Monday, September 04, 2023

From Ian:

The Holocaust and Iran’s nuclear program
On August 16, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken released a video address commemorating the 80th anniversary of the Bialystok Ghetto uprising. Blinken’s late stepfather, Samuel Pisar, participated in the revolt, which was one of the most significant acts of Jewish resistance against Nazi Germans.

The statement by a somber-looking Blinken referenced Jewish acts of “bravery” while also disclosing plans by the Biden administration to secure $1 million for establishing a “virtual tour of Auschwitz-Birkenau so that more people who can’t visit can experience the indelible impact of seeing the site.”

Efforts by Blinken and US President Joe Biden to invest in Holocaust education are laudable endeavors aimed at preserving the memory of the Shoah. Yet undergirding Blinken’s words was the administration’s announcement, less than a week earlier, that the US would unfreeze $6 billion of Iranian funds, previously held in South Korea, along with five Iranian prisoners – in exchange for five US hostages.

That Biden has spent his time in office courting an Islamic regime intent on “wiping out Israel” while also promoting a new Holocaust project is not surprising. For years, many on the Left have defaulted to a horrifying time in Jewish history and appropriated the Holocaust as a tool for Jewish placation – while simultaneously advancing policies that imperil the lives of Jews living today.

The corresponding announcements from earlier this summer proceed along a predictable pattern beginning under former US president Jimmy Carter of using the Holocaust as a foil for reorienting geopolitical dynamics against Israel. Comparisons are often made between the 39th president and America’s current leader, whose failures in foreign policy have led to America’s weakening influence abroad.

Writing in National Affairs, noted scholar Prof. Ruth Wisse details how it was officials within the Carter administration who initially pitched the idea of establishing a National Holocaust Museum when relations between president Carter and the broader Jewish community were at an all-time low. Wisse notes how Carter went public with his support for the plan after upsetting US Jewish leaders by approving the sale of F-15 fighter planes to Saudi Arabia and endorsing the creation of a Palestinian state.

Like Carter, Biden calculates references to remembering the six million Jews who perished in the Holocaust around accelerating diplomatic maneuvers that risk destroying six million more. The president has made reviving the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), a cornerstone of his foreign policy agenda. Most disturbing are reports citing that the recent $6 billion deal represents only a sliver of the approximately $20 billion Iran will receive in a new “mini-deal” involving its nuclear program.
The Escalation of Palestinian Terrorism
The month of August saw continued escalation of terror in the West Bank, Jerusalem, and Israel. The Hamas leadership (Saleh al-Arouri from Beirut and Hamas leaders from Gaza) continues to encourage Palestinian terrorism in the West Bank and to develop the terrorist infrastructure, including explosives laboratories and weapons smuggling (also with Iranian and Hezbollah assistance), and focus on the development of the terrorist infrastructure in southern Lebanon (with the coordination and assistance of Iran and Hezbollah). At the same time, the Palestinian Authority, which since the end of Operation Home and Garden in Jenin has begun to act with greater determination both in the Jenin region, but mainly in Nablus, Tulkarm, Qalqilya, and Ramallah, has been drawn into clashes with Palestinian youths and is seen on the Palestinian street as “collaborating with the Israeli occupation".

The scope of IDF activity in the Palestinian cities, the number of Palestinian detainees and casualties, and the massive intelligence effort are all growing. Yet alongside many impressive operations to foil terrorist activity and infrastructures, the scope of Palestinian terrorism has expanded, and continues to take a toll on Israeli citizens in the West Bank and in Israel. These trends point to the development of the terrorist system engulfing Israel since March 2022, and even more so since May 2022 with the start of Operation Break the Wave. What was mistakenly conceived as a terrorist wave did not break, and quickly developed into an expanding terror system that rests on a psychological infrastructure grounded in the consciousness of the armed struggle planted in the hearts of the young Palestinians – seared in them is the consciousness of intifada.

