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December 8, 2016 / 8 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Iran’

Report: Kerry’s Push for Iran Bank Transactions Defies Obama Administration Guidelines

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2016

At an awards ceremony in London on Monday, Secretary of State John Kerry declared that there are clear guidelines set by the Obama administration to protect banks doing business with Iran from American sanctions, even if the money they pour into Iran ends up in the accounts of entities that are still being sanctioned. According to The Weekly Standard, citing Republicans in Congress, that statement is disturbingly misleading, and reflects a fight that’s going on inside the Obama Administration.

Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fl) told the Standard that Kerry “appears to be more concerned with acting as Iran’s de facto trade representative than criticizing the regime for taking hostages, not coming clean on Bob Levinson’s case, and supporting terrorists attacking the United States.”

The senator warned US companies about the financial risks involved in doing business with Iran, especially the Revolutionary Guard, whose “tentacles are pervasive throughout the Iranian economy.”

“That’s the opposite of what Treasury Undersecretary [Adam] Szubin said a few weeks ago,” writes Omri Ceren, who notes that Szubin, discussing the same guidelines Kerry was alluding to, said there is “an enhanced level of due diligence” regarding doing business with Iran, asserting that the US would continue to impose “the most draconian sanctions in our toolkit” on firms that get caught working with the Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution (IRGC).

According to the Washington Free Beacon, tensions have been brewing between State and the Treasury over the Administration efforts to boost Iran’s economy with unprecedented access to US money: should US banks be held accountable if by following Kerry’s urgings they stumble over Szubin’s harsh restrictions. Can the US President allow this kind of yawning gap between the positions of two of his top departments?

The rest of this story is dedicated to the Kerry haters in the crowd… At the Chatham House Prize ceremony in London on Monday, Secretary of State John Kerry praised his award co-recipient, Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (who didn’t show up), saying: “I want to make it clear that Javad is a very tough, very capable negotiator, a patriot all the time, who fought hard for his nation’s interests, while always trying to find a constructive way to solve the problems that we both understood were gigantic hurdles for both of our countries, for both of our people, for our politics, and the divisions that exist at home for each of us.”

Yes, one man’s heartfelt praise is another man’s clear example of Stockholm Syndrome, especially in light of Kerry’s praise for supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei at that same awards event: “I think ultimately to the credit of the ayatollah and Iran, they made a fundamental decision they were willing to submit to the scrutiny and give up that [nuclear] program.”

Give up the program? More like suspend some of it for about four years, according to mainstream media reports.

And while praising those two promoters of global and regional terrorism, Kerry took a last-chance swipe at Prime Minister Netanyahu, for his failed opposition to the nuclear deal. “There were powerful forces,” Kerry said, “that were deeply opposed to this. I mean, it’s not often that a prime minister of another country comes to the Congress, and in the middle of the Congress speaks against the sitting president’s policy. That happened, and you can imagine the forces that were unleashed as a result, and the tension that existed.”

To sum up: In John Kerry’s feverish mind, Iran’s murderous leaders are the good guys, deserving of lavish investments from US banks, even if some of the money goes to Iranian groups that scheme to annihilate the country led by Netanyahu, the bad guy.

Can’t wait for Friday, January 20, when this bad dream officially ends.

David Israel

Lebanon’s Christian President-elect Vows to ‘Free Our Lands From Israeli Occupation’

Monday, October 31st, 2016

Lebanon’s parliament elected Maronite Christian Michel Aoun to the presidency on Monday, ending a 29-month vacuum and sealing control of the country for the Hezbollah terrorist group.

Aoun, a former military commander who is now age 81, had made a formal alliance on behalf of his Free Patriotic Movement with the Iranian-backed terror organization back in 2006.

His election also secures a win for Sunni Muslim leader and former prime minister Sa’ad Hariri, leader of the “March 14 Coalition,” now positioned to renew his role as the country’s prime minister.

Hariri was quoted as saying his endorsement of Aoun was necessary “to protect Lebanon, protect the [political] system, protect the state and protect the Lebanese people.”

In his victory speech, Aoun vowed to “free what remains of our lands from the Israeli occupiers.” The reference is a claim to the disputed territories along Israeli’s northern border and the international “blue line” set by the United Nations.

He also pledged to support Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in that nation’s ongoing five-year-long civil war, which Hezbollah has also fought to supplement the regime forces, along with Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guard Corps forces, and Russian armed forces.

Nearly half a million people have died in Syria since the start of hostilities there in March 2011.

Hana Levi Julian

EU Seeks Iranian Cooperation to ‘Resolve Problems’ in Middle East

Sunday, October 30th, 2016

European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini met Saturday in Tehran for talks with President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.

