December 7, 2022

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11/04 Links Pt1: Palestinians in the service of Mother Russia; Israel is the sane, stable democracy

From Ian:

The KGB’s Middle East Files: Palestinians in the service of Mother Russia
The genesis of the KGB’s developing ties with Palestinian terror organizations can be traced back to the end of the 1960s. The Soviet spy agency had code names for the different factions making up the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO): Fatah, the main movement led by Yasser Arafat, was dubbed “Kabinet” (cabinet); the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) received the name “Khutor” (which means a small village or a farm in Russian); the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) was named “Shkola” (a school in Russian); and Ahmad Jibril’s Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – General Command (PFLP-GC) was dubbed “Blindage” (a fortified wooden military structure).
Arafat himself received the codename “Aref,” but the Russians weren’t particularly impressed with him at first. The Mitrokhin archive includes a memo that notes: “Aref only keeps promises that benefit him. The information he provides is very laconic and only serves to promote his own interests.” The KGB also questioned many of the biographical details Arafat provided them with—his past as a combat soldier, his birth place, and more. Despite this, the KGB appointed a senior liaison officer named Vasili Samoylenko to “cultivate” the Fatah leader.
At the same time, the KGB planted an agent in the office of Hani al-Hassan, one of Arafat’s close advisors, who later went on to become a senior official in the Palestinian Authority. This agent, who according to the Mitrokhin documents was codenamed “Gidar,” was Rafat Abu Auon, who was recruited in 1968 and served in the KGB for many years henceforth.
But the interest in Fatah and Arafat was limited at that point. The Russians were a lot more interested in the PLO’s other factions, particularly George Habash’s Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).
“One of the reasons for that is the Marxist–Leninist ideology of Habash’s men,” explains Prof. Christopher Andrew, one of the world’s foremost historians researching intelligence services, whose second book about the Mitrokhin documents includes an extensive chapter on the KGB’s activity in the Middle East.
Habash may have been the head of the PFLP, but it was his deputy, Dr. Wadi Haddad—a Christian Arab from Safed and a pediatrician like his boss—who had the brilliant operational mind. Haddad greatly improved upon a form of terrorism that was still in its infancy at the time—hijacking planes—and understood the power of international media coverage that such an attack garners.
He was the mastermind behind the hijacking of an El Al plane to Algeria in July 1968, which ended with the release of the passengers in return for 16 Palestinian prisoners and was considered by the Palestinians as a great success. (h/t Elder of Lobby)

Pro-Israel European alliance prepares to fight massive anti-Israel campaign in 2017

A European organization dedicated to rallying support for Israel announced Thursday it would confront a massive anti-Israel campaign anticipated in 2017 with an initiative of its own.
Speaking at an event at the Carlton Hotel in Tel Aviv, Swiss MP Corina Eichenberger-Walther said she had “reliable information that a network has been building itself since the middle of the past year already, a network planning a campaign throughout Europe and having started the necessary funding for that.”
The goal, she said, was to malign Israel during the year of the 50th anniversary of the Six Day War, in which the IDF captured east Jerusalem, the West Bank, Gaza Strip, Sinai Peninsula and Golan Heights.
Israel, she said, will be accused of “having oppressed Palestine for 50 years and occupying it contrary to international law” and be painted as an “apartheid state and unjust nation.”
Eichenberger-Walther chairs the European Alliance for Israel (EAI), of which the Israeli-Swiss Association, which hosted Thursday’s event alongside the Israel-Switzerland and Liechtenstein Chamber of Commerce, is a member. The new Swiss ambassador to Israel, Jean-Daniel Ruch, also participated.
Predicting that international organizations and governments would join the ranks of the anti-Israel network, the EAI decided to develop what Eichenberger-Walther called a “friendship campaign.”
According to the EAI, it already has some 30,000 members in 23 countries and plans to make the campaign prominent in those countries.
In a closed-door session with a small group of journalists, Eichenberger-Walther admitted that the EAI had a way to go in order to counter the force of the expected anti-Israel campaign, noting that the hostile movement comprised not just BDS supporters, but also church and humanitarian groups. (h/t Elder of Lobby)

