Tuesday, May 30, 2023

From Ian:

Stop the lie: Israel never ethnically cleansed Palestinians
Today’s Palestinian leaders virtually never acknowledge that Arab communities in 1947-48 who negotiated peace with Israel in advance of the war—and those who remained neutral—were not touched.

Abu Ghosh, a town just west of Jerusalem, for instance, reached an agreement with Israeli authorities not to get involved in the fighting. Nazareth also negotiated its neutrality, leaving the city relatively unscathed.

Today, these non-combatant cities are part of Israel’s thriving Arab community of more than two million—20% of Israel’s population. These facts completely disprove the accusation that Israel ethnically cleansed its land of Arabs.

Tragically, Palestinian leaders, leaders of other Arab countries and the United Nations continue to perpetuate the misery of the Palestinian people by discouraging them from integrating into the societies of other countries and building new lives.

This is exemplified by the fact that every Arab country except Jordan has refused to give its Palestinian refugees citizenship.

Today, more than 1.5 million Palestinians still live in squalid refugee camps, where they are fed the false promise that one day they will be able to return to their “homes.” Millions more Palestinians the world over still consider themselves refugees, though their displaced parents and grandparents have long passed away.

This promise of return is unrealistic, because Israel will never allow millions of descendants of deceased Palestinian refugees into its territory. Doing so would mean the end of the Jewish state. The Palestinian leadership knows this, yet one of their primary conditions of peace with Israel is this so-called—and non-existent—“right of return.”

Meanwhile, tens of millions of people displaced in other wars have gone on to build new lives in new countries. This includes 800,000 Jews who fled or were expelled from Arab countries after Israel’s birth—most resettled in Israel.

In addition, history gives us countless other examples of war-time refugees building new lives in new countries. Germans from Sudetenland, Hindus from Pakistan, Greeks from Turkey—all experienced displacement, but did not obsess or resort to terrorism over ejection from their former homes. Instead, they chose to rebuild and thrive elsewhere.

In fact, the most successful peoples in the world—even the stateless—are those who seek freedom and prosperity and work diligently to achieve it.

It’s time the Palestinians shift from their narrative of victimhood and look to a future in which they can thrive by building lives in new countries or by finally saying yes to peaceful coexistence with Israel and building a country of their own.
The UN Must Not Repeat Its ‘Nakba Day’ Farce
Abbas’ ugly performance was unhelpful to the well-being of Palestinians. It’s a moral imperative to separate humanitarian compassion for Palestinian refugees and their descendants — who have been used as pawns by Arab leaders — with Nakba Day, a cynically politicized creation aimed at undermining Israel’s legitimacy.

The Nakba Day ceremony underscored how ridiculous the UN’s institutional anti-Israel obsession has become. There are two permanent UN committees devoted to demonizing Israel and promoting the Palestinian narrative, plus a “Division of Palestinian Rights” in the UN Secretary-General’s office and a new, unprecedented permanent inquiry against Israel in the UN Human Rights Council.

This year’s UN calendar will now have two Palestinian “special days” — Nakba Day, and also the annual Day of International Solidarity with the Palestinian People (Nov. 29). The UN has no other “special day” to express “solidarity” with or commemorate the history of any other national group.

The US, Canada, Australia, and dozens of other countries deserve credit for steering clear of the Nakba Day spectacle. By declining to attend, these countries upheld the international consensus to support two states for two peoples, Israeli and Palestinian, achieved through direct peace negotiations — meaning you cannot treat the establishment of one of those states as a crime and a disaster.

President Abbas’ speech was a strong reminder why there is no two-state peace today. Negotiations are the only way forward, but Abbas’ speech demanded the UN force Israel to concede Palestinian claims without negotiations — typical of a totally counter-productive Palestinian strategy over recent years of rejecting all talks and focusing instead on demonizing Israel in international forums.

