Friday, October 08, 2021

From Ian:

Melanie Phillips: Europe's deadly hypocrisy
The European Commission released on Tuesday its first official strategy on fighting antisemitism and promoting Jewish life.

The programme is intended to prevent antisemitism in all its forms, promote Holocaust research, education and remembrance, and initiate programmes to raise awareness about Jewish life and culture in Europe.

The commission says it will lead the creation of a network of organisations across Europe to flag antisemitism content online, and will develop “counter-narratives.” It will also work with tech companies and retailers to prevent the online sale of Nazi-themed merchandise.

Yet the European Union continues to funnel money to the Palestinians even while they pour out antisemitism and remain committed to eradicating Israel. Their educational materials, for which the EU helps pay, promote hatred of Jews and incitement to murder Israelis and steal their land.

The EU also enables the Palestinian Authority to pay the families of terrorists for murdering Israelis. Last December, the PA announced that the EU had contributed 54 per cent of the cost of benefits for “needy” families.

By so substantially helping provide for the “Palestinian needy,” the EU allows the PA to use its own funds in order to pay rewards for terror. The purported wall between welfare assistance and “pay-for-slay” is an illusion.

The EU is also pouring money in to create a de facto Palestinian state, regardless of the Palestinian strategy of using such a state to destroy Israel — and while the EU condemns Israel for “illegally” building homes for Israelis in these disputed territories.
Ruthie Blum: UNRWA’s deceitful ploys to stifle Israeli truth-telling - opinion
Given the nature and mission of United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), it shouldn’t have come as a surprise that Israeli Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan was prevented on Monday from entering the General Assembly hall with a prop proving the point he intended to make at a meeting about the organization.

The item was a poster illustrating the antisemitic views of an UNRWA school teacher in Gaza by praising Adolf Hitler. Erdan had equipped himself with the placard to refute the statements he knew were going to be made by UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini.

He had good reason to want to come prepared with visual evidence. The corrupt body, whose ill-deserved status as an agency for “refugees” keeps it in financial cover, continues to employ educators who regularly incite terrorism against Jews, both in the classroom and on social media.

This was one key impetus for the decision by the administration of former US president Donald Trump in 2018 to cut America’s entire aid budget to UNRWA. In the first place, the bloated agency has spent the many decades since its inception perpetuating the “refugee crisis,” rather than using its mandate to settle the approximately 600,000 “persons whose normal place of residence was Palestine during the period 1 June 1946 to 15 May 1948, and who lost both home and means of livelihood as a result of the 1948 conflict [Israel’s War of Independence].”

Second, and even more egregiously, it has actively and passively abetted terrorism. Not only does it hire people affiliated with Hamas, but the terrorist group that rules Gaza uses UNRWA schools and other buildings as facilities for the storage of weapons.

LIKE THE current White House, which in April restored massive aid to UNRWA, Lazzarini doesn’t seem to know or care that this is the case. Instead of vowing to root out such evil, he took the opportunity of the meeting in question to say that he’s “proud of UNRWA’s education system and its resources.”

UNRWA, he stated, “uses host country curricula in line with the best practices in refugee education.”


Visiting US envoy raises human rights with Israelis, terror payments with PA
The Biden administration’s envoy for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict raised human rights concerns during his meetings with Israeli officials, and US objections to the Palestinian Authority’s payments to security prisoners during his sit-downs in Ramallah this week.

Deputy Assistant Secretary for Israeli and Palestinian Affairs Hady Amr was in the region from Monday to Thursday, meeting with government officials and civil society leaders with the stated goal of “equal measures of security, freedom, opportunity, and dignity for Israelis and Palestinians,” the US State Department said in a Thursday statement.

“Amr found his meetings with Palestinian civil society focused on the importance of human rights, as well as the need to provide hope, opportunity, and a political horizon, especially for young people. They also discussed the challenges activists and journalists are facing with freedom of expression and peaceful demonstration,” the State Department added.

The decision to highlight the desire among Palestinian civilians for greater freedom of expression appeared to be a shot at the PA, which cracked down brutally on protesters earlier this year and has been accused of ordering the killing of prominent government critic Nizar Banat, who died while in police custody this past June.

