Monday, October 15, 2018

From Ian:

Australia PM to announce he is 'open' to moving embassy to Jerusalem
Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison is open to Australia’s recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital and moving its embassy to the capital, the Australian media reported on Monday.

The Australian said Morrison will announce this on Tuesday when he makes a foreign policy statement explaining why Australia will vote “no” in the UN on Tuesday to a vote to recognize the Palestinian Authority as the chair of a important block of nations there called the G77.

Morrison is also expected to move to a much tougher position against Iran, and announce a review whether Australia should follow the US and abandon the Iranian nuclear deal.

Morrison credited former Australian ambassador to Israel Dave Sharma for influencing his thinking on the embassy move.

"The previous discussion was premised on the point that you couldn’t pursue this issue without risking or without prejudicing the final status. Now Dave is arguing the opposite to that and he’s saying that is possible,” The Sydney Morning Herald quoted Morrison as saying.

Morrison said that Sharma was arguing that the move can be done consistent with Australia’s long-running position of support for a two-state solution, and is “actually changing the way in which the issue is conceived."

Sharma, a Liberal Party candidate in a crucial Australian by-election next week, said Monday that Australia should be open to considering moving its embassy.
Romanian PM to consider moving embassy to Jerusalem
Romanian Minister of Foreign Affairs Teodor Melescanu said on Friday that the Ministry has completed the analytical report on the potential relocation of Romania's Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem and referred the document the Premier.

The Romanian Government will next send it to the Presidency and the Speakers of the two Chambers of Parliament, Melescanu said.

"The assessment of the Embassy's move to Jerusalem was sent to the Prime Minister and after the relevant observations are made - we'll see if there are any - the Government will send it to the Presidency and to the heads of the two Chambers. How long it will take to make the decision does not depend on me, as far as we are concerned, we have finished our job, the Ministry has practically completed the analysis," Melescanu said.

He said there are no bottlenecks, that "this is a process in which everyone is involved," but the issue is indeed very complicated. "As far as we are concerned, we have listed in our report both the elements of interest and the things that can have a negative effect, but the decision does not lie with us. The purpose of this analysis was to present to the political decision makers all the pros and cons for everybody to know and for Romania to have a current, coordinated position," the Foreign Minister said.
Deepening Diplomatic Partnership With Africa, Israel to Open Rwanda Embassy
Israel will open an embassy in the central African state of Rwanda in 2019, Israel Hayom learned on Sunday. The new embassy will be located in the capital, Kigali.

Although the two countries have maintained diplomatic relations for years, contacts have been held via the Israeli Embassy in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Foreign Ministry officials support the move, which is now pending final approval from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is also the acting foreign minister.

Rwanda maintains an embassy in Israel, located in Tel Aviv.

Diplomatic relations between the countries are close and include, among other exchanges, security cooperation and Israeli weapons exports to Rwanda. Additionally, Israel has sought to send a portion of the illegal African migrants in the country to Rwanda, although efforts have thus far failed due to internal pressure on the Rwandan government to oppose the measure.

The issue of opening an embassy in Rwanda was first raised in 2016, when Netanyahu visited the country and promised that Israel would open a mission there. The prime minister has repeated that promise several times, but now, with the closing of the Israeli Embassy in Paraguay, a quota for a new embassy was made available.
Israel ties warming with Central Asian countries
Much has been written about the growing ties between Israel and Arab states, such as Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), but there is also great potential for stronger relations between Israel and Central Asian countries.

The friendly relations between Israel and Central Asian countries go back to their foundation during WWII when the then-Soviet republics hosted an estimated two million refugees from the Nazi German invasion of the USSR – most of them Soviet Jewish refugees during WWII (it is estimated that there were some five million Jews in the Soviet Union in 1941).

The quietly improving cooperation between Israel and some Arab Sunni states is due to realpolitik – or national interest – with the Sunnis afraid of the interference of revolutionary Shia Islamic Iran in their affairs. Relations between Israel and Turkey have become increasingly strained due to the Islamist policies of Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan.

Relations with Central Asian countries also involve mutual interests; however, they are not beholden to radical religious and cultural factors, as in the Arab world.

Israel’s 1950s strategy, known as the “periphery doctrine,” was meant to seek allies beyond the hostile Arab world, such as with Iran and Turkey, but now the situation has reversed itself.

