and the Caribbean was “waning.”
Duncan added: “In stark contrast to the State Department’s assessment, Nisman’s investigation revealed that Iran has infiltrated for decades large regions of Latin America through the establishment of clandestine intelligence stations and is ready to exploit its position to ‘execute terrorist attacks when the Iranian regime decides to do so.”
Obviously there is more to the West’s nuclear talks with Iran than meets the eye. One thing is clear: the West puts a higher priority on ‘making nice’ with Iran than in bringing to justice the murderers of several dozen Jews.
Boehner denies 'blindsiding' White House with Netanyahu invite
US Speaker of the House John Boehner denied Sunday that he had "blindsided" the White House with his invitation to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address Congress in March.
Netanyahu's acceptance of the invitation without the involvement of the White House sparked speculation about a further crisis in Obama administration-Israel relations after the White House called the move a breach of protocol.
" I gave them a heads up that morning," Boehner said in an interview with CBS 60 Minutes. "But there's nobody in the world who can talk about the threat of radical terrorism, nobody can talk about the threat that the Iranians pose, not just to the Middle East and to Israel, our longest ally but to the entire world, but Bibi Netanyahu," he added.
He denied that he had invited Netanyahu, a known critic of US President Barack Obama's policy on Iran, as a political move against the Democratic president.
Israeli Ambassador: Netanyahu Visit Not Meant to Insult Obama
Israel’s ambassador to the United States stressed on Sunday night that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s upcoming visit to Washington, where he will address Congress, is not meant to show disrespect towards President Barack Obama.
Speaking Sunday at an Israel Bonds dinner in Florida, the ambassador, Ron Dermer, said that the speech at Congress is meant to focus on Iran and its nuclear ambitions which are a threat to Israel.
“The Prime Minister’s visit here is not intended to show any disrespect for President Obama,” he said. “Israel deeply appreciates the strong support we have received from President Obama in many areas – the enhanced security cooperation, heightened intelligence sharing, generous military assistance and Iron Dome funding, and opposition to anti-Israel initiatives at the United Nations.”
“The Prime Minister’s visit is also not intended to wade into your political debate. Israel deeply appreciates the strong bipartisan support we enjoy in the American Congress -- where Democrats and Republicans come together to support Israel - just as Israel appreciates the wide and deep support that it enjoys among the American people,” Dermer said.
At the same time, the ambassador stressed, Netanyahu has a “sacred duty” to speak up against a bad agreement with Iran which could endanger the existence of the State of Israel.
“The Prime Minister’s visit to Washington is intended for one purpose -- and one purpose only. To speak up while there is still time to speak up. To speak up when there is still time to make a difference,” Dermer explained.
Netanyahu: Iran deal dangerous for the world, will allow production of dozens of nukes
The agreement that is emerging now between the P5+1 countries - the United States, Russia, China, Great Britain, France and Germany - and Iran is unacceptable to Israel, Netanyahu said.
It “is dangerous for Israel, the region and the world,” he said as he explained that under its terms Iran would remain a nuclear threshold state.
“It leaves Iran with the ability to produce the material needed to produce a nuclear bomb within a few months, and later, it could produce dozens of nuclear bombs,” Netanyahu said.
“Israel strongly objects to this,” he said.
“As prime minister I want to be very clear on this point,” Netanyahu said.
“We will do everything to prevent Iran’s arms capacity and its ability to produce nuclear weapons,” Netanyahu said.
Visiting US, President Rivlin says he won’t meet Obama
President Reuven Rivlin will not meet with US President Barack Obama during his visit to the US currently underway, the president’s residence said on Sunday.
Rivlin is in New York to address the official Holocaust commemorations of the United Nations. His schedule includes meetings with African-American leaders and others.
According to unsourced Israeli media reports, the White House invited Rivlin to a summit meeting with Obama in Washington. Israeli media outlets, including Channel 10 and the Ynet news site, have suggested the White House invitation was meant to embarrass Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who was not invited to meet with Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry during his stay in Washington to address both houses of Congress in early March.