Seth J. Frantzman: In Mosul, With Our Real Allies

The Kurdish region is also divided in its own politics. The Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) has been in charge in Erbil throughout the war with ISIS, and it has been the face of Kurdistan abroad. But the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), historically the other major Kurdish party in Iraq, has played a key role in the war and its soldiers have served side by side with the KDP. The PUK has better relations with Iran than the KDP, as does the Gorran party, another large party in the KDP parliament. The Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) has bases in the region as well, a fact that has led Turkey to claim that it might intervene in Sinjar.
But with the possible exception of the small Islamist parties in Kurdistan, the trend among all the major parties is support for a more tolerant and open-minded society than is generally found in neighboring areas. Whereas much of the Middle East is trending towards increased sectarianism and religiosity, the Kurdish region is a reflection of more democratic and diverse values.
The war on ISIS has brought those values to the forefront in some ways, as Kurds stress their defense of minorities and women’s rights against the fanatics. But it has also postponed plans for independence and deeply harmed the economy. The international community’s support for Kurdistan has generally been part of an anti-ISIS coalition. But an emboldened Iraqi central government, fresh from successes in battle and with support from Iran, might try to roll back Kurdish gains. Just one lumbering U.S.-made battle tank is a military threat in the hands of a militia that seeks to use them against Kurds. The Obama administration made reduction of U.S. influence a centerpiece of its policy in the world, and its policymakers eschewed basing U.S. policies on shared values, preferring pragmatic diplomacy such as the Iran nuclear deal. The Kurds have been fighting and dying against extremism; the question is whether the next U.S. administration will forget their role or stand by them. That may include supporting independence when the Kurds choose to move towards it.

The Far-Left is Tearing Itself Apart Over Syria

Today, as Syrian cities blaze, anti-imperialist writers continue to demand apologies from those who supported the liberation of Iraq, and react with jubilation to each new setback for intervention. The British former parliamentarian George Galloway, who once bent his knee before a genocidal Ba’athist tyrant in Baghdad, now appears on Iran’s Press TV to do the same before the genocidal Ba’athist tyrant in Damascus. Syrian exiles are ignored or denounced as collaborators with American imperialism just as Iraqi exiles were before them. Max Blumenthal and Electronic Intifada circulate lies about Syria in the service of a conspiratorial anti-Western narrative just as they have peddled lies about Israel in the service of that same narrative. Iran and Hezbollah and Assad are defended as an anti-imperialist “axis of resistance” to the Zionist entity. Russia’s actions are defended as a check on American power. And in the midst of all this mayhem, Iraqi and Syrian lives are no more than a talking point, and “democracy” nothing more than a cudgel with which to beat the West.
Anti-imperialism’s first and most serious error lies in the refusal to make a clear moral distinction between democracy and dictatorship, and therefore between liberty and tyranny. And in the blasted landscapes of Syria’s smashed population centers, the anti-imperialist Left’s professed concern for Arab life, which enjoyed such undeserved currency in the wake of Iraq, has finally been exposed as a squalid lie.
What divides the Left over Syria is what previously divided the Left over Iraq and the Balkans, and it is the anti-totalitarians, not the anti-imperialists, who have been the Syrian people’s most consistent advocates. The same coalition of liberal hawks and neoconservatives that supported the liberation of Iraq now support intervention in Syria for the same reasons. For activists hitherto nourished on an anti-imperialist worldview that holds the West responsible for all the world’s ills, this will take some getting used to. But by now it ought to be obvious that it is pointless to expect support for a democratic struggle from those who do not understand the value of democratic freedoms.

