Thursday, January 19, 2023

From Ian:

‘Multilateral Terrorism’: Israel Envoy Accuses Palestinians of War Against Israel; US Urges Temple Mount to be ‘Neutral Space’
Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations (UN) Gilad Erdan on Wednesday accused Palestinian leadership of obstructing the peace process by waging a “jihad war of multilateral terrorism” meant to “destroy the Jewish state.”

Speaking before the UN’s Security Council, Erdan’s remarks also addressed the Palestinians’ role in the passage of a UN General Assembly plenary resolution asking the International Court of Justice to issue an advisory opinion on the “occupied” Palestinian territories.

“One of the weapons that they use in this jihad war is the manipulation and abuse of international bodies,” Erdan said.

“They weaponize these bodies in order to force Israel into surrendering to their demands,” he added, charging that the Palestinians are leveraging anti-Israel bias in the United Nations to impose on Israel multilateral actions that reflect exclusively their narratives and policy preferences.

Erdan also criticized the Palestinians for classifying deaths of terrorists as civilian deaths, creating the perception that Israel indiscriminately kills Palestinians, and denounced the UN for passing “more resolutions targeting Israel than the rest of the world combined.”

Palestinian envoy the UN Riyad Mansour also addressed the Security Council, accusing Israel of “living in a parallel dimension in which the entire world is wrong and they are right.”

“Israel should renounce colonial occupation to abide by the law, not expect the world to renounce its rules and principles to accommodate its colonial occupation,” he continued.

US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield emphasized the US’s commitment to the two-state solution and called for deescalating hostilities by, for example, keeping the Temple Mount, referred to by Palestinians as the al-Asqa Mosque, a neutral space.

She also urged donor countries to increase their funding of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), a Palestinian aid organization that has been criticized for teaching antisemitic tropes and themes in schools it administers in the Palestinian territories.




Israel to UN: Vast Majority of Palestinian Fatalities in 2022 Were Terrorists
At Wednesday's UN Security Council meeting on tension in the Middle East, Israeli Ambassador Gilad Erdan called the remarks of Palestinian envoy Riyad Mansour "an Academy Award-winning act of false victimization." "Over and over again, we have heard how the past year has been the deadliest year for the Palestinians," he said. Yet the vast majority of Palestinian fatalities and casualties are not civilians, but, instead, terrorists who were "neutralized in the midst of their acts of violence."

"This may have been the deadliest year for Palestinian terrorists, but it was also the year with the most terror attacks committed against Israelis in a decade." He said more than 5,000 attacks had been carried out against Israelis in 2022, killing 31 and injuring 418.
Yirael Medad: Sharif Hussein ibn Ali and "Palestine"
Sharif Hussein ibn Ali was an Arab leader from the Banu Hashim clan, Sharif and Emir of Mecca from 1908 and, after proclaiming the Great Arab Revolt against the Ottoman Empire with Lawrence of Arabia, King of the Hejaz from 1916 to 1924 and, quite briefly, Caliph in 1924. With the Hejaz invaded by the Saudis, he had to flee and be exiled. He claimed he was a 37th-generation direct descendant of Muhammad, as he belonged to the Hashemite family.

His son was Abdullah I and his great-great-grandson, Abdullah II (son of Hussein, son of Talal), is the current King of Jordan.

On March 11 he received pledges of fealty from local Arabs, Arabs from west of the Jordan River and neighboring Arab countries.

But what did he think of "Palestine"?

As this article, "Sharif Husayn ibn Ali and the Hashemite Vision of the Post-Ottoman Order: From Chieftaincy to Suzerainty", details, he seemed to think it shouldn't exist:
So, it isn't that some pro-Israel/Zionism advocates think an 'Arab Palestine' wasn't and shouldn't be.




Jewbotinsky: They Can't Keep Getting Away With It! Why and when were the Palestinian people invented? We answer this question using mostly Arab sources and lots of maps.

Israel Advocacy Movement: Do Palestinian Jews exist?

