Tag Archives: Iran

Iran’s Potential Role In Enforcing Zones Along Israeli Border Raises Concerns

Russia, Turkey and Iran are to map out the specific zones by June 4th.

Netanyahu:  “With the framework of these arrangements, and also without them, there is an Iranian effort to become firmly established on a permanent basis in Syria, either through the presence of ground forces, or naval forces,” Netanyahu said. He also said the Syrians are involved in a “gradual attempt to open up a front against us on the Golan Heights.” JPost

Iran’s potential role in enforcing a security zone in southern Syria has raised concerns for Israel, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Joseph Dunford said Tuesday.

Under the terms of an agreement signed last week in Astana, Turkey, several large areas of western and southern Syria would become protected areas where the use of weapons, including airstrikes, would be prohibited. Russia, Iran and Turkey would be empowered to “take all necessary measures” to enforce the peace in these zones, including attacks inside those areas against Nusra Front, al-Qaida or ISIS.

One of the zones would be in southern Syria in rebel-held territory along the Israeli-Syrian border by the Golan Heights.

Dunford, who was traveling in Israel this week to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and top defense officials, said Israel is concerned about the possibility of having Iranian or Iranian-backed forces, such as Hezbollah, so close to its border….

Israel has supported the rebel presence along its border, providing field hospitals to maintain a buffer between it and the Iranian and Hezbollah-backed Assad regime, said Anthony Cordesman, a senior Middle East expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Cordesman said that Israel may endorse security zones to bring stability to Syria, but it’s unlikely to agree to any limits that would keep it from protecting interests in southern Syria or striking shipments.

Cordesman questioned whether the agreement would move forward.  Stars & Stripes

Iran Using U.S. Cash To Fund Massive Military Buildup

Iran is using the nuclear deal money (1.7 billion) that was released with no strings attached.

Iran is using the billions in cash resources provided under the landmark nuclear deal to engage in an unprecedented military buildup meant to transform the Islamic Republic’s fighting force into an “offensive” juggernaut, according to a largely unreported announcement by Iranian military leaders that has sparked concern among U.S. national security insiders and sources on Capitol Hill.

Iranian officials announced late last month that Iran’s defense budget had increased by 145 percent under President Hassan Rouhani and that the military is moving forward with a massive restructuring effort aimed at making it “a forward moving force,” according to regional reports.

Iranian leaders have stated since the Iran deal was enacted that they are using the massive amounts of cash released under the agreement to fund the purchase of new military equipment and other armaments. Iran also has pursued multi-million dollar arms deals with Russia since economic sanctions were nixed as part of the deal. Free Beacon

Tombs of Esther And Mordechai Still Standing In Iran 2,500 Years Later

 Mordecai the Jew was second in rank to King Xerxes, preeminent among the Jews, and held in high esteem by his many fellow Jews, because he worked for the good of his people and spoke up for the welfare of all the Jews. Esther 10:3

The burial site of Purim heroes Mordechai and Esther stands proudly in the heart of Iran, proclaiming the Jews’ Biblical victory from within their most prominent modern enemy. This contradiction, based on an extraordinary part of the Bible, symbolizes the peculiar reality of the largest and most ancient Middle Eastern Jewish community outside of the Holy Land.

For several reasons, the story of Purim is an anomaly in the Bible. It does not mention the name of God, and it is the only Biblical account, apart from the Book of Daniel, to take place outside the borders of Israel. The story of the Jewish victory is based in ancient Persia, known today as Iran, the arch-enemy of modern Israel. Tucked away in a corner of Iran is a 500-year old building purported to be the burial site of Mordechai and Esther. A previous structure is believed to have been destroyed in the 14th century by Mongol invaders.

The Iranian city of Hamadan, 200 miles west of Tehran, claims to be the Biblical city of Shushan, the capital of ancient Persia and the setting for the story of Purim.

 At that time King Xerxes reigned from his royal throne in the citadel of Susa Esther 1:2

One of the most prominent sites in the city is a 500-year-old building built over what many believe is the burial site of Biblical Mordecai and Esther. Most would assume that the site commemorating the Jewish heroes would be hidden away or in danger, but the opposite is actually the case. The site is proudly displayed, known to all, and Persian Jews visit the site annually en masse to read the Book of Esther. BreakingNewsIsrael

Saudi – Israel Alliance Comes Into The Daylight

A growing Israeli-Saudi alliance that has been kept hidden is coming out into the daylight.

Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Shortly before al-Jubeir spoke, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman called on the Arab world to help put an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. “The Palestinians do not have a capacity to sign a final status agreement with Israel,” he said. “It is possible only as a part of [an] all regional solution. We must sign simultaneously a regional solution with the Arab world and [the] Palestinians.” JOL

After Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman called on the Arab world to help put an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said that he believes that the conflict will be resolved this year.

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir spoke at the 53rd Munich Security Conference today about the option of achieving regional cooperation in order to put an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. “I believe that 2017 will be a year when a number of challenges in the Middle East will be resolved,” he said, adding that Saudi Araba is ready to do what is necessary in order to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. JOL

Iran

Al-Jubeir also sounded optimistic about the Trump administration, saying that the US president and Riyadh both want to destroy ISIS and stop Iran from gaining too much power. “Iran remains the single main sponsor of terrorism in the world,” al-Jubeir said. “It’s determined to upend the order in the Middle East.” JOL

Saudi Arabia and Israel both called on Sunday for a new push against Iran, signaling a growing alignment in their interests, while U.S. lawmakers promised to seek new sanctions on the Shi’ite Muslim power.

Turkey also joined the de facto united front against Tehran as Saudi and Israeli ministers rejected an appeal from Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif for Sunni Gulf Arab states to work with Tehran to reduce violence across the region. Reuters

Nationalism and Transnationalism

President Trump’s nationalist sensibility, “America First”, has shattered the globalist elitist consensus.

Nationalists see patriotism as a virtue; they think their country and its culture are unique and worth preserving. This is a real moral commitment, not a pose to cover up racist bigotry. Some nationalists do believe that their country is better than all others, and some nationalisms are plainly illiberal and overtly racist.

But as many defenders of patriotism have pointed out, you love your spouse because she or he is yours, not because you think your spouse is superior to all others. Nationalists feel a bond with their country, and they believe that this bond imposes moral obligations both ways: Citizens have a duty to love and serve their country, and governments are duty bound to protect their own people. Governments should place their citizens interests above the interests of people in other countries. American-Interest

Nationalist strengthen allies to minimize U.S. overseas military deployments while still securing American interests.

The same economic forces that were transforming the world after the Cold War had salvaged “Palestine”. Arafat had lost his sponsors in Moscow, but his new sugar daddy’s name was “Globalism”.

The Cold War had been the focus of international affairs. What replaced it was the conviction that a new world tied together by international commerce, the internet and international law would be born.

The demands of a clan in Hebron used to be able to hijack the attention of the world because the scope of the clash between Capitalism and Communism could globalize any local conflict. Globalization was just as insistent on taking local conflicts and making them the world’s business through its insistence that every place was connected. The terrorist blowing up an Israeli pizzeria affected stock prices in New York, the expansion prospects of a company in China and the risk of another terrorist attack in Paris. And interconnectedness, from airplane hijacking to plugging into the international’s left alliance of global protest movements, had become the  best weapon of Islamic terrorists.

But now globalization is dying. And its death may just take “Palestine” with it.

A new generation of leaders is rising who are actively hostile to globalization. Trump and Brexit were the most vocal rebukes to transnationalism. But polls suggest that they will not be the only ones. The US and the UK, once the vanguards of the international order, now have governments that are competitively seeking national advantages rather than relying on the ordered rules of the transnational safety net. Read full article at FrontPageMag

National Security Advisor Michael Flynn: Iran ‘On Notice’

National Security Advisor Mike Flynn said today “we are officially putting Iran on notice” after a missile test and an attack on a Saudi frigate that the Pentagon believes was an attack meant for a US warship.

“The Obama Administration failed to respond adequately to Tehran’s malign actions—including weapons transfers, support for terrorism, and other violations of international norms.  The Trump Administration condemns such actions by Iran that undermine security, prosperity, and stability throughout and beyond the Middle East and place American lives at risk.”

Full text:  The White House Office of the Press Secretary, February 01, 2017 Statement by the National Security Advisor

Video: National Security Advisor Michael Flynn: ‘We Are Officially Putting Iran On Notice’ For Missile Launch

Saudi Frigate Attacked

“A Saudi frigate on patrol west of the port city of Hodeida was hit by a terrorist attack from three suicide boats belonging to the Houthi militias,” the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen said, according to Reuters.

In the attack, two Saudi sailors were killed and three were wounded.

