Tuesday, December 26, 2017

From Ian:

Thank You, Nikki Haley
The United Nations was founded on lofty principles in the wake of the atrocities of World War II. Sadly, with two votes last week – the first in the Security Council on Monday and the second in an emergency session of the General Assembly – we witnessed just how far the institution has fallen.

The U.S. is a sovereign, democratic nation that lives by the rule of law. One of those laws, the Jerusalem Embassy Relocation Act, was passed in 1995, by a solid, bipartisan majority of 93 to 5 in the Senate and 374 to 37 in the House. A sovereign nation has the right to choose where to place its embassies. And yet, on Dec. 6, when U.S. President Donald Trump called for the United States to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, the call was met with such hysteria in this venerable institution that one might think he had called for genocide.

These two U.N. votes, condemning Trump's recognition of Jerusalem, contradict the very foundations on which the U.N. was established. Article 2 (7) of the United Nations Charter specifically states that "nothing contained in the present Charter shall authorize the United Nations to intervene in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any state." This, however, did not prevent the frenzy against the U.S. for supporting its one democratic ally in the Middle East.

Before Thursday's vote in the General Assembly, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley valiantly said: "The United States will remember this day in which it was singled out for attack in this assembly. We will remember it when we are called upon to once again make the world's largest contribution to the U.N., and when other member nations ask Washington to pay even more and to use our influence for their benefit."
Why a small Central American nation became a trailblazer on Jerusalem
On Sunday, Guatemala became the first country after the US to announce its intention to move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, a move seen as tantamount to recognizing the city as Israel’s capital, though President Jimmy Morales’s statement included no explicit recognition.

Predictably, the Central American nation’s decision was castigated by the Palestinians and other Arab states and hailed in Israel as an act of deep friendship that marked the beginning of a new trend. Neighbor Honduras is said to be next in line. Like Guatemala, it also voted last week against the United Nations General Assembly resolution condemning the US’s December 6 decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and move its embassy there.

Other countries — Togo, Paraguay, Romania, Slovakia — are also said to be considering following in Guatemala’s footsteps in bucking decades-old diplomatic dogma to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

But what prompted a relatively small nation far removed from the Middle East and its problems to be the first to take the plunge after the US?

There are several reasons for Guatemala’s dramatic step. The country’s well-established historic friendship with Israel and ongoing deep security and trade ties are one key part of the story. The personal character of the country’s current leader is the other.

Seventy years ago, Guatemala’s ambassador to the UN, Dr. Jorge Garcia Granados, a member of the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine, played a crucial role in convincing Latin American countries to vote in favor of General Assembly Resolution 181, which called for the partition of Mandatory Palestine into a Jewish state and an Arab state.

“It could be that without Guatemala, the resolution on that fateful day would not have passed, and history would be very different,” Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein told Morales during his November 2016 visit to Israel.

Israel says 10 more countries in talks about moving embassies to Jerusalem
In an interview with Israel Radio, she declined to say which states Israel was speaking with, but Channel 10 reported that the next country likely to announce an embassy move was Honduras.

Israel and Honduras, which borders Guatemala, have enjoyed very close ties over the past few years, and in 2016 signed an agreement under which Israel agreed to enhance the the Central American country’s armed forces in an unprecedented way, in order to fight organized crime.

Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez was reelected earlier this month in a hotly disputed election. He is a graduate of MASHAV, Israel’s Agency for International Development Cooperation, and spent time in Israel.

Along with Guatemala, Honduras was one of nine nations that voted “no” last week with the United States when the UN General Assembly overwhelmingly adopted a non-binding resolution denouncing US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Unlike Guatemala, whose embassy was in Jerusalem from the 1950s until 1980, Honduras never had its embassy in Israel’s capital.

Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein announced at a Likud party event Monday that the parliamentary heads of two other countries had spoken to him about moving their embassies from Tel Aviv. The Walla news site reported that representatives from Romania and Slovakia had expressed support for such a move and were working in their respective countries to effect it.

Other countries also reportedly in talks to move their embassies are South America’s Paraguay and the west African nation of Togo.
Are the Palestinians getting it?
The sky should have fallen. The gates of hell should have been forced open The Middle East should have plunged into even more chaos. The Jews should have had to pay dearly. It's been two weeks since the American decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and yet little or nothing has happened.

