Friday, November 11, 2016

From Ian:

PMW: PA TV: Israel murdered Arafat, now targeting Abbas - "the plot is renewed"
Today, November 11, is the anniversary of former Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat's death and on this occasion the PA traditionally repeats its libel that Israel murdered Arafat with poison.
This year is no exception. In a new video, which PA TV has been broadcasting several times daily the last few days, Israel "and its allies" are accused of committing "the murder with poison". In addition, PA TV suggests that Israel is plotting to murder PA Chairman Abbas as well, stating that "the plot is renewed":
Earlier this week, Palestinian Media Watch reported on similar Palestinian claims that Israel is planning to "eliminate Abbas politically and physically."
A young girl earlier this year repeated her belief that Israel played a role in Arafat's death, stating that "the Jews killed him":
JCPA: Trump’s Election Upsets the Palestinian Authority’s Diplomatic Campaign Against Israel
One of the biggest losers from the U.S presidential election of Donald Trump is the Palestinian Authority. The Palestinian Authority depended on the election of Hillary Clinton so that they could unleash a diplomatic blitz against Israel in the halls of the United Nations. “Civil society” organizations were specifically designed for the task of expelling the State of Israel from the United Nations and replacing it with Palestine. The brazen demand that Israel “return” the Dead Sea Scrolls to the Palestinians is part of the Palestinian strategy to erase Israel and inherit its Jewish heritage, much in the same vein as the PA scheme of pushing a “Palestinian Jesus.”
Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki, the architect of the diplomatic blitz against Israel, was the first to comment on the meaning of Trump’s election. In the first Palestinian public remark on the election, Malki said that he “was concerned” because Trump represented an absolute supporter of Israel. With Trump’s election, he warned, global stability is threatened.
One of the aspects of the French Middle East peace initiative that worried Israel was the intention that NGOs (non-governmental organizations) would play a leading role in that international conference. These organizations, based in Ramallah, lead the campaign of hatred against Israel. Riyad al-Malki and Mustafa Barghouti, the heroes of the anti-Israel Durban Conference, stand out as clear leaders of these organizations, and from them, the BDS movement sprang.
Iran's Threats Louder after Obama Appeasement
Chants of "Death to America" and "Death to Israel" were heard across Iranian cities as thousands of Iranians marked the anniversary of the seizure of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran and the taking of 52 American hostages for 444 days by militant students.
The State Department's reaction is classic: ignoring these developments and continuing with appeasement policies.
These anti-American demonstrations are not rhetoric, but are the cornerstone of Iran's revolutionary principles and foreign policies, which manifest themselves in Iran's support for terrorist proxies, support for Assad's regime, and the scuttling of US and Israeli foreign policies in the region.
Many other Iranian officials who were engaged in attacks against the US currently serve in high positions. Hossein Salami, who enjoys one of these high-level positions, is the deputy commander in chief of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps. He stated at the rally: "America should know that if they do not honor their agreement in the nuclear deal, we will resume uranium enrichment..."

Melanie Phillips: The uprising of the scorned
On Tuesday night, the second shoe dropped with a terrific bang.
Those of us who understood the full import of Britain’s Brexit vote last June had observed a similar phenomenon at work in the unstoppable rise of Donald J. Trump.
As his stunning victory in America’s presidential election sank in, the reaction echoed the Brexit vote aftermath. For distraught liberals, it’s the end of the world as they know it.
As with Britain’s decision to leave the EU, Trump’s victory denies the first law of the universe: that the received opinion of the political and intellectual elite – the acme of virtue, progress and reason – must always win the day because any opposition is automatically evil, reactionary and brainless.
If the people rise up against the elite and elect an unsuitable president, the elite can’t possibly be responsible. No, it must be the fault of the voters, who are as nasty and brutish as the man they have just sent to the White House.
After Brexit, liberals claimed that the people hadn’t understood what they were voting for. The implications were said to be too difficult for them to understand because they were merely xenophobic, anti-immigrant, uneducated troglodytes.
