Thursday, May 10, 2018

From Ian:

IDF Strikes Iranian Targets in Syria
Iran is actively conducting its military activities beyond its borders, which not only is a threat to Israel, but to the Middle East as a whole. On Wednesday, May 9, 2018, the Quds force, a special force wing of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, stationed in Syria, shot 20 rockets towards IDF posts in the Golan Heights. The IDF intercepted four of the rockets, preventing casualties and damage. This is the first time that Iranian forces have directly fired at Israeli troops.

In response, IDF fighter jets struck dozens of military targets in Syria that belonged to Iran’s Quds force. The IDF’s wide-scale attack included Iranian intelligence sites, the Quds force logistics headquarters, an Iranian military compound in Syria, observation and military posts, et cetera. In spite of a warning from Israel, Syrian aerial defense forces fired towards the IAF aircraft as they conducted the strikes. In response, the IAF targeted several aerial interception systems (SA5, SA2, SA22, SA17) which belong to the Syrian Armed Forces. All of the IDF’s fighter jets returned to their bases safely.

This is the second time this year that Iran has used its military facilities in Syria to attack Israel. In February 2018, the Quds force launched a UAV from Syria, which violated Israeli airspace and threatened Israeli security.

Iran’s aggression is further proof of the Iranian regime’s intentions and the threat it poses to Israel and regional stability. Iran continues to use Syria as its personal military outpost from which it can attack the State of Israel and its civilians, while the Syrian regime allows it to happen.

Overnight clashes show Shiite ‘monster’ in Syria is limited, for now
The broadly unsuccessful Iranian military response overnight Wednesday to alleged Israeli attacks on Iranian-affiliated targets in Syria in recent weeks — themselves a response to Iran’s deepening military presence in Syria, and to its launch of an attack drone into Israel in February — reveals a lot about the present Iranian deployment in Syria.

Despite the impression one might get from some Israeli reports that a real monster in Syria is threatening the very existence of the Jewish state, it emerged that pro-Iranian Shiite forces in Syria are, at this stage, limited in their capacity to attack Israel.

During Iran’s overnight revenge operation, 20 rockets were fired at Israel, of which 16 landed in Syrian territory and the other four were knocked out of the sky by Israeli missile defense systems.

It’s doubtful that this was what the Iranians or the ayatollahs had in mind when they authorized Qassem Soleimani, commander of the Revolutionary Guards’s Quds Force, to respond to what foreign sources have called recent Israeli attacks on Iranian-affiliated targets in Syria.

Not only did the operation not achieve anything — there was no damage and there were no injuries on the Israeli side — it gave Israel the pretext for a wide-ranging attack on Iranian targets inside Syria.

According to Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, nearly the entire Iranian military infrastructure was attacked overnight. The Israeli army said this infrastructure sustained heavy damage.

What worries Israel, though, is not the attacks launched from Syria but the threat of a broader military confrontation with the much more important Iranian proxy in the region — Lebanon’s Hezbollah.

Up until now, the Lebanese Shiite terror organization has avoided being drawn into war with Israel. It is keeping its troops on alert but has not ordered them into action.

As long as Hezbollah in Lebanon remains out of the picture, the exchange of blows in Syria can continue without escalating into war.
Liberman: Israel destroyed ‘nearly all’ Iranian military sites in Syria
Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said Thursday morning that the IDF had destroyed “nearly all” of Iran’s military infrastructure sites in Syria overnight in response to a rocket barrage on Israel’s north, and warned Tehran that attacks on Israeli territory will be met with “the strongest possible force.”

In his first public comments following the strikes on dozens of targets that the IDF said were affiliated with Iran’s Revolutionary Guards’ al-Quds Force, Liberman said that Israel has no interest in escalating tensions but will not accept any provocation against it.

“If we get rain, you will get a flood,” he warned Iran, speaking at an annual Herzliya Conference. “We will not let Iran use Syria as a base to attack us from.”

“The Iranians tried to attack the sovereign territory of Israel,” Liberman said. “Not one Iranian rocket landed in the State of Israel. Nobody was hurt. Nothing was damaged. And we’re to be thankful for that. We damaged nearly all of the Iranian infrastructure in Syria.”

