April 9, 2020

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12/06 Links Pt1: If NATO is going to fight terrorism, it needs Israel; Norway Threatens Palestinian Aid Cut Over Racism, Violence in Textbooks; Iran’s Multi-Front War Against America and Its Allies

http://elderofziyon.blogspot.com/2019/12/1206-links-pt1-if-nato-is-going-to.html

From Ian:


Caroline B. Glick: Preserving the peace with Jordan
Tuesday Israel’s Channel 13 reported that President Donald Trump’s Deputy National Security Advisor Victoria Coates held a meeting at the White House last week with the ambassadors of Oman, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Morocco. She reportedly asked the emissaries to check whether their governments are willing to consider signing non-aggression pacts with Israel.

The story, which the White House did not deny indicates the Trump administration has embraced an Israeli initiative, raised publicly last month by Foreign Minister Israel Katz. The idea is that through the non-aggression pacts, which are less than peace treaties, Israel and its Arab neighbors will be able to sidestep the issue of formal relations, replete with embassy opening ceremonies, and simply engage in open relations, for the benefit of all sides.

This has been the central goal of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s diplomatic strategy. For decades, foreign policy practitioners and activists in the US, Europe, and the Israeli left have insisted that peace between Israel and the larger Arab world is impossible so long as Israel has not concluded a peace treaty with the PLO. This view gives the PLO the power to dictate if, when and under what conditions Arab nations will be “allowed” to have normal relations with the Jewish state.

Netanyahu’s goal has long been to rescind the PLO’s veto. By working behind the scenes to build constructive, stable ties with the states of the region predicated on mutual interests, Netanyahu has made great strides in achieving this goal. The very fact that Coates reportedly held the meeting with the Arab ambassadors in the White House is a testament to the success of his efforts.

The dimensions of Netanyahu’s achievement are clear when you compare Israel’s constructive, mutually beneficial ties with states with which it lacks formal peace treaties to its ties with Jordan.

Jonathan S. Tobin: If NATO is going to fight terrorism, it needs Israel

Turkey joined NATO, alongside its historical antagonist Greece, in 1951 – two years after the alliance was founded. Admitting Turkey made sense at that time for two reasons. One was that its strategic position bordering the Soviet Union made it essential to any effort to contain Moscow’s expansionist drive to both undermine the stability of the postwar world and to spread communism. Post-war Turkey was also a thriving secular democracy whose governing parties were interested in becoming part of Europe, rather than focusing on the lost glories of the Ottoman Empire.

But contemporary Turkey is a very different country. In the last two decades, the rise of the AKP Party and its leader, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has transformed an avowedly secular democratic republic into an Islamist authoritarian state. As such, it has turned away from NATO’s mission of defending European democracy. It plays both ends against the middle with respect to Russia by buying a missile-defense system from Moscow and refuses to coordinate security policy with the United States and NATO.

Erdoğan also criticizes NATO for being insufficiently concerned with terrorism. But by that he is referring to the understandable reluctance of the alliance’s members to share his enthusiasm for Turkey’s war on the Kurds. The Turks have attempted to wipe out Kurdish identity inside of their borders and regard Kurdish nationalism elsewhere as a threat to its own sovereignty, despite the sufferings of this group of people. There are, in fact, Kurdish groups considered to be terrorists, but to regard all Kurdish nationalism in that way is deeply wrong. And for a country like Turkey, which has consistently backed the terror group Hamas, the notion that it represents a bulwark against terror is absurd.

At the same time, the United States and NATO rely heavily on Israel when it comes to counter-terrorism. It’s no secret that the intelligence information shared by Israel is vital to US security and that of the alliance. Israel coordinates closely with the Americans and Western Europeans when it comes to the battle against ISIS and the threat from Iran. The joint exercises that America and some other NATO allies conduct with Israel are also an indication that even though the Jewish state is not part of a formal alliance structure like NATO, it is an essential element in the defense of the West. And yet Erdoğan was feted, along with the rest of the NATO leaders, at the anniversary summit in London while Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was pointedly excluded.

Talk about scrapping NATO – whether it comes from “America First” neo-isolationist Trump supporters or leftists who view the projection of US power as inherently evil – are equally wrong. But if NATO is to continue to play the role in defending democracy that its founders intended, then it will have to change. It can start by figuring out a way to sideline Erdoğan’s Turkey, while either formally or informally bringing Israel inside the alliance.