The US condemned Banat’s death and called for an independent probe into the incident. While the Biden administration views the PA as an important partner in the region, one it seeks to strengthen at the expense of the Gaza-ruling Hamas terror group, Washington has grown frustrated with PA President Mahmoud Abbas’s authoritarian tactics, according to an official familiar with the matter.

But the frustration among those in the Biden administration dealing with the region is not limited to the PA. The US is also deeply concerned about Israeli plans to approve thousands of settlement units in the West Bank, the official added.
The Israel Guys: This Would Be the Worst Thing for the Palestinian People
Four different world leaders on all sides of the political spectrum have recently said that a Palestinian state is not a viable option. On today’s show, we talk about why a Palestinian state is suicide for both Israel, and the Palestinian people.

B’Tselem, who is supposed to be a human rights organization, got caught red-handed this week trying to frame Israel for setting fire to an Arab building. They didn’t realize an IDF soldier was watching.

Is there a building freeze happening in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria? Watch today’s show to find out.


World will ‘throw us to the dogs’: Yom Kippur War papers reveal Golda’s despair
Prime Minister Golda Meir expressed grave concerns to military officials in the early days of the 1973 Yom Kippur War about the potential lack of help from an international community she viewed as unsympathetic toward Jews, newly released documents show.

Documents released by Israel’s State Archives on Wednesday reveal just how high tensions were during meetings between Meir and military chiefs.

“The situation is unsympathetic on both fronts,” military officers told Meir during one such meeting on the morning of October 7, the second day of the war, according to the newly published transcripts.

To which she responded by requesting officials call the then-US secretary of state Henry Kissinger immediately and request rearmament: “Tell him SOS,” the documents read.

“The little help we have from the international community will disappear, they will throw us to the dogs. They don’t like Jews, let alone weak Jews,” she said.

On October 6, 1973, the Jewish holy day of Yom Kippur, the militaries of Syria and Egypt attacked military positions on the Golan Heights and Sinai Peninsula, respectively, catching the relatively small number of Israeli troops stationed there off-guard.

The meeting between officials depicted in the new documents took place less than a day after the coordinated attack on Israel.

“They will attack. Move from one line to another and keep attacking,” Meir said, as the Arab armies continued to advance.
Caroline Glick: Revolution has come to America
This returns us to the student at George Mason. The anti-American and antisemitic lies she propounded to Harris were not her lies. They were the lies she has been taught by the CRT revolutionaries in the classroom. They taught her that the US was born not in liberty, but in slavery, racism and genocide. She has been taught that the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Civil War and the Civil Rights Act were all fig leaves behind which the true venality of America operates and carries out its oppressive, genocidal and racist machinations. There is no forgiveness for America's crimes. Only the revolution, which will "fundamentally transform the United States" can fix what is ailing Uncle Sam.

Likewise, the Jewish state, America's mini-me can only be redeemed when the "colonialist Jewish settlers" and their "genocidal," "Apartheid" regime are kicked out of "Palestine."

Consistent polling data show that between two thirds and three quarters of Americans oppose the inclusion of CRT in school curricula. But the revolutionaries don't care. They don't need the public's approval with the FBI, US attorneys, the president and the vice president on their side and placing the full force of the federal government behind their efforts.

Americans are not losing their liberty to invading armies from China or Russia, or even to terrorists from al Qaeda. Those enemies are all sitting on the side, eating popcorn and watching as the combined force of CRT revolutionaries and the federal government trample the rights and freedoms that have defined America since its founding, in favor of "their voice, their perspective, their experience and their truth."


Washington and the Next Arab Spring
Against the backdrop of simmering protests, endemic economic challenges, the continuing struggle to contain the Covid-19 pandemic, and fallout from the U.S. Afghanistan withdrawal, The Washington Institute has launched a series of policy papers to help guide the Biden administration’s approach on democracy, reform, human rights, and political change across the Middle East and North Africa.

