January 28, 2020

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09/10 Links Pt1: Netanyahu vows to annex all settlements, starting in Jordan Valley; Israel Returns to the Polls, while Palestinian Democracy Is Frozen; Alan Dershowitz: Obama lied


From Ian:

Netanyahu vows to annex all settlements, starting in Jordan Valley
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced on Tuesday that if he is re-elected, he will express Israeli sovereignty over all the Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria, starting with the Jordan Valley.

Netanyahu said the steps would be taken in coordination with the administration of US President Donald Trump. He revealed that Trump intends to announce his Middle East peace plan the day after the September 17 election.

“This is an historic opportunity that we may not have again,” Netanyahu said in his statement that he delivered at Ramat Gan’s Kfar Hamaccabiah Hotel.

Pointing to a map of the Jordan Valley, he said Israel could carry out the plan without annexing a single Palestinian and while ensuring that Palestinians maintain complete freedom of movement.

He warned that if he did not win the election, Blue and White leaders Benny Gantz and Yair Lapid would not take such steps and would not be able to handle the Trump administration’s plan.

But both Gantz and Lapid have said in the past that they envision keeping the Jordan Valley forever.

PMW: Stop the Lethal Fatah – Facebook Terror Promotion Partnership

Fatah, like all terror promoting organizations, needs a platform to turn its unknown terrorists into heroes and role models to emulate. Fatah has chosen Facebook as its prime tool, and through its Facebook page instantaneously promotes terror to its 224,000 Facebook followers.

PMW again demands that Facebook immediately close down Fatah’s official page before more innocent lives are lost to murderers who are inspired and drawn to terror by Fatah’s Facebook page.

In January 2019, Palestinian Media Watch sent a copy to Facebook officials of our comprehensive report on Fatah’s Facebook page documenting Fatah’s use of its official Facebook page to promote terror and glorify terrorists throughout 2018. PMW director Itamar Marcus spoke with the Director of Facebook’s Global Counterterrorism Policy Team, Brian Fishman, and described how Fatah’s use of Facebook for its terror promotion was both life threatening and in violation of Facebook’s Community Standards.

Tragically, in spite of the clear documentation, Facebook has chosen to knowingly let Fatah continue.

Below is PMW’s new report on Fatah’s use of Facebook from January to June 2019, which shows that Facebook still constitutes a central part of Fatah’s terror promotion mechanism. Facebook’s willingness to ignore all the evidence and keep the page open makes Facebook a willing and active partner in Fatah’s terror promotion. Whereas in 2018 Facebook was an unwitting accomplice in Fatah’s terror promotion, in 2109, Facebook is a partner by choice.

The Great Demystifier

The order of the region changed again in 2015, July 14 to be exact, when the Obama administration struck the JCPOA. Arab nationalist and Islamist ideologues were partly proven right after having warned for decades that there was a regime intent on dominating Arab lands from east to west. But it wasn’t the Zionists who carried out the industrial mass slaughter of Arabs. Rather, it was Iran.

That’s why Obama will go down in Middle East history as the great demystifier, the man who drew back the curtain and gave the regional powers a glimpse of what hell truly looks like—America allied with a state sponsor of terror that makes endless war on Sunnis. The effects can be seen most vividly in Syria with a war that uprooted millions, fragmented polities, and left hundreds of thousands dead after eight years.

The JCPOA and the ensuing violence, from Lebanon through Syria and Iraq to Yemen and the Gulf, is therefore perhaps an even more strategically consequential regional event than the Yom Kippur War. Jerusalem’s 1973 victory pushed Cairo into the U.S. fold, but the Iran deal put Israel and the Arabs in one column, facing a common enemy. All that remained was for a superpower to lead the column.

In embracing Israel and Saudi Arabia, Trump pocketed the cards that Obama left on the table. Thus, only a short time after Obama administration officials regularly tried to kneecap Israel by leaking details of Israeli strikes on Iranian targets, the Trump administration now supports those strikes. There are no Arab powers complaining to U.S. officials, because the Israelis are blowing up their enemies.

Nevertheless, Trump and Netanyahu will be careful to modulate their actions. A hot war with Iran is likely to hurt Trump’s chances at reelection and could have hellish costs for Israel.

