Tidbits of Truth

A random bit of News Info, The truth about Israel, American politics, & Mideast Foreign Policy... (along with whatever else catches my curiosity).

Thousands of Deadly Islamic Terror Attacks Since 9/11

Top links:

MEMRI: http://www.memri.org/content/en/main.htm
ACT! http://actforamericaeducation.com/
Palestine Facts: http://www.palestinefacts.org/
Shoebat Foundation: http://www.shoebat.com/blog/

Biden 2007: Impeachment if Bush bombs Iran

Biden spoke in front of a crowd of approximately 100 at a candidate forum held Thursday at Seacoast Media Group. The forum focused on the Iraq war and foreign policy. When an audience member expressed fear of a war with Iran, Biden said he does not typically engage in threats, but had no qualms about issuing a direct warning to the Oval Office.

The president has no authority to unilaterally attack Iran, and if he does, as Foreign Relations Committee chairman, I will move to impeach,” said Biden, whose words were followed by a raucous applause from the local audience.
Biden’s words come back to haunt him! Why isn’s he pushing to impeach Obama if he bombs Syria? -ToT

Assad flees to Iran

Syrian Pres. Bashar al-Assad and his family arrived in Tehran Aug 28, landing at Khomeini Airport aboard his presidential jet. Iranian foreign ministry sources confirmed this with the Lebanese newspaper a-Nahar.

Accompanying the Assad family was a group of senior Syrian government officials who together with Assad are officially there to hold talks with the Iranian government about a Syrian response to a possible US strike on Syrian WMD assets which is expected to take place in the near future….

Desperate For Allies and Secret Assets, Iran Penetrates Africa

While Iran may seem diplomatically isolated, in Africa it has used unconventional tactics to support its terror network and build its nuclear program.

Israel Today:

Lieberman: Turkish PM advancing Nazi anti-Semitism

Lieberman: Turkish PM advancing Nazi anti-Semitism

Former (and possibly future) Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman this week accused Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan of advancing Nazi-style anti-Semitism after the latter blamed Israel for the current unrest in Egypt.

"Anyone who has heard the words of Erdogan, which were full of hate and incitement, recognizes no doubt that we are dealing with a successor of [Nazi Minister of Propaganda Joseph] Goebbels," said Lieberman. "His conspiracy theories are of the same nature as the Dreyfus Affair and the hateful blood-libel ‘The Elders of Zion.’"

In a party conference speech earlier in the week, Erdogan said that his government could prove that Israel is behind the unrest in Egypt. As evidence, he cited the words of Jewish intellectual Bernard-Henri Levy in a 2011 conversation with the then-Israeli opposition leader Tzipi Livni. Levy said at the time: “The Muslim Brotherhood will not remain in power, even if they win the elections, because democracy is not the ballot box.”

In commenting on Levy’s words, Erdogan stated: “Now, the West says that democracy is not the ballot box, or not only, but we know that the ballot box is the will of the people. And this was implemented in Egypt. Who’s behind this? Israel. We have evidence.”

Lieberman is known for his rough and outspoken demeanor, and often compares Muslim politicians who want to destroy Israel to the Nazis. But with Erdogan, he might not be so far off the mark.

The Turkish leader is equally infamous for his conspiracy theories, which he disseminates with abandon any time the situation is not going according to plan. During Turkey’s own recent pro-democracy demonstrations, Erdogan attributed the near-uprising to a conspiracy against him contrived by “world Jewry.”

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Obama Cannot Keep Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood in Power

Obama Cannot Keep Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood in Power

The following is another open letter from Dr. Ashraf Ramelah, director of Voice of the Copts, who, along with many other Egyptian Christians, wants the US and Europe to STOP trying to reimpose Islamist rule on their country.

The military of Egypt is respecting the universal rights of all Egyptians by rooting out Muslim Brotherhood terrorism, the backers of Morsi’s regime – finding smuggled weapon stashes and arresting Morsi’s guest militias (Hamas and Al Qaeda terrorists).

After more than two years of protests to bring about the removal of two dictatorships, the latter installed through fraudulent elections billed as “free and fair,” Egyptian freedom-fighters backed by the army must not retreat from their chance now to expose and expunge radical terrorists who came dangerously close to dominating Egypt for the long term. This means countering the efforts of the Obama administration inside Egypt.

Everything hinges upon the unthwarted dedication of the Egyptian army to continue with actions loyal to Egyptian pro-democracy freedom-fighters. So far it has done so by not heeding the call for “restraint” coming from the U.S. White House and Department of State in wrestling with an entrenched terror group fallen from “legitimacy.”

Implying that Egypt’s military is sparking violence rather than dispelling it, an August 14 White House Statement by the Press Secretary on Egypt advises, “Violence will only make it more difficult to move Egypt forward on a path to lasting stability and democracy, and runs counter to the pledges by the interim government to pursue reconciliation.” But has the secular, civil, pro-democracy majority movement represented by the interim government ever promised to reconcile with terrorists?

Secretary of State John Kerry mentions “inclusion” or “inclusive” five times in his August 14 State Department press briefing on Egypt. He is referring to Muslim Brotherhood and Salafis he knows to be the only parties left out from Egypt’s interim government. This makes the Obama administration seem nothing more than promoters of the ousted regime and their protesters who gathered armed forces in the streets of Al Adawyia, Cairo and other cities across Egypt.

Fittingly, White House disapproval comes now and blames Egypt’s military for defending the country against the aggression of Morsi defenders and Brotherhood thugs, advising reconciliation which will place Egypt’s democratic future at risk. Ignoring these urgings, the interim government is speaking of combating “religious fascists” and “dissolving the Muslim Brotherhood” as a way of ensuring that democratic values prevail.

