Tuesday, January 11, 2022

From Ian:

The US is on the sidelines of a historic transformation in the Middle East
The Biden administration initially, while paying lip service to the Abraham Accords, made it clear that it had no interest in furthering the political integration of the Middle East — instead, focusing on seeking a renewed Iran nuclear deal. The administration’s rhetoric on the accords has improved lately, but the palpable momentum from a year ago has been lost.

Yet the Middle East is moving on with or without us. As Bennet’s visit to the UAE highlighted, the Abraham Accords are alive and well, and could not have come together at a better time. The Abraham Accords opened a flood of investment, with bilateral trade between Israel and the UAE increasing ten-fold to $874.5 million in just the first ten months of 2021. Dozens of memoranda of understanding have been signed, negotiations over a free trade agreement have begun, and the Emirati Minister of Economy has predicted a staggering $1 trillion in trade between the two countries within the next decade. Commercial flights now crisscross the skies between Abu Dhabi, Tel Aviv, Manama and Marrakesh.

This economic integration has now extended to Jordan, an earlier beneficiary of a peace treaty with Israel, with the signing in November of a trilateral water and energy deal. The UAE will build a solar power plant in Jordan to export energy to Israel for $180 million a year, and in return, Israel will send 200 million cubic meters of water to Jordan. Israel is thereby able to further its clean energy goals while applying its expertise in desalination to help address Jordan’s looming water crisis. The unsettled resolution of a two-state solution between Israelis and Palestinians continues to complicate relations between Israel and Jordan, but warming regional ties have allowed the two neighbors to seize a win-win opportunity to address existential water and economic challenges.

Nor are the benefits of the accords merely economic. In November the United States, Israel, Bahrain and the UAE conducted a joint naval exercise for the first time, in the Red Sea. That same month Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz flew to Morocco to sign an agreement laying the foundation for security cooperation, intelligence sharing and arms sales. This agreement builds on a cultural affinity between Israel and Morocco that long predated the Abraham Accords: Morocco has long boasted a tolerant attitude toward its historical Jewish population, and today some half a million Israelis claim Moroccan descent.

Even outside of the Abraham Accords there are remarkable political developments taking place. In another diplomatic breakthrough of the Trump administration that went almost entirely unnoticed, the rift between Qatar and its Gulf neighbors was resolved on January 4, 2021. This years-long rupture had debilitated the Gulf states in addressing multiple regional challenges, from Libya to Iran, and its healing has allowed Qatar to play the mediator in yet another diplomatic spat: that between Saudi Arabia and Turkey.
The general who coined the Abraham Accords
How a two-star U.S. general from Puerto Rico earned the trust of the Emiratis to later help broker the Abraham Accords — and name it too

Despite criticism from some lawmakers and policy experts on the left that the normalization agreements are inherently flawed because they do not include the Palestinians, Correa asserts that the Palestinians are actually at the heart of the peace deals, even if they are not signatories to them. The Accords, according to Correa, were created as a way to pressure the Palestinians to come to the negotiating table with Israel.

“I didn’t fall, like, madly in love with the Abraham Accords. It’s not perfect,” Correa acknowledged. “But we’re better off today, because now at least the Arabs — some of the Arabs — understand the Israelis better, and Israelis understand the Arabs better. And the plan was that if we get everybody around [the Palestinians] to recognize the nation of Israel, then where does that leave the Palestinians? They’ll have to come, because they’re on an island.”

Following his retirement from the army last October, Correa is once again working for Kushner, this time in the private sector. He is a senior partner at Affinity Partners, a new investment firm helmed by Kushner that has brought in $3 billion in international investments following fundraising pitches to Middle East sovereign wealth funds. Kushner hopes to establish “an investment corridor between Israel and Saudi Arabia, by working with Israeli and Gulf companies and investors,” according to Reuters.

Correa remains a frequent visitor to the UAE, where he is greeted with a proverbial red carpet. Coates, who traveled with Correa in August of 2020 during his first visit back to the country after his 2019 dismissal, said, “the only problem he had is that he only had 24 hours in the day, and he had about 40 hours of people wanting to see him.”

Last month Correa spent two weeks in the country, where he attended a number of high-profile events, including a VIP celebration in the desert of the 50th anniversary of the UAE’s statehood, the Formula 1 Grand Prix in Abu Dhabi and the World Expo in Dubai.

