JISS: Diplomacy Backed by Military Force
How the wise use of force facilitates diplomatic processes in the Israel-Egypt-Hamas and Israel-Russia-Syria triangles
The measured and effective use of military force does not run counter to diplomacy; on the contrary, it facilitates diplomacy. Recent events in Syria and the confrontation with Hamas in Gaza have involved three-cornered diplomacy, in which the use of a small fraction of Israel’s military power is what enabled the mediators—Russia and Egypt—to “explain” what is at stake to their interlocuters.
Public discourse about the escalating events in Gaza demonstrates again that for many Israelis, from both ends of the political and ideological spectrum, diplomacy and the use of force are mutually exclusive, a case of “either or.” Some feel that only diplomatic moves accompanied by major gestures of goodwill can prevent an additional slide towards a military solution. On the other hand, there are many who view any efforts to arrive at a settlement to be a sign of cowardly denial of the need for an unambiguous military victory. The long-running political discourse in Israeli society has hindered the effort to have it both ways – to use military power in order to convey a political message and at the same time to manage diplomatic efforts in a way that will not tie Israel’s hands in its use of force.
In fact, there have been indications in recent years—which became even more pronounced in the last few weeks in Gaza, and prior to that, in relation to Syria—of a more coherent pattern of behavior than is generally attributed to Israel’s highest echelon of leaders, namely the Prime Minister, the Minister of Defense and the Chief of the General Staff. This pattern of behavior is characterized by the combination of a measured use of force against Israel’s enemies (with whom there will be no dialogue as long as they are committed to our destruction—namely Iran and Hezbollah in Syria; Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad in Gaza) with intensive diplomatic dialogue through a third party that has a direct interest in preventing escalation, namely Russia in the north and Egypt in the south.
This is not the traditional role of an honest broker who mediates between Israel and the Arabs, which has been filled by US administrations out of idealistic, political and economic motives. Rather, in this case, we are seeing the leveraging of the military and diplomatic influence of a powerful external player. That player must be made to understand that if it does not act to achieve moderation, its essential interests are liable to be affected and will certainly suffer if Israel decides to use all the force at its disposal. For this message to be convincing, it must be demonstrated to both the Russians and the Egyptians that this is a real threat, even if at first Israel prefers to act with limited force.
A recently published report by the Action Group for Palestinians in Syria, a human rights group, documented 3,840 cases of Palestinians who have been killed since the onset of the Syrian civil war in 2011. The causes of death ranged from artillery shelling to shootings or torture in the regime’s infamous prisons across the country.
In addition to this report, the Syrian regime released for the first time a list of names that included the identities of 548 killed Palestinians; without noting the causes of death. Rights groups, however, agree those Palestinians died as a result of being tortured, starved and deprived of adequate medical treatment.
The AGPS said that 1,682 Palestinians are still missing, their fates unknown. According to some assessments, these Palestinians were either killed at some time during the bloody civil war or “in the best case” are still in prison. Therefore, at least 5,522 Palestinians have either been killed or have gone missing since 2011.
Along with those killed or missing, tens of thousands of Palestinians in Syria have lost their homes and employment. Thus, for example, the Yarmouk refugee camp, which was home to thousands, was utterly demolished over the course of the war. Before the camp was destroyed, the Assad regime had laid siege to it. During that time, images of emaciated Palestinians began emerging in Syrian opposition media outlets. Despite these horrors, not one official in the Palestinian Authority publicly condemned the Assad regime.
US President Donald Trump on Tuesday warned that any country doing business with Iran will not trade with the US as the first set of US sanctions against Iran that had been eased under the landmark nuclear accord went back into effect.
The sanctions, under an executive order signed by Trump, target financial transactions that involve US dollars, Iran’s automotive sector, the purchase of commercial planes and metals including gold.
More US sanctions targeting Iran’s oil sector and central bank are to be reimposed in early November.
In an early-morning tweet, Trump said the reimposition of sanctions means, “Anyone doing business with Iran will NOT be doing business with the United States.”
“I am asking for WORLD PEACE, nothing less!”
The stiff economic sanctions ratchet up pressure on the Islamic Republic despite statements of deep dismay from European allies, three months after Trump pulled the US out of the international accord limiting Iran’s nuclear activities.