But he added, “It’s not a stunning victory. Everything’s limited at the moment to a confrontation between us and the Iranian Revolutionary Guards in Syria. Everyone wants to limit this confrontation and keep it in this form.”

Liberman stressed that Israel had no interested in an escalation but that Iranian provocation met with force.



IDF: Iranian forces fire 20 rockets at Israel; Iron Dome intercepts some
Some 20 rockets were fired at Israeli military bases by Iranian forces in southern Syria just after midnight on Thursday, with some of the incoming missiles being intercepted by the Iron Dome defense system, the army said, amid sky high tensions on the northern border.

There were no reports of Israeli casualties in the attack. An army spokesperson said damage was caused to Israeli military bases, but that it was “limited.”

The Israeli army said the missile barrage was carried out by members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Quds Forces. This appeared to be the first time that Israel attributed an attack directly to Iran, which generally operates through proxies. The late night rocket barrage was also the largest attack, in terms of the number of rockets fired, in the seven years of the Syrian civil war.

Tehran has repeatedly vowed revenge after the T-4 army base in Syria was struck in an air raid — widely attributed to Israel — on April 9, killing at least seven members of the IRGC, including a senior officer responsible for the group’s drone program. (Iran used the T-4 base to launch an attack drone carrying explosives into Israel in February; the drone was shot down.)

Immediately following the Iranian attack at 12:10 a.m., Syrian state media reported that Israeli artillery fire targeted a military post near the city of Baath in the Quneitra border region, where Syrian regime forces were stationed.
Israeli strikes in Syria said to kill at least 23, 18 of them foreigners
Israeli strikes on several areas of Syria overnight killed at least 23 fighters, including five Syrian regime troops and 18 other allied forces, a monitor said Thursday.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the regime troops killed in the strikes included an officer, adding that the other casualties included Syrians and foreigners.

It didn’t say whether any Iranians were among the foreigner casualties.

Syria’s military denied the Observatory’s report, saying the Israeli airstrikes killed three people and wounded two others, destroyed a radar station and an ammunition warehouse, and damaged a number of air defense units.

Some 20 rockets were fired at northern Israeli military bases by Iranian forces from southern Syria just after midnight, Israel said, prompting extensive retaliatory raids. The Israel Defense Forces said that it suffered no casualties, either on the ground or in the air, and that no rockets fired from Syria made impact in Israeli territory.

Russia’s defense ministry said Israel’s strikes on Syria saw 28 planes take part in raids with a total of around 70 missiles fired.

“28 Israeli F-15 and F-16 aircraft were used in the attack, which released around 60 air-to-ground missiles over various parts of Syria. Israel also fired more than 10 tactical ground-to-ground missiles,” the ministry said in a statement quoted by the Interfax news agency.
In addition to Iranian targets, Israeli strike pummels Syrian air defenses
Israel’s predawn retaliatory airstrike campaign on Thursday primarily targeted dozens of Iranian bases, command centers and weapons caches in Syria, but along the way Israeli jets dealt a crushing blow to Syrian dictator Bashar Assad’s already severely weakened air defenses.

According to the Israel Defense Forces, shortly after midnight, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps’s al-Quds Force launched 20 Grad and Fajr-5 rockets from southern Syria at Israeli military positions on the Golan Heights, following weeks of threats from Tehran to attack the Jewish state for a number of airstrikes against Iranian forces in Syria in recent months that were attributed to Israel.

Israeli officials, who had repeatedly warned that the IDF would respond aggressively to any Iranian attack, ordered widespread reprisal raids, hitting Tehran-linked positions in southern, central and northern Syria.

Assad regime anti-aircraft batteries opened fire on Israeli planes during the extensive overnight aerial campaign, but hit none of them, the IDF said.

In response, the Israeli Air Force targeted “a number” of Syrian army air defense systems, including at least four varieties of Russian-made batteries, the army said.
White House condemns Iran’s ‘highly dangerous’ missile barrage into Israel
The Trump administration on Thursday condemned Iran’s firing some 20 rockets into Israel from Syria hours earlier, a move the White House warned could have far-reaching consequences for the entire region.