Report: US vetoed Israeli sale of attack helicopters to Nigeria
The United States paused the resale of US-made military helicopters by Israel to the Nigerian government for its fight against Boko Haram last summer, according to Abuja.
The transfer of such aircraft requires a review, Obama administration officials told The Jerusalem Post, in order to determine its "consistency with US policy interests."
Reviews of this kind take place in the case of "any requests for one country to transfer US-origin defense items to another country," White House Assistant Press Secretary and Director for Strategic Communications Ned Price said.
According to a report initially published in a local Nigerian daily, This Day, Nigerian government officials believe a large sale was halted because of "unfounded allegations of human rights violations by our troops," one such official is quoted saying. The Nigerian official is not named in the report.
"This," the official continued, "after the office of Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu had initially approved the purchase."
Canada's embassy belongs in Jerusalem
As the Palestinians turn justice on its head by pursuing Israel for war crimes at the ICC, moving the Canadian embassy to Jerusalem would reaffirm the West’s immutable moral code, setting an example that would undoubtedly be followed by other countries.
It would mark a major shift in a diplomatic paradigm that for two decades has given the Palestinians carte blanche to do as they please without fear of consequences; it would be a first step in countering the delegitimization campaign targeting Israel, which is part and parcel of the renewed tide of anti-Semitism sweeping the globe.
In the wake of recent terrorist attacks worldwide, including two in Canada last October, it would send a clear message that the ideology shared by the likes of Hamas and Hezbollah, which seeks the “liberation” of Jerusalem and the rest of Israel, will not be countenanced; it would create the beginnings of a united front against a common, and increasingly emboldened, enemy.
Moving the embassy to Jerusalem would cement the legacy of a Canadian government that understands all of this profoundly and which fully appreciates the nature of the growing threats against the Western world and Israel’s unique role as a primary line of defense in an intensifying battle. Mr. Harper, the time has therefore come to right a historical wrong, thereby bringing the physical into synch with the conceptual realities of both contemporary and future geopolitics.
British minister warns Miliband win would weaken UK-Israel ties
Theresa Villiers, a senior government cabinet minister, has stepped up the battle for Jewish votes in the UK’s May 7 general election by telling her north London constituents that a Labor Party-led administration would damage the historic close relationship between Britain and Israel.
Meanwhile, Ed Miliband, leader of Labor, has insisted that if elected premier, he would be “as good a friend to Israel” as current Prime Minister David Cameron.
Villiers, in an interview with the Jewish Chronicle, said that a Labor government could have a “chilling” effect on relations with Israel. She is the secretary of state for Northern Ireland.
Referring to Miliband’s sharp criticism of Israel’s actions in the Gaza Strip during last summer’s conflict with Hamas, Villiers said, “The big problem with Labor is they were not a friend to Israel in its time of need. I have met people who say, ‘I’ve been a Labor voter all my life, but I won’t vote for them this time round.’” At the time the Labor Party leader described the IDF operation in Gaza as “wrong” and “unacceptable and unjustifiable.” He later criticized Cameron, suggesting he had been too timid in his response to Israel’s actions.
Richard Millett: Former British diplomat: Israel should dismantle its security fence for peace
Last Tuesday I attended yet another anti-Israel event at the London Middle East Institute based at SOAS. The last LMEI event I attended beautified Hizbollah. And last Tuesday I had another anti-Jewish insult hurled at me, to add to the long list, for merely asking a question during a Q&A.
The guest speaker last Tuesday was retired British Diplomat Sir Vincent Fean, a man who has served as a diplomat in Paris, Brussels, Libya, Damascus, Baghdad and amongst the Palestinians. Fean said he wanted to “speak about how peace could come about in the Holy Land” and he said that he believed in “the two state solution”.
However, after his 40 minute talk I realised that Fean did not believe in Israel’s safety or its existence at all. He wanted Israel emasculated and indefensible.
Fean demanded that the “settlements” be disbanded and called the “illegal settlement enterprise” the “single most significant threat to the two state solution”.
As proof of “illegality” he invoked the Geneva Convention claiming that Israel gives inducements for Israelis to move to the West Bank. That is hardly “transfer” but it is enough for the likes of Fean to conclude that Israel is committing a breach of international law.