The Palestinian Arabs did not go out en masse to the streets to take part in violence, more worried about what they would lose by participating in terrorism and demonstrations (entry permits, work, freedom, housing, family members) than by “the occupation". Fifteen years ago, Israeli tanks re-entered Ramallah, Qalqiliya, Bethlehem, Nablus, Jenin, Tulkarem. There had been suicide bombers, snipers, rockets, thousands of dead. Today, a few kids throwing rocks, the bad mood of the tour operators in Bethlehem and a very timid reaction from the Arab countries, the minimum possible.

What does all this tell us? That Israel may have accomplished what is called the "taking off" in surfing, when the critical wave is overcome. In this case the wave is Arab-Islamic rejection. It is not that the Palestinian Arabs have become pacifists or that they now love the Jews. More terror attacks will come. Perhaps they only hate their own corrupt leaders, like Mahmoud Abbas.

But perhaps they also understand that Israel will not pack and leave, that it will remain on the map, that the Jews and not the terrorists will decide their destiny, that the IDF is invincible, that "the wall" is high and that after 70 years of terror the Israeli Jews have won.

Abbas` Fatah: Trump is Hitler - no difference
A third insult tweeted by Fatah shows a sign held during a procession with a picture of Jerusalem showing the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in the foreground and the Dome of the Rock in the background, and below it a picture of Trump holding the signed memorandum recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital as US Vice President Mike Pence stands in the background. Shoes are stuck to the poster around the faces of Trump and Pence as well as on the memorandum. In Arab culture throwing shoes at someone is a sign of great disrespect.

Text on poster in English and Arabic:
"Peace upon Jerusalem, the Mother of all Capitals.
To Trump and Pence and their puppets, Beware! ...
Jerusalem is not one of your Casinos
Jerusalem is the most sacred city to Muslims and Christians
Jerusalem is the eternal capital of Palestine
Jerusalem is a Red Line!!"

[Official Fatah Twitter account, Dec. 20, 2017]

Christmas reality: Palestinians use Christians as a pawn, Israel protects them
The Palestinian Authority (PA) and Israeli Muslim figures often voice support for Christians and seek to utilize them in the struggle against Israel, but it is the Jewish state that stands out as a defender of Middle East Christians.

In a Christmas message last Friday, PA President Mahmoud Abbas called President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital “an insult to millions of people worldwide, and also to the city of Bethlehem.”

The exploitation of Christianity by the Palestinians is not new, as their leaders have for years claimed that early followers of the faith—and even Jesus himself—were “Palestinian,” even though Palestinian nationalism is a creation of the 20th century as a response to Zionism.

But how much do Muslim Palestinian or Israeli Arab leaders actually care about Christians?

Dexter Van Zile, the Christian media analyst at the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA), told JNS that the population of Christians in the West Bank has not declined during the past few decades, as anti-Zionists claim as a talking point against Israel.

“The reality is a bit more complex: Under Jordanian control, the Christian population declined in the West Bank and east Jerusalem from about 60,000 in 1949 to 42,000 in 1967. The Christian population in the West Bank was about 52,000 in 2007, which indicates that Jewish control over the area was in fact good for the Christians,” he said.

Even the anti-Israel Diyar Institute has admitted as much, declaring that “the number of the Christian population has grown ever so slightly in the past 50 years,” noted Van Zile.
Abbas spends Christmas Eve meeting with Fatah terrorist
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas spent part of Christmas eve on Sunday night meeting with a former senior commander of the al-Aksa Martys Brigades, Fatah’s military wing, recently released from prison for plotting a suicide bombing attack against Israel 16 years ago.

Rafat Jawabra was received in the PA president’s office on Sunday evening. Photos of the meeting were posted on Fatah’s official Facebook page and in the post, Jawabra is referred to as the commander of the al-Aksa Martyrs Brigades, a known terrorist organization.

Jawabra, head of a Fatah terrorist cell in the Bethlehem area, helped plot a suicide bombing attack against Israel in 2002. The bomber, a resident of the village of al-Doha near Bethlehem, tried detonating an suicide bomb belt at the entrance to a supermarket in Efrat. The belt did not detonate and after he was identified as a bomber, the attacker was shot and killed by a local resident. Jawabra was later caught by the IDF and was sentenced to 15 years in prison. He was released two weeks ago.

In May, while still in prison, Jawabra was elected the mayor of al-Doha on the Fatah ticket.

