Tuesday, August 23, 2016

From Ian:

Caroline Glick: Soros’s campaign of global chaos
As far as Israel is concerned, Soros-backed groups work to delegitimize every aspect of Israeli society as racist and illegitimate. The Palestinians are focal point of his attacks. He uses them to claim that Israel is a racist state. Soros funds moderate leftist groups, radical leftist groups, Israeli Arab groups and Palestinian groups. In various, complementary ways, these groups tell their target audiences that Israel has no right to defend itself or enforce its laws toward its non-Jewish citizens.
In the US, Soros backed groups from BLM to J Street work to make it socially and politically acceptable to oppose Israel.
The thrust of Soros’s efforts from Ferguson to Berlin to Jerusalem is to induce mayhem and chaos as local authorities, paralyzed by his supported groups, are unable to secure their societies or even argue coherently that they deserve security.
In many ways, Donald Trump’s campaign is a direct response not to Clinton, but to Soros himself.
By calling for the erection of a border wall, supporting Britain’s exit from the EU, supporting Israel, supporting a temporary ban on Muslim immigration and supporting the police against BLM, Trump acts as a direct foil to Soros’s multi-billion dollar efforts.
The DCLeaks exposed the immensity of the Soros-funded Left’s campaign against the foundations of liberal democracies. The “direct democracy” movements that Soros support are nothing less than calls for mob rule.
The peoples of the West need to recognize the common foundations of all Soros’s actions. They need to realize as well that the only response to these premeditated campaigns of subversion is for the people of the West to stand up for their national rights and their individual right to security. They must stand with the national institutions that guarantee that security, in accordance with the rule of the law, and uphold and defend their national values and traditions.

How the UN Enables Massacres
The Syria Campaign, an advocacy group, has put together a meticulous report arguing that the United Nations has hopelessly compromised itself by agreeing to the Syrian regime’s terms and filtering money and aid through the Syrian government. The Executive Summary minces no words:
By choosing to prioritize cooperation with the Syrian government at all costs, the UN has enabled the distribution of billions of dollars of international aid to be directed by one side in the conflict. This has contributed to the deaths of thousands of civilians, either through starvation, malnutrition-related illness, or a lack of access to medical aid. It has also led to the accusation that this misshapen UN aid operation is affecting – perhaps prolonging – the course of the conflict itself.
Alas, this is absolutely true. The real tragedy is that the UN’s decisions and compromises were eminently foreseeable. After all, Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon is simply following the precedent established by his predecessors Kofi Annan and Boutros Boutros Ghali, and their dealings with Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, alas, with the same exact results.

Khaled Abu Toameh: Hamas, Palestinian Authority Target Journalists Ahead of Election
Palestinian journalists are at the top of the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Hamas hit-list in the crackdown occurring alongside preparations for the Palestinian local and municipal elections, scheduled for October 8.
The crackdown is part of an ongoing campaign by the two rival parties to silence critics in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Neither Hamas nor the PA tolerates a free and independent media -- especially on the eve of a crucial election that could have far-reaching political implications in the Palestinian arena.
A Hamas victory in the upcoming elections would be catastrophic for President Mahmoud Abbas and his Palestinian Authority. Such an electoral outcome would be tantamount to a vote of no-confidence in their policies and performance.
Hamas, for its part, is investing a huge amount of resources in the election campaign, in hopes that the results would further boost its standing among Palestinians. Hamas fears that a defeat would undermine its power in the Gaza Strip and pave the way for its collapse.
As the election campaign heats up, it is clear that Hamas and the PA agree on one thing: intensifying their repressive measures against Palestinian journalists.
This media crackdown is essentially ignored by international human rights organizations. Why? One reason is that when Israel is not involved, assaults on freedom of the media and expression do not interest them.
IsraellyCool: Hebron 1929 – My Grandfather Never Forgot
Hebron. The media loves to talk about Hebron. Just this afternoon, as I strolled through Manhattan, Hebron flashed before my eyes. The fire engine red news ticker on the Fox News building displayed an urgent story about Hebron. Something about settlers, building permits, casualty counts. I quickly turned the corner. Hours away from the 87th anniversary of the 1929 massacre and ethnic cleansing of the ancient Jewish community of Hebron, faux controversy over building permits for Jews seemed pretty grotesque.