Iran doesn’t want a war either. Among other reasons, it’s running out of money. Tehran and the international lobby created by the JCPOA believe that all the regime has to do is hold out until 2020, when a Democrat moves into the White House and restores the deal. But that strategy may prove even riskier than Trump’s play, especially as the Iranian economy continues to weaken. If Trump wins, he will have even more leverage and fewer restraints to push the same maximalist deal.

Alan Dershowitz: Obama lied, reconsidering Democratic Party affiliation

Criminal lawyer and pro-Israel advocate Alan Dershowitz has told a conservative TV network that former President Barack Obama lied to him.

“I got a phone call from Obama … who invited me to the Oval Office,” Dershowitz, who is known for his role in several important legal cases and as a commentator on the Arab–Israeli conflict, told One America News. “He made me promises, which he broke, and I broke my relationship with Obama.”

Dershowitz said that the former president told him that he would always have Israel’s back, but he believes Obama stabbed the Jewish state in the back.

“President Obama’s decision on the way out to allow the United Nations to condemn Israel for occupying the Western Wall, the holiest place in Judaism, the Jewish Quarter, Hebrew University, the Hadassah Hospital bypass road, was abominable.

“I took very strong positions against President Obama,” he continued.

In 2016, the Obama administration abstained from voting on United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334 that demanded an immediate halt to all Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, enabling the measure to pass.

Dershowitz, who conducted the interview last week to promote his new book, “Defending Israel: The Story of My Relationship with My Most Challenging Client,” said that Obama’s policies emboldened the Iranian regime, which has pledged to destroy Israel if it develops a nuclear weapon.

Cobra Warrior kicks off in the UK with Israeli jets

Israeli fighter jets touched down at Waddington Air Force Base in the United Kingdom to take part in a high-intensity tactical drill with aircraft from other nations.

The jets joined 50 aircraft of various types from the German, Italian and American air forces for the 20-day Cobra Warrior exercise.

The aircraft deployed from Tel Nof to RAF Waddington consist of 3 F-15 “C” Baz and 4 F-15 “D” Baz fighters as well as a KC-707 Re’em tanker and C-130J Hercules.

“We are happy and proud to participate in the Cobra Warrior exercise. This is the first time IAF fighter aircraft are deployed to and flying in Britain,” said Brig.-Gen. Amnon Ein-Dar, head of the IAF Air Division. “The deployment will help improve IAF readiness and capability. We view this exercise as the highest standard of training [and] an excellent opportunity for mutual learning and bolstering cooperation between partners.”

Formerly named Exercise CQWI (Combined Qualified Weapons Instructor), the annual Cobra Warrior is the RAF’s largest collective-training exercise.

Mnuchin says US considering sanctioning Turkey over purchase of Russian S-400

US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin has warned Turkey that Washington is considering imposing sanctions on the country over Ankara’s purchase of the S-400 missile defense system from Russia, Reuters reported Monday.

Speaking with journalists, Mnuchin said that, while no decision has yet been made, the Trump administration is “looking at” penalizing its NATO ally over that country’s importation of the missile batteries, whose presence in Turkey the US believes would compromise its F-35 stealth aircraft program and aid Russian intelligence.

“We’re looking at that, I’m not going to make any comments on any specific decisions, but we are looking at it,” he said.

In a major break with a longtime ally, US President Donald Trump this July announced that Ankara was being kicked out of the F-35 program for purchasing the Russian-made system. Turkey took delivery of the first part of the Russian system that month,, despite strong objections from the United States.

Turkey — which had ordered more than 100 of the F-35s for some $1.4 billion — has repeatedly dismissed claims the Russian system would be a danger to the American warplanes, and urged Washington to reverse its decision.

The Western defense alliance NATO, which counts Turkey as one of its members, has also expressed concern about the purchase.

Hezbollah leader calls US mediator a ‘friend of Israel’

A US official visiting Beirut to mediate between Lebanon and Israel over a maritime border dispute is a “friend of Israel,” keen to defend its interests, Hezbollah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah warned on Tuesday.

Nasrallah urged Lebanese officials to negotiate from a point of strength with US Assistant Secretary of State David Schenker over the nearly 860 square kilometers (330 square miles) of the Mediterranean Sea claimed by both countries.

