Wednesday, August 16, 2017

From Ian:

Caroline Glick: Netanyahu’s great challenge
In recent weeks, coalition chairman MK David Bitan has told the media that Netanyahu has pledged not to resign if indicted in light of the trivial nature of the probes. Netanyahu’s ability to remain in his position, in opposition to the non-binding norm dictated by the Supreme Court in 1993, will be a function of the public’s view of him and of the investigations against him. And if Netanyahu is strong enough to stay, then his intention not to fold will have a salutary impact on the fairness of the investigations against him.
If the prosecutors realize they will have to win a case against a sitting prime minister rather than one they have already forced from office in disgrace, their decision about whether or not to indict Netanyahu will be based far more on the investigations’ findings and far less on their political views than in the past.
Although prosecutors do not care what the public thinks of them, they do care what their colleagues think of them. And if they indict a sitting prime minister and then fail to convict him while he is still in office and popular, their colleagues will not think well of them.
So it all boils down to governing. But how should Netanyahu govern? If Netanyahu follows the lead set by prime minister Ariel Sharon when he and his sons were under investigation, and abandons his political base to appease the Left, he will harm his chances of remaining in power. Netanyahu will become as unpopular as Ehud Olmert was when he was indicted. He will not avoid indictment. And he will not be reelected.
If on the other hand Netanyahu is loyal to his voters and implements the Right’s policy on Judea and Samaria – namely, applying Israeli law to Area C of Judea and Samaria in anticipation of the era that will begin when 82-year-old PLO chief Mahmoud Abbas dies – then he will not only be able to stay in office if indicted, he will win the next elections even if he is still enmeshed in criminal probes.
Gil Troy: Go Netanyahu, go – for your sake and Israel’s
Israel is enduring a moment of split-screen governing. Side by side, headlines report Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu planning unprecedented visits to South America in November and his opponents anticipating his imminent indictment.
It’s time for Netanyahu to go to his Caesarea retreat and think. He should think about his character. He should think about his actions. He should think about his legacy. And he should think about his people and his nation.
If Netanyahu and his wife are innocent of the mounting allegations against them, he is behaving appropriately. If he really stayed within the law while accepting boxes of cigars and cases of champagne, he shouldn’t quit. He should hold his ground if he really knew nothing about the submarine deal, which, more than a putrid story of bribery, threatens the state’s security by wasting money on unnecessary purchases and by exposing these superfluous submarines to Iranian chicanery through the Revolutionary Guard’s investment in the German manufacturer ThyssenKrupp.
If innocent, Prime Minister Netanyahu is morally obligated to champion the rule of law against the media lynch mob. Israel needs him to defend the principle of electoral legitimacy and stop the criminalization of politics. Our Gotcha Age is bad for democracy. Politicians should be defeated by voters at the ballot box, not slander on the Internet and in the press. We should argue prime ministers out of office, not indict them.
Ben-Dror Yemini: We must stop Raed Salah and his ilk
Sheikh Raed Salah was arrested again on Tuesday. These are his best days. He's succeeding. Three of his followers carried out the terror attack on the Temple Mount and caused an outbreak of violence; the murderers' funeral became a display of solidarity with the shahids (martyrs) not unlike Hamas's anti-Semitic rallies; a young Arab man was killed in Jaffa and a Channel 2 reporter was almost lynched while covering the funeral while nearby businesses refused to give him refuge. The impression we're left with is that Israel's Arab citizens are becoming the enemy from within.
But we ought to be careful not to give the strife-mongers and barons of incitement—the Salahs and Zoabis of the world—more credit than they deserve. There are Hamasniks among them, to be sure. But before the wounds that have a hard time healing become an incurable disease, we should remember that polls conducted in recent years show most Israeli Arabs are actually in a different place—somewhere far less violent and enraged.
According to Israeli Democracy Index, for example, 55 percent of Arabs are proud to be Israeli, and in complete contradiction to the fight their leadership wages, over 50 percent of Arab youths want to do national service. The percentage of recruits among them increases every year.