U.S. Senator John McCain, America’s best and brightest, labels Egypt’s problem a military coup – in reality, this coup is nonexistent. In cautioning John Kerry against leniency toward Egypt’s military, John McCain says, “To think they’re [the military coup government of Egypt] going to eliminate the Muslim Brotherhood flies in the face of the history of the Muslim Brotherhood who…will be able to survive, perhaps, underground, despite the efforts of the generals to eliminate them” (Newsmax, 8/15/13).

In an open letter to Obama (Newsmax 8/16/13), Free Egyptians reject the arrogance, pessimism and opposition coming from the U.S. in answer to their struggle for freedom in the face of terrorism. Paradoxically, the greatest democracy on earth offers the greatest resistance to Egypt’s democratic goals.

The White House rightfully condemns [the current] violence in Egypt… But it does so at the expense of appearing neglectful and unsympathetic toward the hundreds of murderous attacks on Egypt’s Christians who for the past six years have sought the support and help of a freedom-loving America and still wait. Now suffering more so at the brunt of Brotherhood Muslim madness and unleashed hatred, Christians have so far lost 83 Coptic churches looted and burned by the Muslim Brotherhood, along with Christian schools, shops and businesses.

Insisting that Egypt’s answer for democracy includes the fraudulent, unscrupulous and untrustworthy Muslim Brotherhood makes the Obama administration look likewise — fraudulent, unscrupulous and untrustworthy — to the smart, genuine and brave freedom fighters of Egypt.

 

UPDATE: Israel bombs Beirut following missile attack

UPDATE: Israel bombs Beirut following missile attack

Israeli warplanes bombed terrorist targets just south of the Lebanese capital of Beirut early Friday morning in response to a missile attack against northern Israel a day earlier.

The Israeli military confirmed the retaliatory strike, but did not provide details regarding the target.

On Thursday afternoon, four missiles were fired from southern Lebanon at northern Israel. One of the missiles was intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome anti-missile system. Another narrowly landed near a residential area, narrowly missing a meeting of Holocaust survivors.

Residents of towns along Israel’s northern coast reported hearing air raid sirens and loud explosions. Most living in the area are aware of what to do in such a situation, and immediately took cover in the nearest bomb shelter.

The missiles are believed to have originated from a Palestinian refugee camp in the Lebanese coastal city of Tyre. A terror group affiliated with Al Qaeda claimed credit for the attack, but Israel said that ultimately it holds the Lebanese government responsible.

 

UN will probe Gaza war, but not Syria chemical attack?

UN will probe Gaza war, but not Syria chemical attack?

The United Nations on Wednesday again revealed its true colors when it stopped short of ordering an official probe into charges that the Syrian government had killed hundreds of its own citizens in a chemical weapons attack.

That decision was especially interesting to Israelis, who are still irked by the UN’s massive and widely-publicized probe into the Gaza War that began in late 2009 after Hamas and other Gaza-based terrorists escalated missile attacks against southern Israel. The commission ended up accusing Israel of war crimes.

The UN Security Council insisted it was necessary to “clarify” allegations of chemical weapons use in Syria before taking any action. Opposition groups in the country said as many as 1,300 had been killed in a chemical weapons attack by government forces this week. Turkey’s foreign minister, after reviewing video footage from the scene, said it was clear that non-conventional weapons had been used, and urged an immediate UN investigation. But the Security Council failed to act.

By contrast, the UN did not independently verify the Palestinian claims that led to the post-Gaza War probe.

So, if the results of the December 2009-January 2010 Gaza War were worthy of a major UN investigation without prior fact-checking, how is a possible chemical weapons massacre in the midst of a Syrian civil war that has claimed over 100,000 lives not?

That question has left many Israelis more convinced than ever that the international community, and in particular the United Nations, operate under the influence of an unfair and exaggerated bias against the Jewish state.

 

‘Iran cannot do much in response to Israeli strike’

'Iran cannot do much in response to Israeli strike'

One of the key concerns of Israel launching a preemptive strike against Iran’s nuclear program is that the Islamic Republic’s response would cause grave damage to Israel and possibly engulf the region in full-scale war.

But a top Israeli official says those concerns are ill-placed, and that the Iranian response to an Israeli strike would likely be rather contained, and cause only minimal damage.

In an interview with the Times of Israel, Strategic Affairs and Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz said his estimate was that an Iranian response to an Israeli strike would consist of “two or three days of missile fire” against Israel and Western targets in the Middle East. That missile fire, according to Steinitz, would cause “very limited damage.”

Steinitz reiterated Israel’s warning to Western leaders to not be taken in by new Iranian President Hasan Rouhani’s more diplomatic veneer. Like his government colleagues, Steinitz expects Rouhani to woo the West with promises of compromise, even as Iran continues to inch closer to attaining atomic weapons.

But should the West be duped, as many Israelis expect, Steinitz echoed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in stating that the Jewish state needs no green light from Washington or Europe to take action on its own.

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Israel Today:

Missiles from Lebanon strike northern Israel

Missiles from Lebanon strike northern Israel

Four missiles were fired from southern Lebanon at northern Israel on Thursday afternoon. One of the missiles was intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome anti-missile system.

Residents of towns along Israel’s northern coast reported hearing air raid sirens and loud explosions. Most living in the area are aware of what to do in such a situation, and immediately took cover in the nearest bomb shelter.

The missiles are believed to have originated from a Palestinian refugee camp in the Lebanese coastal city of Tyre. Israeli helicopters reportedly circled over southern Lebanon as a warning following the attack.