Balfour at 100

Far from being a “crime,” the Declaration was an effort to correct a great historical injustice to the Jews. If Palestinian Arabs suffered from the wars that were launched to render it null and void, it is because they viewed the effort to deny the Jews any part of the country as a greater priority than the wellbeing of their own people. Palestinian national identity is still inextricably tied to that hopeless war in such a manner as to render all efforts to broker peace futile.
So it is no trifling matter that Palestinians will use the coming year to protest Balfour, including an absurd plan to sue the United Kingdom over the declaration in the International Court at The Hague. It may be understandable that they view the events of November 1917 with regret, since it was the moment when it became inevitable that this territory would have to be shared with the Jews in one form or another. But if their goal is, as their apologists often tell us, the elusive two-state solution rather than their century-old dream of eradicating the Jewish presence, then the focus on Balfour makes no sense.
The Balfour Centennial might be an apt moment for both peoples to seek to redeem the hope that Jewish rights could be respected without harming those of their Arab neighbors via a two-state solution. Instead, the Palestinians will spend it not merely venting spleen at a long gone British statesman but by reminding the world that their hope is to return to the pre-Balfour world, even to the point of campaigning to have the United Nations treat Jewish holy places in Jerusalem as solely Muslim sites.
In that sense, the Balfour anniversary isn’t merely a historical milestone for the Jews. It is also an apt reminder of why the Palestinians remain stuck in a mindset that makes peace unattainable.

Elliott Abrams: The Parallel Thinking of Two Great Men on Nationalism

In 1935, the great Jewish leader, Zionist, and nationalist Vladimir Jabotinsky wrote in a letter to David Ben Gurion about the paramount need to establish a Jewish state:
I can vouch for there being a type of Zionist who doesn’t care what kind of society our “state” will have; I’m that person. If I were to know that the only way to a state was via socialism, or even that this would hasten it by a generation, I’d welcome it. More than that: give me a religiously Orthodox state in which I would be forced to eat gefilte fish all day long (but only if there were no other way), and I’ll take it. More even than that: make it a Yiddish-speaking state, which for me would mean the loss of all the magic in the thing—and if there’s no alternative, I’ll take that, too.
It was the founding of the state that counted, above all else.
This passage reminded me of the remarkably similar language Abraham Lincoln used in a letter in 1862 to Horace Greeley, editor of the New York Tribune and a passionate critic of Lincoln for his failure, up to then, to end slavery.

Quick Fisk of “Britain & Palestine”

The anti-Zionist “Balfour Project” site – they assert that there was a ‘sacred trust’of England to facilitate Palestinian independence which is still to be fulfilled (there wasn’t and in fact, Arabs were not even mentioned in the Balfour Declaration the Versailles Peace Conference, the San Remo Conference and the League of Nations Mandate decision, 5:05) – has produced a film.
Here are just a few fisking points:
1. Gt. Britain’s involvement in Palestine with its consuls from 1839 and the whole Christain Restoration ideology for some three centuries – starting with the 1621 pamphlet of MP Sir Henry Finch is ignored (1:08) but is later mentioned (5:23). It’s political analysis leads off with an immediate introduction of World War One.
2. What do they mean by “all of Palestine”? (2:00) TransJordan included? If so, what happened to it? Why was it excluded from the terms of the Mandate which were to reconstitute the national homeland for the Jews?

UNESCO’s Jerusalem Resolution Shows Why Neither Russia Nor China Can Replace the U.S.-Israel Alliance

When the UN Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) passed a resolution denying the historic connection between the Jewish people and the Temple Mount, China and Russia joined a number of Arab and Muslim states in voting for it. Besides providing more evidence that the Palestinians are more interested in delegitimizing Israel than in establishing a state, writes Yaakov Amidror, the vote also demonstrates that those who imagine Israel exchanging its ties with America for an alliance with Russia or China are deeply deluded:
China is a weak country. It is trying to climb to the top of the global ladder despite fierce opposition, and it needs all the support it can get on the international stage. The Islamic bloc, comprising 57 of the UN’s 193 members, is therefore crucial. . . .
China has nothing against Israel and would like to improve relations in all areas, but cannot ignore the power the Muslim bloc wields at the UN. This is why it cannot change its voting patterns. It has nothing to do with anti-Semitism or the actual diplomatic ties between Israel and China. [Furthermore], there is a gap between the sympathy young Chinese feel for Israel and the views of the older generation, which is still entangled in outdated perceptions and irrelevant historical obligations. . . .
[In] Russia, too, all that matters is the numbers: the Muslim bloc is larger than the bloc of countries that back Israel, so that is the bloc that receives consistent support.