Schenker met with Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri after his arrival on Monday. On Tuesday, he met with Lebanese President Michel Aoun and Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, who complained about new American sanctions that targeted Jammal Trust Bank for, as the US Treasury Department said, “knowingly facilitating banking activities for Hezbollah.”

In comments released by Berri’s office and circulated on local media, he said that Beirut has drafted laws in the past years to fight money laundering, adding that “the Lebanese economy and banking sector cannot take this amount of pressure.”

The US considers Hezbollah a terrorist organization and has been imposing sanctions on the group for years. In July, the Treasury for the first time imposed sanctions on two Hezbollah legislators.

We’ll hit more targets: Nasrallah says lessons learned from ‘Hollywood’ IDF

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah said Tuesday that the Israel Defense Forces showed weakness in the incident earlier this month in which it staged an evacuation of “wounded soldiers” from an APC that his group targeted with anti-tank missiles, and that Hezbollah had learned lessons from the incident.

“The legendary and invincible [IDF] has turned into a Hollywood army, acting in movies, because it has become weak, debilitated, feeble and cowardly,” Nasrallah said.

He said Hezbollah’s takeaway from the staged evacuation was that it should hit more Israeli targets in the future.

“You are saying to us: ‘Next time, don’t strike one military vehicle and don’t strike only in one place. Instead, hit more than one military vehicle and hit more than one place.’ We are not going to see anymore Hollywood films,” he said.

Hezbollah gleefully announced it had killed and wounded soldiers after firing the anti-tank missiles into northern Israel earlier this month, but Israel later said no soldiers were injured and Israeli sources indicated that footage of wounded soldiers being rushed to a hospital was part of a ruse.

The IDF retaliated by firing approximately 100 artillery shells and bombs at Hezbollah positions in southern Lebanon. No Lebanese casualties were reported. Hezbollah, apparently believing it had already exacted sufficient revenge for DIF strikes the previous week, refrained from any further response. The group has continued to assert that the APC suffered a direct hit.

MERMI: In Lebanon, Criticism Against Hizbullah For Dragging Country Into War For Sake Of Iran, And Against Lebanese Leaders For Supporting Hizbullah

In light of the recent tension between Israel and Hizbullah, there has been criticism in Lebanon against the organization itself, and also against the leaders of the state, for backing Hizbullah and enabling its actions.

Hizbullah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah’s August 16, 2019 speech, in which he said that war against Iran would mean war against the entire resistance axis and would set the entire region aflame, evoked condemnations against him on the grounds that he prefers Iran’s benefit over that of his own country. This criticism mounted following Israel’s August 25, 2019 drone attack on the Dahia, Hizbullah’s stronghold in southern Beirut, and Hizbullah’s September 1 retaliatory firing of anti-tank missiles into Israel. The critics called not to embroil Lebanon in wars that serve regional powers, chiefly Iran, stressing that Nasrallah does not represent all Lebanese, as he purports to do. Hizbullah, they said, is not authorized to act independently of the state and intervene in other countries, as it did in Syria, or to operate against Israel and then expect the Lebanese government to bear the responsibility for its actions. They warned that a war on Lebanon would entail death and destruction, and that only the Lebanese government is authorized to take decisions on issues of war.

Other critics, among them former Lebanese PM Fouad Al-Siniora, also called to renew the public debate on Lebanon’s defense strategy and to subordinate Hizbullah’s arms to the Lebanese army, lest the U.S. expand its sanctions on Lebanon, leading the country to complete economic collapse. Some also mocked Nasrallah for making empty boasts about the victories of the resistance when he cannot even prevent the Israeli attacks in Lebanon. Nasrallah’s behavior, they stated, confirms the statements of U.S. State Secretary Mike Pompeo that Hizbullah is a danger to Lebanon.

As stated, harsh condemnations were also directed at the leaders of the Lebanese state, including President Michel ‘Aoun and Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil. The latter was criticized mainly for his remark that all Lebanese are partners of Hizbullah. ‘Aoun was condemned for rushing to declare, on his own initiative, following the Israeli drone attack, that Lebanon has the right to respond to Israel’s aggression, a statement that was understood as lending legitimacy to retaliatory action by Hizbullah. The critics stated that these two leaders were effectively supporting Hizbullah and its weapons, eliminating the distinction between Hizbullah and the Lebanese state, and dragging the country into an unwanted confrontation with Israel. Lebanese Prime Minister Sa’d Al-Hariri was also censured, for his feeble response to the events and lack of control over them, which enable the Hizbullah-‘Aoun-Bassil alliance to steer Lebanon as they wish.