“The United States condemns the Iranian regime’s provocative rocket attacks from Syria against Israeli citizens, and we strongly support Israel’s right to act in self-defense,” Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement.

“The Iranian regime’s deployment into Syria of offensive rocket and missile systems aimed at Israel is an unacceptable and highly dangerous development for the entire Middle East.”

US Vice President Mike Pence also reiterated the US support for Israel’s right to self-defense. “We stand by Israel’s right of self-defense to protect its nation, its people, and its sovereignty,” he tweeted.


Pompeo warned Iran, ‘Harm Israel, and US will respond’ — report
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo recently warned Iran that if it harms Israel, the American military will respond, the Walla news site reported Thursday, quoting senior Israeli sources.

The sources reportedly said that in the run-up to President Donald Trump’s announcement on Tuesday that the US would withdraw from the 2015 nuclear deal with Tehran, “the US moved to the stage of graduated threats against Iran” in a bid to prevent any flareups in the region.

The (Hebrew) report did not specify how Pompeo conveyed the reported warning.

The Prime Minister’s Office declined to comment on the report.
UK, Germany back Israeli right to defensive strikes against Iran in Syria
The United Kingdom, Germany and France defended Israel’s right to launch self-defensive strikes against Iranian targets in Syria, after its warplanes struck 50 Iranian targets in Syria early in Thursday morning.

It was one of the heaviest Israeli barrages against Syria since the Syrian Civil War began in 2011.

The three countries issued an unusually strong defense of the Jewish state. The Trump Administration which always stands strong on Israel’s right to self-defense issued a statement as well.

The French Foreign Ministry said its country had an “unwavering commitment to Israel's security” and that it “condemns any attempt to undermine it.”

It called on both Israel and Iran to exercise restrain. But at the same time the French Foreign Ministry also demanded that “Iran refrain from any military provocation” and “warned it against any temptation toward regional hegemony.”

British Prime Minister Theresa May’s spokesman told reporters in London, “We condemn Iran's attack on Israel. Israel has every right to defend itself.

"We call on Iran to refrain from any further attacks and for calm on all sides. We call on Russia to use its influence in Syria to prevent further Iranian attacks,” May’s spokesman said.
Bahrain backs Israeli strikes on Iranian targets in Syria
In an extremely rare expression of support for an Israeli military operation, the foreign minister of Bahrain on Thursday said Israel’s overnight attack on Iranian targets in Syria was legitimate in light of Tehran’s increasing aggression.

“As long as Iran continues the current status quo of its forces and rockets operating in the region, any country — including Israel — has the right to defend itself by eliminating the source of danger,” Khalid bin Ahmed Al-Khalifa posted on his Twitter account, writing in Arabic.


Iranian MP denies Iran has bases in Syria; calls Israeli claims 'fake'
In the first official Iranian reaction to Thursday morning's Israeli strikes on Iranian positions in Syria, Mohammad-Javad Jamali Nobandegani, a member of the Iranian Parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, dismissed the reports as "fake scenarios."

The IDF announced Thursday morning that 20 rockets were first fired towards Israeli territory from Syria, and that Israel attacked 50 Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps targets in response.

"This claim is entirely false," said Jamali Nobandegani of the IDF's statement. "Everyone knows that the Zionist Regime has always attacked first," he said, referring to Israel. "Even before the conflict over ISIS in the region, Israel bombed Syria and attacked the Iraqi atomic weapons program," in a statement to Iran's Islamic Consultative Assembly News Agency.

Jamali Nobandegani also denied that Iran has military bases in Syria.

"Iran has advisors in Syria, and certainly if the Syrian military wishes, Iran puts its information and experience at their disposal," he said. "Russia does the same."

"Russia has military bases in Syria, but the Iranian presence is advisory only," he said.

Considering the extent of the Israeli attacks, as described by the IDF, the Iran government's response has been limited. As of early Thursday afternoon, no other Iranian officials have directly addressed Thursday's confrontation.
Noah Rothman: The Iran Deal’s Disastrous Legacy Has Nothing to Do with Nukes
In March, State Department veteran and former adviser to Barack Obama, Frederic Hof, bid farewell to public life with a stunning admission. Amid a confession regarding his failure to prevent the expansion of the Syrian civil war into a regional crisis, Hof laid the blame for that all-consuming conflict (as well as a notable uptick in Russian aggression) at the feet of Barack Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran.