In Moscow, Top US Jewish Officials Call on Russia to Backtrack From Support of UNESCO Resolutions That Ignored Jewish and Christian History in Jerusalem

Two high-level US Jewish officials visiting Moscow this week called on Russia — which supported the recent UNESCO resolutions that ignored Jewish and Christian history in Jerusalem – to backtrack on its position.
At the first-ever Moscow International Conference on Combating Antisemitism on Wednesday, Dr. Shimon Samuels — the director of international relations for the Simon Wiesenthal Center — said his organization was urging Russia “to rethink its vote and, at the April 2017 UNESCO Executive Board, to advise its friends and allies to join it in revoking these quintessentially antisemitic resolutions.”
Speaking at the same gathering, World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder said he was “surprised and frankly disappointed” that Russia backed the resolutions.
Denying Jerusalem’s Jewish history, Lauder said, was like refuting “any Russian connection to St. Basil’s [the famous cathedral in Moscow’s Red Square]. That’s ridiculous.”
“When people blame Israel for all the wrongs in the world, it is important to remember one of history’s most crucial lessons: When governments go after Jews first, it never stops with the Jews,” Lauder continued. “As our world becomes more complex and more dangerous, we hope that we will always be able to count on Russia.”

Israel is the sane, stable democracy

Who has done a better job of setting down red lines regarding the conflict in Syria? With determination, Netanyahu has relayed the limits of what Israel can tolerate north of its borders, keeping Hezbollah and Iran at bay for the time being. He quietly and smartly has used humanitarian diplomacy with rebel groups to safeguard the border too. Obama on the other hand, whimpered down from the red lines he loudly set over chemical weapons and other war crimes in Syria, leaving America with little credibility or clout.
Who has more allies now in the Arab world — Israel or the U.S.? Egpyt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states today tacitly rely on Netanyahu’s acumen and security assistance more than they count on Obama. Only the mullahs in Iran have a better relationship with the White House than with the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office; and the Obama-Rouhani nuclear accord isn’t a great feather in America’s cap either.
This listing of America’s woes and foibles and their comparison to Israel’s relative resiliencies, is not meant to gloat. It is with sorrow that I chronicle the yanking of America off its solid policy moorings by an outlier president, and its sullying by a loutish election campaign.
I weep for America and wish it a speedy and full recovery. The world needs America to bounce back, and I am praying that it will.
But the contrast detailed here should instill some modesty in American politicians and pundits (and Jewish community leaders) who are quick to lecture Israel about what it must do on a range of external and internal matters. Hey, American friends, get your act together before hectoring Israel.

Report: Israel’s UN Ambassador Made Secret Visit to Dubai

Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon earlier this week made a clandestine visit to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates to attend a conference under the auspices of the UN, Channel 2 revealed for the first time Thursday.
Danon sojourned to the oil-rich nation to attend a development conference in his capacity as chairman of the UN Legal Committee, an appointment he received in June.
The trip was conducted secretly and under tight security measures so as not arouse criticism of the government by local citizens.
The move is significant in terms of a traditionally hostile Arab nation hosting a high-level Israeli official, Channel 2 noted. The move is the latest sign in Israel’s effort to inch closer to its Arab neighbors as the region delves deeper into instability.
Israel has recently made moves within the diplomatic realm that has seen an effort to strengthen ties with Arab and Muslim nations with shared security and economic interests, such as Saudi Arabia and Turkey.