In another Facebook post, Jawabra is seen speaking at a rally with armed and masked gunmen, honoring him upon his release from prison.
Palestinians: Where Have They Gone?
American funding for UNRWA is problematic itself because the organization is inextricably intertwined with Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon. This may be the right time to review the number of Palestinian "refugees" in the world and the world's obligation to them.

Ten years ago, in a forum on Capitol Hill, then-Rep. Mark Kirk called for an international audit of UNRWA. Kirk admitted he was unsuccessful, despite such accounting anomalies as a $13 million entry for "un-earmarked expenses" in an audit conducted by UNRWA's own board.

Palestinians are the only "refugee" group that hands the status down through generations, which is why they are governed by UNRWA; all other refugees are under the care of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, which has a mandate to settle refugees so they can become citizens of new countries.
Foreign Ministry cartoon depicts Arab world as a man on a mule
The Foreign Ministry on Sunday published a cartoon in Arabic aimed at convincing readers that if the Middle East ceased its diplomatic boycott of the Jewish state, regional cooperation would lift the Arab world out of the “Middle Ages.”

The cartoon, which depicts Israel as a futuristic city with flying cars and the Arab world as a stubborn man on a mule, was criticized as “racist.”

“As the English saying goes, if you can’t beat them, join them. The time has come for cooperation between Israel and its neighbors in order to build a bright future for the countries of the region instead of the boycott and remaining in the Middle Ages,” said a post published along with the cartoon on the ministry’s official Arabic Facebook page.

“The precursor to change in the Middle East will come through realizing that relations with Israel will be beneficial for Arab countries,” the post added.

The cartoon depicts an Arab man on a mule angrily declaring “I boycott you Israel.” The mule, in a play on words, tells the boycotter that he is “as stubborn as a mule.”

Trump’s Embassy Move Proved Abbas Doesn’t Want Peace
Earlier this month, more than 10,000 Israelis turned out for demonstrations in Tel Aviv against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Their purpose was to draw attention to corruption charges lodged against the prime minister. If Netanyahu ends up being charged with a crime it will almost certainly mean that his fourth — and third consecutive — term in office will be his last.

Or at least that’s what his opponents are hoping. If Netanyahu does survive, the events of the last three weeks are making it look like the prime minister, or whoever succeeds him as head of the Likud party and the coalition that it leads, is likely to emerge as the victor in the next Israeli election.

With Palestinians expressing “rage” about President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, it appears that security and the peace process — rather than corruption or the plight of the middle class — is what will continue to determine the outcome of elections in the Jewish state. And so long as that is true, those American Jews who think that Israel should be pressured into making concessions, need to understand the impact of Trump’s move — and the Palestinian reaction to it — on the Israeli public.

Trump’s decision provoked some curious reactions among American Jews, the vast majority of whom are fervently opposed to his administration. For some leaders of Reform Judaism, they opposed his decision. Their position — and that of many on the Jewish left — was that nothing Trump did could possibly be good for the Jews. That may make sense to partisan Democrats, but it also puts them out of touch with the vast majority of Israelis, who embraced the president’s announcement.
PM to Guatemalan president: 'God bless you' for Jerusalem move
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu thanked Guatemala with a "God bless you" on Monday for deciding to move its embassy to Jerusalem, while the Palestinians said the Central American country was "on the wrong side of history."

In an official Facebook post on Sunday, Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales said he had chosen to relocate the embassy from Tel Aviv – siding with the United States in a dispute over Jerusalem's status – after talking to Netanyahu.

U.S. President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel on Dec. 6, reversing decades of U.S. policy and upsetting the Arab world and Western allies.

On Thursday, 128 countries rebuked Trump by backing a non-binding U.N. General Assembly resolution calling on the United States to drop its recognition of Jerusalem.

"God bless you, my friend, President Jimmy Morales, God bless both our countries, Israel and Guatemala," Netanyahu said, switching to English, in remarks to a weekly meeting of his Likud party faction in parliament.
Guatemala says it’s begun working on moving embassy to Jerusalem
Guatemala’s Foreign Ministry said Monday it had begun working on moving the country’s embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, a day after President Jimmy Morales announced he would follow US President Donald Trump’s controversial lead on the holy city.

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs received the presidential order and is starting the process of implementing this foreign policy decision,” it said in a statement.

It was not immediately clear how long the move would take. On December 6, Trump announced he would move the US embassy to the city after recognizing it as Israel’s capital, but the actual process is expected to take six years, according to US officials.

