Wednesday, October 23, 2019

From Ian:

Terrorists Call for Killing Jews -- from UN HQ in Gaza
Leaders of several Palestinian factions are again calling for stepping up terrorist attacks against Jews. The difference is that this time, the calls were made during a sit-down strike held by Palestinians outside the offices of the United Nations in the Gaza Strip.

The leaders of the Palestinian factions chose to issue their calls for killing Jews in front of the UN offices in the Gaza Strip. It is as if they are asking the UN to approve their continual terrorist attacks against Israel.

What is clear -- and disturbing -- is that the UN officials in the Gaza Strip choose to remain silent when the Palestinian leaders came to their offices to incite their people to step up their terrorist attacks.

The sit-down strike was organized by the "Jerusalem Department" of Hamas, the terrorist group that has been ruling the Gaza Strip since the summer of 2007. The purpose of the sit-down strike was, according to Hamas, to protest visits by Jews to the Temple Mount, or Haram Al-Sharif -- a site in Jerusalem sacred to both Muslims and Jews.

Hamas, which governs the Gaza Strip near Egypt, and the Palestinian Authority (PA), which governs the West Bank near Jordan, as well as other Palestinian factions have long been waging a vicious campaign of incitement against the decision by Israeli authorities to allow Jews to tour the Temple Mount compound.

The Palestinians are opposed to the presence of Jews on the Temple Mount -- whether as visitors or worshippers. Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount is completely forbidden by the Israeli police, and Jewish visitors are forbidden from singing, whispering, praying or making any kind of religious displays. Still, the Palestinians continue to incite against the Jewish tours, ignoring the fact that the Israeli authorities do not allow Jews to pray on the Temple Mount.

The PA and Hamas officials and media outlets regularly describe the peaceful visits by Jews as "violent invasions by extremist Jewish settlers into the Al-Aqsa Mosque."

Political Islam Is Declining in the Middle East
The lack of a reaction to the death of former Egyptian president Muhammad Morsi and the absence of religious demands by protesters in Algeria, Sudan, and Iraq suggest that political Islam is waning after the defeat of ISIS three years ago.

Few live images were more dramatic than the collapse and death of former Egyptian president Muhammad Morsi, the first-ever Muslim Brotherhood head of state, in a transparent glass cage on June 17, 2019 during his seemingly never-ending trial proceedings in Cairo.

No one outside Egyptian officialdom questioned the severe conditions of Morsi’s incarceration since the day special forces surrounded the presidential home and placed him under arrest in July 2013, paving the way for his minister of defense, Abdel Fatah Sisi, to rise to the presidency in his stead.

For all the human drama of Morsi’s death, it prompted barely a whisper among the Egyptian public. It elicited protests by hapless exiled Muslim Brotherhood leaders, a predictable tirade by Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, and some ineffective criticism from Qatar’s al-Jazeera, which shares Erdoğan’s antipathy to Sisi and sympathy for the Brotherhood.

When Egyptians took to the streets three months after Morsi’s death, their chants – “Down with Sisi’s tyrannical regime” – had nothing to do with Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood, or Islamist ideology.

The same can be said of the months-long protests that are taking place in Algeria and Sudan, which have been described as the stirrings of a new “Arab Spring.” Their common denominator is the marked absence of political Islam in the protesters’ messages.
Khaled Abu Toameh: ‘Arab Spring will spread to Palestinian territories’
Masri pointed out that Palestinians had joined the Arab Spring by launching protests against the PA and Hamas. The protests, however, were swiftly squashed by the PA and Hamas security forces.

He also noted that Palestinians have in recent years proven that they are capable of launching protests, such as the demonstrations in the West Bank against the PA’s social security law and the widespread protests against economic hardship in the Gaza Strip earlier this year.

“Those who believe that Palestine, its leadership and its president are immune from the extension of the Arab Spring because they are under [Israeli] occupation are mistaken,” Masri cautioned.

The “Israeli occupation,” he wrote, “does not provide a guarantee that Palestine won’t face popular uprisings. The general crisis the Palestinian cause is suffering from now, and the disaster we are experiencing as the division [between the West Bank and Gaza Strip] continues and deepens, justify a revolution against the ruling elites.”

