Archive for June 12, 2018

Report: Syrian army boosts air defenses near Golan frontier

June 12, 2018

Source: Report: Syrian army boosts air defenses near Golan frontier – Middle East – Jerusalem Post

Last month, Israel accused Damascus-allied Iranian forces of launching a rocket salvo across the frontier.

 JUNE 12, 2018 18:02
An old military vehicle can be seen positioned on the Israeli side of the border with Syria, near th

BEIRUT – The Syrian army has reinforced its anti-aircraft defenses near the frontier with the Golan Heights, a commander in the regional alliance that backs President Bashar Assad said on Tuesday.

Additional defenses are set to be deployed in the coming days, the commander told Reuters. The stationing of the Russian-made Pantsir S1 weapon aims “to renew the air defense system against Israel in the first degree,” added the commander, a non-Syrian who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Syria’s multi-sided war has pivoted towards the southwest in recent weeks, risking escalation in an area of major concern to Israel where the conflict has been contained since last year by an agreement underwritten by the United States and Russia.

The Syrian government has been preparing an assault on rebels who hold territory at the border with Israel and Jordan. This led Washington last month to warn of “firm and appropriate measures” against any ceasefire violations.

The commander said preparations for the government offensive in the southwest were complete but government forces were now working to finish off a pocket of Islamic State militants near the government-held town of Sweida.

Israel wants Iran-backed forces such as Lebanon’s Hezbollah kept away from its frontier and removed from Syria more widely. Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said last week the group would stay in Syria as long as Assad wanted it there.

Rebel forces in southwestern Syria have played down the prospects of a government offensive in the area, saying the United States and Jordan are committed to upholding the “de-escalation” agreement with Russia.

But they have also prepared for the possibility of an attack. A rebel commander in the southwest, Colonel Nassim Abu Arra of the Youth of Sunna Forces, told Reuters that opposition forces had formed a joint military leadership on Monday.

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem said this month the government aimed to recapture insurgent areas in the southwest through a settlement in which fighters accept state rule or leave – the approach used by the state to win back other areas.

Iran warns North Korea: Trump could cancel deal before getting home

June 12, 2018

By Bozorgmehr Sharafedin June 15, 2018 via World News

Source Link: Iran warns North Korea: Trump could cancel deal before getting home

{Patience, Iran. Trump will get to you shortly. – LS}

LONDON (Reuters) – Iran warned North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Tuesday against trusting U.S. President Donald Trump, saying he could cancel their denuclearization agreement within hours.

Tehran cited its own experience in offering the advice to Kim a month after Washington withdrew from a similar deal with Iran.

Trump and Kim pledged at a meeting in Singapore on Tuesday to work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula while Washington committed to provide security guarantees for its old enemy.

“We don’t know what type of person the North Korean leader is negotiating with. It is not clear that he would not cancel the agreement before returning home,” Iranian government spokesman Mohammad Bagher Nobakht was quoted as saying by IRNA new agency.

Nobakht questioned Trump’s credibility. “This man does not represent the American people, and they will surely distance themselves from him at the next elections,” he said.

 As well as pulling the United States out of the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, Trump disowned on Saturday a joint communique issued by Group of Seven leaders, just hours after he had left their summit for the meeting with Kim.

Trump has said would be open to striking a new nuclear accord with Tehran. However, he says the existing deal negotiated under his predecessor Barack Obama had failed to address Iran’s ballistic missile program.

On top of this, he also cited the terms under which international inspectors can visit suspect Iranian nuclear sites and “sunset” clauses, under which limits on the nuclear program start to expire after 10 years.

Trump has insisted any deal with North Korea should include irreversible and verifiable denuclearization.

An Iranian foreign ministry spokesman also advised North Korean leaders on Monday to “exercise complete vigilance” in their negotiations with the United States.

“We are not optimistic about these talks … The United States, especially Mr Trump, has undermined international agreements and has unilaterally withdrawn from them,” Bahram Qasemi said.

Trump has also decided to pull the United States out of the Paris climate change accord.

Washington will reimpose a wide array of Iran-related sanctions after the expiry of 90- and 180-day wind-down periods, including measures aimed at the oil sector and transactions with its central bank.

