Thursday, November 11, 2021

From Ian:

FDD: Gaza Conflict 2021: Hamas, Israel and Eleven Days of War
The May 2021 conflict between Israel and the terrorist group Hamas generated headlines around the world. However, much of the reporting ignored the history, funding, political dynamics, and other key components of the story. Hamas initiates conflict every few years. But the reporting rarely improves. Social media has only further clouded the picture. Hamas is rarely held responsible for its use of “human shields,” blindly firing rockets at civilian areas in Israel, or diverting aid that should benefit the people of Gaza.

The Islamic Republic of Iran, a state sponsor of terrorism, has been the primary patron of Hamas since the group’s inception in the late 1980s. Hamas has received additional assistance over the years from Qatar, Turkey and Malaysia. These countries are fomenting conflict, while others, such as Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, have tried to minimize it. Gaza is therefore ground zero in a struggle for the future stability of the Middle East.

The Biden administration has important choices to make. Its intent to re-enter the Iran nuclear deal could have significant consequences, given that sanctions relief to Iran will likely yield a financial boon for Hamas, along with other Iranian proxies. The Biden administration must also come to terms with “The Squad” — a small but loud faction of the Democratic Party that seeks to undermine the US-Israel relationship.
New book takes a deep look into Operation Guardian of The Walls: interview
When Jonathan Schanzer, senior vice president for research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, watched Operation Guardian of the Walls unfolding on TV, he decided to write a book about it.

“I watched the war in May, and for the first time since the Second Intifada, when I lived in Israel, I was able to watch almost the entire war in Hebrew,” Schanzer said in an interview with The Jerusalem Post. “I also watched it in Arabic, and, of course, I watched it in English.

“It almost felt like the US media and the Israeli media were covering two different wars,” he said. “The gap was so big, in terms of what both sides chose to cover, that I felt like it was time to write a book.”

Gaza Conflict 2021: Hamas, Israel and Eleven Days of War was published in-house by FDD Press.

“When the war was over, I took a few days off, and then I wrote the first draft in eight days.” Schanzer said, adding that he then traveled to Israel to interview Israeli officials, lawmakers and IDF officers, including OC Southern Command Maj.-Gen. Eliezer Toledano.

“I initially wrote the book in chronological order, but in the end, I decided to jump back and forth between the recent war and the history of Hamas dating back to the 1980s,” Schanzer said. “The goal was to help the reader see how the present and past are inextricably linked.

“The American media focused almost entirely on Sheikh Jarrah being the cause of the war, and, remarkably to me, there was no coverage at all of the canceled Palestinian elections and the fact that this was something that made Hamas furious, and they were looking to make themselves part of the political conversation again,” he said. “I would say that that has as much, if not more, to do with the outbreak of the conflict than Sheikh Jarrah, which, by the way, is still going on today and clearly is not the cause of additional wars.

“As I note in the book, at the end of the day, when you point to a single cause of the conflict, you’re usually going to be wrong. “Instead of looking at a real-estate dispute in Sheikh Jarrah, maybe we [should] look at a few other things that also contributed to it, which were not part of the discussion,” such as the role of Iran in backing Hamas, he said.


Dennis Ross: As America Retrenches, Israel Becomes an Increasingly Valued Partner
The sense that America is retrenching is one of the factors that has fostered Israel's ties with Sunni Arab leaderships. The more the U.S. has been seen to be pulling back in the Middle East, the more Sunni Arab leaders have seen the security value of Israel as a bulwark against threats from Iran and its Shiite militias and ISIS, al-Qaeda, and the radical Sunni Islamists. As one senior Gulf official said to me, the U.S. can withdraw, but we know Israel is not going anyplace.

As long as the U.S. realizes it has stakes in the Middle East - whether because of the need to fight terror or to prevent the area from being characterized by disorder and refugee flows - it will depend on regional partners who can help. Israel's status as the foremost military power in the region makes it an increasingly valued partner for the U.S.
As a Lone IDF Soldier, I Know I'll Never Be Alone
A year ago I moved to Israel and officially made it my home. Today I am officially a combat soldier, physically defending Israel, whereas before it was just in words. My closest friends in high school were a group of elite triathletes that trained together. Among them, I had found a community and bonded with a group of girls who like me believed we could do anything we put our minds to. We were all strong, independent feminists; however, as the only Jew and the only Zionist in the group, I never felt like I could truly be myself.

