September 29, 2020

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08/12 Links Pt1: Dvir Sorek Is Murdered and Palestinians Celebrate; The Men Responsible for the AMIA Bombing Are Known—and Still at Large

From Ian:

Dvir Sorek Is Murdered and Palestinians Celebrate
It is estimated that approximately 4,000 Israelis have been killed in terrorist attacks since the founding of the State of Israel in 1948. This is the equivalent of 200,000 Americans.

Despite this notorious history of Palestinian violence, there are those in America and Europe who, for their own reasons, continue to enable and normalize Palestinian terrorism by their support for the Palestinian “narrative.” In response to the brutal murder of Dvir Sorek, The Forward published an opinion piece that urged its audience not to “politicize” Sorek’s death, but to remember the message of peace he was carrying when he was slaughtered (books by a peace activist).

At the end of the day, the terrorists who murdered Sorek, and their families, will likely get a sweeter deal than treats in the street. The Palestinian government has created a “Martyrs Fund” to pay a monthly stipend to the families of Palestinians killed, injured, or imprisoned for involvement in attacking Israelis.

It is a system called “pay for slay,” and it was reported that the fund paid out over $300 million in 2017, in amounts often exceeding $3,000 a month, at a time when the Palestinian government was struggling to pay its own civil servants. Sorek’s killers and their families are set for life, further incentivizing the murder of Jews.

Israel’s Shin Bet security service announced Saturday that it had arrested two Palestinian cousins suspected of Sorek’s murder. The suspects hail from the Palestinian village of Beit Kahil near Migdal Oz, and at least one is a member of Hamas. The Israel army said that more than 100 residents of Beit Kahil began hurling stones at troops while they were carrying out the arrest raid.

The Men Responsible for the AMIA Bombing Are Known—and Still at Large

In his strongly worded essay for Mosaic, Avi Weiss meticulously documents the painful history of the cover-up of the devastating July 1994 bombing of the AMIA building in Buenos Aires—“the largest single attack,” as he puts it, “against a Jewish community in the Diaspora since the Holocaust,” leaving 85 dead and hundreds wounded.

The cover-up was not entirely successful. Despite the dysfunction of the early Argentinean investigation into the bombing, the eventual removal of corrupt politicians and judges did allow a new team of prosecutors to produce, against all odds, a definitive accounting of the plot and its perpetrators. Its conclusion was crystal-clear:

The decision to carry out the AMIA attack was made, and the attack was orchestrated, by the highest officials of the Islamic Republic of Iran at the time, and . . . these officials instructed Lebanese Hizballah—a group that has historically been subordinated to the economic and political interests of the Tehran regime—to carry out the attack.

But that still leaves much undone. Despite the publication of three detailed reports on the AMIA bombing itself, on the role of Hizballah, and on Iranian agents in Argentina, not one of the key suspects has been apprehended, let alone tried or convicted. To the contrary: the failure to hold Iran or Hizballah accountable for the bombing has had adverse real-life repercussions for Argentinean politics and society—not to mention the country’s Jewish community. At the same time, it has positively reinforced and emboldened the leaders of Iran and Hizballah.

Indeed, several individuals who were personally involved in the AMIA bombing have since been promoted through the ranks to senior positions within the Iranian government or Hizballah. This includes not only senior Iranian officials but also less known but more operationally significant Iranian and Hizballah agents.

In sum, those who executed the AMIA bombing 25 years ago continue to oversee international terrorist operations today. In what follows, I’ll cite chapter and verse, beginning with the senior Iranian officials indicted by Argentina, several of whom are also subjects of Interpol Red Notice warrants and whose cases are relatively well known.

MEMRI: Former UNRWA Teachers Union Chairman: Western Leaders Are Waging Malicious War On Arabs And Muslims To Keep Them Backward And Oppressed

In a July 30, 2019 article in Al-Sabil, the mouthpiece of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) in Jordan, writer Kathem ‘Ayesh published an “Open Letter to the Leaders of the West,” in which he blamed these leaders for the problems of the Arab and Muslim world. ‘Ayesh is a former chairman of the of the UNRWA teachers union, and in his student days at the University of Jordan he studied under ‘Abdallah ‘Azzam, one of the founders of Al-Qaeda.[1] In his letter, Ayesh accused the Western leaders of deliberately imposing oppressive and corrupt regimes upon the Arab and Muslim countries with the aim of keeping them weak, backward and dependent on the West, because this serves the Wests’ interests. He claimed further that the West does not wish the Muslims to return to their religious roots, which were the source of their past might and cultural dominance, and is therefore waging a “malicious war” on Islam and its values in the name of the war on terror. It is also acting to distort Islam by planting in the Muslim countries preachers who spread extremism and terror, in order to prove to the world that Islam is a source of danger. Even Israel, he added, was placed in the region by the West as a policeman to safeguard its interests. ‘Ayesh ended his article with a series of Quranic verses stating that all the efforts to harm Islam will fail because Allah will stand by the Muslims.

