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October 9, 2015 / 26 Tishri, 5776
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Iran’

Israel and Russia Create Joint Military Working Group on Syria

Friday, September 25th, 2015

The Russians have arrived in Syria. Because the United States has taken a pass on the unraveling of the world as we used to know it, Israel is making the best of it. Sometimes it is better to join them (to some extent) than to fight them, as the saying goes.

Over the past few weeks Russia has begun moving personnel and weaponry into Syria in an effort to prop up its ally, besieged Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Russia is amassing a military presence, including deploying aircraft to a base in Latakia province. It has also sent fighter-bombers and ground attack aircraft, and is erecting a building large enough to house as many as 2,000 advisers in Syria.

The presence of Russians and the buildup of Russian weaponry has added to the complex and easily combustible situation on Israel’s border with Syria. Something Israel does not want to add into the mix is accidentally starting a conflict with Russia should Russian equipment or personnel become collateral damage from a mission to prevent the transfer of weapons to Hezbollah.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu went to Moscow on Monday, Sept. 21 to talk about Syria. Netanyahu told Russian President Vladimir Putin that he wanted to “clarify our policies” and to make sure there were “no misunderstandings between our forces.”

Netanyahu said that “Iran and Syria have been arming the extremist Islamic terrorist organization Hezbollah with advanced weapons, aimed at us, and over the years thousands of rockets and missiles have been fired against our cities. At the same time, Iran, under the auspices of the Syrian army, is attempting to build a second terrorist front against us from the Golan Heights.”

The result of that diplomatic effort by Netanyahu was the establishment of a joint military working group to ensure there were “no misunderstandings between [Russian and Israeli] forces.”

The effort will coordinate information regarding military activity in Syria, including aerial, naval and electromagnetic activity.

A U.S. official told Reuters that U.S.-Israeli coordination allowed the allies to share classified technologies for identifying Russian aircraft over Syria: “We know how to spot them clearly and quickly,” the official said.

Iran is in the region in order to assist Syria, which is no friend to Israel, and Syria is the main supplier of deadly weapons to Hezbollah, Israel’s enemy from the north. Also friend to Syria is Iran, which is Israel’s greatest threat.

This dangerous region continues to grow more volatile by the day. Everyone is improvising to fill the gap created by the absentee player – the United States.

US Admin Claims ‘No Self Inspections,’ But Iran Alone Chooses Samples to Inspect

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2015

The bologna surrounding the Nuclear Iran Deal was sliced even more thinly on Monday, Sept. 21.

Remember the alarms raised when a version of one of the confidential secret side deals obtained and reported on by the Associated Press revealed that Iran would be permitted to inspect its own Parchin military site? At least some of Iran’s nuclear weapons activity is suspected to have taken place at Parchin.

On Monday, most of the headlines about the Parchin inspections revealed that what had been suspected was, in fact, the case.

Tehran said that Iranians “independently collected samples” at Parchin with no non-Iranians present.  They later handed over those samples to members of the International Atomic Energy Agency for analysis.

But it wasn’t only Iran that claimed the samples were chosen solely by Iranians, and without any other “inspectors” present.

“It was done by Iranian experts, in the absence of IAEA inspectors,” said Behrouz Kamalvandi, spokesman for Iran’s Atomic Energy Organisation.”

But that doesn’t worry the pretty little heads of the official spokespeople for both the White House and the State Department. Oh, no. You see?  It means that the Iranians did not self-inspect, according to the talking points placed in front of both of them.

How so?

Well, because the samples were delivered to the IAEA inspectors for….inspection! So all those efforts to make the secret side deals look like something nefarious when in fact they are merely super-duper top-secret – so secret no American has been or will be permitted to look at the text or the details of the deals, and that includes Secretary of State John Kerry, U.S. President Barack Obama or even the nuclear physicist Secretary of the Energy Ernest Moniz – agreements between the jolly Iranians and the IAEA.

During the State Department Press Briefing on Monday, State’s Spokesperson John Kirby explained that the U.S. administration is perfectly satisfied with Iran being permitted to choose what samples to gather from (maybe?) the military site widely believed to have been the site of nuclear weapons testing, with no independent oversight.