Abbas has called upon the UN General Assembly to make Nakba Day another permanent day to “commemorate the Palestinian plight.” For the UN, whose credibility is at an all-time low, Abbas’ vile speech hopefully caused enough embarrassment that the Nakba Day hate-fest won’t be repeated.
West Bank Terror Attack Victim Identified as Meir Tamari, Father of Two Young Children
The Israeli man who was murdered in a terrorist shooting attack in the West Bank on Tuesday was identified as Meir Tamari, the father of two children aged one and three.

The attack occurred near the entrance to the Hermesh settlement, in the northern part of the West Bank, around 11:30 in the morning. Meir arrived to the settlement, where he married his wife Tal, four years ago. The couple has just finished building a house a few days ago.

According to Magen David Adom (MDA) emergency services, the 32-year-old victim was wounded in the shoulder. A helicopter was sent to evacuate the patient to a nearby medical center, where he succumbed to wounds.

i24 News - Israelis opposed to the planned judicial overhaul by the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took to...

“Unfortunately, despite the best efforts of the medical team, the team had to pronounce him dead. The family has been notified,” the hospital’s statement said.

Israeli forces have launched a manhunt for the terrorist, and erected roadblocks in the area. The attack was reportedly carried out from a passing vehicle, which cut off the victim’s car and opened fire.

The Tulkarem Battalion, a new wing of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist group, claimed responsibility for the attack.

“Our soldiers were able to carry out a quality operation on the road to Hermesh settlement. They opened fire at a vehicle carrying a settler, and we confirm that he was hit directly,” the group’s statement said.

Israeli murdered in West Bank shooting, IDF on terrorist manhunt
The mother of Tamari's wife, Tali, is the second wife of Binyamin Horgen, who lost his first wife, Esther Horgen, in a terrorist attack in the Reihan Forest, north of Hermesh, in 2020.

The Fatah-linked al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades group reportedly took credit for the attack and there were suspicions that the terrorists were hiding in the Jenin area.

Further, the terror group sent out messages to Palestinians in the area to erase any security video camera footage to prevent Israeli security forces from tracking the culprits movements.

For their part, security forces were almost immediately on a manhunt to catch the terrorist perpetrators as the IDF erected additional checkpoints to limit their ability to maneuver.

There was some controversy from local Israeli leaders who claimed that the incident would have been avoided if a nearby checkpoint had not been abandoned. In contrast, the IDF said that the checkpoint would have made no difference because the shooting took place using a drive-by firing tactic. Even after the incident, the IDF said that while it has increased its presence in the general area and that its nearby forces can man the checkpoint in question quickly if needed, it has no plans to add forces to man the specific checkpoint round-the-clock that local Israeli leaders want to be reinforced.

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said early Tuesday afternoon that he had received a security update on the situation and that he would hold an additional wider meeting with top defense officials in the coming hours.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed his condolences to the Tamari family on Tuesday afternoon, saying "Our forces are currently in pursuit of the terrorists in order to settle accounts with them, and they will be settled forthwith. Just as we have found every terrorist and closed accounts with them, we will do so this time as well."

EU Ambassador to Israel Dimiter Tzantchev posted on Twitter, “I'm shocked and saddened by yet another shooting attack in the West Bank, which killed an Israeli father of two. Sending deepest condolences to his family. I condemn this cowardly and brutal act of violence! We stand together against terrorism, which needs to be rejected by all.”

Israeli seriously injured in West Bank terror attack

US, EU slam construction of new yeshiva building in illegal Homesh outpost
The US State Department on Monday slammed Israel for allowing the construction of a new yeshiva building overnight in the illegal West Bank outpost of Homesh.

A spokesperson for the State Department reiterated that the US is “deeply troubled” by the move, “which is inconsistent with both former prime minister Sharon’s written commitment to the Bush administration in 2004 and the current Israeli government’s commitments to the Biden administration.”

The mention of current commitments is likely a reference to Jerusalem’s agreement at regional conferences in February and March to a four-month moratorium on discussing new settlement units and a six-month freeze on okaying new outposts.

