September 30, 2022

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12/13 Links Pt1: Dershowitz: Trump Likely To Succeed In ME Peace Where Obama Failed; The Palestinian Jihads against Israel

From Ian:

Khaled Abu Toameh: The Palestinian Jihads against Israel
“We will not recognize Israel because it will inevitably go away. And we will not backtrack on the option of armed struggle until the liberation of all Palestine.” — Khalil Al-Haya, Hamas senior official.
The abandonment of Gaza by Israel in 2005 drove the Palestinian vote for Hamas the next year. It also explains why many Palestinians continue to support Hamas — because they still believe that violence is the way to defeat Israel.
Hamas believes that Israel does not have the right to defend itself against rockets and terror attacks. It even considers Israel’s self-defense as an “act of terror.”
In yet another sign that exposes Hamas’s ongoing preparations to attack Israel, the movement last week held a drill with live ammunition in the northern Gaza Strip.
“What has been achieved so far is a small jihad, and the big jihad is still awaiting us.” — Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. Abbas is convinced that his “diplomatic jihad” against Israel is no less effective than Hamas’s jihad of terrorism.
Yet even if Abbas manages to achieve reconciliation with Hamas, this move should not be seen as sign of pragmatism on the part of the Islamist movement. Under no circumstances will Hamas relinquish its policy of the destruction of Israel and its replacement with an Islamist state.
From Abbas’s point of view, Hamas’s terrorism will only increase the pressure on Israel to capitulate. Here Abbas has an ally in Hamas: to multiply jihads to force Israel to its knees.

Hamas TV funded Arab-Israeli MK’s Jordan trip, Knesset report reveals

MK Haneen Zoabi (Joint List) made a trip to Jordan in June of 2016 that was funded by a Hamas television network, a Knesset Ethics Committee report revealed.
Ministers are required to report all outside funding for travel to the committee for approval, which is later available for public view online.
The document revealed that Zoabi’s trip to Jordan between June 16 to 17 of 2016 was funded by the Palestinian terrorist group’s Al-Quds TV.
Al-Quds TV is an Arabic language satellite television channel which is both operated by Hamas and serves as a mouthpiece for the terrorist organization.
According to the Anti-Defemation League, Al-Quds TV is used “to spread its messages promoting terrorism and hatred of Jews and Israelis to a wider audience.”

Dershowitz: Trump Likely To Succeed In Mideast Peace Process Where Obama Failed

Self-described Liberal Democrat and emeritus professor of law at Harvard University Alan Dershowitz said he fears the liberal media in the U.S. will launch a campaign of “demonization” against President-elect Donald Trump using his personal life, saying that attacks on Trump’s wife and family only serve to undermine democracy.
Addressing a 1000-strong crowd on Monday at an event jointly organized by Globes newspaper and Tel Aviv Internationals, Dershowitz slammed the Israeli press for “relentlessly and mercilessly attacking” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his family on a personal level, calling it “intolerable.”
“I’m afraid that the liberal press, which I’m a part of, will start to demonize Trump in the way that Israel does,” the lawyer said, adding that such behavior on the part of the free press undermines the foundations of democracy and is “disgraceful.”
“You can oppose [his] policies, principles, and political actions, but leave alone his personal life, his wife and family.”
Dershowitz also criticized President Barack Obama for being the only president who has managed to alienate so many leaders in the region, remarking: “Obama alienated the Israelis, the Palestinians, Jordanians, Egyptians, and the Saudis. The only country he didn’t alienate is Iran.”
Dershowitz said that during the Obama administration, it became “obvious” that the stalled peace process between Israel and the Palestinians would not be resumed.
“But I believe that during Trump’s administration it certainly could,” he said.