Two weeks ago, four Israeli soldiers on a routine patrol of the Lebanon border were seriously wounded by a roadside bomb.

As the situation appears to be escalating, Israeli concerns that Syria’s ongoing civil war could reach Israel via Lebanon’s Hezbollah terrorist militia seem more valid than ever.

 

UN will probe Gaza war, but not Syria chemical attack?

UN will probe Gaza war, but not Syria chemical attack?

The United Nations on Wednesday again revealed its true colors when it stopped short of ordering an official probe into charges that the Syrian government had killed hundreds of its own citizens in a chemical weapons attack.

That decision was especially interesting to Israelis, who are still irked by the UN’s massive and widely-publicized probe into the Gaza War that began in late 2009 after Hamas and other Gaza-based terrorists escalated missile attacks against southern Israel. The commission ended up accusing Israel of war crimes.

The UN Security Council insisted it was necessary to “clarify” allegations of chemical weapons use in Syria before taking any action. Opposition groups in the country said as many as 1,300 had been killed in a chemical weapons attack by government forces this week. Turkey’s foreign minister, after reviewing video footage from the scene, said it was clear that non-conventional weapons had been used, and urged an immediate UN investigation. But the Security Council failed to act.

By contrast, the UN did not independently verify the Palestinian claims that led to the post-Gaza War probe.

So, if the results of the December 2009-January 2010 Gaza War were worthy of a major UN investigation without prior fact-checking, how is a possible chemical weapons massacre in the midst of a Syrian civil war that has claimed over 100,000 lives not?

That question has left many Israelis more convinced than ever that the international community, and in particular the United Nations, operate under the influence of an unfair and exaggerated bias against the Jewish state.

 

‘Iran cannot do much in response to Israeli strike’

'Iran cannot do much in response to Israeli strike'

One of the key concerns of Israel launching a preemptive strike against Iran’s nuclear program is that the Islamic Republic’s response would cause grave damage to Israel and possibly engulf the region in full-scale war.

But a top Israeli official says those concerns are ill-placed, and that the Iranian response to an Israeli strike would likely be rather contained, and cause only minimal damage.

In an interview with the Times of Israel, Strategic Affairs and Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz said his estimate was that an Iranian response to an Israeli strike would consist of “two or three days of missile fire” against Israel and Western targets in the Middle East. That missile fire, according to Steinitz, would cause “very limited damage.”

Steinitz reiterated Israel’s warning to Western leaders to not be taken in by new Iranian President Hasan Rouhani’s more diplomatic veneer. Like his government colleagues, Steinitz expects Rouhani to woo the West with promises of compromise, even as Iran continues to inch closer to attaining atomic weapons.

But should the West be duped, as many Israelis expect, Steinitz echoed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in stating that the Jewish state needs no green light from Washington or Europe to take action on its own.

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The Obama Administration’s Iran Delusions

While the Senate has recently urged the Obama administration to pass a new round of sanctions on the Islamic State of Iran as a result of Iran’s nuclear defiance and human rights abuses, the Obama administration is insisting on using dialogue, Track II diplomacy, and negotiations with Iran’s recently inaugurated president, Hassan Rouhani.  President Barack Obama and his advisors argue that Hassan Rouhani is a “moderate,” and as such, dialogue can now yield fruitful results. This move by the Obama administration is intriguing and it raises questions of whether the Islamist state of Iran is politically shrewd and Machiavellian enough to fool the United States or whether the Obama’s administration is suffering from political and ideological delusions about Iran.

Read the rest.

Zimbabwe signs secret deal to supply Iran with uranium to build a nuclear bomb

Zimbabwe has signed a secret deal to supply Uranium to Iran for its controversial nuclear programme, according to a senior Government source in Harare.

Negotiations between the two countries, which would see thousands of tonnes of the raw uranium shipped to Tehran for enrichment, have allegedly been going on for two years, the Times reports.

Zimbabwe’s Deputy Mining Minister Gift Chimanikire, said a ‘memorandum of understanding’ had been signed between the two countries both currently subject to stringent international sanctions.

Concerns: Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe, seen here shaking hands with former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in 2006, is believed to have signed a secret deal to supply uranium to Tehran

Concerns: Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe, seen here shaking hands with former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in 2006, is believed to have signed a secret deal to supply uranium to Tehran

The deal would see thousands of tonnes of raw uranium shipped to Tehran for enrichment in a flagrant breech of international sanctions. Iranian president Hasan Rouhani has refused to consider halting the country's nuclear programme

The deal would see thousands of tonnes of raw uranium shipped to Tehran for enrichment in a flagrant breech of international sanctions. Iranian president Hasan Rouhani has refused to consider halting the country’s nuclear programme

Iran insists that its nuclear programme is solely for providing its domestic energy needs, however it is widely believed they are hoping to build a nuclear weapon.

 

Mr Chimanikire described mining as ‘Zimbabwe’s ticket’ and said only a small number of government officials were aware of the deal which would mean the African country receiving billions in desperately needed currency.

Iran's Uranium Conversion Facility, just outside the city of Isfahan

Enrichment plant: Iran’s Uranium Conversion Facility, just outside the city of Isfahan

He said a Chinese company had been carrying out tests at a site in the far north of Zimbabwe.He told the Times: ‘I have seen a [memorandum of understanding] to export uranium to the Iranians.’

Zimbabwe is believed to have uranium reserves of around 45,000 tonnes. However much of it is mixed in with other minerals meaning it would take years to extract and at considerable expense.

The Chinese are also believed to have approached Zimbabwe offering finance and construction projects in return for mining rights.

