Given UNRWA’s ties to Hamas, it is unsurprising that UNRWA-funded schools systematically expose refugee children to a litany of anti-Semitic and anti-Israel propaganda, with their staff often engaging in Holocaust denial and spreading graphic imagery of Jews as apes and pigs. The curriculum at UNRWA-funded schools foments hatred and protects terrorists, only perpetuating the conflict UNRWA ostensibly seeks to mitigate.
“UNRWA is an institutional embodiment of the U.N.’s anti-Israel bias: special organization dedicated to keeping the Palestinian refugee issue from 1948 perpetually alive as diplomatic tool against Israel, long after Palestinian refugees themselves have gone,” said Eugene Kontorovich, director of the International Law Department at Kohelet Policy Forum and head of the Center for International Law in the Middle East at George Mason University’s Antonin Scalia School of Law.
Given that UNRWA was created in violation of general principles of refugee law and has helped promote lawless behavior, it is not surprising that the organization’s leaders consider themselves above the rules. And until Trump, this was all done at U.S. taxpayer expense.
When the Trump administration cut funding to UNRWA last year, it was widely criticized as part of a “dangerous” withdrawal from international institutions by a rogue, isolationist president. Now, given the recent allegations, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Switzerland have suspended payments to UNRWA also. The internationalists are now singing Trump’s tune.
As Ruthie Blum of Jewish News Syndicate retorted last week, “Nothing short of shutting down UNRWA will be satisfactory since its very existence is a criminal scam. But the likelihood of its closure in the near future is slim to zero. In the meantime, let us take some comfort in the agency’s well-earned public humiliation.” (h/t IsaacStorm)
You gotta feel bad for this couple. I mean, all they wanted to do was to personally thrive off the Palestinian cause the same way UNRWA had been doing institutionally for decades. One way was acceptable. One not. https://twitter.com/hillelneuer/status/1157889503408852993 …
BREAKING: Swiss government confirms it paid for Swiss UNRWA chief @PKraehenbuehl‘s “adviser” position for alleged mistress Maria Mohammedi, enabling her to fly worldwide with him on business class flights. “At least between March 2015 and December 2018…” https://www.letemps.ch/monde/viendra-sauver-pierre-krahenbuhl …
On August 4, HonestReporting critiqued a feature in The Sunday Times by advocacy journalist Sarah Helm. Given her track record of lies and distortions, it was not surprising that the article focusing on Palestinians injured at the Gaza border fence took a distinctly one-sided and biased approach.
Read the original critique here: Propaganda for Gaza in The Sunday Times
Upon further examination, the story is even more problematic than we initially realized. Helm focused on Bilal Masoud, a 29-year old Gazan who sustained crippling injuries after being shot during violence at the border fence at the Great March of Return.
Masoud, unable to live with his injuries and a lack of support from Palestinian authorities eventually commits suicide, setting himself ablaze with kerosene. Certainly a harrowing story and Helm clearly intends to elicit sympathy for Masoud who is consistently referred to by his first name throughout the piece.
Masoud is portrayed as someone who offered a very limited threat to Israelis or the IDF soldiers stationed on the other side of the border fence.
Bilal always took his slingshot: a piece of frayed nylon cord with a patch of Velcro for the stone, which Khalil now keeps. “It was part of him,” he says, demonstrating how Bilal, who was known as the “lion of the border”, would stand whirling the cord. I wonder whether “the lion” ever hit an Israeli soldier. Khalil shakes his head, saying he was lucky if he ever hit a watchtower.
This image of Masoud is taken from The Sunday Times article. This is how Sarah Helm wants you to picture Masoud before his injuries. A young man armed only with a simple slingshot.
This office put out an official message of condolence to the people of the United States as soon as we heard of the mass shootings in Texas and Ohio over the weekend, but gentlemen, that does not absolve us of the responsibility to ascertain the religious or ethnic affiliation of the victims. Remember, if any of them happen to be Jewish we must give serious consideration to paying the perpetrator a lifetime stipend. Or his family, if he died in the attempt.
Get on this immediately, gentlemen. It will not do to have such an important issue suffer neglect. We cannot claim commitment to the Palestinian cause, to vow that not a penny of the payments to killers of Jews will be cut even in the face of economic pressure, not even when we must cut the salaries of our own employees or welfare payments to the most needy – we cannot claim such a commitment and then ignore when heroes of the same magnitude step forward beyond the official boundaries of the Occupation. That would constitute discrimination.