“He spends more time in the desert camping, falconing, taking camels out than I do, than most Emiratis do. He appreciates the culture. And our people appreciate that about him,” Otaiba gushed.

Correa knows his story is one that could only happen in America. A Puerto Rican kid who grows up in Kuwait, travels the globe as a two-star general in the U.S. Army, helps ink a major peace deal, then starts working on a new private sector startup? “It’s the American dream,” said Correa. “How many people from Puerto Rico ever get a chance to negotiate three peace deals?”

His only regret is that his father — the man who taught him the values that he would bring to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. — did not live long enough to see him become a U.S. Army general.
Normalization is the new normal for the UAE and Israel
The UAE and Israel share many of the same concerns about Iran and many of the same commitments and strategies — but not all. They are separate countries with differing interests and differing priorities. They don’t need to have identical interests and policies on Iran for a deepening of ties, just as they did not need normalization to cooperate on the Iranian threat.

In effect, the UAE faces the same dilemma that South Korea does regarding the nuclear weapons of its northern neighbor. Seoul, a densely populated city with an extremely advanced and developed economy, is within the range of North Korean missiles and fears that, in case of war over the North’s nukes, the South’s capital might suffer if missiles start flying.

Iran’s situation is slightly different. Tehran is unlikely to hit the UAE, or any of its neighbors, unprovoked. Unless the fighter jets that strike Iran take off from the UAE, Tehran will not drag its southern Gulf neighbor into a war.

Just like Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Kuwait, the UAE would most likely be rooting for Israel in private and offering intelligence and other discreet logistical support if war was to break out between the Jewish state and Iran. Yet Gulf states remain cognizant of their Achilles heels — geographic proximity to Iran.

While security must have been one of the top priorities in the budding partnership between the UAE and Israel, it certainly has not been the only one. If and when the Iranian threat has been dealt with, peace between the two countries will prove to be durable, while economic cooperation will continue to fuel their strong relationship.

This expanding partnership, and even apparent disagreements on security, should be seen as reassuring. The UAE and Israel are two countries in the region with mostly overlapping security interests, but some notable differences. They are both wealthy, developed economies but radically different in their comparative advantages. They can cooperate in some fields to mutual benefit, compete in others, agree discreetly on some issues, and disagree politely on others.

A year on from the initial agreement, and despite all the sour grapes from critics and cynics, normalization seems to be, well, the new normal.


Current trends in Syria and the Israeli national interest
Israeli diplomatic strategy should be centered on shoring up the U.S. position on Syria and preventing change. Given the broader strategic trend lines, it may not be possible to assist the emergence of a coherent U.S. strategy. But given the low cost and success of the U.S. intervention in Syria, arguing for maintaining the status quo should be achievable.

The differences over Syria should not interfere with the budding relations between some Arabs states and Israel. The stance of these Arab states may derive from a feeling of abandonment by the West, resulting in a sense of desperation to adapt to Iranian preferences. However, Iranian actions are such that this is unlikely to produce the desired results.

The contours of Israel’s “campaign between wars” should be carefully considered. Israel operates within diplomatic realities. The Russian presence in Syria and Moscow’s underwriting of the Assad regime, along with America’s lack of commitment, may preclude a comprehensive broadening of the scope of Israeli military activity. At the same time, the present parameters raise the risk that Israel will fail to address a central element of the Iranian project—namely, the transformation of southwest Syria into another front against Israel, one which increasingly resembles south Lebanon.

There is also some evidence that the efforts to prevent the transfer of advanced weapons to Hezbollah in Lebanon have not been successful. Effective action against this emergent Iranian infrastructure can only be carried out if Syrian regime positions are also targeted in this area. Israel’s target bank should therefore be expanded to include relevant positions of this kind. The effort by the Iranians to use the Syrian military as a cloak should not be accepted.

A major question remains: Is Syria’s status quo sustainable?

In this regard, much is likely to depend on the direction of U.S.-Iran relations. If the United States reaches an agreement with Iran to revive the 2015 nuclear deal, Washington may seek to extend further its process of withdrawal from the region, including from Syria. The most likely scenario is that no resolution is reached in the ongoing nuclear talks in Vienna. In any case, the likelihood of the Assad regime disengaging from Iran is extremely low.

The ending of isolation of the Assad regime would benefit Iran and damage Israel’s ability to continue military operations against targets in the country.