Palestinians refer to the split between the West Bank and Gaza Strip, which began in 2007, as inkesam (division). Then, Hamas violently took control of the Gaza Strip after toppling the PA.

The Palestinian political analyst warned that if Palestinian leaders don’t implement reforms and allow public participation in the decision-making process, change will come “through a revolution and public outrage.”

Palestinian who converted to Judaism arrested, badly beaten by PA forces
A Palestinian from the West Bank who converted to Judaism in Israel was inexplicably arrested by Palestinian Authority forces security forces over two weeks ago and has been held in custody ever since. He claims to have been tortured during that time on multiple occasions, which left his limbs badly burned.

The 50-year-old is Hebron resident who worked at a supermarket in the Jerusalem area. He converted on the eve of Rosh Hashanah three weeks ago at a strict Haredi court in the city of Bnei Brak by Rabbi Nissim Karelitz, who passed away on Monday.

Prior to his conversion he studied at Machon Meir Yeshiva in Jerusalem, an institution strongly associated with nationalist politics and settler movement. He was in the process of having his conversion recognized by the Chief Rabbinate of Israel before he was arrested, which would have allowed him to apply for Israeli passport.

On the eve of Yom Kippur, the man traveled to an area of the West Bank under Palestinian security control, just beyond the section of the territory under Israeli security control. There, he was supposed to meet with one of his nine children, who along with their mother are all Muslim.

During the family reunion, a white Skoda vehicle carrying four men approached the 50-year-old. The men got out of the car, dragged the Palestinian into the vehicle and drove away. Later, the man was dropped off at a police station in Hebron by the four.
Jpost Editorial: Help fleeing Kurds
Kurdish civilians have been under attack since the US decided to withdraw from parts of Syria on October 6. The Turks, bolstered by Turkish-backed extremists, have bombed towns and cities along the border and caused more than 200,000 to flee. Some of the Kurdish civilians suffered chemical burns, alleging that banned weapons were used against them by America’s NATO ally.

Several thousand of these Kurds have now sought shelter in northern Iraq’s Kurdistan region. Israel has a track record of helping Syrian civilians who have suffered from the Assad regime’s chemical weapons and its brutal crackdown in southern Syria. Now Israel has a chance to help those fleeing the extremists, who have been murdering civilians, looting homes and terrorizing people in northern Syria.

Kurds and Jews have faced similar enemies in the region over the last century, including Saddam Hussein’s vicious regime and the discriminatory regimes in Damascus and Tehran. In recent years, Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan has grown increasingly hostile to Israel and to the Kurds, imprisoning politicians on trumped up “terrorism” charges and invading areas of Syria wherever Kurds live, causing hundreds of thousands to flee.

Tragically, Kurds have also suffered the betrayal of the international community, which has abandoned them too often to the whims of dictators. Jews, too, know this history of betrayal, forced to live under the boot of empires and among regimes that used antisemitic populism in the past.

Today the Jewish state has shown that despite the efforts of some European powers during the Holocaust, and despite attempts to support Arab armies that once ringed Israel with modern weaponry, Jews will defend themselves no matter the cost. Through that fire, the Jewish state has also sought to provide humanitarian aid from time to time using expertise gained here, for instance, to help earthquake victims.

The Kurds who are now suffering in hospitals and camps in northern Iraq deserve our support. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel would like to give humanitarian aid. How to do that may be difficult and complex because Israel has no relations with Baghdad or Damascus. But, that doesn’t mean it is impossible. Israel has helped people in the region from states with which the country lacks official relations.
Seth J. Frantzman: From Operation Inherent Resolve to Operation “secure the oil” in Syria?
US troops in Syria are trying to execute an orderly withdrawal. It is supposed to take several weeks. They are coming out of places like Manbij and Qamishli, where they have been for years. It is a difficult process to extricate 1,000 fighters from a complex battlefield that now includes not only a Turkish offensive and Turkish-backed Syrian rebels, but also the Syrian regime, the Syrian Democratic Forces and the Russians. And, somewhere monitoring it all, are Iranian agents wondering when they can get their piece of the pie.