“[T]he administration sacrificed Syrian civilians and American credibility for the mistaken notion that Iran required appeasement in Syria as the price for a nuclear agreement,” Hof wrote. Today, with 500,000 dead, millions displaced, and the norm prohibiting chemical-weapons use shattered, we can confirm that the price of appeasement is as high as ever.

Indeed, the Iran nuclear deal was supposed to have a variety of positive knock-on effects entirely unrelated to the development of nuclear weapons, but they never materialized. As New York Times reporters David Sanger and David Kirkpatrick observe, Obama “regarded Iran as potentially a more natural ally” of the United States than America’s Sunni allies in Cairo, Abu Dhabi, and Riyadh. Iran is urbane, young, educated, and chafing under its theological government. The opening up of the Iranian economy in a post-deal world, so the thinking went, would facilitate—even necessitate—domestic liberalization. Purely out of self-interest, the Mullahs would soon agree to pare back their support for destabilizing activities in the region and cooperate with the West to “defeat the Islamic State.”

All these ambitious objectives went unrealized in the years that passed since the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action’s (JCPOA) adoption. That is not to say that the JCPOA failed to induce some tectonic shifts in the region. The Obama administration’s effort to empower Iran and its Shiite proxies in the region compelled the Middle East’s Sunni states to rethink their alliances. The regularization of contacts between Washington and Tehran for the first time in nearly 40 years forced longtime foes, Israel and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, into a de facto pact. And just like that, the region’s all-consuming Palestinian question faded into the background. The remarkable diminution of the central issue of what we used to call the Middle East Peace Process underscores how stabilizing America’s forward posture can be, for good or for ill. It also demonstrates how American withdrawal can scramble regional dynamics with unforeseeable consequences.

Ultimately, the most welcome revelation the Iran nuclear deal has wrought is one to which only the accord’s most prideful defenders remain resistant. There can be no permanent accommodation with the regime in Tehran. The Islamic Republic can only be contained and weakened, with the eventual—if unstated—aim of nudging it toward radical democratic reform and, ultimately, dissolution.
Michael Oren: Withdrawal from the Iran Nuclear Deal Makes America, Israel and the World Much Safer
The U.S. decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal makes America, Israel and the world much safer. The deal threatened the security and the very future of Israel.

It legitimized Iranian aggression throughout the Middle East and funded massacres and terror through sanctions relief and business contracts. It also enabled Iran to retain its nuclear infrastructure and the ability to reactivate it in the near future.

Contrary to the claim that no deal would satisfy us, Israelis, in fact, sought an arrangement that would dismantle Iran's nuclear facilities, halt its building of ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads, and ensure that the jihadist regime in Tehran could never develop nuclear weapons.

We sought a treaty that would link Iran's ability to do business overseas with the cessation of its support for terror, its campaign to dominate the Middle East, and its declared goal of destroying the Jewish state.

The Iran deal, signed in 2015, achieved none of this. All of Iran's nuclear facilities, including those intended to make atomic bombs, were retained. Iranian scientists, led by veterans of the secret nuclear weapons program, developed centrifuges able to enrich uranium at four times the 2015 rate.

The agreement also had expiration dates. In a short period, Iran would be able to enrich enough uranium for an entire arsenal of bombs.

Now, though, the U.S. is again poised to apply immense pressure on Iran, greatly reducing its ability to mount aggression in the region and abroad.
Caroline Glick: Trump's Iran Deal Decision Was a Masterstroke
When Trump walked away from the nuclear deal on Tuesday, and reinstituted the sanctions that were suspended under the deal, he signaled to U.S. friends and foes alike that America is back in the superpower business.

America is once again an enemy of its foes and a friend of its allies. When Trump says that Iran will face “severe consequences,” the Iranians need to take him seriously in a manner they never took Obama seriously when he said emptily that “all options are on the table.”

Trump’s many critics in the media insist that his decision to abandon Obama’s deal with Iran’s mullahs sends the message that the U.S. cannot be trusted when it gives its word to the nations of the world. But the message he has sent – and that seems to have been picked up by North Korea, for instance – is that the U.S. will not maintain international agreements that harm its interests.