Britain’s Terrorism Superstitions

On November 29, Usman Khan went on a stabbing spree in central London, killing two and wounding three. The episode, as Theodore Dalrymple puts it, would have seemed too absurd had it appeared in a work of satire: Khan, a previously convicted terrorist who had been released after attending one of Britain’s rehabilitation programs for “extremists,” attacked a conference celebrating one of those programs. Dalrymple writes:
In 2012, Khan, along with eight others, was convicted for plotting to blow up the London Stock Exchange, kill Boris Johnson, then the mayor of London, and plant bombs in synagogues, among other places; he had also planned to set up a military training camp for terrorists on his ancestral lands in Kashmir. His 2019 attack was evidently no flash in the pan or rush of blood to the head. After all, he was a disciple and close friend of Anjem Choudary, the extremist preacher and founder of the now-proscribed Islamist terrorist group, al-Muhajiroun.

Despite the attack, Dalrymple continues, Britons remain in the grip of three “superstitions” propagated by criminologists, sociologists, and psychologists:
The first superstition is that terrorists are ill and are both in need of and susceptible of “rehabilitation,” as if there existed some kind of moral physiotherapy that would strengthen their moral fiber, or a psychological vaccine that would immunize them against terrorist inclinations. The second is that, once terrorists have undergone these technical processes or treatments, it can be known for certain that the treatments have worked, and that some means exist to assess whether the terrorists still harbor violent desires and intentions. The third is that there exists a way of monitoring terrorists after their release that will prevent them from carrying out attacks, should they somehow slip through the net.

All three superstitions are false, though they have provided much lucrative employment for the tertiary-educated and have contributed greatly to Britain’s deterioration from a comparatively well-ordered society to a society with one of the West’s highest rates of serious crime. . . . Meanwhile, the father of the slain young criminologist said that he would not want his son’s death to be “used as a pretext for more draconian sentences.”

Amb. Alan Baker: Hamas’ Use of Israeli Civilians and Remains of IDF Soldiers as Bargaining Chips Is a Clear Violation of Humanitarian Law

For the last five years, the remains of two Israeli soldiers, Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul, have been illegally held by Hamas, together with two Israeli civilians, Avera Mengistu and Hisham al-Sayed. Contrary to internationally accepted humanitarian norms, the repatriation of the soldiers’ remains, as well as the return of the civilians to their families in Israel, has been placed on the bargaining table.

All parties engaged in any aspect of settling a dispute are equally obligated to accept, comply with and implement the basic humanitarian obligations to unconditionally recover missing soldiers and civilians.

The obligation to handle human remains with dignity and to return them to their families is a basic, humanitarian, customary international norm and obligation that applies to all, in all circumstances. This obligation cannot and should not be used as a bargaining chip, and their repatriation cannot be conditioned on any prisoner-exchange deal.

On June 11, 2019, the UN Security Council unanimously approved Resolution 2474, calling upon parties to armed conflict to take all appropriate measures to actively search for persons reported missing, to enable the return of their remains and to account for persons reported missing. The resolution reaffirms the “importance of allowing families to know the fate and whereabouts of their missing relatives, consistent with applicable international humanitarian law, which is of crucial humanitarian importance.”

The use of missing soldiers and civilians as bargaining chips is a clear violation of accepted and obligatory norms of humanitarian law. It should not be conditioned or linked to negotiating issues with Hamas. All other issues may be negotiated and inter-linked, but not the return of our missing soldiers and civilians.

Could a Future U.S. Administration Undo the New Policy on Israeli Settlements?

Dore Gold, president of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, said that U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo “did a great service for Israel and for truth by stating that Israeli settlements in the West Bank are not illegal.” Gold sent a letter to each of the 107 Congress members who expressed “strong disagreement” with the new policy, explaining why Pompeo’s decision was correct.

“I thought it was very important to put on the table the issue of the improper application of the Fourth Geneva Convention in the case of Israel,” Gold said. What has bothered him, in particular, was that the idea that an occupying power cannot move its population into occupied territory came from the actions of Nazi Germany, which moved its Jewish population into places like Poland for purposes of extermination.