Fean called for Israel to dismantle its security fence, for Israel’s forces to be withdrawn from “Palestinian soil” and for Egypt to open the Rafah crossing between Egypt and Gaza.
What the ICC’s ‘preliminary examination’ means for Israel
On January 16, the International Criminal Court prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, launched a “preliminary examination into the situation in Palestine.”
Here is a review of what that means based on interviews with experts on international law and statements by the ICC and Israeli and U.S. officials.
Has the International Criminal Court launched a criminal case against Israel or Israeli officials?
On Jan. 16, Bensouda said she was opening a “preliminary examination” into events that transpired in the period following June 13, 2014.
Bensouda, who is Gambian, did not specify that she would examine military actions, but the period encompasses last summer’s war in the Gaza Strip as well as Israel’s actions in the West Bank following the kidnap and murder of three Israeli teenagers on June 12.
Preliminary examinations are not criminal investigations, though they may consider evidence and solicit testimony. Instead, they establish whether there is probable cause to conduct a full criminal investigation and whether the court has jurisdiction. They may be followed by criminal investigations of individuals. Cases involving states are the province of the International Court of Justice. Both courts are based in The Hague, Netherlands.
Abbas: ICC Membership will be Fully Active by April
Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has declared that the PA’s membership of the International Criminal Court (ICC) would be fully active by April, the Ma’an news agency reports.
Abbas said the most important issues to bring to the ICC were “Israeli settlements and assaults.”
The comments, which were made Friday, came during Abbas's visit to Tunisia, during which he and Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi discussed the latest Palestinian, Arab, and international political developments.
The PA applied earlier this month to become a party to the Hague-based ICC and recognized its jurisdiction to retroactively cover a period including the Gaza war. The move came after the PA failed to pass a unilateral motion at the United Nations which would have forced an Israeli withdrawal from Judea and Samaria.
 'Israel warns Hezbollah: Don't dare attack our targets abroad'
Israel has communicated a stern warning to Lebanese Shi’ite terror group Hezbollah against targeting any Israeli institutions abroad in retaliation for last week’s attack on a convoy of senior Iranian and Hezbollah military operatives on the Golan Heights, the Arab-language daily Al-Hayat is reporting on Monday.
The newspaper quoted Western diplomats as saying that officials in Jerusalem sought to convey the message through indirect channels. Israel does not have diplomatic relations with Lebanon.
The diplomats told Al-Hayat that “Israel would hold Hezbollah responsible for any attack against its institutions and nationals [abroad], including areas known to be frequented by Israelis in far-off places around the globe.”
Over the weekend, it was reported that Hezbollah promised senior government officials in Beirut that it will refrain from retaliating against Israel, which it blames for last week’s attack, from Lebanese soil.
Iranian News: ‘Teheran Targeted Netanyahu’s Sons’ in Retaliation
Iran continues to be enraged by the deaths of at least half a dozen Hezbollah terrorists and an Iranian general from an Israeli attack last week in Syria. The attack took place near Quneitra, on the Syrian-controlled side of the Golan Heights.
The Iranian Revolutionary Guards confirmed that a member of their force, General Mohammad Ali Allahdadi, was among those “martyred” by the Israeli operation.
In retaliation, as reported by Jerusalem Online citing an Iranian news source, a detailed plan has been uncovered that includes targeting for assassination the sons of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
In addition to Netanyahu’s sons, family members of former prime ministers Ariel Sharon and Ehud Olmert are also targeted for assassination.
Arab youths attack ultra-Orthodox men in Haifa
A group Arab youths attacked a number of ultra-Orthodox men in Haifa late Sunday night, wielding batons and shouting “Allahu Akbar” (God is great), police said.
It was not clear how many people were injured but police said they were treated by paramedics on site.
Five youths, including four under 18, were arrested and taken for questioning.
The incident began at approximately 11:00 pm in an ultra-Orthodox area in the city, when the group attacked a number of haredi men, armed with batons and chains, police said. The youths wore masks and shouted “Alluhu Akbar,” according to reports.