The deal the U.S. is willing to make with North Korea is not yet another appeasement agreement along the lines of Obama’s Iran deal and Clinton’s 1994 nuclear agreement with North Korea. When President Trump tells the North Korean regime that the only deal he will make is one that dismantles Pyongyang’s nuclear arsenal, after he abandoned the JCPOA, the North Koreans know that it would be unwise to doubt him.

The fact that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo returned from North Korea with three American citizens who had been held hostage by Pyongyang in tow signals that North Korea is taking Trump seriously.

And so Trump’s announcement that he is withdrawing from Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran was a masterstroke. It was brilliant not because it paved the way for a new diplomatic initiative. It was a masterstroke because in one fell swoop he ended the farce that you can have a non-proliferation policy based on facilitating Iran’s acquisition of nuclear weapons.

At the same time, Trump strengthened America’s real options for preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. He restored the balance of powers in America’s constitutional order. And he restored U.S. credibility internationally with America’s friends and foes alike.
Mattis: Trump Admin. Already Working with Allies to Prevent Iran from Acquiring Nukes
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Wednesday the Trump administration is working with U.S. allies on a measure to prevent Iran from procuring a nuclear weapon, less than 24 hours after President Donald Trump torpedoed the Obama-era Iran nuclear deal.

Testifying before the defense subcommittee of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Mattis said Trump withdrew the United States from the 2015 Iran nuclear accord on Tuesday because he was unable to confirm Tehran's compliance to its provisions, which exchanged sanctions relief for a pause on the regime's nuclear program.

"We have walked away from the JCPOA because we feel that it was inadequate for the long-term effort and this is something that was probably noted by the Senate several years ago when the Senate did not endorse it as a treaty," Mattis said, referring to the deal's official name, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

"It was not a hasty decision. The administration has been in place for over a year, and for over a year we have attempted to work with allies on the shortcomings of it, so I think now we have an opportunity to move forward to address those shortcomings and make it more compelling. That effort is underway already, with the secretary of state, secretary of treasury, and others working the issue."
Seth Frantzman: How Trump took away Iran’s “war” card
Iran’s propaganda machine studied the US over the last decade and a half and concluded around 2013 that the US was very reticent to get involved in any more conflicts in the region. It successfully packaged the Iran deal as the answer to “another war” and with its sympathetic ears in the West it encouraged opeds and talking points that claimed anyone who opposed a “deal” was leading America to “another war.” It correctly understood that the American public would not ask “what do you mean? Why would there be a war? What war?”

So it played this bogeyman role very well. Any discussion about the JCPOA was met with “you support war.” Iran also sought to encourage a whispering campaign that suggested Israel was “driving the US to war.”

All of this was a gamble based on the idea that American policy makers would buy this idea that to stop a “new war” required doing whatever the Iranian regime wanted. This was the fundamental flaw and the leverage that has now been taken away from Iran.

There was never a threat of a “new war,” at least not between the US and Iran. There was always the threat that Iran’s war mongering might spread throughout the Middle East, as it did anyway with or without the “deal.”

The Trump administration has now taken away Iran’s “war” card. Iran can’t play this bogeyman card anymore. This will now require Iran to enter a complex reality in which it can no longer get Western diplomats to do all its talking points for it. Absent of the war threat, Iran has no other major threat. It is economically weak. It doesn’t want war. It is stretched thin. It has overplayed its hand. It’s actions drove the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Israel into a quiet alliance.

Even in Syria it has ruffled feathers in Moscow who view it as a potentially destabilizing force that might drag Russia into dealing with Iran-Israel tensions. Russia relies on Tehran as part of the Astana process. Iran must be careful not to drive Syria into a war.
JPost Editorial: Trump's Decision
From Israel’s point of view, Trump’s decision is cause for satisfaction but also concern.

First, it appears that the US president plans to disengage from the Middle East in general, and particularly in Syria, where Russia and Iran have taken a leading role in supporting the reprehensible regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Second, Iran continues to be a destabilizing agent in other countries in the region and a major sponsor of terrorism, especially in Lebanon, where it arms and finances Hezbollah, and in Gaza, where it supports the terrorist and corrupt Hamas rulers.