Netanyahu: Israel Is the Only Country in the Middle East Where the Christian Community Thrives
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the Christian Media Summit in Jerusalem on Sunday:
  • "Israel is the only country in the Middle East where the Christian community thrives and grows."
  • "Bethlehem had - when we handed it over to the Palestinian Authority - a Christian population of roughly 80%. Now it's about 20%. And that change happened because in the Palestinian Authority areas, as well as throughout the Middle East, Christians are being constricted, they're being pressured, also they're being persecuted."
  • "Israel is the one country that protects the human rights of all....We don't just protect Christian religious sites - we protect Christian people. Christians should enjoy all the freedom to worship as they please in the Middle East and anywhere else and the only place in the Middle East where they can do so is Israel."
  • "We have no better friends in the world than our Christian friends and I take this opportunity to thank you for your steadfast support. You are standing up for Israel and you are standing up for the truth and we stand up for you."
Israel foiled 40 ISIS attacks in 3 years, PM tells Christian media
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu revealed Sunday that Israel has foiled at least 40 would-be Islamic State terrorist attacks in Western countries over the last three years.

Netanyahu spoke Sunday at a meeting in Jerusalem of visiting journalists from Christian media, where he was warmly received by reporters.

The prime minister said he favors appointing an Israeli envoy to the Christian world, a sign of the country's efforts to foster close ties with its Christian allies.

He welcomed the idea suggested by one journalist to appoint such an emissary as "a great idea."

The summit reflects the deepening ties between Israel and the evangelical Christian world. Israel has come to rely on widespread evangelical support in recent years, a move that has raised concerns among some Jews in Israel and abroad.

"A great alliance with the evangelicals is something we do not apologize for," Netanyahu said. "We have no better friends in the world."
Khaled Abu Toameh: The Palestinian Battle against a Plan that Does Not Exist
No Palestinian -- or anyone else for that matter -- has been made privy to US President Donald J. Trump's long-awaited plan for peace in the Middle East, which has also been referred to as the "deal of the century." This minor detail however, has not prevented the Palestinians from rejecting the rumored plan, on the pretext that it is aimed at "liquidating" the Palestinian cause and national rights.

Hardly a day passes without Palestinian leaders and officials across the political spectrum behaving as if they know every detail of the "deal of the century." The Palestinians are not even prepared to wait until the US administration actually presents a plan.

The Palestinian rejection of a yet-to-be-announced peace plan should not surprise anyone. The Palestinians will never accept any plan from a US administration they consider extremely "hostile" to the Palestinians and "biased" in favor of Israel.

Even before Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital in December 2017, the Palestinians had made up their minds: As Trump administration is on the side of Israel, and its policies seem mainly designed to appease and strengthen Israel, the Palestinians apparently decided that they should boycott the US administration. This boycott is unlikely to end in the foreseeable future, especially in light of continued Palestinian denunciations of the US administration and its policies towards the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The Palestinians, it appears, have become hostage to their own vitriolic rhetoric. It is hard to see how after nearly a year of attacks on the Trump administration, any Palestinian leader would be able to accept the proposed "deal of the century," no matter what is in it, or to have any dealings with US officials. The massive anti-US campaign that the Palestinian leaders have been waging for the past few months in the media and every available platform has made it impossible, if not dangerous, for any Palestinian leader to do business with the Trump administration.

While Palestinian hatred for Trump and his administration does not come as a surprise, what is strange is that the two Palestinians factions -- Fatah in the West Bank and Hamas in the Gaza Strip -- are now using the President Trump's awaited plan to throw mud at one another.
If not for UNRWA, there would be no Palestinian refugee problem
In his last week’s highly tendentious article in the American magazine Foreign Policy, Khalil E. Jahshan, the executive director of the “Arab Center” in Washington D.C., asserts that US President Donald Trump’s yet-to-be-released peace plan (he prefers calling it Jared Kushner’s Peace Plan) would “turn Jordan upside down.” His somewhat lopsided reasoning is that if the Palestinian refugees in Jordan are stripped of their refugee status, it would destabilize the Hashemite Kingdom, “one of America’s closest allies in the region.”

Jordan is indeed a close ally of the US and one can assume that its leaders are fully aware of the benefits of this to their country. Mr. Jahshan’s argument goes something like this: if UNRWA stops supporting the refugees in Jordan, this will create a serious economic burden for the country and potentially unhinge it politically. However, that argument can surely be discounted by the fact he himself mentioned – that the US would almost certainly compensate Jordan directly for any additional costs it would incur as a result of UNRWA being out of the picture.

