Thursday, October 19, 2017

From Ian:

Alan M. Dershowitz: Why Are So Many Claiming That Iran Is Complying with the Deal, When Evidence Shows They Aren't?
Yet, even if Iran were to comply with the letter of the nuclear agreement, it would still be able to build up a vast nuclear arsenal within a relatively short timeframe. The approach adopted by the Trump administration – articulated in a statement delivered by the president several days ago – is justified by the realities on the ground. By announcing that he is decertifying Iran's compliance with the nuclear agreement, President Trump is giving Congress 60-days to act. Not only is President Trump giving the United States back some of its leverage, but he is also sending a powerful message to the rogue leaders in Iran and North Korea – who are believed to have cooperated on missile technology – that the era of containment and deterrence policies is over. The United States is returning to its original mission of prevention.

Interestingly, in the aftermath of President Trump's address, the Saudi Press Agency reported that King Salman called the U.S. President to offer his support for America's more "firm strategy" on Iran and commitment to fighting "Iranian aggression." Israel's Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, offered similar praise for the new U.S. posture, saying in a statement that President Trump "has created an opportunity to fix this bad deal, to roll back Iran's aggression and to confront its criminal support of terrorism." It is no secret that these two previously discordant states are now cooperating in unprecedented ways as they try to counter the threat posed by a nuclear Iran. When Israel and the Gulf States are on the same page, the world should listen.

There are those that argue that by decertifying, President Trump has undercut American credibility and sent a message to the world that it can't count on one American president following through on deals made by his predecessor. But the fault for that lies squarely with President Obama who refused not only to make his deal a binding treaty, but also to seek any congressional approval – both of which would have assured greater continuity. He knew when he signed the deal that it could be undone by any future president.

The goal, of course, is not to undo the deal but rather to undo its sunset provision and to make Iran keep the commitment it made in the prologue: never to obtain "any nuclear weapons."

The available evidence now strongly supports the conclusion that Iran is not keeping that commitment: that it is determined to develop a nuclear arsenal capable of being mounted on intercontinental ballistics missiles. If the current deal is not changed, it is likely that Iran will become the new North Korea – or worse – before very long.
The Big New Palestinian Lie
It is precisely the inflammatory speech of Abbas and his senior officials, expressed at every possible podium, which has been trying to turn the conflict into a religious one.

If any side has turned the conflict into a religious one, it is the Palestinian side, which has long depicted Jews as sons of monkeys and pigs, enemies of Allah, and killers of prophets. When Abbas and other Palestinians accuse Jews on a daily basis of "storming" and "desecrating" the Al-Aqsa Mosque, they are firing the first shots in their religious war against Israel and the Jews.

By turning the conflict into a religious one, the Palestinians are hoping to avoid any discussion about important issues such as security, borders, the status of Jerusalem, anti-Israel incitement and assaults on public freedoms under the Palestinian Authority and Hamas. Palestinian leaders do not feel comfortable discussing any of these issues; that is why they prefer to make the debate appear as if it is about religious issues.
PMW: Mass murderers honored at Palestinian University
Students at the Palestinian Al-Quds Open University (Dura branch) were welcomed this week at a reception for new students by a large banner teaching them who Palestinian "heroes" are. Students looked up to see a huge banner on stage with pictures of founders and heads of terror organizations who are responsible for the deaths of many hundreds of Israelis:
Abu Ali Mustafa, head of PLFP
Fathi Shaqaqi, founder of Islamic Jihad
Ahmad Yassin, founder of Hamas
Yasser Arafat, former PLO and PA Chairman
Salah Khalaf, head of Black September
Abu Jihad, head of the PLO terror organization's military wing

Ahmad Yassin was the founder and leader of Hamas and was responsible for dozens of suicide bombings on buses, on streets and in cafés in which hundreds of Israelis were murdered.

Abu Jihad (Khalil Al-Wazir) headed the PLO terror organization's military wing and planned many deadly Fatah terror attacks in the 1960's - 1980's. These attacks, which murdered a total of 125 Israelis, included the most lethal in Israeli history - the hijacking of a bus and murder of 37 civilians, 12 of them children.

Salah Khalaf headed the terror organization Black September, a secret branch of Fatah established by Yasser Arafat. Attacks he planned included the murder of 11 Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics (Sept. 5, 1972) and the murder of two American diplomats in Sudan (March 1, 1973).