Although Iran has its own uranium deposits they are not as pure as those found in other parts of the world.

Experts believe the Islamic state has already stockpiled 182kg of enriched uranium, but would require around 250kg to build a nuclear bomb.

Following his inauguration in June, Iran’s new president Hasan Rouhani Iran’s promised to follow a ‘path of moderation’ and bring more openness over the country’s nuclear programme.

But he stopped short of saying they would consider halting the uranium enrichment programme and accused the United States of seeking any excuse to confront the country over its nuclear ambitions.

They insist the programme is peaceful and geared soley towards generating electricity and producing radioisotopes to treat cancer patients.

Mr Rouhani’s predecessor Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, met with President Mugabe in 2010, when the African leader described the Iranian’s nuclear ambitions as a ‘just cause’.

Before stepping down in June Mr Ahmadinejad, took a foreign trip to Niger, the world’s fourth-largest uranium producer.

Precious: Iranian technicians huddle around a container of 'yellow cake' uranium in 2005

Precious cargo: Iranian technicians huddle around a container of ‘yellow cake’ uranium in 2005

British security officials said they were aware that Iran was negotiating with Zimbabwe. A foreign office spokesman said: ‘Any reports of uranium being supplied to Iran are concerning.’

Iran has six uranium enrichment plants and are also understood to have activated a heavy-water production plant to produce plutonium for a nuclear bomb.

But satellite images showed clouds of steam emerging from the site, which is 150 miles south-west of the capital Tehran.


Read more.

Israel Today:

Israelis speak out for religious freedom on Temple Mount

Israelis speak out for religious freedom on Temple Mount

Recently, Knesset member Danny Danon (Likud) said it’s time for Jews to have religious freedom to pray on the Temple Mount. Israel Today’s Jonathan David talked to Israelis on the streets of Jerusalem to get their reaction.

Amity Lerer: “Yes, it’s important. They say it in the Knesset (parliament), but they don’t really want to do it because they’re afraid of the Arabs.”

Aline Szewkeis: “I think it’s important for everybody to have freedom of religion in Israel. My particular opinion is I think we can give the Temple Mount to all religions.”

Rali Ben David: “It’s not important to me because I’m secular, but it’s important to the Jews. I think they should give us the ability to pray over there.”

Arlene Alyehs: “It’s the site of our Temple and there’s no reason for the Arabs to have control of the Temple Mount, except that the Jews are always giving in to them in hopes of peace. If there’s any restrictions it should be on the Arabs, but that may be too much to hope for.”

Eliran Maalumi: “Yeah, religious freedom is important, because it’s Israel. It’s the Jewish land.”

Naom Shiff: “I think that if everyone had religious freedom on the Temple Mount, it would create a friction that wouldn’t be good for the area.”

Agee Gottdiemer: “The rabbis say otherwise, at least certain rabbis. They say it’s forbidden to ascend the Temple Mount.”

Tamar Roller: “It is important to me, but because I’m a religious Jew, I know that it’s not the time of our redemption yet. So, I know that whenever God redeems us, the mosque will be demolished and our Temple will be built over there. Now, we have to fix ourselves internally and be better Jews and do whatever God wants us to do.”

Yosef Simon: “Religious freedom on the mountain site is based on the purity of the Jewish people. A lot of Jewish religious people don’t hold that you should really go up there unless we have the right purity… It’s important that the Messiah will come, because the Messiah will actually tell us the right way to purify ourselves.”

 

Israel’s new ‘Power’ at the UN

Israel's new 'Power' at the UN

Samantha Power is set to be the next US ambassador to the UN following overwhelming approval during her Senate Foreign Relations Committee appearance on Tuesday. Power made special note of her intention to defend Israel in the world body and work to secure a seat for the Jewish state on the Security Council by 2018.

After her approval by all but two of the 18-member Senate committee, Power is expected to easily win confirmation from the rest of the Senate.

Power, 42, is an expert on genocide, a champion of human rights, and a Harvard professor. She will replace Susan Rice, who has been appointed as America’s next National Security Advisor. Power earned a degree at Yale and worked as a journalist covering the Yugoslav wars from 1993-1996 before returning to the US and graduating from Harvard Law School.

Power is known to be ‘blunt and outspoken’ and has made a career out of her intellectual and critical engagement with human rights policy, especially on the topic of genocide. She promised to utilize her strong character traits an expertise to advocate America’s interest in the UN and to eliminate bias against Israel.

However, Power has not been received without criticism, especially in light of statements made about Israel in a 2002 interview at the University of California Berkeley’s Institute of International Studies. During the interview, Power was asked to conduct a “thought experiment” on how she would intervene in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in order to protect human rights. Power responded that, given the opportunity, she would advise the president to “sacrifice billions of dollars in aid to the Jewish state” and instead allocate those funds for “the new state of Palestine instead.”

But now Power is seen openly condemning the UN’s “unacceptable bias” against Israel and pledging to “lobby hard” to get Israel a seat on the Security Council. So, what swayed her thinking? Maybe it was her marriage to Jewish lawyer Cass Sustein in 2008, or perhaps it was her more recent work with the administration in Washington that alternated her perspective.

During the recent confirmation hearing, Power stated, “What I believe in terms of Middle East peace is, I think, what is obvious to all of us here which is peace can only come about through a negotiated solution. There is no shortcut. That’s why Palestinian…unilateral statehood efforts within the UN system — shortcuts of that nature just won’t work.” With such comments Power quickly won over her critics in the pro-Israel community.

But Republican Senator Marco Rubio, one of only two to vote against Power, was unconvinced, saying she had “failed to distance herself” from past statements “and offered insufficient explanation, leaving me with serious concerns about some of her views.”

