Thursday, October 26, 2017

From Ian:

PMW: Why did YouTube just close down PMW... again?
Today YouTube closed down Palestinian Media Watch's main account, making hundreds of important videos inaccessible to governments, think tanks and media who find this material of critical importance.

Over the past two weeks, someone has been trying to damage PMW by submitting complaints to YouTube about PMW videos in four different PMW accounts in three different languages. The accusation is that PMW is violating YouTube's "policy on harmful or dangerous content." Because of the range of accounts being targeted, it appears that someone is systematically submitting complaints about PMW videos to prevent us from reporting on Palestinian incitement, and YouTube has gone along with this.

This is outrageous. PMW reports on and exposes the "harmful or dangerous" messaging coming from the Palestinian Authority, Fatah, and Hamas, and plays a critical role by internationally exposing the Palestinian Authority's hate and terror promotion.

By shutting down PMW videos, YouTube is "shooting the messenger," and enabling Palestinian hate and terror promotion to flourish.

PMW asks our readers to turn to YouTube and demand that they reinstate PMW's account and all of its videos that expose hate and terror, and return our accounts to "good standing."
PMW YouTube account reinstated, thanks to your efforts!
Dear Friends of PMW,

PMW's main YouTube account,, is back!

Thanks to all of our friends whose contacts and pressure on YouTube quickly convinced the company to reinstate our account and return it to good standing.

Unfortunately, some videos on other PMW accounts are still blocked. We hope that this will be resolved shortly.

I want to personally thank everyone who reached out to PMW and to YouTube, which shows that the cumulative effect of individual actions can make a difference.
Itamar Marcus, Director

[MEMRI's Account is still down]
Australian MP: PMW presentations explain Palestinian youth violence

Michael Danby, Labor Member of Parliament: “Unfortunately, Palestinian leadership have encouraged young people to carry out acts of terrorism—including throwing rocks through the windows of cars and trucks, causing death and injury—through their media, involved in violent incitement. Anyone in this parliament who has been to the many sessions of Palestinian Media Watch that have taken place here over the last 15 years has seen some of the appalling material on television in that area. Honestly, if one is to support a two-state solution and a peace process, one of the things we have to address in the future is this incitement of young people by the Palestinian Authority.

Australian MP: PMW presentation exposes PA’s deceit

Tim Wilson, Federal Liberal Member for Goldstein: "Having visited Jerusalem myself, I have seen... some of the efforts of the Palestinian Authority and those who support them to deceive the public into getting misrepresentations or misunderstandings about what actually occurs particularly under the State of Israel. In fact, one of my visits to Israel many years ago, we were given a briefing about the activities of Palestinian [Media] Watch, which was particularly scrutinizing Palestinian media, and how they sought to misrepresent information to build a perception of victimhood that was not always in accordance with reality."

Facebook, Social Media, Aiding Jihad; Censoring Those Who Counter Jihad
That major technology companies are openly stifling the free speech of people trying to counter jihad is bad enough; what is beyond unconscionable is that they simultaneously enable Islamic supremacists to spread the very content that the counter-jihadists have been exposing.

According to the legal complaint, the names and symbols of Palestinian Arab terrorist groups and individuals were known to authorities, and "Facebook has the data and capability to cease providing services to [such] terrorists, but... has chosen not to do so."

A separate lawsuit claims that Twitter not only benefits indirectly by seeing its user base swell through the increase of ISIS-linked accounts, but directly profits by placing targeted advertisements on them.

When jihadist content is permitted to spread unchecked across the globe via cyberspace, it is a matter of national and international security. Tragically for Western civilization, its tech and media icons have been colluding -- even if unwittingly -- with those working actively to destroy it.
TIP CEO: Moving Embassy to Jerusalem Would Show that Israel’s Security is “Non-Negotiable”
If President Donald Trump makes good on his promise to move the United States embassy to Jerusalem, this would demonstrate support for Israel and show “Israel’s enemies that the security of the Jewish state is non-negotiable for Washington,” Josh Block, president and CEO of The Israel Project wrote in an op-ed published Tuesday in The Algemeiner.

The Israel Project publishes The Tower.

Block observed that Trump visited Israel over the course of his first trip abroad as president and that his visit coincided with the 50th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem in 1967.