The series addresses a range of questions: How do changes in the region over the last decade affect the new administration’s approach to these issues? How should the administration best prepare for the “new normal” of protests in the region? What are the policy tools at America’s disposal, and how might they be improved? How can Washington turn much-needed attention to new areas of focus, such as corruption and public-sector reform? What does public opinion research tell us about what the region’s publics want in their countries—and from the United States? And where might enhanced U.S.-EU coordination play a constructive role? The proposed answers will assist policymakers in advancing opportunities for reform, preserving U.S. interests, and navigating Middle East realities in the context of America’s global priorities.

In the second essay of the series, Sarah Feuer, David Schenker, and their coauthors discuss the resurgence of protest activity across the region, the result of deteriorating economic circumstances and abysmal governance, worsened by the Covid-19 pandemic. Should protests become more destabilizing, the authors explain, the United States—before taking any action—will need to carefully balance its values and interests with respect to bilateral ties, the protest movement in question, broader regional dynamics, and competition with Russia or China.


David Friedman Talks Behind-the-Scenes of the Abraham Accords (Pt.I)

David Friedman Talks Behind-the-Scenes of the Abraham Accords (Pt.II)



After delay, Merkel expected in Israel on Sunday for farewell visit
After previously postponing her planned trip to Israel, outgoing German Chancellor Angela Merkel will arrive in the Jewish state Sunday for a farewell visit.

Merkel, who is currently leading a caretaker government following national elections until a new government is formed, will meet with the Israeli cabinet, visit Yad Vashem and meet Israeli high-tech leaders and entrepreneurs.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett is expected to discuss with the German leader regional challenges and threats, among them Iran.

The chancellor was originally slated to visit Israel in late August, but canceled amid the upheaval surrounding the United States’ withdrawal from Afghanistan and the Kabul airport attack.

That visit was called off in consultation with Bennett “because of current developments in Afghanistan,” Merkel’s office said in a statement at the time. Germany was among the countries scrambling to evacuate from Kabul their own nationals and Afghans who helped their forces during a nearly two-decade deployment in the country.

Throughout her 16 years in power, Merkel, who most recently visited the Jewish state in 2018, has described Israel’s national security as a crucial priority of German foreign policy due to the country’s historical responsibility for the Holocaust.
Argentina court drops Jewish center bombing cover-up claim against ex-president
An Argentine court on Thursday dismissed a legal action against former President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner charging she sought to cover up the alleged involvement of Iranian terrorists in a 1994 bombing that killed 85 people and injured hundreds at a Jewish center in Buenos Aires.

The court said in an oral order that it concluded an agreement signed by Argentina and Iran in 2013 for conducting an investigation into the terrorist attack at the Argentine Israelite Mutual Association “did not constitute a crime.”

Fernández de Kirchner, who was Argentina’s president in 2007-2015, is now the country’s vice president.

The claim against Fernández de Kirchner was filed in January 2015 by federal prosecutor Alberto Nisman.

That same month, Nisman was found dead in his Buenos Aires apartment, a day before he was due to testify to an Argentine congressional panel on the then-president’s role in covering up Iran’s responsibility for the attack.

A government official initially asserted that Nisman’s death — by a single bullet to the head fired at close range — was suicide, but Argentina has subsequently acknowledged it was a homicide.

Iran and Hezbollah have long been linked to the attack. Based on the investigations of Nisman, six Iranians and one Lebanese have been on Interpol’s most-wanted list since 2007.
Gavin Newsom forms council to boost California Holocaust education
California Governor Gavin Newsom announced the formation of a council on Holocaust and genocide education on Wednesday at the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles.

The council will provide educational resources regarding the Holocaust and other instances of genocide to students at California schools and “provide young people with the tools necessary to recognize and respond to on-campus instances of antisemitism and bigotry,” according to the governor’s office.

“We find ourselves in a moment of history where hate pervades the public discourse,” Newsom said. “National surveys have indicated a shocking decline in awareness among young people about the Holocaust and other acts of genocide.”

In the 2021 state budget, California allocated $10 million to the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles, as well as $2.5 million for an expansion of the Holocaust Museum in Los Angeles. It also allocated $1 million for the renovation of the Tauber Holocaust Library and Archives at the Jewish Family and Children’s Services Holocaust Center in San Francisco.
Meeks Won’t Say If He’ll Return Donation From Activist Who Called Israel a ‘Parasite’
House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Gregory Meeks (D., N.Y.) is silent on whether he will return a $3,000 donation from a prominent Palestinian activist who called Israel a "parasite" that "sucks the blood of America."