“So somebody has the nerve to say that Israelis who have voluntarily moved into the West Bank are violating an international law that was based on a completely different situation?” he asked. “Comparing what Israel does in the West Bank to what Nazi Germany did in Poland to the Jews is something I find repulsive.” Gold said it was important to send the letters because “if you don’t say anything, it will continue.”

Pnina Sharvit-Baruch of the Institute for National Security Studies said it is necessary to move away from the arguments over who is right or wrong, and instead “find a solution on how to move forward.” She said she fears that a future U.S. administration might return to the policy of saying settlements are illegal.

“An argument can be made – and it is not baseless to say – that the settlements are not necessarily illegal,” she said. “The case of why Palestinians have a right to this territory is not a clear-cut question. Even if they have the right of determination, there is still no clear-cut legal answer as to what territory this right applies to because the Green Line of 1967 is not a border.”

She said the main point is that the two sides previously agreed that the topic of settlements and borders is an issue that needs to be negotiated and that it is not supposed to be determined in court. By declaring the settlements a violation of international law, the Obama and Carter administrations were “very unhelpful” and “doing a disservice to any kind of peaceful settlement to the conflict.”

Jason D. Greenblatt: Speaking the Truth about Jerusalem

No one with any credibility denies the attachment of Muslims and Christians to Jerusalem. Yet, shockingly, there are many who deny Judaism’s spiritual and historical ties to Jerusalem. For example, in 2016, UNESCO tried to pretend that over 3,000 years of the Jewish people’s ties to Jerusalem did not exist, when its executive board voted to refer to the Western Wall and Temple Mount only by their Muslim names. Some prominent Palestinians accused Israel of attempting to “Judaize” the city of Jerusalem, as if it was not a Jewish city for thousands of years. Such actions are thoroughly outrageous and deceitful.

Those countries who think that a solution to this extraordinarily complicated conflict can be resolved by making unrealistic demands of Israel, such as rejecting their claim to Jerusalem, by endlessly arguing legal positions about the conflict, by international conferences, or by UN resolutions, are tragically misleading Palestinians. When people mistakenly refer to the West Bank as the “Occupied Palestinian Territories,” when, in fact, the land is disputed, they stand in the way of a negotiation.

When countries do not make clear that the only realistic path to peace is through direct negotiations between the parties, they prolong the conflict. The time for speaking the truth, recognizing reality, and seeking to build a better future is now.

PM: Israel has full right to annex strategic Jordan Valley

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Thursday that Israel has the “full right” to annex the Jordan Valley if it chose to, even as the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court warned the country against taking the bold step.

Netanyahu said his proposal to annex the strategic area was discussed during a late-night meeting with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. He said they also agreed to move forward with plans for a joint defense treaty.

The longtime Israeli leader is promoting the two initiatives as a justification for staying in office.

The Trump administration has already delivered several landmark victories to Netanyahu, such as recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and recognizing Israel’s annexation of the Golan Heights. Netanyahu says that thanks to his close relationship with Trump, he is singularly positioned to further promote Israeli interests at this junction before the 2020 US election season heats up.

The annexation move would surely draw condemnation from the Palestinians and much of the world and almost certainly extinguish any remaining Palestinian hopes of gaining independence.

In her annual report, ICC chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said her office was following the Israeli annexation proposal “with concern.”

When asked by reporters about the warning, Netanyahu insisted that it is Israel’s “full right to do so, if we chose so.”

Netanyahu’s visit with Pompeo was their first since the secretary of state announced last month that the US no longer considers Israeli settlements illegal under international law. Israeli nationalists have interpreted that policy change as a green light to begin annexing parts or all of the West Bank.

Netanyahu called their meeting in Lisbon “critical to Israeli security.”

Bennett Warned EU Ambassadors He Would Demolish their Illegal Construction in Area C

In the meeting that included, among others, the ambassadors to Israel of Germany, France, Italy, the Netherlands and Denmark, Defense Minister Naftali Bennett made it clear that the Israeli security system is no longer prepared to accept the unruly Palestinian Authority construction in Area C, construction which is being carried out with European encouragement and funding, Makor Rishon reported Friday.

Bennett said that the defense establishment intends to demolish any illegal construction which are under full Israeli control, including construction funded by the Europeans.