Biden’s undiplomatic diplomat
Bagley has been in and around Democratic politics and foreign policy for decades. However, looking at her biography, it’s not clear what uniquely qualifies Bagley for this particular post.

Like some other ambassadors, Bagley has excelled as a political donor. Open Secrets, which tracks political contributions, has over 900 citations of Bagley’s name, stretching back more than 30 years. Beneficiaries have included President Biden, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Sen. Warner and eight of the 11 Democrats on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, including Sen. Booker. (Last year’s contribution to Sen. Menendez was refunded.)

As for Bagley’s diplomatic skills, organizations that opposed her nomination last June were not persuaded.

Rabbi Abraham Cooper, Associate Dean and Director of Global Social Action for the Simon Wiesenthal Center, commented, “Those sentiments about Jewish control, etc. are toxic. … We all appreciate the White House, starting with speaking in a high-profile way against antisemitism, but words are meaningless when such a nomination was allowed to pass.”

Zionist Organization of America President Morton Klein remarked, “Confirming Jew-hater Bagley’s nomination makes clear Congress and the Biden administration is not serious about fighting the rising scourge of Jew-hatred. … I’m more than disappointed—I’m frightened.”

Liora Rez, executive director of StopAntisemitism, described the Senate’s “voice vote … that denies any accountability” as “discouraging.”

Rabbi Cooper observed that “going forward, we cannot make a dent in the struggle against antisemitism” without bipartisanship and “consequence[s] for bigots.”

The question is: Are American leaders determined to hold that line? One or more unnamed Republican senators held up the Bagley nomination for much of 2022, but whether they were convinced the new Congress would inevitably confirm Bagley or by something else, they relented.

Biden’s unwavering loyalty to Bagley, along with the Senate’s confirmation, signals that openly antisemitic statements no longer disqualify nominees for prominent positions of public trust. Such statements no longer require repudiation. Flimsy explanations are sufficient, as partisanship trumps moral guardrails.

By Biden’s own logic, he and every senator who helped confirm Bagley are more than complicit in the rising antisemitism he claims to oppose.


Netanyahu’s agenda and Biden’s opportunity
When Joe Biden came to the White House in 2021, his foreign-policy agenda included restoration of the 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran. Benjamin Netanyahu, who argued against the deal at the time, has returned to office with the goal of finding a more effective way to prevent Tehran from acquiring nuclear weapons. Yet Jonathan Schachter believes current circumstances make it possible for the two leaders to work together:

In the seven years since the conclusion of the Iran nuclear deal, or Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), Netanyahu’s warnings have proved prescient. With the agreement’s implementation, Iran became more, not less, aggressive across the Middle East. The nuclear infrastructure the JCPOA guaranteed Iran enabled the regime to move closer to nuclear weapons at a time of its choosing. Rather than preventing proliferation, the JCPOA sparked a regional nuclear-arms race, as Iran’s neighbors now seek the same weapons-relevant nuclear capabilities the agreement allows Iran.

Starting in late summer, the conventional wisdom suggested that nuclear negotiations with Iran were suspended until after the midterm elections. But the regime increasingly continues to violate the JCPOA’s terms irreversibly, while it stonewalls three international investigations into undeclared nuclear materials and activities. A women-led uprising rages in Iran’s streets, despite the regime henchmen’s brutal efforts to put it down. Iran is now giving Russia the same drones and missiles that Tehran has given to Hizballah, the Houthis [in Yemen], and others to menace America’s allies in the Middle East. Providing the Iranian regime with hundreds of billions of dollars in sanctions relief and legitimizing the expansion of a uranium enrichment program that has no peaceful justification makes less sense than ever.

The new year opens with a new Israeli government and a historic opportunity for Biden. If . . . he is prepared to pressure rather than placate Iran and to develop a “Plan B” genuinely to prevent Tehran from acquiring nuclear weapons, he will make both a nuclear-arms race and a war to prevent it less likely.
Iran Is Key Topic for U.S.-Israel Discussions
U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan is visiting Israel this week and Secretary of State Antony Blinken is expected to visit shortly. On the Palestinian issue, it is important to present why Israel has no negotiating partner for real talks, especially in the wake of PA leader Mahmoud Abbas' decision to take Israel to court on the world stage. Abbas must pay the price for that. Any U.S. attempt to discuss internal Israeli domestic matters must be rebuffed politely.