Trump declared the landmark 2015 agreement had been “horrible,” leaving the Iranian government flush with cash to fuel conflict in the Middle East.
JPost Editorial: Goldin and Shaul
Who possibly can’t feel the pain and anguish of the Goldin and Shaul families?
It’s been four years since their sons, Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul, were presumed killed during the IDF’s 2014 Operation Cast Lead against Hamas in Gaza – four long years in which the families have lobbied the government incessantly to do everything possible to return Hadar and Oron’s remains to Israel so they can have a proper burial and begin a process of closure over this tragic, but unfortunately not rare situation that has befallen Israeli families during the country’s ongoing conflict with its enemies.
The plight of the Goldins and Shauls is back in the headlines, not only because of the fourth anniversary of the war, but because of a nascent plan being brokered by the United Nations and Egypt to restore calm to Gaza and achieve a long-term understanding between Israel and Hamas.
The families held a press conference on Sunday ahead of a security cabinet meeting about the cease-fire plan in which they called on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu not to agree to any plan without ensuring the return of their sons’ remains and of the other Israeli civilian captives believed to be held in the Hamas-ruled enclave: Avera Mengistu, Hisham al-Sayed and Jumaa Abu-Ghanima.
Unfortunately, instead of being a unifying factor ahead of any decision about the situation in the South, the Israeli MIA issue has turned into a divisive one that has led to a “he said/ she said” series of accusations and counter-claims by the families and the government.
According to Hadar and Shaul’s parents, the government has abandoned them during their four-year ordeal and has broken promises to make the return of their sons contingent on any agreement with the Palestinians.
If someone had told the Goldin and Shaul families that UN Special Envoy Nickolay Mladenov—the man behind the proposed ceasefire agreement between Israel and Hamas—has already left the region last weekend for his annual holiday, they may have been spared another exchange of blows with the Prime Minister’s Office and those unnamed Cabinet members who accused them of emotional blackmail.
This is because if Mladenov decided to pack his bags and go, the chances of reaching an agreement are non-existent. The man wouldn’t have just up and left a life’s work to go on vacation if he thought for even a moment the plan he has been working on for a long time was going to be realized.
The bereaved parents once again served as a backdrop to the show the Israeli governments puts on every now and again, the entire purpose of which is to present Israel as a country agonizing over difficult decisions on humanitarian concessions to Hamas, just to ensure quiet for the residents of the Gaza border.
This is how the government gets two birds with one stone: Getting the Gaza border residents on its side while at the same putting the failure on the Palestinians. After all, it’s not us who are rejecting the UN, US and Egyptian efforts to reach an agreement. On the contrary, Israel is even throwing Gaza a bone every now and again as a show of good will. We’re okay, it’s the Palestinians who don’t get along and torpedo every opportunity for a long-term agreement.
Dr. Adnan Abu Amer, a political analyst in the Gaza Strip, stated on Tuesday that the cross-border violence between Hamas and Israel constitutes a warning to the senior echelon of the terrorist organization.
In response to open fire by Hamas terrorists towards IDF forces in the north of the Gaza Strip, an IDF tank targeted the post from which the snipers fired on Tuesday. No IDF soldiers were injured in the incident. The IDF Spokesperson’s Unit stated in response, “the IDF will act against any offense and every attempt to attack our forces, and considers the Hamas terrorist organization as responsible for everything happening in and out of the Gaza Strip.”
According to reports in the Gaza Strip, the three senior Hamas leaders who were present at the post during the event are Hamas Deputy Chairman Saleh al-Arouri, Mahmoud al-Zahar and Ahmed Bahr.
“In an IDF premeditated attack towards a Hamas outpost containing senior officials of the organization, Israel is relaying a serious message to the organization in Gaza that its senior members are being tracked and targeted,” said Abu Amer. “The occupation’s message has no basis and is detached from reality. The targeting attack, in the midst of talks to achieve calm, was in order to relay a message that Israel has the upper hand.”
The Palestinian analyst added that Israel knows that Egypt will do everything in its power to prevent an escalation, but the IDF’s action proves that “any hudnah (ceasefire) attained between the sides would be a weak one.”
