May 25, 2017

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04/20 Links Pt1: We’re turning a blind eye to Iran’s genocidal liars; A steady diet of anti-Israel rhetoric

http://elderofziyon.blogspot.com/2017/04/0420-links-pt1-were-turning-blind-eye.html

From Ian:


Michael Oren: We’re turning a blind eye to Iran’s genocidal liars
The Australian, April 19, 2017 – In responding forcibly to North Korean and Syrian outrages, President Trump has taken a major step towards restoring America’s deterrence power. His determination to redress the flaws in the JCPOA and to stand up to Iran will greatly accelerate that process. The US, Israel and the world will all be safer.
The US has signed agreements with three rogue regimes strictly limiting their unconventional military capacities. Two of those regimes — Syria and North Korea — brazenly violated the agreements, provoking game-changing responses from Donald Trump. But the third agreement — with Iran — is so inherently flawed that Tehran doesn’t even have to break it. Honouring it will be enough to endanger millions of lives.
The framework agreements with North Korea and Syria, concluded respectively in 1994 and 2013, were similar in many ways. Both recognised that the regimes already possessed weapons of mass destruction or at least the means to produce them. Both ­assumed that the regimes would surrender their arsenals under an international treaty and open their facilities to inspectors. And both believed these repressive states, if properly engaged, could be brought into the community of nations.
All those assumptions were wrong. After withdrawing from the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, Pyongyang tested five atomic weapons and developed ­intercontinental missiles capable of carrying them. Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, less than a year after signing the framework, reverted to gassing his own people. Bolstered by the inaction of the US and backed by other powers, North Korea and Syria broke their commitments with impunity.

Seth Frantzman: ‘With Syria in pieces, it’s time to recognize Israel’s annexation of the Golan’

Michael Oren says it is time for the world to recognize the Golan Heights as part of Israel.
In contrast to negotiations with the Palestinians, there is no Syria to negotiate with, Deputy Minister for Diplomacy in the Prime Minister’s Office Oren said on Tuesday.
“Without Israel there [in the Golan], the region would be jeopardized. ISIS would be on the Kinneret,” he said, adding that other states in the region are glad Israel is on the Golan. This is one of several important outcomes of the 1967 war still felt today.
Israel annexed the Golan in 1981 in a decision that was never recognized internationally.
Oren was speaking at a Jerusalem seminar hosted by The Israel Project and the Jerusalem Institute for Policy Research. The seminar – one of a series that runs through June – is focused on the impact of the war of 50 years ago, domestically and geopolitically, with special emphasis on Jerusalem.

JPost Editorial: Strike Out

The hunger strike by Palestinian terrorist prisoners that began this week, as explained by convicted murderer Marwan Barghouti in an op-ed in The New York Times that identified him as “a Palestinian leader and parliamentarian,” was a last resort to protest “Israel’s illegal system of mass arbitrary arrests and ill-treatment of Palestinian prisoners.”
The uninformed reader might ask why this hunger strike is different from all other Palestinian hunger strikes.
While some might be inclined to accept Barghouti’s motives at face value, there is ample evidence that his action is nothing more than a cynical attempt to exploit his fellow prisoners in a bid at succeeding Mahmoud Abbas as leader of the Palestinian Authority – despite his imprisonment.
According to Barghouti, Palestinian prisoners and detainees have suffered from torture, inhumane and degrading treatment, and medical negligence. “Some have been killed while in detention. According to the latest count from the Palestinian Prisoners Club, about 200 Palestinian prisoners have died since 1967 because of such actions,” he wrote.
But there remains an aspect of unreality about this strike. All one has to do is take a look at some of these conditions in prisons being decried by the Palestinians, some of which have actually been improved over the years. In the early days of Palestinian terrorism following the Six Day War, convicted terrorists were denied pencil and paper. By 2012, their privileges extended to obtaining remedial education behind bars, including academic degrees from the Open University.