Some of the haredi men fled to a nearby yeshiva, while others fought their attackers, according to police, who said they were also checking reports the group members shouted “death to the Jews.”
IDF Soldier Awarded Medal for Storming Booby-trapped Building in Gaza, Killing Terrorists
The Israeli army will grant an unnamed Golani Brigade soldier a citation for bravery after he sprinted alone into a booby-trapped building in Gaza and overcame enemy small-arms fire to secure the structure which his fellow soldiers were about to enter, during Operation Protective Edge, saving their lives, Israel’s NRG News reported Sunday.
During the firefight, one of many in the summer’s 50-day operation, “Y” shot and killed several terrorists who were using the structure to fire at his unit, and were to have then detonated, collapsing the building on the troops.
“Y,” a reservist who had been discharged from service two months earlier, volunteered for the operation, which was launched to thwart both rocket fire into Israel from above and terror attack tunnels from below.
This is the 54th citation the IDF has awarded for valor, courage and distinction during the operation, after a ceremony held last week to award medals and decorations to soldiers who fought in Gaza.
Israeli Police Open Probe After Unknown Intruder Films, Curses Bus Terrorist in Hospital Room (VIDEO)
Israeli military police are probing how an unknown man managed to enter the closely-guarded hospital room of a Palestinian terrorist who was shot after stabbing 12 people on a bus in Tel Aviv last week, Israel’s Channel 2 News reported Sunday.
In a brief video clip captured by the intruder, Hamza Matrouk, 23, is seen lying in his hospital bed at the Wolfson Medical Center, recovering from a bullet wound to the calf fired by Prison Service guards who caught him after he fled the No. 40 Dan bus after his stabbing spree last Wednesday.
“Smile for the camera a**hole!” the anonymous individual says as Matrouk turns to look at him. There were no reports that the intruder attacked or otherwise harmed the terrorist.
PreOccupied Territory: New Public Works Projects To Bring Jerusalem Into 20th Century (satire)
A new series of road and infrastructure improvements to the capital city began last week, and are scheduled to last several weeks, projects that municipal officials say will thrust Jerusalem forward into the twentieth century.
Long an amalgamation of modern architecture and transportation needs with decaying, nineteenth-century infrastructure, Jerusalem has in recent years undergone a gradual shift from inadequate, Ottoman-era facilities to differently inadequate Israeli-era roads, electricity, telephone, and sewer systems. The shift has mirrored architectural development in the city, with dilapidated shacks cheek-by-jowl with newer, poorly constructed buildings.
Construction crews have been working at dozens of sites for more than a week already, replacing some of the often-hazardous and frequently unreliable drainage systems with piles of dirt and rubble. Alleyways that previously could only allow two people to pass abreast now have the capacity for an entire pedestrian to trip into one of the many open ditches and break as many as eighteen bones at once.
JCPA: Muhammad Dahlan and the Succession Battle for the PA Chairmanship
In the past, during Arafat’s rule, Dahlan was head of the Gaza’s Preventive Intelligence Organization. He is viewed as responsible for the killing of Hamas operatives and the interrogation of others under torture.
Hamas is well aware of anger within the movement over the warming of ties and cooperation with Dahlan.
On January 17, East Jerusalem’s Al-Quds newspaper announced that Hamas had circulated an internal document among its members in which it explained the relationship with Dahlan, seeking to allay the resentment in the movement.
The internal memorandum asserts that Hamas has no official tie with Dahlan and that the media are inflating the issue. Hamas acknowledges that it has allowed Dahlan to conduct charitable activity in Gaza but emphasizes that it will not let him return to the Strip “until some actions connected to his past are clarified.”
Hamas also stresses that, in any case, it is its military wing that will ultimately decide the nature of the movement’s relationship with Dahlan.
It should be noted that Dahlan has close ties with Mohammed Deif, the “supreme commander” of the Hamas’s military wing, since the 1980s, when the two shared the same cell in an Israeli prison.
Abbas’s rivalry with ascendent Dahlan heats up in Gaza
The economic situation in Gaza has been deepening in recent days and with it the conflict between supporters of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and backers of former Fatah strongman Mohammad Dahlan.