Egypt bears as much responsibility for the Gaza Strip as Israel does, Jerusalem Affairs and Heritage Minister Zeev Elkin said on Monday, in remarks that could upset Cairo as it tries to avoid being drawn back into the Palestinian enclave while brokering truce talks there.
In parallel with U.N. mediation, Egypt has used its contacts with both Israel and Hamas, the terrorist group that rules Gaza, to discuss ways of calming the three-month-long wave of confrontations along the Gaza-Israel border.
But some Egyptian officials say they would resist any attempt by Israel, or its ally the United States, to shift to Cairo the onus for addressing Gaza’s long-term governance or economic problems.
Egypt ruled the Gaza Strip before losing it to Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War. Israel withdrew troops and settlers from Gaza in 2005 while keeping control of its coast and airspace. Egypt has helped Israel isolate Hamas while insisting that Israel remain uniquely liable for Gaza.
Asked about Egypt’s role in the truce talks, Elkin, a member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s security cabinet and Likud party, said Egyptian security needs mean it “understands that it cannot shrug off Gaza.”
Hamas has decided to endorse a “staggered” ceasefire with Israel, which would begin with an end to the launching of incendiary kites and balloons and, in exchange, Israel’s lifting of the latest sanctions imposed on the Gaza Strip, according to a report in the London-based Arabic newspaper Al-Sharq al-Awsat.
Hamas sources said that the Palestinian factions were informed of the decision by the ruling organization’s political office that in exchange for the cessation of all attacks against the border fence, Israel would open the Kerem Shalom crossing to the transfer of goods and the fishing zone would be expanded.
The two sides would then proceed to the second stage that would include a prisoner exchange and, in parallel, the beginning of large infrastructure projects in Gaza and preparations for the complete lifting of the blockade on the Gaza Strip.
Husam Badran, a senior Hamas official, announced that the whole agreement with Israel must be approved by all the Palestinian factions.
In response, the Fatah party leadership has accused the organization of “suspicious agreements” with Israel.
Israeli tank fire killed two Hamas terrorists in Gaza on Tuesday in a strike against a position from which the IDF said Israeli troops had come under fire.
Hamas and Palestinian health officials in Gaza confirmed the deaths, near Beit Lahiya in northern Gaza, shortly before noon.
A statement issued by the Israeli military said: “A short while ago, terrorists fired shots towards IDF soldiers near the northern Gaza Strip from a Hamas position. In response, an IDF tank targeted the post from which the shots were fired.
“The IDF will take action against any offensive and any attempt to harm our forces. It views the terrorist organization Hamas as responsible for everything that happens in the Gaza Strip and everything coming out of it.”
No injuries were reported among the IDF soldiers. An Israeli military vehicle sustained some damage in the clash.
Raw footage: Hamas terrorists shooting at IDF troops from an outpost in the Gaza Strip pic.twitter.com/3ybzw8w3jW
— IDF (@IDFSpokesperson) August 7, 2018
US President Donald Trump is adding staff to his Middle East peace team ahead of its rollout of a plan for resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The White House policy team, currently centered on three of the president’s closest advisers, is recruiting staffers from other government agencies to help them message the plan to the public. They also seek expert units on the plan’s political elements as well as its economic components, according to reporting by the Associated Press.
Jared Kushner, the president’s senior adviser leading the peace effort; and Jason Greenblatt, his special representative for international negotiations, “are expanding their team and the resources available as they finalize the details and rollout strategy of the peace initiative,” a National Security Council spokesman confirmed. “They continue to work very closely with the National Security Council staff and State Department.”
David Friedman, the president’s ambassador to Israel, is also deeply involved in the planning.
The administration has been working on the plan for more than a year but few details are known of its contents. The team has yet to decide when it will begin the rollout, or how, including whether they will preview it with the parties before releasing it publicly.
Fake Russian social media accounts have sought to influence relations between the United States and Israel, Israeli television reported on Monday.
Researchers from Clemson University found that of nearly three million posts flagged as being from fake accounts out of so-called Russian troll farms, tens of thousands of them had to do with Israel and the broader region.
Sixty percent of the posts on Israel worked to bolster the relationship between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US President Donald Trump, oftentimes while criticizing former American president Barack Obama, the researchers found.
For example, some of the posts read that Trump and Netanyahu were jointly exposing “Obama’s failures,” the report said.