That argument was apparently a winner for Cong. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-FL). The DNC chair said she was briefed completely on the details of the inspections process, because she told CNN’s Jake Tapper when announcing her decision to support the deal that the Iranians “absolutely cannot self-inspect.”

The Florida Congresswoman also claimed in that same interview that the inspections regime under the Nuclear Iran Deal are “the most intrusive inspections and monitoring that we have ever imposed or that have ever been agreed to.” One wonders how swampland in Florida is selling these days.

Kirby also restated the official State Department position, which is that it is perfectly comfortable with the fact that the inspections process  to determine whether and how far along Iran’s nuclear weapons program was, is a confidential matter between Iran and the IAEA. That is none of the U.S.’s business, in other words.

Here is the full exchange between State Department Spokesman John Kirby and the AP’s incredulous Matt Lee, with an assist from his colleague Brad Klapper [emphasis added]:

QUESTION: And you don’t have any issue with fact that the inspectors were not allowed in, or that they were not there?

MR KIRBY: I would point you, Matt, to what the director general himself noted, which was that the verification activities at Parchin were conducted in the manner consistent with their standard safeguards practices. So the director general himself made it clear that he was comfortable with the verification process and that it was in keeping with the arrangement that they had made with Iran.

QUESTION: That’s great, but you – so you don’t have a problem with them not being physically present?

MR KIRBY: I’m not going to get into the details of the process itself. That resides inside this confidential arrangement between Iran and the IAEA, so I’m not going to confirm or deny whether inspectors were present here or there. What I am going to say is we’re comfortable that the process was conducted in accordance with the normal procedures and the agreement that the IAEA had already made with Iran.

QUESTION: And so it remains your position that the confidential agreement and whatever it contains is sufficient to investigate? Okay.

MR KIRBY: Absolutely. And again, I’d point you to the fact that Director General Amano made it clear before and I think certainly made the implication today that there’s no self-inspection by Iran in this process.

QUESTION: There – okay. The other thing, at the – that your colleague at the White House seemed to suggest was that the courtesy call that Director General Amano made to Parchin was somehow evidence that – or was evidence that the Iranian military facilities are open and available for IAEA access. Is that really – is that the position of the State Department?

MR KIRBY: Well, in a short answer: yes. I mean, it’s not insignificant that the IAEA and the director general himself – I mean, I don’t know that we would characterize it as a courtesy call –but the fact that he and his team had access to Parchin is not insignificant.

QUESTION: His team, meaning the one person that went with him.

MR KIRBY: Look, I don’t – I’m not going to —

QUESTION: A brief – a brief visit to an empty room at Parchin, you think counts – qualifies as an inspection? That – was that the –

MR KIRBY: It’s not insignificant that they had access to Parchin. The director general himself – and I’m not going to get into the details of his visit or what that – that’s for the IAEA to speak to. But it’s not insignificant that they got – that they were granted access to this.

QUESTION: Is it your understanding that the director general of the IAEA conducts inspections? Or would that normally be done by —

MR KIRBY: I’m not an expert on their —

QUESTION: — lower-level people? MR KIRBY: I’m not an expert on their protocols. I don’t think it’s our expectation that he has to personally inspect everything.

QUESTION: Do you think he got down on his hands and knees and —

MR KIRBY: I’d point you to the director general to speak to his personal involvement. I don’t know that that’s our expectation, that he has to, as you said, get down on his hands and knees. But certainly he had access to Parchin, and that’s not insignificant – the first time that that’s been done. If we had this —

QUESTION: Well, do you recall how big a site Parchin is?

MR KIRBY: I don’t. I’m not an expert on the site itself.

QUESTION: It’s rather large.

QUESTION: It’s pretty huge.

MR KIRBY: Okay. QUESTION: So do you think that two people from the IAEA going into an empty room briefly —


QUESTION: — counts – I’m trying to find out whether you guys think or are trying to say that Amano’s courtesy call, his very brief visit – he even said that it was very brief – counts as some kind of an inspection. That’s all.

MR KIRBY: I would point you to what the IAEA has said about their —

QUESTION: Not even the IAEA said this was an inspection, but your colleague at the White House suggested that the fact that Director General Amano was able to briefly visit one room or one part of the site was evidence that the Iranians have opened up their military sites to IAEA access. And I just want to know if the State Department thinks that it’s – thinks the same.