Despite efforts by some Arab countries, the consensus in the United States and Europe is to maintain the status quo. With its partners in Washington, Israel should be making all available efforts to ensure that the status quo prevails.
Iran reveals ‘untold story’ of arming Palestinians in Gaza
Here the reference is clear to Soleimani carving out the Iranian corridor from Iraq to Syria via the border town of Albukamal. Today, Mayadin is used as a base to threaten US forces in easter Syria.

Soleimani frequently met with the groups he had supported across Iraq, Syria and Lebanon, and invited Palestinian groups to meet him. The interview includes details of wonderful dinners and entertainment. “Soleimani spends all his time standing for lunch or dinner, and never eats until he has entertained his guests.” Indeed, he was known not to have gained much weight during this time.

The accounts of Soleimani’s support for Palestinian groups are interesting. Much of the discussion is general but it provides key details about how Iran saw this support of Palestinian groups as important. It was part of its regional agenda.

Tehran not only supported the Second Intifada and played a key role in the 2006 war in Lebanon but also sought to bring weapons to Gaza in the early 2000s. The key was to give the Palestinian groups a strategic weapon with which they could challenge Israel. Iran knew Israel’s capabilities and wanted to develop asymmetric weapons that could get around Israel’s defenses.

Of interest here is also that the reports mention more frequent meetings after the 2014 war. Clearly, Iran was planning for the 2021 war. Once the conflict in Syria and Iraq had been reduced, the Islamic Republic changed focus. It wants to force Israel into a multi-front war.

The interviews are interesting because they do not mention Palestinian Islamic Jihad, which is often thought to be an Iran proxy. What is clear is that Iran wants the world to believe that Soleimani played a key role in expanding Palestinian capabilities.
Media Fail to Connect Dots Between Palestinian NGOs and PFLP Terrorist Group
Exposed: Media’s Selective Reporting
Unlike the news of Gantz’s decision, Proximities’ findings generated precious little coverage in the mainstream press, with the Associated Press being the only major news organization to dedicate an article to the latest developments.

But here’s how the Associated Press framed the story on January 6:
The Netherlands said it will stop funding a Palestinian civil society group recently outlawed as a terrorist organization by Israel but rejected Israel’s main claims about the group following its own audit.

The Dutch government said Wednesday it found no evidence that the Union of Agricultural Work Committees had “organizational ties” to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a left-wing militant group, or was involved in funding or carrying out terrorism, as Israel has alleged.”


Not once does the AP mention that a whopping 34 individuals associated with the UAWC had ties to the PFLP, or that Proximities did find indications of organizational links between the two organizations.

As the axiom goes: “If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck” — but in the eyes of the media, this is seemingly not the case when this duck is a Palestinian terror group.


In first, Israeli to play in Moroccan basketball league
Israeli basketball player Mohamed Abu Arisha recently made history by becoming the first Israeli player contracted by an Arab team, Israel Hayom learned Tuesday.

The 24-year-old forward has signed a one-year contract with Morocco's Association Michlifen Ifrane Basketball, more commonly known as AMI Basket. The club was established in 2014 in Ifrane, in Morocco's Middle Atlas Mountains, and competes in the Division Excellence, the national top-level league.

Abu Arisha, who played for Hapoel Beersheba in the Israeli Basketball Premier League as well as the Israeli national basketball team, has been in Ifrane for over two months and is considered one of the leading foreign players in the Moroccan league.

Making professional strides, he has so far averaged 19.8 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 4.3 assists per game.

AMI Basket has had a good so far showing in the first leg of the 2021/22 season. It currently tops the northern district clans, with a perfect string of seven wins in seven games.

Born in the central Israeli city of Hadera, the 6'7 (2.1 meters)-tall Abu Arisha played club ball at Israel's prestigious Wingate Basketball Academy and then attended Elev8 Sports Academy in Delray Beach, Florida.
Israeli Foreign Minister Lapid Tests Positive for COVID-19
Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said on Monday he had tested positive for COVID-19 but was in good health.

Lapid, who heads the largest party in the government, was isolating at home, according to a spokesperson.

“I feel great because I am vaccinated. Go get vaccinated, put on a mask, we will get through this together,” he wrote on Twitter.