I remember wondering whether I'd feel less alone after making aliyah to a country where I knew few people, had no family, and struggled with the language - where I would be labeled a "lone soldier." I live with other "lone soldiers" when off base and do miss my family and friends, but I have now found family among my fellow soldiers. Among them I am the whole me.

In a female combat unit, all the girls have volunteered to be there in the specific roles they serve. None of us were required to be combat soldiers. We are all really here for the same reasons, a personal sense of duty to use every skill we have to defend Israel. I have learned what it means to come home and be accepted for all the parts of me.


Alan Baker: Refuting Palestinian Claims about the U.S. Jerusalem Consulate Issue
Palestinian Pressure on the United States
During a meeting of the Palestinian leadership in Ramallah on October 24, 2021, PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas demanded that the U.S. administration reopen the consulate in Jerusalem and the PLO offices in Washington, which were closed during the previous Trump administration.

Veteran Arab affairs and diplomatic commentator Yoni Ben Menachem reported in an article published by the Jerusalem Center on November 4, 2021:
The PA is disappointed that the administration is delaying the reopening of the American consulate in Jerusalem and does not accept the claim that this requires the consent of the Israeli government. PA sources claim that according to the law and UN Resolution 181, Jerusalem is international territory, and the status of its diplomatic missions has not changed. Therefore, reopening the U.S. consulate in Jerusalem only requires the political will of the Biden administration.2

The complexity and delicacy of the consulate issue are compounded by statements by Palestinian leaders representing the consulate issue as a symbolic focal point in their claims to re-divide Jerusalem and cancel the former administration’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital city.

The Palestinian claim that UN General Assembly Resolution 181 of 1948 rendered Jerusalem to be international territory has absolutely no basis in law and fact.

UN General Assembly Resolution 181 (1947)
Resolution 181, commonly known as the UN Partition Plan, was approved on November 29, 1947, with 33 votes in favor, 13 against, and 10 abstentions.3 It recommended the partition of Mandatory Palestine into Jewish and Arab. It devised a plan whereby Jerusalem would be a special international entity, called a corpus separatum, with an international administration under the auspices of the UN.

As with all General Assembly resolutions, which cannot determine legal obligations, Resolution 181 was nothing more than a non-binding recommendation.

The recommendation to internationalize Jerusalem was devised as an interim measure for 10 years, after which its residents, through a referendum, would be free to express their wishes as to possible modification of the regime of the city.

While Israel accepted the plan in the hope that it would be modified after 10 years, it was vehemently rejected by the Arab population as well as the neighboring Arab/Muslim states – Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Turkey, all of whom opposed the resolution and forcefully and blatantly rejected it.4
Why is the US trying to open a consulate in Jerusalem for Palestinians?
It is frustrating to realize that even after two successive administrations (those of former U.S. President Donald Trump and his successor, Joe Biden) have recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel—and the latter confirmed that the U.S. embassy, which the former moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, would remain there—the State Department is still flirting with the concept of locating what amounts to a symbolic consulate to the Palestinian Authority in Jerusalem.

This misguided effort is being pursued despite all the progress made since and as a result of the recognition, in accordance with U.S. law, of Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem, including the momentous Abraham Accords.

Moreover, the Oslo II Accord, signed in Washington D.C. on Sept. 28, 1995 and witnessed by then-U.S. President Bill Clinton, among others, expressly prohibits establishing a consulate for the P.A.

Article IX, Section 5a of the Oslo II Accord provides that the P.A. “… will not have powers and responsibilities in the sphere of foreign relations, which sphere includes the establishment abroad of embassies, consulates or other types of foreign missions and posts or permitting their establishment in the West Bank or the Gaza Strip, the appointment of or admission of diplomatic and consular staff, and the exercise of diplomatic functions.”

Why would the State Department seek to induce a breach of Oslo II, the very basis of the two-state solution for which it so fervently advocates? Furthermore, it’s hard to imagine why anyone other than a dilettante would insist on opening a consulate dedicated to serving the P.A. in the heart of Jerusalem, in what amounts to a foreign country?