The following are excerpts from his article:[2]
“Open letter to the leaders of the West:

“This is a message from an Arab Muslim citizen who follows events and examines them closely, and who expresses the feelings and positions of the absolute majority of people like him, who are very numerous. [We are] the silent majority that is deliberately excluded in our so-called Arab and Muslim world, which you [Western leaders] use as an arena for performing every kind of forbidden experiment, and where you permit every kind of abomination and violate every human norm of justice, decency and objectivity, while disregarding human rights without batting an eyelid.

“We know very well that the democracy you purport to advocate is intended solely for yourselves and your peoples, not for us, because according to your view we are backward, barbaric and dependent peoples who are not worthy of this enormous privilege. That is why you imposed upon us failing governments and ‘deep states’ steeped in corruption, oppression and injustice, in order to prove to your peoples that we truly do not deserve to live in dignity or enjoy any rights, for we accept all this backwardness that plagues our countries without lifting a finger [against it]. Even when we decide to act and change the situation, you oppose us and support the evil tumor you planted in our midst [i.e., the Arab regimes], hurling vicious accusations at us and drowning us in chaos and bloodshed, in order to convince the gullible that we do not deserve change or freedom…

IDF general calls disengagement ‘a failed experiment’

Fourteen years ago, the unilateral evacuation and demolition of 21 Jewish communities that comprised Gush Katif in the Gaza Strip and four small communities in northern Samaria were authored by then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to serve as a pilot test that would ultimately lead to further withdrawals in Judea and Samaria.

Instead of laying the groundwork for the creation of a Palestinian state that would live in peace alongside Israel, many across the political spectrum in Israel now believe that the Gaza withdrawal of more than 8,500 Jews in August 2005 serves as a costly case study demonstrating the implications of evacuating lands and turning them over to Arab control.

Many of the assumptions proposed by Israel’s military establishment ahead of the withdrawals have proven false, while the social impact of the evacuations have left deep scars on many of the Jewish residents who lost their homes in the experiment.

Maj. Gen. (res.) Gershon Hacohen led the IDF’s 36th Division that was responsible for carrying out the disengagement. At the time, he personally opposed the move, yet still carried out his assigned duties as a commanding officer.

“In a way, I now see the disengagement from Gaza as sort of a miracle from heaven,” Hacohen told JNS.

“Just imagine if Hamas would have remained quiet for several years after the disengagement; there would have been a general consensus in Israel to disengage from Judea and Samaria. No one in his right mind in Israel will now agree to a disengagement from Judea and Samaria except for a few left-wing radicals.”

Hacohen explains that the military assumptions that were asserted by proponents of the withdrawal from the security community have been proven “totally untrue.”

JCPA: The Unique Status of the Jerusalem Suburb of Wadi Hummus

The Israel Supreme Court approved Israel’s demolition of 12 buildings in the Jerusalem suburb of Wadi Hummus on July 22, 2019. Wadi Hummus is not included in the municipal territory of Jerusalem but is adjacent to it. The neighborhood was included inside the security fence at the request of the local Arab residents. They even appealed to the Supreme Court on the matter.

Approving the demolitions of empty apartments, Supreme Court Justice Menachem Mazuz wrote, “Any building that is carried out in contravention of the order prohibiting building, even in Areas A and B, is illegal….The petitioners sealed their own fate when they began and continued building the structures…while ignoring the order.”

The construction of the security fence around Jerusalem, built in response to the wave of suicide bombings and terror during the Second Intifada, resulted in two kinds of “enclaves.” The first comprises parts of Jerusalem that are outside the security fence, with 120,000-140,000 Arab residents. The second comprises areas that are inside the fence but outside the city’s jurisdictional boundaries, with 7,000 Arab residents.