Operation Inherent Resolve, the Combined Joint Task Force that was set up to defeat ISIS in 2014 is ostensibly an 80-member coalition of countries and other entities. However very few of the members actually were involved in the Syrian side of operations. The French and the UK sent special forces. Others conducted some airstrikes. Mostly the coalition members have stayed on the Iraqi side of the line. That is now where US troops are repositioning as well. But several hundred may remain in Syria as part of a new plan that envisions them working to protect oil fields near the Euphrates.

US President Donald Trump claimed on Monday that the US didn’t want to leave troops in a dangerous area, but said that now the US felt it was necessary to “secure the oil” and that the US would leave troops at the Tanf outpost near the Jordanian border because Israel and Jordan had asked the US to. The references to the oil has left some people perplexed in Washington, Syria and elsewhere. But this is the latest US plan, in a world where the US administration and its own military don’t seem to coordinate these plans or fully strategize together. The US wants to deny the oil fields to ISIS or “others.” By others it may be a reference to the Syrian regime. In February 2018, a group of Syrian regime-backed fighters and Russian contractors tried to seize oil facilities near the Euphrates and were fought off by the US and the SDF.

Most observers note that Syria doesn’t have a lot of oil, so it’s not entirely clear what the point of “securing” the oil is. We do know that on October 18 there were rumors the Syrian regime had sought to deploy towards the Omar oil field and Conoco gas facilities. That requires them crossing the river from Deir Ezzor and moving towards areas that US forces are already known to be in. The regime would not risk a battle with the US after the mauling in 2018.
Germany Seeks European Intervention on Disputed Syria-Turkey Border
Germany’s defense minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer wants European nations to contribute combat forces to an international security zone on the Syria-Turkey border, however she can give no guarantee German troops will take part.

The proposal comes after Turkish troops and allied Syrian fighters invaded northern Syria earlier this month, after President Donald Trump pulled back American troops who had partnered with Syrian Kurdish forces against the Islamic State group.

Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer told German news agency dpa on Tuesday, “the creation of an internationally controlled security zone with the inclusion of Turkey and Russia” would have the goal of deescalating the situation in northern Syria.

Kramp-Karrenbauer said it was outside her remit to commit German troops and the German parliament would need to decide if they could participate in such a zone. She also told broadcaster Deutsche Welle that Chancellor Angela Merkel had been informed of the proposal.

Germany’s parliament, the Bundestag, must approve foreign deployments of the Bundeswehr, Germany’s military.

The German government considers the Turkey led incursion to be a violation of international law, but so far has only restricted some military exports to Turkey along with other states including Spain, Sweden the United Kingdom and Canada.
Interpol Will Host 2021 Meeting in Erdogan's Lawless Turkey
Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency announced Tuesday the country will host the 2021 Interpol General Assembly, a victory for a nation Voice of America called the “most prolific abuser” of Interpol’s Red Notice system.

Interpol – the International Criminal Police Organization – offers a streamlined communication system for the law enforcement agencies of 194 countries. It does not have the power to arrest people or enforce law, but it can notify its members when a member country is seeking the arrest and extradition of an alleged criminal.

The agency uses a color-coded “notice” system to communicate among members. The most urgent of these is the Red Notice, which urges countries to “seek the location and arrest of wanted persons wanted for prosecution or to serve a sentence.” Other notices identify individuals who are not criminals but may have information related to a crime or are “imminent threats.”

At its most recent General Assembly last week, Interpol announced that Turkey will host the next iteration. Turkey’s national police directorate thanked the 108 nations who voted to give Ankara hosting rights and disparaged “Greek Cypriots,” whose island is partially occupied by Turkish forces, for discouraging support for the Islamist Turkish government.

Offering Islamist President Recep Tayyip Erdogan the honor of hosting Interpol’s annual conference is the latest in a series of mounting warning signs that Interpol, intended to weaken criminal forces around the world, has been hijacked by rogue regimes using it to impose their authoritarian will on the world. Turkey’s prominence in the organization is particularly alarming given that Interpol agreed to resolutions at its General Assembly last week encouraging private entities to cooperate with its demands for information, ostensibly to help nations fight crime more efficiently.