The stories of Arabs storming Jewish homes while police casually watched has been written many times over and I won’t elaborate on the details, but the barbaric savagery which left 67 murdered and dozens injured is beyond belief. Over a couple of days, the Hebron community was wiped out and Jews in Jerusalem, Safed, Tel Aviv, Haifa and moshavim were attacked, maimed, raped, robbed, looted and murdered in a variety of creative ways. The casualty list is a lengthy one.

This massacre isn’t just a blurb in a history book for me, it’s personal. My grandfather Rabbi Ephraim Rubin zt”l rarely opened up about his childhood in Jerusalem, but after my first trip to Israel, he shared a shocking story. He was nine in August of 1929 and his 17-year-old first cousin from Petah Tikva came for a visit, accompanied by his mother. His cousin was traveling from Jerusalem to his yeshiva (seminary) in Hebron after a break. Rumors of Arab unrest were circulating and his aunt asked her son to stay home for a few more days, but Eliyahu Yissachar Senderov zt”l was eager to get back to his learning and insisted he’d be fine. His mother’s intuition kicked in, and, increasingly agitated and upset, she ran back and forth between her sister (my great-grandmother and namesake Chaya Rochel Rubin zt”l) and the bus stop at Sha’ar Yafo hoping to change his mind. This went on for several hours, as the bus only left when full. Unfortunately, the bus filled up, Eliyahu Yissachar zt”l left to Hebron, and he was soon after brutally murdered.
Top Israeli diplomat visits secret Muslim African state without formal ties
Foreign Ministry Director-General Dore Gold, who met Sunday in Guinea with President Alpha Conde, stopped on his way back from West Africa to Israel in another Muslim country in the region with whom Israel does not have diplomatic relations.
In July, shortly after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu went to East Africa, Israel re-established ties with Guinea. A few days later, Gold went to Chad, another African Muslim state without diplomatic relations with Israel, and met President Idriss Deby Itno.
The other predominantly Muslim states with whom Israel does not have diplomatic relations in Sub-Saharan Africa are: Mali, Chad, Niger, Sudan, Mauritania, Somalia, Djibouti and Comoros.
Gold met in the Guinean capital of Conakry with Conde and 10 of his ministers. A number of Muslim countries in West Africa, including Guinea and Chad, are very concerned about Islamic terrorism, and have expressed an interest in learning from Israeli expertise on this matter.
IsraellyCool: When Death Is The Alternative, Israel Isn’t So Bad
If the alternative to “Israeli Occupation” is certain death at the hands of the Islamic State barbarians, perhaps Israel’s not so bad.
Every now and then, despite their fervent and fevered desires to paint Israel as evil, hate site Mondoweiss lets a little truth slip out, as in this quote from a Druze Arab living in the “occupied Golan heights”:
… as Syria continues to be in chaos, there is less opposition to Israel’s occupation here. People here in [the] Golan Heights identify with the state of Israel now more than before.
So when the alternative is certain death at the hands of [Assad/ISIS/Russia you choose], living as Israelis in Israel is pretty attractive even despite the “occupation”.
Why Susya Is a Case Study
Locations across Judea and Samaria often become momentary flash-points in the ongoing struggle between Israelis and Palestinians over political control of the disputed territories and in the fight for the historical narrative. In that regard, there is nothing new or special about Susya. However, the Palestinians have banded together with an international brigade of supporters, including left-wing American Jews, to turn this incident into a monumental example of the truth of their claims. So be it. Let’s have a good fight over Susya.
In 2012, Susya, located in the southern slopes of Mount Hebron, was illegally populated by a Bedouin hamula [clan] of about 300 people. Two years later, the Israeli High Court of Justice — not an institution known for pro-settler rulings — forbade the Palestinians from building more illegal structures in the area. Moreover, the High Court denied the Palestinians’ appeal to prevent Israeli authorities from demolishing the illegally erected structures, while the Israelis offered the hamula alternative land for legal settlement. On the face of it, this was a clear-cut case. Yet, the European Union and the American State Department are pressuring the Likud government not to carry out the specific orders of the Israeli High Court. A chorus of condemnation has been lobbed at the Israeli authorities by the peace-loving group Rabbis for Human Rights (for all groups but the Jews) and leftists of all kinds. Simply put, Netanyahu caved in to the pressures. The illegal Palestinian occupation continues, as does the whir of the well-orchestrated anti-Israel propaganda machine.