Abbas aide fumes as Netanyahu eyes Israeli sovereignty over settlements

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s spokesman on Monday said any move that undermines “Palestinian rights” is “unjust and illegitimate,” following a report that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was seeking a public declaration from US President Donald Trump backing an Israeli move to extend sovereignty over Jewish settlements in the West Bank.

Zman Yisrael, The Times of Israel’s Hebrew-language site, reported on Sunday that Netanyahu was attempting to obtain such a statement from Trump before the national vote on September 17, citing anonymous officials in the Prime Minister’s Office.

“In response to reports that some media outlets and sources have published, which speak about what Washington can provide Netanyahu as a gift to help him achieve success in the upcoming Israeli elections, Nabil Abu Rudeineh, the presidency’s spokesman, said that any move that infringes on Palestinian rights or international law is unjust and illegitimate,” the official PA news outlet Wafa reported.

Abu Rudeineh did not specify which report he was responding to, but an official in Abbas’s office who spoke on condition of anonymity confirmed in a phone call that it was in reaction to the Zman Yisrael report.

A spokesperson for the Prime Minister’s Office said on Monday the report was “incorrect.” The US Embassy in Israel declined to comment.

Yisrael Medad: Abbas Goes Crazy for Canaan

As published:
Abbas Says Palestine For Canaanites…Outsiders Will Leave Sunday, 11 August, 2019

Ramallah – Kifah Ziboun
Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas said Saturday that outsiders will be deported from the Palestinian land to the “dustbin of history” because this land is for the Canaanites.

“We are the Canaanites,” he stressed.

Addressing the crown in Jalazone refugee camp in Ramallah, Abbas said the Palestinians will remain “steadfast, patient and resilient.”

“We will remain in our homeland, and the outsiders on this land has no right in this country. The land is for its inhabitants, this land is for the Canaanites who were here 5,000 years ago, and we are the Canaanites.”

Abbas’s rhetoric was sharp compared to his usual diplomatic speeches…Abbass added that Jerusalem will remain Palestine’s capital, stressing that all Palestinians and Islamic and Christian Arab nation will visit this capital one day.

So, what do we do with Saeb Erekat’s Natufian theory from 2014?

As Arabs arrived here from Arabia (h/t IMRA), does he kick out his own people?

I treated that Canaanite twist here ten years ago.
Is he going crazy?
P.S. This is ridiculous.

The national soccer team of Palestine is nicknamed…Lions of Canaan. And it has Israeli Arabs on the squad.

After Post story, Irish politician apologizes for ‘Jewish lobby’ comment

Niall Collins, the Foreign Affairs spokesperson for Ireland’s leading opposition party, apologized last week week for intimating that Jews control America’s conversation and squelch criticism of Israel.

According to a report in the Sunday Times, Collins – asked about the comment last week – replied: “If my comments caused offense, I regret this and sincerely apologise. It absolutely was not my intention to offend anybody.”

The Jerusalem Post reported two weeks ago the comments Collins made in an interview with a Pakistani-English news channel during a program dealing with what the program asserted was suppression of criticism of Israel.

“There is an effort to suppress any criticism, and any speaking out against the suppressive policies of Israel,” Collins said.

Collins added that that this was a “form of extremism” that has been emboldened because “the present Israeli government, and the policy of constantly building settlements and how they treat the Palestinian people, is being entirely, 100% supported by the American administration and the Trump administration.”

But, he said, “I wouldn’t entirely blame the Trump administration either in terms of when we’re apportioning blame to the United States, because right across corporate America and right across America, I think at every level there’s a huge Jewish lobby who have helped to create the problem we are now discussing.”

Ambassador Friedman consoles family of terror victim

United States Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, reached a mourning on Monday afternoon at the home of Dvir Sorek’s family in Ofra.

Ambassador Friedman rose this morning from the seven-day mourning for the death of his mother, Adelaide Friedman, who passed away last week and was laid to rest in New York.

After leaving the Sorek family home, the ambassador tweeted on his official Twitter account: “Rough week: mourned the passing of my beloved mother, mourned the calamities that befell the Jewish people on the ninth day of Av, and mourned with the Sorek family the murder of their beloved son. May all those in mourning be comforted from Heaven.”

Shortly thereafter, Friedman tweeted and thanked the many consolers who visited him during the seven days of his mother’s passing.

“It is very comforting that even those with whom you have political disagreements set them aside to participate in mourning for my mother,” the ambassador tweeted.