Netanyahu Promotes New ‘Terror, Technology, Peace’ Policy to Bolster Israel

Does Israel’s path to peace lie in its technology and cybersecurity sector? Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu thinks so — and he has a new acronym to prove it.
Netanyahu spoke about the future of Israel during a recent press conference for international Jewish journalists at the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The journalists were gathered in Jerusalem for the four-day Jewish Media Summit, which was organized by Israel’s Government Press Office.
Prime Minister Netanyahu addressed a variety of topics of concern to the American and global Jewish communities. He called the rise in antisemitism in America “a fringe phenomenon” that must be fought.
On the issue of the Western Wall agreement that allows egalitarian prayer at the holy site — which was reached earlier this year but hasn’t yet been implemented — Netanyahu said, “There was backtracking, which happens…it’s a process.”
Addressing a recent Palestinian Authority (PA) push for the United Kingdom to denounce the 1917 Balfour Declaration — which supported the idea of establishing the Jewish homeland — Netanyahu called the episode “very revealing about the true source of this enduring conflict. It’s not about territories, even though that’s an issue. It’s not about settlements, even though that’s an issue. It’s not even about a Palestinian state… It’s always been about the Jewish state, and the fact there’s a challenge to the Balfour Declaration 100 years later tells you that we haven’t come very far.”
Turning to trade, Netanyahu discussed what he calls TTP — “terror, technology and peace” — a play on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which is currently being debated in the United States.

Sen. George Mitchell’s Head-Scratcher on C-SPAN About Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

“… Palestinian authorities have long since renounced violence and accepted Israel’s existence and have opted for peace negotiations to achieve a state.”
This assertion by George Mitchell (Democrat) – former U.S. diplomat (Israeli-Palestinian conflict) and Senate Majority Leader – was stated 17 minutes into an hour-long interview aired on the C-SPAN BookTV “After Words” program. It was in connection with admonishing Israel’s government to wait no longer to make a peace agreement with the Palestinian Authority (PA) led by Mahmoud Abbas.
The program was recorded on Nov. 16, 2016 but not aired until Dec. 3, 2016. It was repeated on subsequent days.
Interviewer Jane Harman, former Member of Congress, now president and CEO of the Woodrow Wilson Center, spoke with Mitchell about his new book, “A Path to Peace: A Brief History of Israeli-Palestinian Negotiations and a Way Forward in the Middle East.” The conversation was generally unremarkable except notably for the assertion cited here. Except for the fact that Harman here represented C-SPAN, whose record concerning Israel is generally one of journalistic malpractice, it would have been surprising that the former ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee failed to challenge the highly dubious assertion.
When have the Palestinian authorities renounced violence and accepted Israel’s existence as a Jewish state? Acceptance of Israel’s existence other than as a Jewish state is a non-sequitor. Furthermore, while most of the 22 Arab Muslim countries treat non-Muslim citizens as second-class ones, Israel has never seen a contradiction between its Jewishness and the need to respect and protect non-Jewish minorities. Under Israeli law, all (including Arab minorities) are provided full civil rights. Indeed, Israel is one of the few places in the Middle East where Arab women may vote in local and national elections.

Netanyahu to strengthen ties with Muslim allies, visits Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan

Not only is Israel not isolated, but it is being courted by many countries around the world, including Muslim states in Central Asia, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at Ben-Gurion Airport Tuesday morning before flying to Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan.
Both Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan want to strengthen their ties with Israel, Netanyahu said, and “following the strengthening of our relations with powers in Asia, and countries in Africa and Latin America, now comes the connection with important countries in the Muslim world.”
On Tuesday Netanyahu will spend seven hours in Azerbaijan, a majority Shi’a Muslim state, and meet with President Ilham Heydar Aliyev, before flying to Kazakhstan, a majority Sunni Muslim country, for meetings on Wednesday.
There he will meet Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev. He will return to Israel on Thursday.
Though Netanyahu briefly visited Azerbaijan during his first term as prime minister in 1997, this will be the first-ever visit of a sitting Israeli prime minister to Kazakhstan.