U.S. General: U.S. Military Likely to Ramp Up Operations Against Taliban

The U.S. military is likely to accelerate the pace of its operations in Afghanistan to counter an increase in Taliban attacks, a senior U.S. general said on Monday following Washington’s suspension of peace talks with the insurgents.

U.S. Marine General Kenneth McKenzie, the head of U.S. Central Command, said during a visit to Afghanistan that the Taliban overplayed its hand in peace negotiations by carrying out a spate of high profile attacks, including one that killed a U.S. soldier last week.

The Taliban, which controls more territory than at any time since 2001 when it governed the country, said on Sunday that more American lives https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-afghanistan/more-americans-will-die-after-trump-abruptly-ends-afghan-talks-taliban-say-idUSKCN1VT05L would be lost.

McKenzie declined to comment on the Taliban statement. But he noted that U.S. troops in Afghanistan were hardly “defenseless.”

“We’re certainly not going to sit still and let them carry out some self-described race to victory. That’s not going to happen,” McKenzie told a group of reporters traveling with him during a stop at Bagram Airfield in northeastern Afghanistan.

Asked whether increasing operations against the Taliban could include airstrikes and raids by U.S. and Afghan commandos, McKenzie responded: “I think we’re talking a total spectrum.”

Counter-Terror Experts: Al-Qaeda Is Back

A range of top global counter-terror experts warned on Monday that al-Qaeda is back, has reached a new high in followers worldwide and may pose an escalating cyber terrorism threat.

In several speeches at the ICT-IDC Herzliya counter-terrorism conference, the officials repeatedly returned to the theme of the threat of al-Qaeda, making it clear that the group has supplanted ISIS as the number one global terrorism threat.

Jay Tabb, the executive assistant director of the FBI’s National Security Branch, told the conference that al-Qaeda and its affiliates now have 20,000 followers worldwide – a high for the group which carried out the 9/11 attacks, but was upstaged in recent years by ISIS.

Following ISIS’s physical defeat in Syria and Iraq (ISIS still has small units in other countries and an active online presence), al-Qaeda has been on the rise.

Former US cyber command deputy chief Lt. Gen. (res.) Vincent Stewart warned the conference that the West was underestimating the dangers of cyber terrorism posed by al-Qaeda and even still potentially by ISIS.

He said that the West was finally getting serious about defending itself from state-sponsored cyber attacks from Russia, China, Iran and North Korea.

Scotland Yard: UK Foiled 22 Terrorist Attacks since March 2017

British authorities have foiled 22 attacks since March 2017, three more than previously reported, Scotland Yard’s most senior counterterrorism officer said on Monday.

Seven were related to “suspected right-wing terrorism,” Metropolitan Police Deputy Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu told a conference on international terrorism in Herzliya, Israel, according to the text distributed by Scotland Yard.

Basu said attacks were becoming easier to carry out and harder to detect. He promoted the merits of “Prevent,” a British counterterrorism program involving several government agencies, including social services, which is designed to spot and deter people who might be vulnerable to recruitment or indoctrination by violent radicals.

“‘Prevent’ is designed to break the cycle of extremist violence by empowering communities and individuals – to make them resilient to radicalizers and able to spot the vulnerable that radicalizers target and manipulate,” Basu said.

“A recent study showed that in the time before most lone-actor attacks, someone close to them knew about their growing ideology and violent intent. Mostly, they chose not to report it,” Basu said.

Israel Foils Smuggling of Military Uniform Material to Gaza

Israeli security forces thwarted an attempt to smuggle materials to produce military uniforms into the Gaza Strip, the Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) said in a statement on Monday.

Large quantities of olive-green fabric, a product that can be used both for civilian and military purposes, were discovered at the Kerem Shalom crossing.

The cloth rolls were hidden among other goods that were entering the Hamas-controlled coastal enclave.