How security forces nabbed Dvir Sorek’s suspected killers in less than 48 hours

Less than 48 hours after the body of 18-year-old Dvir Sorek was found on the side of the road near the West Bank settlement of Migdal Oz early Thursday, Israeli security forces apprehended the two suspects in the murder.

In a report Sunday, Channel 12 news detailed how a joint Shin Bet, Border Police and Israel Defense Forces operation nabbed Nasir and Qasseem Asafra off-guard and in their beds Saturday morning.

Immediately upon the discovery of Sorek’s body, which was riddled with stab wounds, Israeli forces established a makeshift war room through which all information gathered by the various units involved was funneled.

IDF trackers arrived at the scene outside Migdal Oz to determine the type of vehicle the terrorists used, the number of assailants involved and signs of a possible struggle between the victim and his killers.

Intelligence analysts from the Shin Bet and the IDF’s 8200 Unit studied the CCTV footage collected from roadside cameras at and around the scene, leading them to a theory regarding the type of vehicle used as well as the escape route taken by the assailants after the attack.

Subsequently, ground forces from the Givati brigade as well as the Egoz and Duvdevan reconnaissance units were dispatched to the Hebron area with the initial conclusion that the suspects had fled south.

Within 24 hours, security forces zeroed in on the village of Beit Kahil, where they believed the suspects were hiding.

IDF prepares to demolish homes of Dvir Sorek’s suspected killers

The Israel Defense Forces overnight Sunday began preparations to demolish the homes of two Palestinian men suspected of stabbing to death 18-year-old Israeli Dvir Sorek last week near the West Bank settlement of Migdal Oz.

The military said its troops measured the homes in the Palestinian village of Beit Kahil in the southern West Bank so that engineers can plan the best ways to demolish the structures.

No date has yet been set for the demolition.

Sorek’s body was found early Thursday morning on a road leading to the religious seminary where he was studying in Migdal Oz as part of a program combining military service with Jewish study known as hesder.

Guardian edits out Palestinian violence from AP story on Temple Mount clashes

On Aug. 11th, the Guardian published an Associated Press article on clashes that day at the Temple Mount instigated by rioting Muslim worshipers objecting to a small number of Jews who were initially allowed to visit their faith’s holiest site. (Sunday marked both the start of the Islamic holiday of Eid al-Adha and the Jewish fast day of Tisha B’Av.)

According to reports, dozens of Muslim worshipers were injured during the clashes, as well as four Israeli police officers.

There’s no question that the Muslim worshipers were responsible for the violence, as the original AP report explained:

Large numbers of Palestinians had gathered at the gates of the compound early Sunday after rumors circulated that police would allow Jewish visitors to enter the site. The protesters chanted “Allahu Akbar” (God is greatest) and threw stones at police, who then charged into the compound while firing stun grenades and rubber-coated bullets.

However, the Guardian version of the AP report just so happened to omit that key paragraph on the riot’s cause, leaving readers with no information on why exactly Israeli police “clashed” with Muslim worshipers.

Hamas gunman shot after firing at troops in fresh Gaza border battle

Israeli forces shot dead a Palestinian gunman who opened fire at them while attempting to sneak into Israel from Gaza early Sunday, the military said, as fresh fighting broke out on the tense border.

This was the third infiltration attempt by armed terrorists from the Gaza Strip into Israel in 10 days.

Graphic photographs of the slain assailant shared on Palestinian social media showed him in fatigues with an AK-47 assault rifle at his side as medics come to move his body from the border area. Additional images from the morgue showed him wearing a green bandana associated with the Hamas terror group’s military wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, indicating that he was a member of the Gaza-ruling organization.

The terror group did not release an official statement on the border clash as of Sunday morning.

In response to the attempted infiltration, the IDF said it shelled a number of observation posts along the border controlled by Hamas, whom Israel holds responsible for all violence coming out of the Strip.

“IDF lookouts spotted an armed terrorist approaching the security fence in the northern Gaza Strip. The terrorist shot at IDF troops. The troops, who were prepared for the event because of the lookout, opened fire at the terrorist,” the army said in a statement.

No Israeli soldiers were injured, nor was any damage caused to their vehicles, the IDF said.

i24NEWS Investigates Gaza Fence Security Breaches

Early Sunday, Israel Defense Forces (IDF) troops said they fired at a Palestinian man who opened fire towards them as he approached the Gaza border fence. Palestinian sources reported the man was shot dead, but the IDF did not mention his condition following the incident.