Guatemala currently has an embassy in Tel Aviv suburb Herzliya, as well as consulates in Jerusalem and Haifa.

The Jerusalem consulate is in an apartment building on a small residential street near the city’s Mamilla neighborhood and would likely be unsuitable to be transformed into a full-fledged embassy.
After Guatemala Announcement, Honduras and Paraguay Also Expected to Move Embassies to Jerusalem
After Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales announced Sunday night his country will be transferring its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, Israel is surmising that another one or two other countries will be joining US President Donald Trump in making the move.

According to initial assessments, Guatemala’s eastern neighbor Hondorus will be one of the countries, while Paraguay is also expected to join the trickle of embassies flowing into Jerusalem.

The two Central American countries, Honduras and Guatemala, were among the seven countries that voted with the US and Israel against a United Nations General Assembly resolution last Thursday which declared Trump’s declaration “null and void.”

Paraguay abstained from the vote, despite having demonstrated in the past its particularly pro-Israel disposition.

Despite Guatemala’s decision and Israel’s optimism that the other two countries will follow suit, significant delays are expected to take place before any moves are actually taken.
New York Times Admits That Embassy Move Didn’t Lead To Mass Violence
President Donald Trump’s decision to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem hasn’t lead to the violence predicted by many in the media, according to a Saturday report in The New York Times.

While editorial boards and cable news talking heads blasted the supposed reckless decision (even a Times editorial published right before the president’s announcement said the move would raise “new tension in the region” and could incite “violence”), instead a “mood of hopeless resignation” overshadows the Palestinians.

“With residents neither basking in seasonal cheer nor raging in the throes of a new intifada, the popular mood in the city was more one of hopeless resignation,” the article reads.

There are still some smaller protests on the streets of Gaza, but the general peace of the region directly contradicts the apocalyptic fears espoused by so many in the days following Trump’s executive order.

“Yet, despite the dire predictions of major turmoil, and the best efforts of both Fatah and Hamas to mobilize the masses, so far there has been no large-scale, spontaneous outburst of violence in the wake of the president’s declaration,” The Times writes.
Greek anarchist group vandalizes Israeli embassy in Athens
Members of an anarchist group in Greece vandalized the Israeli embassy in Athens using bottles of red paint.

The group, Rubicon, filmed themselves committing the early-morning attack on Monday and posted the video online. The video shows the members of the group riding up to the embassy building on motorcycles and throwing the paint at it.

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The embassy may not have been as well-guarded as usual due to the Christmas holiday. The building is located at a busy intersection, according to local reports.

“We identify with the Palestinians, a nation that for decades has been a victim of oppression,” Rubicon said in a statement released after the attack. “In reality, the Palestinians are pressured to leave their land. This is ethnic cleansing at a low intensity level for decades.”

The statement also said: “The question that arises from the Palestinian struggle that must confront us all is the question of the nature of the Palestinian struggle for independence. It is a question of survival of a nation in the land on which it was born.”
Turkish cycling star quits Israeli team over US Jerusalem backlash
One of Turkey’s best known professional cyclists has joined a homegrown Turkish team after quitting his Israeli outfit due to the backlash in Turkey generated by the US decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, reports said Tuesday.

Ahmet Orken, who will now cycle for Salcano Sakarya Buyuksehir in the Turkish Black Sea region of Sakarya, cited pressures on his family following the Jerusalem recognition as the reason for his departure.

Turkey, led by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has strongly opposed Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the Israeli capital, calling a summit of Islamic countries that declared East Jerusalem the Palestinian capital.

Jerusalem’s status is perhaps the most sensitive issue in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Israel sees the entire city as its undivided capital, while the Palestinians want the eastern sector as the capital of their future state.

Trump stressed in his December 6 declaration that he was not taking a stance on the city’s borders, which he said should be determined by the two sides.
Elliott Abrams: The Trump National Security Strategy
President Trump delivered a new “National Security Strategy of the United States of America” last week, and it elicited a mountain of comment. I thought I’d wait a week to let the dust settle, and then add my own.

