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April 16, 2014 / 16 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Iran’

Hezbollah Reportedly Faces Financial Crisis

Thursday, April 10th, 2014

A report in the Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper, citing sources in Lebanon, said Hezbollah is facing increasing financial pressure over austerity measures by the Iranian government since President Hassan Rouhani took office last summer, as well as strain over the terror group’s involvement in the Syrian civil war.

Additionally, the report said Hezbollah is facing financial pressure from more aggressive prosecution by the United States and Europe over foreign sources of funding from Latin America and Africa.

Last week, several members of the U.S. Congress proposed a new bill to increase sanctions on Hezbollah by targeting its banks and other financial institutions that support the terror group.

Germany, meanwhile, announced Tuesday that it banned the German charity Orphan Children Project Lebanon for raising money for Hezbollah. German police staged raids across the country on homes and offices used by the charity.

Israel’s Newest ‘Eye in the Sky’ Watching Iran

Thursday, April 10th, 2014

Israel has launched another military satellite to keep an eye on Iran as the Islamic Republic ramps up its nuclear development program.

While international leaders continue to negotiate with Iran over slowing down its race to develop nuclear arms – an intent it denies despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary – Israel is watching Tehran very closely. Iran has repeatedly vowed to wipe Israel “off the map.”

On Wednesday the Defense Ministry sent its newest “eye in the sky” heavenward to join its predecessors in the mission to keep tabs on Iran and other enemies of the Jewish State.

The Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI)’s Ofek 10 reconnaissance satellite is expected to orbit the Earth every 99 minutes – 800 times a year — from an altitude of 373 miles (600 kilometers) officials said. The process should take about 64,000 minutes annually. Like its predecessor, the new satellite was launched from the Palmachim Airbase near Rishon Lezion. And although the Ofek 9 carried a multi-spectral ‘Jupiter’ space camera produced by El-Op, its new brother has better equipment.

The camera on the Ofek 10 reportedly boasts resolution “much better than half a meter,” and is sharp enough to detect objects being carried by people, officials said. It is also capable of photographing under different lighting and changing weather conditions.

Two other Israeli satellites, the Ofek 5 and the Ofek 7, are still orbiting the Earth as well.

The Jewish State’s tenth satellite will also send images to other intelligence agencies.

U.S.: ‘T-Minus 2 Months to Nuclear Iran’

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

The United States has belatedly awakened to the fact that Tehran is ignoring its policies and moving ahead with nuclear development – as Israel predicted more than a decade ago.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Tuesday it would take Iran just two months to produce enough fissile material to produce a nuclear weapon of mass destruction.

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu made the same statement – in fact he warned it would take less time, unless actions were taken to slow or stop the process – in speeches to the United Nations in 2012 and in 2013.

Over the years, the Iranian nuclear program was hit with numerous mysterious problems that slowed down the process, including destructive viruses, assassinated nuclear physicists, and broken components, all of which were generally blamed on Israel.

Netanyahu’s predecessors in office have also warned the international community that Iran has been marching ahead with its nuclear development program. That has continued apace regardless of United Nations sanctions, diplomatic efforts, negotiations and any other attempts to slow down its drive to create nuclear weaponry.

This time as world powers gathered in Vienna to talk about working on a new agreement to slow down Iranian activity on its nuclear program in exchange for relief from international sanctions, Kerry was warning American lawmakers that time is up.

The best the world can hope for is to get the Iranians to increase the “breakout” window from two months to half a year, maybe a year.

“I think it’s public knowledge today that we’re operating with a time period for a so-called breakout of about two months. Six months to 12 months is… I’m not saying that’s what we’d settle for, but even that is significantly more [time],” he said, according to Reuters.

Still, Kerry claimed Iran only has enough so far for “just one bomb’s worth, conceivably, of material, but without any necessary capacity to put it in anything, to deliver it, to have any mechanism to do so.”

However, a recent shipment of sophisticated missiles and a missile launcher sent by Iran to the Hezbollah terrorist organization in Syria proves that may not be the case. The missiles were of a new, advanced design built with a warhead capable of carrying a much heavier payload – possibly one that could carry nuclear material.