Jahshan and I have one thing in common: neither of us has actually seen the Trump peace plan or its details. His solicitude for Jordan is commendable, although a bit undercut by his not very positive views about the country’s ability to manage its own affairs – and in addition to more than a few inaccuracies about the origins of the Palestinian refugee problem as well as cavalierly forgetting that Trans-Jordan at the time created part of the problem by annexing most of the parts of Palestine which the UN had intended for a future Arab state. He tries to shift the emphasis from the basic issue of the unresolved refugee problem, i.e. perpetuating it by assuring that three generations, often in inhuman conditions, are left in camps all over the Middle East without providing them with basic civil, political, economic or other rights.
Indy ignores deadly Palestinian terror, but rushes to pronounce settlers guilty in lethal rock-attack
We recently noted that the Indy was one of three British media outlets which failed to cover the two recent Palestinian terror attacks that claimed the lives of three Israelis – Kim Levengrond Yehezkel, Ziv Hajbi, and Ari Fuld – but did find time to report on other Israel related stories.

By contrast, the Indy on Saturday night was quick to publish a story about a rock-throwing attack in the West Bank that claimed the life of a Palestinian woman – an attack, relatives claim, was carried out by settlers. However, not only did the Indy jump on the story, but immediately pronounced the settlers guilty, despite the fact that the incident is still under investigation and there aren’t any suspects.

Here’s our tweet to the Indy journalist, Samuel Osborne.

IDF bombs Hamas post after explosive damages Gaza fence
An Israeli military aircraft bombed a Hamas position in the southern Gaza Strip on Monday after two Palestinian men set off an explosive device near the security fence earlier in the day, the army said.

There were no immediate reports of Palestinian injuries in the airstrike.

“The strike was carried out after two terrorists approached the security fence in the southern Strip and placed an explosive device near the fence,” the army said.

“The device exploded inside Gaza and damaged the fence. No troops were injured,” the Israel Defense Forces added.

On Sunday, an Israeli aircraft carried out a strike on a group of Palestinians launching incendiary balloons toward Israel from the northern Gaza Strip, the army said.

Also Sunday, four fires sparked by the incendiary devices launched over the border raged in southern Israel, according to the Israel Fire and Rescue Services.
EU throws support behind beleaguered UN Mideast peace envoy
The European Union on Sunday gave its backing to under-fire United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nikolay Mladenov, who has been sharply criticized in recent days by the Ramallah-based Palestinian leadership for his efforts broker a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas.

“The cycle of violence leads only to more violence and deprives entire generations from the legitimate aspiration to live in peace and free to build their own future. Only a political solution can put an end to the violence,” an EU statement said on continued violence in the Gaza Strip.

“In this context, the European Union strongly appreciates and fully supports the efforts of the United Nation’s Special Coordinator who has been working closely together with all parties and with the international community to get a political process going again in Gaza,” it said.

Amid the Palestinian leadership’s displeasure with Mladenov, a senior Palestine Liberation Organization official said on Sunday that Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah refused to welcome Mladenov to his office last week.

In recent weeks, Palestinian officials have criticized Mladenov over his role in efforts to facilitate a deal in Gaza.
Palestinian attempts to stab soldier in West Bank, is shot dead — IDF
A Palestinian man was shot dead by Israeli forces Monday during an attempt to stab a soldier at the Gitai Junction in the northern West Bank, the army said.

No Israeli troops were injured in the incident and the Israel Defense Forces said it has opened an investigation.

Several hours after the attempted stabbing, the Kan public broadcaster reported that the assailant was a resident of Biddya, the same hometown as a 47-year-old Palestinian mother of eight who was killed late Friday night when a rock was hurled at her car in the northern West Bank.

The woman, Aisha Muhammad Talal Rabi, was driving in the car with her husband near the Tapuah Junction when the rock struck her in the head.

A spokesman for the Shin Bet confirmed Saturday that the security agency opened a probe into the incident, indicating it was suspected of being an act of terror committed by local Jewish settlers.
Supreme Court Justice narrowly escapes attack by Palestinians with hammers
Supreme Court judge David Mintz was the target of an attempted attack near the Dolev settlement in the West Bank on Monday morning, according to local media.

Police said they had received a report from a resident of the Binyamin area who was driving his car on Road 463 at HaParsa Junction near Dolev, when a Palestinian vehicle blocked him and three people got out of the car. They then allegedly approached him holding hammers at which point he fled.

Israeli media identified Mintz, who lives in Dolev, as the targeted resident and said he had been on his way to work when the incident occurred.