The banner at Al-Quds Open University included the logo of the university's branch of Fatah's student movement Shabiba that includes the slogan: "From the sea of blood of the Martyrs (Shahids) we will create a state," as well as the PA map of "Palestine" that presents all of Israel as "Palestine" together with the PA areas in the colors of the Palestinian flag. The logo of Al-Quds Open University also appeared on the banner, next to an additional PA map of "Palestine" in the colors of the Palestinian flag.

Israel called 'child murderers' at Inter-Parliamentary Union, may quit
Days after Israel announced its departure from UNESCO, the Knesset is weighing whether to remain in the Inter-Parliamentary Union, Zionist Union MK Nachman Shai said on Thursday.

Shai’s comments came a day after the Knesset delegation he led walked out of the IPU’s 137th Assembly in St. Petersburg, Russia, after its president did not give MKs their full speaking time and allowed representatives of Arab countries to disrupt them and shout accusations against Israel. In addition, the IPU Committee on Human Rights of Parliamentarians called on Israel to release terrorists from prison.

“We need to check our relations with the organization,” Shai said. “It could be that under the surface they accept anti-Israel agendas. We’ll see in the future.”

Shai expressed disappointment, because Israel has had a longstanding relationship with the IPU, even hosting delegates at a water-technology conference last month.

“We are trying to promote a civil agenda, to help citizens. If they’re becoming political, we have to decide how to proceed. Next time we will approach the IPU differently,” he said.

During the conference, Kuwait’s Parliament speaker shouted at the Israeli delegates: “You are child murderers!” He also called them “representatives of the occupying parliament, representatives of the most dangerous terrorism,” and loudly told them to leave.
He then posted a video on his social media accounts edited to look as if the MKs walked out immediately after he demanded they do so, when in fact they left later, after delegates banged on their tables to drown out Haskel as she addressed the assembly.
The delegation said it left because of anti-Israel resolutions authorized by the IPU. Those included a call to release terrorists Marwan Barghouti and Ahmed Saadat from prison and criticism of Israel for arresting members of the Palestinian National Assembly who were involved in terrorism.
A marriage of inconvenience
The Hamas-Fatah reconciliation is a marriage of inconvenience that is unlikely to be consummated.

There may have been a lot of dancing and hugging and kissing with last week’s betrothal announcement, but the two parties are a long way from agreeing on a pre-nup. It’s something they’ve repeatedly tried and consistently failed to do in the past.

Egypt was the matchmaker in this loveless marriage.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Sisi’s intelligence ministry brokered the deal as part of Egypt’s effort to reestablish its leadership in the Arab world. Reconciliation between the rival factions is very popular on the streets of Gaza and the West Bank; not so much among leaders reluctant to surrender or even share power.

That’s even before getting to the question of how Israel will respond to a unity government of the Islamist Hamas and secular Fatah – Israel’s uneasy negotiating partner for several decades – meant to politically link the West Bank and Gaza.

The announcement last week in Cairo was a vague declaration of intent. What’s missing is a marriage contract setting forth the rights and responsibilities of the couple. In anticipation of the agreement, Hamas handed over civil control of Gaza, which it seized from Fatah in a bloody civil war 10 years ago. Fatah had won the 2006 parliamentary election, promising to replace Yasser Arafat’s corrupt and incompetent rule with clean government. It failed dismally and wanted to be rid of that responsibility.

Governing is not Hamas’ forte; it is a terrorist organization that has fought three wars with Israel, fired thousands of missiles, launched hundreds of terrorist attacks and killed scores of Israelis.

It has shown no real signs of change. Earlier this year Hamas reiterated its long-standing goal of “liberating Palestine from the river to the sea.

How can the two longtime enemies merge? Palestinian president and Fatah chairman Mahmoud Abbas demands Hamas disarm and accept the principle of “one authority, one law, one weapon” – his. Hamas, he said, wouldn’t be allowed to keep its army or weapons and must submit to the rule of a single government.
US envoy: Hamas must disarm under Palestinian unity deal
A week after rival Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah signed a reconciliation agreement, U.S. President Donald Trump's special envoy to the Middle East said Thursday that if Hamas wants to play a role in any Palestinian government, it must renounce violence and commit to peaceful negotiations with Israel.

Jason Greenblatt's statement Thursday was the first American comment on the advancing Palestinian reconciliation efforts and echoed Israeli demands.

"Any Palestinian government must unambiguously and explicitly commit to nonviolence, recognize the State of Israel, accept previous agreements and obligations between the parties – including to disarm terrorists – and commit to peaceful negotiations," Greenblatt said in a statement.