The statement added that US officials “regularly engage with Israeli officials on this issue and will continue to do so.”

The wording was virtually identical to the statement issued by the State Department last week, after the IDF revoked an order barring Israelis from entering Homesh.

The statement also heavily echoed the comments made by the US following the repeal of the Disengagement Law earlier this year.

In Baku, Azerbaijan’s president thanks Herzog for Israeli arms supply
President Isaac Herzog stressed on Tuesday the threat that Iran poses to regional stability in his meeting with his Azerbaijani counterpart, Ilham Aliyev, in Baku. In his public remarks after the meeting, Herzog said the two spoke in depth about “the entire global and regional security structure that is endangered and threatened by Iran.”

“Visiting Azerbaijan is a dream come true for me and for my nation,” said Herzog, speaking in English.

Aliyev, seated next to Herzog, said that the March opening of Azerbaijan’s embassy in Tel Aviv created “more opportunities to have a closer interaction.”

Aliyev lauded the defense cooperation between the countries, saying that Baku “has access to modern Israeli equipment in this area for many years, which helps us to modernize our defense capability, and to be able to protect our statehood, our values, our national interest, and our territorial integrity.”

Israel is one of Azerbaijan’s leading arms suppliers. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, Israel provided 69 percent of Baku’s major arms imports in 2016-2020, accounting for 17% of Jerusalem’s arms exports over that period.

Israel stepped up its weapons shipments to Azerbaijan during the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Azerbaijan emerged victorious in that six-week war with Armenia, which claimed the lives of more than 6,000 soldiers and resulted in Baku regaining control over disputed territories.

Herzog’s visit is the latest step in an ongoing and very public expansion of bilateral ties with Azerbaijan, a Shiite-majority country closely allied with Turkey that has seen its partnership with Israel flourish in the wake of Israeli support during its 2020 conflict.
Israel-boycotting Barcelona mayor loses seat
Barcelona Mayor Ada Colau—who suspended all of the Spanish city’s ties with Israel, including a “twinning” relationship with Tel Aviv, last February—has lost her seat in the 2023 local Spanish elections.

Colau had cited “the repeated violations of human rights of the Palestinian population and non-compliance with United Nations resolutions” for the decision to boycott Israel. (José Luis Martínez-Almeida, the mayor of Madrid who offered his city as a replacement for a Tel Aviv “twinning,” won reelection.)

Colau lost to Xavier Trias, a former Conservative Barcelona mayor. “Thanks for the trust,” the latter tweeted in Catalan. “We will make a better Barcelona!”

Pedro Sánchez, the Spanish prime minister, said he would dissolve parliament and call early elections—scheduled for July 23—after conservatives and far-right candidates achieved “strong gains,” Politico reported. The elections were to be held by year’s end.

Palestinian terror group runs student exchange program with Europe
A designated terrorist organization is running an international student exchange program for Palestinian students in cooperation with France and the United Kingdom, according to an Israeli NGO.

The exchange program, run by the Union of Agricultural Work Committees, claims to “strengthen young people in relation to agricultural and environmental activities.” Scheduled for July, it includes visits to Marseille, Berlin and Hebron.

According to the admission criteria, priority will be given to residents of Area C, an administrative zone in Judea and Samaria controlled by Israel.

After discovering the program, Israeli NGO Regavim wrote a letter to the Israeli Defense Ministry and Israel Defense Forces last week demanding that immediate steps be taken.

“Israel must act immediately to block the UAWC’s ability to operate on the local and international stage to spread its terrorist agenda, and to cut off the UAWC’s ability to maintain international contacts that funnel European money to the PFLP,” the letter states.