Alongside these, and as if influenced by the weak governance of the Palestinian Authority, Israeli governance regarding Jewish violence against Palestinians has also weakened. Worse still, this violence has in part been met by politicians who instead of denouncing it, choose to explain it, justify it, and censure IDF commanders and the head of the Israel Security Agency. Although the Palestinians do not need any justification to resort terror against Jews – they have enough reasons of their own, which we have already discussed – the policy of Israeli containment, or alternatively, the lack of the required determination and the political support needed for the required determination, add fuel to the growing fire of terrorism.

Israel is already beyond the “moment of truth.” The comfort zone that Israel has to date granted the Hamas leadership in the Gaza Strip and beyond is exacting an intolerable toll. Although Hamas is not the only generator of the terrorist system confronting Israel, it is certainly a significant and central element in driving and expanding this terrorist system. I believe Israel is required to take a significant military move that severely damages Hamas’s military infrastructure in the Gaza Strip. The military infrastructure is the source of Hamas's political power, and without it, Hamas will be greatly weakened. At the same time, there is no real or long-term validity to a military campaign in the Gaza Strip without a political goal and a broader and more significant political context, which the military campaign is supposed to serve. The context lies in the need to stabilize the Palestinian Authority and strengthen it in a way that allows its integration into the normalization process with Saudi Arabia and the design of the regional architecture.
How does a Palestinian child become a terrorist?
An Israeli man was stabbed and wounded in Jerusalem last week. His crime: waiting for a train while Jewish. The Palestinian Arab stabber was captured. He’s 14 years old.

How does a 14-year-old go from playing ball and doing homework to concealing a large knife in his book bag, traveling to a site where defenseless Jews are quietly waiting for a train, and then stabbing them?

The terrorist lives in Beit Hanina, an Arab neighborhood on the edge of Jerusalem. That’s within Israeli territory, but it’s just 11 kilometers from the Palestinian Authority capital of Ramallah – in other words, within broadcast range of PA Television and PA Radio.

So, this young terrorist grew up in a home where the atmosphere likely was steeped in PA TV and radio programs glorifying violence against Jews, portraying Israelis as evil monsters, and promising heavenly rewards for “martyrs” who are killed while murdering Israeli Jews.

Of course, it’s not just television and radio that influence a child’s upbringing. Parents play a major role. We don’t yet know anything about this particular stabber’s parents. But we do know that again and again, the parents of Palestinian Arab terrorists have declared their support for their children’s murderous actions.

In a memorable appearance in the PA news media a few years back, the father of 16-year-old Murad Adais declared, “I am proud of my son.”

The occasion for this burst of parental pride was not an impressive report card or doing his chores without having to be asked. No, what Murad did to bring honor to the Adais family was that he broke into the home of a young Israeli Jewish mother of six and brutally stabbed her to death.

Not long after that, the official Facebook page of the Fatah movement (the ruling faction of the PA) posted a large photo of the mother of the late Muhammed Shamasneh. She was smiling broadly and making a “V” sign with her right hand. The caption under the photo read: “How great you are, O mother of the Martyr.” Shamasneh, 22, was a Palestinian terrorist who stabbed three Jews near the Jerusalem central bus station.

PA building neighborhood on Joshua’s Altar site
The Palestinian Authority has begun building a neighborhood on the site of Joshua’s Altar on Mount Ebal in northern Samaria, Channel 12 reported.

An inspector from the Samaria Regional Council’s Lands Department on Sunday discovered that the P.A. has started paving roads as part of a project for 32 housing units on the ruins of the historic site, which is mentioned in the books of Deuteronomy and Joshua in the Hebrew Bible.

Following the revelation, Israel’s Civil Administration said that the construction vehicle operating on the site had been confiscated and that the archaeologist in charge of antiquities affairs in Judea and Samaria had opened an investigation.

The site, near Shechem (Nablus), is in Area B of Judea and Samaria per the Oslo Accords, which falls under P.A. administrative control and joint P.A.-Israeli security control.

The head of the Samaria Regional Council, Yossi Dagan, demanded that the Civil Administration intervene to stop the work immediately.

“No barbarian will be allowed to destroy this [site] of the people of Israel and human history. A disaster of heritage and history,” said Dagan.