Lapid was the main architect in forming Israel’s ruling coalition and is slated to take over as prime minister next year in a rotation agreement with Prime Minister Naftali Bennett.
KKL-JNF Continues Holy Work of Planting Trees in the Negev Despite Arab Outrage, Violence
For more than thirty years, Israel’s Housing Ministry has been planting trees in the Negev through the Israel Land Authority, with the working assumption that where there are forests there are no illegal Arab land appropriations. Over the years, opposition to this essential Zionist enterprise has intensified by elements on the extreme left and in the Arab parties, so that whenever a planting project is being carried out, those who claim ownership of the land launch protests, ignoring the fact that the land is clearly owned by the state.

And so on Monday the Bedouin of the Negev rioted against the planting program that’s being carried out by KKL-JNF. Dozens of rioters tried to prevent JNF employees from planting trees in the area of the Bedouin village of Mulada. The village was established following Government Resolution 881 on September 29, 2003, which created eight new Bedouin settlements – so it stands to reason that the government that authorized the village should also set its boundaries.

During the clashes, the police arrested an Arab journalist. Ra’am MKs also arrived at the scene. To remind you, Ra’am has been on a rampage to alter decades of government policy regarding the Arab population, relying on the 4-seat edge the faction offers the Bennett government.

Ra’am chairman Mansour Abbas said on Monday that “planting trees in the Negev without regulation is unacceptable, and if there is no other choice, we will make the appropriate decision.” Earlier, number 7 on the Ra’am list Atta Abu Madiam said that his party could not be a partner in a government that carries out plantings in the Negev. “This destructive policy must not be implemented and if it is, there is no room for a Ra’am partnership in the coalition,” he said.

According to Police, officers who secured the operation encountered dozens of intruders in the area where heavy machinery was in use and attempted to stop the work. Three Bedouin boys who threw stones at the police officers and were arrested and taken for questioning.
IDF soldier injured in West Bank car-ramming attack
An IDF combat soldier was moderately injured in a car-ramming attack near the settlement of Neveh Tzuf in the West Bank on Tuesday, the IDF said.

Magen David Adom (MDA) paramedics treated the 19-year-old soldier, who was rammed on Road 465 outside of Neveh Tzuf.

The attacker was identified as 29-year-old Muhammad Nazmi Yassin from Bil’in village, near Ramallah, N12 reported. A photo of the terrorist was shared on social media by Palestinian news outlets.

Yassin accelerated towards IDF soldiers guarding the area and managed to hit the soldier, who suffered a leg injury as a result.

An Israeli Air Force (IAF) helicopter was rushed to the scene of the attack to transport the soldier Hadassah-University Medical Center in Jerusalem.

The terrorist was caught by IDF forces and will be interrogated.

Videos and photos shared by Palestinian media showed the smashed vehicle following the attack, as well as the IDF's arrest of the terrorist.
IDF Releases 2021 Casualty Statistics, With Suicides a Concern
The IDF published on Tuesday its annual list of casualties for 2021, stating that 31 soldiers were killed over the past year.

The sole combat casualty was Omer Tabib, who fell in battle when an anti-tank missile struck his jeep during Operation Guardian of the Walls in May 2021. Another soldier, Yonatan Granot, died in a non-combat shooting incident.

Non-combat casualties included 10 soldiers killed in traffic accidents and six who died of disease. None of the latter group died of the coronavirus.

Eleven soldiers died of suicide, including one lone soldier. The IDF has set up a special center for the treatment of lone soldiers with psychological issues.

Brig. Gen. Yoram Knafo, head of the IDF Manpower Directorate, told Israeli media that the IDF is making efforts to identify and treat suicidal ideation in soldiers as quickly as possible in order to prevent suicides.

He added that the IDF has mental health personnel available in every division and is seeking to increase their numbers.
Wikipedia Editors Remove Entry on Fallen IDF Soldier
Wikipedia editors voted on Tuesday to remove an entry on fallen IDF soldier Barel Hadarya Shmueli, who was killed by a Hamas terrorist in August.

Shmueli, 21, a member of an elite undercover unit, was facing hundreds of rioters on August 21 when a Hamas terrorist shot him in the head at close range. He fought for his life for nine days, underwent several surgeries, and prayer gatherings for his recovery were held across the world, but he finally passed away.

The IDF launched an inquiry into the circumstances of his death, while Shmueli’s family accused the IDF of tying the troops’ hands and creating an unnecessary dangerous environment for the soldiers when facing the Hamas-led riots.