Embarking on rare visit to Muslim countries, Netanyahu vaunts Israel’s popularity

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took off Tuesday morning for Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan, pointing to his trip to the two Muslim countries as an indication that rather than being politically isolated, Israel is courted by countries around the world.
During his two-day visit, aimed at fostering security, economic, and diplomatic ties, Netanyahu will become the first sitting Israeli prime minister to visit the region in almost 25 years of diplomatic relations between Jerusalem and the former Soviet republics of Central Asia. Visits by Israeli leaders to non-Arab Muslim-majority countries are rare.
Speaking to reporters at the airport, the prime minister said the trip was a further indication of Israeli success in developing relationships with Muslim counties.
“These are two large and significant countries in the Muslim world, and our goal is to strengthen diplomatic, security, and economic ties with them,” Netanyahu said. “In complete contrast to what you have heard now and then, not only does Israel not suffer from political isolation, Israel is a courted country.”
Both countries are important allies. Azerbaijan, which has an extended border with Iran, is a secular state that has long had warm relations with Israel. Nearly 98 percent of its 10 million citizens are Muslim, the vast majority of them Shiites. Baku is one of Israel’s main trading partners, buying weapons systems and providing the Jewish state with the lion’s share of its oil. Israeli trade with Azerbaijan is said to be significantly higher than with France, for example.

Israel looking to sell missile defense systems to Azerbaijan

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said Tuesday that his country has signed long-term contracts worth some $5 billion to buy weapons and security equipment from Israel. Aliyev was speaking during a state visit by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Baku, a trip made in part to help Israel sell missile defense systems.
Ilayev did not elaborate on the kind of weapons Azerbaijan is purchasing, but his comments provide some insight into the comfort level Aliyev has in his country’s strategic ties with Israel.
The two leaders signed various bilateral agreements in a private two-hour meeting attended by security and defense advisers from both nations. Environmental Protection Minister Ze’ev Elkin (Likud) was also in attendance to sign agreements.
Netanyahu spent six hours in Azerbaijan, a majority Shiite Muslim state which borders Iran, before flying to Kazakhstan for meetings on Wednesday. There he will meet Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev, before returning to Israel on Thursday.
Kazakhstan, a majority Sunni Muslim nation, will hold a rotating seat on the UN Security Council for the next two years.

Trump’s choice for State has strong ties in the Gulf, not Israel

President-elect Donald Trump’s reported choice for secretary of state is no stranger to the Middle East, yet when it comes to Israel he has very little experience.
Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson, who is expected to be formally named by Trump as his top diplomat Tuesday, has spent his career fostering deep ties to Sunni Arab and Gulf states. Since rising to the top at one of the world’s largest companies on January 1, 2006, much of his professional life has involved working with Israel’s petroleum-rich neighbors.
Throughout his career, the Wichita Falls, Texas, native cultivated relationships with leaders of countries including Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Qatar. He even injected his company into the middle of a power struggle between the Kurds and the Iraqi government. As an oil executive, though, he’s never had much reason to invest time or money in the Jewish state.
On Israel, Tillerson contrasts starkly with several of the other top candidates considered for the position in what was an unusually long and public process, including Mitt Romney, Rudy Giuliani and John Bolton. Former Massachusetts gov. Romney, for example, has a friendship with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu dating back to 1976. Over the course of his 2012 bid for the White House, he repeatedly emphasized his support for Israel and antipathy toward the Iranian regime, a posture the incoming president shares. Giuliani and Bolton are also staunch Israel supporters as well as frequent visitors.

