Archive for February 23, 2018

Israeli minister: US to move embassy to J’lem on 70th Independence Day 

February 23, 2018

Source: Israeli minister: US to move embassy to J’lem on 70th Independence Day – Israel News – Jerusalem Post

A May opening appears to represent an earlier time frame than what had been expected.

 FEBRUARY 23, 2018 17:18
US Embassy in Tel Aviv

 US Embassy in Tel Aviv. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)

The US embassy will move from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem by May 14, in honor of the 70th anniversary of Israel’s declaration of  independence, according to Minister of Transportation and Intelligence Israel Katz.

Katz tweeted on Friday saying, “I would like to congratulate Donald Trump, the President of the US @POTUS on his decision to transfer the US Embassy to our capital on Israel’s 70th Independence Day. There is no greater gift than that! The most just and correct move. Thanks friend!”

I would like to congratulate Donald Trump, the President of the US @POTUS on his decision to transfer the US Embassy to our capital on Israel’s 70th Independence Day. There is no greater gift than that! The most just and correct move. Thanks friend!

The date has not yet been confirmed publicly by the White House. However, an unnamed US official told Reuters on Friday that the US is expected to open its embassy in Jerusalem in May.

A May opening appears to represent an earlier time frame than what had been expected. While speaking to the Knesset last month, US Vice President Mike Pence said the move would take place by the end of 2019.

Trump announced in December that the United States recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, setting in motion the move of the embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv.

Iran says it may exit nuclear deal if banks continue to stay away

February 23, 2018

Source: Iran says it may exit nuclear deal if banks continue to stay away – Israel Hayom

Russia’s topline Su-57 deployed to Syria to challenge US, Israeli air might 

February 23, 2018

Source: Russia’s topline Su-57 deployed to Syria to challenge US, Israeli air might – DEBKAfile

Sukhoi-57, Russia, US, Israel, Syria

Two fifth-generation Sukhoi-57 stealth fighters landed Monday, Feb. 19 at Russia’s Syrian air base, along with 4 Su-35 fighters, 4 Su-25 strike aircraft and an A-50U radar command-and-control platform.

This top-performance fleet raises Russia’s air strike and defense capabilities in Syria to the highest standards of any air force in the world, with enough power to take on superior US and Israeli air might in the Syrian arena. The Su-57’s weapon bays are designed to carry Russia’s new nuclear tactical X-50 air-launched cruise missile, although it is not known whether the aircraft in Syria are carrying them. DEBKA Weekly’s military sources see President Vladimir Putin’s decision to send the Su-57 fighters to Syria as substantially raising the big power stakes in Syria after the loss of dozens of Russian troops on Feb. 7 to massive US artillery and air strikes that decimated the Russian, Syrian and pro-Iranian forces crossing the Euphrates River. An American radar-invisible F-22 took part in that raid. The Russians have dubbed the Su-57 the “F-22 killer.”

It is also Russia’s response to Israel’s air offensive on Feb. 10, which targeted the shared Russian-Iranian T-4 air base near Palmyra and smashed four Iranian Revolutionary Guards forward command centers in Syria, after downing an Iranian drone. It is also seen in Moscow as a challenge for Israel’s newly acquired fifth-generation US F-35 combat aircraft.
Does Putin intend to order his mighty airborne strike force to go into battle against the US or Israel in the boiling Syrian arena? If he does, he will be launching the first contest between the most sophisticated warplanes ever devised for a test of superior might between the US and Russia and a war escalation unprecedented, even in Syria.

Iran’s cyber warfare against its people must not stand

February 23, 2018

Iran’s cyber warfare against its people must not stand
© Getty

By Raymond Tanter and Ivan Sascha Sheehan, opinion contributor — 02/23/18 08:30 AM
The Hill

Source Link: Iran’s cyber warfare against its people must not stand

{Fighting the Mullahs one byte at a time. – LS}

New cyber revelations from the People’s Mujahedeen of Iran (MEK), the Iranian opposition movement, about the scope of mass surveillance by the Iranian regime are significant. Why? They show the desperation of the Iranian regime in confronting the uprising that began nationwide last December and has continued to this day.

