Monday, July 11, 2022

07/11 Links Pt1: Honoring Joe Biden, dishonoring Taylor Force; Parents of Malki Roth, seek to meet Biden on extraditing terrorist; Half of Jerusalem Arabs Say They Would Prefer to Become Israeli Citizens

From Ian:

Ruthie Blum: Honoring Joe Biden, dishonoring Taylor Force
Taylor Force was a 28-year-old American grad student and U.S. Army veteran who was murdered on the evening of March 8, 2016 by a Palestinian terrorist on a stabbing spree. During his 20-minute rampage, spreading from the Jaffa Port area to the Tel Aviv promenade, 21-year-old Bashar Masalha from Qalqilya wounded 10 other innocent people. He was shot and killed by police after being stopped by a musician who hit him with a guitar. As part of the Palestinian Authority’s “pay for slay” practice, Masalha’s family subsequently received a monthly stipend well above the average salary in the P.A.

It was in response to this travesty that Stuart and Robbi Force instigated the campaign that would lead to the legislation, named after their son, to stop American economic aid to the P.A. until it ceases its encouragement of terrorism by funding surviving perpetrators and keeping in clover the parents of those “martyred” while in the act.

Ironically, just as Force was being killed, then-Vice President Biden landed at Ben-Gurion Airport, so close to the scene that the ambulance and police sirens could be heard blaring in the background. The purpose of Biden’s Mideast trip was to meet separately with Netanyahu and P.A. leader Mahmoud Abbas, to fan the flames of Obama administration fantasies of reigniting a non-existent peace process.

As soon as Biden finished shaking hands with all the Israeli dignitaries on the tarmac, he was whisked off to the Peres Center for Peace in Jaffa—right near the very place that Masalha launched the lengthy attack that ended Force’s life—to have a friendly meeting with Peres.

While the buddies were engaging in delusional thinking about Israeli settlements constituting an obstacle to their shared dream of the New Middle East (that Trump would come to realize two and a half years later, without Palestinian participation, through the Abraham Accords), Biden must have been hoping that Abbas would condemn the day’s bloody events.

Since both Biden and Peres secretly—and not-so-secretly—held Netanyahu responsible for a lack of progress on the land-for-peace front, they really needed to show that Abbas was an actual partner in the endeavor.

Abbas, of course, didn’t follow their script. He was too busy producing and directing the passion play that came to be dubbed the “lone-wolf intifada” or, as the Palestinians were referring to it, the “knife intifada.”

Upon assuming his post in the Oval Office in January of last year, Biden embarked on a concerted effort to reverse Trump’s policies, and not only that relating to the JCPOA. He also overturned the freeze on aid to the P.A., despite Abbas’s vow that if he had only a single penny left, it would be paid to families of the martyrs and prisoners.

When Biden arrives in Israel on Wednesday, it is doubtful that Lapid will raise this issue. There is a far greater probability that he will be faced with news of the latest Palestinian assaults on innocent people going about their business. The only difference this time is that Peres, who died six months after Force was killed, won’t be around to welcome him, other than in spirit.

Herzog, on the other hand, will be there with bells on, giving him a warm embrace along with his medal, while Abbas presents a slew of demands, all of which involve accusing Israel of war crimes.
Parents of Malki Roth, slain at Sbarro, seek to meet Biden on extraditing terrorist
The family of an Israeli-American girl killed in a 2001 Palestinian suicide bombing in Jerusalem is seeking a meeting with US President Joe Biden in hopes of forcing Jordan to extradite a woman convicted of orchestrating the deadly attack.

The parents of Malki Roth turned to Biden on Sunday asking to meet with the president when he comes to Jerusalem this week. They want the president to put pressure on Jordan, a close American ally, to send Ahlam Tamimi to the US for trial.

“We are bereaved parents as you are, sir. We have a burning sense that injustice in the wake of our child’s murder is winning,” Frimet and Arnold Roth wrote in their letter. “We ask that you address this as only the leader of the United States can.”