Mogherini’s visit followed a trilateral meeting on Friday in Moscow between Iranian, Russian and Syrian foreign ministers to discuss developments in Syria, according to Iran’s official FARS news agency.

During his meeting with Mogherini, the Iranian president “underlined the necessity for cutting aid to the terrorist groups,” according to FARS. Rouhani reportedly “called on the EU to use military and political leverage to pressure those states that are supporting the terrorists in the region.”

Mogherini “stressed the necessity for a campaign against the ISIL (Islamic State terrorist group) and Fatah al-Sham (formerly known as al-Nusra) Front as threats to the world…” The EU foreign policy chief was quoted by FARS as saying, “The EU needs Iran’s cooperation as a key and important power to resolve problems in the region.”

(Yes, these are real quotes.)

Hana Levi Julian

Exclusive Interview: Hillary Clinton On Israel, Iraq And Terror [archive]

Saturday, October 29th, 2016

Originally Published:  Wednesday, October 25, 2006 [Restored from Archive]

On the eve of her expected reelection victory, New York Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton met with the editorial board of The Jewish Press.

The former first lady (and current front-runner in opinion polls for the Democratic Party’s 2008 presidential nomination) spoke at length about Israel, the ongoing war in Iraq, and the war on terror. Following are highlights of the discussion:

The Jewish Press: Israel recently concluded its war against Hizbullah in what many consider to be a stalemated position. How do you see things right now?

Sen. Clinton: First, I don’t think we should have pushed for an election in the Palestinian territories. I think that was a big mistake. If we were going to push for an election, we should have made sure we did something to determine who was going to win instead of signing off on an electoral system that advantaged Hamas.

That, to me, was a first step that led Hizbullah to take the actions that it took [killing and kidnapping Israeli soldiers and firing missiles into Israeli population centers]. What has concerned me is that I don’t think our or Israel’s intelligence was very good at uncovering what Hizbullah had developed in the last six years.

Frankly, the American intelligence didn’t know how dug in Hizbullah was, how many rockets they had, where they were going to be launched from and what the range was.

I think, based on what I know, that a lot of damage was inflicted on Hizbullah’s capacity. But that capacity is not destroyed and has not disappeared. Thus, Hizbullah, the Syrians and the Iranians have been emboldened.

This was a problem of situational awareness and about what we were up against. This is a longer-term issue for us and for Israel as we try to figure out how we’re going to get a better grasp of what we’re up against.

Do you think the peacekeeping forces on the Israeli-Lebanese border will be effective?

I don’t have a lot of confidence in what the peacekeeping forces will do, because nobody’s willing to say that they’re willing to disarm Hizbullah. That’s the problem. UN Resolution 1701 [which ended the war] originally said that you had to go in and disarm Hizbullah — but there was no effort to do this at the time, and now we’re trying to play catch-up. They initially said the Lebanese army’s going to do it, but that’s not going to happen.

Is it worth talking to Syria, from the perspectives of the U.S. and Israel?

You know what? I’m pretty much of the mind that I don’t think it hurts to talk to people as long as you’re not stupid in giving things away. I would argue that we don’t know what’s going on inside Iran and Syria. I just want us to get better info. We don’t have good info. I asked the Israelis if [Syrian President Bashar] Assad is really in charge. They said they weren’t sure. So I suggested that we get something going to see who is pulling the levers of power in order to try and figure out how we can influence them.

Please explain your strong criticism of President Bush’s Iraq war strategy after you voted to give him authorization to topple Saddam Hussein’s dictatorship.

I guess I hae been more willing to criticize the administration’s conduct of the war than some [of my Democratic colleagues]. I don’t know why they wouldn’t put in more troops.

Why wouldn’t they follow the military plans that had been drawn up previously by Gen. [Anthony] Zinni and others? Why did they create this awkward entity known as the Coalition Provisional Authority, which was a disaster, diplomatically and strategically?

But I voted to give the president authority and I’ve said many times that I regret the way he used the authority. I haven’t said I made a mistake or I wouldn’t have given it to him again. I made the best decision I could at the time, based on my assessment.

I think my position differs with the administration largely with respect to the execution and implementation of the policy, which I think has been a terrible series of blunders.

There are many people in the Democratic Party who are pushing for the U.S. to leave Iraq. What about those folks who say “cut and run”?

Well, I’m not saying that. I’m saying that if we don’t change what we’re doing, our chances for success are pretty limited. This undermines our capacity to take action that is in our interest and in the interest of Israel and our other allies.

