Friday, January 07, 2022

From Ian:

Richard Kemp: Exposing the Lie of Israel Apartheid
The breakdown in Israel-Soviet relations was later compounded by Israel's defensive victories against the Arabs in 1967 and again in 1973. Over this period all hope of Israel becoming a Soviet client had steadily evaporated. Arab armies sponsored, trained and equipped by the USSR had been humiliated, and so had Moscow. Thus the Soviets progressively developed a policy of undermining Israel. Their primary objective was to use the country as a weapon in their Cold War struggle against the US and the West.

"We needed to instil a Nazi-style hatred for the Jews throughout the Islamic world, and to turn this weapon of the emotions into a terrorist bloodbath against Israel and its main supporter, the United States." — Yuri Andropov, Chairman of the Soviet KGB, later General Secretary of the Soviet Communist Party, as reported by General Ion Pacepa, former chief of Romania's intelligence services.

As well as mobilising the Arabs to the Soviet cause, Andropov and his KGB colleagues needed to appeal to the democratic world. To do so, the Kremlin decided to turn the conflict from one that sought simply to destroy Israel into a struggle for human rights and national liberation from an illegitimate American-sponsored imperialist occupier. They set about transforming the narrative of the conflict from religious jihad — in which Islamic doctrine demands that any land that has ever been under Muslim control must be regained for Islam — to secular nationalism and political self-determination, something far more palatable to Western democracies. This would provide cover for a vicious terrorist war, even garnering widespread support for it.

To achieve their goal, the Soviets had to create a Palestinian national identity that did not hitherto exist and a narrative that Jews had no rights to the land and were naked aggressors. According to Pacepa, the KGB created the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in the early 1960s, as they had also orchestrated so-called national liberation armies in several other parts of the world. He says the 1964 Palestinian National Charter was drafted in Moscow. This document was fundamental to the invention and establishment of an artificial Palestinian nationhood.

The details of Moscow-sponsored terrorist operations in the Middle East and elsewhere are set out in 25,000 pages of KGB documents copied and then smuggled out of Russia in the early 1990s by senior KGB archivist Vasili Mitrokhin and now lodged in the UK, at Churchill College, Cambridge.

The initial charter did not claim the West Bank or the Gaza Strip for "Palestine". In fact, it explicitly repudiated any rights to these lands, falsely recognising them respectively as Jordanian and Egyptian sovereign territories. Instead, the PLO claim was to the rest of Israel. This was amended after the 1967 war when Israel ejected the illegal Jordanian and Egyptian occupiers, and the West Bank and Gaza for the first time were re-branded as Palestinian territory.

Moscow first took its campaign to brand Israeli Jews as the oppressors of their invented "Palestinian people" to the UN in 1965. Their attempts to categorise Zionism as racism failed at that attempt but succeeded nearly a decade later in the infamous UN General Assembly Resolution 3379.

Zuheir Mohsen, a senior PLO leader, admitted in 1977: "The Palestinian people do not exist. The creation of a Palestinian state is only a means for continuing our struggle against the state of Israel for our Arab unity... Only for political and tactical reasons do we speak today about the existence of a Palestinian people, since Arab national interests demand that we posit the existence of a distinct 'Palestinian people' to oppose Zionism. Yes, the existence of a separate Palestinian identity exists only for tactical reasons."

The Mitrokhin documents show that both Yasser Arafat, and his successor as PLO chief, Mahmoud Abbas, now President of the Palestinian Authority, were KGB agents. Both were instrumental in the KGB's disinformation operations as well as its terrorist campaigns.
Will 2022 be the year the ‘Israel apartheid’ label sticks?
THE CAUSE of this problem can be assessed in different ways, depending where someone stands on the political map, Lapid said. “Some may say it’s because the Palestinians get economic aid and we coordinate security with them, even though they petition against us in international organizations,” Lapid said. “Some say this is what happens when there are no negotiations.”

First, Lapid said: “I’m leaving the reasons aside. This is the result. Part of what the Israeli Foreign Ministry has to deal with in the coming years is the topic of Israel apartheid.”

But then the minister argued that “without diplomatic talks, it will get worse. We have to go there” – to negotiations with the Palestinians. Lapid said Israel must be careful not to be portrayed as the side that is refusing to make peace, while the Palestinians pursue it, though he gave the Palestinians’ appeal to the ICC and their payments to terrorists who kill Israelis as examples for why that is false.