“It is a real disaster. It is impossible that in the days of the sovereign state of Israel we will allow under our noses damage to the only historical site that proves the status of the entry of the people of Israel into its land in the days of Joshua,” he continued.

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said in January that Israel would not allow Palestinians to damage the archaeological site.

WSJ and Hamodia's radically different take on Saudi Deal
This past Friday's edition of the haredi Hamodia (tied to the Agudat Yisrael party) reports that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will meet President Biden a week after the Jewish New Year.

According to Hamodia, as part of the deal for Saudi recognition of the Jewish State, Netanyahu has agreed to a multi-year Jewish construction freeze in Judea and Samaria along with the formation of another "civilian" Palestinian Arab security force for the PA.

The paper further claims that this deal will get Knesset approval based on votes from the opposition and that following the vote Netanyahu will facilitate new elections in which he will not run. In exchange for leaving public life all charges would be dropped against Binyamin Netanyahu.

In contract, the same day, the Wall Street Journal reported that the Palestinian Arabs have reduced their demands to minor border changes (apparently moving the border of Area B so that neighborhoods of Palestinian Arab communities inside area B which have expanded into Area C will be within area B) along with demolishing a number of "illegal" Jewish outposts (something which the IDF does pretty much every week).

One explanation which has been offered for the contrasting "concessions" is that the construction freeze and new Palestinian Arab fighting force is to placate Democrat senators so that they will support American concessions to the Saudis.

A more cynical explanation is that even the most radical members of Binyamin Netanyahu's ruling coalition could stomach the Palestinian Arab demands as described by the Wall Street Journal, such that Netanyahu would find himself ending his career in two years with the public remembering him for his government's performance rather than the Saudi deal.
Israeli weightlifters to compete at World Championships in Saudi Arabia
A delegation of Israeli athletes will compete in the World Weightlifting Championships in Saudi Arabia, Kan News reported Sunday.

David Litvinov, Artur Mugurdumov, Nicole Rubanovich and Celia Gold are reportedly participating in the event, with a view to qualifying for the 2024 Paris Olympics.

The competition in Riyadh has brought together some 2,500 athletes from across the globe and runs from Sept. 4-17.

“It’s unusual and the truth is that it makes us very happy that we even have this opportunity. In the end, it’s a victory over politics,” said Litvinov.

The Israelis are also expected to compete in December in Doha, Qatar, another country with no official ties with the Jewish state.

In July, a team of Israelis competed in Saudi Arabia in the annual FIFAe World Cup, which sees entrants play in the latest version of the immensely popular soccer video game.

The team, which consisted of three gamers, their coach and their manager, entered the Saudi capital via a connecting flight in Dubai using their Israeli passports and were provided with security detail 24/7 during their week-and-a-half visit.

“It was very interesting to be in a country which we have no official relations with, but within a minute you get used to it and it seems like any other place in the world,” team manager Zvika Kosma recently told JNS.
Israel’s Cohen Discusses Expansion of Abraham Accords With Bahraini Crown Prince
Israel’s Foreign Minister Eli Cohen on Monday met with the Crown Prince of Bahrain Salman Bin Hamad Al Khalifa at Gudaibiya Palace, in Manama.

Cohen thanked the Crown Prince and his father, King Hamed Bin Isa Al Khalifa, for their leadership in signing the Abraham Accords, “which brought change in the Middle East and contributed to regional stability and the prosperity of the peoples of the region,” according to an official statement.

Cohen said that the Abraham Accords “are an example for other countries,” adding that Israel “expects to expand the circle of peace and normalization in the Middle East.”

“Foreign Minister Cohen and the Crown Prince discussed the regional challenges and the commitment of the two countries to the fight against terrorism, extremism, and violence in order to create an atmosphere that will allow the expansion of the circle of peace,” the statement said.

The minister also emphasized to the Crown Prince the importance of promoting economic and civil ties between the two countries. This, according to him, includes a free trade agreement and “projects to connect young Israelis and Bahrainis.”
Israel opens Bahrain embassy, three years after normalizing ties
Israel officially opened its embassy in Bahrain on Monday, three years after both sides normalized ties and as Washington presses Riyadh for a similar deal that would be Israel's biggest diplomatic win in the region.

Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen attended an official ceremony for the opening of the diplomatic mission during a visit to Bahrain which included a delegation of businessmen and government officials.

"The (Bahrain) foreign minister and I agreed that we should work together to increase the number of direct flights, the tourism, the trade volume, the investments," Cohen said during the ceremony.

Bahrain's Foreign Minister Abdullatif Al Zayani said the inauguration of the embassy "signifies our shared commitment to security and prosperity for all the peoples of our region." Bahrain joins the Abraham Accords

The normalization deal between Bahrain and Israel was part of a series of agreements, known as the Abraham Accords, which were also signed with the United Arab Emirates, Morocco and Sudan.

Bahrain, home to the US Navy's Fifth Fleet, is a small island on the Gulf where Saudi Sunni allies, the Al Khalifa royal family, rule over a Shi'ite majority.

Analysts said the rapprochement with Israel was forged partly through shared fears of Iran.

Israel to ink major energy deal with Cyprus and Greece
Israel is poised to finalize an energy deal with Greece and Cyprus which will include a mammoth electricity project connecting the power grids of the three countries, and a potential future regional natural gas pipeline between the eastern Mediterranean allies.

The expected accord comes amid burgeoning relations between Israel and both Cyprus and Greece in a variety of fields including energy, defense, tourism, high-tech and cybersecurity.

The international energy venture puts the eastern Mediterranean on the map as a key energy provider to Europe, as the war in Ukraine and sanctions on Russia fuel a global energy crisis that has hit the European Union hard, spotlighting the continent’s dependence on foreign energy.

“The partnership between our three countries becomes stronger with each passing year,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday evening in Nicosia at the start of a 24-hour visit which will include a trilateral summit meeting of the three countries’ leaders on Monday.

“Our strategic partnership and friendship is strong, and will solidify further,” said Cypriot President Nikos Christodoulides.

The top-level government meeting in Cyprus on Monday is expected to be the final round of consultations between the leaders before a deal is formally announced.

Electricity and gas projects
The deal to link the three countries’ electrical grids, referred to as an “energy highway,” is expected to be inked first, Israeli National Security Adviser Tzachi Hanegbi told JNS.

The 2,000-megawatt undersea cable will be the world’s longest and deepest underwater electricity cable, crossing the Mediterranean seabed bridging Asia and Europe.

Netanyahu said that in the coming months a decision will also be made on how best to cooperate in the field of natural gas as part of a deepening partnership founded on the discovery of substantial offshore natural gas deposits which, he said, can serve as an energy corridor to Europe and beyond, including Arab countries in the region.
India seeks to join Israel-Cyprus-Greece alliance
India has expressed interest in being part of the burgeoning regional cooperation among Israel, Cyprus and Greece, Greek and Israeli leaders said on Monday.

The prospect, which would broaden the alliance among the eastern Mediterranean allies, was announced during a trilateral summit of the leaders of Israel, Cyprus and Greece held in Nicosia.

The suggestion for the move, which Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi proposed to Greek and Cypriot leaders, has won the approval of all three countries in the budding alliance, and the Indian leader will be invited to attend the next trilateral summit scheduled to take place in Israel next year, a senior Israeli official said.

New Delhi is especially interested in a cargo route connecting India through the Arabian Peninsula and onto the Mediterranean, the official said.

India is a strong ally of Israel, and the countries’ prime ministers enjoy a strong relationship.
Libya Should Be Grateful Israel Even Considered Diplomatic Ties
Media headlines last week accused Israel of provoking a backlash over its meeting with Libya's foreign minister, a meeting that was meant to initiate diplomatic ties. While agreeing to the meeting, the Libyans pretended that the encounter was a catastrophe, with Libyan Foreign Minister Najila Mangoush having to flee for her life.

While numerous Arab nations have normalized relations with Israel, Moammar Gadhafi's hateful ethos still resonates among Libyans. The loss of diplomatic relations is not on Israel, but on Libya. Frankly, the Libyans should be thanking Israel for even considering diplomatic relations, given the instability and lack of legitimacy.