Footage claiming to show the attack surfaced Monday.  In the video, you can hear shouts in Arabic, “Death to America, Death to Israel, Death to the Jews.”


Initially, Iranian media reported that the Saudi frigate had been hit by an anti-ship missile, much like the kind Iranian-backed Houthi militants in Yemen had fired in October at an Emirati ship and several US Navy vessels.

Later, Saudi media reported the incident as a terrorist attack carried out by “suicide boats,” or small craft laden with bombs, which left two Saudi sailors dead. BusinessInsider

Pentagon believes attack on Saudi frigate meant for US warship

U.S. defense analysts believe those behind the attack either thought the bomber was striking an American warship or that this was a “dress rehearsal” similar to the attack on the USS Cole, according to one official.

The attack, near the Bab al Mandab Strait connecting the Red Sea to the Gulf of Aden, occurred in the same area where U.S. Navy warships came under missile attack in October.

An American destroyer shot down those incoming missiles — the first successful engagement in combat using an American SM-2 missile. FoxNews

Iran Repopulating Syria With Shia Muslims

This is extremely wrong!

New communities of Shia Muslims are being settled in areas where Sunnis have fled or been forced out as Tehran seeks an arc of control stretching from its borders to Israel.  There would be Iran controlled areas just above Israel.

In the valleys between Damascus and Lebanon, where whole communities had abandoned their lives to war, a change is taking place. For the first time since the conflict broke out, people are starting to return.

But the people settling in are not the same as those who fled during the past six years.

The new arrivals have a different allegiance and faith to the predominantly Sunni Muslim families who once lived there. They are, according to those who have sent them, the vanguard of a move to repopulate the area with Shia Muslims not just from elsewhere in Syria, but also from Lebanon and Iraq.

The population swaps are central to a plan to make demographic changes to parts of Syria, realigning the country into zones of influence that backers of Bashar al-Assad, led by Iran, can directly control and use to advance broader interests. Iranis stepping up its efforts as the heat of the conflict starts to dissipate and is pursuing a very different vision to Russia, Assad’s other main backer. TheGuradian 

The author of the below article is Zvi Mazel.  He is the former Israeli ambassador to Romania, Egypt, and Sweden.  Since 2006 he has been a fellow of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs – a think tank specializing in Security and Foreign Affairs of Israel.

Sunnis make up 85% of the Muslim world, while Shi’ites are less than 15%. Nevertheless, Iran enjoys an advantage because it is the supreme Shi’ite religious and political authority, whereas, in the Sunni world, every imam can issue his own fatwas – though there is no general obligation to follow them. The lack of religious solidarity – let alone a common policy – severely hampers the ability of Sunni countries to counter the Iranian threat.

While religious extremism Shi’ite and Sunni appear poised to tear apart the Mideast, the lack of religious solidarity – let alone a common policy – severely hampers the ability of Sunni countries to counter the Iranian threat.

Beginning with Khomeini, Tehran has developed a powerful and aggressive army to push its agenda: exporting its Islamic Revolution to Sunni states as a first step before attacking “the great Satan” – the U.S. and its allies. Iran was a major driving force in the disintegration of Iraq, Syria, Yemen and the shambles that is Lebanon. JPost

Podesta Email: John Podesta Agress Iranian Nuclear Deal Will Lead To Nuclear War

John Podesta
John Podesta

Clinton campaign manager John Podesta the day after the Iranian nuclear sellout was signed agrees with Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL).

YUP

This agreement condemns the next generation to cleaning up a nuclear war in the Persian Gulf… This is the greatest appeasement since Chamberlain > gave Czechoslovakia to Hitler.” — Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL). Email

Women Chess Players Threaten Boycott Over Having to Wear Hijabs at the World Championship in Iran

“Some consider a hijab part of culture,” Paikidze said in an Instagram post announcing her decision. “But, I know that a lot of Iranian women are bravely protesting this forced law daily and risking a lot by doing so. That’s why I will NOT wear a hijab and support women’s oppression.” WaPo

U.S. champion chess player, Nazi Paikidze-Barnes
U.S. champion chess player, Nazi Paikidze-Barnes

U.S. champion chess player and one of the most successful women to ever play the male-dominated game of chess, Nazi Paikidze-Barnes, will not be competing in the 2017 world championship to be held in Iran.  Iran is requiring female players to wear a hijab,

The World Chess Federation (FIDE) has now come under criticism for agreeing to Iran’s strict clothing requirements for women.

Other players around the world have also objected to the requirement.