Historically, Susya is an ancient Jewish village that continued to exist for centuries following the destruction of the Second Temple. It was only in the seventh century that Susya, like the rest of the Jewish homeland, came to be occupied by Arabian Muslims. It is no coincidence that the names of modern-day Arab villages and towns in the Hebron area are taken from Hebrew origin: today’s Yatta is derived from the Biblical Yutta, contemporary Durrah from Adorayyim. Susya, the town’s original name, continues to be the one used by the Arabs. Long history? Yes. Irrelevant history? Emphatically not. The Palestinians and their supporters, Jews and non-Jews alike, talk constantly about history. Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator with Israel, stated that there was never a Jewish Temple in Jerusalem as the Temple to which the Jews lay claim was built by King Solomon, who, according to Erekat, was a Muslim. Erekat was not making a joke. This is the basis for the shameful UNESCO resolution declaring the Temple Mount to be only a Muslim site.
JPost Editorial: The need to respond
On Sunday afternoon, a single rocket landed in the town of Sderot, whose children are still on vacation, but thankfully no one was hurt.
Shortly after the rocket struck, the Israel Air Force bombed a couple of what the IDF termed “terrorist targets” in the Gaza Strip. It seemed like a classic case of titfor- tat, a routine that Israeli residents of the South have gotten used to over the last 15 years of rocket fire from Gaza.
But then overnight Sunday, the Israeli air strikes continued.
Dozens of targets were struck throughout Gaza, even though a small-scale Salafi extremist group took responsibility for the rocket that hit Sderot and not Hamas. Israel, the IDF later said, was prepared to continue fighting but was not interested in an escalation.
It remains to be seen, but it could be that what we witnessed on Sunday is a change in Israeli policy vis-à-vis the Gaza Strip and the rocket fire from there since 2001, when the first Kassams were fired into Sderot. Since then, close to 20,000 rockets and mortars have been fired into Israel.
Israel targeted ‘key Hamas strategic assets’ in Sunday’s barrage
In Sunday night’s bombardment, the Israel Defense Forces struck “key Hamas strategic assets” in the northern Gaza Strip, military sources said Tuesday, shedding more light on the harsher-than-expected response to a rocket attack from the coastal enclave.
After a projectile from Gaza landed in the southern Israeli town of Sderot on Sunday, the IDF retaliated with what has become the routine response of a limited strike, hitting two Hamas installations in the northern Gaza Strip, the army said.
Hours later, the IDF conducted another, considerably larger barrage, carrying out approximately 50 strikes against Hamas infrastructure in the Gaza Strip, using both tanks and aircraft.
These targets were not directly related to the rocket launch, nor were they only an attempt at creating a deterrent effect. Rather, the IDF took advantage of the opportunity presented by the attack to take out Hamas strategic assets.
'Turkey should think twice before criticizing military acts of others'
In response to a rebuke issued Monday afternoon by the Turkish government following a military strike on the Gaza Strip, the Foreign Ministry released a stern reply calling the comments "baseless," adding that Turkey had little latitude in criticizing the military actions of other nations.
"The normalization of our relations with Turkey does not mean that we will remain silent in the face of its baseless condemnations," the Foreign Ministry said.
"Israel will continue to defend its innocent civilians from all rocket fire on our territory, in accordance with international law, and according to our responsibility our conscience. Turkey should think twice before criticizing the military actions of others."
Turkey on Monday slammed Israel for its retaliatory strikes on Gaza overnight in response to a rocket attack launched by terrorists in the Strip, saying it would not desist from such condemnation despite the reconciliation of ties between Ankara and Jerusalem.
The Turkish Foreign Ministry lambasted Israel for its "hostile attitude," while avoiding any denouncement of the Gaza projectile strike that landed in a populated area of the southern Israeli city of Sderot.