Third, Iran is continuing to develop a sophistical program of long-range missiles, capable of hitting not just Israel but its other adversaries in the region, including Saudi Arabia. European powers, headed by France, have consistently failed to persuade Iran to halt its production of ballistic missiles.

Fourth, Trump’s decision to renege on an international agreement harms US credibility and its relationship with other world powers. Even if former US president Barack Obama made a historical mistake in reaching the deal, he does have a point in saying that walking away from it “turns our back on America’s closest allies, and an agreement that our country’s leading diplomats, scientists, and intelligence professionals negotiated.”

Finally, while Obama may be mistaken in saying that the JCPOA is working and has effectively rolled back Iran’s nuclear program, he could be correct in predicting that Trump’s move “could embolden an already dangerous regime; threaten our friends with destruction; pose unacceptable dangers to America’s own security; and trigger an arms race in the world’s most dangerous region. If the constraints on Iran’s nuclear program under the JCPOA are lost, we could be hastening the day when we are faced with the choice between living with that threat, or going to war to prevent it.”

We agree with the reaction of World Jewish Congress president Ronald Lauder who pointedly said, the Trump decision sends an “unmistakable message to Iran and its allies that its very real threats against the United States and all other free and democratic countries in the world will not be tolerated.”

However, for this to work, Trump needs to come up with a Plan B to stopping Iran and put one on the table soon. Iran’s nuclear ambitions still need to be stopped. It’s not enough to simply nix. You still need to fix.
Give Netanyahu credit
As Revisionist Zionist leader Ze'ev Jabotinsky's wrote in his poem "The Beitar Song":

"Even in poverty a Jew is a prince / Whether slave or tramp / You have been created the son of kings"

It is very difficult to lead the Jews when every single one of them is deemed the son of a king. Moses was the first leader to internalize the price of leadership, and in modern times, Zionist visionary Theodor Herzl, Israel's first Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion and former Prime Minister Menachem Begin all swallowed the bitter pill. Netanyahu, too, has met a similar fate. Criticized from morning to night, he and his family are incessantly and viciously attacked by short-sighted talking heads. But time and again, he succeeds in proving their inferiority, superficiality and professional failures. The looks on their faces in recent days are enough to justify stationing an ambulance or two over at the TV studios, just in case. Now imagine what will happen when we see a group picture of Netanyahu, U.S. President Donald Trump, Saudi King Salman and representatives from the United Arab Emirates.

Despite the Bibiphobia so pervasive in the media and on the Left, the hostility has not had an effect on a vast majority of Israel's citizens. They know how to cherish and appreciate the actions and achievements of Israel's government under Netanyahu.
MEMRI: Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain, Egypt Welcome President Trump's Withdrawal From JCPOA
U.S. President Donald Trump's May 8, 2018 announcement of the U.S. withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal (JCPOA) and its reinstatement of the harsh sanctions against Iran won broad support from Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries. Saudi Arabia officially stated that it welcomed the announcement, calling it vital in light of the flaws inherent in the agreement and in light of Iran's taking advantage of it to develop its ballistic missile program and to support terror organizations in the Middle East. The Saudi announcement also expressed hope that the international community would take a similar firm position vis-à-vis Iran.

Saudi officials, among them Foreign Minister 'Adel Al-Jubeir and Saudi Ambassador to the U.S. Khaled bin Salman, tweeted similar sentiments, and the Saudi press published numerous articles and cartoons on the subject.

Egypt, the UAE, and Bahrain also released announcements expressing their support for Trump's decision to leave the JCPOA, and pointed out the flaws in the agreement.

This report will review the reactions of support for President Trump's withdrawal from the JCPOA:

Saudi Al-Riyadh Editorial: Trump's Decision Is An Historic Event; Iran Must Give Up Its Aggressive Path

The Saudi government daily Al-Riyadh's May 9, 2018 editorial, titled "Washington Has Had Its Say," stated: "The announcement by the American president Donald Trump of his country's withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal is an important historic event on the international level. Following this announcement, the agreement... became in effect a thing of the past, with the most important country's and largest superpower's withdrawal from it.