The Jerusalem Trump saw, Block noted, “is a vibrant, modern, thriving city.”

It’s a pilgrim site central to the history of Jews, Christians and Muslims — and open to people of all faiths. The city is the home of the Israeli government, parliament and high court. It is a city interspersed with universities, museums and ancient buildings.

Jerusalem is the perfect capital. What is missing are the embassies of other nations to the state of Israel.

As a candidate, Trump promised to change that situation, but when it was time to sign the waiver in June to allow the U.S. embassy to remain in Tel Aviv, Trump signed the waiver. Despite his promise to move the embassy to Jerusalem, he acted as all of his predecessors have since the Jerusalem Embassy Act was passed in 1995.

After signing the waiver, Trump told former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee that he wanted to try peacemaking between Israel and the Palestinians before moving the embassy.

Trump, Block wrote, “seems to have fallen victim to the persistent myth that the chances for peace would be undermined by affirming Israel’s sovereignty in Jerusalem.”
US Vice President Pence to visit Israel, Egypt in December
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence announced Wednesday that he will travel to Israel and Egypt in late December, and said the U.S. will redirect funds aimed at helping persecuted Christians and other minorities away from the United Nations.

Pence discussed his plans at a religious dinner in Washington, where he stressed the Trump administration's commitment to helping Christian minority groups across the Middle East.

"President Trump has directed me to go to the Middle East in late December," Pence said in a keynote speech delivered at In Defense of Christians' annual solidarity dinner for Christians in the Middle East. He promised that "one of the messages that I will bring on the president's behalf to leaders across the region is that now is the time to bring an end to the persecution of Christians and all religious minorities."

Pence also announced Wednesday that U.S. President Donald Trump had directed his State Department to pull U.S. funding from "ineffective" United Nations programs aimed at addressing persecuted and displaced religious minority communities, and redirect that money to programs run by the United States Agency for International Development, as well as faith-based groups and private organizations.

Pence complained that Christians and other persecuted people in the Middle East have not been getting the relief they need, and accused the U.N. of having "too often failed to help the most vulnerable communities, especially religious minorities."
US Treasury Secretary to visit Israel during anti-terror tour
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is stopping in Israel during a Middle East tour focused on combating terrorism.

News of Mnuchin’s Israel stop came from Yad Vashem, which said Mnuchin would tour Israel’s Holocaust memorial museum on Thursday. It’s not clear yet which Israeli officials he will meet.

Mnuchin, who is Jewish, is in the region to coordinate sanctions on backers of terrorist groups. He met in Riyadh on Wednesday with Mohammed bin Salman, the Saudi crown prince, and other top Saudi officials.

According to a Treasury Department release, they discussed the Terrorist Financing Targeting Center, an initiative launched by US President Donald Trump when he visited the region earlier this year.
White House Official Says Reports on Imminent Peace Plan Misleading
A senior White House official has dismissed ongoing reports in the Israeli media that the US would soon unveil an ambitious Middle East peace plan.

“While we are having productive conversations with all relevant parties, we have not set a timeframe nor created any deadlines,” the official told Israel Hayom. “Our efforts are designed to facilitate a deal between the Israelis and the Palestinians that improves conditions for all parties. The notion that this would cause a ‘political earthquake’ is nonsense and was in response to a false report created by people who want to play the role of spoiler. We are going to ignore the noise and focus on our work.”

Earlier this week, Israel’s Channel 2 reported on an alleged comprehensive US peace plan that would be “sharp and to the point,” and drastically depart from the proposals of previous American administrations.
Clifford D. May: The Kurdish test
In a just world, the Kurds would have a state of their own. Their culture is ancient. They speak a distinctive language. They have a homeland, Kurdistan, ruled for centuries by Arabs, Turks and Persians – foreigners and oppressors all.

After the defeat of the Ottoman Empire in World War I, the victorious British and French created new Arab nation-states and put in motion a process that would lead to the restoration of a Jewish nation-state. But the Kurds – they got nothing.

In 1992 following the Gulf War, the U.S., along with Britain and France, set up a no-fly zone over the Kurdish region in northern Iraq. The goal was to protect the Kurds from Saddam Hussein whose genocidal war against the Kurds included a chemical weapons attack in the Kurdish city of Halabja four years earlier.

