Brazilian synagogue set aflame in arson attack: Message on the walls, ‘Wait for international Intifada’

Posted May 22, 2018 by joopklepzeiker
Categories: Uncategorized

By – on

Brazil. Nowhere in the world is immune. Hey, it’s what Muslims do.

Flammable fuel poured under main entrance of Israelite Society in Pelotas causing minor damage. Graffiti: ‘Wait for international Intifada.’

JTA, May 21, 2018:

Vandals set fire to a synagogue in southern Brazil after painting threats to the Jewish community on its walls.

Flammable fuel was poured under the main entrance door of the Israelite Society of Pelotas building on Thursday, and set it alight causing minor damage. The criminals also wrote pro-Palestinian messages on the wall as well as threats to the Jewish community, which should “wait” for an “international Intifada.”

Local Jewish leaders said the attack was “an insult to democracy and freedom of speech and religion,” and called for the involvement of federal authorities.

The synagogue’s wooden door and furniture, glass windows, and electric installations were damaged.

“It is alarming that the tension in the Middle East translates into an attack on the Brazilian Jewish community. We have contacted the police authorities responsible for investigating and punishing the perpetrators of this criminal act of violence and religious intolerance,” said Fernando Lottenberg, president of the Brazilian Israelite Confederation, the country’s umbrella Jewish organization.

This was the third recent attack on the synagogue. In addition to pro-Palestinian slogans, calls for the release of jailed leftist ex-president Luis Inacio Lula da Silva had been written on the walls in previous attacks. Arrested last month for corruption, populist leader Lula was a strong supporter of the Arab world and his two terms as president were marked with a strong anti-Israel sentiment.

Founded in 1933, the synagogue is the central meeting point for the 70 Jewish families of Pelotas. The city of some 350,000 residents is located in the south of Brazil’s southernmost state, Rio Grande do Sul, which includes the country’s largest population of German immigrants and their descendants and commonly sees neo-Nazi incidents.

US lawmakers look to block sale of F-35 fighter jets to Turkey 

Posted May 22, 2018 by josephwouk
Categories: Uncategorized

Source: US lawmakers look to block sale of F-35 fighter jets to Turkey | The Times of Israel

( Trump HAS to support this… – JW )

Author of bipartisan bill slams Ankara for ‘thuggish, reprehensible’ crackdown on free speech, ties with Russia; Israel has also reportedly expressed concerns

An F-35 Joint Strike Fighter plane (photo credit: Liz Kaszynski/Flash 90)

An F-35 Joint Strike Fighter plane (photo credit: Liz Kaszynski/Flash 90)

A bipartisan group of US lawmakers has introduced a motion to stop the sale of F-35 fighter jets to Turkey, arguing that Ankara is growing “increasingly hostile and authoritarian by the day” and expressing fears that the country was growing closer to Russia.

Congressman David Cicilline, a Democrat of Rhode Island, filed the bill along with six colleagues from both parties last Thursday, saying the US “cannot turn a blind eye to Turkey’s thuggish, reprehensible behavior.”

Turkey, a key US ally in the Middle East, is slated to purchase more than 100 of the ultra-high tech aircraft.

“The Turkish regime, led by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has grown increasingly authoritarian in recent years, cracking down on dissent and free speech. They have even held American citizens in captivity in order to use them as bargaining chips with the US Government,” Cicilline said in a statement.

“There have to be consequences for any regime that commits such horrific human rights abuses and constantly steps out of line with our own interests,” said Cicilline, who serves on the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

The bill, officially called the Ban F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Sales to Turkey Act, prohibits the sale or transfer of F-35 aircraft and any related intellectual property or technical data to Turkey.

The bill, which sets a number of conditions on Turkey to allow the sale through, faces little chance of passing or being signed by US President Donald Trump. Despite being at loggerheads over support for Kurds, Syria and other issues, the US views Turkey as an important NATO partner in the region and and houses an air base in the country.

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan talks to Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May (unseen) during their meeting inside 10 Downing Street in central London on May 15, 2018. (AFP/Matt Dunham)










Israel, which also has a strained relationship with Turkey despite officially being allies, has also reportedly expressed concerns about the sale of the fighter jets to Ankara.

Israel worries that Turkey may leak secret details of the planes to Moscow or they may be sold on to enemy nations, Hadashot news reported.

Sources in Israel were also concerned because the sale of 100 planes to Turkey will give Ankara a numerical advantage. Israel is only slated to receive 50 of the F-35 jets with the option of purchasing another 25, the report said.

Israel received its first two F-35 fighter jets in late December 2016, and declared them operational a year later.

The fifth-generation fighter jet has been lauded as a “game-changer” by the Israeli military, not only for its offensive and stealth capabilities, but for its ability to connect its systems with other aircraft and form an information-sharing network.