Bayit Yehudi MK Moti Yogev reacted to the incident saying: "As a resident of Dolev and West Binyamin, I can say from my experience that in recent months there has been an upsurge in Palestinian violence."

He related that last week in the middle of the night he encountered a barrier of burning tires on Route 465, an incident which ended in the theft of a a vehicle.

Expressing relief that Mintz extracted himself from the situation on Monday morning, he added, "I trust that he security establishment will learn the events and provide the appropriate security response in Judea and Samaria.” He also expressed hope also that the incident would move the justice system to give harsher punishments to terrorists.
Israeli aircraft said to destroy spying device in southern Lebanon
Israeli drones struck a spy device in southern Lebanon on Sunday night, according to Lebanese media reports.

The Naharnet news site said the explosion was heard in the southern town of Zrariyeh, near the Litani River, amid “heavy overflights” by Israeli drones.

Lebanese Armed Forces were called to the scene and opened an investigation into the incident, the report said.

Media reports on Sunday also said that Israeli war planes were spotted over the southern cities of Marjayoun and Tyre.

It was unclear whether the alleged spying device was Lebanese or Israeli.

There was no comment from the Israel Defense Forces.
With Goal of Thwarting Hezbollah Attacks, Israel Completes Building of New Wall on Part of Lebanon Border
The Israeli Defense Ministry recently completed the construction of a nine-meter high concrete wall — topped by steel fencing — along a 12-kilometer stretch of the Israel-Lebanon border, the Hebrew news site Walla reported on Sunday.

According to the Walla report, the new barrier will make it more difficult for Hezbollah fighters to conduct cross-border attacks.

Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah has threatened that in a future war with the Jewish state, members of his group will take over Israeli military posts and border communities.

The building of the wall has increased the sense of security felt by local residents, and will enable the construction of homes closer to the border, the report said.

The Israel-Lebanon border has remained largely quiet since the summer of 2006, when the IDF fought a 33-day-long war against Hezbollah — a Shi’a terror proxy of the Iranian regime.
Israel arrests Palestinian suspected of shooting officer during home demolition
Israeli authorities said Monday that a Palestinian man was arrested last week on suspicion of opening fire at forces and wounding an officer during the demolition of an alleged terrorist’s home in April.

The female Border Police officer had been lightly wounded in Jenin during the successful demolition of the home of Ahmed Kunba, who has been charged as an accomplice in the murder of Rabbi Raziel Shevach near the West Bank settlement of Havat Gilad in January.

Palestinians also hurled explosive devices and stones at the forces after they entered the northern part of the West Bank city with a bulldozer to carry out the demolition, the military said in a statement at the time.

The wounded officer was taken to a hospital for treatment with leg injuries, the statement said.

Border Police said in a statement Monday that Thaer Jaradat, said to be in his 30s, was arrested in an overnight raid on October 7 in the town of Ya’bad, overlooking Jenin in the northern West Bank.

He is the third suspect arrested in recent months over the incident, the statement added. The first two suspects were arrested on May 7 in Jenin, it said, and are still in custody. Jaradat was described as the “main suspect,” with police saying an M-16 rifle was found in his home.
4 activists arrested for obstructing police prep for Khan al-Ahmar demolition
Four activists were arrested Monday morning after blocking construction equipment from operating in Khan al-Ahmar ahead of the Palestinian hamlet’s demolition, police said.

The two Israelis and two Palestinians were obstructing a bulldozer that was being operated by a Defense Ministry worker to clear a swamp that had formed due to the bursting of a water pipe near the central West Bank village.

Activists reported that security forces had been violently pushing back dozens of protesters who had converged on the scene upon the arrival of Israeli troops, and that at least three had been injured.

Several other bulldozers were also on site to pave additional roads in preparation for the demolition.
Border crossing between Israel and Syria opens for first time in 4 years
A border crossing between enemy nations Syria and Israel reopened on Monday — four years after it closed as UN observers fled the area due to fierce fighting in the Syrian civil war. The move marked a de facto recognition by Israel that dictator President Bashar Assad has returned to govern in southern Syria, after he defeated rebel groups in the area earlier this summer.

The Syrian flag was raised at the Quneitra crossing, and as it reopened, the United Nations peacekeeping force UNDOF sent a number of white trucks from Syria to the Israeli side of the border.

“The opening of the crossing symbolizes the return of the enforcement of the 1974 disengagement agreement [between Israel and Syria],” Maj. Nehemia Berkey, the Israeli military liaison to UNDOF, told reporters.