Area C is an administrative section of Judea and Samaria, set out in the Oslo II Accord, which constitutes about 61% of what was formerly known as the “west bank.” The Palestinian Authority is responsible for medical and educational services to its citizens in Area C, but all infrastructure construction is done by Israel with Israeli approval.

Area C, excluding eastern Jerusalem, is home to an estimated 400,000 Jewish settlers and approximately 40,000 PA Arabs. The Jewish population in Area C is administered by the Israeli Judea and Samaria Area administration, whereas the PA Arab population is directly administered by the Israeli Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories and indirectly by the Palestinian National Authority in Ramallah.

At the meeting with the ambassadors, Bennett delivered a review of Israel’s security, which also included a reference to Israel’s actions to fight the consolidation of Iranian forces in Syria and hostilities in the Gaza Strip – and then he turned to the issue of construction in Area C. And Bennett told the ambassadors that Israel would not accept illegal takeover of lands across the Green Line.

Israeli ambassador urges Berlin to cancel pro-Hamas conference

Jeremy Issacharoff, Israel’s ambassador to Germany, on Thursday called for the Berlin state government to pull the plug on a conference featuring a pro-Hamas group on the weekend.

Issacharoff told the Bild paper: “I urge the authorities to prevent this event from happening.”

The event on Saturday is organized by the Palestinian Return Center (PRC) and the Palestinian Community of Germany (PGD). A 2016 German intelligence report said the PGD is supported mainly by Hamas members. The US and the EU designated Hamas a terrorist organization.

The ambassador said: “This will not be a meeting to build bridges of peace between Israel and the Palestinians, but a meeting to preserve intransigence and hostility.”

According to Berlin’s intelligence agency, there are 70 active Hamas members in the capital.

Norway Threatens Palestinian Aid Cut Over Racism, Violence in Textbooks

The Norwegian parliament called on the Palestinian Authority on Thursday to remove violent, racist and antisemitic materials from its school curriculum, or else face a drop or cessation in funding.

A majority in the Storting’s 16-member Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defense agreed that financial support to the Palestinian Authority should be cut or reduced “if they do not provide satisfactory improvements to the school materials,” the Aftenposten, Norway’s largest circulation newspaper, reported.

“We can no longer sit still and watch Norwegian money contribute to a teaching system that encourages children to violence and promotes racism and antisemitism,” Hans Andreas Limi, parliamentary leader of the libertarian Progress Party, was quoted as saying.

The move follows a November report in Aftenposten that featured examples of incitement to violence and racial hate in Palestinian school materials, based on findings by the Jerusalem-based Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-se).

The article, as well as IMPACT-se briefings to legislators and other officials, “unleashed a major public debate in Norway about the country’s funding of the extremist Palestinian Ministry of Education textbooks,” the research group said on Thursday.

How Israel Is Leveraging Energy to Advance Geostrategic Objectives

Israel has tens of trillions of proven natural gas reserves within its Exclusive Economic Zone and potentially tens of trillions more that could be discovered.

The discovery of gas fields in the eastern Mediterranean has given Israel new avenues to pursue foreign policy objectives: to create energy self-sufficiency, enhance regional stability within the Eastern Mediterranean region, and normalize relations between Israel and its Arab neighbors.

The formation of the Eastern Mediterranean Gas Forum (EMGF) with Israel, Egypt, Cyprus, Greece, Jordan, and the PA is creating the diplomatic space to facilitate a sustainable regional gas market, providing Israeli gas with export opportunities to its neighbors while increasing regional economic interdependence.

The EMGF, founded in January 2019 in Cairo, also provides increased credibility to pre-existing gas deals between Israel and Egypt and Israel and Jordan.

Israeli Commandos Train in Cyprus

Israeli special forces carried out a large training exercise in Cyprus this week, simulating warfare in the island’s rocky regions, the Israel Defense Forces said.

Units from the IDF Commando Brigade took part in the drill — dubbed “Game of Thrones” — alongside several air force squadrons.

Col. Kobi Heller, commander of the Commando Brigade, said the exercise was an important test for his unit, which was formed in 2015, bringing together various special forces units under one umbrella.

“The exercise simulated a wide variety of missions and scenarios that demonstrated the maturation of operational capabilities and processes that began four years ago,” he said.