Incredibly, it would appear that the proposed consulate is intended to serve only the non-Jewish residents that the P.A. governs in the areas of Judea and Samaria that it controls. The approximately 60,000 U.S. citizens who live in Judea and Samaria (including parts of Jerusalem beyond the so-called Green Line), who are Jewish, would effectively be excluded.
David Friedman: Opening PA consulate goes against American law
Arutz Sheva speaks with former American Ambassador to Israel David Friedman about the Biden plan to reopen the PA consulate in Jerusalem.

Former American Ambassador to Israel David Friedman does not see how the U.S. will be able to reopen a consulate for Palestinian Arabs in Jerusalem.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with Arutz Sheva, Friedman says that reopening the consulate is “illegal under US law. The Jerusalem Embassy Act says Jerusalem should not be divided and this would be a division of Jerusalem.”

However, that does not mean the Biden administration might not try. “I don’t see how they can. I think if the could they might.”

Friedman adds: “Any doubt on that issue was laid to rest by [PA Prime Minister] Mohammad Shtayyeh who said on behalf of the PA, ‘We want a consulate because it will be the beginning of our embassy in Jerusalem.’”

“It clearly would divide Jerusalem and that’s against American law,” Friedman said. “It’s against Israeli law which is declared sovereignty over the entirety of Jerusalem. It’s a terrible idea. It can’t be done without Israel consent.”

He calls the reopening of the consulate a “huge mistake for America,” explaining that ““I really hope that they don’t get any further.”


US Ambassador to UN to Visit Israel, See Iron Dome and Hamas Tunnels
US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield plans to travel to Israel next week with her Israeli counterpart, Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Gilad Erdan.

She is scheduled to meet with Israeli President Isaac Herzog, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid and Defense Minister Benny Gantz, according to Ynet.

Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi, chief of staff of the Israel Defense Forces, has arranged to take the ambassador on a tour of the country’s northern and southern borders, as well as visit an Iron Dome missile defense system deployed near the Gaza Strip.

Officials also plan to show her tunnels dug by Hezbollah into northern Israel from Lebanon that the IDF discovered in 2019, said the report.

Thomas-Greenfield is also planning to meet with the commander of the peacekeeping force UNIFIL in southern Lebanon.
US UN Mission: At the UN: "The United States Will Continue to Oppose Every Effort to Delegitimize Israel"
U.S. Ambassador Richard Mills, Deputy Representative to the UN, said Tuesday: "The United States' position is that Israelis and Palestinians deserve equal measures of freedom, dignity, security, and prosperity....The package of resolutions we are voting on today do not serve that goal. We are disappointed that Member States continue to disproportionally single out Israel."

"One-sided resolutions like those introduced here today only distract from the real efforts to achieve peace. This effort will only be strengthened when the bias of the United Nations against Israel ends. The United States will continue to oppose every effort to delegitimize Israel."


Gerald M. Steinberg: Palestinian NGO Terror Links
For at least 20 years, the 6 Palestinian NGOs designated by Israel as prohibited terrorist fronts have received core funding from foreign governments (primarily Western European, including the EU). More than ten years ago, my colleagues at NGO Monitor and I began to discern a pattern pointing to an organized network linked to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestinian (PFLP).

As of October 2021, we identified 74 PFLP officials who simultaneously held and continue to hold significant positions in 13 NGOs. The PFLP opposes any recognition of Israel and the Oslo framework - they are hard-core Palestinian rejectionists (further highlighting the contradictions inherent in the embrace of the NGO network by European governments).

The 6 designated Palestinian "civil society" organizations do not involve isolated cases or a few "bad apples," as some have tried to claim. The systematic connections between the NGO network and the PFLP extend to diversion of major funding for terror.


PA said to allege officials readying ICC cases against Israel hacked by Pegasus
A Palestinian official reportedly claimed on Thursday that three Palestinian Authority foreign ministry employees preparing complaints against Israel at the International Criminal Court in The Hague had their phones hacked by Pegasus, a controversial spyware application made by the Israeli cybersecurity firm NSO Group.

A Palestinian Authority foreign ministry statement blamed Israel for the hacking, calling it a “blatant and immoral violation of international law,” and urging an international boycott of all parties involved.