While Lapid believes talks with the Palestinians could stem the tide of delegitimization coming toward Israel, he pointed out that the current governing coalition is not able to conduct them.

“There is no reason for me to delude the Palestinians and open a diplomatic process that doesn’t have a coalition behind it.... That would damage our credibility, which is important,” the minister stated.

“Even after a coalition rotation, I will remain with the same people and the same disagreements” about the Palestinian issue, Lapid said. “I plan to stand behind the agreement I made with my partners.”

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and his Yamina Party oppose a Palestinian state, as does Justice Minister Gideon Sa’ar’s New Hope Party, while other coalition parties would support one under different conditions. The coalition has a narrow majority and cannot afford to lose the support of any of its parties, or an election would likely be triggered.

Meanwhile, Lapid has not spoken with PA President Mahmoud Abbas – who met with Defense Minister Benny Gantz in his home last week – but has talked with other senior Palestinian officials, whom he did not name, about specific issues that arose.

Without peace talks on the horizon, Lapid said the ministry is preparing for the worst in the international arena.

“It’s the Foreign Ministry’s challenge to deal with it... and soon the whole government will,” he said.

Caroline Glick: Our enemies keep their focus
Something happens almost every day that tells us that Israel's enemies are preparing for war. On the other hand, Israel's responses to these events indicate that Israel is not preparing for war.

Three separate events this week exposed this distressing state of affairs.

First, on Monday, Iran and its proxies in the Gaza Strip, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Yemen marked the second anniversary of the US assassination in Iraq of Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps Quds Force Commander Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani. At a ceremony in Tehran, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi pledged to kill former president Donald Trump and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Not only did the Biden administration not condemn the Iranian regime for threatening the life of a former president and secretary of state, on the day Raisi threatened to murder Trump and Pompeo, President Joe Biden's nuclear negotiators were in Vienna beginning another round of nuclear talks with Raisi's emissaries. US officials told reporters ahead of the talks that they expect to close a deal with the Iranians, perhaps a partial one, in the near future.

To go by the reports of the negotiations, a deal means nothing less than complete US capitulation to Iran's demands. Last week, Britain's Spectator published a report titled "Inside Joe Biden's Disastrous Negotiations with Iran." It described how the Western position has collapsed due to the radical pro-Iranian posture of the US team led by Robert Malley.

British and other negotiators characterized Malley as "the most dovish official we've ever seen."

One official said that Malley bent over backwards so far that "he now speaks to Tehran between his legs."

Malley, they explained, presented the Iranians with what was supposed to be the US's final take-it-or-leave-it offer at the opening session of the negotiations. After the stunned Iranians "caught their breath and climbed back onto their chairs, they set about demanding further concessions."
The Caroline Glick Show: Ep33 – How can Iran be stopped?
In Episode 33 of the Caroline Glick Mideast News Hour, Caroline was joined by Gadi Taub for a discussion of the dismal state of efforts to block Iran from becoming a nuclear-armed regional hegemon. They walked across the regional terrain of Iran’s proxy armies in Lebanon, Syria, Gaza and Yemen and into the negotiating rooms in Vienna and came away with the understanding that the only true way to avert a disaster is to back the Iranian people in their quest for freedom.

Four Mideast trend lines to watch in 2022
THE PERCEPTION that the US is drawing down in the region is leading to cracks and fissures in the pro-Western camp.

The picture here is not a simple one. The Abraham Accords signed in August 2020 between Israel, the UAE and Bahrain were a breakthrough of profound importance for regional diplomacy. On the economic level, the accords have been a success.

Trade between Israel and the UAE moved forward at an impressive pace, standing at $610 million at the half-year point, and nudging $1 billion by the end of the year. Flagship and groundbreaking initiatives, such as the Emirati-brokered cooperation agreement between Israel and Jordan in November 2021, were made possible through the accords.

But on the strategic level, things aren’t quite so rosy. US regional drawdown is the key issue here.

The Emiratis and other Gulf countries noted in recent years the US failure to back allied governments in Egypt and Tunisia at the start of the Arab Spring; failure to enforce redlines and back allies in Syria from 2012-19; failure to respond to Iranian harassment of Emirati and Saudi vessels in the Gulf of Oman in 2019; nonresponse to the drone and missile attack on Saudi oil processing facilities at Abqaiq and Khurais on September 14, 2019, and to the downing of a US drone in June of that year.