I’ve joined onto a very reasonable proposition put forward by Senators Carl Levin (D-MI) and Jack Reed (D-RI), which says we’ve got to do three things: You’ve got to have an internal political process in Iraq. We haven’t told the Iraqi government, “You’ve got to deal with the unfinished business, and we’re going to push you to do it and we’re going to help you do it, but we’re not going to stand by and have you ignore doing it.”

Second, why haven’t we done more to put Iraq’s neighbors on the spot? This international process would say, “You have a big stake in the survival and stability of this regime — you, Saudi Arabia; you, Jordan; you, Kuwait.”

And third, we have to send a message to the Iraqis that they’ve got to do a better job of securing themselves, which is where this concept of phased redeployment comes.

But this proposal says nothing about cutting and running. It says to the Iraqi government, “You’ve got to disarm your militias. You’ve got to rein in your Interior Department, which has been a haven for death squads. You’ve got to get the Islamic clerics, both Sunni and Shi’ites, to issue fatwas (Islamic decrees) against this sectarian violence.”

There’s a lot we could be doing. And you know what? I don’t see it.

How do you view the war on terror?

In this new type of war, we have several big tasks ahead of us. First, we must do everything possible to prevent any of them — Iran, Al Qaeda and the like — from getting nuclear weapons or other types of weapons of mass destruction. That’s the ballgame.

I don’t think our strategy is working. Six years ago, North Korea and Iran were not as close as they are today to having nuclear weapons. Let’s ask ourselves, “What do we need to do differently to be more effective?” Let’s get the best people we can to deal with this problem. And let’s have a robust discussion and not shut people’s ideas down because they don’t agree with yours.

That’s one of my criticisms of the administration, which has the attitude that it’s their way or no way. I’m not sure any of us have the way. That’s why we need, in a democracy, a vigorous debate. There are a lot of people who may have some good ideas that have basically been ignored up until now.

 

Eli Chomsky

Trump to Israelis: Together We’ll Stand Up to Iran [video]

Thursday, October 27th, 2016

A taped one-minute address by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, screened at an election rally organized by Republicans Overseas Israel in Jerusalem Wednesday, left no room for doubt: should he be elected, Trump would be the biggest friend Israel has ever had — huge.

“My administration will stand side by side with the Jewish people and Israel’s leaders to continue strengthening the bridges that connect not only Jewish Americans and Israelis but also all Americans and Israelis,” Trump told the 200 or so in attendance at the event and the few dozens watching the rally live on Facebook. “Together, we will stand up to enemies like Iran bent on destroying Israel and her people. Together, we will make America and Israel safe again.”

It was a small crowd, admittedly, but the folks, many in Trump T-shirts and “Make America Great Again” baseball caps, made up for their number with enthusiasm, booing and crying “Lock her up” each time the name Hillary Clinton was mentioned.

“I love Israel and honor and respect the Jewish faith and tradition,” Trump told his Israeli-American voters. “For me, respect and reverence for Judaism is personal. My daughter Ivanka and my son-in-law Jared are raising their children in the Jewish faith.”

Trump’s VP, Gov. Mike Pence, told the Jerusalem rally: “Israel’s fight is our fight, Israel’s cause is our cause,” noting that Israel is “not just our strongest ally in the Middle East, it is our most cherished ally in the world.” Also, Pence said, Israel is “hated by too many progressives, because she is successful and her people are free,” and so, “Let the word go forth that Donald Trump and I are proud to stand with Israel.”

Local speakers included Caroline Glick, Trump’s adviser on Israel David Friedman, and David Peyman, Trump’s head of Jewish outreach, who told the gathering that he had delivered a note from Trump to God at the Kotel. Friedman promised that “a Trump administration will never pressure Israel into a two-state solution or any other solution that is against the will of the Israeli people.” Friedman warned against the seductive messages Trump’s opponent had given the AIPAC conference in March, saying “Hillary Clinton’s words are the cheapest currency on the political marker.”

According to media reports over the summer, Friedman and Trump’s other adviser on Israel, Jason Greenblatt, suggested the candidate stop elaborating on his vision of two states for two peoples living peacefully side by side. This after Trump had told Maggie Haberman and David E. Sanger of the NY Times in March: “Basically I support a two-state solution on Israel. But the Palestinian Authority has to recognize Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state. Have to do that. And they have to stop the terror, stop the attacks, stop the teaching of hatred, you know? The children, I sort of talked about it pretty much in the speech, but the children are aspiring to grow up to be terrorists. They are taught to grow up to be terrorists. And they have to stop. They have to stop the terror. They have to stop the stabbings and all of the things going on. And they have to recognize that Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state. … And if they can’t, you’re never going to make a deal. One state, two states, it doesn’t matter: you’re never going to be able to make a deal.”