The father of our movement, Mufti Haj Amin al-Husseini, would suffer grave insult if we leave this avenue of investigation unexplored. He spent years of his life building alliances with Nazis and like-minded supremacists, working toward the day when he could implement the Final Solution to the Jewish Question here in Palestine. Now that white supremacists have boldly asserted themselves in a manner with which we can identify as Palestinians, we dare not withhold gestures of solidarity and support. By his afternoon I want at least a preliminary report on my desk with an examination of which, if any, of the dead from these shootings might be Jewish. We must not commit any errors of omission when it comes to rewarding those who share our goals. Our longstanding affinity and alliance with Nazis demands it.
A personal look at the 25 years that have passed since the bombing of an Argentine Jewish center that killed 85 people, with no progress toward justice.
It was probably the most surreal situation in all my years as an activist for Jewish causes. A mere 48 hours after arriving in Argentina, a country in which I knew nary a soul and did not speak the language, I found myself at the residence of President Carlos Saúl Menem, ensconced by his side in a seat of honor at an emergency meeting of his full cabinet, called for the express purpose of convincing me that I, only lately arrived from New York, was wrong.
The background: a few days earlier, on July 18, a ferocious car-bombing of the headquarters of AMIA—the Argentine Israelite Mutual Association, the largest Jewish community center and social-service agency in Buenos Aires—had killed 85 people and wounded 300 more. It was the largest single attack against a Jewish community in the Diaspora since the Holocaust. It was also, as the historian Martin Kramer would argue presciently in Commentary a few months later, the opening of a new phase in jihadist strategy: a shift from anti-Israelism to war against Jews everywhere, a form of anti-Semitism “so widespread and potentially violent that it could eclipse all other forms of anti-Semitism over the next decade.”
In one instant, I knew I had to go. Two years earlier, on March 17, 1992, terrorists had also bombed the Israel embassy in Buenos Aires, resulting in 29 dead and many more injured, and in the intervening years not a single person had been apprehended. When terrorist activity is left unpursued, it sends a message: you’re a soft target, and can be attacked with impunity.
Daniel Pipes: Yes to Nationalism, No to Imperialism
Yoram Hazony’s breathtakingly counterintuitive book, The Virtue of Nationalism (Basic Books), corrects a simple but colossal mistake: The Nazi monstrosity, he argues, did not result from nationalism but from imperialism. Hitler aspired not to make Germany great in education, justice, and industry, but to create a thousand-year Reich (empire) and conquer the world.
This fact, obvious to everyone during World War II, soon thereafter disappeared from sight because post-war Germans, especially Chancellor Konrad Adenauer (in office 1949-63), believed that demonizing nationalism and transforming Germans into model Europeans would best serve to normalize their country and hinder yet another German drive to brutal conquest. Or, in Hazony’s more pungent formulation, the Germans decided to pursue their imperial dream not through invasion but through the gentler mechanism of what today is called the European Union (EU).
He relentlessly distinguishes virtuous nationalism (“nations … able to chart their own independent course”) from evil imperialism (“An imperial state … is always a despotic state”). Historically, dreary states like the Roman or Spanish empires have hosted oppression and backwardness. Today, imperialism is rampant: most obviously, China’s wealth enables Xi Jinping’s global ambition, with Russia and Iran similarly ambitious.
Less obviously, liberal imperialism has wide appeal in the West. It includes George H.W. Bush’s “new world order,” Madeleine Albright’s “indispensable nation,” George W. Bush’s campaign to “advance … freedom,” and Barack Obama’s “American leadership.” In a striking historical analogy, Hazony compares rival European and American would-be imperial orders to those of the pope and the Holy Roman Emperor, with the former pair claiming moral preeminence and the latter pair boasting military might.
American leaders visited Israel this week, following up on the US-sponsored Bahrain economic workshop. The goal of America’s continued expenditure of diplomatic time and energy has been to create financial backers to invest $27 billion-$50b. in the floundering Palestinian economy.
While many were surprised when the Palestinian Authority condemned, boycotted, and even arrested Palestinians who participated in the event intended to jump-start the economy and benefit thousands of individual Palestinians, the rejection was consistent with ongoing PA strategy.