Coming to Power’s aid was Shmuley Boteach, perhaps America’s most famous rabbi, who wrote in the Times of Israel that when Power was taking questions regarding the accusations against her in a closed door meeting with 40 American Jewish leaders, “she suddenly became deeply emotional and struggled to complete her presentation as she expressed how deeply such accusations had affected her.”

Boteach continued: “Tears streamed down her cheeks and I think it fair to say that there was no one in the room who wasn’t deeply moved by this incredible display of pain and emotion. More than a few of the leaders of the room came over to me afterward and said that, based on her comments and her unabashed display of emotional attachment to the security of the Jewish people…they would never again question her commitment to Israel’s security.”

In the words of Boteach, “the greatest challenge now facing Power will be changing the UN.”

We wait in hope.

 

Two shot dead in downtown Jerusalem

Two shot dead in downtown Jerusalem

A shopping center and office building in downtown Jerusalem was the scene of tragedy on Tuesday morning when a lone gunman entered a attorney’s office and shot dead two people.

According to police, the suspected gunman, a 30-year-old Jewish man who worked as a security guard in a nearby building, carried out the crime on the third floor of the Clal Building, adjacent to the Mahane Yehudah market.

The victims were a 50-year-old man and his 20-year-old daughter.

The perpetrator was captured by a former police officer as he tried to flee the scene. Police believe the motivation for the crime had to do with a financial dispute. The suspected gunmen is currently under interrogation.

Early news of the crime sparked panic in the local Messianic body, as the basement of the Clal Building is home to the local “King of Kings” congregation. The English and Hebrew-speaking congregation also has offices on the upper floors of the building.

 

A decision ‘written by American hands with Zionist ink’

A decision ‘written by American hands with Zionist ink’

“The blacklisting of Hezbollah is Israel forcing its way on the EU,” was the response from Lebanon’s Al-Manar TV to the European Union decision to add Hezbollah’s military wing to its list of terrorist organizations on Monday.

Al-Manar quoted European sources as saying that the EU’s decision was based on a “cause of formality” in response to the terrorist attack in Burgas, Bulgaria last year that killed five Israeli tourists and their local bus driver.

Hezbollah are alleging that the EU gave in to “Zionist American pressure in a dangerous way and took dictation from the White House,” adding, “It seems that this decision was written by an American hand with Zionist ink.”

Walid Sukariyeh, a pro-Hezbollah legislator, also claims that the decision was a result of American pressure and states that Hezbollah have not carried out any terror attacks in Europe or outside Europe. He defines Hezbollah as a “resistance movement that fought to liberate occupied land from the Israeli enemy.”

The idea of Hezbollah becoming a ‘resistance’ movement against Israel was solidified following Israel’s sudden withdrawal from southern Lebanon in 2000. It’s ‘resistance,’ however, should not be confused with ‘deterrence,’ nor is it resistance to Israel alone. Hezbollah’s resistance ideology is firmly rooted in Islamic revolutionary doctrine, which has a global agenda.

Hezbollah started as an Iranian-backed militia group (it is still largely funded by Tehran) that evolved into a ‘nationalist resistance group’ in the 90’s, and finally morphed into the ‘mainstream political party’ (with a huge standing private army) that we know today. It was only in the 90’s when Hezbollah became ‘Lebanonized’ (began infiltrating and integrating into parliamentary democracy and political processes) that it managed to distance itself from international associations and reject its ‘terrorist’ label.

It was this artificial dichotomy of ‘Lebanization’ that kept Hezbollah off the EU’s blacklist for decades. But, as US Secretary of State John Kerry noted last week, this new move by Europe sends a strong message that “will have a significant impact on Hezbollah’s ability to operate freely in Europe by enabling European law enforcement agencies to crack down on Hezbollah’s fundraising, logistical activity, and terrorist plotting on European soil.”

The blacklisting will also impose visa bans and asset freezes on organizations in association with the group, though the implementation of these provisions will be more complicated due to the divisions in Hezbollah’s conceptual framework between military and political.

Currently the Board of Deputies of British Jews is pushing for Hezbollah’s political wing to be listed alongside the military wing as a terrorist organization, since the divisions within the group are ‘clearly artificial’. As William Hague stated, blacklisting just the military wing will not have serious adverse consequences or destabilize Hezbollah.

 

Palestinians say peace talks might not happen, after all

Palestinians say peace talks might not happen, after all

While American and Israeli leaders are already patting themselves on their respective backs over the reported resumption of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, the other party to the talks, the Palestinian Authority, is saying everyone should instead hold their respective horses.

Israel is already setting up negotiating teams, and the Obama Administration is praising itself over ostensibly “closing the gaps” that had previously seemed like insurmountable obstacles.

But on Sunday, two of Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas’ most senior advisers said it was by no means certain that bilateral peace talks would take place in the coming weeks, as claimed by US Secretary of State John Kerry.

Nabil Abu Rudeineh and Yasser Abed Rabbo, official spokesmen for Abbas, said the Palestinian leader had merely agreed to send a team to Washington to continue the low-level preliminary talks that had already been taking place.

Both Rudeineh and Abed Rabbo would likely be on any official negotiating team. But they aren’t heading to Washington, because official negotiations are not on the schedule.

Both men said that from the Palestinians’ point of view, the talks scheduled in Washington next week are aimed at convincing Israel to meet the remainder of Palestinian preconditions so that official negotiations can resume at some future date.

Kerry’s announcement that official peace talks are about to resume would seem, at best, premature, in light of this clarification.