“The Israeli government’s failure to act against the activities of this terrorist organization constitutes abandonment of territory under Israeli jurisdiction,” he said, expressing surprise that the UAWC continues to operate “openly among Palestinian students and in cooperation with foreign countries.”
PreOccupiedTerritory: For Convenience, EU Aid to Palestinians Now Pre-Embezzled (satire)
Streamlined procedures at the European Commission aimed at reducing processing time, overhead, and waste mean that as of this coming quarter, the generous funding of projects in the West Bank and Gaza Strip will remove the once-extra step of siphoning much of those funds into the private bank accounts of local leaders, a spokesman for the organization announced today.

The European Union’s foreign policy arm, which donates hundreds of millions of euros annually to Palestinian groups and programs, has eliminated a stage in its cumbersome bureaucracy during which Palestinian leaders embezzle all or part of the monies. Instead, disclosed Palestine Directorate chief Wilhelm Graft this afternoon, at least 60% of money arrives in Palestinian project accounts pre-embezzled, freeing up the project directors to get right to the work of squandering the remainder, either on busywork dressed up as infrastructure, or on structures to create unilateral facts on the ground in disputed territory, in violation of the Oslo Accords with Israel, which mandate resolution of those disputes through negotiations.

“We are always looking for ways to improve our processes – we know one of the central criticisms of European Union bureaucracy is its built-in inefficiencies,” he noted.

“This new set of procedures will enable us to remove some of the many steps involved in funding our overseas projects,” he explained further. “We all understand that it’s about getting the funds to the recipients as smoothly as possible, whether those recipients are people involved in implementing projects, or government officials who customarily skim anywhere from forty to one hundred percent off the top before letting the rest through to the projects themselves.”
IDF to demolish home of terrorist who killed Lucy Dee and two of her daughters
Israeli forces on Monday night mapped for demolition the Nablus home of the Hamas terrorist who murdered three members of the Dee family last month.

Lucy Dee, 48, and daughters Maia, 20, and Rina, 15, were shot and killed on April 7 while driving on Highway 57 near Hamra Junction.

Hassan Katnani and fellow terrorist Muad Masri were shot dead earlier this month in an exchange of fire that broke out after Israeli forces surrounded their hideout in Nablus’s Kasbah (Old City).

During Monday night’s operation in the Askar refugee camp on the eastern outskirts of the city, Palestinians threw explosive devices and rocks and Israeli forces, who responded with riot control measures.

One of the assailants threw a firebomb at the troops, who returned fire, hitting him, according to the Israel Defense Forces.

Also on Monday, Israeli forces mapped for demolition the Nablus home of Hasam Bassam Bashir Aslim, who directed the killing last October of IDF Staff Sgt. Ido Baruch.

Baruch was securing a civilian march near Shavei Shomron in northern Samaria when he was shot from a moving vehicle. He was evacuated to Meir Medical Center in Kfar Saba, where he died of his wounds.
Military ambulance damaged in shooting attack in southern West Bank
A military ambulance was targeted in a shooting attack near the southern West Bank settlement of Kiryat Arba late Monday night, the Israel Defense Forces said.

The IDF said the ambulance and other troops were conducting routine security operations on the Route 60 highway near Hebron.

“IDF soldiers responded with live fire toward the source of the shooting,” the military said.

The ambulance was damaged after being hit by at least two bullets.

No soldiers were hurt in the attack, the IDF said.

The IDF said troops were scanning the area for suspects.

The attack came a day after Palestinian terrorists opened fire at a settlement in the northern West Bank and a town in Israel bordering the security barrier, causing slight damage.

The IDF said it had launched a manhunt for the suspects behind the shooting attack. A local wing of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group claimed responsibility.

PMW: From Terrorist to Teacher, from Murderer to Mentor
In 2002, terrorist Marwan Barghouti was arrested by Israel and later sentenced to 5 life sentences for orchestrating shooting attacks in which 5 people were murdered. When arrested he was a member of PA Parliament, and he has been reelected as such while serving time. In addition, PA and Fatah Chairman Abbas appointed him to Fatah’s Central Committee. This month, the PA marks the anniversary of Barghouti’s so-called “kidnapping” by Israel, as Palestinian Media Watch exposed earlier this month, when the PA referred to Barghouti as a “national symbol and a model of inspiration for the masses.”