Ahmed al-Deek, the assistant Palestinian foreign minister for political affairs, said a “professional Palestinian institution” inspected several phones and detected Pegasus on three of them. It was not immediately clear if the results were verified by outside researchers.

“We are 100 percent sure that these three phones were hacked,” al-Deek said. “They belonged to senior officials.”

Haaretz reported that Deek said the phones belonged to ministry employees working on cases that the Palestinian Authority is bringing against Israel at the ICC, which is currently investigating both Israel and the Palestinians for alleged war crimes committed since 2014.


Israel Found Guilty (satire)
The international community issued firm condemnation of Israel’s recent actions earlier today. An emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council was convened in order to issue a number of resolutions against the Jewish State.

Member states accused Israel of being “inhumane,” and acting with “utter disregard for human life and wellbeing.” Israel has responded to these claims by saying that it retains the right to protect its citizens and ensure its survival. “We will not stand idly by while others plot to do us harm,” said an IDF spokesperson. “The days when Jews sit back and allow evil to be done to them are over.”

Israel has long been criticized for its policies as they relate to this issue, though many have pointed out that a number of social, cultural, and political factors have culminated in the latest unrest. The White House issued a statement in response to the situation saying, “The President supports the right of the State of Israel to defend itself, and looks forward to the time when Israel will be able to live in peace with its neighbors.”

Pro-Israel groups have described the statement as not being supportive enough, while anti-Israel groups have criticized the President for being overly supportive. At this point, the situation is ongoing, and analysts have varying estimates of how long before a resolution is reached.
Shadow War: Media Tune Out Alleged Iranian Terror Plot Against Israelis in Cyprus
It is striking that major international news outlets have failed to cover this story given its apparent significance: namely, that six people were arrested for plotting to commit terrorist acts within the borders of a European Union member state, and that there is proof that these plans were conceived and coordinated by Iran and possibly Syria-based Shiite militias.

Media regularly report on terror attacks in which Palestinian assailants are wounded by Israeli forces, which effectively turns reality on its head by painting Palestinian aggressors as victims. A similar dynamic plays out when media implictly blame Israeli security services for conducting counter-terrorism raids in order to arrest Palestinians suspected of plotting attacks.

Accordingly, the failure to report on the story in Cyprus seems indicative of bias against ever depicting Israelis as victims. Instead, major press agencies tend to portray Israel as an aggressor.

Case in point: Israel’s designation last month of six Palestinian NGOs as terrorist front groups elicited international outrage, with the move widely and falsely described as an attempt to “muzzle” human rights groups. Indeed, reports that are harshly critical of Israel continue to be published on a near-daily basis (see here and here); this, despite Israeli envoys having traveled to Washington in response to the Biden Administration’s request for evidence proving the NGOs’ involvement in terrorist activity.

Meanwhile, little has been published about the successful security cooperation between Jerusalem and Nicosia that very well may have saved the lives of innocent Israelis.

It appears, then, that a double standard is being applied.

When it comes to Israel, stories about terrorism are seemingly only newsworthy when the Jewish state can be depicted as a bad light.
Israeli security forces thwart weapon-smuggling operation from Jordan
Israeli security forces thwarted a gun-running attempt along the Israeli-Jordanian border, seizing some 15 weapons and making one arrest in the process, the military said Thursday.

Overnight, Israeli soldiers operating surveillance cameras along the border spotted suspects “who tried to smuggle weapons from Jordanian territory into Israeli territory,” the Israel Defense Forces said in a statement.

IDF soldiers, Israel Police officers and border guards were sent to the scene and took one of the suspects into custody, along with the weaponry, the statement said.

The IDF said troops seized eight shotguns, three Kalashnikov assault rifles, two pistols and an M-16 carbine.

The suspect and the guns were handed over to Israel Police for further investigation, the IDF said, noting that the suspect was Palestinian.


Do Palestinians Really Just Want ‘East Jerusalem’?
It is common practice for news outlets to use boilerplate copy — written text that can be reused in new contexts or applications without significant changes to the original.

In the context of clashes or violence in Jerusalem, the media often add a line or a paragraph at the end of reports such as these:

Readers are so used to seeing these words, that they are liable to skim over them, and from a perspective of media bias, these sentences seem inoffensive and even-handed.

But are they really?