Judah Ari Gross contributed to this report.

The U.S. wants to crush Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran. But how? 

Posted May 22, 2018 by josephwouk
Categories: Uncategorized

Source: The U.S. wants to crush Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran. But how? – Middle East – Jerusalem Post

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo went after Hezbollah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad Monday.

 MAY 22, 2018 06:36
A Palestinian woman takes part in a rally marking the 30th anniversary of Hamas in Gaza

If President Donald Trump put Iran on notice two weeks ago when he pulled the US out of the nuclear deal and reimposed sanctions, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was even more specific and aggressive on Monday, vowing to crush “Iranian operatives and their Hezbollah allies around the world.”

Pompeo went after Hezbollah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad – a wish list of enemies Israel would love the US to deal with on its behalf.

But crush with what? Like many pronouncements in the Trump era, all of the administration’s various statements and actions, especially on the ground, are key to understanding what is really happening.

Over Israeli objections, Trump has made it clear he wants US troops out of Syria, other than possibly a contingent to help preserve small areas not under the Assad regime’s control.

The president has made it clear that he does not want to use US military force in the Middle East other than in the most extreme circumstances, as with his surgical strike on the Assad regime’s chemical-weapons facilities.

There are no US forces to use and no will to use them.

So how is the US going to crush Hezbollah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad? Moving to the sanctions arena, there are more who think the US has powerful cards to play.

Presumably focusing on what US sanctions would achieve, Pompeo also went much further than Trump regarding the nuclear deal, even seeking to ban Iran from possessing a heavy-water reactor and from any uranium enrichment.

Under the 2015 deal, the core of Iran’s Arak heavy-water reactor, part of a plutonium path to a nuclear bomb, was removed. Also, the reactor has been in a redesign process, so it would be unable to yield fissile plutonium usable in a nuclear bomb.

In other words, it is not and was not expected to become a nuclear problem.

Uranium enrichment is more complicated.

Under the nuclear deal, Iran detached around 70% of its uranium centrifuges and placed them in storage. But it was allowed to maintain around 5,000 centrifuges and to experiment with advanced centrifuges.

This was Iran’s big win of an endorsement of its “right” to enrich uranium.

This was not a problem now, but it was expected to become a problem when the deal expired.

But Pompeo did not just say the current nuclear restrictions on Iran must be extended. He was targeting completely taking away the nuts and bolts for even potentially manufacturing the material for a nuclear weapon.

This is beyond what any major Western political official, including Trump, has demanded, and it goes way beyond anything that Europe, let alone Russia and China (which are massively economically invested in Iran’s enrichment and its heavy-water reactor) were expected to ever go along with.

The realistic best-case scenario for Trump’s aggressive move has been that Europe would stand with the US to get the Iran deal’s current restrictions extended, to limit Iran’s ballistic-missile testing, to gain access to military nuclear sites and to somewhat reduce Iran’s adventurism.

But it is far from clear whether Europe will and would have played ball with Trump’s sanctions program – the EU has threatened counter-sanctions – and there was no sign that Russia or China would play ball.

Iran Watch and others have shown that deep in the details, Trump may not even be trying to enforce Iran sanctions on China, and he may quietly look away from China-Iran business if it helps the US in broader trade negotiations with Beijing.

If there was a scenario where Russia and China could be co-opted, it was likely going to be by improving the Iran deal in ways that did not directly undermine their major investments.

A big stick, let alone a threat to crush someone, only works if some combination of military, diplomatic and economic force exists to bring pressure and has a chance of being effective.

There is strong rhetoric, but there are still no concrete signs of the stick being used, and it is unclear if the US’s stick is large enough to meet the goals it is setting for itself.

US F-35 stealth plane makes its combat debut with Israeli Air Force 

Posted May 22, 2018 by josephwouk
Categories: Uncategorized

Source: US F-35 stealth plane makes its combat debut with Israeli Air Force – DEBKAfile

Israel’s air force chief Maj. Gen. Amikam Nurkin revealed on Tuesday, May 22, that the F-35 stealth plane had taken part in “two Israeli Middle East missions,” their first combat operations anywhere in the world.

He was addressing the commanders of 20 foreign air forces spending a week in Israel. He also disclosed that Israel’s air defense system, ranging from the Arrow, David’s Wand and Iron Dome, had scored 85 percent successes against hostile missiles. Maj. Gen. Nurkin revealed that the Iranian Al Qods attack on Israel of May 9, the day after the US pulled out of the Iran nuclear accord, consisted of 32 missiles fired from Syria – not 20 as reported. Israel intercepted four, while the rest dropped outside its borders. Syrian air defense weapons had fired a total of 100 missiles against Israeli warplanes that were bombing Iranian military positions and command posts in the country, he said. “We destroyed the battery.” He went on to report: “Iran’s al Qods forces were housed at the big Syrian T-4 air base 250km from Israel. It was from there that an attack was attempted by means of the Iranian drone that penetrated Israeli air space on Feb. 10 and was shot down. That incident showed us that the Iranians were massing hardware at T-4, including air defense systems. We struck those systems in the past month.”