Bolton to Obama: Don’t support anti-Israel resolutions

It was blistering cold in midtown Manhattan on Sunday afternoon as former UN Ambassador John Bolton and other leaders stood outside the UN – in the presence of major national media outlets – urging President Barack Obama and his administration to have Israel’s back during the final weeks of his presidency.
Referring to the weather, Mr. Bolton, rumored to be the pick for Undersecretary of State in the Trump administration, quipped, “This is what it feels like for Israel in the UN on a good day.”
Ambassador Bolton was joined by Morton Klein, President of the Zionist Organization of America; and Dr. Joseph Frager, Odeleya Jacobs, Dr. Paul Brody and Duvi Honig , members of the Orthodox Jewish Chamber of Commerce’s Public Policy Committee, which arranged the news conference. (The conference was sponsored by the Zionist Organization of America and National Council of Young Israel.) Aaron Klein, noted author, radio host and Breitbart News Jerusalem Bureau Chief, traveled in from Israel to address the conference as well.
Mr. Honig opened the conference by thanking Ambassador Bolton for his longstanding support for Israel. He mentioned how Yaakov Avinu prepared to defeat the enemies of his People through tefillah, Mr. Honig recited a kapitel Tehillim followed by the tefillah of “Acheinu” at the podium.

J Street: Bolton as State Department deputy would damage US

Liberal Jewish group J Street spoke out aggressively Monday night against former US ambassador to the UN John Bolton, amid reports that he is President-elect Donald Trump’s preferred choice for deputy secretary of state.
Political sources told NBC News that Bolton, the firebrand diplomat who served as George W. Bush’s envoy to the world body between 2005-2006, would be tasked with the day-to-day management of the State Department under the chosen secretary — currently expected to be Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson.
But while J Street appeared wary of Tillerson, saying it expected the Senate to question him vigorously in hearings — it was outright livid over Bolton, asserting that he was “a completely inappropriate choice for deputy secretary of state, or any role related to America’s relations with the rest of the world.
“Bolton’s long track-record shows to him to be hostile to the notion of diplomacy itself,” the organization said. “He is an unabashed advocate for premature, unnecessary and dangerous use of military force in the Middle East and around the globe.”
It claimed Bolton’s tenure at the UN “is widely viewed as an embarrassing and damaging period for our country, and has been widely denounced by American diplomats who have served under both Republican and Democratic administrations.”

Jerusalem of Trump: Where the president-elect might put the US embassy

Two dilapidated couches, a handful of battered chairs and a well-used grill sit in the empty lot. More debris is sprinkled around them — pieces of an old shoe, broken Heineken bottles, the rusty innersprings of an old mattress that somebody forgot here years ago.
These are some of the items lying around the plot, adjacent to two busy Jerusalem thoroughfares, that was once designated as the site of the American embassy. For decades, this piece of land has lain barren, a gaping hole in the heart of the capital’s bustling Talpiot neighborhood that nobody paid much attention to. But now that the incoming US administration is announcing its intention to move the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, this piece of land, on the corner of Hebron Road and Daniel Yanovsky Street, could soon find itself in the global spotlight.
As desolate as this plot may look today, it has a rich history and just might face a controversial future. The Arab world and particularly the Palestinians are sure to protest any country that wants to move its embassy to Jerusalem, regardless of the exact location. But Palestinian activists have claimed since the 1980s that this particular plot belongs at least partially to them and that it would be “unbecoming” for the US to establish an embassy “on land that is stolen property.”
The little-known story of this piece of land goes back to the British Mandate era, when it housed the so-called Allenby Barracks, named after the UK’s General Edmund Allenby who operated an army base there. Later, the State of Israel maintained a border police station there.

Trump’s team already exploring logistics of moving embassy to Jerusalem — report

President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team has begun exploring the logistics of moving the US Embassy from Tel Aviv, and checking into sites for its intended new location, Israeli TV reported on Monday evening, hours after Trump’s campaign manager said the move was “a very big priority” for him.
Israel’s Foreign Ministry has already gotten involved in the matter, with officials in Jerusalem checking into when a possible site for the embassy, in an area that includes the Diplomat Hotel in Jerusalem’s Talpiot neighborhood, would be available, Channel 2 reported.
The Trump team’s advance work on moving the embassy is being conducted without coordination with the US State Department, and officials there “deeply dislike the idea,” the report said.
Israeli security and diplomatic officials are reportedly worried about the consequences of an immediate relocation of the US Embassy from Tel Aviv, with fears of adverse reactions from the Arab world and on the streets of Arab neighborhoods of East Jerusalem.