Amid escalating tensions between the two men, the PA has decided to withhold the salaries of some 200 of its Gaza employees who are known as Dahlan loyalists.
In response, Dahlan stalwarts published the names of around 100 PA officers in Gaza whom they accused of informing for the PA security forces in Ramallah. Meanwhile, a car belonging to one of the PA officers was torched.
Hamas says PA arrested over 1,000 of its members in 2014
The Palestinian Authority arrested over 1,000 Hamas members in 2014, the terror group alleged in a report issued over the weekend, confirming claims that Ramallah is actively engaged in battling Islamists in the West Bank.
The report details the range of the Palestinian security services’ activities against Hamas, to the fury of the Islamist group.
In all, Hamas counted 2113 “attacks” against it, including 1,064 arrests and so-called kidnappings, 106 extensions of detentions, 636 summonses for investigations, and 307 miscellaneous attacks.
There was a drastic rise in actions against Hamas in December, the report stated, with 446 “attacks,” referring to miscellaneous actions like riot dispersal, closing down offices, extending detentions, arrests, “kidnappings,” and summonses for questioning.
Hamas operatives in Gaza test-fire several rockets into Mediterranean
Hamas fired several rockets from the Gaza Strip into the Mediterranean Sea on Monday. Hamas fires projectiles into the sea on a regular basis, as part of its weapons program.
The launches are used by Hamas arms designers to experiment with various projectile models. The experiments naturally are closely monitored by the IDF and defense establishment.
In mid-December, the IDF reported detecting rocket experiments in the Gaza Strip, in which projectiles were also fired into the sea.
Last year, a senior naval officer told The Jerusalem Post that Hamas routinely carry out experiments and check their rockets.
"This is a part of their domestic weapons production. We did not doubt, at the end of the [summer] war, that their focus would be on building more weapons. We monitor every such launch, noting the quality of the rocket and its range,” the officer said.
Gaza says it’s readying seaport for international travel
A ministerial committee in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip announced plans on Sunday to ready the enclave’s sole seaport to allow Palestinians to travel abroad.
The enclave, home to 1.8 million people, has been under an Israeli land and sea blockade since 2006. Its sole gateway to the world not controlled by Israel is the Rafah Border Crossing with Egypt, which has been largely closed since late October 2014. Egypt and Israel seek to prevent the Hamas terror group from importing weapons to the Strip.
Alaa al-Batta, spokesman for the committee formed to lift the blockade, said preparations were under way to launch — within two months — a boat service for the sick and for students studying abroad.
The port in Gaza City is currently restricted to fishermen, whom Israel only allows to fish up to a maximum of six nautical miles from the shore.
15 protesters killed on anniversary of Egyptian uprising against Mubarak
At least 15 people were killed at pro-democracy protests in Egypt on Sunday, the anniversary of the 2011 uprising that toppled autocrat Hosni Mubarak, security sources said.
In the bloodiest day of protests since Abdel Fattah al-Sisi was elected president in June, security forces and plain clothes police fired at protestors, witnesses said.
The anniversary is a test of whether Islamists and liberal activists have the resolve to challenge a government that has stamped out dissent since then-army chief Sisi ousted elected Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in July 2013 after mass protests against his rule.
Dozens of protesters were killed during last year's anniversary. Again this year, security forces fanned out across the capital and other cities.
Egypt Extends North Sinai Curfew by Three Months
Egypt’s Prime Minister, Ibrahim Mahlab, on Sunday extended a curfew in parts of North Sinai by another three months, the website of the Al-Ahram newspaper reported.
The curfew was initially imposed on October 25, following two deadly attacks in El-Arish, which killed dozens of soldiers and were claimed by Egypt’s deadliest terrorist group, Ansar Bayt Al-Maqdis.
Following the attack, the government decided to create a buffer zone along the border with Gaza, explaining the move was necessary because Hamas terrorists had provided the weapons for the lethal attacks in El-Arish through one of its smuggling tunnels under the border to Sinai.