How can this gap between the polls, which give cause for optimism, and even the process of Israelization among the country's Arab citizens on the one hand, and the displays of violence and hatred on the other hand, be explained?
The libel that kills
Raed Salah, the leader of the Islamic Movement's outlawed Northern Branch, refers to himself as the Al-Aqsa sheikh, sailed on the Gaza blockade-busting Turkish ship Mavi Marmara, and for years has spoken of his vision for a global caliphate with Jerusalem as its capital. He is also the same man who for years has disseminated the false warning that "Al-Aqsa is in danger."
His latest arrest, one of dozens, presents a legal question: Has this false suggestion that Israel is somehow planning to destroy Al-Aqsa mosque shifted from being an abstract claim to being an actual weapon, considering that it has motivated vehicular rammers, stabbers, shooters and murderers in recent years?
In practice, the answer is clear: This libel does indeed kill. Quite literally. Hundreds of attacks in recent years were motivated by this falsehood.
It is enough to consider the indictments issued against the attackers, as well as their own statements and Facebook pages, to understand that this libel -- rooted in the days of Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Amin al-Husseini -- has gone beyond the point of just venomous propaganda. It has been turned into an actual weapon, the equivalent of a suicide bomber, a Qassam rocket or a gun. Those who repeat this libel over and over are akin to an attacker who pulls the pin of a grenade or starts a timer on a bomb.

MEMRI: Jordanian Writer: Arabs' Tendency To Believe In Conspiracy Theories Prevents Internal Reform
In his July 17, 2017 column, 'Abd Al-Hamid Al-Majjali, columnist for the Jordanian daily Al-Dustour, wrote that the Arabs tend to believe in conspiracy more than any other people in the world. He added that, although this tendency is partly justified, since the West has indeed interfered in the Arab countries and brought disasters upon them, it is irrational to apply conspiracy theories to all events occurring in the Arab world today, such as the Arab Spring revolutions. He warned that the tendency to resort to such theories harms the Arabs by thwarting any efforts of change and reform.
The following are excerpts from his article:
"The Arabs seem to believe in conspiracy theories more than any other people in the world and [constantly] use them to explain events, political, social and other. Such theories are reassuring and require little mental effort. They do away with logic as long as there is some ready-made concept that can be utilized and believed at any given time and in any give place.
"History is full of [genuine] conspiracies, and what causes the Arabs to resort to conspiracy theories more than other [peoples]... is the dark history of the other, namely the West, in its relations with the Arab region. The past barbarity of the West – [barbarity] that today [takes the form of] gentler intervention in our region and hides behind false humane principles – was the reason for most of our disasters, whose repercussions are still felt today and will continue to be felt [even] in the distant future...
"Although this justifies the Arabs' penchant for conspiracy theories, it is nevertheless unrealistic and irrational to explain every event as an outcome of some foreign plot hatched in dark chambers in the West... [The tendency to] ignore the real reasons for the changes and events in our lives and blame them on others keeps us from analyzing events objectively, and thus thwarts any attempt at change or internal reform, as long as [we continue to believe that] the reason for events is the other and not our own misdeeds...
The Middle East’s Leadership Crisis, and What It Means for the Prospect of Palestinian Statehood
In an interview with Eldad Beck, Douglas Feith explains why Palestinian statehood is currently impossible, and the political ailments Palestinians share with the rest of the Middle East:
With the present Palestinian leadership, the two-state solution is not realistic. Many Israelis are interested in reaching an agreement with their neighbors, since they don’t want to control areas with a large Arab population in the West Bank. The road to an agreement is via arrangements with the neighboring states—Jordan and Egypt. . . . It may [even] be that the Saudis, if they decide that they’re finished with the Palestinian Authority, will want to work with the Jordanians on a solution for the West Bank not based on the two-state paradigm. . . .