The trucks that were carrying the missiles and the launcher to a Hezbollah base were destroyed in an air strike that left four Hezbollah terrorists.

Iran’s Chief Rabbi Passed Away Over Shabbat

Sunday, March 30th, 2014
Rabbi Yosef Hamadani. Chief Rabbi of Iran.

Rabbi Yosef Hamadani. Chief Rabbi of Iran.

Iran’s Chief Rabbi, Chacham Rabbi Yosef Hamadani Cohen died over Shabbat, according to Jewish sources in Iran.

Rabbi Hamadani was the chief Rabbi of the Iranian community since 1994, and prayed in the Yusef Abad Synagogue in Teheran, officially known as the Sukat Shalom Synagogue.

Jews have been living in Iran for 2700 years.

There is somewhere between 8,500 to 35,000 Jews left in Iran.

 

Israel Opens Gates for Turkish Hospital on Ruins of Gush Katif Town

Thursday, March 27th, 2014

Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon has approved allowing the entry of  570 truckloads of construction materials, electrical equipment, telecommunications and plumbing materials into Hamas-controlled Gaza for construction of a Turkish hospital on the ruins of the destroyed Jewish community of Netzarim.

Turkey initiated the project three years ago without any coordination with Israel at a time when both countries’ relations were in the deep freeze.

The government of Prime Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who keeps a door open to Iran by embracing the Hamas terrorist government, had no problem in getting around Israel’s restrictions on “dual-use” equipment that also is used to build rockets and factories for weapons used to attack Israel. It simply used tunnels to smuggle equipment for  the 160-bed complex that is to cover 34 acres.

Ya’alon’s announcement came a day after  the Turkish deputy prime minister was quoted as saying that Israel is about to sign on the dotted line to pay millions of dollars to families of terrorists who tried to kill Israeli Navy commandos in the clash on the Mavi Mamara ship four years ago.

It is nice to know that Hamas finally is using the ruins of Gush Katif communities for something other than terrorist training camps. It needs a hospital to care for terrorists who are wounded by Israeli soldiers when they attack Israel with rockets or try to blow up Israeli soldiers at the security fence.

The Israeli government did not ask former residents of Netzarim for permission to bless Turkey’s grand humanitarian gesture.

If there is one place in the world that it is difficult for even President Shimon Peres to think that there will be peace, it is Gaza. Peres was his usual smug self with his head in the clouds when he assured everyone that expelling Jews and withdrawing Israel’s military eyes and ears from Gaza would bring peace and quiet.

After Hamas attacked Ashkelon, and then Ashdod, and Rehovot, the same Shimon Peres as President of the State of Israel, made a fool of himself by saying, in public no less – and this is a paraphrase but very close to the original quote –  “ I can’t understand why Hamas would so such a thing after all that we did for peace.”

The number of Israelis who trust Hamas is close to zero. The more Mahmoud Abbas and the entire Palestinian Authority regime proves to even Israel’s bleeding heart media that the Arabs have no interest in peace with Israel, the more the expulsion wrenches the stomach.

Hamas needs the hospital for Gaza civilians, many of whom have no problem hating Israel while at the same time begging for medical care at Israel’s hospitals. Some of the patients even change their minds after  medical care and realize that Jews actually are human beings and  not apes and pigs depicted by  Muslims preachers.

The idea of a hospital sounds great, but as awful as it is to think, hate is hate and it is a two-way street. Here is the response of one former Netzarim resident to The Jewish Press: “When the hospital is full, it should be blown up.”

That could be the ugly end to this ugly story, but a look at the reasons for the Israeli government’s second marriage with Turkey makes this article even uglier.

Turkey and Israel were great friends for years, carrying out joint military exercises and enjoying a healthy flow of goods and merchandise in two directions. Tens of thousands of Israel tourists flocked to Turkey’s resorts.

All of that changed when Erdogan got on his high horse during the Operation Cast Lead counter-terrorist campaign more than five years ago.