The criticisms of the NSS came from predictable quarters, and in many cases seemed to me merely to reflect the writer’s attitude toward the President rather than a fair assessment of the document. More interesting were the comments of independent scholars who are not Trump haters. Mike Green, my former colleague at the George W. Bush NSC and a China expert, noted the new emphasis on great power competition with China. Green criticized “the utter lack of a coherent trade policy,” the way human rights is used as a club against enemies but forgotten with respect to allies (noting that as Ronald Reagan realized, “eventually the authoritarians in your camp will become sources of weakness and risk”), and the need to match means with the goals described in the NSS. Walter Russell Mead approved of the document’s realism, writing that “history isn’t over, and American foreign policy needs to come back to earth….In steering American foreign policy away from the inflated expectations and unrealistic objectives produced by the end of history mirage, the Trump administration is performing a much-needed service.” Still, Mead adds that “it is not enough to demolish the old. Ultimately Mr. Trump will be judged on his ability—or failure—to build something better.”

My take: the NSS is a first-rate effort filled with ideas that need to be taken seriously. To take one example, the document discards the line—one we have heard from all too many U.S. officials in this administration and its predecessors—that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the center of the Middle East’s (if not the world’s) troubles.
Japan’s FM said to invite Netanyahu, Abbas, Kushner to Tokyo peace summit
Japan’s foreign minister reportedly invited Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to a four-way peace summit in Tokyo that would also include Jared Kushner, who is overseeing US President Donald Trump’s efforts to revive peace talks.

According to a report by the Walla news website, Taro Kono extended the invitation to Netanyahu and Abbas during his separate meetings on Monday with the Israeli and Palestinian leaders in Jerusalem and Ramallah.

According to Channel 10, Netanyahu said he was open to attending, but only if the US agreed.

“If Kushner is there, I will also be there,” the report quoted Netanyahu as telling Kono.

The TV channel said the proposal was first made to Netanyahu by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe when the two met in New York during the UN General Assembly in September.

It said Netanyahu told Abe he would only attend if the summit was coordinated with the US, which has traditionally been the arbitrator of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.
IsraellyCool: International Red Cross’ Latest Double Standard on Israel
The Red Cross has rebuked Israel – because an MK boarded a bus headed towards an Israeli jail and shouted insults at the relatives of terrorists.

Meanwhile, not so much as a sneeze from the ICRC regarding the recent incident where a Red Crescent ambulance was clearly seen transporting demonstrators to a violent riot targeting IDF forces – or the other recent incident in which palestinian rioters were using an ambulance as a shield.

Because these are not nearly as serious as insulting terrorists, apparently.
Hazan assigned security detail following Hamas threats
Knesset security officer Yossi Grif has decided to assign a security detail to MK Oren Hazan (Likud), after his confrontation yesterday with the families of Hamas terrorists was met with outrage and threats from the terror organization.

Yesterday, activists with The Task Force for the Release of Prisoners and Missing Persons blocked two buses from the Gaza Strip to Nafha Prison near Mitzpe Ramon, demanding equal treatment with respect to Israeli prisoners held in Gaza.

Passengers on the buses included women from Gaza, Judea, and Samaria, seeking to visit their sons who are convicted terrorists sitting in Israeli prison.

Hazan, who accompanied the activists, confronted the terrorists’ family members.

"As I promised, I approached without fear the Hamas bus, which came to visit the scum they call family," Hazan said. "In the stormy meeting, I told them that a terrorist's place is underground. And no, I did not mean tunnels."

Subsequently, Hamas expressed outrage at Hazan.

“We say to Oren Hazan the pig – our honor hasn’t been trampled,” terror official Fathi Hamad said. “Our honor is beyond any consideration.”
Media should stop whitewashing Ahed Tamimi’s terror-supporting family
The Tamimi Clan is not indigenous to any part of what now is Israel or the “West Bank.” As even far left-wing Haaretz writer Amira Hass acknowledges, the Tamimis are descendents of the Banu Tamim tribe from what is now Saudi Arabia. The Tamimis migrated at some point after the Muslim Arab conquest, although exactly how long ago is not clear. Bassem Tamimi is considered one of the tribe’s notable members.

Bassem Tamimi, the father of Ahed and a well-known activist embraced by groups like Amnesty International, Jewish Voice for Peace and Code Pink, openly advocates for the use of children in protests, such as in this film about Ahed’s childhood confrontations with Israeli soldiers:

Bassem even took that message of childhood protest to a third-grade class in the U.S.

In December 2012, Ahed was hosted by Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to receive an “award” and gifts for her exploits.

Bassem promotes his daughter as a “warrior princess” as part of her media narrative, as in this 2015 image.

Ahed, along with her cousin Janna Jihad Tamimi, has become an international media star promoted through a sophisticated media operation that includes featuring her in videos and international tours.