The central problem [for the whole Middle East] is the lack of political leadership. There are problems of society and religion, but I think it will be easy to deal with them if there are political systems ensuring that the broad interests of the people will be of supreme importance, and that the leaders have to give an account of themselves to the citizens. . . . But you cannot develop a democratic political system without erecting the pillars that will strengthen such a structure. It cannot be based merely on organizing elections in countries with no basis for a liberal democracy. As we saw in Algeria and Egypt, without separation of powers, a free press, an independent judicial system, private property—all pillars of a real democracy—free elections can end in anti-democratic results. . . .
[Palestinian leaders] are largely selfish and corrupt, and they have led their people into a conflict that has been going on for decades. They should have made the Jews partners, not enemies. It’s not too late to change things, but it will require an entirely new type of leadership that will take personal risks, as opponents from within the Palestinian community will use violence against them. It won’t be easy. But if countries around the world really want to help the Palestinians, they can encourage, by using aid money and other tools, the building of a Palestinian leadership that will understand that the conflict is a serious problem for Israel but an even more serious problem for the Palestinians.
Amb. Alan Baker: Jordan’s Refusal to Permit the Return of Israel’s Ambassador Is against International Law and the Peace Treaty
Jordan, like any other state signatory to the Vienna convention, has the sovereign prerogative pursuant to article 9 of the Vienna Convention, “to notify the sending State that the head of the mission or any member of the diplomatic staff of the mission is persona non grata or that any other member of the staff of the mission is not acceptable.”
However, such a move, in the present situation, would logically be out of any proportion to the nature of the diplomatic incident concerned. This especially in light of the fact that the ambassador had no involvement whatsoever in the incident and that Israel is conducting a police investigation into the incident, as required by international law and practice.
Thus, refusal by Jordan to permit the return of Israel’s ambassador would appear to be incompatible with Jordan’s obligations according to the Vienna Convention.
Furthermore, Jordan and Israel have committed themselves in article 5 of the 1994 Jordan-Israel Treaty of Peace, to maintain “resident ambassadors” in each other’s capital.4 This commitment is absolute, in fitting with the peace treaty’s preambular assurance of both parties “to develop friendly relations and co-operation between them in accordance with the principles of international law governing international relations in time of peace.”
It is in the vital interests of both countries that Israeli-Jordanian relations be put back on track. The key to protecting this relationship is to make sure that the peace treaty is strictly observed.
Israeli enclaves in Palestine – Netanyahu’s proposal to Trump
A recent report unveiled that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu advised US officials that Israel might be willing to sustain Israeli enclaves in the West Bank. The settlements would remain Israeli enclaves inside a Palestinian state. This will enable the establishment of an independent Palestinian state without dismantling Israeli settlements and evacuating their residents.
A similar proposal has been raised in the past in discussions with the Obama administration. Later Netanyahu abolished the idea knowing that it would face right-wing opposition.
A territorial enclave is an area that belongs to one state but is entirely surrounded by the territory of another state, or an area that has no territorial link with the state to which it belongs. Such enclaves are common in other countries.
The Spanish city of Llivia is located in France, surrounded by French territory. The province of Nakhchivan belongs to Azerbaijan, but Armenia separates it from the rest of Azerbaijan. In the past, West Berlin was part of West Germany but surrounded by the territory of East Germany. Inside of the Belgian city of Baarle Hertog there are territories that belong to the Netherlands. Furthermore, inside those enclaves there are territories that are part of Belgium. The Italian city of Campione d’Italia is situated inside Switzerland. The Madha district belongs to Oman and is surrounded by the territory of the Emirates. Between 1947 and August 2015 there were more than 100 Indian enclaves in Bangladesh and about 50 enclaves of Bangladesh in India.
The territory of the Russian province of Kaliningrad on the Baltic coast is cut off from the territory of the Russian state. It is surrounded by territories of Poland and Lithuania. Alaska is also cut off from the rest of the United States, and the province of Cabinda, which belongs to the African country Angola, is disconnected from the mainland. Even our Mount Scopus was, until the Six Day War, an enclave surrounded by Jordanian territory.
In all of these cases arrangements were made to ensure the connection between the mother country and its territorial enclaves.