The Palestinian Authority’s Territorial Aims
While Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas has indeed spoken of establishing an “independent Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as its capital,” he has repeatedly contradicted himself and revealed his reluctance to give up on the goal of seizing all of the holy city.

In 2009, Abbas’ Fatah faction adopted a position paper that ruled out compromise on the future status of Jerusalem, saying it would prefer to “sacrifice victims until Jerusalem is ours.”

A full decade later, Abbas’ position had not changed. In a video uploaded to Abbas’ Facebook page in August 2019 and translated by MEMRI, Abbas is heard saying, “Those who are foreign to this land have no right to it. … Jerusalem is ours whether they like it or not.”

When his words triggered members of the crowd to chant the slogan, “To Jerusalem we march, martyrs by the millions,” Abbas responded, “We shall enter Jerusalem; millions of fighters!”

While Abbas publicly pays lip service to the idea of two states alongside one another, his rhetoric in Arabic more often than not betrays his desire to bring all of Jerusalem under Palestinian control.
Palestinian Authority: Ready to Discuss Salaries for Security Prisoners
Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said Ramallah is ready to discuss the law regulating the payment of salaries to security prisoners held by Israel, Kan reported Thursday.

The law provides payments to Palestinians convicted of violent attacks and to the families of Palestinian “martyrs” killed by Israeli security forces — something that Israel says incites violence.

“If anyone has reservations about this or that section of the law, we can discuss it,” Shtayyeh told foreign reporters, referring to the US demand to change the current law.

The Palestinian Authority, led by President Mahmoud Abbas, has for many years paid allowances to the families of Palestinians detained by Israel in accordance with the length of the sentence imposed upon them.

These prisoners are often regarded by many Palestinians as heroes or martyrs.

According to figures from the Israeli security services, the Palestinian Authority in 2018 paid $138 million to imprisoned Palestinians, their families, and former detainees.

Israel views the practice as incitement to the Palestinian population to carry out attacks, since if an individual is imprisoned while conducting a violent attack, the financing of their family will be assured.
PA to kids: If you buy from Israel you finance your own murder
The PA Ministry of Education is intensifying its hate campaign against Israel. Using graphic and grisly pictures it trumpets the libel that Israel deliberately murders Palestinian children, and then warns children that buying Israeli products will finance their own murder.

Pictures posted by the PA Ministry of Education from its boycott campaigns at PA schools, include signs that teach kids that Israeli goods are “lethal” and that buying them will finance Israel's killing of Palestinian children.
In the ad above, a young boy drinks an Israeli dairy product and as a result has his brains blown out by a bullet. The text on the ad warns: “Beware! Lethal Israeli goods.” The ad was included on a poster at a PA school as part of the PA’s campaign to boycott all Israeli goods. The PA Ministry of Education endorsed both the campaign and the use of this and other images by posting photos from the boycott campaigns at the PA schools:

[Facebook page of the PA Ministry of Education, Nov. 1, 2021]

Another ad that was included in the school poster publicized by the PA Ministry of Education shows Israeli milk cartons dripping blood with the text: “I am boycotting.”

Another ad used at the PA school shows an Israeli milk carton casting a shadow in the shape of a rocket:
Text: "Let's boycott the dairy products of [Israeli company] Tnuva and its sister companies. Let's boycott the products of the occupation"

Images such as these reinforce the PA’s libel that Israel deliberately targets Palestinians and Palestinian children, and that if they buy Israeli products they are helping Israelis finance their killing of Palestinians.
Girl from Fatah calls Balfour “a traitor of humanity,” vows to “fight… with the blood of Martyrs”

PA TV plays a love song to the rifle: “My rifle, my beloved”



European Union Will Still Not Ban Hezbollah In Its Entirety
Just when you begin to think that the EU has stiffened its spine vis-à-vis the Palestinians by, for example, withholding aid funds this year because of the antisemitism in the PA’s schoolbooks, it once again disappoints. The latest example is the EU’s refusal to ban the Shiite terror group Hezbollah in its entirety. A report on the EU’s continuing pusillanimity is here: “European Union Will Not Outlaw All of Hezbollah,” i24 News, November 1, 2021:
The European Union will not ban the Lebanese Shiite terrorist group Hezbollah in its entirety.