"If Hamas is to play any role in a Palestinian government, it must accept these basic requirements," he added. Hamas has always refused similar demands in the past.
Netanyahu hails US demand that Hamas renounce terror, recognize Israel
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday hailed the US administration for rejecting any Palestinian government in which Hamas plays a role as long as the terrorist group refuses to recognize Israel and disavow violence.

“I am happy that Jason Greenblatt, President [Donald] Trump’s envoy, made it very clear that Hamas must be disarmed, recognize Israel and uphold previous international decisions,” Netanyahu said at ceremony marking 100 years since the death of pre-state underground fighter Sarah Aaronsohn in Zichron Yaakov.

Greenblatt’s statement reiterated that any Palestinian government “must be committed to these principles,” Netanyahu went on. “We want peace. We want a real peace, and exactly because of that we will not conduct negotiations with a terrorist organization in a diplomatic disguise.”

Meanwhile, Greenblatt has traveled to Egypt “to meet with senior officials about the status of reconciliation” between Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah party and the Hamas terror organization, a senior US official said Thursday.

Washington is “closely monitoring the reconciliation efforts,” which were signed last week in Cairo, the official said.
Hamas accuses America of 'blackmail' after US backs Israel on Palestinian unity deal
Hamas on Thursday accused the US of “blackmail” and “blatant intervention in Palestinian affairs” after a statement from US Middle East Envoy Jason Greenblatt demanded Hamas commit to his understanding of the Quartet principles if it would like to participate in the governance of a future Palestinian state.

“Hamas rejects the attempts at blackmail and American bias in favor of Israeli positions… which represent a blatant intervention in internal Palestinian affairs and aim to obstruct reconciliation,” Hamas said in an official statement on its website.

Hamas and Fatah recently relaunched efforts to advance national reconciliation. Last week, the two rival parties reached a deal to restore the Palestinian Authority’s governing authority in the Gaza Strip. However, the two have a long road ahead of them until they can say they have actually achieved reconciliation. In addition to implementing last week's agreement, they need to come to a consensus on several other complex issues.

Hamas also said that, despite Greenblatt’s statement, it would continue its efforts to advance reconciliation.

“The movement affirms it will move forward with the implementation of all the steps of reconciliation and will not pay attention to any attempt to destroy or impede this process,” the statement added.
Egypt scrambles to dwarf 'secret' clauses in Hamas-Fatah deal
Senior Egyptian officials on Wednesday scrambled to downplay the controversy over alleged secret clauses in the Hamas-Fatah reconciliation deal that seek to pave the way for former Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal to succeed Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas as the next president of the Palestinian Authority.

Israel Hayom reported Tuesday that Hamas' decision to seek rapprochement with its rival Fatah faction was driven by more than a desire to end the decade-long Palestinian rift and was, in fact, part of a ruse to set in motion a process that would allow Hamas to overrun the West Bank.

On Tuesday, several Fatah officials vowed to thwart the deal if reports of the secret clauses turn out to be true, saying they will not allow Hamas to integrate into the Palestine Liberation Organization and Fatah and usurp positions of power.

A senior Egyptian official confirmed to Israel Hayom Wednesday that Cairo has relayed messages to senior Fatah and Hamas officials to keep a low media profile and refrain from making any statements about the articles of the deal or the existence of any secret appendices, to prevent a situation when the reconciliation fails before the ink on the papers has even dried.

An aide to Abbas said Wednesday that the Palestinian president, who was scheduled to visit the Gaza Strip on Nov. 1, has decided to postpone the visit at the request of Egyptian intelligence officials involved in hammering out the deal.
Why Real PA Unity Won't Happen
The conflict between the PA and Hamas boils down to beards. Hamas security personnel are almost always bearded, while the PA's security personnel sport no beards. A bearded security officer means that the political entity he serves is or aspires to be a theocratic state. A non-bearded member of an official security force means that the state he serves is secular and most certainly anti-theocratic.

Even absent the crucial religious element, the PA/Fatah-Hamas standoff is a bitter zero-sum game and the prospects of true Hamas-Fatah unity are negligible.

In Egypt during the "Arab Spring," it was clear from the beginning to the Egyptian army that the Muslim Brotherhood must be confronted at all costs. The episode ended in zero-sum fashion with President Sisi emerging all-powerful, and Muslim Brotherhood President Morsi locked in jail.

The common denominator is that one side was totally victorious and the other totally defeated. Only a similar showdown in Gaza can decide between PA and Hamas rule.
But it is doubtful whether the Fatah-led PA can muster the strength to make a true bid for absolute power in Gaza, and even more unlikely that it will win a shootout.
Clifford D. May: Trump's third way
U.S. President Donald Trump made a tough call last week. European diplomats and an "echo chamber" in the mainstream media were insisting he "recertify" the nuclear weapons deal his predecessor inked with Iran's rulers in 2015.