Museum cancels reenactment of UN vote to establish Israel
The Queens Museum in New York City has rescinded its agreement to host a reenactment of the United Nation's 1947 vote that resulted in the establishment of the State of Israel, Israel's Ambassador to the U.N. Danny Danon said Tuesday.
In 1947, what is today the main gallery of the museum hosted the U.N. General Assembly, where the vote to partition Palestine into two states, one Jewish and one Arab, was held on Nov. 29.
The reenactment, initiated by Danon, aimed to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the historic event. The planned anniversary event was to have been attended by diplomats and supporters of Israel from across the globe.
Supported by local Jewish groups, Danon has been fighting the cancellation in recent days.
The Queens Museum is under the purview of the New York City municipality and is categorized a "public museum."
In June, according to Danon, museum officials informed the Israeli Mission to the U.N. that they expected to host the event in its "natural place."
Danon responds "Queens Museum boycotts Israel'
Then, as word of the event became public, the same Museum official expressed concern about feedback they received from “Palestinian friends of the museum.”
After weeks of ceasing to communicate with the Israel Mission, the President and Executive Director Laura Raicovich notified Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon that she was reversing the decision and would no longer agree to host the event. Ms. Raicovich cited a board decision not to hold a “political event.”
“We will not accept this blatant discrimination against the State of Israel and we will not let this decision stand,” said Ambassador Danon. “Celebrating the momentous decision of the UN recognizing the right to a Jewish state in our homeland is not a political event, but rather an expression of the historical and legal rights of our people,” the Ambassador continued.
Ms. Raicovich is the editor of a book entitled “Assuming Boycott: Resistance, Agency and Cultural Production.” In its description of the book, the publisher states that “Boycott and divestment are essential tools for activists around the globe.” Included in Raicovich’s anthology is an article titled “Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions: Reasons to Support BDS,” which justifies and endorses the movement’s actions against Israel.
“It is unacceptable for BDS activists to single out Israel and ban our event. I call on the Board of Directors of the Queens Museum to dismiss Ms. Raicovich from her position immediately and honor their commitment to hold this important event,” Ambassador Danon concluded.
Widow of terror victim: Our home was destroyed forever
The IDF on Wednesday demolished the West Bank home of a Palestinian terrorist who murdered three Israelis at their home in the Jewish settlement of Halamish last month.
Omar al-Abed, 19, managed to stab three members of an Israeli family on July 21 before he was shot and wounded by an off-duty soldier. He was later arrested. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called him a "beast" who had been taught to hate Jews.
According to Palestinian reports, one Palestinian was hurt during clashes that erupted between Israeli forces and local residents while the demolition was taking place in the terrorist's home village of Kaubar.
The IDF said dozens of Palestinian began burning tires and hurling explosive devices and rocks at Israeli forces. In response, the IDF used crowd-control means to disperse the rioters, the army said.
Police also said they planned to charge five members of al-Abed's family for failing to stop him from carrying out the murders. The five were arrested and face prosecution for failing to prevent a crime.
After the demolition, Michal Salomon, whose husband Elad was murdered in the attack along with his father Yosef and sister Chaya, said that she was in favor of executing terrorists.
Israeli Crowdfunding Campaign Raises 1 Million Shekels for Policewoman Paralyzed in Jerusalem Terror Attack
An Israeli crowdfunding campaign on behalf of a policewoman who was paralyzed by a Palestinian terrorist in Jerusalem last year has reached its goal of gathering one million shekels, the Hebrew news site nrg reported.
The money will go toward the purchase of an accessible apartment for 38-year-old Tsippi Yacovian — a married mother of two — in the Israeli capital.
“Once again, the people of Israel are proving the power of unity,” the crowdfunding page said. “Once again, we are standing side by side in difficult moments. Once again, we are carrying the stretcher together and leaving no wounded person behind in the field.”
Without a home adapted to her medical needs, Yacovian has been stuck in the rehabilitation wing of the Hadassah Medical Center on Mount Scopus since the September 2016 attack. Funds allocated to her by the Defense Ministry were not enough to cover the price of a suitable residence, thus necessitating the crowdfunding effort.