Given this long history, Ahed Tamimi’s most recent conflict with Israeli soldiers cannot be viewed as happenstance, but should be viewed as part of an almost decade-long Tamimi media plan.
IsraellyCool: WATCH: Palestinian’s Unintentionally Hilarious Video of Shirley Temper
PAL+ English has put out a video attempting to lionize Ahed Tamimi aka Shirley Temper.

And it’s really bad. As in contains corny attempts at poetry and lousy English.

“She is coerced to hide her softness” – “coerced” is clearly not what they meant, but it is unintentionally true; while the video makers clearly want to blame the IDF, it is her parents who coerced her from a young age to try provoke the soldiers
“Outrageous face” – again, I am sure not what they meant
“Was crushed by the oppression of 10f – I am guessing they meant “IOF” (what they call the Israeli Occupation Forces)
“With bare hands, she kicked the soldiers” – those are some amazing hands she has there
Egypt hangs 15 over attacks on security forces in Sinai Peninsula
Egyptian authorities on Tuesday executed 15 prisoners convicted of attacks on security forces in the restive Sinai Peninsula, police officials said.

The men were hanged in two jails where they had been held since military courts sentenced them for the attacks in the Sinai, where jihadists are waging an insurgency, the officials said.

It was the largest mass execution carried out in the North African country since six convicted jihadists were hanged in 2015.

The hangings come a week after the Islamic State group attacked a helicopter with an anti-tank missile at a North Sinai airport as the country’s defense and interior ministers were visiting.

The ministers were unhurt in the attack but an aide to the defense minister was killed along with a pilot.
Hezbollah scandal perfect timing for Trump administration
An explosive and controversial report alleging the Obama administration soft-pedalled investigations into Hezbollah’s drugs and weapons trade due to the desire to get the Iran deal done is making waves in Washington. It could have major ramifications for the region as well, particularly because the Trump administration has Hezbollah in its crosshairs.

Politico published on December 18 a major investigative report by Josh Meyer titled “The secret backstory of how Obama let Hezbollah off the hook.” Now US Attorney General Jeff Sessions has given the go-ahead to the Justice Department to look at the accusations. Former Obama administration members have critiqued the report.

In an interview with NPR, Meyer said he spent months interviewing dozens of people and reviewing court records, documents and emails. The probe into Hezbollah’s actions as an “international crime syndicate” was code-named Project Cassandra by the Drug Enforcement Administration. Some investigators believed Hezbollah was “collecting $1 billion a year from drug and weapons trafficking, money laundering and other criminal activities,” Meyer wrote.

However, Project Cassandra’s efforts, which began in 2008 and included 30 US and foreign security agencies, were hampered at the highest levels. “The Justice and Treasure departments delayed, hindered or rejected their requests… and the State Department rejected requests to lure high-value targets to countries where they could be arrested.” Meyer’s article asserts that there was a connection to the Iran Deal, and he says Obama administration officials speaking on condition of anonymity “said they were guided by broader policy objectives, including de-escalating the conflict with Iran, curbing nuclear weapons program and freeing at least four American prisoners held by Tehran.”
Iran Confirms Upholding Death Sentence for Academic Accused of Spying for Israel
Iran’s Supreme Court has upheld a death sentence against a Sweden-based Iranian academic convicted of spying for Israel, the Tehran prosecutor was quoted as saying on Monday, confirming reports by Amnesty International and his family.

Ahmadreza Djalali, a medical doctor and lecturer at the Karolinska Institute, a Stockholm medical university, was accused of providing information to Israel to help it assassinate several senior nuclear scientists.

Djalali was arrested in Iran in April 2016 and later convicted of espionage. He has denied the charges, Amnesty said.

At least four scientists were killed between 2010 and 2012 in what Tehran said were assassinations meant to sabotage its efforts to develop nuclear energy. Western powers and Israel said Iran aimed to build a nuclear bomb. Tehran denied this.

The Islamic Republic hanged a man in 2012 over the killings, saying he was an agent for Israeli intelligence agency Mossad.

On Monday, Tehran prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi said the Supreme Court recently upheld the death sentence against Djalali, the news site of Iran’s judiciary, Mizan, reported.

Dolatabadi said Djalali had confessed to meeting Mossad agents repeatedly to deliver information on Iran’s nuclear and defense plans and personnel, and helping to infect Defense Ministry computer systems with viruses, Mizan reported.

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