Barkat: Most Americans want embassy moved to Jerusalem

It’s been nearly 50 years since Israel captured eastern Jerusalem, including the Old City, from Jordan in the 1967 Six Day War. For the past eight years, Nir Barkat has been the city’s mayor.
On Sunday evening, six months ahead of the “united Jerusalem” jubilee, Barkat received an honorary doctorate from Yeshiva University at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City, where he gave the keynote speech. A staunch advocate of Israeli control over all of Jerusalem, he thanked President-elect Donald Trump for his “commitment to strengthen our city by moving the US Embassy home, to Jerusalem, the united and eternal capital of the Jewish people and the State of Israel.”
Late last month, Barkat sat down with JTA in his Jerusalem office to discuss in more depth his vision for the city. Having made a fortune as a high-tech entrepreneur, he easily slipped into industry jargon, speaking of the need to increase Jerusalem’s “market share” of the hearts of Diaspora Jews. He also said that all its residents were his “children.”
Barkat made clear that he sees Jerusalem as an integral part of Israel and should not be part of negotiations with the Palestinians, and expressed confidence that Trump – with whose Jewish son-in-law, Jared Kushner, he is friendly – shares his vision.

New solution would relocate Amona, give residents more land

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Education Minister Naftali Bennett met Monday with Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit to discuss the possibility of relocating the Amona outpost, slated for eviction later this month, to a larger plot of land. Amona residents have yet to respond to the potential solution.
The framework would divide the land under private Arab ownership according to the number of inheritors to the property, and would allow Amona residents to relocate to the hill behind the outpost, where there are larger swaths of land not subject to ownership claims. It is not clear whether this plan would be approved by the High Court of Justice, though the attorney general said he was prepared to try to promote it along the legal track.
Amona residents were expected to hold a meeting Tuesday to decide whether to accept the new plan. If they choose to accept it, they would have to agree to eviction from the outpost’s current location.
Still, talks between the government and residents regarding the possibility of the High Court granting a one-month postponement of Amona’s eviction are ongoing. It is unlikely that the court will approve the extension if the residents do not accept the new solution for Amona.
Another solution suggested by the state is to move residents to the area of the Shvut Rachel outpost, where 100 housing units can be built, as opposed to the 40 now in Amona.

UN Security Council Deems ‘The Mideast Beast’ a Terror Organization (satire)

Wire services report the United Nations Security Council’s five permanent members and ten non-permanent members have determined the online publication The Mideast Beast a terrorist organization in a vote of 15–0.
Citing numerous examples of terror-related reports published on the web and social media, along with overwhelming evidence of the publication’s questionable motives, the council’s unanimous decision could result in UN sanctions.
According to one United Nations insider that wished to remain anonymous, “We believe it to be a shadow government operating in the Deep Web with a global reach capable of creating havoc, misinformation, and damaging propaganda worldwide. We’re not sure who’s behind this clandestine group, but we have our suspicions. Probably the Jews. Have you read The Elders of Zion?”
However, another expert opined, “They’re clearly a front for the PLO, or Hamas, or ISIS, or simply a bunch of bleeding heart liberals, yes liberals!”