For PA leaders, individual Palestinians are invisible; they exist only as tiny pieces of the large nationalist agenda. The individual has no personal rights and is of value only as a tool for advancing the PA leaders’ politics.
One tragic illustration of this is when President Mahmoud Abbas left Palestinians to die in Syria during the height of the civil war, prioritizing his nationalist agenda over the individual’s right to life.
Palestinians were being killed daily in refugee camps, and Abbas asked Israel to allow them into PA areas. Israel agreed with the stipulation that the transition had to be complete: The refugees from Syria had to be absorbed into the PA as citizens and taken off the UN refugee lists.
Any leader who minimally cares about the lives of his people would have embraced this offer and welcomed the thousands of new citizens. What was Abbas’s response? Complete rejection!
House Majority leader Steny Hoyer is set to arrive in Israel on Monday at the head of a massive delegation of 41 Democratic representatives, despite efforts by radical left-wing groups to pressure congresspeople not to join the trip.
The trip – meant primarily for freshman representatives – is organized in August of each non-election year by the American Israel Education Foundation, a charitable organization affiliated with AIPAC.
“I am pleased to join so many House Democrats in traveling to Israel to reaffirm our support for a critical US ally and to continue learning about the opportunities and the challenges facing Israel and the Middle East,” Hoyer said in a statement. “Seeing the region firsthand and meeting with key Israeli and Palestinian leaders gives Members insights into a region that is vital both to our own national interests and to global security.”
A Republican delegation expected to be of a similar size is scheduled to arrive on Friday. That group will be headed by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.
There are currently 235 Democrats in the House, meaning that 17.5% of them will be in Israel for a week beginning on Monday.
A letter sent by National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Tom Emmer to party members identified three “left-wing radicals” that he says “bought control of Congress for the Democrats.” They are all Jewish.
Emmer represents Minnesota’s Sixth District in the U.S. House. The Minneapolis-based American Jewish World newspaper first saw the letter, which is said appears to have been circulated in March, in July and reported on it Friday.
The letter on Emmer’s letterhead says “the news of impactful, real progress on turning our nation around was undercut by biased media and hundreds of millions of dollars of anti-Republican propaganda put out by liberal special interests, funded by deep-pocketed far-left billionaires George Soros, Tom Steyer and Michael Bloomberg.”
“These left-wing radicals essentially BOUGHT control of Congress for the Democrats,” the letter also said.
Soros and Bloomberg are Jewish and Steyer had a Jewish father and has in the past identified as Jewish although now he is a practicing Episcopalian.
The letter employs the anti-Semitic trope that rich Jews use their money for power and control.
The three men have been targeted with the same accusation by several Republican and conservative figures, including former House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy.
In honor of Friendship Day, Israel wished India a happy holiday and received the same in return.
“Happy #FriendshipDay2019 India!” The Israeli embassy in India wrote on Twitter. “May our ever strengthening friendship & #growingpartnership touch greater heights.”
The attached video includes multiple photographs of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Modi replied to the message, writing in Hebrew, “Thank you. I wish a happy Friendship Day to the wonderful citizens of Israel and to my friend [Benjamin Netanyahu].”
“India and Israel proved their friendship throughout the ages,” he continued. “Our relationship is strong and everlasting. I wish that our countries’ friendship will grow and bloom even more in the future.”
“Thank you, my friend, India PM @narendramodi,” Netanyahu responded. “I could not agree with you more.”
The Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court last week rejected a restraining order request filed by anti-Israel activist Guy Hirschfeld against the Zionist organization Im Tirtzu which has been filming Hirschfeld’s interactions with IDF soldiers.
Hirschfeld, a vocal member of Ta’ayush—another member of which, Ezra Nawi, has been surrendering Arab land brokers to be tortured and killed—frequently harasses IDF soldiers and Jewish residents in Judea and Samaria, taping them as they are being provoked. Their favorite nickname for settlers is “Jewish garbage” and “Judeo-Nazis.”
During one such provocation, which was reported last year by Israel’s public broadcaster KAN 11, Hirschfeld launched into a racist diatribe against an IDF soldier of Ethiopian descent and told him to “return to his pen” in Ethiopia.
According to NGO Monitor research, Ta’ayush is fiscally sponsored by the Alliance for Global Justice, an American non-profit organization that “envision[s] societies which explore and implement alternatives to the unjust domination of government, global financial institutions and multinational corporations.” This enables Ta’ayush to receive tax-exempt donations in the United States.