The Roths have been waging a campaign for the extradition of Ahlam Tamimi since she was released by Israel in a 2011 prisoner swap with Hamas. Under that deal, Tamimi was sent to her native Jordan, where she lives freely and has been a familiar face in the media. Jordanian authorities have rebuffed calls to extradite her.

On Aug. 9, 2001, a Palestinian bomber walked into a Jerusalem pizzeria and blew himself up, killing 15 people. Two American citizens, including 15-year-old Malki Roth, were among the dead.

Biden heads to the Middle East with a world of trouble at his back
Former U.S. Ambassador to Israel Daniel Shapiro said that questions over America’s commitments to the region would be unavoidable during the president’s visit.

“Biden will be asked at every stop about the U.S. commitment to the Middle East,” said Shapiro, a distinguished fellow at the Atlantic Council and former Biden administration official, noting how across three successive administrations, America has made clear its interest in limiting direct military engagement in the Middle East.

Americans are wary of U.S. intervention in the Middle East, with a poll by YouGov for Concerned Veterans for America finding that most people do not want Biden to make security commitments or promise troops to the region.

According to a recent University of Maryland survey, Americans showed sparse enthusiasm for Biden’s trip, with fewer than 1 in 4 respondents approving of the visit. Among Democrats, the visit became less popular when Israel was mentioned, with a similar dynamic among Republicans when Saudi Arabia was invoked.

Shapiro said the timing of Biden’s visit presents an opportunity to “stabilize” America’s commitments to these countries, as they work together to secure their security needs with the U.S. “as an active supporter, but not always the tip of the spear."

The survey results showcase another challenge for Biden, who faces a Democratic Party divided over America's support for Israel, with a vocal left-wing flank that is highly critical of Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians.
Biden Will Find a Changed Middle East on His Coming Visit
When President Biden arrives in the Middle East on Wednesday on his first visit as American head of state, he will find a region where alliances, priorities and relations with the U.S. have shifted significantly since his last official trip, six years ago.

His visit to Israel is expected to focus on Israel's fast-strengthening ties with Arab countries and an emerging Arab-Israeli military partnership to combat threats from Iran. When Biden last visited Israel in 2016 as vice president, the country had diplomatic ties with just two Arab states, Egypt and Jordan.

"U.S. engagement, let alone presidential involvement, in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is no longer a priority," said Alon Pinkas, an Israeli former consul general in New York. "An Israeli-Gulf, counter-Iranian coalition is far more important to the U.S. than solving the conflict."

Biden and his Israeli hosts are expected to discuss strengthening military coordination between Israel, its new Arab allies and the U.S. The system allows the participating armies to communicate in real time about aerial threats from Iran and its proxies, and has already been used to help bring down several drones, according to Israeli officials.
Biden is just stopping over in Israel en route to Saudi Arabia
Can I be a wet blanket? From the American point of view, US President Joe Biden's upcoming visit to Israel isn't the most important for him. Personally, Biden feels a deep connection to Israel, and that's good. But nothing beyond that.

It will be a big surprise if he brings about a breakthrough in ties between Israel and the Saudis. After all, Saudi Arabia opened its skies to flights to and from Israel three years ago. We cannot discount the significance of the Saudis allowing Israeli flights to use their airspace, if it happens, but official Saudi recognition of Israel or an Abraham Accords-style of ambassadors is not on the horizon.

Certainly, nothing dramatic can be expected when it comes to the Palestinians. Prime Minister Yair Lapid will not put his campaign at risk for the sake of a photo op with PA President Mahmous Abbas.

One of the reasons Biden is coming is to court Jewish money and votes. His party is in trouble ahead of the midterm elections, which will be held in November. It's no coincidence that the White House has been taking pains to brief Jewish media outlets about the visit.

Still, Israel is just a stopover. The American president has to make it, because if he doesn't, he'll be accused of boycotting Israel, as happened was former President Barack Obama in 2009.