Osama Abuirshaid, the executive director of American Muslims for Palestine, during an interview with Jordan's Yarmouk TV on Sept. 22 described Israel as "a parasite living off the American body" that "sucks the blood of America and scatters its attention," according to a translation from the Middle East Media Research Institute.

Abuirshaid, who has a history of anti-Semitic comments, donated $3,000 to Meeks in March, according to Federal Election Commission records. A spokeswoman for Meeks did not respond to a request for comment.

Meeks's silence comes at a time when the left flank of the Democratic Party has taken an increasingly hostile stance toward Israel. Last month, House Democratic leadership agreed to remove funding for Israel's Iron Dome missile defense system from a spending bill in response to protests from progressive members.

Meeks has been a mainstream voice on Israel within the Democratic Party but has also worked to pacify anti-Israel progressives. Last spring, he sided with progressives and backed delaying an arms sale to Israel during its conflict with Hamas, before reversing course.

Abuirshaid applauded the Democratic Party's shift against Israel during the September interview, saying the United States is "witnessing the closing of the ranks, and an emphasis on the force that supports Palestine within the Democratic Party."

In addition to his contribution to Meeks, Abuirshaid gave $25 donations to Reps. Rashida Tlaib (D., Mich.), Ilhan Omar (D., Minn.), Cori Bush (D., Mo.), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.), and Ayanna Pressley (D., Mass.) in May. He contributed $300 to Rep. Andre Carson (D., Ind.) in 2018.
Anti-Israel rapper removed from government campaign
Palestinian rapper Tamer Nafar was removed from a campaign by the Welfare Ministry to prevent sexual violence after Otzma Yehudit head Itamar Ben Gvir petitioned the ministry to remove the rapper from the campaign on Friday, according to Army Radio.

The Shurat HaDin organization had warned Labor, Social Affairs and Social Services Minister Meir Cohen on Thursday that they would petition the Supreme Court to remove Nafar from the campaign.

In the last few weeks, the Welfare Ministry launched a new campaign for the prevention of sexual violence in the Arab sector. Nafar, who identifies as "a Palestinian with an Israeli citizenship," was chosen as the main presenter of the campaign.

Following this appointment, Shurat HaDin sent a letter to Cohen, demanding that Nafar be removed from the campaign and that the Welfare Ministry issue a public apology because of Nafar's anti-Israel stances and involvement with BDS.


Hamas Calling for Mass Protests Against Court’s Sanctioning of Jewish Silent Prayer on Temple Mount
It was bound to happen. Following Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court Judge Bilha Yahalom on Wednesday revoked a restraining order that was handed to a Jew who prayed on the Temple Mount, and confirmed that it is permissible for Jews to pray quietly in the holiest Jewish site (Bombshell: Jerusalem Court Approves Jewish Prayer on Temple Mount), Hamas is practically up in arms in response.

According to Ma’an (فصائل المقاومة تدعو للاحتشاد والرباط في المسجد الأقصى رفضاً لتعديات الاحتلال), “the resistance factions said that the occupation’s decision to establish the so-called silent prayers in the compound of Al-Aqsa Mosque is a dangerous aggression against our Islamic sanctities.”

In a statement they released together, the terrorist factions stressed what the Israeli court had decided to “allow settlers to perform their prayers in the Al-Aqsa courtyards, which is a brutal decision for which the occupation bears full responsibility.”

That’s what we love about Islam: tolerance of other faiths.

The terrorist alliance explained that “this diabolical and malicious decision is a prelude to the conspiracy of the temporal and spatial division of Al-Aqsa Mosque, which helps the settlers to continue their crimes against Al-Aqsa Mosque and Al-Quds (that’s Jerusalem – DI).

They continued: “Al-Aqsa Mosque is mentioned in a verse in the Qur’an and is part of the faith,” and added, “We will not let go of a grain of dust from Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa as long as we live.”