"Trump's statements will go down in history. They have many assertive messages to Iran and its supporters, and even to the U.S.'s European allies, [clarifying that] the U.S. will in no way agree to ambiguous positions and will act forcefully to prevent the Iranian regime from taking advantage of this agreement in order to realize its dream of obtaining nuclear weapons that will threaten the region and the entire world...
Journalist: Hezbollah Shows ‘More Maturity’ Than Israel
A Los Angeles Times special correspondent, Nabih Bulos, declared on Twitter on May 7, 2018, that Hezbollah (“Party of God”) shows “more maturity” than Israel. Hezbollah is a Lebanese-based, Iranian-backed, U.S.-designated terrorist group that calls for Israel’s destruction and has murdered hundreds of Americans.

The reporter’s comments were made after the May 7, 2018 elections in Lebanon. Hezbollah has exercised de facto control over the Levantine state. The elections witnessed a strong showing by Hezbollah and its allies in Lebanon. However, as Tony Badran, analyst for the Washington D.C.-based think tank Foundation for Defense of Democracies, noted in November 2017: “Hezbollah’s domination of the country is already complete.”

The organization—once described by then-U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage as the “‘A Team’ of terrorists”—is larger and more powerful than the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF). After the election, Jonathan Schanzer, a former U.S. Treasury Department terror analyst, noted as much, tweeting: “Hezbollah has an arsenal larger than most armies in the Middle East, it controls chunks of Lebanese territory and key assets, it can launch a war whenever it pleases without Lebanese buy-in, and now has increased control over Lebanese politics.”

Schanzer’s point about Hezbollah domination is correct. Lebanon’s president and commander-in-chief, Michel Aoun said in a Feb. 12, 2016 interview with Egypt’s CBC, that Hezbollah’s “arms are not contrary to the state project; otherwise we could have not tolerated it. It is an essential part of Lebanon’s defense.” Aoun has even described Hezbollah as a “complement” to the LAF. And as CAMERA has highlighted, the country’s armed forces have been caught aiding and working with the terror group.
US Envoy Tells German Companies to Wind Down Operations in Iran ‘Immediately’
The German daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung was more belligerent in its reporting. “Trump’s Act of Destruction,” read the headline of the editorial penned by the newspaper’s DC correspondent. “The European companies, engaged in trading with Iran, will suffer the consequences, too,” the editorial added.

As the media coverage and statements from Berlin indicate, Germany’s political and business establishments are determined to salvage the Iran deal, or at least the lucrative financial gains made in Iran in the wake of the 2015 agreement.

If the U.S. sanctions were to snap back into place following President Trump’s decision, German businesses could try to sabotage the measures. European corporations and banking sectors have a history of colluding with Iranian business. In 2014, Germany’s Commerzbank was fined $1.45 billion by the U.S. authorities for violating the Iran sanctions. Following year, France’s Paribas paid $9 billion in legal settlements for committing similar violations.

With leading German and French companies entangled in Iranian trade, it is unlikely for Chancellor Merkel or President Macron to follow America’s example and abandon the deal anytime soon. Despite German Chancellor pledging her ‘commitment’ and country’s Foreign Minister vowing to keep the agreement ‘alive,’ President Trump’s decisive action has killed the deal. The sooner the European political and business elite realize it, the better.
PreOccupiedTerritory: Iranian Forces In Syria Having Terrible, Horrible, No-Good, Very Bad Day (satire)
Shiite militias in Syria went to bed with a nuclear deal protecting them and now it’s blown up in their face and when they got out of bed this morning they tripped over a land mine and by mistake dropped their turban in the sink while the water was running and they could tell it was going to be a terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad day.

At breakfast Israel found a startup exit in its cereal box and the US found a North Korean concession in its cereal box but all the militias found was cereal.

They think they’ll move to Afghanistan.

In maneuvers Russia let Assad take the high ground. Kurdish forces and Islamist rebels got high ground too. The militias said they were getting scrunched. They said they were getting smushed. They said if they don’t get the high ground they were going to suffer casualties. No one even answered.

They could tell it was going to be a terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad day.