But the main goal of Biden's visit to the Middle East is Saudi Arabia. He titled an oped he published in the Washington Post "Why I'm going to Saudi Arabia."
The dream of a Mideast NATO will not come true
Efforts to see these demands implemented make Biden's visit to Saudi Arabia and his meetings with nine Arab leaders in Jeddah the high point of the visit, whereas his stops in Israel and the Palestinian Authority are less important, a kind of layover. In Jerusalem, he will reiterate Washington's commitment to Israel's security. In Bethlehem he will explain to PA President Mahmoud Abbas why Israel's transition government cannot be expected to enter negotiations toward a two-state solution, and that he will have to be satisfied with the US doubling aid to the PA.

Iran, as well as Israel, is paying close attention to what will come out of the Jeddah summit. Iran, understanding that the US is trying to recreate a NATO-type defense pact in the Middle East that would serve as an obstacle to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's aggressive intentions – similar to what is happening in Europe – made a first pointed statement to the nations slated to participate in the Jeddah event this week, warning them that such a pact would "seriously destabilize" the Middle East.

Does Iran have cause to worry? This author has learned that ahead of Biden's visit, the Americans have sent a draft agreement for a regional defense pact to Saudi Arabia, the Gulf states, Egypt, Jordan, and a few other countries. The proposal would include not only an "air defense umbrella" of coordinated radar and missiles defenses but also cooperation on economics and politics, among other things.

The matter will be discussed and possibly even decided in Jeddah, but the same Arab states that supported the Sharm e Sheikh summit last month to establishment a mechanism of security coordination with Israel prefer to so do in secret, without taunting the Iranians.

But it's already clear who won't take cover under that "defense umbrella," openly or otherwise – the Omanis and the Qataris. These two countries have acted as mediators between Iran and the US to help renew the Iran nuclear talks and do not want to lose that status. Qatar is preparing to host another round of talks after Biden's visit, and in Jeddah, they will tell Biden that even if Washington is seeking a deal, there is no reason to annoy the Iranians by publicly announcing a regional alliance.
The Myth of the Powerful Israel Lobby Doesn't Fit the Facts
Israel has been an object of fascination for Americans since long before the establishment of the state, with the founders repeatedly comparing the fledgling republic to ancient Israel. And Israel was on Team America for almost all of its existence – even when it felt a chill from Washington.

Walter Russell Mead, Wall Street Journal columnist and foreign affairs professor at Bard College, sets out to examine that relationship in his new book Arc of a Covenant: The United States, Israel, and the Fate of the Jewish People, reaching some surprising conclusions. He debunks myths about the American Left and Right’s roles in supporting Israel and argues that Christians in the US played a more instrumental role in drumming up support for Zionism than American Jews did. He also thoroughly demolishes the myth of an all-powerful “Israel lobby” guiding US foreign policy and discusses how the American tolerance has not allowed antisemitism to fester, while warning that contemporary culture wars are corroding that tradition.

Mead spoke with The Jerusalem Post about his new book and the current US-Israel relationship. The interview has been edited and condensed. You write that Americans exaggerate their influence on the region, that posits that the influence of non-Jewish Israel supporters was greater than people think. How do those things come together?

I think probably the most important decision the US ever made regarding the future of Israel was the decision to cut mass emigration from Europe by 90% in 1924. As I say in the book, I think if we look at what percentage of Jews leaving Europe went to Palestine, and what percent went to the US before 1924, something like 2 to 3% went to Palestine and 80% went to the US, more if you include Canada and so on. It’s very interesting to speculate: If the US had kept open mass immigration, would there have ever been a large enough mass of Jews in Palestine to actually create a state?... The American Jewish community was unanimously opposed to that decision, for the obvious reason they wanted their friends and relatives to still be able to come to America and because they thought it was kind of unjust…
Scoop: Biden to announce $100 million for Palestinian hospitals on Middle East trip
President Biden will announce $100 million in aid to Palestinian hospitals in East Jerusalem during his visit to the Middle East this week, five Israeli officials tell Axios.