“During the exercise we stressed the importance of accuracy and paying attention to details, but more than anything, the personal capabilities of the soldiers stood out,” Heller added.

This was the military’s fourth exercise in Cyprus in the past three years, following an agreement between the two countries to cooperate on military matters.

Why Holy Land Christians Are Leaving Bethlehem

Hegseth spoke to American journalist Brian Schrauger, who lived in a Palestinian Christian town in Bethlehem, about why the Christian population is leaving the city.

“For Christians here it’s actually fairly complex,” said Schrauger. “Christians are a minority in greater Bethlehem.”

“Most Christians have been pushed out,” suggested Hegseth.

“Exactly,” agreed Schrauger, “The Muslim population, the Christian population often clash. So it’s not uncommon to hear, shall we say, unkind sentiments expressed by one toward the other,”

Both Schrauger and Hegseth noted that it is difficult to get Palestinian Christians to express that feeling on-camera.
Christianity now most persecuted religion in the world: reportVideo

Hegseth said that his Fox Nation team set up multiple interviews with Christian business owners in Bethlehem, but all the meetings were canceled at the last minute, even after Hegseth offered to disguise their identities.

Eugene Kontorovich, the director of the Kohelet Policy Forum, an Israeli non-profit think tank, told Hegseth that Christians fear reprisals from the Palestinian government under which they live.

“People who are in danger don’t say so. It’s just like when journalists used to go to the Soviet Union and ask people in communist Russia, ‘Are you happy here under the communists?'” said Kontorovich. “But in fact, we can see people vote with their feet and they overwhelmingly vote to leave.”

PA livid as ICC warns terrorists’ pay may amount to war crime

Palestinian officials expressed “great concern” Thursday over a report by the International Criminal Court’s chief prosecutor that includes a warning that Palestinian stipends to attackers and their families could constitute a war crime.

Ramallah’s “pay-for-slay” policy has long been condemned by Israel and the US as a practice that encourages violence. The Palestinians argue these payments are a national duty to families affected by decades of violence.

The Palestinian Authority routinely spends hundreds of millions of dollars on payments to terrorists imprisoned in Israel and to the families of terrorists killed while carrying out attacks against Israel.

In 2018, for example, Ramallah spent $135 million on salaries and other payments to terrorists. In 2017, terrorists’ stipends came to $358 million – 7% of the Palestinian Authority’s total budget for that year and about 20% of the foreign aid it receives. In 2016, the PA allocated $322 million to these payments.

Palestinian Foreign Affairs Minister Riad Malki said the prosecutor’s office’s report was “based on misleading narratives of a political nature … rather than an objective and accurate description of the relevant facts.”

The Palestinians have long sought redress with international bodies such as the ICC for what they consider Israeli crimes. President Mahmoud Abbas’ government appeared to have been caught off guard by the language of the criticism found in the report.

Israel Arrests Birzeit University Students for Plotting Attacks

Israeli security forces arrested a number of Hamas activists from Birzeit University in the West Bank.

“It was found that [their activities] were focused on gathering intelligence data on targets [to attack] and to conduct sabotage operations, including producing explosive materials,” IDF spokesman Lt.-Col. Avichay Adraee said Wednesday.

He said the recent arrests proved “how Hamas is using Birzeit University for subversive purposes.”

A Call to Pull U.S. Troops Out of Turkey

Over the last several years, it has become increasingly apparent that Turkey has operated against U.S. interests in the Middle East and Eastern Mediterranean. It hindered American military operations against ISIS in Syria, set back progress in the Cypriot peace negotiations, and – despite repeated warnings – purchased and received Russia’s S-400 air defense system, which represents a grave threat to NATO and U.S. security.

It is time to re-evaluate America’s military dependence on Turkey. Begin by putting Ankara on notice that the U.S. will move its military assets from Turkey’s Incirlik Air Base. There is simply no longer a strategic necessity for maintaining a nuclear arsenal in Turkey as the U.S. has other nuclear forces available for deterring Russia.

The Greek press reported in March 2018 that former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Wes Mitchell had discussed the possibility of relocating a “significant portion” of U.S. military assets from Incirlik to Greece during a visit to Athens.

Did the U.S. Withdrawal from the Nuclear Deal Cause Iran’s Increased Aggression?