The hasty withdrawal from Afghanistan in the summer of 2021 confirmed the picture. The US wishes to avoid further major commitments in the region.

The response of Gulf countries has been to abandon notions of a power bloc to rival the advance of the Iranians – the main anti-status quo force in the region. Instead, efforts were underway in 2021 by the UAE and Saudi Arabia to repair relations with Tehran, and thus “hedge” between Tehran and its enemies.
Mark Regev: Is another Gaza war inevitable? - opinion
First, it is unclear to what degree Hamas is willing to prioritize the well-being of ordinary Gazans over its ideological commitment to “resistance.” Skeptics can rightly point to the millions that Hamas invested in its subterranean military projects at a time when the civilian population was in desperate need of assistance.

Second, even if Hamas agrees to keep the Israel-Gaza frontier quiet, it is unlikely to abstain from encouraging and orchestrating deadly violence on the West Bank. A “ceasefire” in which Hamas continues terror attacks from Hebron, Jenin, and Tulkarm would be unsustainable.

Third, Hamas can be expected to exploit any ceasefire to strengthen its military capabilities both quantitatively and qualitatively. Hence the danger that short-term quiet is purchased by the creation of a more formidable long-term threat.

Fourth, two live Israeli civilians and the bodies of two IDF soldiers are being held in Gaza. Lapid stated that “bringing back our boys must be part of any plan.” Yet it is doubtful that Hamas will agree to their return outside a deal which includes the release of Palestinian security prisoners. An exchange of this sort is always a highly complex exercise.

Fifth, because Israel and much of the international community refuse to work directly with Hamas, it is necessary for the Palestinian Authority to fill the vacuum. Official rhetoric aside, it is far from certain that the PA is at all interested in enabling Hamas to create a better reality in Gaza. Experts have suggested that the PA may see advantages for itself in the continuation of a negative situation in Gaza that reflects badly on its political rival.

Sixth, Islamic Jihad will always seek to outdo Hamas. This week it threatened a wave of violence if administrative detainee Hisham Abu Hawash died in prison from his hunger strike. Hamas will not want to be seen as passing the mantle of “resistance” over to its smaller brother. It is one thing for Hamas to restrain itself temporarily; it is quite another for it to forcibly reign in others. This gives Iran’s Gazan proxy the ability to play spoiler.
Ruthie Blum: Meet Mansour Abbas’s radical Jewish adviser
ALL OF the above might have been cause for optimism, albeit cautious, if the Ra’am chief hadn’t just picked a virulently anti-Zionist Jewish-Israeli academic to serve as his adviser on unrecognized villages in the Negev. Indeed, if anything casts a shadow on Abbas’s intentions, it’s his selection of Dr. Yeela Raanan for the role.

Her background and behavior are particularly worrisome in view of the passage on Wednesday of the “Electricity Law,” a bill proposed in August by Taha, which will allow more than 130,000 Arab Israelis living in homes built illegally – on land designated as agricultural rather than residential – to be hooked up to the national grid and receive electricity, water and phone lines.

It’s not surprising that Raanan’s appointment hasn’t been announced with any fanfare, to put it mildly. Given the history of the public-policy lecturer at the Sapir Academic College in Sderot, who campaigns at home and abroad on behalf of Palestinian “liberation from Israeli occupation” and in favor of anti-Israel boycotts, sanctions and divestment, she’s not exactly the type of figure whom the so-called “change” government would wish to highlight.

Indeed, had it not been for a tweet about it on Tuesday by Yamina MK Amichai Chikli, the sole politician from Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s Yamina party who’s refusing to toe its newfound left-leaning line, Raanan’s position easily could have gone unnoticed. Thanks to his having called attention to it, at least some right-wing outlets ran the item.

Chikli accompanied his post with a video of Raanan participating in a 2018 event, this one in the northern Arab-Israeli city of Sakhnin, to bolster the Hamas-backed “Great March of Return” demonstrations/riots that were held every Friday for a year and a half along the Gaza border. The protesters demanded the return of all Palestinian “refugees” to lands they claim were stolen from them by Israel in 1948. They were also decrying the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel by the then-US president Donald Trump’s administration.