A majority of 47 editors voted in favor of deleting the entry, 57%, and 35 voted against deletion.

The identity of the contributors is unknown, but all of them speak Hebrew. Wikipedia’s deletion policy states that only registered users with 30 days of experience and 100 edits have the right to vote. Deleting an entry requires a majority of at least 55%.

Supporters of the removal of the entry claimed that Wikipedia was not a memorial site and therefore an entry on Shmueli was uncalled for, others stated that the entry “harmed Wikipedia’s neutrality,” while supporters of the entry said the circumstances surrounding his death merited an entry.
High Court leans toward closing case of IDF killing 4 Palestinian minors on Gaza beach
The High Court of Justice on Monday strongly hinted it would support the IDF and Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit’s decision to close a probe into the IDF’s mistaken killing of four innocent Palestinian minors on a Gaza beach during Operation Protective Edge in 2014. The incident occurred in view of a throng of journalists who copiously recorded the event and whose photos went viral.

Essentially, the IDF closed the case, saying reasonable but faulty intelligence that the area on the beach where the minors were was a headquarters for Hamas naval commandos had led to mistaken approval to fire on them from the air.

The key to the decision was the IDF viewed the order as a reasonable mistake in the fog of war and not a criminal act.

During Monday’s hearing, much of the debate revolved around how far the laws of war require the IDF or any other military to go to identify whether specific individuals, whose identity is unclear, are combatants or civilians.

Although the High Court agreed with Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, which brought the petition to compel the IDF to issue indictments, that in a clearly civilian area, the IDF might have been obligated to check more than it did, the justices strongly suggested the military’s precautions were sufficient given the specific circumstances.
"Undercover Cop Takes Down 30 Arab Weapons Dealers"
An undercover police officer operating in the Arab town of Kafr Qassem in the center of Israel in recent months was successful in exposing 30 weapons dealers, who were arrested in a massive operation Tuesday morning.

The police stated that “agent 220,” who was operated “with great sophistication in the police mission for public peace and security,” brought to the arrest of 30 Arab suspects implicated in arms and drug trafficking offenses, and the seizure of dozens of illegal weapons.

Dozens of detectives and Border Police troops raided Kafr Qassem early Tuesday morning and arrested the suspects, who were brought for questioning at the offices of the Central District Central Unit.

The Arab sector has been suffering from a wave of crime in violence in recent years. Arab-Israeli society is plagued with daily incidents of violence. Over 110 Arabs were killed in criminal violence in 2020 and some 130 were murdered in 2021.

The police increased its activity against the plague of shootings and weapons offenses in recent years, and in 2020 arrested 5,713 suspects in shootings and other weapons crimes throughout the country, an increase of 22% compared to 2019.

The vast majority of police activity was carried out in the Arab sector, and about 90% of the suspects arrested for shooting and weapons offenses were Arab Israelis.


Students accuse Birzeit University of 'promoting normalization' with Israel
Palestinian students and political activists have demanded the replacement of the Bir Zeit University administration for its alleged failure to guarantee the safety of its students. Some accused the university administration and the Palestinian Authority of collaboration with Israel and promoting normalization between Palestinians and Israelis.

The criticism came after soldiers on Monday detained five Bir Zeit University students affiliated with Hamas and other Palestinian opposition factions: Ismail Barghouti, Walid Harazneh, Qassam Nakhleh, Abdel Hafez Sharabati, and Mohammed al-Khatib.
Universities in PA: Center for Opposition to Mahmoud Abbas
Hamas is pressuring student organizations in universities within the Palestinian Authority to escalate activities against the PA, as internal violence in the PA intensifies.

The Student Council of Bir Zeit University has called for the dismissal of the university administration, including the Dean of Student Affairs and the spokesperson. The students, members of the Hamas’ student body, the “Kitla Islamia” (Islamic Bloc) in Bir Zeit, claim that the administration is responsible for the IDF’s arrest operation on Monday, during which undercover troops arrested Ismail Barghouti, the coordinator of the Islamic Bloc, and four other students.

Eyewitnesses said that the Israeli force arrived at the university gates in minibuses bearing PA license plates and arrested the group of suspects.

The students in Bir Zeit, which in recent years has become a center of friction and conflict with the Palestinian Authority, claim that this incident was a joint operation carried out in coordination between Israel and the PA, and that some of their students, members of the Islamic Bloc, have been detained by the Palestinian Authority for three months.