From Terrorist to Teacher
Another fact about Barghouti exposed by PMW is that he serves as supervisor of academic studies in prison, teaching and tutoring other prisoners who are studying for their MA degrees in “Israel Studies.” Released terrorist murderer Karim Younes shed more light on Barghouti’s doings as a teacher recently when he praised Barghouti at a Fatah ceremony honoring him. Murderer Younes spoke with awe about terrorist Barghouti, telling the audience of his dedication to his terrorist prisoner students – teaching for hours while sitting on an iron pipe with a rag over it. Younes related that 200 of his students have completed MA degrees under his supervision:
Released terrorist prisoner Karim Younes: “Marwan… has been a leader since his youth, and he is a Fatah member and a member of its [Fatah] Central Committee… [In prison] we would call him: ‘The professor who sits on a pole.’ Forgive me [the expression] ‘the professor who sits on a pole.’ I cannot explain to you how tough, persistent, and loyal he is, because he is the man behind the great achievement, the achievement of academic studies, the systematic studies in the Israeli prisons. No one can describe how this uncompromising man can sit on a bit of iron pipe and put a rag or torn blanket on it and sit from 11:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. and lecture to his students, of whom 200 have already completed a master’s degree… At 11:00 a.m. he goes down, loaded with books, the textbooks are in his hands, and he continues until 3:00 p.m. without a break with the prisoner students so that they will complete their studies. They complete their studies at Al-Quds [Open] University, but they do not complete their studies like in regular universities… Those who were released and continued to study in universities [outside prison] know the difference between the studies inside prison and outside. Studying with brother Marwan – if the [regular] study material is 2 books, with Marwan it’s 7. A regular class is an hour and a half, with Marwan [it’s] four hours.”

[Official PA TV, May 8, 2023]

The Protocols of the Elders of Zion teach Jews they are masters over mankind- Palestinian researcher

“Every day he would tell me: I want to die as a Martyr” says mother of dead teen terrorist

“This is my wedding day” – terrorist prepared for Martyrdom

MEMRI: Virulently Antisemitic Article In Jordanian Daily Al-Dustour: The Jews, The Descendants of Apes And Pigs, Are The Most Cursed And Impure People On Earth; The World Will Continue To Suffer From Them Until It Finds A Solution To Be Rid Of Them For Good Covered by EoZ onm May 17th. Insane antisemitism in Jordanian news site
On May 17, 2023, Palestinian journalist Ghassan Mustafa Al-Shami, who writes frequently on Hamas-affiliated websites, penned a virulently antisemitic article in the Jordanian daily Al-Dustour, in which he described "the Zionist Jews" as "the descendants of apes and pigs," "devil worshippers," cheats, liars and "the most twisted and impure creatures on the face of the earth." Referring his readers to the Quran and the Sunna to discover more about the Jews, Al-Shami stated that the world will continue to suffer from them until "someone finds a magic solution to be rid of them forever, once and for all." He concluded by saying that the conflict between the Jews and the Palestinians is a religious one, and that the Jews will never manage to defeat the Palestinian resistance, which will continue to exhaust them and keep them in a state of perpetual dread.

The following are translated excerpts from his article:[1] "The Zionist Jews are the most twisted and impure creatures on the face of the earth. They are descendants of apes and pigs, devil worshipers… masters of witchcraft, godless crooks. The Jews and some of the greatest devils and satans, they are fraudsters, cheats and liars. This is the most cursed and impure people ever created in the world. To know more about the Jews, one should peruse the exalted Quran and the pure Sunna of the Prophet, which provide extensive information and accurate details about them.