Sen. Carl Levin Garners 23 Dems for Softer-Toned Iran Talks Letter

Thursday, March 27th, 2014

Sen. Carl Levin Garners 23 Dems for Softer-Toned Iran Talks LetteTwenty-three Democratic senators signed a letter to President Obama on the Iran nuclear talks that was cast in less strident terms than a separate letter sent last week.

“As negotiations progress, we expect your administration will continue to keep Congress regularly apprised of the details,” said the letter, spearheaded by Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Levin’s letter sent March 22 is a word for word replica of a letter sent last week by an overwhelming number of members of the U.S. House of Representatives, initiated by Reps. Eric Cantor (R-Va.), the House majority leader, and Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), House minority whip.

Levin had circulated the Cantor-Hoyer letter, saying he preferred it to another letter initiated by Sens. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.).

The Menendez-Graham letter, backed by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, garnered signatures from 83 senators of both parties, out of the body’s 100 members, and was sent last week.

Levin did not explain why he preferred the Cantor-Hoyer language in his cover letter seeking signatories, but that letter was considerably softer in tone than the Menendez-Graham letter.

The Menendez-Graham letter more definitively described outcomes of the Iran negotiations that “must” be in place while the Cantor-Hoyer and Levin letters instead were “hopeful” of such outcomes. The Cantor-Hoyer and Levin letters were also closer to the position of the Obama administration, explicitly saying that its signatories “do not seek to deny Iran a peaceful nuclear program.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and a number of Republicans in Congress say that any deal must end uranium enrichment altogether; Obama administration officials have said that a limited degree of enrichment is the likely outcome of any deal.

The Menendez-Graham letter does not explicitly count out an enrichment capability for Iran, nor does it mention it.

The Senate letter suggests that the body could soon reconsider new sanctions on Iran, a bid also backed by AIPAC that the Obama administration deflected earlier this year.

Of the Levin letter’s 23 signatories, 19 also signed the Menendez-Graham letter, and four were Jewish: Levin, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) and Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.). AIPAC backed the Cantor-Hoyer letter in the House, but did not back Levin’s version in the Senate.

Putin’s Iran Threat is Good for Israel

Monday, March 24th, 2014

In a column analyzing Russia’s recent threat to rethink its position on Iran, Walter Russell Mead and his staff at The American Interest postulated, “Linking the Ukraine crisis with the Iran negotiation is an American nightmare; it might just be a Russian dream come true.” Mead is on to something; however, he stops short in his analysis. Russia’s threat could also be quite helpful to Israel.

Obama entered into the Iran negotiations in order to avoid a military confrontation, as well as to constrain the “true barrier” to peace in the region – Israel. His hope was to bide time, notwithstanding that Iran’s centrifuges would continue to spin, bringing its nuclear capability to the brink or to fruition.

If Iran does in fact go nuclear on Obama’s watch, so be it; he will proceed to sell containment to the American public for the little time left in his term. The carnival salesmen in the White House are quite talented at selling the American people a bill of goods – just look at ObamaCare. While Russia invades a European country and threatens all-out war, the administration spends $52 million of taxpayer funds in just three months on advertising this debacle. One can only imagine what they will spend to convince Americans that a nuclear Iran poses no threat to our national security.

Alas, since reality has yet to penetrate the White House bubble, Obama has likely never lost sleep thinking about Iran’s nuclear capabilities (his Baracketology, next vacation, and golf game, perhaps, but national security, not so much) – that is, until Vladimir Putin stepped into the picture.

Obama’s failure to realize that he is now unmasked as a fool on the world stage does not mean that the rest of the world’s leaders have not noticed. It is not a coincidence that just six months after Putin manipulated Obama out of bombing Syria despite its having crossed Obama’s disingenuous red line, Putin took to annexing Crimea from Ukraine. And Putin did so despite a U.S. promise to protect Ukraine. As one Ukranian parliamentarian stated, “[e]veryone believed that for good or bad the United States would be the world’s policeman. Now that function is being abandoned by President Obama, and because of that Russia invaded Crimea.”