When asked about a full ban of Hezbollah, Katharina von Schnurbein, the European Commission Coordinator on Combating Antisemitism and Fostering Jewish Life, eschewed [sic] the question and passed it onto her superiors, according to the Jerusalem Post.

Peter Stano, EU Spokesperson for Foreign Policy, told the Post, “The military wing of Hezbollah is already on the EU terror list.

“Any changes in the nature and scope of the existing listing are for EU Member States to discuss and decide by unanimity.”…


There are 27 members of the EU, and It only takes one country’s insistence on protecting Hezbollah’s “political wing” — by preventing it from being recognized as inseparable from its military wing — to keep the EU from doing what common sense, and a moral sense, both dictate.

It took a long time for the EU to designate just the “military wing” as a terrorist group that ought to be sanctioned; it was Israel itself that presented to member countries of the EU the conclusive evidence supporting such a designation. In 2020, with the EU countries having banned the “military wing” of Hezbollah, Israel then presented to the German government evidence of the role of Hezbollah’s “political wing” in supporting the terrorist activities of the “military wing” – for it is the “political wing” that raises money for terrorists’ upkeep and weapons, helps pay for the recruitment of new members to the terror group and their salaries, and underwrites the propaganda campaigns that Hezbollah conducts to justify its acts of terror against the Jewish state. And the evidence of those links between the military and political wings, brought by Israel to German attention, led Germany to outlaw the “political wing” of Hezbollah; country’s new ban, in force since April 2020, does not differentiate between the group’s military and political wings. Hezbollah “political” activities “violate criminal law and the organization opposes the concept of international understanding,” said German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer when the new policy was announced.


Report: Chief IRGC General in Syria Shunned by Assad
Syrian President Bashar Assad has shunned the commander of Iranian forces in Syria, Javad Ghaffari, Al-Arabiya reported Wednesday.

Sources in the presidential palace said Ghaffari had been dealing with the smuggling of goods and the establishment of a black weapons market that could compete with the Syrian market.

In addition, the Saudi news channel Al-Hadath reported that the Syrians blamed the Iranians for taking advantage of Syria's natural and economic resources for its own gain and for evading tax payments to the Syrian regime.

It also revealed that Ghaffari had stationed Iranian forces in places that were not approved of by Syria and conducted a number of attacks against the U.S. and Israel against the regime's guidelines, including the drone attack on the U.S. base at At-Tanf in southeastern Syria on Oct. 20 by Iranian-supported militias.
Report: Assad expels Iranian commander from Syria

The Harrowing of Mustafa Kadhimi
Kadhimi’s step-by-step pushback against the militias is a frustratingly slow-burn strategy: one replacement of a compromised officer, one terrorism arrest, and one anti-corruption case at a time. But the arrests are building up, and the court cases are bearing fruit. Such work takes time, and Iraqis are rightfully impatient. Yet while any Iraqi prime minister can easily become a dictator and a death squad commander, Kadhimi does not want rivers of blood in Baghdad if steadily chipping away can reduce the risk to ordinary people. This is why Iraq’s security forces arrest militiamen instead of summarily executing them, even though they may later be released due to corruption and intimidation. Rule of law does still matter to some in Iraq, and they continue to believe they can win through it rather than by going beyond it. Kadhimi is one of the Iraqis who continues to advocate for the rule of law, and the international community should recognize how rare it is to find a leader who chooses not to unleash brutality when he is under intense pressure to do so.

It is also quite fitting that this time, the Iran-backed militias bombed the front steps of Kadhimi’s modest house by the Tigris. It was on those exact steps that Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Qods Force, stood to offer Kadhimi the premiership in 2018, were he to agree to bend the knee to Tehran and serve as their premier in Iraq. When he declined, they chose Adel Abdulmahdi instead, with his ruinous era of premiership lasting just two years. Kadhimi did become premier afterwards, but not by Iran’s hand, and despite the death threats of Iran and its militias. Now, as Iraq forms a new government after elections, the same militias have laid down a red line that the next premier can be anyone except Kadhimi. That should tell us something.