The Lost Battle of Ahmad Jibril
On July 7, 2021, a few hundred Palestinians gathered to attend a funeral at Yarmouk refugee camp cemetery, on the outskirts of Damascus. They came to say their farewells to Ahmad Jibril, the notorious secretary general of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command, a man who embodied throughout his life a fruitless effort of Palestinian terrorist organizations to break or weaken Israel. In a symbolic fashion, his passing marked the end of an era.

Jibril opposed the very existence of Israel. He rejected the idea of negotiating with Israel and never accepted the idea of recognizing Israel. During two decades—the ‘70s and ‘80s—he planned and orchestrated multiple plane hijackings and attacks on Israeli civilians, which he described as “heroic.” Years before Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad were established, Jibril was the innovator and trendsetter among other terrorist organizations. His PFLP-GC was the first to use “living bombs” and to find a justification for suicide bombings in Muslim jurisprudence. In 1982 his organization demanded the release of 1,182 Palestinian and international prisoners in exchange for captured Israelis, setting a precedent that came to haunt Israel more than once since then. Who was this man who had dedicated his life to Israel’s extermination but ended up with the shadowy remnants of his once-proud organization fighting with Bashar Assad’s army against other Palestinians in Yarmouk camp and dying an old man—of natural reasons, not in battle—with his purpose being as unattainable as ever?

Living in the Past
At the end of June 2006, I was sitting in a deep leather armchair in a small office based in Yarmouk refugee camp, waiting for an interview with Ahmad Jibril. The emblems of the PFLP-GC and its flag—a green patch of land that included Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza with rifles and the words “struggle, return, liberation” on its sides—were everywhere. A man with white hair and a moustache had entered the room. No bodyguards were present, even though this man had long starred on the list of most wanted terrorists of both Israel and US (Israel once intercepted a Syrian executive plane hoping to capture Jibril, but it turned out to be an embarrassing case of mistaken identity). A few years later a high-ranking Israeli military official told me that there were times when Israel sought Jibril’s photo in order to develop his full profile and couldn’t get it. By 2006 Jibril was feeling safe enough (or irrelevant enough) to receive foreign journalists in his office. Not that many of them came here; since the days of the Oslo Accords, Jibril’s organization was mostly popular in Palestinian refugee camps in Syria and Lebanon, Fatah and Hamas came to dominate the PA areas. Still, the general secretary of the PFLP-GC was happy to talk about the “good old days,” when the name of his organization evoked fear and anxiety in Israel and around the globe.

He was born in the town of Yazur (today Israel’s Azur) in 1938 (according to other sources he was born in Ramle in 1935) to a Palestinian mother and Syrian father. When the war of 1948 began, his family moved to Syria, where he was raised in Homs and served in the Syrian army, until he got expelled for sympathizing with the Communists. He later abandoned Marxist ideologies and broke with the Palestinian left doctrinaire for the sake of militant Palestinian nationalism.

After a decade of involvement with the PFLP and playing a role in Arafat’s takeover of the PLO, in 1968 Jibril splintered off and formed a radical pro-Syrian faction, the PFLP-GC. During the 1970s, when Palestinian terrorist organizations were operating freely from South Lebanon, Jibril’s organization—believing that the PLO leadership was “too soft”—had committed several massacres, notably the Avivim school bus massacre in 1970 and the Kiryat Shmona massacre in 1974. During that interview in Damascus in 2006, Jibril’s eyes practically lit when he spoke of the Kiryat Shmona “operation” (the terrorists who arrived from South Lebanon had entered a residential building and massacred 18 men, women, and children).
Egyptian professor is accused of re-writing history
Dr Mohamed Aboulghar is a busy man – an obstetrician and professor of gynaecology; a pioneer in infertility; one of the founders of the Egyptian Social Democratic Party.

He is also the author of two books on the Jews of Egypt: the second, titled Jews of Egypt: departure and dispersion has just been published and is apparently selling like hotcakes.

It is his latter interest which is proving somewhat controversial. At a Zoom meeting organised by the Goutte de Lait association in Egypt on the subject of the great rabbi and philosopher Maimonides, Dr Aboulghar was challenged by Levana Zamir, President of the International Association of Egyptian Jews in Israel.