When Americans invaded Iraq in 2003, the Kurds greeted them as liberators. The Kurdistan Regional Government began to diligently nation-build, establishing the institutions and infrastructure necessary for independent statehood.

I don't mean to oversell: The KRG has not become a democracy. Corruption is reportedly rampant – this is still the Middle East. Kurdish leaders, divided among themselves, have made mistakes.
'Israel prepared to use force to stop Iran from acquiring nukes'
Israeli Intelligence and Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz (Likud) declared Thursday that the Jewish state is prepared to use military force to prevent the Iranian regime from obtaining nuclear weapons.

During an interview in Tokyo, Katz said that Israel was hopeful that President Donald Trump’s October 13th decision not to recertify Iranian compliance with the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) would lead to the renegotiation of the deal, but added that Israel would use whatever means necessary to ensure that Tehran does not achieve nuclear capabilities, Reuters reported.

"If international efforts led these days by U.S. President Trump don’t help stop Iran attaining nuclear capabilities, Israel will act militarily by itself," Katz said. "There are changes that can be made (to the agreement) to ensure that they will never have the ability to have a nuclear weapon."

Israel has in the past intervened militarily to prevent rogue states from obtaining nuclear weapons, including a 2007 strike on a Syrian nuclear reactor widely credited to Israel, and an airstrike in 1981 code-named Operation Opera which destroyed Iraq’s Osirak nuclear reactor.
Hezbollah's Terror Army: How to Prevent a Third Lebanon War
Functioning as a sort of state inside the Lebanese state, Hezbollah has accumulated more rockets than many European militaries. But it is also an irregular army that uses terrorism as a strategic weapon against adversaries at home and abroad. Today, the conflicts in Syria and Iraq have reconfigured Hezbollah and other forces across the region in ways that could lead to a new war, one far more destructive than previous Middle Eastern conflicts.

To discuss ways of preventing such a war, The Washington Institute is pleased to host a Policy Forum with Gen. Klaus Naumann, Gen. Richard Dannatt, and Col. Richard Kemp as part of its long-running Stein Counterterrorism Lecture Series. All three participated in a High Level Military Group project that led to the publication of the recent report Hezbollah's Terror Army: How to Prevent a Third Lebanon War.

Gen. Klaus Naumann is former chief of staff of the German Bundeswehr and served as chairman of the NATO Military Committee from 1996 to 1999.

Gen. Lord Richard Dannatt is former chief of the general staff of the British Army and a member of the House of Lords.

Col. Richard Kemp is former commander of British forces in Afghanistan and led the international terrorism team at Britain's Joint Intelligence Committee.

US House of Representatives Passes Tough New Measures Targeting Hezbollah, ‘Iran’s Leading Terrorist Proxy’
The chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee declared on Wednesday that the US had sent an unmistakable message to Iran’s Lebanese Shia proxy, Hezbollah, with the passage by the House of Representatives of three new measures targeting the terrorist organization’s financing and recruitment operations.

“Hezbollah is Iran’s leading terrorist proxy, and it is only growing more dangerous,” Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), said in a statement announcing the new measures, which were introduced with bipartisan support. “It now has an arsenal of more than 100,000 rockets aimed at Israel and has become battle-hardened while propping up the murderous Assad regime (in Syria) alongside the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).”

Royce continued: “Hezbollah has taken hundreds of thousands of lives, including Americans. With the House’s action today, we send a strong message that the United States will not allow this threat to go unchecked. These critical measures will impose new sanctions to crack down on Hezbollah’s financing, and hold it accountable for its acts of death and destruction.”

The legislation passed by the house comprises three distinct measures. The first, Royce said, “sanctions regimes that provide weapons to Hezbollah, target Hezbollah’s fundraising and recruiting efforts – including through innovative crowdsourcing techniques – and give the administration tools to respond to Hezbollah’s global criminal network.” The second, authored by Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI), imposes “targeted sanctions on Iran and Hezbollah for the use of civilians as human shields,” while the third, authored by Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) urges the European Union “to designate Hezbollah in its entirety as a terrorist organization and increase pressure on it and its members.”