"The Zionist Jews have murdered women and children, young people and old, by massacring, burning and crushing them, and expelled millions of people [from their homes]. These impure Zionists think that all the people of the world – the Americans, Europeans, Chinese, Japanese and all the other nations, except for the Muslims – exist to serve them and to live under their control, those impure and twisted people. Nobody in the world finds favor with them, except for their own kind. The Western world and the world at large will continue to suffer from the Jews until someone finds a magic solution to be rid of them forever, once and for all.

"The author of this article wonders if it makes sense that eight million Zionists should keep the eight billion people of the world – everyone except for the Palestinians, the resistance fighters, the freedom lovers, and those with a living conscience – in a state of turmoil, concern, madness and hysteria and constantly serving the Zionists' interests. "Since it took over our land [of Palestine], the Zionist entity [i.e., Israel] has been using biblical terms, since it understands that the war with the Palestinians is a religious one and that the conflict is religious and ideological. [Yet] despite using all those weapons – with their biblical names, such as Iron Dome, David's Sling, Moses' Magic Wand[2]… David's Shield, etc. – the Zionists have not managed to defeat the Palestinian resistance and to continue defiling our Al-Aqsa and Jerusalem. More than that, the resistance will exhaust them with its fames of hell and terrorize them from morning till night, every moment of their daily lives."
MEMRI: U.S. Ambassador In Iraq Sparks Mixed Reactions, From Calls To Expel Her To Awe At Her Ability And Influence
It seems that everyone in Iraq has an opinion about U.S. Ambassador Alina L. Romanowski, especially in light of her extensive activity. Romanowksi started her career as a CIA analyst and served in a variety of American intelligence and government agencies. Her most recent post before her appointment as ambassador to Iraq was as ambassador to Kuwait.[1] Since assuming her latest position in June 2022, the ambassador has held numerous meetings with heads of state, ministers, ministry directors and tribal leaders, and has inaugurated museums, power stations, branches of American food chains, and more. These endeavors have sparked many reactions from the Iraqi public, mostly from supporters of the Iran-backed Shi'ite militias, who believe that her activities deviate from accepted diplomatic practice and constitute explicit interference in Iraq's internal affairs, to the extent of running the country. These critics have called to expel Romanowski and have even issued death threats against her. Others in Iraq claim that her conduct is due to the weakness of the Iraqi state, and point out that, paradoxically, Iraq has such a proactive U.S. ambassador at a time when its government incorporates the Coordination Framework, a coalition of Shi'ite political parties that are political arms of several Iran-backed militias, and which are vociforous opponents of the U.S. presence in Iraq. Previous U.S. ambassadors, as well as UN and British representatives, have likewise been and continue to be treated with hostility by Iran-backed elements in Iraq.[2] However, it appears that, due to her strong presence on social media, the criticism against Romanowksi is especially harsh.

The following are some of the responses in Iraq to the ambassador and her conduct.

Iran-Backed Shi'ite Militias: The Ambassador Should Be Expelled; We Will Prevent Her From Acting Freely

The hostility expressed towards Romanowksi by the Iran-backed Shi'ite militias, headed by the Al-Nujaba Movement and the Sayyid Al-Shuhada Brigades, and by their supporters is not surprising. Even before her appointment, when her candidacy came up, opposition to it was expressed on the Telegram channels that support these militias, chief of them Sabereen News and Shaajab News. The channels tried to discredit her and present her as an intelligence agent rather than a diplomat, emphasizing her past with the CIA and her ties to Israel.[3] After her appointment as ambassador to Iraq, these elements mocked and criticized her activities and initiatives, such as her support for Iraqi businesswomen and civil society organizations, describing them as looting Iraqi resources and an attempt to sow rifts and division among the Iraqi people.[4] This criticism increased after measures taken by the U.S. vis-à-vis the Central Bank of Iraq in an effort to prevent money laundering and a flow of dollars into Iran and Syria led to a plunge in the value of the Iraqi dinar and deepened the economic crisis in Iraq.[5]