Raanan can be seen and heard in the clip calling for the erasure of the “fascist regime in Israel” and shouting, “Together, we will liberate Palestine.”
Senior Israeli diplomat tells Europeans their complaints ‘piss me off’
A senior Israel diplomat rebuked European ambassadors for protesting Israeli policies in the West Bank and violence by settlers. Fifteen European ambassadors led by the UK Charge d’Affaires Mark Power, came to the Foreign Ministry and met with Deputy Director-General Aliza Bin Noun for a démarche, a diplomatic protest, against Israel on December 8.

They also protested house demolitions and evictions from Palestinian homes, as well as the Government of Israel’s decision to declare six Palestinian civil society NGOs terrorist organizations. That designation came in light of the NGOs’ ties to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, which the EU designates a terrorist group.

An Israeli diplomatic source said the European ambassadors read about 30 articles of complaint against Israel, including violence by settlers, which has been a hot political topic in Israel in recent weeks.

They also protested about planned construction in E1 by Ma’aleh Adumim and in Givat Hamatos in east Jerusalem, and the general situation in the West Bank.

Bin Noun told the ambassadors that their litany of complaints “pisses me off,” an Israeli source said.

She said that the current government is making gestures towards the Palestinian authority – referring to increased work permits for Palestinians and other forms of cooperation – so the complaints are out of place.
Letter From the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) To Rep. Ocasio-Cortez Urging the Termination of her Antisemitic Staffer
Your legislative assistant, Hussain Altamimi, has made false, hateful, antisemitic, anti-Israel accusations on Instagram. Mr. Altamimi’s vitriolic posts are likely to add to the atmosphere of antisemitism and hatred that has fueled increasing, frightening, violent attacks on Jews in New York and throughout the United States.

Among other posts, Mr. Altamimi falsely wrote: “Israel is a racist European ethnostate built on stolen land from its indigenous population!”; falsely accused Israel of “apartheid”; and falsely accused Israel of having a “racial hierarchy.”

Israel is the historic, tiny Jewish homeland, lawfully reconstituted under binding international law; it is not “stolen land.” Israel’s population is extremely diverse, and has no “hierarchy.” Israel is the home to, among others, Jews who have lived in Israel for centuries and millennia; descendants of 850,000 Mizrachi Jews who fled to Israel after Jews being murdered and expelled from Arab countries; and 1.7 million Arabs. Those Arabs are descended from 160,000 Arabs who remained in Israel in 1948 – most of whom were non-indigenous recent immigrants to Israel from Egypt, Syria and Algeria. Israel’s 1.7 million Arabs have full rights, are part of Israel’s ruling coalition, and serve in the Knesset, the Israeli Supreme Court, etc.

The Zionist Organization of America urges you to publicly condemn these hateful odious remarks against the Jewish State of Israel and to immediately terminate Hussein Altamimi.

The racist dictatorship in the area is the Palestinian Authority. The Palestinian Authority states that no Jews will be allowed to live in their entity; condemns Arabs to death for selling property to Jews; and pays Arabs lifetime pensions to murder Jews and Americans. The PA also names schools, streets, and sports teams after Jew-killers.

I invite you to call me if you have any questions.
The Israel Guys: Israel is Combatting THESE LIES in Its Own Media | Israel News
If you read a news story from an Israeli publication, it must be true, right? Unfortunately, Israel sometimes deals with misinformation and propaganda amongst its own ranks. In today's episode, we dive into an article by Gideon Levy that was published in Haaretz, a left-leaning Israeli newspaper. Levy claims that Israel murdered 319 Palestinians in 2021, while also claiming that Israel did not face any real wars or terrorism during the last year.

We bring the real story, as well as the facts and numbers to back it up.

Is Iran trying to spark a civil war in Israel?
Israel’s Arab communities have experienced a sharp increase in violence, with more than 116 murders in 2021 alone. The shootings and the violence have attracted some attention from Western media outlets. And yet few in the press have examined how, or why, illegal weaponry seems to be flooding some of Israel’s Arab communities.

The Times of Israel recently reported that Israeli police have "noticed a significant increase in efforts to smuggle weapons into the country via the Lebanese and Jordanian borders." The increase, police told reporters, has been "several-fold," with numbers skyrocketing after the end of the war in May. Further, "there has been a marked improvement in the quality of the weapons being sent."