The 1974 ceasefire accord marked the end of the previous year’s Yom Kippur War and established a buffer zone between the two countries. The area closest to the border became a full demilitarized zone, where only UNDOF and police could operate, while the rest of the buffer zone had strict limits on the number and types of military units and equipment allowed inside it.

“The crossing was closed in 2014 after hostile forces took over the area and has remained closed at the request of the other side ever since,” he said. “We expect [UNDOF] to again enforce the buffer zone and keep away hostile forces.”
Cash-strapped UNRWA advertises cushy PR position
A United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA) job posting published last month offered a starting salary of over $100,000 for the position of director of external relations. The well-paid post comes despite the fact that the organization finds itself in serious financial trouble.

In the posting, UNWRA offered an attractive compensation package, including an annual salary starting at $108,189 tax free. The benefits also included dependency allowances, subsidized living, education grants for children, travel expenses, 6 full weeks of annual vacation and extensive insurance package.

The position that UNRWA is advertising pays over 14 times average annual income for a Palestinian in 2017, $6960.

UNRWA has been in financial trouble since the Trump administration announced that it would cut all funding to the organization, questioning its "fundamental business model" of servicing an "endlessly and exponentially expanding community" of declared Palestinian refugees.

In July, the organization decided to lay off hundreds of its employees, causing outrage among Palestinians.

Sources in the Gaza Strip said that some 1,000 employees were affected by UNRWA’s measures, which included the immediate dismissal of 125 workers from the agency’s emergency program. UNRWA employees in the West Bank were also affected.

The princely bubble has burst
Disposing of dissidents is a matter of routine in ‎the Middle East – and elsewhere in the world – where ‎critics of certain governments seem to disappear or die under mysterious ‎circumstances. Europe is no stranger to this ‎practice either, as one can learn from the poisoning ‎of Russian defectors on British soil. ‎

But silencing dissidents on foreign soil is ‎playing with fire. Those who claim to be part of the ‎enlightened Western world must accept some of its ‎rules and values and more importantly, they must ‎exhibit prudence and sophistication. ‎

The Istanbul assassination showed neither and the ‎West now wants the Saudis to pay for their crimes.‎

At the end of the day, a compromise will be found to ‎remove this affair from the public and diplomatic ‎agendas. Junior Saudi officials will undoubtedly be ‎made to shoulder the blame and Riyadh will surely ‎pledge to prosecute them to the fullest extent of ‎the law. ‎

Still, Khashoggi's assassination has turned Saudi ‎Arabia into the Middle East's "bad boy." Saudi ‎Arabia's allies, including the United States and ‎Israel, had expected more from Crown Prince Mohammed ‎bin Salman and their disappointment is palpable. ‎
Netanyahu: Iranian threat has brought Israel and Arab countries together
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated that he maintains "a direct connection with [Russian President] Vladimir Putin," speaking at the opening of the Knesset's winter session.

"I care for a strong connection with him," Netanyahu stated. "This allows us to deal with difficulties in our area. It is important for the safety of Israel."

"But the most important connection is our alliance with the United States," he added.

Netanyahu additionally spoke on Israel's long-term goals, in particular that of defending the country from the risks an Iranian nuclear power may present.

"As Prime Minister of Israel, I have stood in front of our biggest dangers — in front of an agreement that would allow Iran to have nuclear power," Netanyahu said. "The security of Israel comes before everything."

He stated that Israel's security forces "act against the Iranian regime in Syria, even today."

He continued by stating that US President Donald Trump "is acting financially against this regime."

"This is once again an opportunity to thank Trump for his brave decision to renew the sanctions on Iran and to exit the Iran nuclear deal."
Katz: 'Great interest' in Israel-Saudi railway plan
There is "great interest" in an ambitious trade plan to give Middle Eastern nations including Saudi Arabia and Jordan access to the Mediterranean Sea through Israeli ports, the Transportation and Intelligence Minister Israel Katz said Monday.

Under the plan being advanced by Katz and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the Haifa to Beit She’an train would extend eastward to the border crossing with Jordan and southward to the Jenin area where Palestinians could access it.

Rail lines would be laid in Jordan to Irbid, and from there it would link with existing and planned lines extending north to south through Jordan, into Saudi Arabia and further east to the Persian Gulf.

“There has been great interest in the plan,” said Katz. “In our government-to-government meeting with Angela Merkel, I showed the film [depicting the initiative]. The German government is already interested that German companies will take part in the initiative. The United States is the patron of the [entire] process.”