The Islamic Bloc claims that the students arrested by Israel were recently warned by the university administration after a violent incident that led to the closing of its gates.
West Bank, Gaza Struggling With Omicron Surge
Gaza’s Health Ministry warned this week that the highly-contagious omicron Covid variant is spreading rapidly through the Palestinian enclave.

It could not say, however, how many confirmed cases there were.

A spokesperson for the Palestinian Health Ministry in Ramallah of the West Bank said there were 291 new omicron cases in Gaza and the West Bank combined this week, up from 49 last week, Haaretz reported.

Most cases were in the West Bank, however.

Dr. Majdi Dahir, the health ministry official in charge of public health in Gaza, said several cases were recently diagnosed in the Strip, and they were not among travelers.

“Our fear is that we’re facing a rapid spread of the disease that will also be very violent and increase the number of patients needing urgent medical care,” he said, Haaretz reported.

“We don’t have the ability to deal with this.”

Dahir on Sunday called on the international community to pressure Israel into letting more medical equipment reach Gaza, including ventilators and oxygen.
PMW: Abbas and Fatah declare support and esteem for terrorists, imply continued terror salaries
On the occasion of Fatah’s recent anniversary Fatah leaders and officials, among them its Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, reiterated and emphasized their support and esteem for all terrorists – imprisoned and wounded, as well the ones killed while attacking Israelis - the Martyrs.

As Palestinian Media Watch has exposed, Abbas has stressed numerous times that the PA and Fatah “won’t abandon” the terrorists, and will continue to pay them salaries, even “if only one penny is left” in the PA coffers. At Fatah’s recent anniversary event, Abbas stated again his admiration for all the terrorists and vowed not to “abandon” them:
PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas: “We also send our brave prisoners a salute of honor and appreciation for their giving, their sacrifices, and their patience for the confrontation with the occupation and its prison guards, in order to defend their freedom, the freedom of the homeland, and the honor of our people and its rights. We also salute our heroic wounded and tell our heroes the prisoners and the wounded and their families and the families of the Martyrs that we won’t abandon you. Your struggles are lofty medals of honor that testify to your sacrifices for the sake of defending your homeland and your people. May you all be blessed.”

[Official PA TV, Dec. 31, 2021]


Abbas reiterated this again a few days later at a meeting of Fatah’s Revolutionary Council. Speaking about “the economic situation and the financial crisis befalling the State of Palestine,” Abbas again implied that the PA will continue its “Pay-for-Slay” policy and reward terrorists with salaries:
“A siege is being imposed on us in order to pressure us, but thanks to our people’s resolve and the crowding of our ranks we are capable of dealing with it, because justice is with us. We will not abandon our Martyrs, prisoners, and fighters.”

[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Jan. 4, 2022]


MEMRI: IRGC Deputy Chief Admiral Ali Fadavi: At The Right Time, When We Strike America, The Great Satan, And Israel, It Will Be With Great Force; If Israel Acts Against Us, We Will Turn Tel Aviv Into Dust
In a January 4, 2022 interview on Al-Manar TV (Hizbullah-Lebanon), IRGC Deputy Commander-in-Chief Admiral Ali Fadavi said that in the 2016 Farsi Island incident, the Americans quickly realized that they were "criminals on death row" and that they are at risk of being targeted by the full force of the IRGC, so they quickly obeyed the IRGC's orders. He also said that when the time is right, Iran will strike America and its Zionist "followers" with great force. In addition, he said that if Israel acts against Iran, Iran will turn Haifa and Tel Aviv into dust. Moreover, Admiral Fadavi said that the Americans will soon be annihilated and that they will cease to control the world and the region.

"The Americans Realized... That They Were The Criminals On Death Row; They Did Very Quickly What We Asked Them To Do"

Ali Fadavi: "When we captured the Americans in the Farsi Island [incident of 2016], the Americans felt superior in the first 20 minutes. They felt like a superpower, so they launched planes from their aircraft carriers. Had the Americans shot a single bullet towards Farsi Island, which is our land, we would have attacked their aircraft carrier as well as a large number of vessels in that area.