As Iraqi writers Hamzeh Hadad and Muhammad Al-Waeli noted in a 2018 Fikra Forum piece, Iraq needs a leader with vision if the country is to recover. But I would argue it also needs a quietly brave leader with a conscience and a sense of responsibility. Watching Iraq nose-dive under Abdalmahdi and begin to recover under Kadhimi has driven home to me the importance of the identity and character of Iraq’s prime minister. In such a centralized system, a good premier is necessary, though not sufficient, to keep Iraq on the right path. Appointing such a leader is the vital first step that makes positive change possible. Whether Kadhimi becomes prime minister again or not, the militia’s efforts to tempt and torment him, and to drive him off his course, suggest he has done something right in these last two years, and that his example of staying the course against the militias should be emulated by future premiers, and supported by Iraq’s friends.
Naval war drill: Israel, US, UAE, Bahrain hold first joint sea exercise
In a message to Iran, Israel is taking part in a multilateral maritime security drill in the Red Sea along with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and US Naval Forces Central Command’s (NAVCENT) in the Red Sea.

The five-day drill includes at-sea training aboard amphibious transport dock ship USS Portland focused on visit, board, search and seizure tactics.

“The training will enhance interoperability between participating forces’ maritime interdiction teams,” read a statement by NAVCENT.

While the Israeli Air Force had previously taken part in international drills with the UAE, this drill marks the first time that Israel publicly trains with the UAE and Bahrain. It comes as a result of the transfer of the responsibility for Israel from the US Europe Command (EUCOM) to the US Central Command (CENTCOM).

It is believed that the move will not only simplify the cooperation with American troops in the region, but can also create the potential for a regional coalition with Arab countries that have normalized ties with Israel against shared threats posed by Iran.

The 5th Fleet has sometimes clashed with Iranian vessels in the Persian Gulf, and as tensions remain high, Israel’s addition and subsequent drills can be seen as a message to Tehran.


MEMRI: Iranian Report On Military Drill Showcases Submarines, Anti-Ship Missiles, 'Suicide' Drone
On November 8, 2021, Channel 1 (Iran) aired a report about a military drill dubbed "Zulfiqar 1400 [2021]" that was carried out by the Islamic Republic of Iran Army. The report showcased the Tareq submarine and its torpedo capabilities, and it showed the Qadir and Nasr anti-ship missiles being launched by Iranian vessels. The report also said that the Arash "suicide drone" has become operational.

"The Number And Variety Of The [Iranian] Army's Submarines Have Placed Iran Among The Leading 10 Countries In The World"

Presenter: "The roar of the Qadir and Qader missiles and of the torpedoes [were heard] on the second day of the 'Zulfiqar 1400' [2021] military drill. The naval units of the Army's navy used the Qadir missile and destroyed their targets on the surface of the sea."

Narrator: "The Tareq submarine has 15 minutes before its sets out. The commander is ready."

Reporter: "In order to shoot a torpedo, we enter the Tareq submarine – the largest submarine of the Islamic Republic of Iran Army. In order to protect operational security, the camera cannot join me from now on."

Narrator: "After a three-hour reconnaissance that was part of the Zulfiqar joint drill, Tareq identifies the invader and locks in on the target. From the helicopter's camera, you can see the moment of the DM1 mine launching, the trajectory of the torpedo, and the destruction of the target. In this vast [battle] scene, Tareq is not alone. The number and variety of the army's submarines have placed Iran among the leading 10 countries in the world. I need to get out of Tareq, in order to document the moment that the Qadir and Nasr missiles are launched by the army's naval units."
IRGC general: Any war with Iran will end with Zionist regime's termination
A senior Iranian official warned Thursday that "any mistake" Israel makes vis-à-vis Iran would prompt the Islamic republic to "doom" the Jewish state to destruction.

Dismissing Israel's warning that if need be, it will take action to stop Iran from becoming a nuclear threshold state, Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps Aerospace Force Brig. Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh said that "the Zionists may be able to start a battle, but it is the Islamic republic that will end it with the termination of the Zionist regime."

According to Iran's Tasnim news agency, Hajizadeh stressed that "The [Zionist] regime that discusses its existence is doomed to termination and cannot talk about destroying other countries."

He further warned that "if the Zionist regime gives us an excuse, it will only expedite its termination."