Israel should be commended for its outreach and continuous search for peace, despite the backward behavior of some of these countries. Israel's economy is 11.4 times larger than Libya's. By striving to open diplomatic relations with its sworn enemies, Israel has shown the moral high ground. Libya's reaction to diplomatic efforts speaks volumes about Libya more than about Israel. The case uncovered a nation with deeply held prejudices that is undeserving of Israel's hand in peace.
Libyan PM reportedly held talks with Mossad chief on normalization
The Lebanese newspaper al-Akhbar reported on Monday that Libyan Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibeh held talks with the head of the Mossad, David Barnea, in 2022 to discuss practical steps to normalize relations between Libya and Israel.

The report comes days after Dbeibeh fired his foreign minister Najla Mangoush for meeting with her Israeli counterpart Eli Cohen in Rome, claiming that she did so without his knowledge.

According to al-Akhbar, the revelation of the Mossad conversation was contained in a “classified diplomatic document” and was reportedly disclosed by the Libyan ambassador to Amman, Abdel Baset al-Badri, to the ambassador of another Arab country.

The Lebanese report said al-Badri “personally attended” the meeting in Amman. It was not definitively clear whether both Dbeibeh and Barnea were also in the Jordanian capital: The report says the meeting took place in Amman, but later says the conversation was “via video technology.”

The purpose of the conversation was reportedly to discuss the possibility of Israeli political and military support for Dbeibeh, who rules over the western part of Libya, in exchange for the establishment of official relations with the Jewish state.

Major General Ahmad Husni, director of Jordanian intelligence, was reportedly in charge of the practical and logistical details to ensure the talks were held in absolute secrecy.

Four terrorists arrested for Jerusalem attacks
Israeli forces arrested four Arabs on Monday responsible for throwing firebombs at security personnel in Jerusalem.

The four suspects, ages 19-21, operated together to throw explosives, Molotov cocktails and rocks at security personnel in eastern Jerusalem’s Shuafat neighborhood, according to the Israel Police and the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet).

In one of the attacks, a Border Police officer was slightly wounded by a firebomb. The four terrorists operated as a cell, police added.

Two of the suspects are also thought to have been involved in shots fired in the direction of Pisgat Zeev, a northern Jerusalem neighborhood, in March.

Indictments were expected to be filed on Monday.
Israeli forces arrest three Hamas terrorists in Jenin raid
Israel Defense Forces soldiers clashed on Monday with Palestinian terrorists in the Jenin refugee camp, in the first military operation there since a major campaign earlier this summer.

The IDF said troops arrested three Hamas terrorists: Abdullah Hassan Mohammed Sobeh, Vered Ashrin and Musab Jaitsa.

All of them were involved in “extensive” terrorist activity and perpetrated or directed IED and shooting attacks, according to the army.

Sobeh was also behind many of the attempts in recent months to launch rockets from Jenin toward Israeli communities.

The local branch of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist group said its members opened fire at Israeli forces as they arrived at the outskirts of the camp.

The Palestinian Authority Health Ministry said four people were injured in the clashes.

PMW: Dead terrorist’s “last will”: Don’t cry at my funeral. “Hand out dates and make sounds of joy at the wedding of Martyrdom”
Would an innocent young Palestinian with no intention of carrying out a terror attack leave behind a farewell message in which he stated his wish to become a “Martyr”? Would an innocent young man present himself as waging holy war and say he “set out with the determination of the Jihad fighters”? Would he instruct his family how to behave at his “wedding in Paradise” if he wasn’t on his way to carry out a terror attack?

Despite all this evidence, the PA claimed that terrorist Luay Abu Na’asa was innocent and “assassinated” by Israel.

Before terrorist Luay Abu Na’asa set out with his two terrorist accomplices, Naif Abu Sweis and Bara Ahmed Fayez, to commit a shooting attack, he left behind a farewell video.