Watch a video telling Yacovian’s story below:
Al Jazeera reporter loses press credentials
The Government Press Office (GPO) invalidated the Israeli press credentials of a reporter for the Qatari news agency Al Jazeera Wednesday.
The reporter, Elias Karram, is an Israeli Arab citizen and a resident of Nazereth. Karram came under fire when he said in an interview with Arab media that "media work is an integral part of the resistance."
GPO Nitzan Chen said: "The whole issue of GPO cards is bound up with journalist's rules of ethics and universal fairness regarding news reporting. It would seem that an Al Jazeera correspondent, who serves as a senior field correspondent vis-à-vis news and security events, made the sharp and far-reaching comment that, 'Any Palestinian journalist should see himself as an integral part of the resistance to the occupation.' Whoever takes an active part in a political struggle should do so in the framework of the law, but without press credentials from the State of Israel."
Karram faces a hearing, during which he we be asked to explain whether he is part of the Arab 'resistence' against Israel, and how this affects his journalistic integrity.
Police arrest 72 Palestinians suspected in Temple Mount riots
Police have arrested in the past week 72 Palestinians who were allegedly involved in violent protests against Israel last month, as tensions surrounding Jerusalem’s Temple Mount compound soared.
Law enforcement officials said 43 of those arrested have been charged so far.
Police said the suspects had engaged in violent acts such as throwing rocks, Molotov cocktails and glass bottles at officers as well as shooting fireworks at them.
Officials said they had since gathered information on the suspects, and in the past week had carried out two major arrest operations, in which the 72 suspects were taken in for questioning.
“Anyone involved, directly or indirectly, in violent riots, will be arrested and prosecuted,” Jerusalem Police Chief Yoram Halevi said.
Underground barrier credited with growth in Israeli towns near Gaza
Israeli communities in the vicinity of the Gaza Strip are enjoying a surge in growth thanks to the ongoing construction of an underground barrier along the border, with families now feeling safer to live in the area, a local council head said.
Israel is pressing ahead with construction of the barrier, in an ambitious project meant to halt the threat of attack tunnels built by Hamas.
Gadi Yarkoni, head of the local Eshkol regional council, said the project is a key reason that the area is now attracting young families, after a devastating war with Hamas three years ago.
“I believe building the barrier is the right thing to do, to build in order to stop and to give an answer to the issue of the tunnels, and to the issue of the communities in the area,” he said. “The surge in development in this area is unbelievable.”
How an Underground Wall Can Save Lives - HR in a Minute

PreOccupiedTerritory: Kahlon Eyes Palestinian Death Penalty For Selling Homes To Jews As Housing Price Control Tool (satire)
Rising real estate prices have put the purchase of a home beyond the reach of most Israelis who seek to live near where the bulk of jobs are, leading the Minister of Finance to consider a measure borrowed from Palestinian law, under which sale of property to a Jew carries the death penalty.
Moshe Kahlon, who has struggled to demonstrate lasting or effective fulfillment of a campaign promise to bring down housing prices, especially for young couples and families, instructed aides this week to prepare an analysis of the effect of a Palestinian-type law barring such sales to Jews – on penalty of death – would have on Israeli housing prices.
The mechanism of such a law would be straightforward: suppression of home sales, which would cause prices to drop and make real estate affordable for those currently unable to muster a down payment, let alone decades of mortgage payments. A provision that allows the Minister of Finance, or a committee, to suspend the law could be included to forestall a permanent real estate depression.
Analysts note that Kahlon ordered the preparation of the report following the lackluster performance of his flagship initiative, a lottery to grant favorable prices on new homes to several thousand applicant households. “Kahlon is having trouble adapting his assumptions about the housing market to the real world,” explained Hillel Gershuni, a critic of government intervention in markets. “He seems not to grasp the basics of supply and demand. You can’t artificially suppress prices by law, and you can’t force homes onto market by taxing them. I guess we shouldn’t be surprised he’s looking for a top-down, imposed solution, since that’s the only thing he knows how to do.”