‘No big bang theory to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict’

It’s unrealistic to imagine that Israelis and Palestinians can sit down at this time and directly negotiate a peace deal, EU and UN officials said on Thursday.
“If we push for direct bilateral negotiations today, for some we would be dreamers, for others naive, but certainly we would not be realistic,” said the UN’s Special Coordinator to the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov.
Mladenov spoke at a conference at the Netanya Academic College on a grand strategy for the two-state solution that brought together ambassadors, politicians and civil society leaders.
UN Special Coordinator to the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov (photo credit: TAMIR BARGIG)
His words were echoed by the EU’s Ambassador to Israel Lars Faaborg Andersen who said, “The big bang theory is not realistic.”
“Big bang meaning that the parties sit down, negotiate and agree on a solution and then it is implemented. This is going to take some time and the only possibility is some kind of a gradual process with way stations along the way,” Faaborg-Andersen said.
Experience has shown that it is not enough to put Israelis and Palestinians in a room, Faaborg-Andersen said.
“We have to find an entry point to see a political process restarting,” he added.

A Message in Refugee Camp Unrest

Reuters has finally noticed what Israeli papers have been reporting for a while: West Bank refugee camps are seething. And unlike in the past, when most of the anger was aimed at Israel, “These days most of the wrath is aimed at [Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud] Abbas himself and his failure to keep his promises.” Western observers are watching anxiously, Reuters says, because they fear an eruption of violence. But they ought to be watching for another reason: Nothing casts more doubt on the wisdom of the West’s drive for Palestinian statehood now than the PA’s treatment of the refugee camps over its 22 years of existence.
The case for Palestinian statehood makes obvious sense in the abstract: Palestinians need a state where they can promote their people’s welfare, just as Jews need a state where they can promote their people’s welfare. It’s not that Israel did nothing for the Palestinians during its decades of governing the territories. Palestinian life expectancy jumped by 50 percent under Israeli rule, infant mortality plummeted by more than two-thirds, literacy rates and living standards skyrocketed, and so forth. Indeed, every hospital and university in the West Bank was built by Israel, as were most of those in Gaza.
Nevertheless, there are many things Israel didn’t do, and the refugee camps are Exhibit A. Granted, Israel left the camps intact mainly because its one attempt to provide refugees with better housing back in the 1970s elicited such brutal opposition from the PLO–which threatened to kill refugees who accepted the offer–that it backed down. But regardless of the reason, the refugee camps are precisely the kind of open sore that Palestinian statehood is theoretically supposed to solve.
In reality, however, the PA has done nothing for the refugees. More than two decades after the PA’s establishment, the refugees’ schooling, healthcare and welfare allowances are still provided and funded wholly by UNRWA, the UN agency created especially for this purpose. Or, to be more precise, by the Western countries that fund most of UNRWA’s budget. Nor has the PA moved a single refugee into better housing. And this isn’t because Israel has somehow prevented it from doing so; most of the refugee camps are located in Area A, the part of the West Bank under full Palestinian control. It’s because the PA has no interest in doing so. As one resident of Balata, a refugee camp near Nablus, complained to Reuters, “The president [Abbas] hasn’t visited even once”–despite being in the 11th year of his four-year term.
Moreover, this neglect is quite deliberate: The PA doesn’t see the refugees as citizens to be served, but as a weapon aimed at Israel. They are kept in miserable conditions for the express purpose of creating sympathy for the Palestinian demand that they all be relocated to Israel, thereby eradicating its Jewish majority. And you needn’t take my word for that; as I’ve noted before, Palestinian officials have said quite openly that the refugees will never be granted citizenship in a Palestinian state–not even those already living in the West Bank and Gaza, the putative territory of this state.