Dozens of illegal guns seized in West Bank crackdown
In the largest operation of the year, Israeli security forces seized dozens of weapons, confiscated equipment and made arrests in Hebron and Bethlehem early Tuesday morning as part of an ongoing effort to crack down on illegal guns in the West Bank, an IDF official said.
In total, seven illegal gun workshops were raided and 22 pieces of gunsmithing machinery — drill presses and metal lathes — were seized, along with “approximately 50 weapons,” including handguns, shotguns, hunting rifles and Carlo-style submachine guns, a cheap and simple automatic weapon loosely based off the design of the Carl Gustav submachine gun, the official said.
Security forces also recovered ammunition and dozens of gun pieces — grips, barrels, stocks, etc. — that would have been used to create more weapons, the official added.
Two of the alleged manufacturers were arrested in the raids. The suspects do not appear to be connected to any terrorist groups, but were more likely driven by financial motives, the army source said.
“It seems to be a combination of market demand and the ability to manufacture,” he said.
Police bust forger who made hundreds of fake Israeli documents
Israel Police overnight Monday raided a document forging laboratory in the West Bank which produced hundreds of counterfeit Israeli identity cards, work permits and entry permits.
The fake documents could be used by Palestinian residents of the West Bank to gain entry to Israel.
Police, together with the IDF, followed up on an intelligence lead and uncovered the lab in the village of Akraba, southeast of Nablus. A suspect, 32, was arrested and forces seized a laptop computer, a printer, raw materials, and fake documents.
The suspect admitted to printing hundreds of forged entry permits, work permits, Israeli identity cards and driving licenses that he sold for NIS 300 ($80) each.
Palestinian residents of the West Bank need entry and work permits to cross the Green Line into Israel for work. Holders of Israeli identity cards, issued to all Israeli citizens, are permitted to cross back and forth across between the West Bank and Israel without the need for additional permits.
Israel strikes Syrian army after mortar shell hits Golan Heights
A mortar round hit a minefield on the Israeli side of the Golan Heights on Monday, causing no damage or injuries, but drawing an Israeli retaliatory strike, the IDF said.
The explosion was apparently caused by a stray shell fired during fighting in Syria, according to a military official.
The IDF said the shell struck the central Golan Heights, close to the security fence with Syria.
In response, the IAF targeted a Syrian army launcher on the Syrian side of the Golan.
The Syrian Golan has been the site of intense fighting in recent years between Assad regime forces and the Nusra Front, an al-Qaeda affiliate.
More recently, the area has seen burgeoning activity by Hezbollah and Iran’s al-Quds Force aimed at opening a new potential front against Israel in any future conflict.
A number of mortars have landed in Israeli territory as a result of spillover fighting over the last several years, raising fears among residents near the border.
JCPA: A Road to Bypass Mahmoud Abbas?
About a year ago, Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas stopped his threats to resign, dismantle the PA, and hand the keys to Israel.
He realized that the Israeli leadership is not impressed by his threats; that the Palestinian public does not hold him in high regard after more than 10 years of rule without any achievements; that his popularity has declined; and that no one in the territories pays heed to his empty admonitions.
Now, suddenly, he has changed his tune. Instead of threatening to dissolve it, he now touts the PA as an important “national accomplishment” that must be preserved at all costs without allowing Israel to destroy it.
What Is Abbas Seeking?
Near the end of his tenure, the main consideration guiding 81-year-old Abbas is to remain in power while seeking an appropriate successor, one who will allow him to retire honorably and will ensure the well-being of his family and his two sons’ economic interests.
Palestinian police beat suspect in custody to death
The alleged ringleader in the killing of two Palestinian policemen has died in custody after being beaten by Palestinian security forces, a senior local official said on Tuesday.
The officers were killed in the West Bank city of Nablus last week when gunmen opened fire on security forces.
Two of the gunmen died in the subsequent shootout.
Ahmed Halawa, the alleged leader of the attackers, was arrested by police overnight and taken to the city’s Jneid prison, Nablus governor Akram Rajub told the official Palestinian news agency WAFA.
Once there, he was severely beaten by security personnel, lost consciousness and later died, Rajub said.
“We’ll examine the incident and draw lessons from it,” he said.