In the video, Abu Na’asa stated that “Martyrdom called to me after I desired it for a long time,” telling his family “not to cry” but to “hand out dates and make sounds of joy at the wedding of Martyrdom.” The terrorists, who were killed by Israeli soldiers, acting on military intelligence about their imminent attack, had an M16 assault rifle in their car, as well as ammunition magazines with pictures of dead terrorists from Jenin attached to them. Abu Na’asa’s video, in which he is masked and dressed in military garb, holding a Quran and reading his message from a cell phone, clearly proves his intention to carry out one or more attacks, during which he was obviously prepared to die:
Terrorist Luay Abu Na’asa: “I have realized my wish and received Martyrdom for Allah. With the determination of the Jihad fighters I set out from this world, and I am going to a pure world, to Paradise... My family: Know that I did not leave you out of distress or a grudge against you, but rather Martyrdom called to me after I desired it for a long time. Dear mother: Please forgive me, as Allah’s satisfaction depends on you being satisfied with me, and my wish [to be a Martyr for Allah] will not be realized without this condition… Do not cry over me, rather make sounds of joy, as this is the wedding of your Martyr son… My last will is that no one cry at my funeral procession that leads to Paradise, rather hand out dates and make sounds of joy at the wedding of Martyrdom.”

[Fatah Movement – Bethlehem Branch, Telegram channel, Aug. 7, 2023]

Israel says it foiled attempt to smuggle explosives from Gaza to West Bank
Israeli authorities on Monday foiled an attempt by Palestinians to smuggle several kilograms of explosive material from the Gaza Strip to terror operatives in the West Bank, the Defense Ministry said.

According to the ministry, security guards at the Kerem Shalom Crossing found the “high-quality” explosive material hidden in a shipment of clothes being exported from the Gaza Strip to Israel.

It said that, according to initial assessments, the explosives were intended to be used for terror activity in the West Bank.

The explosives and three trucks worth of “international fashion brand clothes” were seized and the investigation was handed over to the Shin Bet security agency, the ministry said.

Following the incident, IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi instructed the ministry to halt all exports of goods from the Gaza Strip until further notice. The move was approved by Defense Minister Yoav Gallant.
Palestinian march of return comes back to Israel-Gaza border
Tensions are now reaching a boiling point between Palestinians and Israeli's leading to the second week of protests on the Israeli-Gaza border. i24NEWS Correspondent Hamdah Salhut

PreOccupiedTerritory: Group That Supported Every Brutal Regime Can’t Understand Why It So Unpopular In Mideast (satire)
Leaders and officials in a polity whose political and diplomatic record features an unbroken streak of siding with the most evil, most barbaric party to any international conflict, continued to wonder this week at the incomprehensible dislike that they encounter from other people in the region.

Palestinian nationalism’s choice of allies, from Hitler in World War Two, via the various repressive Arab dictators propped up by the totalitarian Soviets during the cold war, to the neo-Hitlerian Putin and the Islamist imperialist ayatollahs of Iran, has shown an uncanny knack for choosing the most reprehensible side possible.

Diplomats in this de facto Palestinian capital city north of Jerusalem voiced their bewilderment yet again that their cause has hemorrhaged international support and solidarity over the decades, despite the tried and true policy of selecting the most distasteful, most brutal regimes with which to ally themselves in a futile effort to prevent, then to undo, the establishment and nurturing of restored Jewish sovereignty in the ancestral Jewish homeland.

“Is it because we missed one?” pondered Nabil Sha’ath, a longtime confidant of late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. “There certainly have been a large number of strongmen since the 1920’s, but I’m pretty sure we expressed solidarity with, and enjoyed support from, every single one.”

“Stalin, check,” he began, ticking off the names on this fingers. “Hitler. Nasser, the Assads, the IRA, every Soviet leader after Stalin as well, Hugo Chavez, Pol Pot, Mao, Idi Amin… I don’t have enough fingers for a full accounting, but it’s a full one. None of us can wrap our heads around why the Palestinian issue has sunk lower and lower on the international agenda, bombastic Arab League pronouncements notwithstanding.”
Jake Wallis Simons: Why Iranians Don't Hate Israel
The civilised, intelligent, sensitive, cultured, warm-hearted Iranian public hate the regime and its agents much more than anybody else. For more than 40 years, they have groaned under its yoke, existing under constant surveillance, seeing friends and family members imprisoned, tortured and executed for the most minor of ideological indiscretions, and looking on in poverty while the regime funnels whatever funds it has towards implementing its vision of Mahdism overseas via the IRGC.