Report: Israeli President Rivlin to Visit India, Accompanied by Delegation of ‘Unprecedented Size’

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin will be joined by a delegation of business and academic officials of “unprecedented size” during his upcoming six-day visit to India later this month, The Hindu reported on Thursday.
According to the report, during the trip, which will be the second-ever by an Israeli president to the subcontinent, Rivlin will meet with his Indian counterpart, President Pranab Mukherjee — who visited the Jewish state last year — and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, among other prominent figures.
Rivlin and Mukherjee, the report said, will oversee the signing of a number of cooperation agreements in the realms of agriculture, water and education. In addition, defense deals may be inked during the Israeli president’s stay in India.
Rivlin’s visit, which will take place from November 15-20, is expected to “pave the way” for a trip to Israel by Modi, according to The Hindu. Such a visit would be the first-ever by an Indian prime minister.
Recently, as reported by The Algemeiner, Modi made a positive comparison between his country’s military to the Israel Defense Forces, drawing mixed media reactions on the subcontinent.
Next year will mark the 25th anniversary of the 1992 establishment of full diplomatic relations between Israel and India, coming as the two countries currently enjoy a burgeoning relationship, particularly in the defense field.

PreOccupiedTerritory: Israel 1st In OECD Ranking Of Obsession With OECD Rankings

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development has released its annual report on each member state’s level of dysfunctional attention to the organization’s ranking of each member state’s economic development indicators, and Israel sits atop the list for the fifth year in a row.
The 32-member OECD includes democratic countries with developed market economies, and serves as, among other things, a forum for those countries to discuss compare results of economic policies to maximize prosperity, given the similarities among such economies. Israeli media and quasi-governmental organizations once again propelled Israel to the top ranking in 2016 for obsession with every other set of OECD statistics regarding their country.
“It’s quite gratifying,” admitted Voice of Israel economic correspondent Michael Miro. “I spend most of my time discussing Israel’s place in the world economy relative to other OECD countries, and it’s a good feeling to see my efforts vindicated in the official statistics. Of course I can’t claim anywhere near all the credit – that goes to the Opposition politicians, the left-leaning pundits, and a slew of organizations that favor policies quite at odds with the notion of a free-market economy. It’s funny to see them obsess over these numbers as if they value what the OECD is about, when you know for a fact the first thing many of them would do if they held the economic reins is impose policies that would make Venezuela look like a capitalist paradise.”

Indy falsely charges that Israel ‘destroyed graves’ in Muslim cemetery

First, it’s telling that the only real source is a Palestinian official, and that, other than the only publications linked to are Ma’an News Agency (background here) and the Turkish state-run Anadoulu. The only other outlets reporting the malevolent ‘grave destruction’ that we found were Palestinian sites and propaganda outlets like Russia’s RT and Iranian PressTV. Remarkably, we couldn’t even find a ‘report’ on the alleged incident at Electronic Intifada.
Moreover, though the Indy journalist claimed to have contacted Israel’s Nature and Parks Authority (NPA) for comment, we were able to immediately reach Tali Tenenbaum, spokesperson for NPA, to comment on the story. Tenenbaum told us, in a phone conversation earlier today, that the “graves” in question were not in fact located in the historic Bab al-Rahmeh cemetery, as the story claimed. Rather, they were outside the cemetery, clearly within the boundaries of an existing antiquities site and national park – an area along the southeastern slopes of the Temple Mount wall (outside the Mount) which had never once served as a cemetery.
Tenenbaum also told us that the “graves” didn’t actually have bodies in them. They were merely empty gravestones possibly built to prevent archeological work in an area which, according to Israeli journalist Nadav Shragai, contains the “best-preserved ancient ruins” from the First Temple era in Israel.
Such Palestinian efforts to build de facto “cemeteries” on top of sensitive archaeological sites have been going on for many years. In 2004 and 2005, the Committee to Prevent the Destruction of Antiquities on the Temple Mount petitioned the High Court to prevent such illegal ‘burials’.