As part of the buffer zone plan, the Egyptian military is seizing and evacuating homes belonging to Gazans. Egypt recently began to double the size of the buffer zone, after the governor of North Sinai declared that the only way to put an end to terror in Sinai is to completely raze the Egyptian side of Rafah.
Assad: Israel operates as al-Qaeda’s air force
Syrian President Bashar Assad claimed that Israel operates as al-Qaeda’s air force in the war-torn country, undermining his rule by supporting the rebels, including the extremists among them.
“It’s very clear. Because whenever we make advances in some place, they attack in order to undermine the army,” he said in an interview in Foreign Affairs, previewed Sunday. “That’s why some in Syria joke, how can you say that al-Qaeda doesn’t have an air force? They have the Israeli air force.” The full interview was published Monday.
The embattled Syrian president said his regime has won the support of the Syrian people in the civil war, which is entering its fifth year in March and has claimed over 190,000 lives.
Assad Threatens to Fight America's Anti-ISIS Rebels
The Syrian leader also questioned talks to be held in Moscow this week, telling Foreign Affairs magazine that his government would attend but was not convinced the opposition figures taking part represented Syrians on the ground, reports AFP.
Washington has backed the Syrian opposition since early in the uprising and has unveiled plans to train more than 5,000 vetted rebels in Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey to fight ISIS.
Assad said the planned US-trained force would be "illegal" and would be treated like any other rebel group. "They are going to be fought like any other illegal militia fighting against the Syrian army," he said.
"Bringing 5,000 (fighters) from the outside will make most of them defect and join ISIS and other groups. The idea itself... is illusory," he said.
UN Security Council Condemns ISIS's Murder of Japanese Hostage
The United Nations Security Council on Sunday condemned the murder of a Japanese hostage by the Islamic State group and called for the immediate release of a second fellow national held captive.
In a unanimous declaration, the 15 members of the security body spoke out against the Islamic State group's "brutality" in its apparent beheading of self-employed security contractor Haruna Yukawa.
"The Security Council... strongly condemned the heinous and cowardly act," a statement read, according to AFP.
Top State Dept Official: ‘Nothing religious’ About Islamic State Execution
A senior State Department official on Saturday said that there is “nothing religious” about the Islamic State’s reported execution of a Japanese hostage.
Rick Stengel, an undersecretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs, took to Twitter to condemn the killing of Japanese hostage Haruna Yukawa, who has been held for ransom by the terror group along with Japanese freelance reporter Kenji Goto.
“Brutal criminal murder of Japanese citizen #Haruna Yukawa by the terrorist group #Daesh,” Stengel tweeted after the Islamic State released video of the killing. “Nothing religious about it.”
ISIS Members Celebrate Death of Saudi Monarch

5 Ways Iran Is Cheating on the Interim Nuclear Deal
In his State of the Union address on Jan. 20, President Barack Obama claimed: “Our diplomacy is at work with respect to Iran, where, for the first time in a decade, we’ve halted the progress of its nuclear program and reduced its stockpile of nuclear material. Between now and this spring, we have a chance to negotiate a comprehensive agreement that prevents a nuclear-armed Iran; secures America and our allies — including Israel; while avoiding yet another Middle East conflict.”
None of that is true. The chances of an agreement have dropped sharply, and even the most optimistic analysts do not expect a deal that “prevents a nuclear-armed Iran,” but only one that puts nuclear “breakout” out of reach for a while. Most important of all, we have not “halted the progress” of Iran’s nuclear program. Earlier this month, the Tehran regime announced that it was building two new reactors, and is thought to be behind a suspected facility planned in Syria as well.
Turkish court orders Facebook to block pages insulting Mohammad - media
A Turkish court has ordered Facebook to block a number of pages deemed insulting to the Prophet Mohammad, threatening to stop access to the whole social networking site if it does not comply, state broadcaster TRT reported.
The order, made by the court on Sunday, followed a request by a prosecutor, TRT said. A source familiar with the matter told Reuters on Monday that Facebook had blocked one page in response to a valid legal request from Turkish authorities.
The court order is the latest move to crack down on material seen as offending religious sensibilities in the largely Muslim nation, where the government of President Tayyip Erdogan is widely seen as pursuing an Islamist-leaning agenda.