To the same kind of liberals, Trump’s victory presages the termination of decent life in America. He has been painted as a racist, misogynistic antisemite – on account of remarks which have been mostly misquoted, exaggerated, distorted or taken out of context; or attitudes attributed to him through guilt-by-association. (h/t Elder of Lobby)
Trump hails Israel as ‘beacon of hope’
US president-elect Donald Trump hailed Israel as a “beacon of hope to countless people” on Friday in his first public message to the country since his upset victory.
“Israel and America share so many of the same values, such as freedom of speech, freedom of worship and the importance of creating opportunities for all citizens to pursue their dreams,” Trump said in the message published by the Israel Hayom newspaper.
“Israel is the one true democracy and defender of human rights in the Middle East and a beacon of hope to countless people.”
He added that he hoped his administration would play a “significant role in helping the parties to achieve a just, lasting peace,” saying that any deal would have to be directly negotiated between the two sides.
Trump invites Netanyahu to White House in phone call
US President-elect Donald Trump on Wednesday spoke with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the phone and invited the Israeli leader to Washington at the “first opportunity,” according to the Prime Minister’s Office.
Trump and Netanyahu, “who have known each other for many years, had a warm, heartfelt conversation,” the statement said.
“President-elect Trump invited Prime Minister Netanyahu to a meeting in the United States at the first opportunity,” it said.
Netanyahu responded by saying that he and his wife Sara were looking forward to meeting the president-elect and his wife Melania.
Regional issues were also raised during the phone conversation, the statement said, without elaborating.
Danon: Trump will bring Israel enthusiasm to the White House
“The elected president and the people around him – some of them I know personally for many years – are committed to the State of Israel, to the security of the State of Israel,” Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday.
Danon met Donald Trump once, a few years before the real estate tycoon entered the political arena, and while Danon was serving in the Knesset.
“It was an interesting discussion,” the ambassador recalled.
“I got the impression that he is very smart and enthusiastic."
“He loves Israel, he likes the prime minister of Israel, and he also talked a lot about his family connection, his personal connection to Israel,” Danon continued. “I think that he will bring this enthusiasm to the White House.”
Trump can dismantle Iran deal if he wants, US official says
The Iran nuclear deal would fall apart if a US administration walked away from it, as President-elect Donald Trump has vowed to do, the State Department said Thursday.
Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani had argued on Wednesday that the deal — which saw world powers lift sanctions on Tehran in return for controls on its nuclear program — has been enshrined in international law.
The outgoing US administration is proud of the agreement and has no intention of dropping it, but Trump said several times during his campaign that moving away from it will be a priority once he takes power in January.
“Any party — and I’m speaking very hypothetically here, because I don’t want in any way to attempt to hypothesize about what the incoming administration’s going to do — I’m just talking purely about an agreement that any party can walk away from,” State Department spokesman Mark Toner said.
“And that will have profound consequences on the integrity of the agreement.”
Toner said that the Iran deal was not a legally binding treaty, but that the current US administration believes it is in Washington’s interest to continue it.
Iran Expert: Islamic Republic Fears It Could Be the ‘Big Loser’ From Trump’s Victory
Iran fears it could be the “big loser” from Donald Trump’s surprising victory over Hillary Clinton in Tuesday’s presidential election, an expert on the Islamic Republic told The Algemeiner on Thursday.
“I think the reactions we’ve seen from Iran — the urging of Trump to maintain the nuclear deal, the warning that he can’t roll it back — suggest that they’re worried about the fact that existing US policy, which is very favorable to Iran, could change pretty substantially over the course of the next several months,” Ilan Berman — of the Washington, DC-based conservative think tank the American Foreign Policy Council — said.