Kerem Shalom is the point of entry and exit for equipment and goods from Israel to the Strip.

The crossing is managed by the Land Crossings Authority in the Ministry of Defense and the Coordination and Liaison Administration.

According to COGAT’s website, every day an average of 800 trucks enter Gaza carrying medical equipment, food, fuel, building materials, agricultural inputs, textile products and more.

Hamas Uses Restraining Forces to Bargain with Israel

Hamas is using a restraining force, tasked with keeping the peace in order to bargain with Israel. Craig Johnson has the story. Story: Hamas current policy of restraint is being used for bargaining with Israel before the elections. This restraining force is allowing Hamas to continue to receive aid from Qatar through Israel.

Israel Returns to the Polls, while Palestinian Democracy Is Frozen

When Israelis vote next week it will be their sixth general election since 2006, when Palestinians last had the chance to cast ballots in parliamentary polls.

30-year-old Palestinians have never had the opportunity to choose their leadership.

“For both the Palestinian Authority and Hamas, governing without elections is very comfortable. The split provides a cover – you can say you want elections but the other side doesn’t,” said Khalil Shikaki, a prominent Palestinian pollster.

Shikaki’s polling found little optimism about new PA elections, but also that democracy was not a top priority.

Prompted by Iran, Palestinian Islamic Jihad Plays Lead Role in Gaza Escalation

Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), the second-largest armed terror faction in Gaza, has in recent days taken a lead role in the latest escalation with Israel. PIJ, which is funded and orchestrated by Iran, has an interest in inflaming the security situation and destabilizing the region.

Unlike Hamas, PIJ has no responsibility for Gaza’s estimated 2 million people.

PIJ is challenging Hamas, which for the most part is not interested in an escalation or full-out war with Israel at this time, and is instead interested in reaching an arrangement to prevent an economic collapse of the Gaza Strip and avoid the risk of a popular rebellion against its Islamist militant regime.

It is therefore safe to assume that PIJ fired five rockets into southern Israel on Friday night, narrowly missing an Israeli family fleeing into a safe room in Sderot.

In retaliation, the Israel Air Force struck Hamas military targets in northern Gaza as part of Israel’s policy of holding Gaza’s ruling entity responsible for what occurs in its territory.

It also seems safe to assume that PIJ is the organization behind the armed drone attack on an IDF Humvee vehicle on Saturday, which caused light damage, but no injuries.

Saudi authorities arrest over 60 Hamas members, supporters

Security forces in Saudi Arabia have arrested over 60 individuals identified as Hamas members, the Lebanese news outlet Al Mayadeen reported on Tuesday, quoting Palestinian sources based in Saudi Arabia.

According to the Lebanese report, the detainees are Palestinian residents of the Gaza Strip who are members of the Hamas government.

The report said that Saudi forces raided the offices of Palestinian Hamas operatives in the kingdom, seizing computers and documents.

Al Mayadeen reported that for some weeks, Saudi security forces have been arresting and questioning Hamas supporters and operatives in Saudi Arabia. The Saudi government has reportedly issued orders to confiscate the money and assets of Hamas operatives and supporters, as well as an order banning Hamas activity in the kingdom and banning membership in organizations suspected of helping Hamas launder money.

Hamas put out a statement claiming that on April 4, Saudi authorities arrested senior Hamas official Mohammed al-Khoudari, who is nearing 80 and has been living in the Saudi coastal city of Jeddah for the past three decades. For two decades, al-Khoudari was a prominent figure in Hamas-Saudi relations, as well as filling other roles in the leadership of the terrorist group. He is known as the “Hamas ambassador” to Saudi Arabia.

New Revelations May Prove Iran’s Ongoing Nuclear Weapons Program

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s bomb shell revelation Monday of another Iranian nuclear site that was operational as late as three months ago is big news aimed at the international community.

Even so, Israel’s intelligence services will have to provide more information proving Iran had, or had at least planned to develop nuclear weapons at the Abadeh installation.

Satellite images of the installation before and after it was uncovered by Israel will not be sufficient to sway EU leaders or the Russians and Chinese, who are signatories of the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran. It will not even be enough to convince the Trump administration.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will not examine Israel’s claims based on aerial photography alone. The Iranians will – as always – deny the claims and the IAEA inspectors will need more information in order to proceed.