As part of the IDF’s continued efforts to retain a qualitative military edge over its enemies, the Defense Ministry unveiled on Sunday three new prototypes for the Carmel advanced armored fighting vehicle (AFV), which officers say will revolutionize the battlefield.
The Carmel (the Hebrew acronym for Advanced Ground Combat Vehicle), is under development by the Defense Ministry’s Administration for the Development of Weapons and Technological Infrastructure (MAFAT) and its Merkava Tank Administration, and will constitute a quantum leap in the field of armored vehicles.
“We have completed a long process today, in which, together with the Armored Corps and the Ground Forces, we have characterized our operational needs in the future battlefield,” said Brig.-Gen. Guy Hasson, chief Armored Corps officer.
Launched three years ago as a multi-year plan, the Carmel is expected to be at the forefront of the military’s new combat concept, which is based on autonomous and automatic maneuvering capabilities, artificial intelligence, hybrid propulsion and more.
Designed to play a lead role on the future battlefield, the combat vehicle takes artificial intelligence capabilities that enable full situational awareness and fast responses to enemy threats while drastically reducing the workload of the crew.
IDF Shows Off Next Generation of Armored Vehicles
When PA says it is going to treat Area C same as Area A, do they mean banning any Jews from living there; preventing Jewish access to synagogues & holy sites; punishing Arabs who sell land to Jews; and destroying antiquities? They already do the last 2 in Israeli-controlled area
If this isn’t further proof they see all of #Israel – including all the Jewish holy sites – as their own, I don’t know what is. Not to mention that if they were in control of these sites, Jews would not be allowed access (like in the “good old days”) https://www.israellycool.com/2019/08/05/palestinians-take-issue-with-j-lo-praying-at-jewish-holy-site/ …
Palestinians Take Issue With J-Lo Praying At Jewish Holy Site
Palestinian propaganda site Pal+ has accused J-Lo of ‘performing rituals’ – at the Western Wall.
Ninety-three security prisoners completed their bachelor’s degree in prison this year, despite the ban on academic studies in security prisons that has been in effect since 2011, Reshet Bet radio reported on Monday. According to the report, 1,026 terrorist prisoners are currently studying for a bachelor’s degree, and in each prison there are several dozen students who are studying for academic degrees.
In 1994, security prisoners were given the opportunity to study in correspondence courses at the Open University while in prison, like criminal prisoners who had been allowed to study in this program since 1978.
In 2011, it was decided to deny this gesture to security prisoners, in an attempt to put pressure on Hamas to release Gilad Shalit (spoiler alert: Hamas endured this hardship successfully). After Shalit had been released and more than a thousand murderers were put back on the street, the ban was not lifted.
In 2015, the Supreme Court rejected a petition to allow security prisoners to attend the Open University, despite the fact that normal criminal prisoners continued to pursue academic excellence unperturbed. A seven-judge panel unanimously ruled that the Prison Service Commissioner’s decision to deny terrorists the right to higher education was reasonable, among other things because said decision relied on intelligence that suggested the funding for these studies came from terrorist organizations.
In a press statement, Hamas condemned the raising of a Nazi flag next to the Palestinian flag on the Gaza border fence, stressing that such actions “inflict horrific outcomes on our just cause.”
“We should block such an act, even if it is done by one person and does not represent the common sense of the Palestinian people,” said Dr. Basem Naim, a member of the Hamas International Relations Office, in an official statement on Friday.
“We have to stop similar acts because our conflict with the Israeli occupation is a freedom struggle against the colonial occupier of Palestine,” stressed Naim, adding that “such acts, even if done solely, inflict horrific outcomes on our just cause. Indeed, they are exploited by the Israeli occupation to distort our struggle for freedom and independence.”
“The Nazi Swastika flag A symbol of murder And sheer hatred Raised yet again At a Hamas riot Inside Gaza,” wrote the IDF on their Twitter about the hanging of the swastika. “In the face Of this hatred Stand IDF soldiers Alert and determined Ready to defend lsrael Today and every single day.”
In July, Hamas also condemned statements by Fathi Hamad, an official in the terror group, encouraging Palestinians to “attack every Jew on planet Earth.”
Egypt watched closely as a delegation from Hamas visited Tehran on July 20, the first such trip since December 2017. “The return of Iranian influence to the Gaza Strip will adversely affect the region,” Egyptian political analyst Ammar Ali Hassan said. “Apart from potentially ending the calm between Hamas and Israel, this influence will harm Egypt’s relations with Hamas.”