Looking ahead at what Trump’s Iran policy might be, Berman noted, “You need to figure out what’s going to change and what’s not going to change. What’s not going to change, unfortunately, is the nuclear deal itself, because even though Trump has talked a lot about renegotiating or rolling back the deal, the reality is that the lion’s share of the benefits from the deal have already been conferred to Iran. Also, the deal is multilateral, so even if the US walks away, it doesn’t mean that our partners in the P5+1 will do so as well.”
Israel preparing for one-sided UN Security Council resolutions
Some members of the United Nations Security Council are planning anti-Israel resolutions during the last days of the Obama administration, Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations, Danny Danon, told Arutz Sheva. This comes as no surprise.
The Ambassador reported that he had been alerted to a specific effort to pass one-sided, binding resolutions in the Security Council that could have serious ramifications for the Jewish state.
“We’ve been hearing for some time from various sources about attempts to take advantage of the lame-duck period after the election, and to pass resolutions against the State of Israel in the Security Council,” Danon said.
“We’re working on a number of fronts,” the Ambassador added, “including with the present [American] government and the incoming administration, as well as with other countries, in order to prevent [one-sided UNSC resolutions].”
Danon then outlined some of the warnings he had received regarding planned efforts towards a Security Council resolution. (h/t Elder of Lobby)
Trump team warns Obama against major moves against Israel at UN
Reports surfaced last week, before the Nov. 8 elections, that outgoing U.S. President Barack Obama could be preparing an unpleasant surprise for Israel, most likely in the form of calling on the United Nations Security Council to recognize a Palestinian state.
Now, with Donald Trump set to step into the White House, his aides say Obama should not even think about taking such steps, according to American political website Politico.
"On big, transformative issues where President Obama and President-elect Trump are not in alignment, I don’t think it's in keeping with the spirit of the transition ... to try to push through agenda items that are contrary to the president-elect's positions," a Trump national security adviser told Politico on Thursday. "It's not going to be just counterproductive, but it will also send mixed messages."
He added: "The machinery of government is going to have to keep grinding as best it can. But Obama and his aides shouldn't go seeking new adventures or pushing through policies that clearly don't match Trump's positions."
Israel vehemently opposes any move by Obama to secure a U.N. Security Council resolution, which it views as hostile to Israeli interests, especially if he was to ask other world powers to embrace U.S.-drafted parameters for a two-state solution.
After Trump win, officials seek Jerusalem building spree
Jerusalem City Hall will authorize the construction of thousands of new housing units in neighborhoods over the Green Line in the wake of Donald Trump’s election, officials said.
Some 7,000 housing units have been frozen due to political pressure from the government fearful of antagonizing Washington, said Meir Turgeman, the head of the Jerusalem Municipality Planning and Construction Committee.
Some 3,000 units are ready for approval in Gilo, 2,600 in Givat Hamatos and 1,500 in Givat Shlomo.
“We kept getting calls. The director general of the Prime Minister’s Office would always call the mayor and say don’t discuss these now, don’t authorize, it’s a sensitive time,” Turgeman told Israel Radio.
While much of the international community considers these neighborhoods as settlements, Israel considers them neighborhoods of annexed East Jerusalem and argues that it will be part of Israel in any negotiated peace agreement.
Trump victory could give new hope to Jonathan Pollard
Figures close to Jonathan Pollard have spoken with advisers to US President-elect Donald Trump about allowing the convicted spy to move to Israel, sources close to Pollard told The Jerusalem Post following Trump’s election.
Pollard was released from prison on November 20, 2015, after serving 30 years of a life sentence for spying for Israel. But his restrictive parole conditions now prevent him from moving anywhere for five years, even a small distance from New York.
A presidential commutation to time served could enable Pollard to fulfill his dream of living in the Jewish state. One is very unlikely to come from outgoing president Barack Obama, but it could come from Trump, who has never been asked publicly about Pollard.
“We have been in touch,” a source close to Pollard said.
“Now we wait and pray.”
JPost Editorial: Will Trump stick to his Jerusalem promise?
Will Donald Trump when president stick to his promise of moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem?
We hope so.