About six months after she became ambassador, the militia mouthpieces began calling to replace her, on the grounds that she was overstepping the boundaries of her position and violating diplomatic norms.[6] In the recent weeks, the militias and their supporters have escalated their threats against the ambassador. On May 16, the Ashab Al-Kahf group, which has claimed responsibility for several attacks against U.S. forces in Iraq and is apparently affiliated with the Al-Nujaba Movement, called on Iran-backed Shi'ite groups that have recently ceased their activity to renew it and to "silence the American female demon [Romanowski] in Baghdad."[7]

Another claim made by the militias, chiefly by the Al-Nujaba Movement (which is not represented in the Iraqi parliament), which has also been made in the past, before Romanowski's appointment, is that the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad is not a diplomatic mission but a military post and is therefore a legitimate target for attack. In a speech he gave to mark International Qods Day on April 14, 2023, [8] Al-Nujaba secretary-general Akram Al-Ka'abi attacked the U.S. and asserted that it fosters corruption in Iraq, tramples all international norms and is in fact occupying Iraq. He stressed that Al-Nujaba opposes the American presence in the country, including the presence of Romanowksi, "the ambassador of evil" who violates the accepted diplomatic norms, as well as the presence of a military base in the heart of Baghdad that is "deceptively called an embassy."[9] A similar message was conveyed by a cartoon published by the movement on May 15, which shows a crowd of people gathered opposite the U.S. Embassy – which is depicted as a military base – demanding the expulsion of the American forces. Romanowksi, standing at a window, says, "This is a military base… No, sorry, it's a diplomatic mission."[10]
Hizbullah and Russia’s Nascent Alliance
While the world’s attention is focused on Ukraine, Russia has been steadily expanding its presence in the Middle East, including through its dealings with the Lebanese terrorist group Hizbullah.

Over the last few years, Russia has quietly extended its reach into Lebanon, seeking to cultivate cultural, economic and military ties in Beirut as part of a strategy to expand Russian influence in the Middle East, while side-lining the US and elevating Moscow’s role as a peacemaker. However, Russia’s encroachment into Lebanon has been overshadowed by the conflict in Ukraine, and its growing alliance with Hizbullah has likewise received scant attention. And yet, a close read of US government designations related to Iranian and Hizbullah illicit financing schemes reveals a distinct trend in Russian cooperation with and support for such activities.

Sanctions Evasion
Russia’s alliance with Hizbullah was born out of the conflict in Syria, where Russian and Hizbullah forces fought side-by-side in alliance with the Assad regime. For years, this alliance appeared strictly limited to military activity in Syria, but in 2018, Hizbullah and Russia began to engage in unprecedented joint sanctions evasion activities. The stark change in activity between Hizbullah and Russia clearly demonstrated that their cooperation had moved beyond a military alliance and now carried an economic component. In November 2018, the US Department of the Treasury exposed a convoluted trade-based oil smuggling sanctions evasion scheme directed by Hizbullah and the Qods Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). This scheme allowed the Iranian regime to remit money to Russia’s state-owned Promsyrioimport on behalf of Syria, enabling Russia to evade US sanctions against the Assad regime. Simultaneously, the Syrian Central Bank remitted cash to Hizbullah, HAMAS and the IRGC-Qods Force on behalf of the Iranian regime. Central to this scheme were two key conduits: Hizbullah official Mohamed Qasir and Russia-based Syrian national Mohamed Alchwiki. In a letter to a senior official at the Central Bank of Iran, Qasir (aka Mr Fadi) and Alchwiki confirmed receipt of $63 million as part of a scheme to benefit Hizbullah.

Since this network’s disruption, the Treasury Department has levied sanctions against numerous entities involved in the ever-evolving Hizbullah-IRGC-Qods Force oil smuggling network led by Qasir and his Iranian counterparts, IRGC-Qods Force official Behnam Shahriyari and former IRGC-Qods Force official Rostam Ghashemi, now deceased. One aspect of this smuggling network that stands out, however, is the Russian government’s official involvement.