In response, Grandmasters lined up to say they would boycott the 64-player knock-out and accused the game’s scandal-hit governing body Fide of failing to stand up for women’s rights.

Former Pan American champion Carla Heredia wants the 64 female players slated to participate in the event to protest the mandatory hijab requirement.

Former Pan American champion Carla Heredia agreed, saying “No woman should be forced to wear a hijab.”

In response, Grandmasters lined up to say they would boycott the 64-player knock-out and accused the game’s scandal-hit governing body Fide of failing to stand up for women’s rights.

Appeaser Susan Polgar called for respect for”cultural differences.”  Respect goes both ways.  Polgar thinks respecting “cultural differences” only applies to one side, it also applies to that country respecting everyone else’s culture.

FIDE, meanwhile, has called on players to respect “cultural differences.”

The organization’s chair on the Commission for Women’s Chess, Susan Polgar, told the Telegraph: “I have travelled to nearly 60 countries. When I visited different places with different cultures, I like to show my respect by dressing up in their traditional style of clothing. No one asked me to do it. I just do it out of respect.”

Safety Concerns

“It does not feel safe for women from around the world to play here.” Paikidze added: “I am honoured and proud to have qualified to represent the United States in the Women’s World Championship. But, if the situation remains unchanged, I will most certainly not participate in this event.”

The U.S. Department of State has issued a warning about travelling to Iran saying citizens risk being unjustly imprisoned or kidnapped because of their nationality. Telegraph

iran-travel-warning

 

FIDE has no problem holding the 2017 Women’s World Championships in Iran, a country that hangs homosexuals and stones women. Would FIDE have a problem holding the event in North Carolina due to the bathroom laws?

Online: Times of Israel – Women threaten Iran chess contest boycott over need to cover up

Iran Hostages Forced To Buy Own Plane Tickets Home

Pastor Saeed Abedini
Pastor Saeed Abedini

Disgusting.   Billions to Iran no budget for plane tickets home.

One of the hostages, Pastor Saeed Abedini, told Fox Business’ Trish Regan he spent several days in a hospital in Germany nursing wounds from his torturous treatment, only to be released with little more than “prison clothes” and no way home.

“We flied from Iran to Germany and we were in a hospital in Germany for a few days before we come to United States. In Germany, actually, they told us you need to buy your own (plane) ticket to come to United States, and I was shocked.

“They said that was our job just to bring you out of Iran not bring you inside the country, in United States,” said Abedini, who was born in Tehran. Abedini converted to Christianity in 2000 and was arrested in 2012 in Iran, where he was tortured for three years, according to the news site.

“And I talked to other Americans in hospital and actually we were all shocked because … I came out; I had just prison clothes and they just told us you need to buy your own ticket,” he said, adding that he was in rough shape from his time as a hostage.

“I had the stomach bleeding for months in prison because they beat me very bad there … some physical attacks from the guards,” Abedini said. “And they kind of like make a team against me in the prison from the other prisoners, actually, so they tortured me psychologically and physically a lot.

“So I wasn’t in good health, but I was in my best part because just six months before we get released they let us to order from the restaurant in prison, and now I know probably they knew that we were going to be released so they wanted us to look in good shape,” he said.

Abedini said he told U.S. officials he believed they should return him to Boise, Idaho, where he lived before he was taken hostage, but they responded “there was no budget for that.”

Abedini said U.S. officials told him Christian outreach organizations could probably help get him home.  AmericanMirror

 

Ransom To Iran

pallets-money-iranUpdate:  Iranian state-run media in Tehran did indeed videotape the arrival of a January 17 flight carrying $400 million in cash from the United States – and the money itself – judging from a documentary that aired the following month in the Islamic republic…

A narrator, speaking in Persian, describes a money-for-hostages transaction over video clips of a plane on an airport tarmac in the dead of night and a photo of a giant shipping pallet stacked with what appear to be banknotes.DailyMail

The Obama administration clandestinely ransomed four American captives held by Iran.

The Obama administration secretly airlifted $400 million in cash to Iran in January at the same time Tehran was releasing four jailed Americans, payment that a top congressional Republican is calling “ransom.” The Wall Street Journal, citing U.S. and European officials and congressional sources, reported that the administration procured the money from central banks in Switzerland and the Netherlands. The money was stacked on wooden pallets and flown to Tehran in an unmarked cargo plane. WashingtonTimes

4 released by Iran as part of prisoner swap.
4 released by Iran as part of prisoner swap.