Egypt reportedly prevented Hamas political chief Ismail Haniyeh from leaving Gaza for the meeting in Iran. This was why Hamas Politburo Deputy Chairman Saleh al-Arouri, who lives in Beirut, led the delegation. Egypt looks with suspicion at Iranian attempts to expand its influence in the region, especially in Egypt’s immediate vicinity. Hamas is an ideological offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, an organization hated by the government of Egyptian President al-Sisi.
“Egypt has to use the cards in its hands to pressure Hamas to stop reaching out to Iran,” said Samir Ghattas, a member of the Egyptian parliament. “Iran’s influence in Gaza is a real threat to Egypt’s national security.”
Germany’s outright rejection of Washington’s request [to support Washington’s proposal for a maritime protection force in the Arabian Gulf to protect shipping from attacks by Iran] is likely to inflame tensions further between Washington and Berlin. U.S. President Donald J. Trump is already at odds with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on a range of issues, from Germany’s obstinate refusal to meet its Nato funding commitments to its pursuit of closer energy ties with Russia through the construction of the controversial Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline.
Mr Trump is highly critical of the project. He argues that it will make Europe, and especially Germany, too dependent on Moscow for its energy needs, which could undermine the resolve of the Nato alliance to take a robust stand against Moscow in any future confrontation.
So, at a time when the Western alliance is already struggling with how to respond to Turkey’s deepening military ties with Russia, Germany’s refusal to fulfil its obligations to protect shipping in the Gulf will be interpreted by adversaries of the West such as Moscow and Tehran as yet further evidence of what would doubtless please them very much: deepening divisions within the Western alliance.
Seth J. Frantzman: Trump has a serious Syria problem – analysis
US President Donald Trump wants to end what he has called “endless wars” – but he increasingly faces hurdles in Syria because US policy is running up against the reality that once you get into a conflict, it’s hard to get out. The US-led coalition and its Syrian Democratic Forces partners on the ground defeated ISIS this year in March, but the jihadist threat still exists. Turkey has said it will launch an operation into eastern Syria in areas where the US and its partners are present, potentially leading to instability and more refugees.
The problem for the US in Syria, which Trump vowed to withdraw from in December, is that it got into Syria to defeat ISIS but now faces challenges from Russia, Iran, the Syrian regime and Turkey, the latter of which is supposed to be a US ally.
All of these countries oppose the US presence for different reasons. The Syrian regime opposes the US because it doesn’t want America empowering local forces and appearing to harm its “sovereignty.” Russia opposes the US because Moscow supports the Syrian regime, but also because it wants to see US influence weakened. Moscow has condemned the US role in Raqqa, arguing that the city has not been rebuilt since it was liberated in 2017, and has slammed the US role in Tanf, a desert base, accusing Washington of training militants and harming Syrian infrastructure, even stealing oil.
Iran’s opposition to the US is historically clear: It wants to undermine America’s role in Iraq, while not provoking a conflict with Washington. Yet the US has sanctioned the IRGC, which is active in Syria, and has condemned Iran’s role in the war-torn country. Tehran understands that the US in Syria poses a challenge to their decision to carve out influence there, and a corridor of Iranian power that stretches from Al Bukamal on the Iraqi border to Damascus.
The U.S. has launched a last-ditch effort to head off a Turkish invasion of northeast Syria. Tens of thousands of Turkish troops are massed near the border. Kurdish-led victories against the Islamic State have left them in control of much of the border area. Turkey considers this a terrorist threat to its own security.
The U.S. has proposed a joint U.S.-Turkish military operation to secure a strip south of the Syria-Turkey border that would be nine miles deep and 87 miles long and from which Kurdish fighters would be withdrawn. The U.S. and Turkish militaries would destroy Kurdish fortifications and then jointly patrol the area. Turkey has already rejected those parameters, insisting on a “safe zone” at least 20 miles deep and expressing a preference to control it alone.
If Turkey refuses the U.S. proposal and launches an invasion, the administration has made clear that it cannot, under existing congressional authorities, intervene to protect the Kurdish fighters. The Kurds have warned that a fight with Turkey may leave them unable to guard the prisons in eastern Syria holding 10,000 Islamic State inmates.