But if more proof is supplied, IAEA inspectors will be able to launch an investigation that may prove embarrassing for Iran, because it will show they have not only violated the nuclear deal (aka the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or JCPOA), but also the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Netanyahu’s revelations are grave because of Iran’s consistent claims that their uranium enrichment is for civilian purposes while denying it is developing nuclear weapons.

Iran Attempts to Cover Up Nuclear Warehouse Facility

Iran has been trying to cover up a secret nuclear warehouse and IAEA wants answers as to why there were traces of uranium found at the nuclear site. Jotam Confino has the story.

Iranian Atomic Energy Agency Spokesman: We’re Starting Experiments with Centrifuges despite JCPOA

Behrouz Kamalvandi, the spokesman of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, said in a September 7, 2019 interview on IRINN TV (Iran) that a plan has been presented to the Supreme National Security Council for Iran to have centrifuges that will be able to produce between 272,000 and 1 million separative work units (SU) of centrifuges when the JCPOA expires in 2030. Kamalvandi said that this plan would not rely on IR1 centrifuges, which he said are going to be retired and replaced with newer IR2M and IR4 centrifuges. He explained that the JCPOA would enable Iran to use new centrifuges starting in 2025, but that, as part of the third stage in its reduction of commitment to the nuclear deal, Iran has started reactivating centrifuge chains that the JCPOA had required it to deactivate. Kamalvandi said that it would cost roughly a billion dollars to build new enrichment structures in the Natanz enrichment facility, and that it is therefore better to install advanced centrifuges with a capacity of 10 SU. In addition, Kamalvandi said that Iran has begun experiments that involve injecting gas into IR6 centrifuges, even though the JCPOA stipulates that Iran would only be allowed to do this in November. He added that experimental stages with new centrifuges increase Iran’s stockpile of enriched uranium.

Iran accuses Netanyahu of seeking war after nuclear site reveal

Iran responded furiously to Israel’s revelation that it uncovered a previously unknown nuclear facility, accusing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of marching to war at all costs.

In a televised address Monday, Netanyahu said Tehran had conducted experiments in the pursuit of nuclear weapons at the secret nuclear facility in central Iran, violating the nuclear non-proliferation treaty.

Responding to Netanyahu, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif accused the Israeli leader of seeking a war with his country.

“The possessor of REAL nukes cries wolf—on an ALLEGED ‘demolished’ site in Iran,” he wrote on Twitter.

“He & #B_Team just want a war, no matter innocent blood & another $7 TRILLION,” he added, referring to Netanyahu, US National Security Adviser John Bolton, Saudi crown prince Mohammed Bin Salman, and Abu Dhabi crown prince Mohammed Bin Zayed.

Iran’s top diplomats lie about the regime’s nuclear site at Turquzabad

Iran’s top diplomats lie about the regime’s nuclear program at Turquzabad. The only way to stop Iran’s dangerous nuclear ambitions is through decisive international pressure.

PreOccupiedTerritory: Inspection Of IAEA Facility Finds Traces Of Competence (satire)

A recent exploration of the International Atomic Energy Agency’s various offices and laboratories has turned up evidence that the organization possesses the capacity to conduct effective monitoring of Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons, a fact that critics contend the agency has attempted to conceal.

External auditors arrived unannounced last week at the various offices and technical facilities of the IAEA in Europe, Canada, and Japan, and swept the buildings for evidence as they appropriated or reviewed documents. The team’s initial findings, reported an auditor spokesman, give strong indications that the IAEA may have or have had in its possession the ability and means to live up to the part of its mission devoted to preventing the proliferation of atomic weapons. Representatives of the agency declined to comment.

Oversight specialist Natdemo Saad told reporters that the preliminary information collected in the sweep points to failures in IAEA mechanisms designed and thought to prevent the exercise of competence, especially in the context of Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons technology. “Figures within the organization, in addition to advocates outside it, have claimed for years that the IAEA cannot verify Iranian compliance with the JCPOA,” he stated, referring to the 2015 agreement brokered by US then-Secretary of State John Kerry of the Barack Obama presidential administration. “What appears to emerge from our initial inspection of documents and other evidence, however, contradicts that assertion, and raises the distinct possibility that the agency could have played a role in living up to its stated mission. We will continue to examine the evidence and report our conclusions as we reach them.”