The weapons, officials told reporters, were mainly being smuggled by Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed, U.S.-designated terrorist group that de facto controls Lebanon. The head of Israel’s northern district police intelligence department, Chief Superintendent Yaron Ben-Yishi, told the country’s Channel 12 news team that as much as 95% of the smuggling from Lebanon is directed by Hezbollah, with many of the weapons destined for organized crime families.

Iran could be hoping to spark a civil war. The last outbreak in the long-running Israel-Iran conflict did, unfortunately, witness civil unrest, including some instances of violence between Israeli Jews and Israeli Arabs.

Some Israeli military officials have speculated that the Islamic Republic is hoping to frustrate future Israeli deployments by bogging down troops before they reach the front lines. Internal Security Minister Omer Barlev has described police efforts to seize illegal firearms in Israeli Arab communities as a safeguard for future military deployments, and Channel 12’s report described the flood of weapons as a "strategic threat" to the community.

But if Tehran is hoping to foment civil unrest in Israel, it is likely to be disappointed.

While Israel’s Arab communities do face some inequities and challenges, Arabs in Israel often have a higher standard of living than in neighboring states. Indeed, Israeli Arabs have served on the country’s Supreme Court, held high ranks in the IDF, run hospitals and businesses, and have their own political parties. Indeed, the major Arab political party now sits in government. Polls also show that sizable majorities wouldn’t want to be part of a Palestinian state, should one be created.

Iran’s hope for a civil war in Israel is as deluded as it is dangerous.
Two women injured in stoning attack while driving in Gush Etzion
Two women were lightly injured and three cars were damaged in a series of stone attacks in Gush Etzion, accoring to Israeli media. The attacks were on westbound cars as they passed near the settlement Tekoa.

The first car was driven by a woman named Hilah Lam. Her windshield was cracked and she was lightly injured, her mother said to Ynet.

The second car carried a couple, Tam and Malakhi Zamir, and a 16-year-old hitchhiker named Hadara Peretz.

The couple noticed a teen whose face was half covered and took care to avoid hitting him when they felt a strong boom and their windshield splintered, Tam Zamir told Ynet.

MEMRI: At Events Celebrating Fatah's 57th Anniversary; Fatah Official Praises Martyrs, Prisoners
This clip is a compilation of videos from events celebrating Fatah's 57th anniversary. In a ceremony that took place in East Jerusalem, and was aired on Palestine TV on January 1, 2022, Deputy Sec.-Gen. of Fatah's Central Committee Dr. Sabri Saidam was invited to light the commencement torch. A man then recited a poem as armed and masked Fatah members marched through the auditorium. In a video of a rally that was aired on Palestine TV on December 30, 2021, Deputy Chairman of the Fatah Movement Mahmoud Al-Aloul said that Fatah remembers all its martyrs and prisoners, including Marwan Barghouti, Karim Younes, and others. He added that Fatah believes “in all forms of resistance.” In a video of a march that was uploaded to the Jmedia Facebook page on December 30, 2021, masked and uniformed men as seen carrying on mock-ups of large rockets on their shoulders. Other people are seen carrying Fatah flags and wearing shirts with a picture of Yasser Arafat printed on them.

Saudis say Hezbollah a threat to Arabs after Nasrallah calls king a ‘terrorist’
Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to Beirut said Thursday that Hezbollah was a threat to Arab security after the leader of the Iran-backed Lebanese movement branded King Salman a “terrorist.”

The latest exchange of insults follows a crisis between Lebanon and Gulf Arab states over the war in Yemen, and Saudi accusations that Hezbollah was meddling in the conflict.

“Riyadh hopes that the political parties will give priority to the supreme interest of Lebanon… and end Hezbollah’s terrorist hegemony over every aspect of the state,” ambassador Waleed Bukhari said in a statement to AFP.

“Hezbollah’s terrorist activities and regional military behavior threaten Arab national security,” he added.

Bukhari’s statement comes after Hassan Nasrallah, leader of the Shiite terror group, described King Salman as a “terrorist” and accused Saudi Arabia of exporting Islamic extremism in a televised speech earlier this week.