Where’s the Coverage? Four Palestinians Killed by Palestinians in ‘Clashes’
Four Palestinian Arabs were killed in “clashes between Palestinian security forces and terror suspects” in Nablus on Aug. 18-19 2016, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA) noted (“4 killed in Nablus fighting between Palestinian officers, terror suspects,” Aug. 19, 2016). At least two other Palestinians were wounded during the violence. However, the fighting was not reported by many U.S. news media outlets.
JTA, citing the French news agency AFP, said that the fighting began when Palestinian Authority (PA) security forces sought to “collect illegally owned weapons” in Nablus. Four PA operatives were shot. Two, identified by Palestinian news agency Ma’an as Shibli Ibrahim Abed Bani Shamseh and Mahmoud Tarayra, later died (“4 killed, 2 injured after clashes between wanted Palestinians and security forces,” Aug. 18, 2016).
The PA is tasked with security cooperation with Israel, to include efforts against terrorist groups, as part of the 1990s Oslo diplomatic process that created the authority. Despite this requirement, PA security has a history of participating in or encouraging terror attacks, such as in Dec. 3, 2015 when a PA intelligence officer attacked and wounded an Israeli civilian and IDF soldier (“Where’s the Coverage? Palestinian Official Shoots Israeli Solider,” CAMERA, Dec. 9, 2015).
Two other Palestinian men were killed early Aug. 19, 2016 “during armed clashes when security forces attempted to arrest them,” Ma’an said. Citing an unnamed Palestinian official, Ma’an reported that the PA has launched a “concerted campaign to detain the Palestinians responsible for the shooting.”
Normalization with Israel Leads to the Spread of AIDS - Hamas Boycott Conference
During a conference held in Gaza on August 9, Hamas MP Marwan Abu Ras, former chairman of the League of Islamic Ulama in Palestine, said:
"Ask the countries that engaged in this normalization why AIDS has become widespread there. It has spread through normalization in tourism."
Former Hamas Interior Minister Fathi Hammad said:
"The future generations will continue to fight the occupier, using all means available... until we liberate Palestine from the [Mediterranean] Sea to the [Jordan] River."
The conference was broadcast live by the Al-Jazeera network.

Turkey and the Shameful Media
Turkey was already among the worst places in the world for journalists before the July 15 coup attempt provided Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan with “a gift from God” to enable him to try to crush all enemies. Back in 2012, Reporters Without Frontiers called Turkey “the world’s biggest prison for journalists,” long before the latest seizures of media companies, closures of newspapers, and arrests of editors and journalists.
Traditionally, Western democracies not only valued the importance of free speech, but were also on the frontlines of advocacy for it. And, within those democracies, the most protective defenders of free speech were journalists and the newspapers or media companies for which they worked.
No longer. Robert Ellis, a long-time commentator on Turkey whose writing frequently appeared in London’s Independent, found an article of his that had been published eight days after the coup attempt yanked because Independent editors reportedly thought that his criticism of Erdogan’s crackdown on journalists and others might offend the prickly Turkish leader and endanger another roving correspondent who wished to visit Turkey.
Turkey hits Islamic State with fresh artillery strikes
Turkey shelled Islamic State positions in Syria on Tuesday for a second day, in response to mortar fire from across the border, Turkish media reported.
Two mortar rounds hit the southeastern Turkish town of Karkamis, close to the border and facing the Syrian town of Jarablus, which is held by IS, the CNN-Turk channel reported.
Turkish artillery hit four IS positions in Jarablus with around 60 shells at 6:30 am (0330 GMT), after shelling IS and Democratic Union Party (PYD) Kurdish militia targets in northern Syria on Monday evening.
Turkish army howitzers stationed inside Turkey fired on IS targets in the town of Jarablus and PYD targets around the area of Manbij, the CNN-Turk and NTV channels reported at the time.
Russia, Israel and Iran: How the Syrian Conflict Created an Adverse Strategic Triangle
Meanwhile, Israel has stayed out of the Syrian conflict, except by providing medical and humanitarian treatment for civil war wounded Syrians, who are able to escape and cross the border into Israel. In July, Israel’s government also authorized the delivery of humanitarian aid into Syrian territory near its border.