"However, the Americans realized very soon that they were the accused, that they were the criminals on death row, and that they are at risk of being targeted by the full force of the IRGC. So they acted quickly. They replaced the person communicating with us from the aircraft carrier with a woman who spoke Persian. Two out of every three words she said was 'fine,' which translated into 'I am obeying your orders.' They did very quickly what we asked them to do.

"At the Right Time, When We Strike America — The Great Satan — And Its Zionist Followers, We Will Strike Them With Great Force"

"This is the status of the Americans, this is the status of the enemies of Allah, and this is the status of those who stand with the axis of Falsehood. We do not have the slightest doubt that at the right time, when we strike America — the Great Satan — and its Zionist followers, we will strike them with great force.

"As Imam Khamenei famously said a long time ago, when the Zionists were entertaining some illusions... He said: 'If they take even the smallest step [against us] we will turn Haifa and Tel Aviv into dust.'


Khaled Abu Toameh: Arabs 'Frustrated' With Biden's Iran Policy
The Biden administration's position "raises a question mark about the seriousness of American efforts to save the world from Iranian threats.... The Iranian regime insists on adopting, supporting and arming terrorist entities in order to continue committing crimes and violations that destabilize the security and stability...in the region." — Al-Yaum, Saudi Arabia, December 23, 2022.

"Iran's interventions in neighboring countries... Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Lebanon, Bahrain and Kuwait, have become clear and tangible...." — Adnan Salman, Iraqi military expert, Azzaman, January 8, 2022.

Iran boasted that it occupies four Arab capitals: Baghdad, Beirut, Sana'a and Damascus. "The Iranians have turned these Arab capitals into bases for its armed militias, providing them with money, weapons and everything they need to assert Iran's hegemony over the region." —Abdel Aziz Khamis, Saudi writer and political analyst, Sky News Arabia, January 6, 2022.

"The Ansar Allah group in Yemen [the Houthis], Hezbollah in Lebanon, the Hezbollah Brigades and Sayed al-Shuhada Brigades and other gangs in Iraq, as well as other brutal gangs in the Syrian and Palestinian territories, have served as tools that allowed Tehran to interfere in the affairs of these countries and threaten others." — Abdel Aziz Khamis, Sky News Arabia, January 6, 2022.

"What Iran is doing is tantamount to an open war against the Arabs." — Saleh Al-Qallab, former Jordanian minister of information, Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, January 6, 2020.

"Iran is interfering in the region with the aim of dominating it.... The current Lebanese model of Iran's hegemony through Hezbollah is the model that Iran aspires to and plans for in all the Arab countries." — Former Kuwaiti Minister of Information and Culture Saad Bin Tefla Al-Ajami, Independentarabia.com, December 31, 2021.

The Biden administration refuses to disclose information about the negotiations that could "pose grave dangers" to the US. "The Biden administration argues that making this information available may harm American national security and reveal intelligence sources. This excuse is flimsy and weak. Here is the clear truth: the weak Biden administration is striving to reach an agreement [with Iran] at any cost to beautify its image in front of the Americans." — Emil Amin, Egyptian writer, Al-Arabiya, January 7, 2022.
After 'Death to America' chant, Iranian athletes want to cancel wrestling match
An organization of Olympic and world-class Iranian athletes urged USA Wrestling to pull the plug on its slated February wrestling dual meet with the Islamic Republic's squad after Tehran's wrestling federation called for the violent death of America.

The move, made on Sunday, also follows Iran's ban on female wrestling. One of the members of the organization is including the former head coach of Iran’s Greco-Roman wrestling team.

The Jerusalem Post obtained a copy of the letter sent by the Iranian athletic and human rights organization United for Navid to the executive director of USA Wrestling, Rich Bender.

“USA Wrestling is inviting an organization [Iran’s Wrestling Federation] whose leadership rejoices in chanting ‘Death to America’ in front of TV cameras and encourages others to do the same, if not more," wrote the former head of Iran's Greco-Roman wrestling team, Sardar Pashaei and manager of the Iranian athletic NGO United for Navid.

Pashaei, who won a world championship as a Greco-Roman wrestler for Iran and has since obtained US citizenship, wrote: “On behalf of thousands of Iranian athletes we urge you to refrain from inviting Iranian government-sponsored athletes as long as the government tortures and executes athletes, deprives women of participation in competitions, and chants “Death to America” in their media. Refrain from inviting officials and athletes who are government propaganda tools that are anti-women and anti-American.”











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