Spanish MP: Vote unlikely to alter Spain’s negative attitude toward Israel
Israel is not the only country that will hold general elections twice in 2019: Spain, which went to the polls in April, is set to return to the ballot box on November 10. And, as in Israel, the political picture there – as was the case after the second election held here last month – is unlikely to significantly clear up.

But one thing that can be said with a degree of certainty, said Spanish MP Juan Carlos Girauta, is that Spain’s relationship with Israel – considered among the most difficult in the EU – is unlikely to change significantly as a result of the elections.

If it does improve, however, it is likely to be due to another reason, said Girauta: Spanish politician Josep Borrell’s move from being Spain’s foreign minister to becoming the European Union’s new foreign policy czar, replacing Federica Mogherini.

“Borrell follows a line – common in the EU – that is biased [against Israel],” said Girauta, a member of the center-right Citizens Party and the head of the 25-strong Spanish-Israel Parliamentary Friendship Group (out of a 350-seat parliament) “I don’t think his [Borrell’s] new position is good news for Israel. He has got this prejudice, and it is regrettable.”

As far as Spain’s attitudes toward Israel, the politician who represents Toledo in parliament said he did not think the election will change anything, but that the Spanish government may be more favorably inclined toward Israel once Borrell leaves his job as Spain’s top diplomat to take over that post at the EU.

Israel said bracing for direct cruise missile or drone attack by Iran
Israel is readying for a direct cruise missile or drone strike by Tehran in response to recent attacks on Iranian regional proxies which have been attributed to the Jewish state, Army Radio reported Tuesday evening.

Unlike ballistic missiles, which usually fly through a high arc on the way to the target, cruise missiles and drones fly at low altitude, making them harder to detect.

The report cited anonymous “Israeli sources,” who said the IDF was already on high alert for the possibility and that the security cabinet will convene for an “unplanned” meeting next Tuesday against a backdrop of tensions with the Islamic Republic.

This would be the second time this month that the high-level security cabinet has convened. On October 6, its members gathered amid cryptic warnings by Israeli leaders of a growing security threat from Iran. That meeting lasted for nearly six hours.

During the meeting, ministers discussed a proposal, being pushed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, for a NIS 1 billion ($290 million) project to boost Israel’s air defenses that would place particular focus on defending the country against cruise missile attacks.
IDF sees Bedouin recuitment as pathway to integration
For years the Bedouin population of Israel has served in the army, many of them in combat roles, and now the IDF has launched a campaign aimed at increasing the number of recruits from the community, believing it is a way to improve integration into society.

As part of the campaign, IDF officials visited various Bedouin communities around the country, arguing that military service could help their members succeed in later life or even be a viable career option. Bedouin Israelis do not have to serve in the army, but many volunteer and the army wants to increase the options open to them.

This military service, the armys says, can be achieved through various roles in infantry divisions, including drivers, technicians, medics and so on. Alternatively, soldiers can go the academic route in fields such as medicine, engineering and law, or technology-oriented path in electronics and engineering.

One of main feature of this new enlistment drive is the opening of a pre-military college widely available for Jewish and Druze recruits after high school. One such academy is already operating in the Galilee, which has as of now 25 Bedouin attendees who are earmarked for specialist and command roles in the IDF, after passing a series of criteria and exams.

A 10-month stint at the residential college allows them to improve their Hebrew and fitness, work on leadership skills and become more familiar with Israeli traditions and society. At the end of it, the initiates enlist in the IDF.
Fix the West Bank fence, local leaders urge Netanyahu
The heads of local municipalities in the center and north are pleading with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to tackle a real threat to citizens living close to the West Bank security barrier after multiple gaps in the fence were found.

The request by the heads of seven local councils says: "We are disturbed and worried about a severe security breach in our communities and against our residents, given the number and scale of the breaches in the separation fence, with infuriatingly easy crossings receiving with no answer or response from the military."

Construction on the fence began in 2002 during the wave of deadly terror attacks of the Second Intifada. The barrier, which is made of concrete in some areas and wire fencing in others, runs along the border and into the West Bank to include settlements.

The local leaders stress that while the erection of the fence initially created a sense of security, the barrier has now lost its deterrence to the extent that it is failing to prevent terrorist attacks.