Anti-government protesters chanted slogans indicative of a revolution: “Death to the dictator,” “Death to (Supreme Leader) Khamenei”, “Death to (Hassan) Rouhani,” “Don’t be afraid, we are all together,” “Forget about Syria, think about us,” “Not Gaza, nor Lebanon, my life for Iran,” and “Reformer, Hardline, the Game Is Now Over.”

The fact that protests expanded to over 140 cities, by some estimates, constitutes an existential threat to the regime and an opportunity to use the people’s resentment as leverage against it. The Obama administration squandered valuable opportunities in the past — most notably during the 2009 anti-government protests in Iran.

Only when the Iranian regime employed cyber technology was it able to slow down the spread of the protests and wage large numbers of arrests.

Protesters’ Use of Cyber Technology

The latest popular uprising in Iran sent shock waves inside the regime and around the world. Many specialists now view the uprisings as a landmark event. Protesters made use of game-changing cyber technology through mobile devices and social messaging platforms. Technology played a significant role in organizing, exchanging information between different locales, and getting their message out to the rest of the world.

Indeed, protesters’ use of cyber proved to be the regime’s Achilles heel: It could not, despite a show of force, stop the expansion of demonstrations. The protests expanded even as the regime desperately cut off access to the Internet and blocked key mobile apps, such as Telegram, at considerable cost and international embarrassment. A new wave of domestic cyber warfare, led by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), in collaboration with the Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS), accelerated significantly after the eruption of the nationwide protests.

The MEK established that the regime has focused on mass surveillance through malicious codes embedded in IRGC mobile apps. The goal was to monitor and disrupt the communication between protesters and dissidents.

The opposition movement argues that Iran’s domestic cyber warfare shifts focus from access control to “stateful endpoint” surveillance: In other words, with the recent uprising, the Iranian regime is now complementing its network shadowing with “stateful endpoint,” (mobile device) monitoring of content, context, and contacts to counter the expansion of the uprising and avert more protests. Café Bazaar, modeled after Google Play, is supervised by the IRGC and is its platform of choice to promote and distribute spyware enabled mobile apps.

Iran’s universities, according to the opposition group, are “a recruiting ground for IRGC cyber warfare personnel,” with recruits hired through front companies that “often engage in ‘research’ activities with a few of the IRGC’s ‘handpicked professors.’”

Tehran also apparently used foreign assistance to advance its cyber warfare. On Sep. 4, 2012, state-run Fars News Agency reported that the “signing of an agreement between Iran and North Korea to confront cyber-attacks has raised concerns in the west.”

The Way Forward

Access to free, safe and secure Internet is now a new battleground pitting the people against the regime. Data show nearly 48 million Iranians have smartphones and about 50 percent have access to the Internet. As the call for freedom and regime change grows louder in Iran, it is crucial to understand how the international community could stand on the side of the pro-democracy movement by implementing effective measures to curb and confront the regime’s cyberspace repression of the Iranian people. That outcome requires designation of all entities and individuals in Iran engaged in cyber warfare, including enforcing Executive Order 13606.

This order of President Obama’s from April 22, 2012, prohibits any entity to facilitate the Iranian regime in its “computer and network disruption, monitoring, and tracking” and “or otherwise provided, directly or indirectly, goods, services, or technology” that can be used to “enable serious human rights abuses by or on behalf of the Government of Iran.”

Successful cyber warfare against the Iranian regime requires a comprehensive and decisive policy to include the full implementation of the current sanctions against the IRGC and its front companies, as well as measures necessary to evict the IRGC from the regional countries, especially Syria. Finally, the resistance should be offered cyber technology from the West.

Haley: Trump Peace Plan ‘Won’t be Loved or Hated’ by Either Side

February 23, 2018

“It won’t be loved by either side, and it won’t be hated by either side,” US Ambassador Haley said of the US peace plan, which she said will soon be unveiled.

Feb 23, 2018

By: World Israel News

Speaking at the University of Chicago’s Institute of Politics Thursday evening, US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said President Donald Trump’s long-awaited peace plan is almost ready to be announced.

Asked by David Axelrod, the Institute’s head, whether the plan calls for a one- or two-state solution, Haley responded, “It’s for them to decide,” echoing Trump’s statement exactly a year ago, in a press conference with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Washington, saying, “I’m looking at two state and one state, and I like the one that both parties like.”

“If they decide on two states, the United States will support two states. If they decide on certain boundaries, the United States is going to support those boundaries,” Haley said.