American Jewish groups were quick to praise the new legislation, with the American Jewish Committee (AJC ) expressing particular satisfaction with the passage of Deutch’s measure pushing the EU to designate Hezbollah as a terror group – a measure cosponsored by a bipartisan group of eight congressional representatives, including Reps. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), Ted Lieu (D-CA) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL).
Lebanese army chief boycotts conference because of Eizenkot
Lebanon's chief of staff, Gen. Joseph Aoun, boycotted a major conference of chiefs of staff hosted by the United States, which was attended by IDF Chief of Staff, Lt. Gen. Gadi Eizenkot.

The conference was held at the beginning of the week in Washington, Haaretz reported. Although Aoun did not attend, army heads from other Arab countries like Egypt and Jordan, which have peace treaties with Israel, as well as Saudi Arabia, which doesn’t, did participate in the event, the newspaper noted.

The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Joseph Dunford, hosts the conference annually. It is attended by dozens of army chiefs from NATO countries, other states that have close security ties with the Americans and countries participating in the international coalition against the Islamic State (ISIS).

According to Haaretz, Aoun had arrived in Washington for the conference and had already met with Dunford, but shortly before the opening session, it emerged that he had decided not to attend the conference at the last moment due to Eizenkot's presence.
Trump Directs State, USAID to Bypass United Nations, Deliver U.S. Aid More Directly to Christians, Yazidis In Iraq
President Trump has issued a White House directive forcing the State Department and USAID to bypass the United Nations and stop its "ineffective" relief efforts aimed at helping Iraqi Christians, Yazidis, and other persecuted religious minorities, and instead to provide the assistance either directly or through "faith-based groups."

Vice President Mike Pence, in a speech at the In Defense of Christians annual Solidarity Dinner highlighting the plight of persecuted Christians in the Middle East and elsewhere, announced the directive and lambasted the United Nations, arguing the international body has "often failed to help the most vulnerable communities, especially religious minorities."

"We will no longer rely on the United Nations alone to assist persecuted Christians and minorities in the wake of genocide and the atrocities of terrorist groups," Pence said.

"The United States will work hand in hand from this day forward with faith-based groups and private organizations to help those who are persecuted for their faith," he said. "This is the moment, now is the time, and America will support these people in their hour of need."
Ministers to vote on bill to annex 19 settlements to Jerusalem
Ministers are set to vote on Sunday on a controversial Jerusalem bill that would annex 19 West Bank settlements to the city of Jerusalem and downgrade the status of three Arab neighborhoods of the city that are beyond the security barrier.

Opponents of the bill have charged that the legislation is tantamount to annexation.

“If passed, this bill will constitute a de facto annexation and a clear step towards a de jure annexation. We cannot let this bill become law!” the left-wing group Peace Now said.

But a spokesman for the initial author of the bill, MK Yoav Kisch, said that the bill would constitute “municipal annexation” but would not apply sovereignty to the settlements, with their population of 150,000.

Separately, the bill also takes the three Arab neighborhoods of Jerusalem outside the security barrier – Kafr Akab, Shuafat and Anata – and makes them sub-municipalities of the city. The three neighborhoods constitute around 100,000 people.

A March version of the bill stated that the settlements “would be annexed to Israel and would be part of Jerusalem.”
PLO: Jerusalem ‘annexation’ plan means end of two-state solution
Senior Palestinian official Hanan Ashrawi said Israeli plans to incorporate West Bank settlement blocs around Jerusalem into the city could kill hopes for an independent Palestinian state.

A member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party has said that draft legislation to form a “Greater Jerusalem” municipality would go to a ministerial committee on Sunday for adoption as a government bill.

Approval by the committee would fast-track its progress through parliament.

Those opposed to the plans argue that it is a step towards full unilateral annexation of the West Bank settlements affected — a move that would be sure to spark international outrage. According to the proposal, initiated by Likud MK Yoav Kisch, and backed in July by Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz, residents of those settlements would be able to vote in Jerusalem municipal elections, but the settlements would not be under full Israeli sovereignty.

“The government will approve the Greater Jerusalem law that will strengthen the eternal capital Jerusalem — demographically and geographically,” Kisch wrote Wednesday on Twitter.
Another Chapter in Yusef Daher’s One-Man Propaganda War
Yusef Daher really ought to be ashamed of himself.