 

Iran’s ‘moderate’ new president takes aim at ‘Zionist enemy’

Iran's 'moderate' new president takes aim at 'Zionist enemy'

Once again the West hailed the election of a perceived “moderate” Muslim leader, and once again that leader has revealed just how easy it is to hoodwink the heads of Europe and America by simply saying different things in different languages.

This time around the ruse was executed by Iranian President-elect Hassan Rohani, who, despite his prominent role in the Islamic Republic’s defiant nuclear program, was held aloft as a sign of positive change when he was voted into office earlier this month.

Rohani’s election was also said to herald a calming of tensions between Iran and Israel.

To be sure, Rohani has more tact than his predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, but his recent public pronouncements in his native tongue and to Arab leaders demonstrate that his end goal is very much the same.

Mocking the threat of Israeli military action against Iran’s nuclear program, Rohani last week told a gathering marking the anniversary of the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq War that “when a miserable regional country says such things, it makes you laugh. Who are the Zionists to threaten us?”

Far from taking a conciliatory position in foreign affairs, Iran’s IRNA news agency reported that Rohani had reaffirmed his nation’s commitment to embattled Syrian dictator Bashar Assad and Lebanon’s Hezbollah so that together they could better deal with “our enemies in the region, especially the Zionist regime.”

Meanwhile, Rohani presents himself as the face of moderation to the international community as the two sides continue to dance around the issue of Iran’s nuclear program.

Israel greatly fears that the Rohani ruse will be all too easily swallowed by an international community eager to avoid open conflict with Iran. But it is Israel that will ultimately pay the price for such short-sightedness.

 

How European courts are dismantling sanctions on Iran

In the years-long campaign to tie a web of sanctions around Iran and stall its nuclear program, the European Union may just have met its biggest obstacle: its own law courts.

Fearing Tehran is seeking the means to make bombs, Europe’s governments have been combing through Iran’s political elites and businesses to find people and companies linked to the financing and technical aspects of its nuclear work.

They have frozen their assets, refused visas and banned companies in the European Union from doing business with them. But dozens of those targeted have challenged the restrictions in court and some are beginning to win, embarrassing Europe’s policymakers and causing alarm in the United States.

None of the court judgments are yet final. But with Israel brandishing threats against a nuclear program that Iran insists has no military purpose, Washington worries that any weakening of sanctions may raise the risk of war.

At the heart of the issue is the refusal by EU governments to disclose evidence linking their targets to Iran’s nuclear work. Doing so in court, they say, may expose confidential intelligence, undermining efforts to combat the program.

The courts have effectively rejected that argument, saying that if a case is to be made, evidence must be presented. Lawyers for the Iranians argue there simply is no evidence that proves any link to the nuclear program - a view supported by British judges who did review some secret material this year.

"It is very clear there is no evidence," said Sarosh Zaiwalla, senior partner at Zaiwalla & Co, a London law firm which has successfully represented Iran’s Bank Mellat in litigation against sanctions imposed by the EU.

The bank, one of the biggest private lenders in Iran, won a case in January in the European Union’s Luxembourg-based second-highest court. It had challenged an EU move in 2010 to freeze its assets, saying the EU had failed to prove the bank provided banking services for the nuclear program. The court agreed.

"The chairman of the court asked the EU lawyers, ‘can you show me the evidence?’. And they said ‘no, it’s Iran, and you must presume there is evidence’," Zaiwalla said.

"The judge was very upset and said ‘this is a court of law and you cannot assume things’."

In its January 29 judgment, using dense legal language, the General Court said the council of EU governments was “in breach of the obligation to state reasons and the obligation to disclose to the applicant … the evidence adduced against it”.

SECRECY DILEMMA

The lifting of sanctions against Bank Mellat is postponed for now, pending an appeal by EU governments to Europe’s highest court. But the case illustrates the dilemma facing the European Union in its push to stop Iran from advancing the atom work.

Government lawyers are telling the courts to trust them and the courts are refusing. To safeguard its sanctions policy and its economic pressure on Iran, the EU may have to present evidence - including sensitive intelligence - in court.

But because of rules governing pan-European courts, all evidence would then become public which may damage clandestine operations and unravel the process of devising sanctions.

"There is nothing in the current rules to enable us to consider sharing information without it becoming public," said one European diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity.

"This is the crux of the issue. We cannot just be handing information around."

In Washington, anxiety over court rulings is mounting.

"It’s a real concern of ours that the EU is having difficulties sustaining some of its designations," David Cohen, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, told Reuters.

Lawyers for the Iranian plaintiffs paint the conflict as a human rights issue, praising the Luxembourg court for decisions they say amount to taking a stand against government abuse.

"It may be politically embarrassing," said Maya Lester, a London-based lawyer who represents companies and individuals in litigation concerning European sanctions, including the Iranian central bank and the country’s main tanker company, NITC.

"But in terms of upholding the rule of law, what the European court has done is impressive and quite brave. It shows it to be a court upholding human rights … which is not easy given how political Iranian sanctions are."

REPEATED CORRESPONDENCE

The lawyers for Bank Mellat had asked EU governments to show them information linking the lender to the nuclear program and consider their complaint that sanctions were not justified, in a series of letters in 2010 and 2011.

In one, dated January 5, 2011, the lawyers had accused the European Union of having made a “cursory” review of their complaint. The review, they said, was “clearly ineffective, insufficient and incompatible with the Bank’s right of defense”.

"We got no response whatsoever," said Zaiwalla. "We would ask every year for new material but they would ignore it."

The court concluded in January this year that the European Union had, in fact, breached the bank’s right of defense.