Other remaining signatories of the deal – Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia- have criticized the U.S. exit and are still trying to salvage the accord.


Iran claims never wanted to throw jews into the sea?

June 12, 2018

Sounds like someone might be getting scared.

Trump and the Norks getting cosy, Israel kickin Iranian ar*e in Syria, Russia plus Syria trying to move away from Iran….

Things are adding up, bound to be breaking into a sweat.

Let’s hope so.

Toning down rhetoric, Khamenei claims Iran never wanted to throw Jews in sea

Supreme leader says only Egypt’s Nasser called for expulsion, while Tehran wants a referendum of descendants of all who lived in Palestine 100 years ago, including Jews

Iran’s supreme leader has sought to clarify his position on Israel after threatening its destruction and now says his country has never expressed genocidal aims against the Jewish people.

Earlier this month, a tweet posted on Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s official Twitter account said Iran’s “stance against Israel is the same stance we have always taken. #Israel is a malignant cancerous tumor in the West Asian region that has to be removed and eradicated: it is possible and it will happen.” The account is run by Khamenei’s office and it’s not known if he dictates the tweets himself.

But in a series of tweets early Monday, Khamenei said the conflict should be resolved through a popular referendum among those who trace their roots back to before the creation of Israel, including Muslims, Jews and Christians.

“To define #Palestine’s destiny, original Palestinians—those who lived in Palestine over 100 years ago, #Muslims, #Jews & #Christians—in/outside occupied territories, will be polled: whatever they decide will happen,” he wrote.

That would seem to include the Palestinians as well as the small community of Jews who lived in the Holy Land before the mass immigration of Jews in the 20th century and the creation of Israel in 1948.

To define #Palestine’s destiny, original Palestinians—those who lived in Palestine over 100 years ago, #Muslims, #Jews & #Christians—in/outside occupied territories, will be polled: whatever they decide will happen. Is this a bad proposal? Does Europe not want to understand it?
— (@khamenei_ir) June 10, 2018

Khamenei did not address the fate of the vast majority of Jewish Israelis, who claim historical and biblical roots to the land but whose immediate ancestors arrived in the last century.

However, he said Iran had never expressed a desire to “throw the Jews in the sea,” accusing late Egyptian leader Gammel Abdel Nasser of seeking the watery genocide instead.

“The Islamic Republic has never said anything like that since its inception,” he tweeted.

The Islamic Republic plays rationally in all issues. On the issue of the Zionist regime, Gamal Abdel Nasser would say ‘we will throw the Jews in the sea’. The Islamic Republic has never said anything like that since its inception.
— (@khamenei_ir) June 10, 2018

Khamenei and other senior Iranian officials have relentlessly encouraged the destruction of Israel, and Iran finances, arms and trains terror groups on Israel’s borders. Officials occasionally clarify that Iran would only attack Israel in “self-defense” and bears no hostility toward Jews as a religious community.

Khamenei also chided Europe for listening to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s warnings about Iran’s aims during a recent trip to Europe. During the trip to Germany, France and the UK, Netanyahu discussed the need to end the nuclear deal with Iran and support pushing Iranian forces out of southern Syria.

The children-killer PM of Zionist regime–the Shimr of the time– visits Europe to play the victim, claiming, ‘#Iran wants to eliminate our population of a few millions.’ European audience listens, nods& refuses to say, ‘you [Zionist regime] are committing crimes in Gaza & Quds.’
— (@khamenei_ir) June 10, 2018

On Friday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani warned that Israel “can never” feel safe, as many thousands of Iranians marched in an annual day of protest against Israel.

Khamenei has previously branded Israel as “barbaric,” “infanticidal,” and the “sinister, unclean rabid dog of the region.” More recently, he blamed “Zionists” for the anti-government demonstrations held across Iran earlier this year.

Netanyahu was asked last week about Khamenei’s threat at a press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

“Iran calls for our destruction, but it’s also seeking nuclear weapons to carry out its genocidal design,” said Netanyahu, who was visiting Europe to press for the further dismantling of the Iranian nuclear deal after the US pulled out.

Merkel also condemned the tweet, while insisting the nuclear agreement was the best way to keep Iran from developing atomic weapons.