For at least a decade, he has used his status as executive secretary of the Jerusalem Interchurch Center — currently located in St. Anne’s Monastery near the Lion’s Gate of the Old City — to de-legitimize the Jewish state.

It’s bad enough that Daher, a Christian, has posted images on social media that valorize Palestinian violence against Israeli civilians, but to make matters worse, he has used his status as a “Christian peacemaker” to portray legitimate Israeli security measures as a violation of religious freedom in Jerusalem. The problem is that if Israeli officials did not impose some sort of crowd control on Christian celebrations in Jerusalem, people might get killed in stampedes. It's happened in the past.

Here are the details.

Daher periodically condemns Israeli security officials for keeping a tight rein on the crowds of Christians that gather to participate in Good Friday and Easter services in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in the Old City of Jerusalem. Sadly enough, irresponsible Christian leaders in Jerusalem have cooperated with Daher’s efforts to demonize Israel.

In an article published by the Catholic News Service in April 2014, Daher complained that pilgrims intent on watching Good Friday and Easter services at the Sepulcher are kept away from the Church and are forced to watch the events on a large TV screen near Jaffa Gate. Pilgrims, Daher said, “are kept behind iron barricades as if they are in prison.”

The same article quotes church leaders in Jerusalem as they accuse Israel of “tampering with the traditional celebrations and local heritage.”
Israel’s next challenge: Precision-guided missiles in Gaza
The Iranian issue has recently made its way back to the top of the global agenda in general, and the Israeli agenda in particular: Starting from US President Donald Trump’s threats to walk away from the nuclear agreement, through Tehran’s involvement in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Yemen and the warming relations with Hamas, to the growing presence of Revolutionary Guards’ representatives on the Golan Heights border.

Looking at this list as it grows longer, many Israeli defense officials believe the most significant challenge concerning Iran these days has to do with the potential for self-production of precision-guided weapons—converting simple rockets, through wingtip devices and other components, into missiles that are capable of hitting their target with an accuracy of some tens of meters. In light of the tight connection to Hezbollah and the improving relations with Hamas, this a very troubling weapon as far as Israel is concerned.

The knowledge required for upgrading the missiles already exists, and Iran’s military industry factories are advanced in this field. In addition to its expansion in the region, Iran intends to produce rockets in Syria too and set up a factory in Lebanon to perform the conversion into precision-guided missiles.
Israeli companies talking to Saudi Arabia about $500b. ‘Smart City’
When Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman announced on Tuesday a $500 billion “Smart City” project to be located a few kilometers from Eilat, he mentioned establishing a joint economic zone with Jordan and Egypt, omitting one country wedged in between.

A number of Israeli companies are talking to the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia about developing the proposed 26, “Smart City” zone, The Jerusalem Post has learned, a blow to the decades-long Arab League boycott of the Jewish state. The sovereign wealth fund is owned and controlled by the Saudi state.

Nicknamed NEOM – from neo (new in Latin) and the first letter of “mostqabal,” an Arabic word meaning “future” – the “Smart City” would host hi-tech companies working in a range of fields, including solar energy, water, biotechnology, robotics and food technology, all of which are fields where Israeli start-ups and firms are more established than competitors in Arab countries.

Due to the diplomatic sensitivity of the project, no Israeli company could go public with details of the contact with the Saudi fund, which has some $230b. in assets under management, according to Reuters.

“The Saudis are not so willing to cooperate with the Israelis formally, but when a VC [venture capital firm] is coming from the private sector, it’s much easier to create all kinds of cooperation on water, energy, ag-tech, foodtech. This is the stuff that the prince of Saudi Arabia wants to promote in the smart city,” said a source in Israeli venture capital who is familiar with the project.
Hamas sees internal stirrings of dissent over reconciliation deal
Sheikh Hassan Yousef, a key Hamas leader in the West Bank and one of the organization’s most influential figures, said Tuesday that the much-lauded reconciliation agreement between Hamas and Fatah “is only a media event.”

Palestinian negotiators from rival factions signed a reconciliation deal in Cairo on October 12 that was meant to end a decade-long split, with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas calling it a “final” accord. Under the agreement, the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority is to resume full control of the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip by December 1, according to a statement from Egypt’s government.