They really expect us to believe there is no connection?

Wooden pallets stacked with euros, Swiss francs and other currencies were flown into Iran on an unmarked cargo plane, according to these officials. The U.S. procured the money from the central banks of the Netherlands and Switzerland, they said.

The money represented the first installment of a$1.7 billion settlement the Obama administration reached with Iran to resolve a decades-old dispute over a failed arms deal signed just before the 1979 fall of Iran’s last monarch, Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. WSJ

Foreign Currency Sent – Under U.S. Law Transaction with Iran in U.S. dollars is illegal.

The $400 million was paid in foreign currency because any transaction with Iran in U.S. dollars is illegal under U.S. law. Sanctions also complicate Tehran’s access to global banks.

“Sometimes the Iranians want cash because it’s so hard for them to access things in the international financial system,” said a senior U.S. official briefed on the January cash delivery. “They know it can take months just to figure out how to wire money from one place to another.” WSJ

Putting a Price on the Head of Americans

But U.S. officials also acknowledge that Iranian negotiators on the prisoner exchange said they wanted the cash to show they had gained something tangible.

Sen. Tom Cotton, a Republican from Arkansas and a fierce foe of the Iran nuclear deal, accused President Barack Obama of paying “a $1.7 billion ransom to the ayatollahs for U.S. hostages.”

“This break with longstanding U.S. policy put a price on the head of Americans, and has led Iran to continue its illegal seizures” of Americans, he said. WSJ

Since the ransom payment at least two more Americans have been taken hostage. Ya Think?

Since the cash shipment, the intelligence arm of the Revolutionary Guard has arrested two more Iranian-Americans. Tehran has also detained dual-nationals from France, Canada and the U.K. in recent months. WSJ

More Money To Iran

Meanwhile, U.S. officials have said they were certain Washington was going to lose the arbitration in The Hague, where Iran was seeking more than $10 billion, and described the settlement as a bargain for taxpayers. WSJ

Secret Document Reveals Iran Nuclear Program To Accelerate Years Earlier Than Disclosed

4051a45206895cc0_150_nuclearA secret document obtained by the Associated Press revealed that restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program will begin to ease four years before the official agreement expires.  Important terms of the nuclear agreement were absent in the public record.

The document, a secret text linked to the deal between Iran and six other nations, says the country can replace 5,060 inefficient centrifuges with up to 3,500 advanced machines after 11 to 13 years, the AP reported.

The advanced centrifuges, which are five times as efficient, would cut the time Iran would need to build a nuclear weapon — referred to as “breakout time” — from a year to six months.

The provision appears to be part of the deal’s “sunset clause,” though it was not public, said Omri Ceren of The Israel Project, a group that advocated against the agreement.

Ceren said some experts expressed worry to Congress that limits on Iran’s centrifuge research and development were too weak during the first 10 years of the agreement. But whether the administration briefed lawmakers on the newly discovered document is unclear.AP

Navy Probe: US Sailors Captured By Iran – “Failures At Every Level”

Admiral John Richardson
Admiral John Richardson

The Navy investigation of the 10 U.S. sailors captured by Iran in January after mistakenly steering their boats into Iranian waters found weak leadership, poor judgment, a lack of “warfighting toughness” and a litany of errors led to the embarrassing capture and detention by Iran of the  U.S. sailors.

The mission was poorly planned and executed. Failures at every level from commanders to the sailors that talked to much after being captured. The route for the mission was not properly mapped by commanders or sailors.

Poor Leadership

The report says Captain Kyle Moses: ‘Demonstrated poor leadership by ordering the transit on short notice without due regard to mission planning and risk assessment.

‘He severely underestimated the complexity and hazards associated with the transit. He lacked a questioning attitude, failed to promote a culture of safety, and disregarded appropriate backup from his staff and subordinate commands.’ …

Investigators added: ‘The two RCB Boat Captains made poor tactical decision during the transit that further compounded these problems. ‘Unprepared and unaware the boat crews were late in responding to approaching [Iranian] patrol craft, delaying action to take up a heightened security posture.

‘Their lack of adequate force protection left them few realistic options to avoid detention.’ In mission planning, commanders used a standard route that would have avoided territorial waters altogether, the report says.  However, this was changed at the last minute when the mission began running four hours late to make sure refueling could happen in daylight.

The course to the rendezvous was straightened, knocking around an hour off the mission time, but taking the craft into Iranian waters.  DailyMail

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