Meanwhile, a quarter of the posts highlighted corruption investigations into Netanyahu’s conduct or attacked him from the left, while the remaining 15% were related to news reports, according to the researchers.
The Russian accounts were not trying to influence the Israeli conversation, but rather the American one, where the Jewish state has become a more polarizing issue, the researchers determined.
“Trolls tried to encourage the right in the political division of the US, also the far-right, in order that it will have a positive opinion of Netanyahu,” Patrick Warren, who analyzed the tweets along with fellow Clemson researcher Darren Linvill, told Israel’s Channel 10 news.
Other posts however attacked Israel, labelling it an apartheid state and criticizing Netanyahu, the report said.
Serbia denounced Israel on Monday for taking part in a ceremony in Croatia marking a victorious 1995 offensive against rebel Serb-held territories.
“It’s sad that an Israeli flag flew yesterday at the celebration of that criminal action,” Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic told a private Belgrade television station.
“We are very disappointed,” he said.
He said it was “immoral” that Israel took part in the commemoration when tens of thousands of Jews, as well as Serbs and Gypsies, perished in Croatian concentration camps during World War II.
Serbia considers Israel its close ally, with a common history of suffering of their peoples during the war.
Three Israeli Air Force F-16s took part in a flyby in Sunday’s ceremony, which marked the anniversary of the operation that restored Croatia’s control over land held by rebel Serbs during the 1991-1995 war. Serbian officials have compared the offensive, known as Operation Storm, to the actions of Nazi Germany.
A statement from the Israeli Embassy in Belgrade said that the participation of Israeli jets was related “solely” to Croatia’s announced purchase of 12 Israeli F-16s.
In the week before the Saturday night rally in Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square against Israel’s new Nationality Law, the organizers issued frequent announcements to the media, signed by the “headquarters of the struggle against the Nationality Law.”
According to the website Mida, the group behind the “struggle” is Anu (Us in Hebrew), a leftist NGO supported by the New Israel Fund, the European Union, UNESCO, and the Shoken fund, to name a few.
Anu is also behind an online funding campaign to raise money for the rally and the continued fight against the new law.
To remind you, the Basic Law: Israel as the Nation-State of the Jewish People, enacted July 19 by a majority of 62 to 55 with 2 abstaining, establishes the constitutionality of the three historic Zionist principles: the free return of the Jews to the land of our fathers; the free settlement of Jews everywhere in Israel; and the miraculously revived Hebrew as the official language of the Jewish State. Calling these principles racist and part of an apartheid policy is tantamount to attacking the very existence of a Jewish State.
But the Anu-supported “Struggle Headquarters” describes the new Basic Law (meaning it is constitutional) in a distorted way, with clear post-Zionist attitudes woven between the lines.
Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said Tuesday that Syrian dictator Bashar Assad “is not satisfied” with regaining control of southern Syria and plans to rebuild the Syrian military into an even larger force than it was on the eve of the civil war.
“We see the Syrian army, which is not satisfied with taking control of all the Syrian territory, but is clearly building a new, large-scale land army that will return to its previous dimensions and beyond,” Liberman said, speaking to reporters after watching a military exercise of the IDF’s Armored Corps in the Golan Heights.
“Therefore we are following all the developments and are ready for any scenario,” he added.
Liberman said that the Armored Corps, which was instrumental in stopping the Syrian surprise assault in the 1973 Yom Kippur War, remained essential to Israel’s defense. “The Armored Corps was and will be the main force of the IDF in every ground operation, especially here in the north,” he said.
Last month, Syrian government forces reached the frontier with the Israeli Golan Heights after capturing territory from rebels and Islamic State fighters.
A senior official from a Middle East intelligence agency has pointed the finger at Israel’s Mossad for the killing of a top Syrian chemical weapons and rocket scientist over the weekend, The New York Times reported Tuesday, reinforcing accusations from Syria.
Aziz Azbar was killed when his car exploded in the northern city of Masyaf late Saturday night. The unnamed official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told the paper that Israel was behind the attack and said his own intelligence agency had been informed of the Israeli operation.
A senior Israeli government official declined to comment on the report Tuesday, but noted it was “a good thing” that Azbar was dead.