Beating cancer is something to be celebrated and used as an example for others in a similar situation to aspire to. But what if the cancer survivor held up as a shining light happens to be Asma Assad, the wife of a vicious dictator responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians in a brutal civil war?
So it is with Syrian President Bashar Assad’s wife, the subject of a fawning article in the Daily Mail.
We don’t begrudge Asma Assad’s personal victory over her illness or her encouragement of women to get regular health checkups. That the general health of Syria’s population and her husband’s responsibility for the brutality inflicted on Syria’s citizens over the past few years is barely touched upon is hard to fathom.
This is where reality ends. Instead, Daily Mail readers are treated to a variety of fluffy photos of Asma as well as Bashar and a short interview clip from Syrian state television. Another video taken directly from the official social media of the Syrian presidency shows Asma as the humanitarian visiting wounded Syrian soldiers while a third video, devoid of context, allows Asma to criticize the Western media’s coverage of the Syrian Civil War.
The Syrian state propaganda machine couldn’t have asked for a more pliant platform than the Daily Mail, one of the most widely read news sites in the world.
Iran’s front has extended to the Mediterranean Sea and the borders of Israel, a senior Iranian commander said on Monday.
“Our defensive depth has stretched to the Mediterranean Sea and our front has extended to the borders of the Zionist regime [of Israel],” Deputy Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Brig.-Gen. Mehdi Rabbani was quoted by Iran’s Fars News Agency as saying on Sunday.
“Today, Hezbollah and Hamas have gained great power and do not need our help anymore, and all of their [Israelis’] locations are within reach of the Lebanese Hezbollah,” Rabbani added.
According to a recent report in Haaretz, Iran and Hamas have agreed to open a second front in the south from the Gaza Strip should a war break out in Israel’s North. Israeli officials have warned that any war that breaks out in the North will not be confined to one border – Lebanon, or Syria – but will be fought on both.
Rabbani, who was speaking on Monday at an event in Shahriar, a town near the capital Tehran, claimed that Iran’s military capabilities are growing day by day in such a way that no country in the region could win a ground war against the Islamic republic.
“For at least the next 10 years, no regional or trans-regional country is able to counter or fight against the Islamic Republic of Iran in ground warfare,” he claimed, adding that “our missile power also deters any regional and extra-regional acts of aggression, and the range of the missiles is also increasing constantly.”
Iran said that it seized another ship on Sunday – an oil tanker it accused of smuggling oil from Iraq. Tehran has also mocked America’s attempt to create an international coalition to protect shipping in the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz. In short, Iran’s message is: We can do whatever we want in our Gulf and Strait.
This is a far cry from the early days of May when the US warned Tehran against any provocations and threatened “unrelenting force.” Instead Washington has been cautious in its response. First came the sabotage of four tankers in May 12 and then the attack on two more on June 13, rockets fired near US bases in Iraq in mid-June, the downing of the US drone on June 20, harassment of a British oil tanker on July 11, capture of the tanker Riah on July 13 and the capture of a British tanker on July 19, as well as the recent seizing of another tanker on August 4.
Iran would argue that all of these incidents are responses, or deny that it had even carried out some of them. But it increasingly appears that the Islamic republic is involved not only in the attacks in Iraq, but also attacks in Saudi Arabia and against the tankers. But the real message is that Iran can do what it wants, and there is no “unrelenting” response. In fact, there is little response. The US has said that sanctions are breaking Iran and that it is facing “relentless” pressure. Iran says it faces “economic terrorism” and accuses the US and UK, as well as others, of working against it. Iran is scrapping parts of the nuclear deal in response.
But its real message is closer to home. Iran knows that no country has the stomach for a conflict with it, and most won’t join a US coalition in the Gulf. It also knows that the UK wants de-escalation amid the Brexit crisis and that US President Donald Trump does not want war.
Britain said on Monday that it was joining a US-led maritime security mission in the Gulf to protect merchant vessels traveling through the Strait of Hormuz.
Last month, Iran’s Revolutionary Guards seized a British tanker, Stena Impero, near the Strait of Hormuz for alleged marine violations after Britain seized an Iranian oil tanker near Gibraltar, accusing it of violating sanctions on Syria.
“We look forward to working alongside the US and others to find an international solution to the problems in the Strait of Hormuz,” Defense Minister Ben Wallace told reporters.