An annual trade could be worth $250 billion by 2030.
Don’t Let Iran Benefit from Jamal Khashoggi’s Disappearance
Last week, Jamal Khashoggi—a Saudi national who regularly writes for the Washington Post—disappeared in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. Speculation that he was murdered or kidnapped has provoked a bipartisan group of senators to call for sanctions on Saudis involved in the apparent abduction, and a few have even called for the suspension of military aid to Riyadh. Matthew Continetti cautions against acting rashly:

It would not benefit anyone, least of all the United States, if Iran ends up gaining most from the Khashoggi affair. Because Iran, while not mentioned in relation to Khashoggi, is nonetheless a factor in this story. . . .

Saudi Arabia has been the linchpin of America’s Middle East strategy for close to a century. That relationship has not been without costs. What would the cost be if the alliance fractured? The Saudis would be imperiled in Yemen, potentially endangering the free flow of traffic in the Gulf of Aden. An Iranian victory there would extend a Shiite crescent in the south to accompany the one running through Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon.

Governments without democratic legitimacy are brittle and unpredictable—a fact highlighted not only by Khashoggi but also by recent Saudi actions against Canada and the crown prince’s delayed public offering of the oil giant Aramco. America has sustained and protected the Saudis for decades. Withdrawing such protection would open the regime to both domestic and international challenges. As President Trump put it recently, Saudi Arabia wouldn’t last two weeks without American support. The Middle East and Levant already are filled with examples of state failure. Is America prepared to risk another?

A Saudi meltdown would deprive the United States of a counterterrorist ally, roil energy markets, create pockets of instability in which jihadists and Iranian-backed militias thrive, and cause headaches for Israel. To forestall such a disaster, the Saudis, like others before them, might turn to either Russia or China for support. That would accelerate the waning of American influence in the Middle East. It would boost the very autocracies we condemn.
MEMRI: Saudi Columnist: Ahwaz Shooting Was 'Brave' And 'Legitimate' Act Of 'Resistance', Was Hopefully The First Of Many
Following the September 22, 2018 shooting in Iran's Ahwaz region, Muhammad Ahl Al-Sheikh, a columnist for the Saudi government daily Al-Jazirah, described the shooting as a "legitimate resistance operation" by the Arab minority that is oppressed by the Iranian regime, and expressed hope for further attacks of this kind. He also speculated that, if the opposition groups of the ethnic minorities in Iran unite and receive funding and support from other opponents of the Iranian regime, they will be able to secede from Iran and gain independence.

It should be noted that the Saudi and Gulf press has published similar articles in the past, calling to support the Ahwazi resistance against the Iranian regime.[1]

The following are excerpts from Ahl Al-Sheikh's article:[2]
"The latest fidai [i.e., sacrifice] attack in Ahwaz – or Arabistan, to use its historic name – had nothing to do with ISIS,[3] because ISIS acts for Iran's benefit, and would it be logical for one to shoot oneself? This operation, in which 29 Iranians died, was a resistance operation aimed at liberating [Ahwaz] from the vile Persian occupation. Logic therefore dictates that whoever justifies Iranian [acts of] revenge against the Ahwazis is just like someone who justifies Israel's acts of revenge against the Palestinians, who are fighting to liberate their homeland from the Israeli occupation. Turkey, Lebanon, Syria and Russia condemned the [Ahwaz] operation and called it terror, when it is in fact a legitimate resistance operation that should be supported by the Arabs before anyone else, for those who were martyred while carrying it out were pure Arabs.

"I believe that the time is ripe for the Arab opposition groups in Ahwaz to light the fuse, and I hope with all my heart that this brave fidai operation will be the first rain that heralds a future torrent. Iran is now beset with troubles on every front, and it will take a miracle to save it. There are also other ethnic minorities that dare to act and demand to secede [from Iran], such as the Kurds in the north of the country and the Balochis in the southeast. When the ethnic minorities feel that the Ayatollah regime has been exhausted by the economic sanctions that [the U.S.] is expected to impose on it this November, the movements demanding to secede and receive independence are likely to proliferate, just as happened in Yugoslavia. In the present era, states survive if they have a strong economy, but collapse if their economy falters and grows weak. It is economic [factors] that defeated the Soviet Union, for example, and caused it to collapse completely – and its nuclear arsenal and power did not avail it. Iran has neither the power, the abilities, the status nor the influence that the Soviet Union had. So how can it avoid this inevitable fate, especially when it consists of a variety of different ethnicities and sects, just like the Soviet Union? This lends the fidai operation in Ahwaz meanings and implications that analysts cannot overlook.

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