Iran must be at the center of all discussions. This includes Iran's aggressive conduct in its nuclear program, its support for terrorist organizations and their arming, and the dangers of having Tehran move closer to Russia and establish a base of operations in Syria. The widespread riots in Iran have created new turf for the U.S. and Israel to renew their collaboration. This is what the talks should focus on. U.S. public opinion has become numb to the Iranian nuclear breaches, but it has not been indifferent to the killing of young girls and women.

Israel must present its readiness for a widespread and total campaign against Iran and its nuclear program. Its nuclear weapon development program is run by a clandestine weapons team that continues to operate, despite Iranian denials.
British PM to visit Israel to mark 75th anniversary
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak intends to visit Israel this year to mark the country’s 75th birthday.

Sunak spoke on Thursday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who thanked him for London’s recent vote against a U.N. General Assembly resolution calling on the International Court of Justice to “render urgently an advisory opinion” on Israel’s “prolonged occupation, settlement and annexation of Palestinian territory.”

Netanyahu also commended Britain’s intention to declare Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps a terrorist organization, stressing the importance Jerusalem ascribes to advancing the issue.

The European Parliament on Wednesday voted 598-9 in favor of requesting that the E.U. list the IRGC as a terror entity.

Finally, Netanyahu and Sunak discussed ways to enhance and expand bilateral cooperation in various fields, as well as global security challenges, especially Iran and the war in Ukraine.

In December, Sunak told a packed Conservative Friends of Israel reception that Israel was at the forefront of “remarkable achievements” in technology, which he said are “something which Israel’s detractors in the BDS movement would do away with.

“I will fight very hard for the security of the Jewish state,” he said at the time.

Israel’s Ambassador to the U.K. Tzipi Hotovely hailed Sunak for his “deep commitment” to the Jewish state.
Netanyahu talks expanding Abraham Accords with US Senate delegation
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met on Wednesday with a visiting bipartisan U.S. Senate delegation to discuss ways to expand and enhance the Abraham Accords.

Sens. Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.) and James Lankford (R-Okla.) are leading the group that also includes Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.) and Ted Budd (R-N.C.).

The lawmakers previously visited Morocco, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, countries that, in addition to Sudan, normalized relations with Israel as part of the Trump administration-brokered agreements.

During Wednesday’s meeting, participants discussed the burgeoning partnerships forged by the deals and the potential to tighten the cooperation in all areas. They also addressed the importance of cross-party support in the U.S. Congress for the Abraham Accords and for opportunities to expand them.

Netanyahu presented evidence regarding the Iranian threat and how it can be combated by fielding a credible military option and using economic and diplomatic pressure.

Also participating in the meeting were Israel’s Strategic Affairs Minister Ron Dermer, National Security Council Director Tzachi Hanegbi and Ambassador to the U.S. Michael Herzog, and U.S. Ambassador to Israel Thomas Nides.

Earlier Wednesday, Nides discussed the possibility of bringing Saudi Arabia into the fold, saying that it was possible but difficult.
Morocco to Boost Military Ties with Israel
Morocco's army said Tuesday it had agreed with Israel to strengthen military cooperation including in intelligence and cybersecurity, following defence meetings in Rabat.

The two countries "agreed to further strengthen cooperation and expand it to other areas, including in intelligence, air defence and electronic warfare," the Royal Moroccan Armed Forces said in a statement.

The announcement on Tuesday follows the first meeting of the monitoring committee for Moroccan-Israeli defence cooperation in the Moroccan capital.

The two-day meeting examined military cooperation including in the fields of "logistics, training and the acquisition and modernisation of equipment".