Another 'Zionist plot' - Tulip seeds imported from Israel for gardens of Erdogan’s lavish palace.
The gardens of the lavish 1000-room 1.4 billion TL Presidential Palace Ak Saray has been decorated with tulips seeds originating from Israel, claims Chamber of Architects Ankara President Candan, in the latest controversy surrounding the palace.
According to Chambers of Architects Ankara President Tezcan Karakuş Candan over 100,000 seasonal tulips costing TL 400,000 have been planted at the gardens of the Presidential Palace Ak Saray. “We believe that the seeds of these are from Israel," he said, noting that 90% of the landscaping -- fruit trees included -- imported from other countries also come from Israel.
The Chamber of Architects Ankara President also noted that the gardens of the palace are decorated with seasonal plants, changing every three months. “We only looked at the tulips planted at the gardens for three months, but the cost other plants, and the requirements for different seasons we estimate the cost to cost over TL 1.5 million.”
Secret Israeli-Saudi ties likely to continue despite Abdullah's death
The tacit security and intelligence cooperation that has come to characterize Israel’s clandestine relationship with Saudi Arabia is likely to remain intact even as the House of Saud undergoes a transition of power following Thursday’s passing of King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al Saud.
“The changes that the Middle East has experienced in recent years have created a set of joint interests between the two countries,” said Dr. Michal Yaari, an expert on Saudi foreign policy and a lecturer at the Open University.
Like Israel, the Saudis are loathe to accept the radical winds of change that have swept the region, particularly the tumult that has been encouraged by Iran, the House of Saud’s chief Shi’ite rival.
“The biggest enemy for both countries is Iran, and there are also the radical terror groups like ISIS that threaten the regional order in the Middle East,” Yaari said. “It is this overall framework that has created the conditions for cooperation between Jerusalem and Riyadh.”
Saudi Arabia’s New King Helped Fund Radical Terrorist Groups
King Salman, Saudi Arabia’s newly crowned monarch, has a controversial history of helping to fund radical terror groups and has maintained ties with several anti-Semitic Muslim clerics known for advocating radical positions, according to reports and regional experts.
Salman, previously the country’s defense minister and deputy prime minister, was crowned king last week after his half-brother King Abdullah died at the age of 90.
While Abdullah served as a close U.S. ally and was considered a reformer by many, Saudi Arabia has long been criticized by human rights activists for its treatment of women and its enforcement of a strict interpretation of Islamic law.
President Barack Obama is scheduled to travel to the Saudi capital of Riyadh on Tuesday to pay respects to Abdullah and meet with Salman, who also has been seen as a moderate friend of the United States.
However, throughout his public career in government, Salman has embraced radical Muslim clerics and has been tied to the funding of radical groups in Afghanistan, as well as an organization found to be plotting attacks against America, according to various reports and information provided by David Weinberg, a senior fellow at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies.
How did Saudi King Abdullah become a world hero?
You’d think that Mandela or Gandhi had passed away, such were the poetic love letters sent by world leaders and the way the death of Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah was announced by media.
The sixth ruler of what popular Palestinian commentator Jamal Dajani calls “the medieval kingdom,” Abdullah was portrayed as a great world leader. The New York Times lauded him as a “shrewd force who re-shaped Saudi Arabia.”
“He will be remembered for his long years of service to the kingdom, for his commitment to peace and for strengthening understanding between faiths. My thoughts and prayers are with the Saudi royal family and the people of the kingdom,” declared UK Prime Minister David Cameron. He worked for “peace and prosperity,” Cameron said. Former UK leader Tony Blair claimed that the king was a “sound ally, a patient and skillful modernizer.”
Flags in England (but not in Scotland) flew at half-mast out of respect, and supposedly due to protocol, for this most wonderful and inspiring of monarchs.
US President Barack Obama spoke of a “genuine and warm friendship.” US Secretary of State John Kerry was among the most laudatory, calling Abdullah “a man of wisdom and vision... a revered leader.”

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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 18 years and 38,000 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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