If he fails to it will not be for a lack of reminders. Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked called on Trump to keep to his promise when she congratulated him for his win. So did deputy foreign minister Tzipi Hotovely. Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat reminded Trump, as did Marc Zell, the head of the GOP in Israel.
If Trump follows through on his campaign promise he would be upholding existing US legislation.
In 1995, the US Congress passed the Jerusalem Embassy Act, which calls for the initiating and funding of the relocation of the Embassy of the US from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The deadline for the move was set to be no later than May 31, 1999. The act also called for Jerusalem to remain an undivided city and for it to be recognized as the capital of the State of Israel.
Unfortunately, despite passage in large majorities in both the Senate (93-5) and the House (374-37), the bill has not been implemented due to the opposition of consecutive US presidents Bill Clinton, George Bush and Barack Obama.
Each president has justified his refusal to implement the bill by claiming – under influence from the State Department – that the reversal of US policy could provoke uproar throughout the Arab and Muslim world and seriously damage US relations.
Trump advisors divided over moving US embassy to Jerusalem
Advisors of President-elect Donald Trump are divided over the question of whether the campaign pledge to move the United States embassy to Jerusalem would now be fulfilled.
“Many prime ministers of Israel have that close to their heart. Many presidents of the US have committed to do that, and he [Trump] said as well he would do that,” advisor Walid Phares said.
Then he added a caveat to the pledge.
“But he [Trump] would do that in consensus,”
Phares said. He issued the statement in an interview with BBC radio that was widely publicized by CNN on Thursday.
“The other thing he has said that we need to pay attention to, he is ready and he will immediately move to try to solve the problem between Palestinians and Israelis, something lingering for many years. It won’t be impossible for him to broker a deal between Israelis and Palestinians, at least he is going to go in that direction and not waste eight years, or at least four years for now, not doing anything for Palestinians and Israelis,” Phares said.
But a Trump advisor David Friedman told The Jerusalem Post Wednesday that one of the administration’s first moves would be to follow through on the campaign promise made last month by Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, according to which her father would move the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
“It was a campaign promise, and there is every intention to keep it,” Friedman said.
Sanders backs first Muslim congressman for DNC chair
Bernie Sanders is leaving open the possibility of another presidential bid as shell-shocked liberals focus on helping the Democratic Party rebuild after Donald Trump’s victory. But he has stepped back into party politics with support for Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison as the new chairman of the Democratic National Committee.
“Four years is a long time from now,” said the 75-year-old Vermont independent, noting that he faces re-election to the Senate in 2018. But he added: “We’ll take one thing at a time, but I’m not ruling out anything.”
Democrats have begun post-election soul searching, with Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., urging the party to embrace a more populist economic message. As some Democrats protested across the country, the party’s liberal wing began jockeying for power, arguing that Clinton’s loss could be attributed to her reluctance to fully focus on economic inequality and tougher Wall Street regulations.
The sweeping Republican gains have thrown the future of the party into uncertainty, as Democrats process the scale of their losses and try to figure out the best way to come back in the 2018 elections. The Democratic National Committee may end up being ground zero for the fight, with no clear successor in line to replace interim chairwoman Donna Brazile. She is supposed to end her position early next year, and without a Democratic president to pick her successor, the committee will hold open elections for the post. (h/t Elder of Lobby)
Elitism Isn’t Working, So We’re Going To Keep Trying It Isaac HerzogBy Isaac Herzog, Labor Party Chairman (satire)
Last year and this year brought more than their share of electoral surprises. In each case, the left-leaning media lulled us leftists into complacency by predicting a weakening of the Right, if not our outright victory. In all cases, we instead suffered major setbacks, and were properly chastened by our inability to connect with the concerns of the majority of the electorate. Going back at least to the May 2015 election that kept Netanyahu in power, it’s become clear that our elitism has repelled, rather than invited, the voters. Which means we have to keep using it.