A steady diet of anti-Israel rhetoric

The idea that Marwan Barghouti is a political prisoner is no less a fantasy than the idea that Abbas accepts Israel’s Jewishness.
Clearly, the Times does not embrace the full range of views on the conflict. While there are no shortage of reputable, moderate voices who would point out that Palestinians have flaws, warts and, most importantly, a great share of responsibility for the ongoing conflict, those voices are largely missing from the newspaper of record. As a result, while the anti-Israel invective flows, little pressure is placed on Palestinians to crack down on rampant hate speech, to accept the Jewish state’s right to exist, and to end the system in which anti-Israel violence is in effect rewarded by payments to the family of attackers, for example.
In fact, the opinion pages have served to take pressure off Palestinian leaders by obfuscating their uncompromising positions. An op-ed published this March insisted that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas “accepts Israel’s Jewishness” – and that Israel is manipulatively concealing Abbas’s “true position” by claiming otherwise. To substantiate this claim, the author cites a 1994 interview in which Abbas mentions that the Jews “have managed to establish a Jewish state.”
It’s remarkable that fact-checkers allowed the claim to be published. Abbas may have said such a thing a quarter-century ago, but in recent years, he has repeatedly, explicitly and emphatically rejected Israel’s Jewishness. In 2011, for example, he said, “I will never recognize the Jewishness of the state.” In 2014: “We won’t recognize or accept the Jewishness of Israel.” In 2015: “We won’t accept a Jewish state.” And in 2016: “Palestinian leadership categorically rejects the idea of a Jewish Israel.”
The Palestinian president couldn’t be more clear than that. But the false claim that he accepts a Jewish state has not been corrected.
Which brings us back to the convicted killer published in the Times. The idea that Marwan Barghouti is a political prisoner is no less a fantasy than the idea that Abbas accepts Israel’s Jewishness. But Times editors appear to be drawn to such fantasies. Unless that changes, it is only a matter of time until the next op-ed outrage is published.

Palestinians: Hunger Strike or Smokescreen?

So, no love is lost between Abbas and Barghouti; the two are engaged in a behind-the-scenes power struggle. Barghouti wants to succeed Abbas, while Abbas is working hard to marginalize him. Palestinian sources say that Abbas is not happy with Barghouti’s hunger strike. He believes Barghouti is trying to steal the spotlight from him, especially on the eve of his visit to Washington for talks with President Donald Trump. Abbas, who wants to be in the news all the time, cannot stand that Barghouti is grabbing the headlines and was even invited to write an op-ed in the New York Times.
It is not only Abbas, however, who is in trouble. Barghouti, too, knows better than to air dirty Fatah laundry. What, then, is to be done? The traditional diversionary tactic: Direct the heat towards Israel. Barghouti is suddenly concerned about his prison conditions and is demanding more privileges. Israel, he claims, imprisons Palestinians for their “peaceful resistance.” Barghouti knows it is not popular to come out in public against Abbas. Similarly, Abbas is using the hunger strike to incite against Israel and demand that all Palestinian terrorists, including ones with blood on their hands, be released unconditionally. The hunger strike is a smokescreen for the real problems inside Fatah and has nothing to do with the conditions of prisoners in Israeli jails.
Stripped of its Western trappings, Barghouti’s “hunger strike” is actually a struggle between Abbas and yet another Fatah pretender to the throne. And once again, Israel — the state that supposedly so “mistreats” incarcerated Palestinian terrorists — takes the heat.

PMW: PMW submitted complaint to the Israeli police against the Israeli Arab Hadash party

The Facebook page of the Israeli Arab Hadash party yesterday published a post expressing sympathy for and solidarity with Palestinian terrorist prisoners and their hunger strike. The post includes text (see translation below) and a video that opens with a picture that includes the hashtag “#The_[hunger]strike_of_dignity” and the pictures of four Palestinian arch-terrorists:
Abdallah Barghouti, prepared explosives for terror attacks in which 67 civilians were murdered
Marwan Barghouti, planned terror attacks in which at least 5 civilians were murdered
Karim Younes, kidnapped and murdered an Israeli soldier
Ahmad Sa’adat was the head of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and
has been praised on Palestinian TV broadcasts for planning the murder of Israeli Minister of Tourism Rehavam Ze’evi
The picture of the terrorists is also shown again during the video as the following words are heard:
“Through you we will build a more beautiful tomorrow.”
Also appearing in the video is a picture of prisoner Fuad Al-Shubaki, a PA official who was responsible for the weapons smuggling attempt on the ship Karine A in January 2002.