It also said EU governments had not sufficiently checked the evidence they did offer, highlighting another dilemma facing Europe in how it targets the nuclear program.

Decisions on sanctions - taken unanimously by all European governments to ensure a level playing field for all EU companies - usually follow a proposal by one or two governments, often permanent U.N. Security Council members France or Britain. Other capitals have to trust their evidence.

Last month, Bank Mellat won another case, at Britain’s Supreme Court. Its judges, too, ruled the British government was wrong to have imposed sanctions on the lender but they also took their argument a step further than the EU court in Luxembourg.

Having had access to evidence under British rules allowing for a secret court session, the judges ruled that measures against the bank were “arbitrary” and “irrational” - exposing the possibility that even secret evidence governments may share with the courts might not be enough to justify sanctions.

UNRAVELLING WEB

While the net of sanctions may have only been cut in a few places at this stage, dozens of other cases are in the pipeline. The concern among EU officials is that if a few more knots are untied, the entire sanctions netting could start to unravel.

That may have consequences for security in the Middle East, especially if it allows Iran to step up its nuclear program.

Tehran says the work is aimed only at peaceful purposes, such energy supply and medical research. But the West has argued for years that it has military goals, pursuing diplomacy and sanctions in hopes of persuading Tehran to scale it back.

If such efforts fail, Israel has threatened to bomb nuclear sites, arguing that Tehran threatens its survival. Action by Israel - widely believed to be the only nuclear power in the Middle East - could easily spill into a new regional war.

In the minds of Western policymakers, Iran’s banks are a vital target for sanctions, and the fact that the banks appear to be winning in the courts is seen as particularly worrisome.

The Luxembourg ruling on Bank Mellat was followed by a similar decision in February in favor of Bank Saderat, one of the largest lenders in Iran. More will be on the docket soon.

Officials in Luxembourg say that in early September the court is due to rule on cases filed by Europaeisch-Iranische Handelsbank AG (EIH), Post Bank and Persia International Bank. The Iranian central bank also has a case pending, as do numerous companies linked to Iran’s vital shipping and oil industries.

Technical aspects of the nuclear work have also come into question. In May, the Luxembourg court ruled in favor of an Iranian maker of electrical transformers, Iran Transfo. It was accused of equipping the Fordow uranium enrichment facility, which Western states suspect could produce bomb-grade material.

"The council (of EU governments) hasn’t produced any element of proof that the company has participated in the construction of Fordow," an EU lawyer said. "The court said ‘you haven’t produced anything, the file is empty, you have lost the case’."

Several solutions to the conundrum are under discussion in Brussels and elsewhere in Europe. British officials, who have taken a lead in proposing targets for sanctions, as well as EU lawyers, are in contact with the Luxembourg courts to devise new rules for using confidential evidence in judicial hearings.

Giving some judges security clearance would go some way in addressing court concerns, lawyers say. But it may take time.

Overhauling how sanctions are designed would be another step. EU lawyers argue that targeting whole sectors of the Iranian economy would sidestep the necessity of proving in court a particular target’s role in nuclear arms proliferation.

The EU already has sweeping measures in place against the Iranian energy and shipping sectors. But moving further is likely to meet strong resistance in many European capitals.

Sanctions experts say, for example, that hundreds of small German businesses engage in legitimate trade with Iran that earned Germany some $250 million a month in exports last year.

While the EU’s main military powers, Britain and France, pursue sanctions, some partners prefer to maintain trade ties, under close supervision, creating tensions within the bloc.

As one EU lawyer put it: “The underlying economic interests of EU member states are different.”

Israel Today

Netanyahu to Iran: We will attack if necessary

Netanyahu to Iran: We will attack if necessary

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned in an interview with American media on Sunday that Israel will attack Iran’s nuclear facilities in the very near future if such action is deemed necessary.

In an appearance on CBS News, Netanyahu lamented that in the US and the rest of the West there was not enough of a sense of urgency regarding Iran.

"Our clocks are ticking at a different pace. We’re closer than the United States. We’re more vulnerable. And therefore, we’ll have to address this question of how to stop Iran, perhaps before the United States does," said the Israel leader.

And just in case Tehran thinks Israel won’t go it alone, “they’re sorely mistaken. I won’t wait until it’s too late,” Netanyahu vowed.

Netanyahu once again urged the West not to be fooled by the recent election of Hassan Rouhani as Iran’s new president, noting that despite possessing more tact, he has the same end goal as the nation’s fundamentalist clerical rulers.

"He’s criticizing his predecessor (President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad) for being a wolf in wolf’s clothing. His strategy is be a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Smile and build a bomb," Netanyahu explained.

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Muslim Brotherhood suspends Ramadan, Egypt inches toward war

Muslim Brotherhood suspends Ramadan, Egypt inches toward war

The leader of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood on Monday ruled that pious Muslims are permitted to break the fast of Ramadan in order to take part in the “jihad” to regain control of the country.

In a series of messages posted on the Internet, Muslim Brotherhood chief Mohammed Badie stated that on the anniversary of the historic Battle of Badr (July 26), a new historic battle would be waged to reverse the recent ouster of President Mohammed Morsi and the Brotherhood.

For the next 11 days until that battle begins, faithful Muslims are required to maintain demonstrations in public squares, and “the ruling against those who leave [the squares] is akin to the ruling against those who flee the battle and jihad against the infidels,” said Badie.

The forces of Islam’s prophet Mohammed also broke the fast of Ramadan in order to prepare for the Battle of Badr, in which the Muslims defeated the tribe controlling Mecca.