DEBKAfile’s sources note that Maj. Gen. Nurkin did not mention that the Iranian drone was armed. He went on to say that in recent weeks, Israel discovered that Iran had shipped to Syria long-range missiles and rockets, some of whose launchers Israel targeted north of Damascus.  The IAF’s next missions were to go after another 20 Iranian targets in Syria.

Israel the first in the world to conduct strikes with F-35 jet, army says

Posted May 22, 2018 by davidking1530
Categories: Uncategorized

Another “first” for Israel… leading the way yet again.

Israel the first in the world to conduct strikes with F-35 jet, army says

Showing picture of the aircraft over Beirut, air force chief reveals the stealth fighter was used in at least two separate operations

Israel's first two F-35 stealth fighter jets on their maiden flight as part of the Israeli Air Force on December 13, 2016. (Israel Defense Forces)Israel’s first two F-35 stealth fighter jets on their maiden flight as part of the Israeli Air Force on December 13, 2016. (Israel Defense Forces)

Israeli Air Force commander Amikam Norkin revealed on Tuesday that the F-35 fighter jet conducted airstrikes on at least two occasions, which he said made Israel the first country to use the stealth aircraft operationally.

“The Adir aircraft are already operational and flying missions. We are the first in the world to carry out operational strikes with the F-35,” Norkin told a conference of air force chiefs visiting Israel from around the world.

Norkin did not specify when those two attacks took place.

Israel began receiving the fifth-generation stealth fighter from the United States in December 2016. The aircraft were declared operational approximately a year later.

Norkin revealed the F-35’s operational uses while showing the visiting air force officers a photograph of the stealth fighter jet flying over the Lebanese capital of Beirut, in what could be seen as a tacit threat to the Lebanon-based Hezbollah terror group. [hahaha, I like their style]

Watchdog: U.S. easing sanctions on Chinese firm may signal pass for Iran

Posted May 22, 2018 by josephwouk
Categories: Uncategorized

Source: Watchdog: U.S. easing sanctions on Chinese firm may signal pass for Iran – Middle East – Jerusalem Post

The bottom line about Trump’s move regarding ZTE could be that he is giving it lenient treatment about its past and future dealings with Iran, as part of broader US-China trade negotiations.

 MAY 22, 2018 08:45

An Iran watchdog has said that the Trump administration’s easing of sanctions on a Chinese technology giant that repeatedly violated Iran sanctions may signal that the US’s “maximum pressure” campaign on Tehran has a soft underbelly.

Chinese telecommunications giant the ZTE Corporation (formerly called the Zhongxing Telecommunications Equipment Corporation) last week got an unexpected lifeline from US President Donald Trump in a series of supportive tweets.

Iran Watch said that if Trump’s tweets foreshadow a lenient policy toward ZTE in its trade with the Islamic Republic, then any new push for getting concessions from Iran in the nuclear and terrorism arenas could quickly lose credibility.

The bottom line about Trump’s move regarding ZTE could be that he is giving it lenient treatment about its past and future dealings with Iran, as part of broader US-China trade negotiations.

The NGO said that this could effectively mean that the Trump administration is prioritizing the quelling of trade-war issues with China over the pressuring of Tehran and those doing business with it.

In a report this weekend, Iran Watch noted that on April 15, the US Commerce Department reactivated trade restrictions and reimposed a $300 million fine on ZTE – barring the company from procuring critical US components and effectively suspending its operations.

According to the watchdog’s report, the seeming crackdown followed the discovery that ZTE had continued to mislead investigators both during a probationary period and following a series of March 2017 settlements totaling $1.19 billion between the company and the US.

As part of the settlements, noted the report, ZTE admitted to knowingly violating US sanctions and export control laws from 2010 to 2016, by selling more than 20 million items with sensitive US technology to Iran for $2b. and to making false statements about the trade.

The report said that “ZTE falsely claimed that it had reprimanded employees complicit in the scheme. The company came clean only when pressed, which led the US Commerce Department to conclude that ‘ZTE still cannot be relied upon to make truthful statements,’ and to reactivate the trade restrictions.”

HOWEVER, the report said that “what was initially seen as an enforcement action separate from a broader trade conflict between the US and China shifted following two presidential tweets earlier this week.”