Why it matters: The Biden administration sees the funding pledge as its main deliverable to the Palestinians during the visit. Biden is expected to visit one of the hospitals, Augusta Victoria Hospital, during his trip.
- The Biden administration asked Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Qatar to match the U.S. aid to the hospitals, two sources with direct knowledge say.
- The UAE announced a $25 million donation to the Makassed Hospital in East Jerusalem on Saturday. Saudi Arabia and Qatar have yet to give the Biden administration any specific commitments.
- The Biden administration also asked Israel to provide funding for the hospitals, two Israeli officials say, but Israel has yet to give an answer.

Between the lines: The U.S. request to the three Gulf countries was part of an attempt to get them more involved in the Israeli-Palestinian issue.
- Both the Saudis and Emiratis have poor relations with the Palestinian Authority.
- The Biden administration hopes that will start to change and that the normalization process among Israel and Arab states will also benefit the Palestinians, two U.S. officials say.
MEMRI: Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud 'Abbas, Palestinian Officials, Threaten: If Biden Visit Fails To Meet Our Demands, We Will Take Decisions Against Israel, U.S.
In advance of U.S. President Joe Biden's visit to Israel, to the Palestinian Authority (PA) and to Saudi Arabia, the Palestinian leadership, headed by President Mahmoud 'Abbas, clearly articulated what it expected the visit to yield – namely the fulfilment of a series of commitments they claim Biden made them during his election campaign and since the start of his presidency. Chief of these demands are: the removal of the PLO from the Congress list of terror organizations; the reopening of the PLO representation in Washington, which was shut down by the previous administration; the reopening of the U.S. consulate in East Jerusalem, which served as the U.S. representation to the PA until it was closed upon the Trump administration's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital; the renewal of the U.S. financial aid to the PA, halted in August 2018 by president Trump; exerting significant pressure on Israel to halt what the Palestinian leadership refers to as Israel's unilateral settlement activities in the West Bank, its attempts to change the status quo in East Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa, and the escalation of its actions against the Palestinians; a reiteration of the U.S. commitment to the two-state solution, and serious action towards renewing the negotiations between the Palestinians and Israel.

These demands were repeatedly stated in meetings and contacts between Palestinian and U.S. officials ahead of Biden's visit, and in Palestinian officials' media statements.[1] According to reports, the atmosphere of these exchanges was tense, after the Americans informed the Palestinians that these moves would not be promoted in the near future. The Palestinian's anger and frustration with the American position caused them to lower their expectations from the visit, and also to threaten that, if the visit fails to produce any breakthrough or create a political horizon, and if none of their demands are met, they will be forced to implement decisions taken by the PLO Central Council in February 2022. These decisions include suspending the PLO's recognition of Israel, revoking all of its agreements with it and halting the security coordination with Israel, among other measures. In one of his speeches, 'Abbas implicitly threatened to take steps against the U.S. as well, noting that he had boycotted the Trump administration in protest of its policy and the so-called Deal of the Century.[2] At the urging of the Americans and apparently of regional elements as well, 'Abbas decided to postpone the implementation of these decisions until after Biden's visit.

This report reviews the expressions of the Palestinian leadership's frustration and its threats to take measures after the visit.

PA Leadership Lowers Expectations Ahead Of The Visit, Threatens To Take Measures After It
Reports from the last month in the Palestinian and Arab media indicate that President 'Abbas and other PA leaders are angry and frustrated following the meetings and contacts they held with the Americans ahead of Biden's visit. These meetings led them to understand that the Biden administration has no intention of quickly meeting their demands or even of placing emphasis on the Palestinian issue, whether due to the opposition of the Israeli government or because other issues are currently at the top of the American agenda, such as the war in Ukraine, the rivalry with Russia and China and the Iranian nuclear program.