MR KIRBY: We believe it’s significant that Iran granted access to this facility at Parchin for the first time in the history of this issue, both in his visit and the technical verification activities. What’s more important is we look forward to Iran’s fulling implementing its commitments under the roadmap. That’s what matters here. QUESTION: Would you be confident in this being the standard of inspection going forward?

MR KIRBY: It’s not that that is – this is an issue between Iran and the IAEA, and as we said at the very outset, Brad, that having been briefed on the details of that confidential arrangement, the Secretary remains comfortable that it will allow for the IAEA to get the proper access it needs and the ability, through various techniques, of effectively monitoring.

QUESTION: But you don’t think there needs to be – you’re not saying that whatever the confidential arrangements are of future inspections going forward, that they will have necessarily more access than this?

MR KIRBY: That is between the IAEA and Iran to work out. What matters to us, we’re not going to micromanage the inspection activities of the IAEA. It’s an independent, international agency that can speak for itself about what it will or will not do. And as you know, many of those arrangements are confidential and they won’t speak to them. What matters to us, having been briefed on the protocols, is that we remain comfortable, should this – should Iran continue to meet its commitments in keeping with that arrangement, we believe they will get the access and will get the information they need.

So, according to the Obama Team’s talking points, it does not count as “self-inspection” when the Iranians – with no one watching – choose the samples to be analyzed to determine Iran’s nuclear weapons activity.

And the administration and all the elected officials who support the Nuclear Iran Deal, who are prepared to lift sanctions and turn over a hundred billions of dollars to the world’s greatest sponsor of terrorism, are satisfied with this form of no oversight inspection.

High-Ranking Security Team Joins Netanyahu Meeting With Putin in Moscow

Monday, September 21st, 2015

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is traveling to Moscow today (Monday Sept. 21) to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin, together with IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eizenkot.

Military Intelligence director Maj.-Gen. Hertzi Halevy, National Security Council head Yossi Cohen and Netanyahu’s military secretary Col. Eliezer Toledano are also accompanying the prime minister to the meeting, which is scheduled to last three hours.

The officials are expected to discuss Russia’s activities and military involvement in Syria, as well as questions about Russia’s cooperation with Iran.

The United States is holding parallel talks with Moscow on the same issues, according to numerous media reports.

There are no journalists on the plane with the prime minister for this trip, underscoring the gravity of the meeting.

Last week a source told the Reuters news agency that new, advanced weapons have been delivered to Syrian government troops, who are being trained in their use. It is believed the weapons are being sent from Russia.

Hamas Military Wing Claims Capture of Israeli Drone

Sunday, September 20th, 2015

The military wing of Gaza’s ruling Hamas terrorist organization, the Izz a-Din al-Qassam Brigades, announced it has captured an Israeli drone which crashed on the outskirts of Beit Lahiya on Saturday night.

According to the report by Iran’s Press TV, another UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) was picked up by Hamas this past July in northern Gaza.

Hamas claimed its operatives were able to dissemble the “Skylark-1″ and then rebuild the drone.

Hamas officials have not issued any comment on the report, according to the Iranian news service, which did not show any image of the UAV that was allegedly captured.

The Israel Defense Ministry and Israel Defense Forces do not comment on such reports.

The ‘Iran Deal’ Was Not Signed by Iran or Anyone Else

Saturday, September 19th, 2015

The Nuclear Iran Deal that is at the epicenter of a Congressional battle and the focus of so much attention for months is not actually any deal at all, as not one of the parties, including any representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran, has signed the Agreement.

This morning, Sept. 18, Cong. Mike Pompeo (R-KS-04) sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry. In that letter Pompeo informed the Secretary that while reviewing the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (Nuclear Iran Deal), he noted that there are no signatures on the so-called final Agreement.

Without signatures, there can be no legally binding contract.

There apparently is no “Iran Deal.”

Pompeo asked Kerry to provide a copy of the JCPOA with signatures and signing authority, so that members of Congress and the rest of the American people know that the parties to the agreement have “confirm[ed] each country’s commitment to the agreement” and that “makes clear precisely who the parties to the agreement are and the authority under which that nation entered into the agreement.”