In 2020, after the Mossad assassinated nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh – using, as I revealed at the time, an automated gun weighing about a ton – two banners appeared on a prominent bridge nearby. The first was a handmade sign saying, ‘thank you Mossad’. The second was an Israeli flag.

This was more than a stunt by a small number of near-suicidal activists. From the point of view of the Iranian public, Israel is the only country that truly understands the nature of their rulers, and the only state willing to do something about it. This creates an informal alliance between the Iranian people and Israel, which of course makes Mossad’s operations in the country, which take place weekly under the radar, rather easier.

In the aftermath of any Israeli attack on Iranian forces in Syria, there is an outpouring of jubilation on Farsi social media. Many passers-by in Iran, where Israeli flags have been painted on the floor to be trampled on, can be seen carefully avoiding them. And on Quds Day, the regime’s annual carnival of hatred where Israeli and American flags are burned, many Iranians choose to stay at home.

Under Joe Biden’s marshmallow approach to the theocracy – which involved an egregious handout of $6 billion to Iran this month – the regime is edging ever closer to full nuclearisation. Nonetheless, there remains hope that before the apocalypse, the regime will crumble from within and Iranians will finally be free to exist in a manner befitting their history.

The courageous actions of the young street protesters who have set the country on fire over the past year gives the world great cause for optimism. As do the military abilities of Israel, both clandestine and overt. And as does the handshake of a weightlifter.
Iran Expands Stock of Near-Weapons Grade Uranium, UN Nuclear Watchdog Reports No Progress on Talks
Iran‘s stock of uranium enriched up to 60 percent purity, close to weapons grade, continues to grow and there has been no progress in talks with Tehran on sensitive issues such as explaining uranium traces at undeclared sites, two reports by the UN nuclear watchdog seen by Reuters said on Monday.

According to one of the confidential quarterly reports to member states, the International Atomic Energy Agency said Iran‘s stockpile of uranium enriched up to 60 percent purity, close to the roughly 90 percent of weapons grade, continued to increase albeit at a slower pace, despite some of it having been diluted.

“The [IAEA] Director General [Rafael Grossi] regrets that there has been no progress in resolving the outstanding safeguards issues in this reporting period,” one report said, referring to Iran‘s failure to credibly explain the origin of uranium particles found at two undeclared sites.

The reports, sent to IAEA member states ahead of a quarterly meeting of the IAEA’s 35-nation Board of Governors next week, also said that after limited progress on re-installing IAEA surveillance cameras in the previous quarter, there had since been none, further raising tensions with Western powers.

Iran and the IAEA announced an agreement in March on re-installing surveillance cameras introduced under a deal with major powers in 2015 but removed at Iran‘s behest last year. Only a fraction of the cameras and other monitoring devices the IAEA wanted to set up have been installed.

Rob Malley's Legacy of Failure: Undermining American Interests in the Middle East
Under the Obama and Biden administrations, he dealt directly with the region's worst actors, such as leaders from the IRGC and the PLO, operating under the philosophy that these vile men hold power and therefore can serve to underpin regional stability. It's worth recalling his 2008 forced resignation from the Obama presidential campaign after news surfaced that he’d met repeatedly with Hamas.

However, conditions across the globe have changed. Malley's philosophy has not. That view is now untenable, particularly given Iran's emboldened position and the Biden administration's emphasis away from the Middle East and toward the Indo-Pacific. This approach, made clear in an October 2019 Foreign Affairs essay, includes the perspective that long U.S. partners in the region, particularly Saudi Arabia and Israel, serve as a primary cause of instability. This thinking is misguided: the Saudis stand as a hedge against Iran's most destructive behavior and serve as a force for regional security and stability.