A pro-government Syrian paper on Sunday had accused the Mossad of being behind the hit. Azbar’s driver was also killed in the blast.
According to the report, Israel believed that Azbar was leading a classified weapons development program called Sector 4 at the Syrian Scientific Studies and Research Center, and was busy re-building an underground weapons factory to replace the one said destroyed by Israel last year.
Azbar was working alongside Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, the commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards’ elite al-Quds Force and enjoyed high-level access to both the Syrian and Iranian governments, the New York Times said.
In the wake of the assassination of Syrian chemical weapons expert, Aziz Azbar, Israel has been on the defensive about its alleged role in the affair. Numerous international press organisations and political actors have pointed fingers at the Jewish State for being behind the attack.
“Why does everyone think it’s us?”, one Israeli government spokesperson protested. “First, who says there was any foul play involved anyway. It’s very common for cars to spontaneously explode, particularly in this hot weather we’ve been having. That does seem to be particularly common when there happen to be terrorists or weapons manufacturers inside them. Don’t ask us why. It’s just one of those big unanswerable questions in life. Like how comes you always run out of bread when there’s still hummus in the bowl. It’s just a thing.”
This latest incident has been identified by some observers as being part of a series of interventions believed to have been undertaken by Israel in Syria such as the July airstrike outside the city of Hama. “You know how it is”, one Israeli military intelligence expert commented. “It’s just one of those weird things that happen. Bombs just fall on Iranian weapons manufacturers, just like boats seem to disappear in the Bermuda Triangle or that blondes just have more fun. Look, we don’t make the rules.”
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is shaking up the political arena in Ramallah, amid infighting among members of his ruling Fatah faction and perhaps with a view to shoring up power as multiple crises come to a head.
Over the past week, Abbas issued a presidential decree removing Issa Qaraqe from his position as Minister of Prisoner Affairs and appointing a nine-person body to assume his role; and promoted his longtime spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh to Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Information.
Abbas also named senior Fatah official Nabil Shaath as chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s Committee for Palestinian Refugees in the Diaspora, a position previously held by a member of a competing political group.
When contacted by The Media Line, Abbas’ Office remarked only that these were “direct” decisions made by the PA leader.
“Currently, Palestinian laws are enacted through presidential decrees,” Hanna Issa, a Palestinian political analyst, told The Media Line in reference to Qaraqe’s dismissal. “Normally, Palestinian society would be governed by the ‘Amended Basic Laws,’ however these rules have not applied since the Palestinian Legislative Council [PLC] ceased to function.
“Since Hamas’ coup in 2006, [which forcibly evicted Fatah from the Gaza Strip], Abbas has been in charge of all regulations. This will be the case until new elections are held.”
Issa noted that the PLC, the PA’s legislative body, would upon its reconstitution be tasked with reviewing all presidential decrees. Notably, the PLC legislated 90 laws between its establishment in 1996 and shuttering a decade later, whereas Abbas unilaterally enacted 246 laws between 2007 and 2016.
Is there a strategy that could close the image gap between unarmed civilians and the well-equipped soldiers in the Information Space?
To cope with situations of this kind, states must first conduct themselves in a different manner in order to gain achievements in the international arena, where conventional warfare strategies might be counterproductive.
In our paper, Ayalon, Popovich, and I suggested a new strategy, which we referred to as “Imagefare.” In conducting Imagefare, the state takes into consideration the impact of fighting for its public image in the process of formulating policy in international conflicts. A sound military strategy should be influenced by public image considerations as part of its overarching strategy. Choosing military means and methods must be done with acute awareness as to how actions in the combat arena will be received by international public opinion. Decision-making should balance military gains with damage to public image, as both may affect foreign policy in different ways. Public diplomacy and public relations professionals should be incorporated into the decision-making processes. Their broad participation in formulating strategy can contribute to conducting more effective warfare in the public image arena.
States can no longer ignore the fact that in today’s reality, public image is of crucial importance, and non-state actors — who are usually the weak side of the conflict — can effectively utilize the media in their attempt to garner support in the international arena. Consequently, states must take public image considerations into account in a more intensive and intelligent fashion when planning strategy, so that they can achieve their goals in the myriad arenas — military, diplomatic, economic, and also PR — that comprise the modern act of waging war.