According to the report he described the West's effort to include controls over Iran's ballistic missiles program in the framework of any future nuclear deal as "proof that the Islamic republic's drone and missile power has become a thorn in their side."
Iran-Backed Militants Storm US Embassy in Yemen, Seize Hostages and Equipment
The State Department is working to secure the release of several hostages taken by Iran-backed terrorists after they stormed the U.S. embassy facility in Sana'a, Yemen, U.S. officials told the Washington Free Beacon early Thursday.

A group of Houthi rebels reportedly stormed the U.S. compound on Wednesday seeking "large quantities of equipment and materials," according to regional reports translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute. The raid comes just five days after the Houthis kidnapped Yemeni nationals who work for the U.S. embassy.

The State Department confirmed to the Free Beacon that the Yemeni staffers are being held hostage and that the Iran-backed militants stole property after breaching the American facility in Sana'a, which housed U.S. embassy staff prior to the suspension of operations there in 2015.

"The United States has been unceasing in its diplomatic efforts to secure their release," a State Department spokesman told the Free Beacon. "The majority of the detained have been released, but the Houthis continue to detain additional Yemeni employees of the embassy."

Those still being held hostage are "detained without explanation and we call for their immediate release," the State Department spokesman said.

The United States is also "concerned about the breach of the compound" and is calling "on the Houthis to immediately vacate it and return all seized property."


Iran admitted into UN radiation monitoring committee

Turkey builds a wall to keep out Afghan refugees
Some of the refugees fleeing the Taliban's brutality in Afghanistan are taking an arduous route across neighboring Iran to try and cross into Turkey. We met a family in the Turkish border city of Van who made it out of Afghanistan the night before the capital fell to the Taliban.

"I don't have money, I don't have food, I don't have dresses, nothing," said the mother. Her family doesn't want to be identified, given how they made it into Turkey without permission, but they told CBS News that they blame the United States and its chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan for their plight.

More than 2 million Afghans have already taken refuge in neighboring Pakistan and Iran, but those countries have closed their borders to new arrivals.

Now the Turkish government is working to stop a potential influx of Afghans by building a wall along its border. On the other side of that wall is Iran, which shares another border with Afghanistan.

The Afghans who survive the trek through Iran to the Turkish border, which can take weeks, will now be met with a wall of concrete slabs 10 feet high.

Ali Noorani, President and CEO of the Washington-based National Immigration Forum, told CBS News that the international community must act quickly to avoid a humanitarian crisis.

"If the international community does not pick up the pace of negotiations and ultimately implementing solutions [to resettle refugees], lives will be lost," she warned.

The U.N. has said that as many as 500,000 more Afghans could flee their country this year alone, but resettlement pledges show many wealthy nations have little appetite to welcome the refugees in large numbers.
Kerry Lobbying Against Legislation To Ban Import of Chinese Goods Produced by Slave Labor
Climate czar John Kerry is lobbying House lawmakers to oppose legislation that would ban the import of all Chinese-made goods that are produced using Uyghur slave labor, a move aimed at buying goodwill with Beijing as the United States seeks a new climate deal, according to congressional sources and foreign policy insiders familiar with the matter.

Kerry and a faction of State Department officials oppose legislation meant to curtail Chinese imports made using slave labor, sources said, due to concerns that the restrictive measures will agitate Beijing. The legislation, known as the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act, in July passed the Senate by voice vote but is stalled in the House. It would target China's construction of solar panels and other equipment the United States needs to migrate the country to green energy sources.

The Biden administration's internal strife over China points to a tug-of-war between the White House, which supports this type of measure, and the State Department, which is pushing a softer China policy in the hopes of securing a climate deal with Beijing—an effort that Kerry is spearheading in his role as presidential envoy for climate change. Kerry has been under fire in recent weeks for owning stakes in an investment group that funds companies that are linked to forced labor and have been blacklisted for human rights abuses, as the Washington Free Beacon reported.

Reports issued during the past several weeks indicate that Kerry, who operates out of the State Department, is the principal opponent of increased sanctions on China and its use of Uyghur slave labor. During remarks Wednesday at the United Nations climate change conference in Glasgow, Kerry told reporters that the United States and China have made progress on reducing carbon emissions, which is fueling speculation that any action on Uyghur slave labor will take a backseat to these ongoing negotiations.
'Growing' abuses of Uyghurs by China, US Holocaust Museum warns










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