The incident comes as Jews and Muslims celebrate overlapping holidays amid escalation in violence between Israel and the Palestinians in both the West Bank and Gaza, following the stabbing death of a 19-year-old Israeli settler in the West Bank. Israeli forces are still engaged in a manhunt for the culprit. On Saturday morning another attempt to infiltrate Israel from the Gaza Strip was apparently thwarted as IDF opened fire and killed all four fully-equipped fighters who approached the security fence in the southern border.

Israel Is Trying to Stop Iran in Syria

Israel’s shadow war in Syria is based on the strategic objective of convincing the Islamic Republic of Iran that its investment in a war machine is going to waste. Iran has so far chosen to weather the strikes and shift tactics without abandoning its Syria project.

At the start of July, media reports surfaced regarding an alleged widespread wave of Israeli strikes on Iranian axis targets across Syria. The reports serve as a reminder of the ongoing shadow war that is raging between Jerusalem and Tehran, and bring into the spotlight Israel’s long-term strategic objective.

The strikes allegedly hit Iranian and Hezbollah weapons sites. They included development, storage, and transfer facilities, some of which appear to have been embedded in Syrian regime military bases. Targets around Damascus, Homs, and western Syria were all reportedly hit, resulting in a number of casualties.

Long before the US began its policy of maximum economic pressure on Iran, Israel had been applying its own policy of maximum — yet low profile — prevention in Syria, and that policy continues.

Using advanced intelligence coupled with precision firepower, the Israeli defense establishment has prioritized the objective of disrupting the construction of an Iranian war machine in Syria. Israel has also acted on many occasions to prevent Iran from using Syria as a transit and production zone for advanced weapons, such as guided missiles, for the benefit of Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Hezbollah-linked Lebanese lawmaker: Israel preparing to wage war on us

A Lebanese lawmaker affiliated with Hezbollah said on Sunday that Israel was preparing to wage war against the terror group. But Mohammad Raad, who leads Hezbollah’s parliamentary bloc, said the group was ready to battle the Jewish state, according to Hezbollah’s al-Manar TV.

“The enemy is preparing to launch a war on us,” he said during a graduation ceremony in southern Lebanon, while affirming “the resistance’s readiness to confront it with our men, society, capabilities and everything we have prepared for it,” the TV report said.

Hezbollah and Israel last fought a deadly war in 2006.

Raad added that Israel would be “delusional to think that it can defeat our society,” adding that the Jewish state “should expect to become paralyzed.”
Mohammad Raad, a Lebanese lawmaker affiliated with the Hezbollah terror group, speaking to al-Mayadeen TV. (Screenshot: al-Mayadeen TV)

The Trump administration sanctioned Raad in July under a US executive order that targets terrorists and those providing support to terrorists or acts of terrorism.

Later on Sunday, Raad told al-Mayadeen TV that Hezbollah would be “able to enter the Galilee, if such a move were required.”

Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah made a similar comment in an interview in January.

Life on the Israel-Lebanon Border Since 2006 War

Meet Yaniv Elhadif, a resident of Metula — a town on the Israel-Lebanon border. Despite the 2006 war that broke out right outside his back yard, Yaniv has had no plans to leave. Find out why:

1,026 Palestinian prisoner terrorists enrolled in university – report

More than 1,000 Palestinian security prisoners in Israeli jails are currently studying for advanced university degrees, according to a report by the Palestinian Media Watch.

“The total number of prisoners at this time is approximately 5,700 prisoners,” explained PLO Commissioner of Prisoners’ Affairs, Qadri Abu Bakr in a TV program aired on Palestinian Authority TV last month. “Of these, 1,026 prisoners are currently enrolled in Palestinian universities, most notably the Al-Quds Open University, which is serving the largest number of [prisoners] – currently 906 students.”

He said that additionally, roughly 120 students are studying at other universities for undergraduate and master’s degrees.

Bakr was speaking at a public graduation ceremony, where 93 prisoner terrorists received their diplomas. The ceremony was broadcasted live on official Palestinian TV and translated and shared by PMW.

The large number of students studying for degrees is surprising, said PMW’s Nan Jacques Zilberdik and Maurice Hirsch in their report. Mainly because in 2011, it was decided by the Israeli government to deny prisoner terrorists the right to pursue higher education while in jail.