While praising Egyptian Jews for their contribution to society and the economy, Dr Aboulghar blames them for causing their own exodus, or downplays or denies any discrimination they might have suffered.

An 1922 law decreed that anyone born in Egypt was eligible for Egyptian nationality, he claims. The Jews rejected this option, ‘preferring’ foreign passports.

Mrs Zamir responds that it was not enough for a Jew to be born in Egypt – even if he had roots going back several generations. If Jews ‘preferred’ foreign passports, that is because, as stated by Shimon Shamir in his book, after 1922 Egypt’s nationality laws excluded anyone who was not Arab.

She disputed Dr Aboulghar’s claim that Jews sold their property or transferred their assets before leaving the country. There was no evidence that property confiscated from Jews in 1948 ‘was restituted to them’. Historians estimate that some 25,000 Jews left Egypt as a direct or indirect result of the 1956 Suez crisis – yet Dr Aboulghar alleged that ‘very few’ were expelled at the start of the crisis and the remainder left of their own free will.
Dozens killed in blast targeting Shiite Afghan mosque during Friday prayers
An apparent bomb attack on worshippers at a Shiite mosque in the Afghan city of Kunduz killed at least 50 people Friday, in the bloodiest assault since US forces left the country.

Scores more victims from the minority community were wounded in the blast, which has not been claimed but appears designed to further destabilize Afghanistan in the wake of the Taliban takeover.

A medical source at the Kunduz Provincial Hospital said that 35 dead and more than 50 wounded had been taken there, while a worker at a Doctors Without Borders hospital reported 15 dead and scores more wounded.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid had earlier said an unknown number of people had been killed and injured when “an explosion took place in a mosque of our Shiite compatriots” in Kunduz.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, but the Islamic State group, arch-rival of the Taliban, has claimed similar recent atrocities.

A Taliban official later said the bombing was a suicide attack.

Residents of Kunduz, the capital of a province of the same name, told AFP the blast hit a Shiite mosque during Friday prayers, the most important of the week for Muslims.


Iran Says it Aims to Continue Fuel Product Shipments to Lebanon Despite Sanctions
Iran aims to continue sending fuel products to Lebanon in the future and hopes a bilateral agreement can be struck for that purpose, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian said on Friday during a visit to Beirut.

The Iran-backed Lebanese Shi’ite Hezbollah group has been coordinating Iranian fuel shipments for Lebanon since August as shortages spread amid an economic meltdown, despite US sanctions on Iranian oil sales.

Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati has said the Iranian shipments constitute a breach of his country’s sovereignty.

“At any point in time if the Lebanese government asks Iran formally within the context of their brotherly ties … Iran is ready to send fuel products,” Amirabdollahian said at a news conference.

Amirabdollahian held talks with Mikati and Lebanon’s president on Thursday.

Iran sends the fuel oil shipments organised by Hezbollah to the port of Baniyas in Syria and from there they are transported by truck to Lebanon. Syria is also under US sanctions.
Seth Frantzman: The world is waking up to Iran’s drone threat
Iranian drones are an emerging threat to the Middle East. In 2019, Iran used a combination of drones and cruise missiles to attack the giant Abqaiq oil-processing facility in Saudi Arabia, using precision strikes to send a message that Iran’s drones could not strike at will across the region and destabilize economies and countries.

Now Iran’s drones are again in the spotlight, following reports by The Wall Street Journal, Fox News and other media.

Iran’s drones are reshaping the security situation in the region, the Journal reported. It cited the July attack on a tanker in the Gulf of Oman that killed two crew members. Iran has trafficked drone technology to Hamas in Gaza, and in its May war with Israel, Hamas used Iranian-style drones for the first time, the report said.

Fox cited reports by Iranian dissidents that Iran would use drones to destabilize the region.

Iran might target Al-Harir base in northern Iraq’s Kurdistan Region, where US forces are allegedly present, The National Interest magazine reported. The report cited Iranian attacks on dissident groups in the Kurdistan region. Iran has used drones to target US forces in Erbil and also against dissidents.

Iran’s drone program, unlike its nuclear-weapons program, is not secretive. The Islamic Republic openly brags about its drone capabilities. It highlights every new drone and makes outrageous claims about their capabilities. Iran has claimed its drones can fly thousands of kilometers and that it has the ability to arm some of them with missiles.