The Palestinian Authority Finances Terrorism
On Monday (23.7), Palestinian Authority Chairman, Mahmoud Abbas, once again vowed to continue paying families of terrorists. Three days later (26.7), an Israeli man was murdered by a Palestinian terrorist. Do the math: the Palestinian Authority is continuously financing terrorism.
On August 6, 2018, the Iranian news agency Fars published an interview with Gen. Naser Sha’bani, a top official of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), in which he stated that the regime of the Islamic Revolution had ordered the pro-Iran Ansar Allah (Houthi) militia in Yemen to attack two Saudi tankers, and that it had carried out those orders.
Also in the interview, Gen. Sha’bani clarified that both the Shi’ite Hizbullah in Lebanon and Ansar Allah in Yemen were Iran’s homeland depth and warned that they would continue to be used for Iran’s purposes against its rivals in the region, particularly Saudi Arabia.
It should be emphasized that the quote about the order to attack the tankers was deleted from the Fars website after the interview was published. MEMRI has in its possession a copy of the original prior to the deletion. Below is the quote as it appeared in the last paragraph on Page 3, as highlighted below:
The text reads: “Sha’bani said: ‘We told the Yemenis to attack the two Saudi tankers, and they attacked. Hizbullah in Lebanon and Ansar Allah in Yemen are our homeland depth. The enemy is so vulnerable that we can entangle it from across the border. Obviously, we are not insisting on a struggle with Saudi Arabia on the other side of the border.'”
Below is the photocopy of the original four-page Fars article, as published on its website on August 6, 2018, prior to the deletion.
MEMRI: Iranian Cleric Seyyed Mohammad Anjavinejad Describes Regime As Corrupt, Thieving: ‘Our Country Is Beyond Repair’; Our Revolution Was Not ‘So That They Could Eat From Our Pockets’; ‘How Long Are We Supposed To Protect Their Interests?’
In a recent sermon at a Shiraz mosque, Iranian cleric Seyyed Mohammad Anjavinejad harshly criticized the Iranian regime. Denouncing regime officials for what he described as widespread corruption among their families, Anjavinejad said: “They robbed you and me. We have no idea… how many billions each of those families conceals.” Anjavinejad, whose religious title is Hujjat ul-Islam, a relatively minor religious rank and who is a veteran of the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war, lectures at Shiraz University and is founder of an institute specializing in cultural and educational matters. The sermon was posted on the Iranian Aparat website on July 7, 2018, and circulated on other social media sites.
To view the clip of Seyyed Mohammad Anjavinejad on MEMRI TV, click here or below.
“They Did Not Inherit This From Their Fathers – They Robbed You And Me… Our Country Is Beyond Repair”
Seyyed Mohammad Anjavinejad: “There is no doubt that 99% of our officials and their families do not face any economic, social, welfare, or educational problem. Ninety-nine percent! This has been the case throughout the 40 years of the revolution. There is no doubt about this. Our rulers constitute 4% (of the population). So what hope is left for us? I’m sitting here, complaining and shouting, but what’s the use? There is none.
“It’s 2018 now, and the officials are better off than they were in 2008. In 2008, they were better off than in 1998, in 1998, they were better off than in 1988, and in 1988, they were better off than in 1978. Before 1978, they were all poor. They did not inherit this from their fathers. They robbed you and me. We have no idea what comes in and what goes out, and how many billions each of those families conceals. Our country is beyond repair. It’s beyond repair, people.
Russia on Tuesday said it was “deeply disappointed” by the United States’ re-imposition of sanctions on Iran, while Syria described the move against its longtime ally as “illegal” and driven by “arrogance.”
A first wave of renewed US sanctions came into effect on Tuesday, hitting Tehran’s access to US banknotes and key industries such as cars and carpets following US President Donald Trump’s withdrawal in May from a landmark 2015 nuclear agreement between Tehran, Washington, and other world powers.
“We are deeply disappointed by US steps to reimpose its national sanctions against Iran,” the Russian foreign ministry said in a statement.
The ministry said it will do “everything necessary” to save the historic 2015 Iran nuclear deal and protect its shared economic interests with Tehran.
“This is a clear example of Washington violating UN Resolution 2231 [on the Iran deal] and international law,” the statement said.