The letter cites an incident in August, when a terrorist crossed the fence at Kibbutz Magal and was caught on his way to carry out an attack in the nearby city of Hadera.
IDF quadcopter shot down in southern Lebanon
The Israeli military said a small quadcopter fell inside southern Lebanon on Wednesday morning after Lebanese media claimed that it had been shot down by Hezbollah.

The IDF Spokesperson’s Unit said that the aerial device was conducting “routine operations to secure the border” when it fell; there is no concern that any intelligence gathered could be leaked.

The military did not state why the quadcopter crashed.

While Lebanon’s MTV news station claimed the quadcopter had been shot down by Hezbollah, the group’s Al-Manar news said that it had been shot down by a civilian with a hunting rifle, near the village of Kila next to the Israeli border across from the Israeli town of Metula.

Video shared on social media showed the aerial device hovering in the air next to the Fatima Gate, followed by gunfire. Photographs shared by Hezbollah supporters showed a man holding the device, a small DJI Mavic commonly used by Israeli troops.
Arab-Israeli accomplice to Temple Mount attack sentenced to 16 years
Amjad Jabareen, an Arab-Israeli accomplice to a terrorist attack on the Temple Mount in 2017 in which two policemen were killed, was sentenced to 16 years in prison on Wednesday by a district court in Haifa.

Jabareen, a resident of the northern Israeli town of Umm el-Fahm, was charged with assisting murder, helping cause substantial harm, using a weapon for the purpose of terrorism, obstruction of justice and connection to a crime.

He aided Umm el-Fahm residents 29-year-old Muhammad Ahmad Mahmoud Jabarin, 19-year-old Muhammad Ahmed Fadel Jabarin and 19-year-old Muhammad Hamed Abd al-Latif Jabarin in carrying out an attack on the Temple Mount, which killed two Druze police officers and injured others.

The slain police officers were 30-year-old Hail Stawi from Maghar, and 22-year-old Kamil Shanan from Hurfeish, both in the Galilee. Shanan was the son of former MK Shakib Shanan. He was recruited to the Israel Police’s Temple Mount unit in 2012.

According to the indictment, Jabareen was present during multiple conversations in which the terrorists discussed the details of the planned attack, including what to target and how, which means he may have known of the attack as early as May 26. The indictment noted that the terrorists initially disagreed about whether to carry out their attack on a settlement or near the Temple Mount.
Northern Israel bookstore owner apologizes for selling ‘Mein Kampf’ in Arabic
The owner of a bookstore in the northern town of Reinah has apologized after his shop was found to be selling an Arabic translation of Adolf Hitler’s “Mein Kamf,” saying he didn’t realize the book incited against Jews.

According to Channel 12 news, a social activist spotted Hitler’s book at the shop last week and told the store owner that it should not be sold.

The store owner told Channel 12 that his son had taken the book from the warehouse and put it on the shelves without understanding the seriousness of the matter, and that it had been taken off the shelf as soon as he was informed of the nature of the book.

“My shop has existed for many years and no such case has happened to me,” he said. “As soon as it was brought to my attention, I immediately removed the books. I did not know at all about it. It will not happen again. We will be more careful in the future. I apologize to anyone who was hurt.”

No complete edition of “Mein Kampf,” which laid the ideological foundation of Nazism, has ever been published in Hebrew.
Palestinian journalists challenge court over blocked websites
The decision by a Palestinian magistrate’s court to block access to 49 Arab websites has infuriated journalists and NGOs in the Palestinian Territories.

The Palestinian Journalists Syndicate held a press conference in the West Bank city of Ramallah on Tuesday, a day after news of the blockage was leaked.

Speaking to The Media Line, syndicate head Naser Abu Baker called it a “black day” for the press in Palestine.

“This decision is unfair and unjust, and it reflects a mentality that does not understand the reality of the media and recent developments it is going through,” he stated, adding: “It is a clear message to the media that there is a tendency to undermine freedom of the press.”

Abu Baker noted that the true significance of the blockage lay in who was doing the blocking, explaining that in the past, it had been “the executive branch,” not the courts.

“The judiciary must protect freedom in Palestine,” he stated. “It should not restrict it.”