But Trump did not do that. He has said repeatedly that the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action fails to do what it was meant to do: stop – not just delay – Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.

Instead and perversely, the deal legitimizes, enriches and emboldens a regime openly dedicated to the defeat of America and its allies. How could he now tell Congress that the deal is "vital to the national security interests of the United States"?

So why not just scuttle the deal as Iran hawks have been urging? A number of reasons, but prominent among them: Iran's rulers would have cast themselves as victims. "We've kept our part of the bargain and this is how we're treated by America's rogue president!" they'd have cried. Other nations committed to the deal would have taken their side. The Atlantic alliance would have been more divided – a clear win for Iran.

In the end, Trump settled on a third option. He declined to recertify the deal but did not abrogate it – for the present. He set in motion a process to correct the agreement's worst flaws. The odds are against that outcome but now it's at least within the realm of the possible.
US tells Security Council to look beyond nuke deal, punish Iran for terror
US Ambassador Nikki Haley urged the UN Security Council on Wednesday to adopt the Trump administration’s comprehensive approach to Iran and address all aspects of its “destructive conduct” — not just the 2015 nuclear deal.

She told the council that Iran “has repeatedly thumbed its nose” at council resolutions aimed at addressing Iranian support for terrorism and regional conflicts and has illegally supplied weapons to Yemen and Hezbollah militants in Syria and Lebanon.

“Worse, the regime continues to play this council,” Haley said. “Iran hides behind its assertion of technical compliance with the nuclear deal while it brazenly violates the other limits of its behavior, and we have allowed them to get away with it.”

“This must stop,” she said.

Haley cited a long list of Iranian violations, including threatening freedom of navigation in the Gulf, cyber-attacks, imprisonment of journalists and other foreigners, and abuses of its people by persecuting some religions and imprisoning gays and lesbians.

She called Iran’s “most threatening act its repeated ballistic missile launches including the launch this summer of an ICBM enabling missile.”
U.S. Amb. Nikki Haley Tells UN: "Nearly Every Threat to Peace and Security in the Middle East Is Connected to Iran"
Thank you, Mr. President.
Our goal in discussing the Middle East is to work on peace, security, and human rights for the region. We can’t talk about stability in the Middle East without talking about Iran. That’s because nearly every threat to peace and security in the Middle East is connected to Iran’s outlaw behavior.

For the international community’s engagement with Iran, this is a time of clarity and opportunity. The United States has now embarked on a course that attempts to address all aspects of Iran’s destructive conduct, not just one aspect. It’s critical that the international community do the same.

Every six months, the Secretary-General delivers a report on the implementation of Security Council Resolution 2231, which the Council unanimously passed. The report has always noted the IAEA’s findings that Iran is implementing the nuclear deal. But then it goes on: it lists the regime’s multiple, flagrant violations on the resolution’s non-nuclear provisions. Every six months, the Security Council is presented with this laundry list of bad news, but somehow manages to only hear the good news. Some countries, to their credit, have called out Iran for its malign behavior. But as a Council, we’ve adopted a dangerously short-sighted approach.

Judging Iran by the narrow confines of the nuclear deal misses the true nature of the threat. Iran must be judged in totality of its aggressive, destabilizing, and unlawful behavior. To do otherwise would be foolish.

This clarity brings opportunity. It gives the Council the chance to defend its integrity. It gives us the chance to work together as a community of nations to uphold the provisions of resolutions we have all worked so hard to pass. The Security Council has repeatedly passed resolutions aimed at addressing Iranian support for terrorism and regional conflicts. But Iran has repeatedly thumbed its nose at those efforts.

U.S. Treasury Ramps Up Sanctions on Iran
The IRGC's control over large portions of the Iranian economy furthers its ability to support these groups and enrich its members.

In order to deny the IRGC the resources and financing it needs to spread instability, we must and we have been engaging our allies and partners, including those in the private sector.

We have consistently raised concerns regarding the IRGC's malign behavior, the IRGC's level of involvement in the Iranian economy, and its lack of transparency. We have pointed out that the IRGC continues to be an integral part of the Iranian economy, including in the energy, construction, mining, and defense sectors.

And as we have urged the private sector to recognize that the IRGC permeates much of the Iranian economy, we have told them that those who transact with IRGC-controlled entities do so at their own risk.