Polls foresaw a major decline in Likud’s share of the Knesset and a spike in ours. But the elections last year showed how out of touch our side of the political map remains, the side from which the bulk of the mainstream media hails. The same thing happened when the UK Labour Party failed to unseat David Cameron, when Britons voted in favor of leaving the European Union, and now, when the US elected Donald Trump as president. In each case, the liberal elites confidently foresaw their own ascendance and ignored the signs they might be mistaken, because those signs came from the non-elite, who could be ignored because they weren’t part of the elite. We appreciate that more now, which is why we’re going to repeat that pattern.
It’s in our political DNA, after all. Ontologically speaking, the be progressive is to know better than those stodgy conservatives what is good and healthy for society, and when you know better, you become arrogant. At least we become arrogant. I can’t speak for everyone. But I don’t have to. I speak for the liberal elite, which need not heed anyone else’s sensibilities. We’re progressive, and therefore our opinions hold greater moral weight than yours. You can see how this approach might not resonate with the majority of voters. So be it. It’s who we are.
Trump Tweets Nuclear Codes in 3 a.m. Twitter War with Jordanian Troll (satire)
The U.S. nuclear arsenal has gone on emergency lockdown, after President-elect Donald Trump mistakenly Tweeted the nuclear launch codes during a Twitter fight with a Jordanian troll.
Trump appeared to mistakenly believe the troll, whose Twitter handle is @KingofJordan69, was in fact King Abdullah II, the Kingdom’s monarch. After @KingofJordan69, who was later discovered to be a 14-year-old boy from a village outside Amman, Tweeted that “I herd @realDonaldTrump has small hand and more smaller penis,” Trump unleashed an hour-long litany of Tweets. “I saw your interview on 60 Minutes – no class!! Sad!” Trump Tweeted.
After several back and forth responses, during which Trump apparently was still under the impression that he was corresponding with King Abdullah, the president-elect threatened that he “might have to nuke you,” at which point @KingofJordan69 replied, “I am on phone with @BarackObama now – he says you don’t have nuclear codes.”
In a decision that a spokesperson later acknowledged was ill-advised, Trump responded by Tweeting out several nuclear codes. The Tweets left U.S. military officials scrambling to limit the damage, with Pentagon officials declaring an hour later that the country’s nuclear arsenal has been secured.
Report: Ahead of Netanyahu Visit, Azerbaijan Seeks to Purchase Israel’s Iron Dome
Azerbaijan may be looking to purchase Israel’s Iron Dome anti-rocket system ahead of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s upcoming visit to the Shiite-majority nation, Israeli media reported Thursday, citing Azerbaijani news outlets.
A member of the Azerbaijani parliament, Yevda Abramov, reportedly claimed that Iron Dome is ready for transfer to its military.
A northern neighbor of Iran, Azerbaijan has maintained strong diplomatic ties with Israel since 1993. Strategically located beside Russia, Iran, Armenia, and Turkey, the oil-rich Caucasus state’s friendly relationship with Jerusalem includes cooperation in the realms of security, gas, and energy.
Azerbaijani President Ilhem Aliyev met with late Israeli President Shimon Peres during his 2009 visit to Baku, and a number of high-ranking Israeli officials have visited the country in recent years. Current Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman visited Azerbaijan three times as foreign minister, and his predecessor as defense minister, Moshe Ya’alon, attended a defense exposition there in 2014. Five Israeli companies participated in the exhibition, where the Iron Dome system was on display.
Netanyahu to Russian Prime Minister: Red Line Needed on Iranian Nukes, Bases in Syria
Iran must be prevented from producing nuclear weapons and from placing military bases in Syria, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Russian counterpart, Dimitry Medvedev, on Thursday.
Netanyahu spoke about the dangers facing Israel and the Middle East, with a focus on Iran, ISIS and radical Islamic terrorism, during an afternoon meeting with Medvedev in his Jerusalem office.
The Russian prime minister is in Israel for a brief visit as part of a year of events marking the 25th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries.