Britain, France, and Germany argue that Iran’s increased aggression is a direct result of the U.S. decision to pull out of the nuclear deal. Yet the idea that Iran’s mischief was somehow more manageable before the nuclear deal is more than a stretch. The deadly Syrian civil war that Iran has played a major role in for years by backing the regime of Bashar al-Assad began well before 2015. The Yemeni civil war, where Iran has backed the Houthi rebels, also began before the 2015 nuclear deal. Iran’s continued backing of terror groups like Hamas and Hizbullah and their continued attacks on Israeli civilian locations also long predates any nuclear deal with the West.

In fact, many experts believe the billions of dollars Iran was able to reclaim as part of the nuclear deal were used by the regime to advance their terrorist and other destabilizing efforts around the region. Then-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunford told Congress in 2017 that’s what at least some of the money given to Iran was being used for. Indeed, this is a belief held by many Iranians themselves. A key rallying cry against Iranian money being used to fund paramilitary activities abroad has been heard frequently in the current Iranian protests.

Israel to Present Iran’s Violation of Nuclear Agreement to UN Security Council

Israel is set to present Iran’s violation of the nuclear agreement to the United Nations Security Council later this month, the country’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Israel Katz confirmed on Thursday.

“Iran is developing missiles capable of carrying a nuclear payload while violating UN Security Council resolutions,” he said.

The Israeli response comes a day after Britain, France, and Germany accused Tehran of developing nuclear-capable ballistic missiles in violation of the United Nations Security Council resolution. Tehran, which is advancing an elaborate nuclear and balletic missiles program, has repeatedly threatened to annihilate Israel.

“Minister of Foreign Affairs Israel Katz today instructed the ministry’s representatives to present the complete list of Iranian violations of the nuclear agreement at the forthcoming meeting of the United Nations Security Council,” Israel’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement today. “The meeting, which is expected to take place on Thursday, 19 December 2019, will deal with Iranian violations of the agreement.”

Tehran’s nuclear missiles program is “inconstant” with the UN Security Council resolution that endorsed the 2015 Iran deal, the three European signatories to the nuclear agreement stated in a letter to the international body on Wednesday. “France, Germany and the United Kingdom assert once again our firm conclusion that Iran’s development of nuclear-capable ballistic missiles and related technologies is inconsistent” with the provisions in the UN resolution, the countries said.

Iran is racing towards nuclear capabilities. – and must be stopped

It’s now clearer than ever that Iran is:
VIOLATING its commitments under the JCPOA.
LYING to the international community.
RACING towards nuclear capabilities.
IMMEDIATE action is required by the intl community, to prevent the danger of a nuclear Iran.

Seth J. Frantzman: Iran’s Multi-Front War Against America and Its Allies

Tehran’s answer to the U.S. “maximum pressure” campaign is a policy that seeks to evict the U.S. from the Middle East and stir up trouble for Washington worldwide. In the Persian Gulf, it twice struck at foreign oil tankers over the summer, shot down a high-tech U.S. drone in late June, and launched drone and cruise-missile attacks on key Saudi oil facilities in September. It is also seeking to use its terrorist proxies in Gaza to provoke Israel into a wider regional war.

In Afghanistan, the Islamic Republic now hopes to push the U.S. out by whatever means are necessary and fill the resulting power vacuum. In Iraq, it hopes its allies in parliament and among various Shiite militias will force the U.S. to withdraw; militia mortar and rocket attacks have hit U.S. bases in the country every month since May. In Syria, Iran-backed militias would like to grab the oil facilities that the U.S. is currently protecting. In Lebanon, Iran’s proxy Hizbullah wants control over the choice of the country’s next prime minister.

U.S. Says Iran May Have Killed More Than 1,000 in Recent Protests

Iranian security forces may have killed more than 1,000 people since protests over gasoline price hikes began in mid-November, U.S. Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook said on Thursday.

“As the truth is trickling out of Iran, it appears the regime could have murdered over a thousand Iranian citizens since the protests began,” Hook told reporters at a briefing at the State Department.

He added that “many thousands of Iranians” had also been wounded and at least 7,000 detained in Iran’s prisons.

David Rutz breaks down the most important news about the enemies of freedom, here and around the world, in this comprehensive morning newsletter.