The two countries formalised ties in 2020, following similar agreements between Israel and the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.
Israel looks to spark religious war over al-Aqsa, Jordan warns UNSC
Israel wants to spark a religious war over the Temple Mount, Jordan’s envoy Mahmoud Daifallah Hmoud warned the Security Council as he urged it to act against the Jewish state’s war crime.

“Israel is continuing to arouse the anger of thousands of Muslims due to their attacks on the al-Haram, al-Sharif area.. which is an area of prayer for Muslim people.

“That then leads to religious conflict which will have serious repercussions as a whole,” Hmoud said.

He spoke during the UNSC’s monthly meeting on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in New York on Wednesday. Jordan is not a member of the UNSC but was allowed to speak during the day-long debate which was open to all UNSC member states.

Hmoud referenced an incident that took place on Tuesday in which Israeli police asked Jordan’s Ambassador Ghassan Majali to wait prior to entering the al-Aqsa mosque compound on the Temple Mount, so that he could speak with his superior about the visit. Majali left, rather than wait, but returned later to pray at the mosque.

Jordan’s Foreign Ministry summoned Israel’s Ambassador Eitan Surkis to condemn the police actions and underscore its belief that the site should be under the soil administration of the Islamic Wakf, which is affiliated with the Religious Affairs Ministry. It has persistently refused to accept that Israel has security over the area, which is the holiest for Jews and the third holiest for Muslims.
The Israel Guys: Is Israel Responsible for BLOCKING The JORDANIAN AMBASSADOR On the Temple Mount?
After the Jordanian ambassador to Israel was delayed at the entrance to the Temple Mount, Jordan accused Israel of not allowing him to actually go up. Is this accusation true?

According to reports, the Pentagon is now sending US arms stored in Israel to Ukraine.

More than 90 countries signed a letter demanding the “immediate” reversal of Israel’s punitive measures against the P.A. The absurd thing is, these “punitive measures” are all about stopping the PA from paying the salaries of convicted terrorists.

Also, find out how a terror attack was thwarted near the Jewish community of Elon More in Samaria.




Terrorist Who Murdered Israeli Soldier Released from Prison after 40 Years
Israel’s National Security Minister Ben-Gvir determined to prevent similar scene by hundreds of greeters for cousin that occurred two weeks ago

Israel on Thursday morning freed a terrorist responsible for the murder of an Israeli soldier after serving 40 years in prison.

According to the National Security Ministry, Mahar Younis was released from prison. He is one of those responsible for the murder of Israeli soldier Avraham Bromberg.

The release comes two weeks after his cousin, Karim Younis, an accomplice in Bromberg’s murder, was freed from prison and returned to their hometown of Ar’ara — an Arab Israeli village located in northern Israel. In a bid to prevent a similar display of celebratory Palestinian-flag waving that occurred when Karim Younis was released from prison, National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir directed the police to act against such displays.
Karim and Maher Younis the highest-paid Israeli Arab terrorists, says NGO
Israeli citizens Karim and Maher Younis, released from prison this month after serving 40-year sentences for murdering an Israeli soldier, have both received large sums from the Palestinian Authority under its “pay for slay” policy, according to Israeli NGO Palestinian Media Watch.

PMW filed a complaint to the State’s Attorney’s Office on the matter two months ago, said Maurice Hirsch, the organization’s head of legal strategies.

“We know that this happened because we took the information from an order by [then-Defense Minister Benny] Gantz in September 2022 to seize millions of shekels that were paid by the P.A. to Israeli Arab terrorists. The document stipulated that both Karim and Maher Younis had each received 335,362 shekels [$98,698] from the P.A. in compensation for murdering an Israeli soldier,” said Hirsch.

“There were 49 terrorists included on the list, with Karim and Maher Younis having received the largest sums,” he said, adding that two weeks ago, PMW had submitted the complaint to the Israel Police as well.