London screening of jailed terrorist’s biopic canceled

The May Fair Hotel has cancelled the screening of a documentary about convicted Palestinian terrorist Marwan Barghouti.
The event was advertised on the UK Palestinian Mission’s website but the venue told Jewish News it has decided not to proceed after undertaking “standard due diligence”.
An advert said Sunday’s screening – organised by Fatah Movement-UK and the General Union of Palestinian Communities in Europe – would mark Prisoners Day in solidarity with a 6,500 “political prisoners” in Israeli jails, some of whom would start a hunger strike that day.
Barghouti is serving five life sentences for murder and membership of a terrorist organisation. But the advert simply said the documentary “shows the many faces of the Fateh representative from resistance fighter to advocate of the two-state solution and demonstrates how his personal story is symbolic of the Palestinian people’s fight for freedom and independence”.
A spokesperson for the Edwardian Hotels London said: “We were recently approached by the State of Palestine to host a private screening at The May Fair Theatre. As is usual business practice, we reviewed the request and undertook standard due diligence, following which we have decided to not progress this event any further.”

White House Trump wants conflict-ending Israeli-Palestinian deal

US President Donald Trump is pursuing peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians that would end all claims to the conflict, the White House said on Wednesday.
The president’s spokesman, Sean Spicer, has told reporters in the past that the Trump administration wants to see a “comprehensive” peace agreement. But Spicer’s new language – calling for a “conflict-ending settlement” – comes ahead of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s first visit to Washington since Trump took office, scheduled for May 3.
“They will use the visit to reaffirm the commitment of both the United States and the Palestinian leadership to pursuing and ultimately concluding a conflict-ending settlement between the Palestinians and Israel,” Spicer said at the top of his daily briefing.
Both Abbas and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu face fierce political headwinds entering a new round of peace negotiations. Both have significant constituencies to their Right discouraging any compromise, with Israeli right-wing leaders calling for an end to the notion of a two-state solution altogether and full annexation of the West Bank.

Abbas says willing to meet Netanyahu with Trump mediation

U.S. President Donald Trump will host Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Washington on May 3, the White House said on Wednesday.
“They will use the visit to reaffirm the commitment of both the United States and Palestinian leadership to pursuing and ultimately concluding a conflict-ending settlement between the Palestinians and Israel,” White House spokesman Sean Spicer told reporters.
In an interview that appeared in Japanese daily Ashai Shimbo on Wednesday, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said he is willing to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Washington at any time, with the mediation of U.S. President Donald Trump.
In the interview, Abbas said he does not believe there is a viable alternative to the two-state solution. He said a diplomatic solution would be the result of “a painful Palestinian compromise. We have recognized Israel since 1993, but Israel has yet to recognize a Palestinian state.”
Abbas reiterated his opposition to the U.S. moving its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. “Should that happen, we have a plan, but we hope there will not be a need to implement it.”

PMW: Fatah leader: Fatah and Hamas agree Israel has no right to exist
Shtayyeh: “To this moment, Fatah does not recognize Israel” (April 21, 2017)

Fatah, which presents itself internationally as the moderate Palestinian faction, doesn’t recognize Israel at all, and doesn’t even hide this ideology. On official Palestinian Authority TV, Fatah Central Committee member and Commissioner of Treasury and Economy Muhammad Shtayyeh openly emphasized Fatah’s refusal to recognize Israel:
“The Fatah Movement never demanded that Hamas recognize Israel. To this moment, Fatah does not recognize Israel. The topic of recognition of Israel has not been raised in any of Fatah’s conferences.”[Official PA TV, Topic of the Day, March 26, 2017]
So whereas Fatah and Hamas compete for political power, when it comes to Israel they do agree: Israel has no right to exist.
Discussing Hamas’ new charter, which is purportedly under way, member of the Hamas movement’s political bureau Mahmoud Al-Zahar stated on Lebanese TV that the mention in the charter of the establishment of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip is but “a tactical step,” and that Hamas continues to think that all of Israel is “Palestine”:

UN Watch report on UNRWA cited on CTV Power Play

MP Chris Warkentin cites UN Watch report as he blasts UNRWA teachers’ incitement to terrorism and antisemitism.
Parliamentary Secretary Steven MacKinnon: “Canada does not condone those things.”
Warkentin: “Well, if they don’t condone it, will they stop funding it?”