2 Gazans arrested sneaking into Israel
Two men from the southern Gaza Strip were arrested after attempting to sneak into Israel, the IDF reported.
The two men were unarmed and transferred two security forces for questioning.
The Gaza Strip is ruled by the Hamas terrorist organization. The enclave suffers from water and electricity shortages. The Palestinian Authority in Judea and Samaria, which had been paying for Gaza's electricity, had asked Israel to reduce the electricity supply.
Israel has begun construction of an underground wall along its border with Gaza to prevent the construction of tunnels which are used to smuggle terrorists into Israel to carry out terror attacks and kidnapping attempts.
Palestinian leadership considering more punitive measures against Hamas
The Palestinian leadership in Ramallah is considering either forcing another group of Palestinian Authority employees working in the health and education sectors in the Gaza Strip into early retirement or slashing social welfare payments allocated to the territory as a continuation of its measures to pressure Hamas to cede control of the Strip, Ahmad Majdalani, a close confidante of PA President Mahmoud Abbas, said on Wednesday.
Over the past four months, the Palestinian leadership, headed by Abbas, has cut a number of budgets allocated to Gaza by decreasing electricity supplied to the Strip, slashing Gazan PA employees’ salaries and forcing some of them into early retirement, and reducing payments for medical-related costs there.
Majdalani said Hamas has to choose between “dissolving its administrative committee and empowering the [PA] government to take responsibility in its place or bearing full responsibility for Gaza.”
“It is not logical that Hamas has a government in Gaza and we fund that government,” Majdalani stated.
PMW: Mahmoud Abbas congratulates North Korea’s Jong-un for Korea`s Liberation Day
PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas today sent congratulations to the ruler of North Korea, Kim Jong-un, in honor of the country's Liberation Day. In the statement released by WAFA, the official PA news agency, Abbas wished Jong-un "all health and happiness." His greetings did not mention the international tension following Jong-un's threat to fire missiles toward the US Pacific territory of Guam in honor of Korea's Liberation Day.
Abbas wished "the Korean people continued stability and prosperity; and that the historical friendly relations between Palestine and North Korea and their two peoples will continue to develop and grow."
Earlier this year, Abbas sent his "blessings" to the Iranian regime in honor of the 1979 Iranian revolution: (h/t Yenta Press)
Israel to bury 2 terrorists in cemetery for enemy combatants
Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman recently issued an order to bury the bodies of two terrorists who held Israeli residency in a cemetery for enemy combatants, in the first such case since the wave of terrorism erupted in October 2015.
The order follows an appeal by Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, who asked Lieberman to approve the burials of Musbah Abu Sbeih, who murdered two Israelis in an October 2016 drive-by shooting in Jerusalem, and Fadi al-Qunbar, who killed four Israeli soldiers in a January ramming attack at Armon Hanatziv in Jerusalem.
Erdan's request was based on a National Security Council decision from January stipulating that the bodies of Hamas terrorists, as well as terrorists responsible for particularly severe attacks, regardless of their affiliation, be withheld from their families and buried by Israel.
The Israel Police are holding the remains of the two east Jerusalem terrorists, who match the criteria set by the council, Erdan said.
The police generally hold the bodies of terrorists who are residents of Israel and east Jerusalem, while those from Judea and Samaria are placed in the care of the military and the Defense Ministry.
Egypt opens Rafah crossing for first time in three months
For the first time in more than three months, Egypt opened the Rafah crossing, to allow some 2,500 Gazans to partake in the annual hajj pilgrimage to Mecca.
The Rafah crossing was last opened in early May, for Gazans to return home, while it was most recently opened for Gazans to leave the Strip in March.
More than 1,000 Gazans traveled to Mecca through the Rafah crossing on Monday and Tuesday and hundreds of others are slated to make the trip on Wednesday and Thursday, according to al-Rai, an official Hamas media outlet.