Our fight against Iran's malign activities extends beyond the IRGC. We will continue to aggressively target other organs of state power in Iran that foment instability and support terrorism.

Likewise, we have been pressing Iran to implement a rigorous and effective anti-money laundering and counter financing of terrorism regime that promotes transparency, forcing it to stamp out terrorist financing and corruption or be excluded from the international financial system.

We will continue to hold Iran accountable to its Financial Action Task Force action plan, and if it fails to meet its commitments, will call on FATF countermeasures to be re-imposed. As long as Iran fails to adequately criminalize terrorist financing, it should remain on the FATF's black list.

We will also continue implementing new measures to pressure Iran to cease its support for terrorism, human rights abuses, and promotion of regional instability for the benefit of international peace and security and also for the Iranian people, who, as the President said, have paid a heavy price for the violence and extremism of its leaders.

And in all of this important work we will continue working very closely with our great ally Israel to constrain this dangerous organization.
Getting tough on Iran without leaving the nuclear deal
On October 13, US President Donald Trump announced his decision not to certify the JCPOA, in contrast to his previous two decisions to certify the deal. Instead, he declared, the administration would work with Congress and US global and Middle East allies to address the flaws surrounding the deal, as well as other aspects of Iran’s behavior, widely perceived to be threatening and destabilizing. This position was reached following the administration’s policy review on Iran, underway over the past nine months, and outlines a new approach that began to emerge already with the statement in April 2017 by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson – delivered the day after Trump certified the JCPOA for the first time – which sketched in broad strokes the direction of US policy on Iran.

Perhaps the most notable feature of the new policy is that it covers the entirety of Iran’s behavior that is viewed negatively by the US, beyond the nuclear program: Iran’s missile program, support for terror, and regional aspirations that threaten the national security interests of the US and its allies in the Middle East. In so doing, the administration has ended the approach of the Obama administration that sought to create a divide between the nuclear and regional manifestations of Iran’s conduct, claiming that the nuclear deal “was working,” and that it was never meant to address other issues. In contrast, the Trump administration has emphasized that the JCPOA did not achieve its objective of a non-nuclear Iran, and that the deal is only one component of overall US policy toward Iran. The message is that there is a connection between the different manifestations of Tehran’s nuclear and foreign policies, and that all must be dealt with in tandem in order to confront effectively the threats and regional challenges posed by Iran.

Also of significance is that Trump signaled that the US administration will no longer refrain from pushing back against Iran’s aggressions and provocations for fear of Iran exiting the nuclear deal. In fact – in a somewhat surprising move – Trump included his own threat of leaving the deal. He stated that if in cooperation with Congress and US allies the administration cannot reach a satisfactory solution to the problems he delineated, he would cancel US participation in the deal. The specific context seems to direct the threat primarily to Congress and US allies in an effort to urge them to work with the administration to amend the deal. However, it is also clearly a message to Iran that the administration is no longer deterred by Iran’s threats of leaving the deal.
Iran guards vow to boost missile program in defiance of US pressure
Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps on Thursday vowed to accelerate its controversial ballistic missile program, a day after the US urged the international community to follow the Trump administration’s footsteps and confront Iran over its “destructive conduct” across the Middle East.

“Iran’s ballistic missile program will expand and it will continue with more speed in reaction to Trump’s hostile approach towards this revolutionary organization,” the IRGC said in a statement published by the semi-official Tasnim news agency and translated by Reuters.

The Guard’s statement also blamed the “Zionist regime” along with the White House for implementing “devastating” policies in the region.

On Wednesday, US Ambassador Nikki Haley urged the UN Security Council to adopt the Trump administration’s tough approach to Iran and address all aspects of its “destructive conduct” — not just the 2015 nuclear deal. The Trump administration has threatened to label the IRGC, a hardline militant organization that operates outside the Iranian army at the behest of the country’s supreme leader, as a terror group.
German officials: Iran working to build nuclear-armed missiles
German security officials have accused the Iranian regime of pursuing its goal to build missiles armed with nuclear warheads, the Berlin daily Der Tagesspiegel reported.

“Despite the nuclear agreement [reached with world powers in July 2015], Iran has not given up its illegal activities in Germany. The mullah regime also made efforts this year to obtain material from [German] firms for its nuclear program and the construction of missiles, said security sources,” Der Tagesspiegel wrote on Friday.

The paper added, “Iran has [according to the security sources] clearly not given up its long-term goal to become an nuclear power that can mount nuclear weapons on rockets.”