The deal was signed by new Hamas deputy leader Saleh al-Arouri and Azzam al-Ahmad, the head of the Fatah delegation for the talks, at the headquarters of Egypt’s intelligence service, which oversaw the negotiations.

In comments made public on Tuesday, two weeks after the signing of the agreement, Yousef pointed to the PA’s arrests in recent days of many activists from Hamas and other groups throughout the West Bank. Yousef, who was only recently released from an Israeli jail, also noted that the PA’s sanctions against the Gaza Strip remain in place.
Hamas scrambles to allay Jordan's concerns over Palestinian deal
Jordanian media reported Wednesday that Hamas political leader Ismail Haniyeh called Jordan's King Abdullah to reassure him that "Hamas is serious and is proceeding in genuinely implementing the [Fatah-Hamas reconciliation] agreement."

Jordanian and Palestinian sources told Israel Hayom Tuesday that tensions between Jordan and the Palestinian Authority were running high because of Abdullah's opposition to the rapprochement between the rival Palestinian factions.

In a meeting with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, the king rejected the notion of Hamas reopening its office in Jordan, saying such a move would ease Hamas' integration into the Palestinian Liberation Organization and allow former Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal to fulfill his plan to succeed Abbas as Palestinian president.

In the phone call, Haniyeh again asked the king to consider reopening Hamas' office in Jordan, which closed after Abdullah banned the terrorist group in 1999.

Hamas would never act against the security interests of Jordan, Haniyeh reportedly told Abdullah, as "the security of Jordan is our security, and the national security of Jordan is protected and defended."
Song on PA radio includes all of Israel as “my land”: “From Rafah to Rosh Hanikra”

Russia Blocks Extension of UN’s Mandate to Investigate Assad’s Chemical Weapons Usage
On Tuesday, Russia vetoed a United Nations Security Council resolution to extend the mandate of the institution investigating chemical weapon attacks in Syria.

The Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM), whose mandate expires next month, was established in 2015 to identify the perpetrators of chemical attacks. A decision on its renewal must be made by November 17.

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said the “Russian veto stops U.N. investigators attributing responsibility for chemical weapons use. But it won’t stop the UK working to get victims justice.”

UK Ambassador to the UN, Mathew Rycroft, said the Russian veto was “simply beyond the pale” in a speech to the Council. He added, “Russia has chosen to again abuse the veto to support a regime that has no regard for its own people. The only beneficiaries of a delay will be the users of chemical weapons in Syria; Daesh and the Syrian regime.”

United States Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley agreed, saying that Russia had sided with “dictators and terrorists.”
The President's Iran Decision: Next Steps (pdf)
Dr. Olli Heinonen, former deputy director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and head of its Department of Safeguards, told the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Wednesday:
To increase the likelihood that the JCPOA ensures the peaceful nature of the Iranian nuclear program, there must be a far more robust and meaningful verification of the deal's provisions. To that end, several measures will be necessary.
  1. The IAEA's quarterly reports on the deal's implementation must be enhanced.
  2. The IAEA should complete the follow-up actions related to its investigation of the Possible Military Dimensions (PMD) of the Iranian nuclear program, including site visits and interviews with scientists.
  3. The JCPOA and related agreements must apply to all sites related to the Iranian nuclear program, with no exceptions for military sites or any others.
  4. Iran should ratify the Additional Protocol well before the sunset provisions take effect and before the IAEA issues a Broader Conclusion about the peaceful nature of the Iranian nuclear program.
  5. The UNSCR 2231 limitations on ballistic missiles should be extended to cruise missiles, while the restrictions on missile ranges and payloads should be lowered.
  6. These and other measures should extend Iran's one-year breakout time indefinitely into the future, while enabling more effective enforcement.
Swiss formalize intermediary role between Saudi Arabia, Iran
The Swiss government on Wednesday finalized agreements to act as a go-between for Iran and Saudi Arabia, more than 20 months after the two Middle Eastern powers broke off diplomatic ties.

Switzerland's executive body, the Federal Council, "gave the green light" to providing a "protecting power mandate" between the two countries, the Swiss government said in a statement. The arrangement was quickly formalized separately in Riyadh and Tehran.