In this same essay, Malley went beyond his long-held view that the United States should pursue diplomacy with Iran, suggesting that we should embrace Tehran as a partner for stability. This idea ignores Iran's history of aggressive behavior, sponsorship of terrorism, destabilizing actions, and disregard for international norms.

The application of this philosophy wrought blatant disregard for key American partners in the Middle East. Traditional allies like Israel and Saudi Arabia were marginalized and frustrated by his apparent indifference to their concerns. Instead of fostering trust and cooperation, Malley's actions alienated these crucial partners, weakening the United States' standing in the region and undermining the potential for meaningful progress.

Throughout, Malley was under fire for his soft approach in dealing with the regime amidst nationwide protests in Iran against the regime's abuse of women. Last October, he embarrassed the United States when he decided to speak for the millions of Iranian protestors, claiming they sought to have Iran's leaders "respect their human rights and dignity." The protestors sought the overthrow of these leaders. At the time of Malley's statement, these leaders – with whom Malley sought diplomacy and dealmaking – were brutalizing the protestors.

Malley's fondness for Iranian hardliners was often hard to understand. Instead of approaching Tehran with an appropriate measure of skepticism and pressure, Malley seemed more interested in appeasement. This approach not only emboldened a regime known for its human rights abuses and support of terrorism but also failed to achieve any tangible concessions that could ensure the safety and security of the United States and its allies.

Ultimately, the United States gained nothing with any of this. Despite his public optimism and promises of diplomatic breakthroughs, Malley’s tenure achieved little more than stalled negotiations and elusive hopes. The pivotal issues plaguing the Middle East, including the Iranian nuclear threat, regional stability, and the threat of proxy forces, were never resolved.

The challenges facing the Middle East are complex and multifaceted. With the recent reduction of American forces and assets from the region, addressing these challenges requires the support of enduring partners. Unfortunately, Malley's blind pursuit of a new nuclear deal pushed some of those partners further away. It is now up to the next administration to rectify the damage caused by his legacy of failure, to rebuild relationships with critical allies, and to pursue a more effective and robust approach to the region's challenges. The Middle East deserves an American policy prioritizing security, stability, and protecting American interests.
CallMeBack PodCast: The inner workings of an untold (Iran) deal – with Rich Goldberg
Back in July, we dedicated an episode to the question of whether the U.S. was on the cusp of reaching a new deal with Iran. Or was an unofficial deal already hatched that nobody was talking about?

According to Rich Goldberg, the answers to these questions are now becoming more clear.

Rich has also been focused on another development that didn’t get sufficient press attention this summer: the release of US hostages by Iran. Rich wrote an important piece for The Dispatch analyzing that deal, and in our conversation today we examine it in the context of the broader arrangement Rich believes we have with Iran right now.

We also discuss what exactly is going on behind all the chatter about a U.S.-brokered normalization deal between Israel and Saudi Arabia.

Rich Goldberg is a senior advisor at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. From 2019-2020, he served as a Director for Countering Iranian Weapons of Mass Destruction for the White House National Security Council. He previously served as a national security staffer in the US Senate and US House. Rich is an officer in the U.S. Navy Reserve with military experience on the Joint Staff and in Afghanistan.

Item discussed in this episode:
The Disastrous Implications of the $6 Billion Iran Hostage Deal
Swedish national has been held by Iran since last year, Stockholm confirms
Sweden on Monday said a Swedish citizen in his 30s was arbitrarily detained in Iran last year and called for his immediate release.

The Swedish government didn’t identify the man, but the New York Times said he was Johan Floderus, a Swede who had been working for the European Union’s diplomatic corps.

Citing anonymous sources, the newspaper said Floderus was arrested on a private trip to Iran for possible use by Tehran as a bargaining chip in efforts to seek concessions from the West.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman, Nasser Kanaani, told the semi-official Fars news agency that he had no information on the case.

The Swedish Foreign Ministry said the man was detained in Iran in April last year but declined to give details.

“The Ministry for Foreign Affairs and the Embassy of Sweden in Tehran are working very intensively on the case and are maintaining close contact with the EU,” the ministry said in an email.

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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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