Accusations have flown between the two sides since a Saudi-led coalition intervened to prop up Yemen’s government against Iran-backed rebels in 2015, in a conflict that has cost hundreds of thousands of lives according to the United Nations.
Hezbollah drone downed by IDF mistakenly reveals operatives' pictures Oops! The drone shot down by the IDF on Wednesday had a memory card installed, revealing the Hezbollah operatives' faces and vehicles.
A Hezbollah drone downed by the Israeli military had a memory card with clear pictures of operatives belonging to one of the Lebanese terror group’s elite units.

The drone that was shot down by the IDF on Wednesday after it infiltrated Israeli airspace had images of its operators, belonging to the elite Radwan unit that uses unmanned aerial vehicles to gather intelligence on Israeli troops.

The pictures were likely taken by mistake by the UAV, but the pictures on the memory card revealed their faces, vehicles, complete with their license plates, as well as the operatives flying another drone that had also been downed a few months ago by the IDF.

According to a recent report by the ALMA Research Center, Hezbollah has some 2000 unmanned aerial vehicles, many of them advanced UAVs from Iran, others manufactured independently by the Lebanese terror group. Other UAVs used by Hezbollah are civilian drones, similar to the one downed on Wednesday.

The group was said to have 200 Iranian-made UAVs in 2013 and with the help from the Islamic Republic, it has since significantly increased its fleet that is set to be used for kamikaze attacks on strategic national assets in Israel as well as reconnaissance against IDF troops and bases.
France Sees Progress in Iran Nuclear Talks, but Time Pressing
Progress has been made regarding the Iran nuclear talks although time is running out, France’s foreign minister said on Friday.

Indirect talks between Iran and the United States on salvaging the 2015 Iran nuclear deal resumed on Monday.

Western diplomats have indicated they are hoping to have a breakthrough by the end of January or early February, but sharp differences remain with the toughest issues still unresolved. Iran has rejected any deadline imposed by Western powers.

“I remain convinced we can reach a deal. Bits of progress have been made in the last few days,” Jean-Yves Le Drian told BFM TV and RMC Radio. “We have been heading in a positive direction in the last few days, but time is of the essence, because if we don’t get an accord quickly there will be nothing to negotiate.”

The eighth round of talks, the first under Iran’s new hardline President Ebrahim Raisi, resumed on Monday after adding some new Iranian demands to a working text.

Another positive sign this week was the arrival in Vienna of South Korea’s Vice Foreign Minister to discuss with Iran, the United States and other parties the possible release of $7 billion of frozen Iranian assets held in the Asian country because of US sanctions.

Any release would need to be approved by Washington.

The ministry said in a statement that the vice minister had agreed with the Iranians that the release of the frozen assets “should take place in an urgent manner.”

Statue of Assassinated ‘Quds Force’ Commander Qassem Soleimani Burned by Protestors in Iranian City Hours After Unveiling
An enormous statue of Gen. Qassem Soleimani — the late commander of Iran’s feared Quds Force who was assassinated by a US drone strike — was burned by protestors on Wednesday night, just hours after it was unveiled in the provincial city of Shahr-e Kord.

Iranian opposition activists on social media shared video and still images of the statue being consumed by flames. Some commenters argued that the apparent arson attack was a dramatic symbol of the failure of Iran’s Islamist regime to impose Soleimani as a symbol of Iranian national unity.

Official Iranian media outlets hinted at a deeper conspiracy behind the burning of the statue. “This treacherous crime was carried out in darkness, just like the other crime committed at night at Baghdad airport,” stated a report carried by the ISNA news agency, which described the statue’s burning as a “shameful act by unknown individuals.”

Soleimani was killed in the early hours of Jan. 3, 2020 during a US drone strike on Baghdad Airport, where he had just landed ahead of a meeting with the prime minister of Iraq. “This was a bad guy, and it was time to take him out,” then US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said of the operation, adding that as the commander of the Quds Force (IRGC-QF) — the international wing Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps — Soleimani had been responsible for the deaths and displacement of thousands of civilians in Iraq and Syria.

The burning of Soleimani’s statue in Shahr-e Kord, capital of Iran’s restive Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari province in the southwest of the country, continues a pattern in recent months of burning banners and posters featuring Iranian leaders. Last August, another statue of Soleimani was reportedly burned down in the city of Yasuj, located in the neighboring province of Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad.

Marking the second anniversary of Soleimani’s death this week, Iran revived calls for US and Israeli officials to be held accountable for the assassination.


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