A lawyer representing the journalists syndicate, together with a legal adviser to the Independent Commission for Human Rights, the national human rights institution of Palestine, delivered a request to the court to review and reverse the decision. The court said it would review the request and decide on Wednesday.
Abbas and Saudi crown prince meet, agree to establish economic committee
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman met in Riyadh on Thursday and agreed to establish a joint Saudi-Palestinian economic committee, the official PA news site Wafa reported.

The meeting took place a day after Abbas held discussions with Saudi King Salman in the Gulf kingdom’s capital.

“The president updated the Saudi crown prince on the latest political developments and the situation in the occupied Palestinian land, especially with regard to Israeli violations at the expense of our people, land and holy sites,” the Wafa report said.

The last publicly known meeting between Abbas and Prince Mohammed took place in February when the former visited Riyadh.

Abbas and Mohammed also agreed to establish a joint Saudi-Palestinian business council, the Wafa report said.
PA claims Israel will allow tires into Gaza; Israeli official says it’s ‘a lie’
A Palestinian Authority official on Wednesday said Israel has promised to allow a shipment of tires into the Gaza Strip, but an Israeli security source flatly denied the claim, calling it a “lie.”

Israel banned the entry of tires into Gaza shortly after weekly protests in the border region between the Jewish state and the coastal enclave began in late March 2018.

Palestinians in Gaza have frequently set tires on fire at the protests to impair the vision of Israeli soldiers and other security personnel.

“We have received promises from the other side [Israel] that it will allow 43 containers of tires into Gaza in the coming period,” PA Transportation Ministry spokesman Musa Rahal told The Times of Israel in a phone call.

Rahal claimed that Israel had conveyed the promises through a joint Israeli-Palestinian committee that is tasked with dealing with transportation-related matters.

An Israeli security official, however, sharply disputed Rahal’s claim.

“It is simply a lie,” the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said.
Al-Quds report: Hamas fears targeted killings by Israel, ups security
Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad are stepping up security for their top officials based in Lebanon for fear that Israel might try to assassinate them, the Palestinian Al-Quds news network reported Wednesday.

According to the report, the terrorist groups are worried that Israeli security agencies might try to take advantage of the chaos created by widespread popular protests in Lebanon to target some of their senior officials.

A source in one of the terrorist groups told Al-Quds that many of his organization's top officials were currently in southern Lebanon, which is controlled by Hezbollah, and that Hezbollah is supposed to guarantee the safety of their personnel.

So far, the report said, Hezbollah has assigned uniformed security staff to the residences of the Hamas and PIJ officials and is checking all their vehicles to make sure that no one places car bombs in them. Hezbollah is also reportedly helping the groups secure their members elsewhere in Lebanon.
JCPA: Jordan’s Queen Rania Has Become a Lightning Rod
Queen Rania of Jordan has posted an open letter to the Jordanian public in which she denies all of the defamatory allegations made against her in an effort to neutralize the widespread criticism of King Abdullah and his wife in light of the difficult economic situation in Jordan.

Queen Rania, 50, was born in Kuwait and is from a Palestinian family from Tulkarm in the West Bank. She has been accused of promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees at the expense of the Bedouin residents of Jordan, and robbing the kingdom by taking long holidays abroad.

Even among the Bedouin tribes who are faithful to the palace, demands have been heard over the past two years for a change in the monarchist regime and a limitation of the king's authority. Criticism has grown among the Beni Hassan tribe, the largest tribe in Jordan, which serves as the traditional base of support for the royal family. Joined by the Beni al-Abbad and the Beni Hamida tribes, they have called for the king and queen to be deposed and for a change in the system of government.
UN: Iraq violated human rights in protest crackdown
Iraqi authorities committed serious human rights violations and abuses in their response to a wave of anti-government protests earlier this month that saw 149 civilians killed, the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) said.

In a report by its Human Rights Office published late on Monday, UNAMI said there was evidence that security forces had used excessive force against protesters and made mass arrests. There were also reports that security forces had denied protesters medical treatment, it said.

"UNAMI's interim findings indicate that serious human rights violations and abuses have been committed in the context of the demonstrations in Iraq," the report said in its conclusion.

"The number of dead, the extent and scale of injuries inflicted on demonstrators, all suggest that Iraqi security forces have used excessive force against demonstrators in Baghdad and elsewhere in Iraq."