Khamenei, in his remarks on Sunday, also called Netanyahu a “criminal” who had “lied” to European leaders by saying that Iran wanted to annihilate Jews.

Iran is home to the largest Jewish community in the Middle East outside of Israel, and has a number of synagogues and popular shrines. The Jewish community has a representative in Iran’s parliament.

Iran had between 80,000 and 100,000 Jews before the 1979 Islamic Revolution but most have since fled, mainly to the United States, Israel and Europe. There are now only about 8,500 left, mostly in Tehran but also in Isfahan and Shiraz, major cities south of the capital.

Trump, Kim sign ‘comprehensive’ joint document as historic summit nears end

June 12, 2018

Source: Trump, Kim sign ‘comprehensive’ joint document as historic summit nears end | The Times of Israel

Singapore parley ‘better than anybody could have expected,’ ‘really fantastic,’ says US President. Kim calls unspecified document ‘historic’

US President Donald Trump (2nd R) and North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un (2nd L) sign documents as US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (R) and the North Korean leader's sister Kim Yo Jong (L) look on at a signing ceremony during their historic US-North Korea summit, at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa island in Singapore on June 12, 2018. (SAUL LOEB / AFP)

US President Donald Trump (2nd R) and North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un (2nd L) sign documents as US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (R) and the North Korean leader’s sister Kim Yo Jong (L) look on at a signing ceremony during their historic US-North Korea summit, at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa island in Singapore on June 12, 2018. (SAUL LOEB / AFP)

Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un signed a ‘comprehensive’ joint document at the end of their historic summit in Singapore on Tuesday.

“We are signing a very important document, a pretty comprehensive document, and we have had a really great term together, a great relationship,” said the US President before the two inked the unspecified document.

Trump announced he would be giving a press conference in the coming hours.

“We are both very honored to sign the document,” he said.

Kim called the document “historic.”

Minutes before, the two leaders had emerged from talks with the US president hailing what he said was “a lot of progress” and a “really fantastic” meeting.

The meeting went “better than anybody could have expected,” Trump said as he strolled out of the Capella Hotel side by side with the North Korean leader, adding that the two of them were going on to sign an unspecified document.

The two men met one-on-one for around 48 minutes Tuesday accompanied only by their interpreters.

They then went into a second meeting where they were joined by key aides.

Trump was flanked in the larger meeting by chief of staff John Kelly, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and national security adviser John Bolton. They sat across the table from Kim and his team.

The extraordinary summit — unthinkable only months ago — comes after the two nuclear-armed foes appeared on the verge of conflict late last year as they slung personal insults and Kim conducted nuclear and missile tests.

US President Donald Trump (R) gestures as he meets with North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un (L) at the start of their historic US-North Korea summit, at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa island in Singapore on June 12, 2018. ( AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB)

North Korea’s state media lauded Singapore Tuesday as they highlighted Kim Jong Un’s visit to some of its top tourist attractions.

A few hours ahead of his historic summit with Donald Trump — the first encounter between a leader of the isolated, nuclear-armed North and a sitting US president — Kim took a break from preparations for a waterfront stroll.

He was accompanied by the city-state’s foreign and education ministers — with whom he posed for selfies — and surrounded by officials as police held back pursuing reporters.

But images of the young leader are carefully controlled and managed in the isolated North, and travelling media from Pyongyang enjoyed close access to their leader.

No fewer than 14 images of his visit to the Marina Bay Sands (MBS) hotel, casino and convention centre and other sights were printed on the front page of the state-run Rodong Sinmun newspaper.

A woman reads the latest copy of the Rodong Sinmun newspaper showing images of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore ahead of his meeting with US president Donald Trump, at a news stand on a subway platform of the Pyongyang metro on June 12, 2018. (ED JONES/AFP)

It showed him smiling on the MBS’ rooftop Sky Park observation platform, adding he “learned about the social and economic development” of Singapore.

Other pictures showed onlookers taking pictures of Kim, who has made only two previous trips beyond the Korean peninsula as leader, both of them to China.

Praising Singapore’s “clean and beautiful” environment, Kim vowed to “learn a lot from the good knowledge and experience of Singapore in various fields in the future,” the newspaper added.

The fulsome praise for another country is unusual for the media in the impoverished North, which generally do not show detailed images of affluent foreign countries.