America Prepares to Surrender to the Taliban

After months of negotiations, the U.S. seems prepared to come to an agreement with the Taliban, according to which Washington will remove its troops from Afghanistan while the Taliban will agree to share power with the country’s current government and provide assurances that it will cease allying with terrorist groups and instead become a partner in combating jihadists. Andrew C. McCarthy comments:

The Taliban will soon be ruling Afghanistan again, just as it did in those years before 9/11. That is when al-Qaeda was encouraged to make Afghanistan the headquarters of its global anti-American jihad. In recent years, while we were fixated on Islamic State, al-Qaeda became stronger, more resilient, and more battle-hardened. When the Taliban retakes control, al-Qaeda will be right back in business. Lest we forget, its business is killing Americans.

American forces have been deployed in Afghanistan for eighteen years. It may seem like an endless mission because of the half-hearted, ill-conceived way it has been executed. But is it an “endless war”—to borrow President Trump’s worst hyperbole (which is saying something)? If it is, that is only because our enemies have never stopped being at war with us, and we have never resolved to defeat them. . . .

Al-Qaeda remains closely aligned with both Taliban leadership and the most important Taliban elements—such as the [Pakistani terrorist groups] Haqqani network and Lashkar-e-Taiba. At the same time, unsurprisingly, the Taliban continues to terrorize, and to deny the legitimacy of, the rickety, U.S.-backed government in Kabul—whose days are numbered once U.S. forces exit.

Bluntly, by pulling out of Afghanistan at this moment, we are enabling re-creation of the conditions that obtained circa 1998 through 2001. That is when al-Qaeda repeatedly mass-murdered Americans, attacking our embassies in eastern Africa, our naval destroyer Cole, and, ultimately, the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

[The truth is], it is easy to end an endless war. . . . All you have to do is surrender.

At the southern tip of the Red Sea, Iran poses a direct threat to Israel

As Iran seeks to intimidate its way out of US-led economic sanctions, including by seizing tankers in the Strait of Hormuz, a top Israeli expert has warned that Israel would be immensely vulnerable if Tehran extends this tactic to a second strategic waterway.

Prof. Shaul Chorev, a rear admiral (ret.) who heads the Maritime Policy & Strategic Research Center at the University of Haifa, noted that last August, Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthi rebels attacked two Saudi oil tankers in the Bab al-Mandab strait at the southern entrance to the Red Sea. That incident prompted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to directly warn Iran against seeking to block the strait, and promise that Israel and a “determined international coalition” would prevent this.

A full third of Israel’s global trade is with the Far East, Chorev noted, billions of dollars’ worth of Israeli imports and exports pass through Bab al-Mandab, and Israel thus “needs to worry” about what plays out there. In a recent strategic overview produced by his maritime research center, he urged that Israel formulate an overall strategy to face up to the threat “via a naval coalition with Western forces that operate in the area, or independently.”

Israel doesn’t sail to the Strait of Hormuz, Chorev, a former navy commander of submarines and missile boats, noted in our interview (although Foreign Minister Israel Katz reportedly said Tuesday that Israel is involved in a US-led naval mission to provide maritime security there, drawing a stream of Iranian threats). It does, however, sail through Bab al-Mandab, noted Chorev, “and we are vulnerable there.” Iran “can directly target us.”

US Turning Gulf Region Into ‘Tinderbox:’ Iran’s Zarif

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif accused the United States on Monday of turning the Gulf region into a “matchbox ready to ignite,” according to Al Jazeera television.

Oil tanker traffic passing through the Gulf via the Strait of Hormuz has become the focus of a US-Iranian standoff since Washington pulled out of an international nuclear deal with Iran and reimposed sanctions to strangle Tehran’s oil exports.

After explosions that damaged six tankers in May and June and Iran’s seizure of a British-flagged tanker in July, the United States launched a maritime security mission in the Gulf, joined by Britain, to protect merchant vessels.

Zarif, in interview remarks cited by Qatar-based Al Jazeera, said the Strait “is narrow, it will become less safe as foreign (navy) vessels increase their presence in it.”

“The region has become a matchbox ready to ignite because America and its allies are flooding it with weapons,” he said.

MEMRI: Russian Expert Safarov: Russia Will Put An End To American Domination In The Persian Gulf

Russia and Iran are getting ready to hold joint naval drills in the Strait of Hormuz, by the end of the year. “A joint Russian-Iranian exercise is expected to be held shortly in the Indian Ocean. The exercise may also be held in the northern part of the Indian Ocean, including in the Strait of Hormuz,” Iranian Navy Commander Hossein Khanzadi said, during a three-day visit to Russia on July 27.