So Mead is correct that linking Ukraine with Iran is good policy for Russia while thrusting Obama into a nightmarish situation. It will cause Obama to quake in his mom-jeans and further diminish American power. Obama has already stated that he will not act militarily in response to the Ukrainian situation. What are his choices if Russia acts on its threat and allies with Iran? Cancel Putin’s Netflix account?

But linking Ukraine and Iran just might be an Israeli dream come true as well. Mead stated, “The Obama strategy has always been a risky one; if Russia shifts into active cooperation with Iran, it is hard to see how the White House can keep hope alive.” True enough.

But if Russia moves into Iran’s camp, Israel has the perfect excuse to move ahead with a military strike on Iran’s nuclear installations and will likely have the support of the entire Western world (in addition to America’s Mideast allies like Saudi Arabia), all of which will be relieved that at least someone is standing up to the bad guys.

Middle East and foreign policy experts have vacillated for years analyzing Israel’s capability to conduct a successful unilateral military strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities, guessing when it might proceed, and wondering whether the United States is holding Israel back from doing so. Some ask why U.S. support is a necessary prerequisite to an Israeli strike that is in Israel’s own national security interests. One need only look at a map of the region and the fact that the country, the size of the state of New Jersey and only nine miles wide at its narrowest point, is surrounded by 21 Arab nations, the vast majority of whom are adversaries, to understand Israel’s need for supportive friends.

Canadian Court Orders Seizure of Iranian Assets for Terror Victims

Monday, March 24th, 2014

An Ontario court has ordered the seizure of more than $7 million in assets belonging to Iran to compensate American victims of terror.

The historic ruling last week brought to an end several lawsuits filed in Canada by terror victims from the United States seeking damages from Iran for training, arming and financing the Hamas and Hezbollah terror groups.

The Americans previously were awarded damages by U.S. courts but could not collect from any Iranian government assets in the United States. They came to Canada for enforcement, which was made possible by Ottawa’s passage in 2012 of the Justice for Victims of Terrorism Act. The law strips state immunity in civil lawsuits from countries deemed to be “supporting terrorism.”

The Ontario court ordered sheriffs to seize one bank account worth $1.47 million controlled by an Iranian diplomat, and another with a balance of $511,000 controlled by Iran’s charge d’affaires in Ottawa.

The evidence “overwhelmingly” established that the money in the accounts was the property of Iran, the judge ruled.

Also to be sold, with the proceeds going to the victims, are a building in Toronto valued at $1.1 million and another in Ottawa valued at $3.9 million. Both facilities operated as ostensible cultural centers. The judge noted there was evidence that the Ottawa property was owned by a front group linked to the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, which is “hardly a cultural or charitable organization.”

The plaintiffs in the case, believed to be the first of its kind in Canada, were Edward Tracy and the family of Joseph Cicippio. Both U.S. men were captured and held hostage in Beirut from 1986 to 1991.

“I’m surprised. I’m shocked that we’ve gotten this far after all these years,” Cicippio told the Canadian Broadcasting Corp.

Cicippio’s family was awarded $91 million in damages in 2005 but could not collect in the United States. Tracy won a judgment of $18.5 million in 2003.

It is expected that other victims of terror in separate cases, including a Canadian dentist wounded in a 1997 Hamas suicide bombing in Jerusalem, and three other American families will share in the proceeds as part of a side deal worked out among lawyers.

The other Americans suing in Canada were Alann Steen, who was abducted in Beirut in 1987 and held for nearly five years; the family of David Jacobsen, who was kidnapped in 1985 and released 17 months later; and the family of Marla Bennett, a California student killed in a 2002 bombing attack by Hamas at Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

All won sizable awards in U.S. courts but could not collect.

Over the weekend, Iran’s state-controlled media blasted the Canadian ruling as “politically motivated” and of “no legal value.” No representative of the country attended the court hearing.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/canadian-court-orders-seizure-of-iranian-assets-for-terror-victims/2014/03/24/

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