Yet Israel and Syria are enemy nations, and the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) keeps a close eye on Israel’s border with the country. The IDF has also targeted military targets within Syria relating to Hezbollah, which is also fighting with Assad in Syria and is supported by Iran. From a strategic standpoint, the Israeli government may fear that Russia’s intervention in Syria, and now the apparent collaboration with Iran on this front, could strengthen both Hezbollah and Iran’s influence in the region.
Despite such concerns, however, Russia and Israel have been developing their own strategic cooperation in the region. In June, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with Putin in Moscow, where the two discussed issues such as the fight against global terror, the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and the Syrian civil war.
Russia’s interest in Israel has a lot to do with the more than one million Russian speakers living in Israel, as well as the two countries sharing strong economic ties, Borshchevskaya said.
“Putin also inserted himself in the [Middle East] Quartet in an effort to present himself as an impartial peacemaker, though in practice he tends to take a more pro-Palestinian position,” she said. “Most of all, Putin wants to appear important and to stick a finger in the eye of the West. He will probably work to reassure the Israelis that this incident won’t damage Russia’s relations with Israel, but it will certainly raise many questions in Jerusalem.”
Yet, in the wake of reports that Russian jets have fired at Israeli jets patrolling the Syria-Israel border, Israel and Russia have also been increasingly collaborating to prevent either country from inadvertent attacks.
Although Israel and Russia have established a successful dialogue to avoid unnecessary clashes in Syria, “one should not expect that this would fundamentally change Russia’s policies in the Middle East,” the INSS’s Michlin-Shapir warned.
“Israel is looking for a coordination with Russia for keeping safe its pilots while they are flying near Russian fighters in Syria,” Israeli of the NSSC told JNS.org. “More than that, Jerusalem is also looking for more collaboration with Moscow in any future settlement in Syria, with or without Assad.”
PreOccupiedTerritory: Obama Dissatisfied With Slow Pace Of Ceding Mideast To Russia, Iran (satire)
US President Barack Obama voiced frustration this morning at his administration’s apparent inability to hand over hegemony in the Middle East to the Ayatollahs and Vladimir Putin any faster, White House officials reported today.
Press Secretary Josh Earnest responded to press corps questioning today and noted that while the ultimate goal of abandoning US allies in the region to Iranian and Russian ambitions will still take place, the president had hoped it could happen more thoroughly by the time he leaves office in January.
“The president believes it could have happened faster, especially if he had received the cooperation of Congressional Republicans in legalizing Iran’s nuclear weapons program,” said Earnest. “As it stands, however, the retrenchment of American power in the Levant, the Persian Gulf, Egypt, and beyond is proceeding at a less-than-desirable rate, and it appears that the next administration will have to take charge of completing the dismantlement of seventy years of American successes in minimizing rivals’ influence in the Mideast.”
Earnest pointed to continuing US military involvement in Iraq and Syria, where insurgents with a goal of establishing a regime friendly to Western and democratic interests have been repeatedly admonished by Secretary of State John Kerry not to fight Russian-backed Assad-government forces. “I’d also like to call your attention to our close working relationship with Iran-backed Shiite militias in Iraq, which wouldn’t have happened under George W. Bush,” he stated. “Our original timetable called for a complete betrayal of our traditional allies and of liberal forces in the region by October of this year, but that may have been based on an assessment with unwarranted optimism. At this point, the president does not see a total abandonment of Israel, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, moderate Iraqi forces, the Kurds, and moderate Syrian rebels taking place this year.”
Former Pentagon Analyst: As in Past, Iran Seeking to Humiliate US With Accusations of Nuclear-Deal Violations (INTERVIEW)
Recent accusations by top Iranian officials that the US has violated last year’s nuclear agreement merely represent a continuation of a longstanding Iranian policy of “humiliating” the US, a Middle East expert and former Pentagon analyst told The Algemeiner on Monday.
Harold Rhode, an expert on Islamic culture who worked for the Pentagon for 28 years, was referring to the latest Iranian claims that America is not abiding by the terms of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), reported by Iranian regime-aligned news agency Tasnim on Sunday.
According to the report, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, an adviser to the speaker of the Iranian parliament, said, “Iran proved its honesty to everyone, but the US reneged (on the agreement) as usual and like (it did) in the past.”