“It is outrageous that [Arab-Israeli] terrorists see themselves as Palestinians who carry out acts of terror on behalf of Palestinians, and the P.A. also sees them as people who acted on behalf of the Palestinian interest. In fact, they see them as their soldiers,” he added.
Defending Pay-for-Slay, Jenin Mayor Says PA ‘Will Always Fund Martyrs’
‘Social security payments to Yigal Amir’s son are the same as stipends to terrorists,’ Akram Rajoub tells i24NEWS

In an exclusive interview with i24NEWS on Thursday, Jenin’s governor defended the controversial Palestinian practice of paying stipends to terrorists and their families. Akram Rajoub compared the practice to social security payments made by Israel to the son of the Jewish extremist who assassinated Israeli premier Yitzhak Rabin in 1995.

“The assassin of Yitzhak Rabin, the prime minister of Israel, is Yigal Amir. He is Jewish, Israeli, not Arab, not a Palestinian and not a Muslim. And the government of Israel pays money to his son. This is the government of Israel,” Rajoub said.

“They pay him social security benefits. Isn’t it the support for terror? Why is it ok for them to pay to somebody they described as number one terrorist in the occupation state, they fund his family and it is permissible for a state to give money… And while the Palestinian people, whose sons are striving for freedom of their state, it is forbidden for our Palestinian Authority to fund the family of the martyr?”

Rajoub is a member of Fatah’s Revolutionary Council. He was in Israeli prison for 13 years between 1981 and 1994.
i24NEWS speaks to Jenin's Governor Akram Rajoub
In an exclusive interview with i24NEWS, Jenin Governor Akram Rajoub defended the controversial Palestinian practice of paying stipends to terrorists and their families by referring to social security payments to the son of a Jewish extremist who assassinated Yitzhak Rabin.


Two Palestinians, including PIJ commander, killed in firefight with IDF in Jenin
Two Palestinians, including a Palestinian Islamic Jihad commander, were killed in clashes with Israeli troops in Jenin on Thursday morning, according to the Israeli military and Palestinian media.

Israeli forces engaged Palestinian gunmen after coming under heavy fire during a counter-terror operation in the northern Samaria city, according to the Israeli military.

Palestinian media identified the casualties as Adham Jabareen, 28, and Jawad Bawaqta, 57. Jabareen was identified as a PIJ commander; Bawaqta was killed while providing first aid to the terrorist, according to the reports.

An IDF soldier was lightly injured during the exchange and evacuated to hospital for treatment.


PMW: Fatah’s unwavering terror support - Abbas’ deputy: We’ll resist “with all means” against the new Israeli fascist government
It sounded like a rebroadcast of a statement made by Abbas’ Fatah Deputy Mahmoud Al-Aloul last year on Fatah’s 57th anniversary, but Al-Aloul did indeed make a new statement this year on Fatah’s 58th anniversary. But it was all the same: the same setting in the TV studio, the same suit, and worse: He repeated the same message that Fatah unwaveringly continues to support terror against Israel.

“All means” / "any means" are the key expressions. A year ago, Al-Aloul stressed that Fatah had “not in any way abandoned any means of resistance” adding that “when we are relying on popular resistance now, this does not mean that we are abandoning any means [of resistance].”

This year Al-Aloul reinforced this message, stating that the Palestinians will “resist” the new Israeli government “with all means” – vowing more terror:

On Fatah’s 58th anniversary (2023):
Fatah Deputy Chairman Mahmoud Al-Aloul: “The Israeli successive governments are all fascist… but these [in the new government] deny all of the Palestinian people’s rights completely, and clearly announce that they are fascists and that they are coming to commit crimes, murder, occupation of the land, and everything that is connected to this... We will resist it with all means… Also resistance on the ground. The resistance on the ground [must be] against this occupation on all levels… Our popular resistance must be more intense, have more adherence, and be more active.”