In a tweet on May 13, Trump linked the two issues, saying that he is working with the Chinese president to “give massive Chinese phone company, ZTE, a way to get back into business, fast,” and that the “Commerce Department has been instructed to get it done!” Next, in a May 14 tweet, Trump wrote that the issue “is also reflective of the larger trade deal we are negotiating with China.”

Iran Watch said that the timing of this possible accommodation raises questions.

Coming fewer than two weeks after Trump pulled the US out of the Iran nuclear deal and reimposed sweeping US sanctions, including targeting companies and governments doing business with Iran, the NGO asked, “why would the US administration be willing to ease impactful trade restrictions against a Chinese firm that knowingly and repeatedly violated US sanctions and export controls?” The report asked, “Does this mingling of sanctions enforcement and trade policy indicate that other companies might see similar penalties eased or waived as part of broader trade deals?” In other words, the report said that European countries and others might look to any US folding on Iran in its negotiations with China as a sign that they can also escape Iran-related sanctions if they offer the US some other economic benefit in broader negotiations.

Another example that Iran Watch mentioned was a US criminal investigation into whether another Chinese-company – ZTE competitor Huawei Technologies – has also violated prior US sanctions on Iran.

The report warned that the Huawei investigation may, like ZTE, get caught up in the broader trade dispute between the United States and China.

It strongly recommended that if a similar game played out with Huawei, the US must demand real leadership change at Huawei and the penalizing of all of Huawei’s complicit third parties before freeing it from pressure.

“If the United States proves unwilling to let stand penalties against ZTE, a company that knowingly and repeatedly supplied Iran with sensitive US technology, does it intend to penalize firms engaging in… Iran’s energy sector,” especially when until recently the US supported that trade, asked Iran Watch with a clear tone of doubt.

Pompeo Vows to ‘Crush’ Iran’s Terror & Nuke Programs

Posted May 22, 2018 by Louisiana Steve
Categories: Donald Trump and Iranian provocations, Iran - American relations


by John Rossomando May 21, 2018 The Investigative Project on Terrorism

Source Link: Pompeo Vows to ‘Crush’ Iran’s Terror & Nuke Programs

Bonus Link: U.S. Iran Strategy Announced By Sec State Pompeo

{If I lived in Iran, I’d be stocking up on food, water, and other necessities right about now. – LS}

New sanctions are around the corner that could help “crush” Iran’s ability to fund terrorism and its nuclear program, Secretary of State Mike Pompeoannounced Monday in a speech at The Heritage Foundation. Pompeo promised the “strongest sanctions in history.” He listed12 demands that Iran would need to fulfill to have the sanctions lifted. These demands include an end to Iran’s support for terror; carte blanche inspection of Iranian nuclear sites by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA); and ending ballistic missile proliferation.

“We will track down Iranian operatives and their Hizballah proxies operating around the world and we will crush them,” Pompeo said. “Iran will never again have carte blanche to dominate the Middle East.”

On May 8, President Trump announced the end of U.S. participation in the Iran deal,formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). European governments, however, say they plan to remain in the agreement.

Pompeo slammed the Obama administration, which negotiated and pushed for the deal, for failing to listen to critics who argued that releasing approximately $100 billion in frozen assets to Iran would increase its ability to support terrorism.

“Remember, Iran advanced its march across the Middle East during the JCPOA,” Pompeo said. Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Quds Force chief “Qasem Soleimani has been playing with house money that has become blood money. Wealth created by the West has fueled his campaigns.”

Iran used the released money from the JCPOA to fund the IRGC, the Taliban, Hizballah, Hamas and the Houthis in Yemen, Pompeo said. Iranian backed militias under Soleimani’s leadership control a wide swath of territory between the Iran-Iraq borders all the way to the Mediterranean. Israel recently launched retaliatory strikes on Iranian targets in Syria after Iranian rockets landed in the Golan Heights.

Al-Qaida leaders also continue to be harbored in Iran.

Not surprisingly, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani rejected Pompeo’s demands, saying Iran will “continue our path with the support of our nation.”

Last week, the Trump administration sanctioned the IRGC Quds Force and imposed sanctions on the head of Iran’s central bank, which Pompeo said funded Hizballah and other terrorist organizations.

“The Iranian economy is already in free fall. That has to put a crimp in the regime’s capacity to fund surrogates. If the administration follows through there certainly won’t be more money to spread around,” James Carafano, vice president and director of the Center for Foreign Policy Studies at the Heritage Foundation, told the Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT).

U.K.-based exiled Iranian dissident and author Babak Taghvaee criticized Pompeo’s speech on Twitter for not including human rights as a condition for lifting sanctions.

“Iranians could have helped #US to not only achieve these twelve objectives rather more,” Taghvaee told the IPT.

Other Iranians responded by creating #ThankYouPompeo and #IranRegimeChange hashtags on Twitter.