Hamas officials including the Gaza Strip’s Deputy Interior Minister Tawfiq Abu Naim on Monday wished pilgrims well before they left for Cairo, where they boarded flights to Saudi Arabia, al-Rai reported.
Gaza’s Interior Ministry announced on Tuesday that Egypt would permit “humanitarian cases” to travel to Egypt through Rafah on Wednesday and Thursday in addition to allowing Gazans currently in Egypt and elsewhere to return to the Strip.
Nikki Haley: Iran Cannot Use Nuclear Deal to Hold the World Hostage
The U.S. Congress recently overwhelmingly approved, and President Trump signed into law, new U.S. sanctions against the Islamic Republic of Iran. These sanctions were in response to Iran’s flagrant support for worldwide terrorism, arms smuggling, provocative and destabilizing missile launches, and gross human rights violations. Many of these activities violate Iran’s international obligations, including UN Security Council Resolution 2231. The new U.S. sanctions were unrelated to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), also known as the nuclear deal.
Today, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani threatened that Iran would break its commitments under the JCPOA if the United States chooses to take additional steps to hold Iran accountable for its destabilizing behavior outside of the JCPOA.
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley responded to this development: “Iran cannot be allowed to use the nuclear deal to hold the world hostage. Iran, under no circumstances, can ever be allowed to have nuclear weapons. At the same time, however, we must also continue to hold Iran responsible for its missile launches, support for terrorism, disregard for human rights, and violations of UN Security Council resolutions. The nuclear deal must not become ‘too big to fail.’”
Next week, Ambassador Haley will visit the headquarters of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna to discuss with IAEA leadership the extent of Iran’s nuclear activities.
Don’t Let Iran Copy North Korea and ‘Blackmail’ US Over Nukes, Former Seventh Fleet Commander Declares
The former commander of the US Navy’s Seventh Fleet in the Pacific Ocean has warned of an even more dangerous nuclear crisis erupting with Iran than with North Korea.
“We don’t want to end up in the same situation with Iran, where we are being blackmailed,” Vice Admiral John Bird said on Tuesday.
Speaking on a conference call convened on Tuesday by the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA) — a Washington, DC-based think tank — that examined the Iranian and North Korean drives to obtain nuclear weapons, Vice Admiral Bird observed that recent US policy had “sent a signal to the world that if you have nuclear weapons, you are somewhat protected against us.”
Bird — who commanded the Japan-based Seventh Fleet in the Pacific from 2008-10 — asserted that a nuclear-armed Iran was a greater danger than North Korea, whose current nuclear saber-rattling has involved threats to launch nuclear-armed missiles at Guam and bury the “Japanese archipelago beneath the Pacific.”
Bird described the North Korean regime’s current position as a “defensive posture.” North Korea’s dictator, Kim Jong-un, is adamant that the possession of nuclear weapons is essential to his regime’s survival, but it’s not as likely to deploy them as Iran, Bird said.
Intel Report: Russia Opens Secret Military Supply Route to Iran, Violates Nuclear Deal
In what could be one of the most serious violations of the Iran Nuclear Deal so far, Russia may be involved in secret weapons deals with Tehran. The allegations were made by the German newspaper Die Welt, citing Western intelligence agencies — often a shorthand for Germany’s foreign intelligence agency Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND).
Die Welt, Germany’s most-read newspaper, published a satellite image showing Iranian military aircraft on the Russian airbase located inside the Syrian territories currently under the control of the Assad Regime. According to the newspaper, intelligence sources have confirmed the existence of a “new smuggling route between Russia and Iran” that runs through Assad-held Syria. On two occasions, Iranian planes delivered military equipment to the Russian airbase that was reportedly shipped to Russia for maintenance purposes.
Under the terms of the Obama-backed Iran Nuclear Deal Framework announced in April 2015, to which Russia is also a signee, all UN member states are forbidden from supplying duel-use, and offensive military hardware or technology to Tehran. Military deals with the Islamic Republic must first be examined by the United Nations Security Council to prevent Iran from upgrading its ballistic missiles program or boost its offensive military capabilities. These restrictions also apply to the maintenance of Iran’s existing weapons systems.