International affairs scholar and Iran expert Michael Ledeen pointed out more than two months ago that Iran’s Ayatollah Khameini would not allow his country to sign the JCPOA. Ledeen’s point then, and today, is that the desperation exhibited by the Obama administration made clear to the Iranian leader that “there is no reason for him to approve a hated deal with the devil. It’s much better to keep talking until all the sanctions are gone, and Iran’s ‘right’ to pursue its nuclear projects is fully recognized.”

It appears that Ledeen’s prediction was dead-on. If there is no signed agreement, even the feeble conditions placed on Iran by Team Kerry’s negotiators are unenforceable.

When asked what then, is the current status of the JCPOA, assuming the administration did not just, oh, forget to distribute to Congress the signed version, Ledeen told the JewishPress.com: “It’s a verbal agreement. It means the diplomats meeting in Vienna thought it was a good agreement, but that is all. It is not enforceable.”

Ledeen said he could not think of any other major international agreement, certainly not any of the portentous nature of the Iran Deal, where lawmakers moved forward to begin implementation without having a signed agreement in place.

“Anyone who has read in the media that the ‘Iran Deal’ was signed has to now know they were lied to, it has not happened.”

So what next?

Congress could, conceivably, pass a law forbidding the lifting of sanctions. That’s been tried, you say? True, but will the same members of Congress who support the deal, the same ones who never read significant portions of the deal, and who had those portions explained to them by people who themselves never read the deal are willing to once again vote against or even bar a vote on a stay on the lifting of sanctions when they know there is nothing preventing Tehran from violating any of the purportedly agreed-to conditions? Will they really?

Cong. Pompeo’s letter to Secretary Kerry follows:

Dear Secretary Kerry:

I have reviewed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) between the P5+1 and Islamic Republic of Iran – or at least the parts of the agreement that were provided to Congress by the administration.  As you know, pursuant to H. Res. 411, the House of Representatives considers the documents transmitted on July 19, 2015 incomplete in light of the fact that the secret side deals between the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the Islamic Republic of Iran were not provided to Congress.  I look forward to seeing the entire agreement – including the two secret side deals that are part of the JCPOA – so that Congress may continue to evaluate the JCPOA and, depending on the outcome of the vote under the relevant provisions of the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act, potentially end the current and continuing prohibition of the lifting of sanctions on Iran.

During that review, I found that the copies provided to Congress of the JCPOA are not signed by any of the P5+1 members nor by Iran.  Having never seen an international agreement of this magnitude not signed by the parties or an agent of the parties, I assume this is simply an oversight or an administrative error.  That is, Congress must not have the final version of the agreement that would necessarily be signed.  I request that you provide us with copies of a final, executed copy of the JCPOA.  In the event that the JCPOA has not yet been signed by the parties, please inform us (a) when signatures will be placed on the agreement, (b) what parties will be signing, and (c) which person you anticipate will sign on behalf of each of those parties, including on behalf of the United States.

I am confident that you intended for the JCPOA to be signed by each of the P5+1 participants.  I can find no international agreement of this “historic” nature that was not signed by the parties.  Each of the past five major nuclear agreements to which the U.S. is a party – SALT I, SALT II, START I, START II and the 1994 Agreed Framework between the United States and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea – were signed by representatives of each nation that was party to the agreement.  This is not a mere formality.  Those signatures represent the commitment of the signatory and the country on whose behalf he or she is signing.

A signature also serves to make clear precisely who the parties to the agreement are and the authority under which that nation entered into the agreement.  In short, just as with any legal instrument, signing matters.

This is particularly important with respect to JCPOA.  Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has made clear that he does not believe that JCPOA is legally binding on his nation, saying, “If the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action is sent to (and passed by) parliament, it will create an obligation for the government.  It will mean the president, who has not signed it so far, will have to sign it.  Why should we place an unnecessary legal restriction on the Iranian people?”

Given the many benefits that will accrue to the ayatollahs, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, and other unsavory elements of the Iranian regime, I believe that Iran should, at the very least, bind itself to the few requirements placed on it under the JCPOA by signing the agreement.  I also believe that the United States and its P5+1 partners on the JCPOA should execute the agreement on behalf of their countries.  I look forward to your response.

We all do.

Senate Dems Vote Against Protecting Israel and Rescuing American Hostages from Iran

Friday, September 18th, 2015

In an attempt to wrest some positive concessions from the Iranians in exchange for lifting sanctions against them under the Nuclear Iran Deal, an effort was made to require Iran to recognize Israel’s right to exist and to release American hostages from captivity through the form of an amendment on Thursday, Sept. 17.