Meanwhile, the Egyptian army, which quickly sided with millions of anti-Morsi protesters in deposing the president earlier this month, fought back by freezing the funds of 14 leading Islamist leaders on Sunday.

To the chagrin of a great many Egyptians, the United States and other Western powers appear to be still supporting the Muslim Brotherhood, despite the fact that a majority of Egyptians say the group won the last election via deceit and fraud. Over the weekend, both Germany and the US called on Egypt’s interim rulers to release Morsi, who is currently being held in a military barrack.

In a worrying sign of how quickly the situation could spiral out of control, Islamic militants on Monday opened fire on a bus in the Sinai town of El Arish, killing 3 people and wounding another 17.

The Egyptian army has, with the cooperation of Israel, significantly increased its activity in Sinai in an effort to root out Islamic terrorist organizations deeply embedded there.

 

Report: Israel again strikes Syrian arms depot

Report: Israel again strikes Syrian arms depot

The Israel Air Force on July 5 destroyed a Syrian arms depot containing Russian-made advanced anti-ship missiles, according to weekend reports in the American media.

The target was located in the port city of Latakia, where the Russian fleet often docks. Israel considered the missiles a grave threat to its own naval forces, and had vowed to not let Syria or its allies take possession of them.

If the reports are true, this would be the fourth time this year that the Israel Air Force attacked targets in Syria to prevent advanced weapons from falling into the hands of unstable forces.

More amazing are rumors that the Israeli jets used air bases in Turkey in order to avoid spending too much time in Syrian airspace. Israel and Turkey have had tense relations for the past several years, but both have mutual defensive goals when it comes to Syria and other Islamic hot spots.

 

‘Israel must never carry out another disengagement’

'Israel must never carry out another disengagement'

The Katif Center, established to maintain the legacy of the Jewish communities of Gush Katif and northern Samaria, last week marked eight years since the forced displacement of some 10,000 Jews with a documentary project featuring 800 interviews with the former residents.

Speaking at the event, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat called on the nation’s leadership to realize there “must never be a second disengagement.” Deputy Foreign Minister Zeev Elkin added that the uprooting of Jews from Gaza is “the Yom Kippur of conservative Israeli politics.”

Unveiled at the Begin Center in Jerusalem, the Katif Center’s documentary project allows visitors to its website to choose individuals from the former Jewish communities in Gaza and through his or her testimonies experience what it was like to be expelled from the area.

Barkat noted that the Gush Katif settlements, much maligned on the international stage, had “been established by governments from across the political spectrum…[in order to] meet a very real need to settle the land and establish security in the south.”

The decision to uproot Gush Katif under American and Western pressure “was a national trauma,” Barkat continued. “Anyone who was there was scarred for life.”

 

‘Christians should not be classified as Arabs’

'Christians should not be classified as Arabs'

Father Gabriel Nadaf, a Greek Orthodox priest from the area of Nazareth, continues to make headlines in the Israeli press for advocating a new alliance between local Jews and Christians in service to the State of Israel.

In an interview with Israeli website News1, Nadaf said that Christians are tired of living as dhimmis (second-class citizens) in the Muslim world, and are starting to understand that the Jewish state is their ticket out of that situation.

But Israel itself has been holding these Christians back, even if unwittingly.

According to Nadaf, Israel needs to stop classifying local Christians as “Arabs.” As he explained to News1, the historical ethnic background of Christians in Israel is a mix of Jewish, Greek, Roman, Assyrian and other such peoples all of whom were here long before the Arab Muslims showed up.

It is true that in the early decades of Israel’s rebirth a majority of local Christians threw their lot in with the Muslims, fearing the Jews didn’t stand a chance, and that the Christians would be punished as collaborators after Israel was defeated.

But that is all changing, and more and more Christians are openly identifying themselves with Israel, or as allies of Israel.

Take for instance the former South Lebanese Army (SLA), a powerful Christian militia that fought alongside the Israeli army during its years in Lebanon. Nadaf said that Israel’s abandonment of the SLA when it abruptly pulled out of Lebanon in 2000 was representative of its second major error when it comes to dealing with local Christians.

Israel has proved that Islam is not all powerful in this region, and can be defeated. And Israel has allies in this cause in the Christian communities across the Middle East. But Israel must inspire confidence in the Christians by standing unwaveringly at their side against the Muslim threat.

 

Threatened with Destruction, Israelis Reveal Faith

Threatened with Destruction, Israelis Reveal Faith

Israel Today’s Jonathan David talked to Israelis on the streets of Jerusalem, and recently discovered their faith in light of Iran’s threat to soon destroy them and Israel with nuclear weapons.

Tsuriel Bitcover: “It’s not really bothering me. For the religious people, it makes the religious people stronger.”

Erez Asher: “I believe God will help us. (Iran) won’t succeed to destroy us. Everyone who has tried to destroy the Jewish people, and Israel, became destroyed. God protects us.”

Elliot Ge: “These things only strengthen my faith. In these trying times when we have security problems and issues, I personally and many people I know turn to (the Lord) even more, because we know He’s the only one who can save us.”

Asher Trujeman: “God promised the Jews that they are chosen and He did not release us. He did not abandon us.”

David B’tesh: “My faith in Elohim and my faith in HaShem is not affected at all. I fully believe that He is behind us.”

Hajay Koiza: “I’m atheist, I’m not religious. I’m atheist because Iran wants to destroy Israel because they’re religious. If everybody will be atheist and there is no religion, then everybody will live in peace, one day.

Bill Ashendorf: “The Lord gives us choices and we have to make our own choices. Sometimes we make good and sometimes we make bad, but we have to be responsible for our choices.”

 

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