Protests about high unemployment, poor public services and corruption erupted on Oct. 1, prompting a violent security crackdown. Protesters blame graft and infighting among political leaders for failing to improve their lives even in peacetime, two years after Islamic State was declared defeated in Iraq.

UNAMI said it conducted 145 interviews between Oct 1-16 with human rights monitors, journalists, civil society activists, protesters, family members of killed demonstrators and others.
Iran Is Losing the Middle East, Protests in Lebanon and Iraq Show
In both Iraq and Lebanon, demonstrations have erupted against corruption and a lack of economic reform. For the Shiite communities in Iraq and Lebanon, Tehran and its proxies have failed to translate military and political victories into a socioeconomic vision; simply put, Iran's resistance narrative did not put food on the table.

Today, state institutions in Iraq and Lebanon have one main job: to protect and serve Iranian interests. But for the first time since Hizbullah was formed in the 1980s, Lebanese Shiites are turning against it. In Nabatieh, in the group's heartland in southern Lebanon, Shiite protesters even burned the offices of Hizbullah's leaders. By joining the protests, the Shiite community is now attempting to claim its Lebanese identity rather than the religious one that has, so far, failed it.

The story is similar in Iraq. This month, tens of thousands of Iraqis in Shiite-majority areas came out in protest. An aggressive crackdown resulted in the deaths of more than 100 protesters. Reuters confirmed that Iran-backed militias had deployed snipers on Baghdad rooftops to kill protesters.

The recent protests show that Iran's power is more fragile than the world perceives; and more importantly, that Shiism does not belong to Iran.
Iran slams ‘cruel’ judo ban, says it’s based on ‘false claims’
Iran’s judo federation on Wednesday slammed a newly imposed ban on its fighters taking part in international competitions, saying it was based on “false claims.”

The International Judo Federation said Tuesday it had banned Iran indefinitely over the country’s refusal to allow its fighters to face Israeli opponents.

The IJF issued a provisional ban last month while probing allegations Iranian judoka Saeid Mollaei had been ordered to lose a combat in order to avoid facing an Israeli at the World Championships in August.

The Iranian federation’s chief Arash Miresmaeili denounced the decision as “a cruel and a blatant betrayal,” the state news agency IRNA said.

“The international federation shouldn’t have taken such a measure against judo in Iran merely based on a false claim by an athlete,” he was quoted as saying.

The decision, he said, would prevent teams of Iranian fighters from various age groups from being sent abroad.
Iran beauty queen seeks asylum in Philippines, calling government ‘terrorist’
An Iranian beauty queen has requested asylum in the Philippines after an Interpol alert about her filed by Tehran got her detained at the Manila airport.

Bahareh Zare Bahari has been held at Ninoy Aquino International Airport’s Terminal 3 since October 17, as authorities examine Iran’s allegation that she assaulted a fellow Iranian in the Philippines and Bahari’s counter-claim that the Islamic Republic is targeting her for her political activism and that the charges against her are fake.

Bahari, who represented Iran at the 2018 Miss Intercontinental pageant in Manila and who has been studying dentistry in the Philippines since 2014, is an outspoken women’s rights advocate and a supporter of opposition activists in her country.

Earlier this year she angered Iran’s Islamist government by waving a photo of prominent government critic Reza Pahlavi at a pageant. Joining a beauty pageant is in itself frowned upon by the conservative religious leadership.

Various media outlets have quoted Bahari as saying that if she is deported to Iran in compliance with the Interpol Red Notice, “they will kill me.”
‘Don’t take Jews, Christians’ as allies, Turkish ad warns
A local ad currently on display on bus stations around the city of Konya in Turkey warns the public not to take “Jews and Christians as allies,” based on the instruction in the Koran 5:51.

The city is dominated by the Justice and Development Party [AKP] which is led by current Turkish President Recep Erdogan.

Historian Daniel Pipes, who shared a photo of the ad on his social media page, said that Turkey is well on its way to become a second Islamic state along the line of Iran and wondered “when will the world awaken to the danger.”

We have lots of ideas, but we need more resources to be even more effective. Please donate today to help get the message out and to help defend Israel.


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