[Fatah Commission of Information and Culture, Facebook page, Dec. 28, 2022]


On Fatah’s 57th anniversary (2022):
Fatah Deputy Chairman Mahmoud Al-Aloul: “The fact that we are currently using the means of popular resistance does not in any way mean that we have abandoned any means of resistance… On the first page of [Fatah’s political] plan… [it says] that Fatah is still a national liberation movement. It is not a state... One of this announcement’s points says that Fatah believes that resistance with all its means (i.e., including terror) is a legitimate right of occupied peoples... Every stage has a particular means of resistance. Therefore, when we are relying on popular resistance now, this does not mean that we are abandoning any means [of resistance].”

[Mahmoud Al-Aloul, Fatah Deputy Chairman, Facebook, Jan 3, 2022]




Fatah praises terrorist who led murder of 37

“You will not escape, my enemy… I'm coming with my rifle” at Fatah event

“This is the sound of our bullets, we won’t cast our weapons from our hands”

“Every Israeli company that produces medicine… test[s] it on the prisoners”

On its 35th Anniversary, Hamas Promises More Violence
Unemployment in Gaza is now more than 40 percent. Its infrastructure is in shambles, with electricity and clean water often scarce.

Hamas, which has controlled Gaza for 15 years, could change these conditions if it prioritized its people’s well-being over an endless, unwinnable war to destroy Israel. But on its 35th anniversary last month, Hamas made it clear that such a shift was not going to happen.

Instead, its leaders promised to spread the terror group’s pain to the West Bank.

“Palestine, from its sea to its river, is the land of the Palestinian people. We will continue to cling to it completely, and to our legitimate right to defend and liberate it by all means, beginning with the armed resistance, as a strategic option until the occupation is deterred and demised from it,” a Hamas statement said.

“We call upon the Palestinian Authority [which controls the West Bank] to strengthen the elements of steadfastness of our Palestinian people, stop security coordination with the occupation [Israel], immediately stop fighting resistance, allow political and public freedoms, stop persecuting activists, students and opinion leaders, and release all political prisoners.”

“That resistance is a destiny and not a choice or a slogan, and it will continue, it will rise, it will grow, and it will teach the world the lessons of tolerance and giving,” said Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh.


Lebanon Headed Back to the Stone Age
The court system in Lebanon is on strike, as judges and prosecutors wait for state funding that would enable them to return to work.

The Lebanese pound has lost more than 90% of its value since the economic crisis began in 2019. The monthly salary of judges, based on the black-market exchange rate, is now $150, compared to $4,500 before the crisis.

Moreover, the courtrooms aren't being maintained, the cleaners aren't coming, there is no electricity and the bathrooms have no running water.

Public school teachers have announced a week-long strike, but it may last longer. The teachers live on $130 a month.

Three tankers have been anchored in Beirut Port for three weeks with fuel meant for the Lebanese electric company's power plant.

The cause of the delay in unloading the ships is lack of money to pay for the fuel.
Lebanese Flee Stricken Country
The number of Lebanese emigrants soared from 17,721 in 2020 to 79,134 in 2021, according to the Beirut-based Information International research center.

More than 40% of Lebanon's doctors have already left the country, data from September 2021 indicates.

A Gallup poll from December 2021 found that 63% of Lebanese say they want to leave forever.

90% of Lebanon's youth have indicated that they are thinking about or actively seeking emigration, according to the Arab Youth Opinion Poll.


Seth Frantzman: EU and West are waking up to Iranian IRGC's threats - analysis
Is using the anti-Israel card still working?
Iran’s regime members are still trying to use the anti-Israel card to slow down any new sanctions and terrorist listings. Iranian lawmaker “Mohammad Esmail Kowsari, himself a former IRGC commander, said Wednesday that Europe might not be able to withstand the consequences of such a move,” Iran International reported. “‘EU officials know that this conspiracy was designed upon the instigation of the US and the Zionist regime [Israel] and has no logic,’ he claimed.”

It appears that the shift in the view of Iran across Europe will have long-term implications. In 2017, a Swedish trade delegation, made up mostly of women, went to Iran and met president Rouhani. They all covered their hair in hijabs to show respect for the regime’s forced head covering for women.