The article by the paper’s security correspondent Frank Jansen cited Iran’s proliferation activities in North Rhine-Westphalia and the drop in acquisition attempts from 141 in 2015 to 32 in 2016. The majority of Iran’s procurement activities in the state were for its ballistic missile program.
What do North Korean Nukes Have to Do with Israel?

Russia rebukes US, Israel for focusing on Iran at Security Council meeting
The Russian ambassador to the United Nations took the US and Israel to task on Wednesday for focusing on Iran during a UN Security Council meeting whose agenda called for a discussion of the Mideast “including the Palestinian question.”

US ambassador Nikki Haley and Israeli envoy Danny Danon both targeted Iran during the meeting, with Haley accusing Iran of “aggressive, destabilizing and unlawful behavior” and urging the Security Council to adopt the Trump administration’s comprehensive approach to the country instead of looking solely at its compliance with the nuclear deal.

Danon had highlighted Iranian support for terror around the world.

“Russia is openly concerned by the fact the Israeli and US delegations didn’t even utter the word ‘Palestine’. This is alarming and saddening because we don’t see any progress whatsoever in the field of Israeli-Palestinian settlement and, more than that, we don’t hear even references to it — something that doesn’t inspire optimism by any means,” Vassily Nebenzia said, according to the Kremlin’s Tass news agency.

Nebenzia said that threats in the Middle East “should not obscure the priority for us to resolve the Palestinian issue because it is fundamental if we want to normalize the situation in the region long-term.”
New York Times Pulls Out All the Stops to Push Iran Deal
Seven to two is the lopsided score of opinion pieces the New York Times has published this month about the Iran nuclear deal.

That’s seven pieces in favor of President Donald Trump keeping the deal, and just two that oppose it, by my count.

As a press critic, I sometimes get feedback that I should focus my attention on the Times news columns rather than its opinion section. After all, how can you have a biased opinion? Opinions are supposed to be opinionated.

Even so, it’s hard to see the unprecedented Times onslaught of cheerleading for the Iran nuclear deal as anything other than the newspaper, as an institution, making a priority of preserving a deal that Israel and its American allies view as a problem. Over the 12-day period from October 2 to October 13, the Times ran seven opinion articles advocating for the deal, which grants Iran hundreds of billions of dollars in sanctions relief in exchange for unverifiable promises to pause development of nuclear weapons.

The flurry of pro-Iran deal pieces began October 2, with an article by Jeremy Bernstein headlined, “One Very Big Reason Not to Scrap the Iranian Nuclear Deal.”

The Times then ran not just one but two unsigned staff editorials in favor of keeping the deal. An October 5 staff editorial was headlined, “Why Decertifying The Iran Nuclear Deal Would Be a Bad Idea.” In case anyone missed that one, it was followed rapidly by an October 7 staff editorial headlined, “Mr. Trump, Don’t Scrap the Iran Deal.”
Argentina Offered to Supply Iran With Nuclear Technology as Part of Cover-Up Pact on 1994 AMIA Bombing, Former Intelligence Agent Testifies
Argentina offered to supply Iran with nuclear expertise and technology as part of a secret pact exonerating the Tehran regime of responsibility for the July 1994 terrorist bombing of the AMIA Jewish center, a former Argentine intelligence operative told a court in Buenos Aires on Wednesday.

Eighty-five people were killed and hundreds more wounded in the bombing in the Argentine capital, which was coordinated by Iran and its Lebanese Shia proxy Hezbollah.

The former agent, Ramon Bogado, told an inquiry into the collusion between Iran and the government of former President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner that the offer of nuclear assistance had been communicated to the Iranians by officials in Venezuela.

Presenting 18 documents to the court which he said detailed the nuclear offer, Bogado — a former agent with the SIDE national intelligence agency — added that it addressed how Iran could circumvent international sanctions to receive nuclear technology. Argentina, which began its own domestic nuclear program in the 1960s, is considered a global leader in nuclear technology.

Bogado told the court that the plans drawn up by officials in the Kirchner government included a provision to create shell companies in Argentina and Uruguay to conduct the transactions with Iran. He stressed that officials at the highest level had known about the scheme, among them Francisco “Paco” Larcher, who served as Kirchner’s deputy secretary of intelligence.
Iranian Leader’s Book Urging Elimination of Israel Among Antisemitic Titles Displayed at Frankfurt Book Fair
Antisemitic and anti-American creeds, including a collection of speeches by Iran’s “supreme leader,” were on full display at last weekend’s Frankfurt Book Fair — the largest event of its kind in the world — according to a Jewish human rights group that monitored the event.