The bright lights of the Singaporean city scape are a notable contrast to Pyongyang, much of which remains dimly lit at night despite Kim overseeing a number of prestige development projects during his rule.

During their stroll, President Donald Trump gave Kim a rare peek inside the US presidential limousine.

They walked up to the limousine, nicknamed The Beast, and Trump could be seen talking and gesturing before a Secret Service agent opened the door and the leaders looked in.

It wasn’t immediately clear how Kim felt about the presidential tour, but he seemed to be smiling.

Netanhyahu offers water tech to Iranians

June 12, 2018

Interesting tactic.

Wonder what those BDS haters would say about this? *crickets*


“The Iranian regime shouts: “Death to Israel!’ and in response, Israel shouts, ‘life to the Iranian people!'”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu  went over the heads of the Iranian regime with a message delivered via social media directly to the Iranian public on Sunday.

“Today I am going to make an unprecedented offer to Iran,” Netanyahu said after pouring water from a pitcher into a glass and taking a drink in a two-minute YouTube video.

“It relates to water,” continued Netanyahu.

“The Iranian people are the victims of a cruel and tyrannical regime that denies them vital water. Israel stands with the people of Iran and that is why I want to save countless Iranian lives.”

Netanyahu explained that Iran’s meteorological organization has said that nearly 96% of Iran suffers from some level of drought, and after highlighting Israel’s achievements in water management, Netanyahu offered to help: “Sadly, Iran bans Israelis from visiting – so we’ll have to get creative. We will launch a Farsi website with detailed plans on how Iranians can recycle their waste-water… We will show how Iranian farmers can save their crops and feed their families… The people of Iran are good and decent. They shouldn’t have to face such a cruel regime alone. We are with you, we will help so that millions of Iranians don’t have to suffer.”

“The hatred of Iran’s regime will not stop the respect and friendship between our two peoples,” concluded Netanyahu.

Knesset committee passes bill deducting ‘terror money’ from PA taxes

June 12, 2018

Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee passes bill to withhold the amount the PA pays to terrorists – $340M in 2017 – from tax revenue Israel collects on its behalf • Author MK Avi Dichter: We won’t be a conduit for terrorist funds.

The family of Shalom Sharki, who was killed in a hit-and-run terrorist attack in April 2015, at the killer’s trial | Photo: Noam Revkin-Fenton

By Ariel Kahana and Gideon Allon Monday, June 11, 2018 via Israel Hayom

Source Link: Knesset committee passes bill deducting ‘terror money’ from PA taxes


{Hit them where it really hurts, in the pocketbook. – LS}

The Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee passed the second and third readings of a bill that makes it possible for Israel to withhold from the taxes it collects on behalf of the Palestinian Authority an amount equivalent to what the PA pays terrorists and their families in monthly stipends.

The committee decision overrides the government, which the bill to pass in a version that would allow the government to reinstate the tax funds at its discretion.

On Sunday, hundreds of bereaved relatives of victims of terrorism made a public appeal to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his cabinet ministers, asking that they pass the original version of the bill.

A total of 320 victims of terrorism and relatives of victims signed the letter, which stated that “it is inconceivable that the Israeli government transfer even one shekel to terrorists who murdered our loved ones, thereby rewarding despicable murderers while simultaneously encouraging terrorist attacks.”

The families sent the missive a day before the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee adopted the final version that will deduct what it terms “terrorist salaries” from the tax revenue Israel collects for the PA.

In recent months, the MKs behind the bill, including former head of the Shin Bet Avi Dichter (Likud), have been locked in a battle with the cabinet over the proposed legislation.

Many in the defense establishment worry that withholding tax revenue could lead to the economic collapse of the Palestinian Authority. The Knesset members who authored the bill, as well as the bereaved Israeli families, rejected this concern, arguing that Israel cannot continue to ignore a situation that perpetuates terrorist murders of Jews.

An investigation conducted ahead of the committee meeting on Sunday indicated that in 2017, the PA paid families of terrorists 1.2 billion shekels ($340 million), a sum that comprises 7% of the PA’s annual budget.

Dichter said, “We cannot shut our eyes to this. We won’t be a conduit for the transfer of terrorist funds.”