British Foreign Minister Dominic Raab said Britain remained committed to working with Iran to maintain the 2015 nuclear deal that Tehran agreed to in return for an easing of sanctions.
A British security source said the focus of the new mission would be to protect the security of shipping, and that Britain would not be joining US sanctions against Iran.
Iran runs security in the Strait of Hormuz and will no longer tolerate “maritime offenses” there, its foreign minister said on Monday, a day after it seized a second oil tanker near the strategic waterway that it accused of smuggling fuel.
Tanker traffic through the Strait has become a focus for an increasingly tense standoff between Washington and Tehran, into which Britain has also been dragged, and the United States has beefed up its military presence in the Gulf since May.
On Sunday, Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards Corps seized the Iraqi tanker north of the Strait and detained its seven crew, state media reported. Guards commander Ramezan Zirahi was quoted as saying it was carrying 700,000 liters of fuel .
“Iran used to forgo some maritime offenses in … (the) Gulf but will never close (its) eyes anymore,” Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told a televised news conference in Tehran.
“… Iran is responsible for the security and safety of the Strait of Hormuz and the region.”
Iran has threatened to block all exports via the Strait, through which a fifth of global oil traffic passes, if other countries comply with U.S. pressure to stop buying Iranian oil.
Last month, reports appeared in Arabic-language media that Israeli jets had attacked Shiite militia bases in Iraq. Whether or not these reports are accurate, Jerusalem has good reason to fear that Tehran will use its proxy forces to do in Iraq what it has done in Lebanon and is currently doing in Syria: that is, turn the country into a staging ground for attacks on the Jewish state. The Iraqi prime minister, meanwhile, issued a decree on July 1 that these Iran-backed militias must fully subordinate themselves to the country’s military or disband. But John Hannah doubts that much will change:
Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi no doubt believes that the act of issuing the decree, and perhaps enforcing parts of it against less powerful [Iranian-sponsored militias], will buy him time and credit with the United States. . . . The Iraqi leader is also surely suggesting to Washington in private that defeating Iran’s powerful proxies will be a long-term process—one that requires patience, the avoidance of direct confrontation, and the slow but steady process of strengthening state institutions that will eventually smother and neutralize these militias through largely peaceful bureaucratic maneuvers.
Unfortunately, if history is any guide, it’s not at all clear that time has worked in favor of those seeking to oppose Iran’s entrenchment in weak Arab states using powerful Shiite militias. Lebanese Hizballah is of course the archetype. Despite ever-greater amounts of Western assistance to strengthen legitimate state institutions, in particular the Lebanese army, Hizballah’s primacy as Lebanon’s most dominant actor has only expanded—to the great peril of Israel, the Middle East, and U.S. interests. . . . It’s not at all clear what could prevent the full “Hizballah-ization” of Iraq at this point—but it’s unlikely to be the weak tea of Mahdi’s decree.
U.S. officials are facing an unpleasant reality. . . . The United States considers the Iraqi government to be an important security partner, providing its military with billions of dollars of support and advanced equipment. But that same partner has welcomed a group of Iran-backed militias—all sworn enemies of the United States, some designated terrorist groups, and most with American blood on their hands—into the Iraqi security forces as a largely independent, parallel army. The Iraqi government now generously funds those groups through the national budget.
This is not a sustainable U.S. policy toward Iraq—no matter how well-intentioned Mahdi or other Iraqi leaders may be.
Yemeni Sheikh Abd Al-Wahhab Al-Mirabi in Friday Sermon: The Jews Are the Party of Satan, a Plague
Yemeni Sheikh Abd Al-Wahhab Al-Mirabi said in a June 28, 2019 Friday sermon in Taiz, Yemen that Allah cursed the Jews and described them as treacherous and deceitful. Sheikh Al-Mirabi said that the Jews are the “party of Satan,” and he warned that anybody who believes that peace can be achieved in the Middle East with the Jews is deluded. He then listed some of the conspiracies he claimed the Jews have participated in against the Muslims, including poisoning and killing the Prophet Muhammad, financing the Crusades, killing Islamic rulers, taking part in the inquisition courts during the Spanish Inquisition, toppling the Ottoman Empire, dividing the Arab world, and deposing former Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi. Referring to the Jews as a “plague,” Sheikh Al-Mirabi said: “Let [[the Jews in Palestine] taste nothing but [our] rifles.” The sermon aired on Yemen Shabab TV.