Another issue that angered the Palestinian leadership was a report leaked in late May, which stated that, in light of Israel's firm objections, the U.S. administration had revoked its decision to reopen the consulate in East Jerusalem, in favor of alternative gestures: upgrading the Palestinian Affairs Unit at the U.S. embassy in Israel and placing it directly under the authority of the State Department.[3] This leak, as well as the meetings between the sides – which, according to some reports, were "tense" and "angry" – led the Palestinian leadership to lower its expectations from the visit.[4] PLO Executive Committee member 'Azzam Al-Ahmad, for instance, said several days before the visit that he was "not optimistic" about it.[5]
Left-wing NGO plasters PLO flag on Tel Aviv building ahead of Biden's visit
Israelis in downtown Tel Aviv were welcomed by something of an unusual sight on Monday: a PLO flag plastered off the side of one of the city's buildings.

The flag was pictured alongside an Israeli one as part of a massive sign sponsored by left-wing NGO Peace Now. The sign welcomes US President Joe Biden "to the two countries we love the most."

Backlash erupted on social media. In a statement, Peace Now said, "We welcome President Biden, a true friend of Israel, and thank him for his efforts to advance Israel's interests and strengthen it.

"This sign seeks to remind the [US] president – an avid supporter of the two-state solution – that a Palestinian state is, first and foremost, an Israeli interest and that the region cannot have a better future without peace with our Palestinian neighbors.

"Any time is a good time to do the right thing for the State of Israel," the statement continued. "Now that Prime Minister Lapid has spoken with regional leaders and Abu Mazen [PA President Mahmoud Abbas] the next logical step is launching negotiations. Mr. President, welcome to the two countries we love the most. This is your time to act with these leaders to turn the vision into reality."
Israeli Media Outlet Exposes Lapid’s Plan for Revitalizing 2-State Talks
Hadshot HaMeitav (Heb. Best News), on Sunday night reported on Telegram, citing Kan 11 News reporter Roy Kase, one of the more reliable Israeli journalists reporting on the Arab scene:

An interesting detail published by the Egyptian Presidential Office on the phone conversation between Prime Minister Lapid and Egyptian President al-Sisi: “It was agreed to work to organize bilateral and multilateral meetings that would include Israel, Egypt, and the head of the Palestinian Authority in the near future to re-energize the peace negotiations process.”

That’s pretty big news, confirming the worst expectations of anti-Lapid folks on the right that the first thing he would do upon assuming office would be to renew the two-state solution talks. This could be devastating news to the Yesh Atid campaign which has been trying to spread its voter base to the right.

So, naturally, I rushed to the Israeli government’s press office’s release and, to my chagrin, found no trace of such an announcement. The only paragraph that was vaguely reminiscent of the shocking report in HaMeitav was this: “The two leaders discussed bilateral and regional matters, and emphasized the importance of the peace agreement between Egypt and Israel which laid the foundation for the countries’ strategic relations and is a central pillar of regional stability. The two expressed their commitment to continuing to develop relations, including in the economic sphere.”
Israel Marks Eight Years Since ‘Operation Protective Edge’ Against Hamas
Israel has adopted a “zero tolerance” policy regarding terrorism emanating from the Gaza Strip and will respond immediately to any such hostile activity, Prime Minister Yair Lapid said Sunday night.

He was speaking at a state memorial ceremony at Jerusalem’s Mount Herzl military cemetery commemorating the 70 people killed in Israel during “Operation Protective Edge,” the name of the Israel Defense Forces mission during the 50-day war against Hamas in 2014.

“Don’t test us,” Lapid said, according to a statement from his office. “In the war against Hamas, a brutal and murderous terrorist organization, we are not only right but we are also strong. The best army in the Middle East and the most advanced technology, alongside our economic and diplomatic prowess, these guarantee our security,” he said.

Lapid noted that he was a member of the Cabinet during the war and nothing in his experience had prepared him for making the decision to send forces into battle.

“Every soldier who did not return home is etched onto our souls. We have a sacred obligation to bring home our fallen soldiers, Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul for burial,” the prime minister said in reference to Hamas’s ongoing refusal to return to Israeli authorities the remains of two IDF soldiers who were killed in Gaza during “Operation Protective Edge.”