Swiss foreign minister under fire for pro-Hamas policies

Switzerland’s Foreign Minister Didier Burkhalter’s meetings with the Jihadist organization Hamas have catapulted his policies into a critical spotlight in the central European country.
According to the Swiss daily Blick on Sunday: “The foreign ministry calls for Western dialogue with Hamas. For this reason, Bern helps make the terrorist organization [Hamas] respectable, say critics.”
The conservative Swiss People’s Party deputy and foreign policy expert, Alfred Heer, told the daily it is “unbelievable that the Federal Council’s Burkhalter does not finally end support of Hamas from the EDA [Federal Department of Foreign Affairs].”
Heer said the foreign minister should, on the holiday of Passover, give consideration as to why Switzerland supports an organization whose goal is the destruction of Israel.

IsraellyCool: Radical Leftists Tell Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat “You Have No Right To Free Speech”

Last night, the Zionist student group Im Tirzu hosted a talk with Jerusalem’s mayor Nir Barkat at Hebrew University. The goal of the talk was to discuss the unification of Jerusalem in light of its upcoming 50th anniversary.
A small but relentless group of radical leftist students and professors belonging to the Free Jerusalem and Meretz student groups began shouting down Barkat the second he opened his mouth, and wouldn’t stop until the police finally came, 45 minutes later.
One of the first things they said, as a preamble to why they felt the need to execute this protest, was “You have no right to speak because you are a racist.” It made me realize just how far leftism had gone from true liberalism.
Dudi Eltsufin, head of the Jerusalem Chapter of the organization, who was instrumental in planning the event, told everyone to address their grievances politely, at the end of the talk. They continued to yell, scream, and, according to Dudi, even got violent.

Palestinians clash with security forces outside West Bank prison

Several dozen Palestinian protesters clashed with security forces Thursday outside a prison where inmates are on a hunger strike, while a group of right-wing Israelis nearby taunted prisoners by barbecuing.
Some 1,500 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails have joined a hunger strike against conditions that began Monday.
The hunger strike has been led by popular Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti, who is serving five life sentences for murder over his role orchestrating terror attacks against Israeli citizens during the Second Intifada.
Security forces fired tear gas, sound grenades and rubber bullets at the crowd of Palestinians who threw stones and protested in support of the detainees outside Israel’s Ofer Prison north of Jerusalem in the West Bank.
It was not immediately clear if anyone was injured in the clashes.

PreOccupiedTerritory: Palestinian Authority Formally Schedules Elections For ‘Inshallah’ (satire)

A committee appointed by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas for purposes of recommending a suitable date for the next parliamentary and presidential elections for the Palestinian National Authority has scheduled them for the next inshallah, a decision to which Abbas gave official approval this morning.
Palestinians have not voted in legislative elections since 2006, and in presidential elections since 2005. Abbas’s four-year term ended in 2009, and the lawmakers ostensibly holding office have long since seen their terms expire. Amid calls for more democratic processes under his rule, Abbas formed the committee in 2015 to study the issue and make recommendations.
Committee Chairman Nabil Sha’ath, an Abbas loyalist from the Fatah faction of the PLO, told reporters that the work took so long because of the complexity of the considerations involved. “There are untold numbers of problems with simply calling free and fair elections, as you well know,” Sha’ath explained in an interview. “Given the fragmentation of Palestinian society under occupation, elections might not result in a positive outcome – the wrong people might be elected, and the people cannot be trusted to choose the right people. That presents an intractable problem.”