Raisi Played Direct Role In Executing Prisoners In 80s: Ex-Warden
The exact number of prisoners executed during the purge of prisoners is not known but according to Amnesty International, the Iranian authorities "forcibly disappeared" and "extrajudicially executed" around 5,000 between July and September 1988.

The former director of Evin prison, which has held some of the country’s most high profile cases and is famed for its brutalities to inmates, added that he witnessed the bodies of the executed prisoners thrown into trucks and taken from the prison.

Mortazavi claimed he resigned to what was known as ‘the death board’, the group of decision-makers deciding whether prisoners lived or died. He claims his resignation was met with a death threat by the deputy intelligence minister.

“Although I did not have a direct role in the execution of prisoners, I feel guilty because of my silence about the executions, and even if I repent, I will not be cleansed,” he said.

After his victory in the presidential election in 2021, in response to an Al-Jazeera reporter’s question, Ebrahim Raisi said he has been a "human rights defender" since the beginning of his tenure in the judicial system and "should be commended " for his actions.

Mortazavi further stated that female prisoners still virgins were forcibly married to jailers before the execution. According to the narrative of political prisoners, the clerics of the Islamic Republic believed if the virgin girls were executed, they would go to heaven, and for this reason, they raped them in the form of forced marriage so that they would not die virgins.

”The father of one of the executed virgin girls told me that after the execution of his daughter, the agents gave him money saying the money is for his daughter's marriage endowment."
Iran claims to test hypersonic missile that can breach all defense shields
Iran on Monday announced that it had finished testing a new hypersonic missile capable of penetrating all defense systems and that it will soon be unveiled.

General Amir Ali Hajizadeh, who commands the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’s aerospace unit, said the development marked a “great leap in the field of missiles,” and that “the hypersonic missile has a high speed and can maneuver both in and out of the Earth’s atmosphere.”

Hajizadeh first revealed the development of the hypersonic missile last November.

“It will be able to breach all the systems of anti-missile defense,” said the general at the time, adding that he believed it would take decades before a system capable of intercepting it is developed.

Hypersonic missiles, like traditional ballistic missiles that can deliver nuclear weapons, can fly more than five times the speed of sound.

A hypersonic missile is also maneuverable, making it harder to track and defend against.

While countries like the United States and Israel have developed systems designed to defend against cruise and ballistic missiles, the ability to track and take down a hypersonic missile remains a question.

Last week, Iran unveiled another version of a ballistic missile with a range of 2,000 kilometers (1,242 miles), enough to hit areas of Israel.
Iran Dep. Defense Minister: Soon We'll Have Missile Stealth Technology to Defeat Israel’s Iron Dome
On May 26, 2023, IRINN TV (Iran) aired a report about the unveiling of the Khorramshahr-4 missile. The report stated that unlike Iran’s liquid-fuel missiles, which take two hours to prepare for launch and which cannot store their own fuel, the Khorramshahr-4 missile can remain launch-ready for 10 years and can be launched within 20 minutes. According to Iranian Defense Minister General Mohammad-Reza Gharaei Ashtiani and Deputy Defense Minister IRGC General Mehdi Farahi, the missile has a range of 2,000 kilometers, can carry a 1.5-ton 4-meter-long guided warhead, is too fast to be intercepted by air defense system, and has an isolated guidance system that cannot be jammed by electronic warfare systems. In addition, General Farahi said that Iran has the technology to develop missiles with much greater ranges, but that its restrained national security policy precludes it from doing so, and he added that Iran will soon attain stealth technologies that will prevent defense systems such as Israel’s Iron Dome and David’s Sling from intercepting the missile.

Why are the Taliban and Iran on the verge of war over water?
Tensions between Iran and the Taliban continue to grow over water supplies, as the Taliban begins construction on a dam in the Helmand River.

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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 19 years and 40,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.


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