Senate Democrats rejected the attempt, preferring to preserve the Nuclear Iran Deal in its current form, rather than to make even these limited demands on the Iranians.

The amendment was offered by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). The vote was 53 – 45, and 60 senators were needed to move the measure forward.

Only one Senate Democrat voted in favor of the Protect Israel and Free Our Prisoners amendment, Joe Manchin of West Virginia.

Even the other three Democrats who publicly declared their opposition to the Nuclear Iran Deal, Sen. Bob Menendez (NJ), Sen. Chuck Schumer (NY) and Sen. Ben Cardin (MD) voted against the amendment.


Under the terms of the Iranian Nuclear Agreement Review Act (Corker-Cardin), Sept. 17 was the final day on which Congress could stop the deal from moving forward by passing a disapproval resolution.

The Obama administration will likely be permitted to enforce this aspect of Corker-Cardin despite its own failure to comply with another substantive requirement, although why that should be so is a question that needs to be addressed.

The failure of the administration to provide Congress with all documentation of all aspects of the Nuclear Iran Deal was set forth very clearly in Corker-Cardin. Congress’s 60 day review period was to begin only after the White House provided those documents. It has not done so.

No documentation was provided to Congress regarding significant portions of the Deal, the so-called secret side deals that deal with Iran’s military site at Parchin and any possible military dimensions of Iran’s previous nuclear weapons program, as was revealed over the past several weeks.

Not a single member of Congress, including all of those who declared their support for the deal, read a single document or description of those side deals. Not only that, but even the vaunted nuclear physicist, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, did not have access ever to the details or description of those matters. To the extent that members of Congress relied on Moniz’s advice to support the deal, they did so despite his failure to ever lay eyes on those all-important side deals.

The Obama administration is certainly acting as if the work regarding the Nuclear Iran Deal is over and it will begin to go into effect next month.


On the same day that the Senate rejected protection of Israel and return of American hostages from Iran, Secretary of State John Kerry named former ambassador to Poland Ambassador Stephen D. Mull as Lead Coordinator for the Nuclear Deal Implementation.

In his announcement of Mull’s appointment Kerry noted: “as we move past the 60 day Congressional review period.” Some review period.

Kerry described Mull’s experience dealing with Iran’s nuclear program:

Steve played a key role in designing United Nations Security Council Resolution 1929, which imposed additional nuclear-related sanctions on Iran, and marshalling support for its adoption by the Council. He also worked closely with the U.S. Mission to the IAEA in pressing for full accountability in Iran’s nuclear program. Steve traveled frequently to engage with foreign partners and worked across the U.S. government in support of our Iran-related efforts

There surely would have been intense criticism if Mull had not been involved in the Iran nuclear portfolio prior to this appointment. Still, having someone in the position of primary American coordinator for implementation of the Nuclear Iran Deal who oversaw a program that the administration said was insufficient to prevent Tehran from forging forward on its path to nuclear weapons is unsettling.

What is more unsettling, however, is that the administration did an end run around the majority of Congress which opposes the deal, as well as the majority of Americans, who also oppose the deal, in order to impose a new framework which guarantees Iran will become a threshold nuclear state.

The supporters of the Nuclear Iran Deal have worked overtime to prevent the Senate from actually expressing its view on the deal, even though it marks President Obama’s effort to fundamentally change the posture America has maintained for decades regarding power in the Middle East.

Gaza Terror Military Drill ‘Targets’ Mediterranean

Thursday, September 17th, 2015

Gaza Arab terrorists launched three rockets on Thursday toward the Mediterranean Sea as part of a military training exercise.

The launches were traced to the site of a former Jewish community in Gush Katif, according to the Hebrew-language HaKol HaYehudi website.

Since Israel’s 2014 counter-terror Operation Protective Edge, Gaza’s ruling Hamas terror organization and allied terror groups have been actively working to restore its tunnel network and other military infrastructure.

The group has also worked to replace the thousands of missiles it spent firing at Israel’s civilian population, and is currently upgrading its weaponry with new ordnance imported from Iran.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/gaza-military-drill-targets-mediterranean/2015/09/17/

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