Today, when Iranians who are protesting are being murdered by the regime, it appears most European countries are less keen to respect Iran. In only a few short years, a tectonic shift has taken place: No longer will statues be covered up, or Iranian diplomats be greeted with smiles by top EU officials; no longer will some states express pride in putting on a head covering to meet Iranian officials, while protesters are killed in the streets for not wearing a head covering.

It’s not clear what tipped the balance, whether it was the supply of drones and the realization of the Iranian threat, or a combination of factors. What is clear is that Iran’s regime talking points of “the Zionists are behind this” is failing to make inroads. No longer do op-eds appear about the “moderates” in Tehran or the need to “engage” and understand that the IRGC is also a political party, or similar kinds of illogical assertions.

It remains to be seen whether the current view of Iran’s regime and the IRGC will also have an impact on larger discussions about Iran’s backing of Hezbollah, the Houthis, militias in Iraq and Hamas. These terrorist groups have also worked for a long time to portray themselves as part political party, part “resistance,” even as they illegally stockpile and trade weapons and destabilize the Middle East.

A lot of the talking points Iran and its proxies used over the years, such as arguing that a massive armed terrorist army is a “political party,” may find less sympathy in the West now.
Iran warns EU parliament of consequences if IRGC is put on terror blacklist
Iran condemned as “inappropriate and incorrect” Thursday a call by the European Parliament to blacklist the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terror group.

Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian “strongly criticized the emotional approach of the European Parliament and labeled the move inappropriate and incorrect” in a telephone call with EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, the ministry said.

“Unfortunately, we witnessed the issuance of a draft of an emotional, harsh and unprofessional resolution by the European Parliament, which is in conflict with political rationality and civility,” the minister said.

His remarks came a day after MEPs voted in an amendment to an annual foreign policy report to urge the EU to blacklist the IRGC, the ideological arm of Iran’s armed forces.

The vote is non-binding but it comes with EU foreign ministers already due to discuss tightening sanctions on Tehran at a meeting in Brussels next week.

Amir-Abdollahian warned Europe to “think about the negative consequences of this emotional behavior.”

“It is necessary to respect mutual security in the world of diplomacy and increase mutual trust instead of following the language of threats and unfriendly actions,” he said.

The European parliament cited the IRGC’s “terrorist activity, repression of protesters, and supply of drones to Russia” in its blacklisting call.
Britain should lead Europe by outlawing Iran terror guard, says ex-Trump adviser
Britain should set an example to Europe by outlawing Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) as a terror group, a former senior White House security official has told the JC.

Richard Goldberg was a director at the US National Security Council under President Donald Trump, leading efforts to counter Iranian weapons of mass destruction. He urged Britain to act against the IRGC, which has already been proscribed in the US.

The JC understands that Foreign Office civil servants are resisting the proposals, which the Home Office supports.

Mr Goldberg spoke amid mounting political pressure following the execution of British-Iranian citizen Alireza Akbari, the ex-deputy Iranian defence minister, who was accused of being an MI6 spy.

“Iran’s supplying drones to Russia in Ukraine, the crimes committed by IRGC proxies like Hezbollah, the execution of a British citizen and the IRGC’s control of Iran’s nuclear weapons programme suggest we have come to a point of inflection,” Mr Goldberg in an interview with the JC after he gave a security briefing to MPs.

He added: “You cannot sustain the status quo. Proscribing the IRGC is simply a logical step.” Mr Goldberg said that while outlawing the IRGC was essential, there were other steps Britain should take to counter the growing threat that Iran will acquire nuclear weapons.
JCPA: The Internal Debate in the Iranian Elite over the Hijab Protest
Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei is playing a double game regarding the treatment of the Hijab protest. First, the regime spread fake news in early December 2022 that the “morality police,” who enforce the wearing of the Hijab, had been abolished. Second, Khamenei called the protesting women “our daughters” and met with a delegation of women to hear their claims. Finally, the Supreme Leader ordered the release of two well-known opposition activists (Majid Tokali and Hossein Ronki) and retrials for several protesters who were sentenced to death.