The arrangement only involves consular services, such as helping Iranians who travel to Saudi Arabia for religious events, a Swiss diplomatic official said. For example, the Iranian consulate in the Saudi city of Jiddah will reopen under a Swiss flag, the official said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly. It will operate under supervision from the Swiss Embassy in Riyadh.

Saudi Arabia and Iran broke off diplomatic ties in January 2016 after Saudi Arabia executed a leading Shiite cleric, prompting protesters in Iran to attack the Saudi Embassy in Tehran.
Iran Paving Way to Abandon Nuclear Deal, Fortify Missile Program
Iran has taken steps in recent days to file what it claims are 18 instances in which America violated the landmark nuclear agreement, a move that could set the stage for Tehran to abandon the deal and lay blame on the Trump administration, according to regional reports and sources familiar with the matter.

On the heels of an effort by the Trump administration to tighten the nuclear accord while still upholding U.S. commitments under it, the Iranian Foreign Ministry has submitted to European Union leaders a plethora of information recounting what it claims are 18 separate violations of the deal by the United States, according to Iran's state-controlled media.

The latest move is said to be part of an effort by Iran to abandon the nuclear agreement and save face by blaming the United States for its decision, according to national security insiders closely tracking the situation.

As the Trump administration makes moves to sanction Iran for its ballistic missile program and regional support of terrorism, Iran is increasingly frustrated with the United States' aggressive stance, which is being spearheaded by President Donald Trump and his congressional allies.
BBC Charges Iran With “Campaign of Intimidation and Harassment” Against Its Staff Members
The BBC has reported Iran to the United Nations for a “sustained campaign of intimidation and harassment,” after Iranian authorities launched an investigation into more than 150 of its staff for “conspiracy against national security.”

The Daily Telegraph reported Wednesday that the broadcaster, in a complaint to David Kaye, the UN special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of expression, accused the Iranian government of a systematic campaign designed to pressure journalists to cease working for the BBC.

In a statement, the broadcaster said Iranian authorities were investigating 152 Persian service staff, former staff, and contributors for working against the state and had imposed an asset freeze on those individuals, preventing them from inheriting and selling assets.

“The Iranian government is conducting what appears to be a politically motivated investigation into 152 BBC Persian staff, former staff and contributors, accusing them of conspiracy against national security in Iran. This is an unprecedented collective punishment of journalists who are simply doing their jobs,” said Tony Hall, director general of the BBC, in a statement.

He continued, “This is not just a campaign against BBC Persian staff but against fundamental human rights, and the BBC calls on the government of Iran to end this legal action immediately.”
Iraqi leader visits Iran as Tehran seeks to drive wedge with Washington
Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, told Iraq's US-backed prime minister on Thursday that he should not rely on the United States in the fight against Islamic State, seeking to drive a wedge between Washington and one of its close allies.

"Unity was the most important factor in your gains against terrorists and their supporters," Khamenei told the visiting Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi, according to state TV. "Don't trust America ... It will harm you in the future."

Iraq is one of the only countries in the world that is closely allied to both the United States and Iran. Both countries have armed and trained pro-government forces in Iraq in the battle against Islamic State militants.

The United States, which installed the Shi'ite-led government in Baghdad after toppling Saddam Hussein in 2003, now has 5,000 troops in Iraq and provides air support, training and weapons to the Iraqi army. Iran, the predominant Shi'ite power in the Middle East, funds and trains Iraqi Shi'ite paramilitaries known as Popular Mobilization, which fight alongside government troops.

For years, Baghdad has carefully avoided antagonizing either Washington or Tehran. But a confrontation between the Iraqi central government and its Kurdish minority in recent weeks has threatened to tip the balance in Iran's favor. The Kurds are also funded and trained by Washington which has considered them allies for decades.

After the Kurds staged a referendum on independence last month, Abadi responded by sending his troops to swiftly seize territory from Kurdish forces.
Saudi band releases ‘Born To Be Wild’ cover celebrating women’s driving decree
Celebrating last month’s historic announcement that Saudi Arabia will allow women to drive from next June, a band hailing from the kingdom has released a song titled “Saudi girls will drive,” to the tune of Steppenwolf’s “Born To Be Wild.”

The song by the Jeddah-based “One of Us” has so far clocked over 100,000 views on YouTube.
Palestinian sports expert: A "Jewish Palestinian team" represented Mandatory Palestine in 1930s

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