Last month, as The Algemeiner reported, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani threatened that Iran would withdraw from the JCPOA if the US did not live up to its commitments.
“Without understanding Iranian culture, it is impossible to understand what is going on,” Rhode said. “Nothing is in and of itself. The way negotiations work among Iranians is that an agreement as we understand it means nothing. It is nothing more than a step along the way to getting what they want.”
State Dept Warns: Iran Seeking to Capture U.S. Citizens
The State Department issued a warning on Monday urging U.S. citizens to avoid traveling to Iran, which has made the detention of Americans a priority.
The latest travel advisory, which emphasizes Iran’s desire to capture U.S. citizens, comes on the heels of a growing scandal over the Obama administration’s decision to pay Iran $400 million in cash on the same day that it freed several U.S. hostages.
The payment has been cast by lawmakers and others as a ransom payment and prompted concern among U.S. officials that Iran is making arresting Americans a priority.
The travel warning is meant to “highlight the risk of arrest and detention of U.S. citizens, particularly dual national Iranian-Americans,” according to a State Department announcement on Monday. “Foreigners, in particular dual nationals of Iran and Western countries including the United States, continue to be detained or prevented from leaving Iran.”
“U.S. citizens traveling to Iran should very carefully weigh the risks of travel and consider postponing their travel,” the warning adds. “U.S. citizens residing in Iran should closely follow media reports, monitor local conditions, and evaluate the risks of remaining in the country.”
State Dept Still Insists There Is ‘No Evidence’ Video Edit Was Made for Deceptive Reasons
Toner repeated that the agency did not know how or why the edit occurred, even after its “honest appraisal” of the edit.
“When Admiral Kirby stated that there was quote, no evidence to indicate why this call was placed, that was false, wasn’t it?” Rosen asked. “There was some evidence, and in fact, the mention of me and Iran appears in a section of the report entitled Evidence of Purposeful Editing. So there was not no evidence, was there?”
Toner said Kirby was trying to convey that there was no “smoking gun” that the edit was done with malicious intent, but Rosen charged again that Kirby said “no evidence.”
“We can’t rule out that that was in fact the basis for the request, correct?” Rosen asked.
“I think we can’t rule in or out anything,” Toner said.
State Dept Doesn’t Know Who in Iran Picked Up $400 Million
The State Department revealed in a press briefing Monday that they do not know who in Iran picked up the $400 million that the Obama administration airlifted to Iran as leverage to get American hostages released.
State Department spokesman Mark Toner said that while he did not know who picked up the $400 million that was flown to Iran, he said that the Obama administration does.
“Do you know who picked up the money?” Associated Press reporter Bradley Klapper asked.
“I don’t,” Toner said, triggering some confusion between him and Klapper.
“Who’d you pay?” Klapper asked.
“I believe it was Iranian officials and Iranian government officials, but I don’t know particularly who individually it was,” Toner said.
“Do you know from which part of the Iranian government you paid?” Klapper asked.
“I don’t have that information, no,” Toner said.
Earnest Spends Eight Minutes Dodging on the Difference Between Leverage and Ransom
Earnest apologized to the reporter and said that he was not trying to ding the press corp. He then addressed the definition of “ransom,” which he does not believe occurred in the money payment to the Iranian regime
“The notion of a ransom is often perceived as paying money in exchange for the release of unjustly detained individuals. That’s not what occurred here,” Earnest said. “What occurred here was a mutual prisoner release. Iran released four American citizens who were being unjustly detained in Iran and we brought them home. The United States released seven individuals who had been convicted of crimes who were being held here in the United States.”
A reporter then asked Earnest to define “leverage” since he just talked about ransom. Earnest responded by saying that he did not use the term. The reporter then asked Earnest if he was “proud” that leverage was used to describe the agreement since Earnest had previously said he was proud of the deal.
Earnest continued to disavow the term “leverage” throughout the remainder of the exchange and said that he was proud of the agreement because four unjustly detained American citizens were brought home safely.
State Department spokesman John Kirby told reporters last week that the money given to Iran was used as “leverage” to ensure that the plane carrying the U.S. prisoners could leave Iran to come back to the United States.

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