Iraqi Shiite Politician Jalal Al-Din Al-Saghir: Iraq’s Shiite Movement Stands Up to America, Israel

Iraqi Shiite politician Jalal Al-Din Al-Saghir said in an August 25, 2019 speech that aired on Al-Ayam TV (Iraq) that the Shiite movement in Iraq has been standing up to America, spitting in its face, and confronting and retaliating against Israel. Al-Saghir claimed that the U.S. controlled the Baath Party and that it effectively ruled Iraq between 1968 and 2003, and he said that the reason that America has been unable to replace Saddam Hussein the same way he claimed it replaced Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak with Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi is because the Shiites have taken part of America’s “political share” in Iraq. He added that the conflict with the U.S. over political influence in the region is not over, but that what has been achieved in Iraq since 2003 has been a great disaster for American policy.

Iraqi Academic Dr. Akeel Abbas: Iranian Influence Is Preventing a Unified, Democratic Iraq

Iraqi academic Dr. Akeel Abbas said in an August 30, 2019 interview on NRT TV (Iraqi Kurdistan) that conspiracy theories tend to thrive in societies that are replete with indoctrination and sacred narratives about absolute truth, and he said that since Iraqi society does not have a long traditional of serious analytical critique, it does not properly understand the roles that Israel and Iran play in the region. Dr. Abbas said that Iran has strategic advantages for cultural and geographic reasons and because it has proxies that are willing to fight on its behalf. In contrast, he said that Israel is far more successful than Iran and other Middle Eastern countries in developmental and economic parameters, despite psychological, moral, religious, and political barriers between it and Arabs and Muslims. He said that Israel’s success is also why Arabs have a tendency to attribute Israel’s preeminence to conspiracies and Western support. In addition, Dr. Abbas said that Iranian influence in Iraq has prevented the emergence of a unified and democratic Iraq, partly because Iran insists on dividing Iraq along sectarian and racial lines. In contrast, he added that Israel has not posed a threat to Iraq in almost 20 years.

Iraqi Writer Rafe’ Al-Falahi Criticizes Iran for Transferring Missiles into Iraq

In an August 31, 2019 interview on Al-Rafidain TV (Iraq), Iraqi writer and researcher Rafe’ Al-Falahi questioned why Iran is moving missiles into Iraqi territory and giving them to militias, especially in light of all its talk about long-range missiles that can strike Israel. Saying that this is all part of a conflict that Iran is part of, he asked why a “shattered” country like Iraq should be trusted with these missiles, and he said that Iraq is tired of wars, for which he said it has been paying the price since the American occupation in 2003. He said that he doubts that the militias in Iraq have the country’s best interests in mind or that Iran is seeking to strengthen Iraqi sovereignty, security, and honor. In addition, Al-Falahi said that “resistance” is a deceitful and misleading term used by Iran and its militias. He gave the example of the resistance movements in Yemen and Syria, which he said have ruined the countries and spread corruption on behalf of Iran, and he said that Hizbullah has, similarly, hijacked Lebanon and caused the Lebanese people to suffer. Al-Falahi added that Israel has remained untouched in the meantime, and he said that Iran’s actions have strengthened the relationship between Israel and many Arab regimes.

Iranian female soccer fan dies after setting herself on fire

An Iranian female soccer fan has died after setting herself on fire outside a court after learning she may have to serve a six-month sentence for trying to enter a soccer stadium.

Women in Iran are banned from soccer stadiums, though they are allowed at some other sports, such as volleyball.

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The semi-official Shafaqna news agency reported on Tuesday that the 30-year old woman identified, only as Sahar, died at a Tehran hospital.

Sahar was known as “Blue Girl” on social media for the colors of her favorite team, Esteghlal.

She set herself on fire a week ago, reportedly after learning that she may have to go to prison for trying to enter a stadium in February to watch an Esteghlal match.

No verdict had been delivered in her case so far.

Iran’s Imprisonment of Female Journalists.

Iran is the largest prison in the world for female journalists. You can make a difference by contacting Javaid Rehman, the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Iran and demand the release of these female journalists.

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