The US plan “won’t be loved by either side, and it won’t be hated by either side,” she added.

Muslim Cleric: Allah Gathered the Jews in Palestine So That It Would Be Possible to Annihilate Them

February 23, 2018

By – on

There you have it. This Muslim cleric, in accordance with Islamic text and teachings, calls for a new genocide of the Jews, in accord with the monstrous hatemongering exhorted in the Quran and Sunnah. Islamic Jew-hatred, it’s in the Quran.

Behind every Islamic jihad massacre is the imprimatur of a Muslim cleric such as Ahmad al-Rawashdeh. Behind every Islamic attack, is the … the mosque. If American authorities think this isn’t happening in American mosques, they just aren’t paying attention. Thousands of imams across the world, millions of believers believe their gate and bloodlust to be righteous because it’s in the Quran. That includes imams in the U.S. and Canada. When is the West going to finally come to terms with that? How many have to die?

“Jordanian Friday Sermon by Imam Ahmad Al-Rawashdeh: Allah Gathered the Jews in Palestine So That It Would Be Possible to Annihilate Them; Benjamin Franklin Called to Banish the Jews from America,” MEMRI, December 13, 2017:

Imam Ahmad Al-Rawashdeh delivered a Friday sermon at the Old Tila’ Al-Ali Mosque in Amman, Jordan, in which he said that “as long as they are dispersed, it is impossible to annihilate the Jews,” but that Allah “informed us that He would gather the Jews in one place, so that they could be dealt a mortal blow” and that He would “gather them [in Palestine] so that they can meet their end… because they constitute an epidemic.” In his sermon, Imam Al-Rawashdeh repeated the Franklin prophecy myth, saying that in 1779, U.S. President [sic] Benjamin Franklin had called to banish the Jews from America and to include this in the U.S. constitution. It should be noted that the Franklin prophecy myth is, in fact, a piece of antisemitic Nazi propaganda published in 1935 in the Nazi “Handbook on the Jewish Question.” Imam Al-Rawashdeh further cited Hitler as saying: “One cannot find a single act of immorality or crime against society in which the Jews are not involved.” The sermon was posted on the Internet on December 13, 2017.

Trump Administration to Target North Korea With New Sanctions on Friday

February 23, 2018
Trump meets with local and state officials about improving school safety at the White House in Washington



By Steve Holland

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Trump administration plans to announce on Friday what is being billed as the largest package of sanctions yet against North Korea to increase pressure on Pyongyang for its nuclear and ballistic missile tests, a senior administration official said.

President Donald Trump is expected to talk about the new sanctions during a mid-morning speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference, and the Treasury Department will get into the details later in the day.

A senior administration official, who spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity, called the newpenalties “the largest package of new sanctions against the North Korea regime,” without giving details.

Vice President Mike Pence had given a glimpse of the plan two weeks ago when he spoke in Tokyo on his way to South Korea for the opening of the Winter Olympics, saying stepped-up sanctions would be announced soon.

On Thursday, Pence used tough rhetoric to describe North Korea in remarks to the CPAC gathering in a Washington suburb. He called Kim Jo Yong, the younger sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, is “a central pillar of the most tyrannical and oppressive regime on the planet.”

Kim Jo Yong attended the opening of the Olympics in Pyeongchang and got a red-carpet welcome from South Korean President Moon Jae-in but was shunned by Pence. Trump‘s daughter, IvankaTrump, a senior White House adviser, is due to attend the closing of the Olympics this weekend.

“We stand up to murderous dictatorships. And we will keep standing strong until North Korea stops threatening our country, our allies or until they abandon their nuclear and ballistic missiles once and for all,” Pence said.

North Korea has thus far resisted the “maximum pressure” campaign led by the United States to try to force Pyongyang to cede its nuclear weapons.

U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said in a speech on Thursday at the University of Chicago that sanctions are having an impact because North Korea now has less money to spend on its ballistic missile tests.

“It is this fact, more than anything else, that prompted the Kim regime to reach out to South Koreaand do public relations damage control at the Olympics,” she said.

“Their sources of revenue are drying up. Sending cheerleaders to Pyeongchang was a sign of desperation, not national pride,” she said.

(Additional reporting by Matt Spetalnick, David Brunnstrom and Makini Brice)