Gaza hospitals on verge of blackout amid energy crisis

Hospitals in the Gaza Strip could face blackouts within days as an energy crisis continues to throttle power supplies in the Palestinian enclave.
Israel and Palestinian officials estimated Thursday that hospitals would finish their reserve fuel for generators within 48-72 hours.
On Sunday Gaza’s only functioning power station stopped working after running out of fuel. The crisis was compounded by a technical fault shutting down a power line between Egypt and Gaza that had provided over six hours of electricity a day.
Gazans now have just four hours of electricity, followed by 12-hour blackouts, down from two eight-hour periods of electricity a day when the plant is operating normally and supplies are coming in from outside the enclave.
Electricity for the Strip’s two million inhabitants has been a long-running source of dispute, with a dispute between the Palestinian Authority and the Hamas terror group administering the Strip leading to cuts in fuel supplies to the power station.

PreOccupiedTerritory: Hamas Asks If Using Only 50% Of Gaza Aid For Terrorism OK (satire)

Leaders of the militant Islamist movement that governs this coastal territory on the Mediterranean inquired of foreign representatives today whether they would agree to maintain financial assistance if the movement only allocated half of it to terrorist activities.
Spokesmen for Hamas contacted representatives of American, European, Australian, and Canadian governments today via back channels to determine the extent to which the latter might tolerate the organization’s continued prioritization of killing Israelis over meeting the needs of the Gaza Strip’s population. Instead of many hundreds of millions of dollars per year in aid going primarily to tunnels, weapons smuggling, training of terrorists, and whipping up murderous anti-Israel sentiment among Gazans, they asked, would those governments still provide the much-needed aid if the terrorism allocation were reduced to only a few hundred million. A Hamas spokesman who declined to be identified told PreOccupied Territory they had yet to receive a reply.
“The notion that people object to contributing to the violent deaths of Jews is a new one,” admitted the spokesman, “and it took us by surprise. All the media attention in recent years given to our rearming for purposes of eliminating the Jews from Palestine has somehow created an expectation that we not engage in that sacred mission as our primary goal, and as you can imagine, that flies in the face of everything everyone ever did to Jews. But prominent donor nations seem serious about this, so we’re trying to gauge to what degree we can dedicate ourselves to killing Jews using donor funds.”

Egypt army says senior Islamic State cleric killed in Sinai

The Egyptian military said Thursday it killed a senior Islamic State group cleric and 18 jihadists in airstrikes in the Sinai Peninsula where the extremists are waging an insurgency.
The announcement came after the jihadists claimed a series of attacks, including a shooting near a monastery this week and twin church bombings on April 9 that killed dozens.
Among the jihadists killed was “one of the prominent leaders of the so-called Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, the head of the religious affairs committee in the group,” the military said, without saying when the strikes occurred.
Ansar Beit al-Maqdis was the name used by the jihadists in the Sinai before they pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group in November 2014.
The jihadists have killed hundreds of soldiers and policemen since the army overthrew Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in 2013.

The Power of silence

Obama’s farcical resolution of the issue of Syrian chemical weapons represents a good example. Here the Assad regime had shown itself to posses the means of mass slaughter and the will to use the means. The Assad regime famously crossed Obama’s red line in dramatic fashion, yet Obama found the fig leaf of an excuse to do nothing real. This farce played out to tragedy with added dollops of boasting and lying sufficient to revolt a person of average sensibilities, let alone a high priestess of moral indignation such as Power.
In the interest of fairness, I should add that Obama’s reluctance to intervene militarily on humanitarian grounds in Syria is what one would reasonably expect from reading the book. Obama more than lived down to the history recounted by Power. Accommodating and empowering and financing the truly genocidal ambitions of the Iranian regime, however, Obama has earned a new chapter in Power’s famous book if only Power would write it. If only.
So what has Power had to say about the Trump administration’s limited military reprisal against the Assad regime for the recent sarin gas attacks? Inquiring minds want to know.
The Weekly Standard’s Ethan Epstein sets out to answer the question in “The Power of silence.” The pun in Epstein’s headline spoils the plot, but the suspense isn’t exactly high in this case. Epstein found that Power had maintained an unusual silence on her Twitter account following the reprisal. Epstein contacted Power by email directly for comment. Power has not responded to Epstein’s inquiry. She has chosen discretion as the better part of hypocrisy, or something.
But wait! Power has broken her silence. Epstein has updated his column: “Power broke her Twitter silence earlier Thursday to share her excitement about teaching at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and School of Law, and to complain about reports that the U.S. anti-semitism envoy’s office will remain unstaffed. She has yet to tweet about the attack on Syria.”