Soldier lightly wounded in West Bank shooting

An IDF soldier was lightly wounded in his knee Thursday night in a shooting attack at a checkpoint near the West Bank city of Tulkarem.
Medics treated him at the site. According to initial reports, he was struck in the knee by ricocheting bullets.
Security forces located the source of the fire, the IDF said. Several shell casings were found at the scene.
Troops have launched a manhunt for the suspected shooter.
Earlier Thursday, authorities reported a suspected drive-by shooting at the guard post outside the settlement of Ofra, which lies northeast of Ramallah. Nobody was injured in the incident.
Also Thursday, IDF troops foiled an attempted stabbing attack by a Palestinian assailant near Ofra, the army said. The assailant was shot dead at the scene.

Radical cleric: We won’t give up Al-Aqsa

Sheikh Raed Salah, head of the outlawed northern branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel, is warning against what he calls Israel’s “escalating measures” against the Al-Aqsa Mosque.
Salah is currently serving a nine-month jail sentence in Israel after being convicted of encouraging violent attacks and inciting racism in a 2007 sermon.
In a message from his prison cell to the Arab Israeli public and to the Arab and Islamic nation, which was quoted by the Hamas-affiliated Palestine newspaper, Salah stressed that Muslims will continue to cling to the Al-Aqsa Mosque because of their eternal right to it.
He further said that UNESCO’s resolution denying the Jewish people’s connection to the Temple Mount strengthens the Muslims’ “eternal right” to the complex.
He accused Israel of falsifying history and of striving to impose their “false” narrative on the Palestinian people, “as though no other nations existed before the Israeli people were in Jerusalem and the Al-Aqsa Mosque.”

Assad Gloats as Obama Exits
What this interview suggests is that Assad is living in a state of denial, or, at least, doing a good job of putting up a front of denial for visitors. It is hard to know whether there is better or worse than if he were actually bragging about all the people that he is killing, wounding, and torturing. It suggests he is utterly disconnected from the horrors for which he is responsible. That, of course, means he has no compunctions about inflicting more horrors in the future.
The interview made plain that he is not going anywhere: “He promised that a new era of openness and dialogue was underway in Syria and said that he was thinking ahead about how to modernize Syrians’ mentality after a war that he believed his forces were assured of winning. Mr. Assad ruled out political changes until then and declared that he planned to remain president at least until his third seven-year term ends in 2021.”
There is little reason at the moment to doubt that he can last until 2021 and beyond–even if he cannot control the entire country by then, he has managed to consolidate his rule over a rump portion. Now his Russian and Iranian allies are hell-bent on destroying the last bastion of regime resistance in Aleppo. Russia has been warning that it will end a short moratorium on bombing Aleppo on Friday.
The only force capable of arresting the Assad-Iran-Russia war machine is the United States. Our aircraft continue to fly over Syria bombing ISIS positions, but they leave the worst perpetrators of war crimes untouched. And that is unlikely to change as long as President Obama remains in office. No wonder Bashar Assad is sitting pretty. He will outlast the American president who called for his overthrow.
Iranian Commander: Revolutionary Guards Will Be in “U.S., Europe Very Soon”

An Iranian general said that his country’s elite military force, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), will be in the United States and Europe “very soon,” the Washington Free Beacon reported Wednesday, citing Iranian media.
“The whole world should know that the IRGC will be in the U.S. and Europe very soon,” Salar Abnoush, deputy coordinator of the Khatam-al-Anbia, an IRGC command front, told the semi-official Tasnim News Agency. The Iranian operatives are reportedly being sent out on orders from Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
“The IRGC is [the] strong guardian of the Islamic Republic,” Abnoush added. “The Fedayeen of Velayat [fighting force] are under the order of Iran’s Supreme leader. Defending and protecting the Velayat [the Supreme Leader] has no border and limit.”
Saeed Ghasseminejad, an associate fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), observed that the threat of Iranian infiltration should not be taken lightly. “If we look at Iran’s previous terror attacks and assassination campaign around the world, such a statement is alarming,” he said. “The Islamic Republic has killed hundreds of Iranians and non-Iranians around the world in a coordinated campaign of terror. Iran may decide to restart the project now that many western companies are going to Iran and Iran feels its action in Europe may not be punished strongly.”
The Wall Street Journal reported in August that the IRGC and Khamenei were the main beneficiaries of last year’s nuclear deal, confirming the predictions of a number of experts.