On the other hand, Khamenei appointed a new police commander, General Ahmad Reza Radan, a member of the paramilitary Basij force and the Revolutionary Guards, and a commander of the Tehran police. Radan’s forces were infamous for their brutality in putting down the Green Movement demonstrations in 2009 and 2020. His human rights violations resulted in his listing on the U.S. Treasury Department’s terror list. Khamenei and Brigadier General Ahmad Reza Radan, Commander-in-Chief of the Police Force of the Islamic Republic of Iran Khamenei appointed Brigadier General Ahmad Reza Radan as Commander-in-Chief of the Police Force of the Islamic Republic of Iran. (Khamenei.ir)

The debate in the Iranian regime leadership also stems from a fear of increased sanctions from Western countries due to the continuation of the brutal repression. But on the other hand, extremist elements at the top believe repression is the only way to discourage the protesters and that the cancellation of the executions is a surrender to international pressure that will only encourage the continuation of the demonstrations. In an official order on January 10, 2023, Abdol Samad Khorram Abadia, a Deputy Prosecutor General, urged the police and judiciary officials to “severely fight against those removing their Hijab.”1

In the end, the one who determines the way to deal with the protest wave is Supreme Leader Khamenei. He has a lot of survival experience, with over 30 years in his chair. He maneuvers and zigzags and looks for new and creative ways to stop the protests, but he does not hesitate to apply brutal repression against the protesters.


While Russia, Turkey and Iran divide Syria, the US looks on
Turkey's priority is to return the 3.5 million refugees it shelters to Syria, get a green light to attack the American-allied Syrian Kurds again, and then ethnically cleanse the Kurds from northeastern Syria. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan wants to start the repatriation from Turkey with Aleppo and Homs as test cases. In addition, Erdogan's AKP party has conditioned relations with Syria on eradicating the YPG and Kurdish Peoples Protection Units in Syria. The Kurdish PKK is an American-designated terrorist organization that Ankara equates with the YPG, the American ally that helped us defeat ISIS.

Iran wants to turn Syria into another Lebanon, a de facto Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) proxy from which to threaten Israel. According to the Iranian foreign minister, Iran is "happy with the dialogue between Syria and Turkey."

Meanwhile, Israel is warily watching to see whether it will continue to be given the green light by Russia to attack Iran's proxies, weapons transfers, and precision-guided missile manufacturing facilities in Syria.

Secretary of State Blinken should tell Ankara that the US will not abandon our Kurdish allies or remove our troops from Syria. As the Foundation for Defense of Democracies' Sinan Ciddi said, "Blinken should be very frank with Minister Çavuşoğlu: If Washington is going to listen to Turkey's demands, it is incumbent upon Ankara to once and for all act like an ally."

We are offering Turkey upgraded F-16 aircraft and 900 air-to-air missiles as a carrot. Unfortunately, Erdogan thinks he has President Joe Biden over a barrel because Turkey can veto allowing Sweden and Finland to join NATO. He also knows America is distracted by China and Ukraine.

Although the Syrian situation is off the American radar, giving in to Turkey and, in effect, Iran, Russia and Syria will profoundly hurt long-term US interests. Let's hope the administration takes the wiser course.


Robert Malley Met Iran’s U.N. Envoy, Anti-regime Outlet Claims
The meetings would have come amid the continued Iranian protest movement sparked initially by the death of a 22-year-old woman who had been arrested by the morality police for not wearing her headscarf properly and Tehran’s continued transfer of weapons to Russia to support the Kremlin’s campaign in Ukraine.

Although President Biden told an attendee at an event in the lead-up to the midterm elections that the 2015 agreement was already dead in his eyes, and although top U.S. officials claim that resurrecting it is not their focus, the administration also has not conclusively cut off U.S. participation in the negotiations.

Now the department is declining to refute Iran International’s reporting that Malley met a senior Iranian diplomat three times in recent weeks. The revelation is likely to spark concern on Capitol Hill and demands by House Republicans that Malley testify before congressional committees.






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