It is also worth noting that Khanzandi informed that, during his trip, the General Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces and the Russian Defense Ministry signed a memorandum of understanding with an aim to expend bilateral ties. “This is the first memorandum of understanding of this kind, and it may be considered as a turning point in relations of Tehran in Moscow along the defense trajectory,” Khanzadi said.[1]

Commenting on the drills in the Straits of Hormuz, Rajab Safarov, director of the Moscow-based Center for the Study of Modern Iran, said that the joint exercises are the first step to completely eject the US from the strategically important Gulf region and end US domination.

Below is Safarov’s article:[2]

In The Near Future The US Will Be Totally Ejected From This Region

“By the end of the year, Russia will hold for the first time in our history joint Russian-Iranian naval military drills in the Strait of Hormuz. The Americans are feeling the upcoming end of their beneficial and totally uncontrolled presence in the Persian Gulf on their bare skin. The joint naval military drill implies the very deep cooperation between the sides, which places the naval cooperation and military-technical relations between the two countries on a new level. This means that Russian Concept of Collective Security in the Persian Gulf is really starting to function.

As US Sanctions Bite, German Exports to Iran Cut in Half

German exports to Iran fell by nearly half in the first six months of 2019, data showed on Monday, suggesting companies are scaling back business ties with Tehran to avoid trouble with the United States after Washington reimposed sanctions.

Sales to Iran plunged by 48 percent to 678 million euros ($758.8 million) from January through June year-on-year, data from the Federal Statistics Office reviewed by Reuters showed. Imports from Iran declined by 43 percent to nearly 110 million euros.

“The fact that trade between Iran and Germany has collapsed that massively is not a big surprise, unfortunately,” the BGA trade association said.

It pointed to the extra-territorial character of recent US sanctions which means that companies from third countries are also punished if they do business with Iran.

“German companies are forced to choose between their market activities in Iran and the United States, so it’s clear which market is preferred,” BGA said.

PreOccupiedTerritory: Iran Threatens To Use Cheat Codes In Simulation Of Conflict With US Navy (satire)

Tensions between the Islamic Republic and the US today following warnings that in an upcoming a video-game-like exercise the regime in Tehran will conduct next week, it may deploy secret keystrokes or sequences of controller commands to disable vital functions of the virtual enemy and grant itself such powers as invincibility, unlimited ammunition, and access to advanced weaponry.

A spokesman for Tehran told reporters that next week’s Fist of Allah simulation by Iran’s navy will test its forces’ ability to neutralize American sea power and naval air power in the Persian Gulf, and in doing so they may invoke special codes to make themselves unbeatable. The move comes as part of an ongoing policy by Tehran to assert itself in the contested body of water that serves as a vital shipping conduit for oil from the states that border it.

“If the Great Satan does not stand down from its confrontational posture we will not hesitate to implement special cheat codes in our next simulation,” threatened Aididi Qyudi of the Ministry of Defense. “Our arsenal of such secret keystroke sequences includes unlimited firepower, impenetrable armor, and, while this might not have clear application at sea, the ability to walk through walls. The simulated enemy will meet ignominious defeat at the hand of our glorious forces.”

Qyudi warned the US and its allies not to put their confidence in the fact that Iran’s navy possesses no real warships and can hope only to harass far superior US vessels and aircraft in the Gulf and the Arabian Sea. “Our cheat codes will negate any advantage the enemy thinks he enjoys,” he predicted. Iran has repeatedly attempted to attack, capture, and damage foreign vessels, and has made dubious claims of chasing away foreign naval vessels with its various small craft.

Iranian pilgrims in Mecca call for Israel’s destruction, cry ‘Death to America’

Iranian pilgrims to the holiest site in Islam in the Saudi city of Mecca have used their hajj to call for Israel’s destruction and decry the Jewish state and the United States as “polytheists.”

At a “disavowal of polytheists” ceremony held at Mount Arafat, a message from Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei was read, and the crowd then chanted, “Death to America! Death to Israel!” according to a segment aired by Iran’s IRINN TV station on Saturday and translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute.

“America is the enemy of Allah! Israel is the enemy of Allah [and] should be erased from the face of the Earth!” they continued.

“This is the cry of the Islamic nation against the child-killing Zionist regime and [America],” the reporter said.

One interviewee then said his pilgrimage would be meaningless unless he disavows the “polytheists,” and said he was there “in order to punch America and Israel on the mouth.”

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