What we know is that Iranian drones can carry out precision attacks when they are preprogrammed with a set of coordinates. They can wreak havoc, but they are not a weapon that wins wars.

Iran’s drones can attack military parades, airports, oil facilities and tankers. Tehran reportedly used a drone to target a CIA hangar at Erbil’s airport, The Washington Post reported in April. That means Iran’s real asset is its intelligence about where to attack. The drones themselves are interesting because they can be transported or assembled in different places.
Seth Frantzman: Iran wants to goad Russia into Caucasus tensions - analysis
Iran is worried. It sees an emerging alliance between Turkey and Azerbaijan as well as between Azerbaijan and Israel as potentially cutting it off from a land route to Russia. It is concerned that Turkey and Azerbaijan will then work directly with China and push Iran aside, weakening it economically at a time when Tehran is already weak.

Now Iran wants to ask the Russians if they realize what is happening in their own backyard. That was the subject of a Fars News analysis on Russia’s policies that likely reflects how Iran’s rulers see the challenge. What plans does Turkey have for Russia in the Caucasus, the article asks. “Russia has traditionally played a very important role in the Caucasus region, and this role can be influenced by Turkey's efforts to bring about geopolitical change in the region.”

When Iran says “geopolitical” it tends to hint at Israeli involvement and also Turkey’s push for expanding ties with Baku. “The Caucasus region is undoubtedly one of the main areas of Russian national security,” the article says.

But it notes that “Russia's priority has often been to prevent Western and American influence in the region, especially in the Caspian Sea and the Caucasus. In the first decade of the 21st century, the Americans made great efforts to be present in the Caspian region under the pretext of securing this region.” Iran wanted the US to be removed and it hoped Russia would agree. That is why Tehran was happy to see America leave Afghanistan and see US influence rolled back.

“New moves by Ankara and Baku to disrupt the geopolitical order in the region could, to some extent, turn the tide to the detriment of the Russians; however, it seems that Russia is currently assessing the situation.” Iran wants Russia to know that it should be wary of only working with Turkey on issues like the S-400 deals and that it is time Moscow care about Iran as well. In short, Iran wants Russia to stop compartmentalizing everything with Turkey as Ankara grows more provocative.
Family of US-Lebanese citizen sues Iran over his jailing and death
Relatives of a US citizen who was imprisoned for seven months in Lebanon then died of cancer within months of his release are suing Iran over what they allege was his unjust detention and inhumane treatment that triggered his terminal disease.

Amer Fakhoury was imprisoned by Lebanese security forces from September 2019-March 2020, but his wife and children are arguing in US federal court in Washington that Iran and its Lebanese militant proxy Hezbollah are responsible because they "intentionally ordered, directed and caused the psychological and physical torture [and] abuse" of Fakhoury, who died aged 57 in August 2020.

"Iranian support has been foundational to Hezbollah since its emergence in the 1980s," the 28-page lawsuit notes, referencing a recent State Department memo.

The lawsuit says Fakhoury developed cancer while being held under inhumane conditions in Lebanon, linking his cancer to the Epstein-Barr virus he caught while in detention.

“Our father was completely healthy before. He went to Lebanon at 225 pounds (102 kilograms) and came back 150 pounds (68kg). He obtained the Epstein Barr Virus at the Lebanese General Security prisons and because it went untreated for months under terrible conditions, it developed into lymphoma cancer which later took his life,” Zoya Fakhoury, one of his four daughters, told The National.

Asked why the lawsuit targets Iranian and not Lebanese authorities, she said: “because Iran controls Lebanon through Hezbollah.”

“We experienced first hand the corruption in the judicial system and how much Hezbollah influences every sector of the government," said Ms Fakhoury, co-founder of the Amer Fakhoury Foundation.

She anticipates additional measures under Congressional laws that will target Lebanese officials implicated in the detention.

Though he was never formally charged, Lebanese military officials had accused Fakhoury of working for the South Lebanon Army, a now-disbanded Israeli-backed Christian militia, two decades ago and alleged he tortured prisoners at the notorious Khiam military jail run.











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