Why Syria Used Poison Gas

Russia and conspiracy theorists insist the Syrian regime is being framed over the gas attack in Idlib province. Why would it use poison gas when it’s winning?
David Kilkullen says the answer is simple: it’s not winning and is desperate.
Khan Sheikhoun is a town of 50,000 on the southern edge of Idlib… As of mid-April, apart from tiny regime enclaves at Fua and Kefraya, Idlib is almost totally controlled by a jihadist coalition led by al-Qa’ida’s Syrian affiliate Jabhat Fatah al-Sham, still widely known by its former name, the Nusra Front…
The Nusra-led offensive in Idlib and Hama has been under-reported, but for Syrians it’s the most important event of 2017 so far.
Even as the regime recaptured Aleppo in December 2016 — with heavy support from Russian airstrikes, Russian special forces, Iranian advisers and Hezbollah militia — Nusra and other groups formed an alliance, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, to recapture ground from Assad’s forces.

Syria said to move jets to base used by Russia, fearing US strikes

Syria has reportedly placed the majority of its warplanes under Russian protection out of fears US will conduct additional airstrikes on its military installations.
US defense officials told media outlets on Thursday that nearly all of Syria’s operational fixed-wing aircraft were now stationed at Hmeimim Air Base, just south of the port city of Latakia.
Hmeimim is a Syrian airbase but has been exclusively operated by Russian forces since Moscow intervened in the bloody civil war to fight alongside Bashar Assad’s regime in mid-2015.
According to CNN, Russian forces have deployed anti-aircraft defense systems at Hmeimim as a protective measure.

How Iran enables Syria’s chemical warfare against civilians

The 59 Tomahawk missiles the US fired at the Shayrat Air Base served to punish dictator Bashar Assad for his use of chemical weapons against civilians.
The strikes on April 6 also helped shine a spotlight on Iran’s role in Assad’s repeated use of nerve agents, because the mullahs’ Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps were at Shayrat.
What the rapid-fire news cycle didn’t say early this month was that Tehran and Damascus jump-started a program to develop a sophisticated Syrian chemicals arsenal as early as 2004.
The British publication Jane’s Defense Weekly reported in 2005 that the Islamic Republic would work with Syria to build an “innovative chemical warfare program.”

Assad Isn’t The Only One Using Chemical Weapons. ISIS Hits Iraqi Troops, U.S., Australian Advisers With Mustard Agent

At least 25 Iraqi troops required treatment at a field clinic after ISIS struck a military unit with mustard agent on Sunday. None of the injuries were life-threatening. Six of the soldiers experienced respiratory difficulties and received care at a field clinic, according to Brigadier General Yahya Rasool. U.S. and Australian military advisers were situated near the site of the attack at the time but no coalition troops were injured.
The chemical weapons attack comes just one day after an ISIS gas attack targeting Iraqi troops in the al-Abar neighborhood of west Mosul. Backed by U.S. air support, Iraqi and Kurdish soldiers have been rooting out the last remaining holdouts of ISIS fighters in the last few weeks. To date, roughly half of west Mosul has been retaken (east Mosul was retaken by Iraqi forces in January). But liberating west Mosul, neighborhood by neighborhood, is an uphill battle. Suicide car bombings have been routine as Iraqi forces push forward into hostile territory.
Now, the men battling to win back their country from the stubborn grip of Islamic State must contend with chemical weapons.