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The unrest, which began on Nov. 15 after the government abruptly raised fuel prices by as much as 300%, spread to more than 100 cities and towns and turned political as young and working-class protesters demanded clerical leaders step down.

Tehran has given no official death toll but Amnesty International said on Monday it had documented the deaths of at least 208 protesters, making the disturbances the bloodiest since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Iranians want Trump to do more to take down the regime

As the Iranian regime continues its harsh crackdown against its own people, it should be clear to everyone that it will do everything possible to stay in power.

The protests, which began on Nov. 15 after the regime unexpectedly raised fuel prices, have quickly spread across the country. The regime has cut off Internet access throughout the country and in general done everything possible to thwart the will of the people, which overwhelmingly wants it gone, including killing them.

Iran openly acknowledged this week that its security forces had even killed demonstrators, according to Reuters. According to Iranian state TV, the “rioters were armed with knives and weapons. They had taken people hostage by closing all roads in some areas. Security forces had no other choice but to firmly confront them … and rioters were killed in clashes.”

Iranians are currently terrified to even speak on the phone, and there is a sense of chaos in the country.

In an interesting twist, many in the country want U.S. President Donald Trump to take harsher action against the regime.

Report: Satellite images suggest Iran stockpiling missile arsenal in Syria

New satellite images of an apparent cargo transfer from Tehran to Syria containing a variety of missiles last month suggest Iran may, in fact, be planning a “revenge attack.” as estimated by Israeli and US intelligence.

The images dated November 21, 2019, provided by “Intelli Times ” and “Satellite Pleiades from Airbus Defense & Space”, show a large cargo trailer on the runway of the Iran-operated T4 military base located in the Homs District in central Syria.

The images were taken after a plane left the Iranian capital in the early morning hours and landed at the base, unloading three containers onto semi-trailer trucks generally used by the Iran Revolutionary Guard Corps in Syria to move and deploy air, ground and cruise missiles.

Over the last two weeks, Iran has been moving around heavy cargo to the T4 base, as part of its preparation for an attack the likes seen back in September on the Saudi oil fields.

The cargo deployment came one day after the Israeli Air Force conducted strikes on several Iranian targets that reportedly killed some 23 people, the majority of them Iranian.

U.S. Confirms Interception of Iranian Weapons, Missiles Destined for Yemen

Senior U.S. military commanders confirmed on Thursday that an American warship intercepted in November a shipment of Iranian-made weapons and missile components destined for Yemen, where Tehran has been arming terrorist rebel forces.

Reports emerged this week of a U.S. interception that occurred late last month, and were confirmed to the Washington Free Beacon by Pentagon officials familiar with the situation.

The weapons shipment represents a further escalation by Iran as it seeks to arm anti-American terrorist factions across the Middle East. The weapons and missile parts seized by U.S. military personnel are among the most sophisticated officials have seen. The smuggling operation directly violates a United Nations Security Council resolution.

David Rutz breaks down the most important news about the enemies of freedom, here and around the world, in this comprehensive morning newsletter.

U.S. military personnel are currently investigating how Tehran is smuggling arms into Yemen and other regional hotspots.

“On Nov. 25, a U.S. warship conducted a flag verification boarding in the Arabian sea in accordance with international law of what was subsequently determined to be a stateless vessel, and discovered a cache of weapons and advanced missile components,” Cmdr. Sean Robertson, a defense department spokesperson, told the Free Beacon. “An initial investigation indicates that these advanced missile components are of Iranian origin. A more thorough investigation is underway.”

MEMRI: Kuwaiti Islamic Scholar: The Quran Encourages Offensive Jihad by Means of Force

Kuwaiti Islamic scholar Sheikh Muhammad Hammoud Al-Najdi said in a show that aired between July 3 – 11, 2019 on Al-Ma’ali TV (Kuwait) that offensive Jihad is a concept that exists in Islam even though some people deny its existence. He cited several Quranic verses, including ones that urge Muslims to fight and subdue non-believers until they pay a poll tax or accept Islam. He explained that this means shooting the enemy with arrows, missiles, and so forth, and that Allah provides for the Islamic nation through Jihad by giving them spoils of war, property, and land. Sheikh Al-Najdi also said that one of the purposes of Jihad is to break the power of the infidels and humiliate them. He added: “Allah tortures [the infidels] at the hands of the believers.”



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