In briefings a Tehran spokesman liked the Basij beating and looting better than the militia’s beating and looting.

At shooting time he said they shot too little. At ethnic cleansing time he said they left out raping. Who needs raping? They could tell it was going to be a terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad day.
IDF's Defense at the Gaza Border: What's the Truth?


Hamas leader: Next week's protests will be 'decisive'
The Gaza leader of the Hamas terrorist group on Wednesday said that an upcoming mass protest on the Israeli border will be "decisive," vowing that he and other top officials were "ready to die" in a campaign to end Israel's blockade of the territory.

In a speech to an audience of hundreds of Gaza youths, Yahya Sinwar said Hamas has rejected international proposals to end weekly, often violent demonstrations, which are expected to culminate in Monday's mass protest.

"We can't stop these protests. We are supporting, even leading, them," Sinwar said. The protests will be "like a tiger running in all directions," he added.

The Hamas-led demonstrations are meant to protest a crippling decadelong Israeli-Egyptian blockade, imposed on the Gaza Strip after Hamas violently seized power there in 2007. The demonstrations are also an assertion of the Palestinian demands to return to lost properties in what is now Israel.

Monday's demonstration will cap six weeks of weekly protests and is scheduled to coincide with the relocation of the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem as well as the date when Palestinians mark the "catastrophe" (Nakba) of their displacement in 1948, when Israel won its independence.


'Hezbollah attack on Israel would lead to Lebanon's destruction'
Israel's effort to curtail Iran's nuclear and regional ambitions is an existential one, Habayit Hayehudi leader Education Minister Naftali Bennett said Tuesday.

Speaking at the annual Herzliya Conference on global security, Bennett also commented on the threat from Lebanon, saying Israel did not deal with it adequately in the past.

He said that although many believed Israel's policy toward Hezbollah would change following the Second Lebanon War in 2006, this was not the case.

He said that under former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and current Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, "we saw the military positions that were established [in Lebanon] and the violations and we turned a blind eye. Hezbollah later underwent another metamorphosis, and it [now] has 130,000 rockets. Today, Hezbollah constitutes a strategic but not existential threat."

However, he said that policy has changed in the past week, following the significant gains by Hezbollah and its political allies in Lebanon's parliamentary elections.

Hezbollah and Lebanon are one and the same, he said.


PreOccupiedTerritory: Jews Are Really Khazars But We’ll Mistreat Them Like Real Jews By Yahara Kussemek, Professor of Islamic Thought (satire)
It’s been a widely accepted notion in the Muslim world and beyond for some time now that the people who call themselves Jews today, mostly of the European variety, descend not from the ancient tribes of Israel, but from ninth-century converts in the Khazaria region where Europe meets Asia. As a consequence, none of the arguments in favor of Jewish sovereignty in the Holy Land apply to them, because we Muslims have decided that doesn’t make them Jewish. Just in case, though, we’re going to give them the same treatment we’ve given Jews for centuries: keep them under our boot, and they better not dare get any dangerous ideas that they shouldn’t be second-class subjects.

Like Islam, Judaism has always been accepting of converts – though Islam has always shown more aggressiveness in pursuing conversion of the masses, by force if necessary. In principle it should make no difference what nation or faith the convert held beforehand; once the conversion takes place, poof, that’s the person’s new status. In principle, therefore, the idea that European Jews have Khazar DNA and not, like their Mizrahi coreligionists, Levantine genes, should make no difference; a Jew is a Jew, and the Qur’an’s statement that the Holy Land is the Jews’ birthright should apply equally to them as to “pureblood” Jews. But that’s not how we’re going to do things.

It all comes down to power and politics, as you might expect. If we grant that the Jews of Khazaria became full-fledged Jews, that carries dangerous implications for maintaining Jewish dhimmi status – they’re Jews, regardless of ancestry, and worthy of controlling Palestine by divine decree. We can’t have that, though, because that would remove Jews from the rightful place we’ve assigned them in Islamic society, i.e. the bottom. It also means the Muslims who’ve fought so hard to prevent Jewish sovereignty in the Holy Land have violated the Qur’an, and suffered humiliating defeat in the process – and that’s just too much to bear.



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