Dr. Shimon Samuels — international affairs director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC) — noted that antisemitic literature was particularly visible on the Iranian and Egyptian stands at the fair.

More than 286,000 visitors attended this year’s fair, which brought together 7,300 publishers from over 100 countries. The fair was jointly opened on Saturday by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron.

One of the titles on display at the Iranian stand was “Palestine: Selected Statements” — a collection of writings and speeches on the Palestinian issue by Iran’s “supreme leader,” Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in which Israel’s elimination is repeatedly called for. Published by the Association of Islamic Revolution Publishers in Tehran, the book portrays the elimination of Israel as a sacred Islamic objective. It also recycles classic antisemitic theories, with chapters on”The Hegemony of Zionism over the Majority of News Agencies” and “The Hegemony of Zionism over the Majority of Global Centers of Power.”

The book’s final chapter is entitled, “Israel and America: Doomed to Annihilation.”
The Fall of Kirkuk: Made in Iran
So the long-developed, mostly unseen influence that Iran exerts on both Iraqi and Kurdish political and military life is powerful indeed. All we are seeing this week is its abrupt activation.

As Andrew Bernard noted in a TAI article earlier this week, President Trump’s response on the clashes was to assert that the United States was “not taking sides, but we don’t like the fact that they’re clashing.” This is in effect to accede to the Iranian ascendancy in Iran, given the discrepancy in power between the sides and the deep Iranian and IRGC involvement with Baghdad. Such a stance does not, to put it mildly, tally with the President’s condemnation in his speech this past week of Iran’s “continuing aggression in the Middle East.” It remains to be seen if anything of real consequence in policy terms will emerge from the President’s stated views. For the moment, at least, the gap between word and deed seems glaring.

Meanwhile, the advance of the Shi‘a militias and their Iraqi allies is continuing. The demoralized KRG has abandoned positions further west. In Sinjar, Khanaqin, Makhmur, Gwer and other sites on the Ninawah Plain, the Iraqis are pushing forward. The intention appears to be to take back the entirety of the Plain, where the peshmerga of the ruling KDP, not the PUK, were dominant. Yet they too have so far retreated without resistance. It is not clear at present how far the PMU and the Iraqis intend to go, or at what point the peshmerga will make a stand.

It is a black day for the Kurds, from every point of view. The fall of Kirkuk confirms the extent to which Iraq today is an Iranian-controlled satrap. And it vividly demonstrates the currently unrivaled efficacy of the Iranian methods of revolutionary and political warfare, as practiced by IRGC throughout the Arab world. (h/t Serious Black)
Reps Push Trump Admin to Bypass U.N. and Help Iraqi Christians, Yazidis Directly
Four House members are pressing the top official of the U.S. Agency for International Development to bypass the United Nations and channel funds intended to help Christians and Yazidis in Iraq directly to Catholic charities and others helping them on the ground.

The urgent push comes amid dire warnings from lawmakers and human rights activists that Christians and Yazidis, already victims of genocide at the hands of the Islamic State, are on the verge of extinction in Northern Iraq, their home for thousands of years.

The lawmakers also point to new evidence of corruption in the United Nations' process for stabilization projects in Iraq.

Republican Reps. Jeff Fortenberry of Nebraska, Robert Aderholt of Alabama, and Chris Smith of New Jersey, along with Democrat Rep. Anna Eshoo of California, sent a letter to USAID Administrator Mark Green last week arguing that these communities now face "dire conditions where they desperately need assistance if they are to survive."

"Returning Christians, Yazidis, and others to their rightful place will reknit the once rich tapestry of pluralism and diversity that existed in the region—an effort that is essential to any hope of durable stability in Iraq and the region," they wrote in a letter dated Oct. 12.
Security Council members, EU condemn Israeli settlement activity
UN Security Council members and the EU condemned Israel’s advancement this week of plans for 2,733 settler homes in the West Bank, warning that it could lead to a one-state reality.

“Settlement activity is taking place at an unprecedented pace, it can result in a reality of a state with two citizenship regimes, and this is a situation that is unequal and can lead to disastrous consequences,” France said.

“We are very near the point of non-return,” France added. “It destroyed politically and on the ground the very possibility of having two states.”

Russia, Japan, Sweden and the UK were among the countries that also made statements about the work of the Higher Planning Council for Judea and Samaria, which on Wednesday ended a three-day meeting to advance the homes.

The European Union said it has asked Israel to clarify its actions and called for it to reconsider its decisions.