Iran reportedly building long-range missile factory in Syria
Iran is building a facility in northwest Syria to manufacture long-range Scud missiles, Channel 2 reported on Tuesday, showing Israeli satellite images of the site under construction.
On Sunday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu echoed Mossad chief Yossi Cohen's assessments that Iran is strengthening its foothold in Syria, its longtime ally, as Islamic State fighters are being displaced from the country.
Netanyahu said Israel was closely monitoring the developments and would act against any threat.
"Our policy is clear: We vehemently oppose the military buildup by Iran and its proxies, primarily Hezbollah, in Syria and we will do whatever it takes to protect Israel's security," he said.
After analyzing the images of the site in northwest Syria near the Mediterranean coastal town of Baniyas, experts said some of the construction indicated explosives would be stored there. Construction of the site reportedly began a year ago and is likely to continue through the end of 2017.
Analysts compared images of buildings said to be a rocket factory near Tehran to structures at the Syrian site, and said there was a strong resemblance between them, indicating the involvement of Iranian engineers.
Iran freezes assets of BBC Persian staff
An Iranian court order has frozen the local assets of over 150 people associated with the BBC’s Farsi-language service, the British broadcaster said on Tuesday, the latest effort by Tehran to crack down on the service’s popular newscasts.
Iranian officials and state media did not immediately report on the order, which the BBC said banned current and former staff, as well as contributors, from “selling or buying property, cars and other goods.”
The order, issued from a court at Tehran’s notorious Evin prison, only came to light when a relative of a BBC Persian employee tried to sell a property on their behalf, the broadcaster said.
“It is appalling that anyone should suffer legal or financial consequences because of their association with the BBC,” BBC World Service director Francesca Unsworth said in a statement. “We call upon the Iranian authorities to reverse this order urgently and allow BBC staff and former staff to enjoy the same financial rights as their fellow citizens.”
Kuwait Busts Terror Cell Tied to Iran, Hezbollah
Kuwait announced the capture of twelve members of a terror cell linked to Hezbollah and Iran, who had been charged with planning attacks across the nation on Saturday.
The suspects had been captured in different parts of Kuwait, Agence France-Presse reported. They had been on the run for weeks since they escaped from custody after sentencing last month. Two other convicted Kuwaitis remain at large.
In June, Kuwait’s supreme court had reinstated the convictions of the men for plotting terror attacks, which had been overturned by a lower court.
Kuwait has protested to Lebanon, where Hezbollah effectively controls the government, of training the members of the “Abdali Cell.”
Last month, Kuwait expelled 15 Iranian diplomats and shut down the military, cultural, and trade missions associated with the Iranian embassy over their support for the terror cell.
Iran has denied any involvement.
Turks celebrate 1964 napalm bombing of Cyprus
On August 8, Muslim Turkish Cypriots and illegal settlers from Turkey celebrated the 53rd anniversary of Turkey’s napalm bombing of Greek Cypriot civilians in the Turkish-occupied enclave of Kokkina in Cyprus. Mustafa Akıncı, the president of the self-styled “Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus” (TRNC), which is recognized only by Turkey, also participated in the celebrations.
In August 1964, Turkish warplanes dropped napalm bombs on Kokkina in the Tillyria peninsula, hitting residential areas and a hospital, and killing more than 50 people, including 19 civilians. Ten years later, in 1974, Turkey invaded Cyprus and has occupied almost 40 percent of the island ever since.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Greece issued a note of condemnation regarding the celebrations:
“We are dismayed to note the celebrations of the Turkish Cypriot leadership, including Mr. Akinci himself, of the 53rd anniversary of the use of chemical weapons and dropping of napalm bombs by the Turkish air force on the Tillyria peninsula. This was the first use of banned chemical weapons in the history of our planet.
“Today, when the whole planet bows to the victims of wars and such hostile acts, the holding of and participation in such celebrations is an affront to international law, to the memory of the fallen, and to the whole of humanity.”

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