The desire for increased cooperation comes as Israel and Russia have stepped up coordination of military activities, particularly with respect to operation of their respective air forces in Syria.
Russian and Israeli leaders have met many times in the past two years in an effort to avoid military crises in Syria, where Russia is heavily involved in the fighting. In the past year, Netanyahu and Russian President Vladimir Putin have met four times.
Russian PM at Yad Vashem: Holocaust must be etched in history of mankind
The horrors of the Holocaust must never happen again and be perennially remembered in history, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said Friday during a visit to the Yad Vashem museum in Jerusalem.
“The memory of the six million Jews who perished in the Holocaust — an example of the indifference and the terrible crimes of the twentieth century — should be forever etched in the history of mankind,” Medvedev said during the visit to the memorial, where he was met by its chairman Avner Shalev. “Yad Vashem is a very sad place, but also a very important place to us all,” Medvedev said. “This tragedy can never be repeated.”
The prime minister was joined by a number of Russian officials on the visit. He placed a wreath at the museum’s Hall of Remembrance, visited the Children’s Memorial and signed the guest book, according to a statement released to the media by Yad Vashem.
“it is very important for us to understand the nature of the devastation of the Holocaust,” Medvedev said. “It is chilling to see sheer magnitude of horrors suffered by the victims of an entire nation, the Jewish people.”
UN to Israel: Stop shooting terrorists
The United Nations special rapporteur to Judea, Samaria, and Gaza said on Thursday he was "very concerned" by Israel's use of live fire in dealing with Arab terrorists during stabbing attacks.
"Lethal force is supposed to be used as a last resort and only when there is a legitimate threat to a security officer's life," Michael Lynk, the UN special rapporteur on human rights in Judea, Samaria, and Gaza, told AFP.
Lynk, who took over the role in March and has so far been denied a visa to visit, said this rule was "being neglected."
More than 200 Arab terrorists have been eliminated during attacks on Jews since October 2015. Dozens of Israelis have been murdered by such terrorists in the same period.
Israel has dismissed allegations of excessive force in most cases, saying its officers do only what is necessary to protect lives.
Liberman slams Arab MK for attending Arafat memorial
Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman condemned Arab Joint List chairman MK Ayman Odeh Thursday for taking part in a memorial to Yasser Arafat in Ramallah, having last month boycotted the funeral of former president Shimon Peres.
“He is not prepared to come to the Peres funeral in Jerusalem, but to speak at the Arafat memorial in Ramallah, yes,” Liberman fumed in a video posted to his Facebook page.
Liberman said he would continue efforts to oust Odeh from the Knesset, suggesting the Arab legislator should instead be “a member of the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah.”
The threat appears to be a public relations move, as Liberman, head of the Yisrael Beytenu party, has no legal means for actually carrying it out.
Military to acquire hundreds of Trophy missile defense systems
The Defense Ministry announced Thursday plans to acquire hundreds of Trophy tank protection systems in a deal estimated at hundreds of millions of shekels.
Trophy, also known as Windbreaker, is an active tank protection system designed to intercept and destroy incoming anti-tank missiles and rockets with a shotgun-like blast.
The system is the product of a collaborative project between Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and Israel Aerospace Industries' Elta Group.
The acquisition is part of the Israel Defense Forces' multi-year procurement plan.
The purchase "aims to ensure that every armored personnel carrier and tank coming off the assembly line is equipped with an active defense system," the ministry said in a statement.
Top Iranian general: Tehran gave Hezbollah missiles it used against Israel
Iran’s top general said the Islamic Republic set up a missile factory in Syria which transferred supplies to Hezbollah to use in the 2006 war against Israel.
“Iran established the missile industry for Syria in Aleppo in the past years and produced missiles and they were used during the 33-day war against Israel,” Iran’s semi-official Fars news agency quoted General Mohammad Hossein Bagher as saying.