Such activity is “detrimental to ongoing efforts towards meaningful peace talks,” the EU said.
In first, European countries to demand Israel pay back for demolished W. Bank structures
Eight member states of the EU are taking an unprecedented move by penning a letter demanding that Israel reimburse them for its decision to take apart infrastructures in the West Bank that were slated to serve as equipment for local schools (serving mostly the Beduin community), France's daily Le Monde reported Wednesday night.

The eight countries also expressed their dismay with Israel's confiscation of solar panels that were paid for by the EU headquarters in the West Bank.

The structures that Israel had taken apart, the letter claims, were all designated to serve residents of the mixed Israeli-Palestinian Area C in the territories, and the Israeli government opted to remove them due to the fact that they were not legally erected or commissioned.

The signatory countries- France, Belgium, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Luxembourg and Ireland- are now demanding, according to Le Monde, that Israel pay them compensation should it decide not to return the equipment it confiscated. The compensation fee each country is demanding stands at 31,252 Euros.

"We sincerely hope that our demands for restitution could be satisfied without preconditions as soon as possible, and should they not be [met], Israel ought to pay compensation without delay," wrote the EU member countries in the letter obtained by Le Monde.
In raids, IDF seizes money, cars from terrorists’ families
The IDF cracked down on the families of Palestinian terrorists and terror suspects on Thursday, seizing tens of thousands of shekels in money paid to them, as well as confiscating some of their cars, the army said.

The raids occurred in the early hours of Thursday morning in three locations in the West Bank: the Deheisheh refugee camp, near Bethlehem; the city of Qabatiya, south of Jenin; and the village of Yatta, outside Hebron.

In Deheisheh, local resident attacked the Israeli troops with rocks, injuring one of the soldiers, the army said.

He was treated on the scene before being taken to the hospital for further care.

The army, in recent months, has adopted a harsher policy toward the families and neighbors of assailants, cracking down on petty crimes like owning an unregistered car.

In a separate raid in Yatta, Israeli troops seized thousands of shekels that the army believes were going to be used to illegally purchase guns.
Israeli Arab man jailed for 6 years for joining Islamic State
The Haifa District Court on Thursday sentenced an Israeli Arab man to five years and ten months behind bars for joining the Islamic State jihadist group in Iraq last year.

In June, the court found 42-year-old Wissam Zabidat, from the northern town of Sakhnin, guilty of several charges, including membership in a terrorist organization, membership in an illegal group, illegal military training, and contact with a foreign agent.

The sentence is the harshest punishment levied against an Israeli citizen for joining the ranks of the terrorist organization in Iraq or Syria.

Wissam and his wife had traveled to Iraq along with their three children and spent over a year with the jihadist group before escaping and making their way back to Israel, the Shin Bet security service said in a statement last October, when charges were filed against the two.

While Wissam fought in the Islamic State’s ranks in Mosul, Sabrin Zabidat worked in one of the terror group’s area hospitals. Their three children, ages 3, 6 and 8, were placed in a local school.
Explosion injures 2 at alleged terror site in Gaza
Two men, reportedly from a terror group, were injured on Thursday by an accidental explosion in the southern Gaza Strip.

The Gazan Health Ministry released a statement saying two men were injured by an “accidental explosion” near Khan Younis and sustained medium injuries.

The Hamas-linked news site Palinfo, along with many other Gazan news outlets, reported the explosion occurred at a site belonging to the “resistance,” which usually refers to Hamas, the terror group which controls the Gaza Strip, but could also refer to a number of other terror groups inside the enclave, including Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

Several Hamas operatives have been killed or injured in accidental blasts and tunnel collapses in recent months.
The Streisand effect: EXCLUSIVE: 'Display of prejudice': Police spark a diplomatic incident after using the Palestinian 'symbol of struggle' as a terrorist's headscarf in mock attack on Sydney's trains
Palestine's ambassador to Australia demanded an apology from NSW Police after a fake terrorist apparently wore a symbolic Palestinian headscarf in a training exercise.

Cops simulated a major attack involving two masked 'gunmen' dressed in headscarfs at Sydney's Central Station on Tuesday night - sparking a furious diplomatic row.

Ambassador Izzat Saslah Abdulhadi slammed police because one of the headscarfs resembled the black and white symbol of Palestine's resistance, the keffiyeh.

Mr Abdulhadi claimed it was an 'egregious... display of prejudice' by police.

'The keffiyeh is a symbol of the struggle of the Palestinian people for their right to self-determination and freedom,' he fumed.

But a police spokesman insisted: 'In no way were we trying to stereotype members of the community, and any offence caused is unintended'.

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