Report: Israel boycotting Swedish Foreign Minister

Israel is boycotting Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom’s upcoming visit to Israel due to her past anti-Israel statements, the Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper reported on Monday.
According to the report, Wallstrom will arrive in the region on Thursday, but will not meet Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who also serves as Foreign Minister, or any other Israeli minister.
The Swedish Minister reportedly sought to hold meetings with Netanyahu and other Cabinet ministers during her visit, and was told that their schedules do not allow for such meetings. Sources, however, told Yedioth Ahronoth that Wallstrom in fact is not welcomed in Israel.
The newspaper noted that, despite not having meetings scheduled with Israeli officials, the Swedish Foreign Minister decided to visit the region anyway and meet with Palestinian Authority (PA) officials.
Wallstrom has several times in the past caused an uproar in Israel with her statements. In 2014, then-Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman denounced Sweden’s decision to recognize the PA as “the State of Palestine”, saying that “relations in the Middle East are a lot more complex than the self-assembly furniture of IKEA”.
Wallstrom later replied and said she would be “happy” to send Liberman some IKEA furniture “and he will also see that what you need to put that together is, first of all, a partner.”

Car-ramming foiled at West Bank checkpoint, police say

Police said an East Jerusalem woman tried to carry out a car-ramming attack Tuesday at the flashpoint Qalandiya crossing in the West Bank.
The incident began when the woman, 31, a resident of the Beit Hanina neighborhood, approached the crossing at high speed in her vehicle. Troops opened fire, forcing her to stop. She then emerged from the car, shouting Allahu akbar (God is great).
Guards at the checkpoint subdued and arrested her, police said, adding that she was in possession of a knife.
There were no injuries to the woman or security forces.

Incoming rocket alert blares along Sinai border

An incoming rocket alert siren sounded in the central Negev, in communities near the Sinai border, on Tuesday morning, though there were no immediate reports of an impact, the army said.
The Israel Defense Forces launched a search in the area to determine if a rocket had landed in Israeli territory. No projectile was initially found.
The siren went off just after 8 a.m., in Revivim, Ezuz, Nitzana and other communities near the Egyptian border.
It appeared as though the alert system was triggered by a launch from the Sinai Peninsula that landed inside Egypt.
However, it was not clear if Israel was the target or if the system was triggered by internal fighting between Egyptian troops and an Islamic-State-affiliated terrorist group in the area.

WATCH: State-of-the-Art F-35 Stealth Fighter Jets Arrive in Israel

Two F-35 stealth fighter jets arrived in Israel on Monday, the first of 52 that it has agreed to purchase in the coming years.
The planes arrived at the Nevatim Air Force Base in the Negev Desert after a stopover in Italy and a six-hour rain delay. Among the dignitaries on hand to celebrate the arrival of the American-made jets were Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Reuven Rivlin, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, and U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter.
Netanyahu thanked Carter and the United States for allowing Israel to purchase the planes. “It’s a sign of your personal friendship, your personal commitment to the U.S.-Israel alliance, and…I wish to thank as well, on behalf of all the people of Israel, President Obama, the American Congress, and the American people,” Netanyahu said at the ceremony, adding later: “Israel is your best and your most reliable ally in the Middle East—in my opinion beyond the Middle East—we will always remain so.”
“I want to say clearly — anybody who thinks of attacking us will be attacked,” Netanyahu proclaimed. “Only strength brings deterrence, only strength brings peace.”
Rivlin’s remarks echoed that theme. “The aircraft will change the rules of the game,” he said. “It will change the scope of our activities. Our enemies already know that it doesn’t pay to attack Israel.”
Carter noted the progress that the Israeli military has made, noting that the Israeli Air Force “began by flying leftover World War II planes and is now flying the most advanced aircraft in history.”

Abbas said to lift immunity of political rivals

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Monday lifted the parliamentary immunity of five PA lawmakers, as he readied to level charges against them, sources in Abbas’s office and the Palestinian parliament said.
The five MPs include Mohammad Dahlan, the former Gaza strongman who was ousted from Fatah by Abbas in 2010, and four other lawmakers: Shami Shami, Najat Abu Bakr, Nasser Juma and Jamal Tirawi.
They will face charges of embezzlement, weapons smuggling, defamation and insults, according to the sources, who spoke to AFP on condition of anonymity.
According to one source, “The whole issue related to existing conflicts” between Abbas and Dahlan.
Dahlan, who was one of Fatah’s most prominent leaders, was kicked out of the Gaza Strip in 2011 after a feud with Abbas. He currently lives in the UAE.