Tillerson accuses Iran of ‘alarming provocations’

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Wednesday accused Iran of “alarming ongoing provocations” to destabilize countries in the Middle East as the Trump administration launched a review of its policy toward Tehran.
Tillerson told reporters the review, which he announced on Tuesday, would not only look at Tehran’s compliance with a 2015 nuclear deal but also its behavior in the region which he said undermined U.S. interests in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Lebanon.
His tough words matched those of U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, who said in a visit to Saudi Arabia on Wednesday that Iran’s destabilizing influence would have to be overcome to end the conflict in Yemen.
U.S. President Donald Trump ordered the review to evaluate whether suspension of sanctions related to the nuclear deal was “vital to the national security interests of the United States,” Tillerson said
Though there was no sign the Trump administration intended to walk away from the deal, Tillerson twice cautioned that if left unchecked Tehran could become a threat like North Korea, which is also under pressure over its nuclear ambitions.

Trump Considers Shredding Nuclear Deal, Re-Imposing ALL Sanctions On Iran

President Trump has ordered his National Security Council (NSC) to conduct an interagency review of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), colloquially known as the Iran Nuclear Deal. Citing the Islamic Republic’s terror-funding campaigns across the Middle East, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson briefed Congress on the Trump administration’s increasingly hardline stance against Iran in a letter sent Tuesday.
“Iran remains a leading state sponsor of terror through many platforms and methods,” Tillerson wrote. “President Donald J. Trump has directed a National Security Council-led interagency review of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) that will evaluate whether suspension of sanctions related to Iran pursuant to the JCPOA is vital to the national security interests of the United States.”
“When the interagency review is completed, the administration looks forward to working with Congress on this issue,” he added.
While Tillerson stressed the fact that Iran is technically complying with the literal language of the nuclear accord, he suggested that Tehran’s military posturing and terror financing not only undermines the spirit of the deal but threatens stability across the region.

Shots fired as Iran arrests over 30 gay men in violent raid

The Islamic Republic of Iran arrested more than 30 men suspected of being homosexuals at a private party last week in the Esfahan province, the prominent Canadian NGO Iranian Railroad for Queer Refugees reported on Thursday.
“IRQR received several reports in the last few days and we were able to confirm that police attacked guests and physically beat them. Police detained the men, ages 16 to 30, at the Basij [Revolutionary Guard Militia] Station and then transferred them to Esfahan’s Dastgerd Prison. A few people managed to escape and we received reports that there were several heterosexual individuals among those arrested,” the human rights NGO wrote on its website Thursday.
Authorities raided the party in the Bahadoran district of central Iran and fired their guns while seizing the men.
IRQR added, “After a few days, all the families were informed by Basij that their sons were arrested for sodomy. A special prosecutor has been assigned to their cases and they were charged with sodomy, drinking alcohol and using psychedelic drugs. It was reported that prisoners will be sent to Esfahan’s Medical Jurisprudence Department for anal examination in order to provide evidence of homosexual acts to the court.”

UN ELECTS SAUDI ARABIA TO ITS TOP WOMEN’S RIGHTS BODY

Today the UN held elections for positions on some of its top bodies and the result goes a long way in explaining why the organization does not and cannot keep the promises it made when created more than seven decades ago. Saudi Arabia was elected to protect women, Sudan to protect children, and Russia to prevent crime. The elections took place on April 19, 2017 at UN Headquarters. The selection was done by the 54 UN member states of the UN’s Economic and Social Council.
The election results included:
  • The UN Commission on the Status of Women: Saudi Arabia (leading practitioner of gender apartheid)
  • The UN Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice: Afghanistan, China, and Russia (world leaders in the absence of the rule of law and lack of an independent judiciary)
  • The UN Intergovernmental Working Group of Experts on International Standards of Accounting and Reporting: Belarus and Russia (states infamous for a lack of accountability)
  • The Executive Board of the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF): Sudan (whose President is a fugitive charged with crimes against humanity and genocide perpetrated against, among others, the children of Sudan).
  • The UN International Narcotics Control Board: Afghanistan (uncontrolled narcotics capital, world’s largest producer of opium found in 90% of heroin worldwide)



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