In this respect, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz made clear at the ceremony that Jerusalem was continuing to work “on behalf of those who remain there in Gaza,” and that the government would not forge any long-term ceasefire agreement with Hamas that did not resolve the matter.
Poll: Half of Jerusalem Arabs Say They Would Prefer to Become Israeli Citizens
A June 2022 survey of Palestinians in Jerusalem, commissioned by the Washington Institute and conducted by the Palestine Center for Public Opinion, shows that 48% of the city's Arab residents say that, if they had to make a choice, they would prefer to become citizens of Israel rather than of a Palestinian state. 43% would prefer a Palestinian state and 9% would opt for Jordanian citizenship.

63% agree at least "somewhat" that "It would be better for us if we were part of Israel, rather than in Palestinian Authority or Hamas-ruled lands." 63% also agree that "the Palestinians should push harder to replace their own political leaders with more effective and less corrupt ones." 65% say "the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is mostly just for politicians or old people, and I just don't think about it very much."

61% disagree that "the Palestinians should move to a new intifada and make armed struggle their top priority." 54% agree that "I hope someday we can be friends with Israelis, since we are all human beings after all." 23% agree "strongly" and an additional 46% agree "somewhat" that "Israel wants to destroy the Al-Aqsa mosque and harm our religion."
PA to Israelis: You must leave, because you have no history in Jerusalem and it is not your homeland
Narrator: “O coward, you must leave because you have no history in our Jerusalem, and it is not your homeland” …

Crowd: “With spirit, with blood, we will redeem you Al-Aqsa Mosque…
Allahu Akbar (“Allah is greatest”)”
[Official PA TV, June 30, 2022]

Contrary to what this Palestinian video claims, abundant archaeological evidence proves Jewish history in Jerusalem

Fatah Official: Hamas Must Decide If They Are Palestinian Patriotic Movement or Islamist Movement
On July 7, 2022, Fatah Central Committee Secretary Jibril Rajoub appeared in interviews on Asharq TV (Saudi Arabia) and on Mayadeen TV (Lebanon). He said that Hamas must decide whether it is a Muslim Brotherhood organization with an Islamist agenda, or whether it is a Palestinian national movement with an Islamic outlook. He said that Fatah can accept the latter situation, but that the former has proven to be a failure. In addition, Rajoub said that the only way to ensure stability in the Middle East is to establish a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital. On the subject of the potential establishment “Middle Eastern NATO” about which reports have been spreading, Rajoub said that Saudi Arabia has assured the Palestinians it would not normalize relations with Israel until the Palestinian issue is resolved.

Seth Frantzman: The UK seized Iranian weapons, now what? - analysis
Iran also used drones to harass ships and downed a US drone as well. Eventually, after the UK had boarded an Iranian tanker in the Mediterranean, Iran seized the British-operated oil tanker Stena Impero.

The US has also interdicted Iranian weapons destined for Yemen. Last December, it seized ammunition. In early 2020, the US said it had stopped six shipments of weapons to Yemen.

“In just the past four months, two US Navy ships have stopped two shipments containing a variety of advanced weapons, many of which are Iranian-made versions of Russian designs or Iranian-designed munitions,” Central Command spokesman Capt. Bill Urban said during a media briefing last Wednesday, USNI News reported.

“The Houthis have used these Iranian-designed systems to conduct lethal attacks against civil, commercial and military targets on the Arabian Peninsula,” he added. Among the incidents was one in which the USS Normandy stopped a boat in February 2020.

If past incidents are evidence, little will happen next. The UK and the US are aware of the smuggling routes that Iran uses to move dangerous weapons to Yemen. Iran uses Yemen to threaten Saudi Arabia, Israel and the Gulf, but Iranians are rarely held to account. For instance, last year, Iran used a drone to attack a tanker, killing two sailors, but Iran has not been punished.

Iran often seizes ships to wring concessions from other countries, such as targeting Greek ships. Last year, Iran targeted commercial ships it believed were linked to Israel.