Shmuley Boteach: No Holds Barred: Boeing disgraces itself with Iran blood deal

As an American who travels around the world I’m always proud of Boeing. Let the critics say that America is no longer a manufacturing country.
Every airport you travel to around the world you see Boeing aircraft dominating the tarmac.
That’s why I was so sorely disappointed to see Boeing selling its soul for $17 billion to Iran. This is blood money, and Boeing knows it.
Iran is the world’s foremost state sponsor of terrorism. It meddles and murders around the world. The mullahs run a vile government that is an affront to human rights and decency itself. They murder American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, they blow up Jewish community centers in Latin America, in war they send children to clear minefields and they oversee a country that hangs gays from cranes in town squares and stones women to death. In short, the government of Iran is an abomination.
As for the seemingly innocuous issue of selling Iran airliners, there are now credible reports that Iran’s commercial aircraft play a leading role in supporting terrorism.

Iranian State TV: Hezbollah “Instrumental” in Protecting Assad

Hezbollah has been “instrumental” in keeping Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad in power, a report on the Iranian propaganda network PressTV asserted Friday.
“Hezbollah has of course given many martyrs to protect Syria and Hezbollah has been very instrumental, even before Russia got involved into equation,” commentator Shabbir Hassanally told the Iranian network. “It was Hezbollah and the Syrian Arab Army that were defeating Jabhat al-Nusra and all of these other factions that were all supported by Israel.”
Hassannally’s boast’s about Hezbollah’s value to Assad came the same day that Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah said that the completion of the siege of Aleppo by the regime forces and its Russian, Iranian, and Shiite allies was close at hand.
Iran and Hezbollah have played commanding roles on the ground to prop up the Syrian government, which has targeted civilians through the use of barrel bombs, massacres, intentional starvation, and chemical weapon attacks, leading to the death of over 400,000 people and the world’s largest refugee crisis since the Second World War.
Former Shin Bet chief Avi Dichter assessed last month that Iran has created a Shiite army led by Hezbollah and its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps to protect the Assad regime. He also warned that Hezbollah’s combat experience in Syria “has made [them] a better fighting force and more adept in conventional military warfare.”

Iran to work on nuclear-powered boats after US ‘violation’ of deal

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani ordered scientists on Tuesday to start developing systems for nuclear-powered boats, in reaction to what he called the United States’ violation of a global atomic deal.
The announcement marked Iran’s first concrete response to a US Congress decision last month to extend legislation making it easier for Washington to reimpose sanctions on Tehran.
Rouhani described the technology as a “nuclear propeller to be used in marine transportation,” but did not say whether that meant just ships or possibly also submarines. Iran said in 2012 that it was working on its first nuclear-powered sub.
His words will stoke tensions with Washington, already heightened by comments from US president elect Donald Trump who has vowed to scrap the deal, under which Iran agreed to curb its nuclear activities in exchange for lifted sanctions.

The Elders of Zion Getting Mixed Signals from Trump (satire)

Secret rulers of the world, The Elders of Zion, are like everyone else trying to come to grips with the incoming Trump presidency.
Aaron Goldstein, dentist by day, Senior Elder of Zion for North America by night commented, “On the one hand it’s great to see he received the memo on putting us in charge of the Treasury. Fort Knox is like Disney Land to our people. And Gary Cohn is a dear, dear friend of the cause. So, that’s the economy nicely tied up.”
“However then he goes and appoints General Flynn, who let’s be honest, is not entirely comfortable around us. And Bannon, well apparently, ‘Some of his best friends are…’, and we all know what that means.”
“So on balance, we are taking a wait and see approach. And thanking God we’re not Muslim, Mexican or gay because all those poor bastards are truly screwed.”
“Rex Tillerson at Secretary of State? Don’t ask us, we’re as clueless as the rest of you on that one.”

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