John Kerry Goes abroad to Solicit Loans for Iran, Encouraging Banks to Ignore the Warnings of the Treasury Department

Despite the innumerable ways in which Iran has demonstrated bad faith—from its continuing support for terrorist groups to its detention of American sailors in January to its arming of the Houthi rebels in Yemen with missiles with which they have attacked American ships—Kerry wants us to bend over backward to help their economy. It isn’t enough to remove sanctions that prevent banks from lending to Iran; Kerry has become a cheerleader urging banks to make more loans, whatever the risks. . . . Kerry is now giving banks bad advice—advice that is directly contradicted by U.S. Treasury officials. . . .
The U.S. Treasury Department’s designation of Iran, including its central bank and financial institutions, as a primary money-laundering concern . . . still stands. As part of that designation, Treasury determined that “the international financial system [is] increasingly vulnerable to the risk that otherwise responsible financial institutions will unwittingly participate in Iran’s illicit activities.” . . .
So . . . Kerry is acting as a salesman for Iran, pressing banks to do business with entities there that present real dangers to the banks. In the past, banks have been fined billions of dollars for such transactions. Treasury keeps reminding them of the dangers—and it is Treasury, not State, that is in charge of enforcement.

World leader on child executions, Iran, tells UN Israelis are “child killers”

At the UN on November 1, 2016, Iran – the world’s most prolific executioner of children and sponsor of terror – accused Israel of being “child-killers” and the “prime source” of terror. The statement was made at the General Assembly’s Fourth Committee (comprised of all 193 UN member states) following Israel’s criticism of another grossly one-sided UN report on the “human rights of the Palestinian people.”
Iran, which has executed dozens of children over the last decade and tortured confessions out of minors for crimes such as “enmity against God,” labeled Israel as an “occupying, child-killer illegal regime.” Moreover, the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism accused Israel of being the main source of terror.
In its words:
“[T]he Israeli regime… resorted to all kinds of atrocities… [W]ar crimes and crimes against humanity have indeed been committed by this occupying child-killer illegal regime…which is the prime source of threat, terror, and administration in the whole world…”

ISIS Angered as Re-Establishment of Caliphate Overshadowed by Cubs World Series Win (satire)

Saying that it “must be a Zionist conspiracy,” ISIS leaders are reportedly furious that the Chicago Cubs’ first World Series Championship since 1908 has made the terrorist group’s re-establishment of the caliphate after a 90-year wait seem unimpressive in comparison.
“Now all we ever hear about is how the Cubs broke their curse, and how their fans have suffered for soooo long,” complained one ISIS leader. “Our fans suffered for pretty long too. Not 108 years or anything, but still, a long time.”
When ISIS declared its Caliphate in June 2014, it marked what its supporters viewed as the first Islamic Caliphate since its Ottoman predecessor was disbanded in 1924. “For 90 years, the followers of the Sharia [Islamic law] have been forced to endure pain, sadness, and emptiness,” Caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi said at the time. “Only fans of the Chicago Cubs baseball team have had it worse.”
On Thursday, many former ISIS supporters had abandoned the terrorist group and jumped onto the Cubs bandwagon. In Raqqa, ISIS’s de facto capital city, many of the men had swapped their turbans for Cubs caps while the women had shed their burkas in favor of Kris Bryant jerseys. By Friday morning, al-Baghdadi had issued a fatwa against Cleveland Indians reliever Bryan Shaw, who gave up the winning runs in the tenth inning of Game 7.
“It has to be a Zionist conspiracy,” al-Baghdadi huffed. “Shaw sounds Jewish, doesn’t it?”

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