JCPA: In Iran: A Wave of Arrests of the Regime’s Sharpest Critics
After changes in the top leadership of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC)’s Intelligence Organization, the regime is stepping up its repression of its critics. Three prominent critics of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei have been arrested, including a well-known politician and two prominent Iranian filmmakers, and more arrests are expected. The detainees are charged with harming national security. Regime opponents in Iran construed a statement in Khamenei’s speech for the annual day in honor of the legal system – ”The God of the 1980s is still the same God” – as a green light for the legal system and other institutions to crack down harder on the opposition.

Among those arrested was Mostafa Tajzadeh, former deputy interior minister in President Hatami’s government, a senior figure in the reformist camp, and a sharp critic of Khamenei, President Ebrahim Raisi, and the religious establishment. Before his arrest on July 8, 2022, Tajzadeh tweeted that the government was again making the dress code for women more onerous.1 He was charged with “organizing and conspiring against national security and publishing false information to disrupt public order,” offenses punishable by imprisonment and lashes. Tajzadeh was previously arrested in 2009 for his involvement in the Green Revolution that followed the presidential elections, in which Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was “elected” to a second term. He was incarcerated for seven years in Tehran’s infamous Evin Prison, and upon his release, Tajzadeh resumed his scathing criticism, particularly of Khamenei.

A few hours later, 15 Revolutionary Guards’ Intelligence Organization agents arrested Tajzadeh’s wife, Fakhrossadat Mohtashamipour, in her home. Fakhrossadat Mohtashamipour is the sister of prominent cleric Ali Akhbar Mohtashamipour, who was the interior minister after Iran’s Islamic Revolution, one of the founders of the Lebanese Hizbullah organization, and Iran’s ambassador to Syria. Tajzadeh’s brother, objecting to Khamenei’s government, left Iran and settled in Najaf, Iraq, a few years before his death from COVID-19 in June 2021. Not even Ali Akhbar Mohtashamipour’s distinguished record of helping found Hizbullah and serving the Revolution now helps his family members, who are repeatedly harassed by the current Islamic regime. Fakhrossadat Mohtashamipour admonished Khamenei’s wife: “Whatever happens to my husband in prison, the one responsible for it is Ali Khamenei, and your and his son, Mojtaba.”
The Koch-Soros Crackup
An all-star in the Koch-Soros foreign policy alliance, Joseph Cirincione, announced on Thursday his resignation from the Quincy Institute: "They excuse Russia’s military threats and actions because they believe that they have been provoked by U.S. policies," he told Politico.

Cirincione is not just some disgruntled scholar. He is the former president of Ploughshares, a grant-making organization that was not just a recipient of the Soros organization’s politicized philanthropy, but a gatekeeper and driver of it—deciding which pinkos would prosper and which would starve. Mother Jones reports that Cirincione helped connect Quincy to major donors in its early days.

His change of heart on Quincy is surely a weathervane for other elements of the Soros network. Indeed, Soros himself has been signaling in the last year that he favors a much tougher policy on China than the one offered up by the Quincy crowd, which released a major study in June that found the Chinese military build up was nothing to worry about and has warned of the perils of "threat inflation" when it comes to China’s military expansion.

Soros, by contrast, came very close to endorsing regime change. "It is to be hoped that Xi Jinping may be replaced by someone less repressive at home and more peaceful abroad," he told an audience at the Hoover Institution in January, calling Xi "the greatest threat that open societies face today."

Trita Parsi, a co-founder and executive vice president of Quincy, as well as somebody who could be confused for an Iranian agent—at least according to a federal judge—told Mother Jones he’s bewildered that Cirincione would suggest the think tank was avoiding criticism of Russia. But he acknowledges that Quincy is "not going along with the idea that it’s a good thing to change the objectives in Ukraine towards weakening Russia, because we believe that could lead to endless war."

As the Quincy Institute demonstrated so spectacularly in Afghanistan, one sure fire way to end endless war is to lose the war quickly and all at once.

As for the interpersonal drama that we assume is engulfing the Quincy Institute, and the enmity growing between teams Koch and Soros—may that war truly be endless.

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