Moscow said the multi-party nuclear agreement Trump abandoned in May has “shown its effectiveness.”
German automaker Daimler on Tuesday said it was halting its business activities in Iran after the United States re-imposed sanctions on Tehran.
“We have suspended our already limited activities in Iran in accordance with the applicable sanctions,” a spokeswoman said in a statement sent to AFP, adding that Daimler was closely monitoring political developments.
The move brings a sudden end to Daimler’s expansion plans in Iran, where it was teaming up with two local firms to assemble Mercedes-Benz trucks.
It comes as a first round of renewed US sanctions on Iran came into effect after US President Donald Trump unilaterally pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal.
The first sanctions targets access to US banknotes and key industries such as cars and carpets.
A second tranche coming into effect on November 5 is expected to be even more damaging, covering Iran’s vital oil sector.
One could not be faulted for assuming that the leaders of a self-defined progressive continent, on which the worst genocide in modern history was perpetrated only decades ago, would be more predisposed to siding with the United States, the world’s foremost purveyor and guarantor of freedom, than with Iran, the world’s foremost state sponsor of terrorism which repeatedly has vowed to finish off Hitler’s work by eradicating the lone Jewish state.
But one would nevertheless be wrong.
On Monday, European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, in conjunction with the top diplomats of Britain, France and, for that matter, Germany, released a joint statement expressing “deep regret” over the re-imposition of American sanctions on the Islamic Republic.
“We are determined to protect European economic operators engaged in legitimate business with Iran,” the politicians wrote. “This is why the European Union’s updated Blocking Statute enters into force on 7 August to protect EU companies…from the impact of US extra-territorial sanctions.”
The “blocking statute”—a law enacted in one jurisdiction to obstruct the application of a law enacted in another jurisdiction—essentially prohibits EU firms from complying with US sanctions and provides mechanisms that allow businesses to recover any resulting damages while negating potential foreign court rulings against them.
For good measure, the EU committed to the “preservation and maintenance of effective financial channels with Iran, and the continuation of Iran’s export of oil and gas.”
Israel’s defence minister, in meta-trolling mode, wishes Sacha Baron Cohen would spoof European leaders and “maybe understand the insanity” prompting their opposition to U.S. sanctions on Iran. https://t.co/3zrhlgjtcJ
— Dan Williams (@DanWilliams) August 6, 2018
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Monday condemned what he termed “Canadian interference” in internal Saudi affairs, hours after Riyadh expelled the Canadian ambassador and froze “all new business” with Ottawa, over its criticism of the ultraconservative kingdom’s arrest of women’s rights activists.
“[Abbas] affirmed his rejection and condemnation of the Canadian intervention in the internal affairs fo the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” the official PA news site Wafa reported on Monday.
The PA president has long said that he opposes foreign intervention in the internal affairs of Arab states.
The sudden and unexpected dispute between Canada and Saudi Arabia bore the hallmarks of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi Arabia’s 32-year-old future leader, whose recent foreign policy exploits include the war in Yemen, the boycott of Qatar, and Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri’s surprise resignation broadcast during a visit to the kingdom. Hariri later rescinded the resignation, widely believed to be orchestrated by Riyadh, and returned to Beirut.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (left) meets with Saudi King Salman in Riyadh on November 7, 2017. (Thaer Ghanaim/Wafa)
Analysts say the dispute between Riyadh and Ottawa shows Saudi Arabia will not accept any outside criticism and will continue flexing its muscles abroad, especially as the kingdom enjoys a closer relationship with President Donald Trump.
“This message is obviously not just being sent to Ottawa,” said Giorgio Cafiero, the CEO of Gulf State Analytics, a Washington-based risk consultancy. “It’s a message to countries across Europe and across the rest of the world that criticism of Saudi Arabia has consequences.”
Now deleted, here a screenshot of the threatening Saudi “infographic” featuring an airliner headed for the Toronto skyline. pic.twitter.com/LrkCLxxjFk
— Tobias Schneider (@tobiaschneider) August 6, 2018
Saudi TV Commentators Take on Canada’s Human Rights Record: If You Live in a Glass House, Oh Canada, Don’t Throw Stones pic.twitter.com/c9FqmOUd0C
— MEMRI (@MEMRIReports) August 7, 2018
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