Trump concluded: “Now whether or not the Palestinians can live with that? You would think they could. It shouldn’t be hard except that the ingrained hatred is tremendous.”

JNi.Media

Egyptian Court Denies Appeal, Sending Morsi to 20 Years in Prison

Saturday, October 22nd, 2016

Egypt’s Court of Cassation, the highest in that country’s judicial system, on Saturday rejected an appeal by ousted president Mohamed Morsi over a 20-year prison sentence in the Ittihadiya clashes case, Al Ahram reported on Saturday. With that, Morsi’s appeals in this case have been exhausted.

On December 5, 2012, clashes broke out outside the Ittihadiya presidential palace between Muslim Brothers and protesters that left 11 Egyptians dead. The protesters rejected a constitutional amendment issued by President Morsi on November 22, 2012, allowing him to issue any decision or law he wished, leaving all alternative authority without the power to oppose or revoke it. Video footage from the clashes showed Morsi supporters beating the protesters, even tying one up to the palace doors and torturing another.

The Ittihadeya clashes are regarded as the turning point in the Muslim Brotherhood’s rule in Egypt. The protests not only the denounced constitutional decree but also called for Morsi’s resignation. Six months later, Morsi was ousted by the military following mass demonstrations.

The ousted president is also appealing several other cases where he has been sentenced to death. This is the first case where he has exhausted all appeals. After his overthrow, Morsi faced several charges including inciting the killing of opponents protesting outside his palace, espionage for foreign militant groups including Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, for escaping Wadi el-Natroun Prison during the 2011 revolution prior to his election as president, for leaking classified documents to Qatar, and “insulting the judiciary.”

JNi.Media

Kremlin Prepares for ‘Nuclear War’ As White House Considers ‘Cyber Attack’ as Middle East Hangs Between

Sunday, October 16th, 2016

Russian media is warning citizens to prepare for war – specifically, nuclear war – and ordering officials to prepare the nation’s bomb shelters and ensure that citizens have reviewed proper use of their gas masks.

“If it should one day, happen, everyone one of you should know where the nearest bomb shelter is,” said one newscaster on the state-run NTV television news channel. “It’s best to find out now.”

This past week Russia also announced a move to transfer nuclear-capable ballistic missiles to Kalininigrad, between Poland and Lithuania, its northern European enclave. The transfer places the missiles within striking distance of western European capitals.

Russia also test-fired three intercontinental ballistic missiles, and earlier this month announced it would hold joint “anti-terror” military drills with Egypt “in a desert environment.” Moscow is moving in to train with Egypt in military strategies, equipment and personnel and build a closer relationship Cairo, in a way similar to that in which it began with Syria years ago.

Moscow’s UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin claimed that tensions are at their worst since 1973, but not as bad as they were during the 1973 Yom Kippur War. “Despite the fact that we have a serious disagreement, we are continuing [to work together] in other areas – sometimes successfully,” he told reporters this weekend. However, he added that the crisis has followed a list of conflicts between the Kremlin and the White House.

“It’s a lack of basic respect,” Churkin said, “and a lack of in-depth discussions on political issues.” Among the issues he cited were the recruitment of Ukraine and Georgia for membership in NAT, and the ousting of Ukraine President Viktor Yanukovych in 2014. All, he said, were incited by the United States.

The U.S., meanwhile, has said it is considering a cyber attack in retaliation for a Kremlin-backed cyber snoop into American elections, and an outright hack attack against electoral data banks and the Democratic National Headquarters. The Kremlin has warned that any such attack would be met with a “harsh response.”

A number of news analysts have said that relations between Moscow and Washington have reached their lowest point since the Cold War, in fact.

According to ABC News, Russia has conducted a nationwide civil defense drill since September that has involved some 40 million citizens, preparing them for a panoply of disasters that run the gamut of war scenarios, including nuclear fallout, and announced who would run the nation should war break out. One of the simulations involved that specific scenario, in fact.

American logic dictates that Russia would not run a civil defense drill for 40 million people for the fun of it. But Russian military analyst Pavel Felgenhauer, quoted by ABC News, says that all this is part of the grand show that may be necessary to inspire Russian lawmakers to raise a little cash for a decent military budget – which is up for renewal – when the economy is slow.

“Tensions are going to rise and rise and rise,” he said. “The good news is, no one really wants a war. But it’s going to be a good show.”

Hana Levi Julian

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/kremlin-prepares-for-nuclear-war-as-white-house-considers-cyber-attack-as-middle-east-hangs-between/2016/10/16/

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