The conflict in 2006 began after Hezbollah killed five IDF soldiers at the Israel-Lebanon border and snatched the bodies of two — Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev — sparking a bloody, month-long war. The fighting resulted in the deaths of 43 Israeli civilians and 119 IDF soldiers, and over 1,700 dead on the Lebanese side, including 600 to 800 Hezbollah combatants, according to IDF figures.
During the 34 days of fighting, Hezbollah launched over 4,000 rockets at Israel, an average of over 100 a day.
2 IDF soldiers jailed for setting fire to Palestinian woodshed
Two Israeli soldiers convicted of setting fire to a Palestinian woodshed in Nablus were sentenced on Thursday by the Qastina Military Court to 60 days in military prison, 30 days of military labor and a six-month suspended sentence.
The court also ruled that the soldiers pay 5,000 shekels (about $1,300) in compensation to the Palestinian property owner. Both soldiers were also demoted to the rank of private.
The incident occurred on Sept. 22, when the two Nahal Brigade soldiers were patrolling the area and building makeshift checkpoints to secure Jewish worshippers at Joseph's Tomb in Nablus.
As it was nighttime and the soldiers were lacking regulation equipment to light up their checkpoints, they were given gasoline and wood to set small fires for light. According to the indictment, they were left with excess gasoline that they decided to "get rid of" by setting fire to lumber by a woodshed. They were filmed by a security camera as they started the fire.
Russia accuses Syria rebels of using chemical weapons in Aleppo
The Russian military said Friday it has evidence of the use of chemical weapons by rebels in Syria’s besieged eastern city of Aleppo.
“Experts from the Russian defense ministry have found unexploded artillery ammunition belonging to terrorists which contains toxic substances,” the military said in a statement.
“After rapid analysis in a mobile laboratory, we have determined that the toxic substances in the rebels’ ammunition are highly likely to be chlorine gas and white phosphorous.”
The ammunition was discovered in the 1070 district on the southwestern outskirts of Aleppo, the statement said.
The Russian news agency Interfax said this zone was recaptured from the rebels by Syrian government troops a few days ago.
A more thorough analysis will be carried out by a Russian military laboratory accredited to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPWC), the Russian defense ministry said.
Iranian general: Trump’s threat to attack Iranian ships ‘a joke’
Iran’s semi-official Fars news agency is reporting that the armed forces chief of staff has criticized Donald Trump for his past harsh words about confronting Iranian boats in the Persian Gulf.
The Thursday report quotes General Mohammad Hossein Bagheri as saying, “The person who has recently achieved power, has talked off the top of his head! Threatening Iran in the Persian Gulf is just a joke.”
He said American presidential candidates during their campaigns “eat too much sugar,” a reference to a Farsi proverb about those who talk nonsense.
In September, Trump said Iranian ships trying to provoke the US “will be shot out of the water” if he were president.
In January, Iran took 10 American sailors prisoner after their ship veered off course into Iranian waters; they were released a day later.
Trump has strongly criticized the nuclear deal, formerly called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, reached with Iran to halt its development of nuclear weapons technology, calling it “one of the worst deals in history.”
State Dept Again Called Out for Not Saying Iran Violated Nuke Deal
State Department spokesman Mark Toner said Thursday that Iran had not violated last summer’s comprehensive nuclear deal, even though an international monitoring group said this week Tehran had more heavy water than is allowed under the agreement.
Associated Press reporter Matt Lee questioned Toner over the findings that show Iran exceeding the limit set on heavy water established under the nuclear deal. Heavy water is used in reactors and could potentially help produce fissile material for a nuclear weapon.
Toner pointed out how the International Atomic Energy Agency found that Iran had more heavy water than is allowed under the deal, but then claimed Tehran was working to correct this issue with the IAEA. He then said he would not call this a “violation.”
“Why is it that you’re reluctant to call what would seem to the average person to be a violation of the agreement a violation?” Lee asked.
State Dept. Again Called Out For Not Saying Iran is Violating Nuke Deal

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