Archive for July 23, 2018

Ireland’s Anti-Israel Bill and the Muslim Brotherhood

July 23, 2018

IDF strikes Gaza terror cell for second time in 24-hours

July 23, 2018
By Tovah Lazaroff
July 23, 2018 16:39
Smoke rises following an Israeli strike on a building in Gaza City July 14, 2018. (photo credit: REUTERS/IBRAHEEM ABU MUSTAFA)

The IDF struck a Gaza terror cell Monday afternoon for the second time in 24 hours as Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman warned Hamas that Israel was not afraid to go to war.

Last night Israel’s air-force also struck a Gaza terror cell which had launched flaming kites and balloons into southern Israel.

On Saturday, as part of an Egypt brokered understanding, Hamas agreed to halt its violent attacks against Israel, which has included rockets, mortars, flaming kites and balloons. There have also been repeated infiltration attempts and violent riots at the Gaza Israel border. On Friday, a Palestinian sniper killed an Israeli soldier who was defending the border fence.

There have been no attacks against Israel since Saturday. Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman has said he will rescind the severe restrictions he has imposed on Gaza’s main commercial crossing by Tuesday as long as Hamas continues to hold its fire.

Liberman met Monday with members of the IDF’s general staff to discuss the border violence.

“Regarding the Gaza Strip, we must ask ourselves four basic questions: Is the State of Israel interested in a war against Hamas in the Gaza Strip? The answer is no. Are we deterred from [engaging in a military] campaign in the Gaza Strip? Here too, the answer is no,” Liberman said.

“Are we prepared to accept a reality in which there is fire, incendiary kites and friction along the fence? The answer is no. Have we done everything we can to prevent a war in Gaza? The answer is yes,” Liberman said.

“So everything that happens from here on in with regard to the Gaza Strip is solely the responsibility of the Hamas leadership,” he said.

“We hit Hamas very hard over the weekend and – if it proves necessary – we will hit them seven-fold,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.

US President Donald Trump warns Iran’s Hassan Rouhani against threatening Washington; says ‘be cautious’

July 23, 2018

President Donald Trump is warning Iranian President Hassan Rouhani that he will face dire consequences for threatening the United States.

Trump tweeted early Monday about the dangers to Iran of making hostile threats after Rouhani said Sunday “American must understand well that peace with Iran is the mother of all peace and war with Iran is the mother of all wars.”

By: Associated Press | Washington | Published: July 23, 2018 Financial Express

Source Link: US President Donald Trump warns Iran’s Hassan Rouhani against threatening Washington; says ‘be cautious’

Bonus Link: President Trump and Secretary of State Pompeo Respond to Threats From Iran

{Iran knows they wouldn’t stand a chance in an all-out war with the US military. They’re betting there be no escalation on Trump’s part. Imagine that…putting the entire Iranian nation at risk on a bet. – LS}

President Donald Trump is warning Iranian President Hassan Rouhani that he will face dire consequences for threatening the United States.

Trump tweeted early Monday about the dangers to Iran of making hostile threats after Rouhani said Sunday “American must understand well that peace with Iran is the mother of all peace and war with Iran is the mother of all wars.” Trump responded early Monday with a tweet that warned: “NEVER EVER THREATEN THE UNITED STATES AGAIN OR YOU WILL SUFFER CONSEQUENCES THE LIKE OF WHICH FEW THROUGHOUT HISTORY HAVE EVER SUFFERED BEFORE.”

Trump earlier this year pulled the United States out of the international deal meant to prevent Tehran from developing a nuclear weapon and ordered increased American sanctions.

Rouhani warned Trump Sunday to stop “playing with the lion’s tail” and threatening Iran, “or else you will regret it.”

Trump has suggested Iranian leaders are “going to call me and say `let’s make a deal”’ but Iran has rejected talks.

Rouhani has previously lashed out against Trump for threatening to re-impose the sanctions, as well as for moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem and banning travel to the U.S. from certain Muslim-majority countries.

Trump’s tweet suggested he has little patience with the trading of hostile messages with Iran, using exceptionally strong language and writing an all-capitalized message.


Trump has a history of firing off heated tweets that seem to quickly escalate long-standing disputes with leaders of nations at odds with the U.S.

In the case of North Korea, the public war of words cooled quickly and gradually led to the high profile summit and denuclearization talks.

Israeli jets said to strike Iranian-run missile production facility in Syria

July 23, 2018

Source: Israeli jets said to strike Iranian-run missile production facility in Syria | The Times of Israel

The site has been bombed by Israel in the past and the US accuses Syria of producing sarin gas there; hours before attack PM vowed to keep hitting Iranian presence in Syria

A screen capture from a video purporting to show the aftermath of an Israeli strike on a research facility in the Masyaf area of northwest Syria on July 22, 2018. (Screen capture: Twitter)

A screen capture from a video purporting to show the aftermath of an Israeli strike on a research facility in the Masyaf area of northwest Syria on July 22, 2018. (Screen capture: Twitter)

Israeli jets reportedly carried out a strike Sunday on a missile production facility in northwest Syria that observers say was supervised by Iranians. In the past, the site was allegedly used to produce and store chemical weapons.

“One of our military positions in Masyaf was the target of an Israeli air aggression,” Syria’s official news agency SANA said quoting a military source. Hebrew media quoted Syrian opposition officials as saying that several Hezbollah members were killed, but the reports could not be confirmed. SANA said the strikes cause only “material damage.”

It was the fourth time this month that Syria has accused Israel of bombing a military position in the country.

There was no comment from Israel, but the strike came just hours after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Israel was continuously acting against Iran’s military activities in Syria.

“We will not stop taking action in Syria against Iran’s attempts to establish a military presence there,” he said in a statement from his office.

Illustrative: Missiles rise into the sky as Israeli missiles hit air defense position and other military bases, in Damascus, Syria, May 10, 2018. (Syrian Central Military Media, via AP)

A war monitor, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, also reported the air strike and said it targeted a “workshop supervised by Iranians where surface-to-surface missiles are made.”

“Iranian forces and forces from Lebanon’s Hezbollah movement are deployed in that sector,” Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP.

A government scientific research centre is located in Masyaf and was hit by an Israeli air strike in September 2017.

Reports said the target of the strike was a facility belonging to the Scientific Studies and Research Center, known as CERS, near Masyaf in Hama province. Western officials have long associated CERS with the manufacture of chemical arms. According to the United States sarin gas was being developed at that center, a charge denied by the Syrian authorities.

The reports came just before dusk, marking what would be a rare daylight raid. Most of the attacks Israel has acknowledged carrying out in Syria have been at night. Israel has not acknowledged all the strikes attributed to it in Syria.

Al-Mayadeen, a television channel associated with Lebanon’s Hezbollah terror group, which is fighting alongside regime forces in Syria, said the target of the strike was a research center in the area.

The network also reported the airstrike was carried out from Lebanese airspace.

Video was posted on social media reportedly showing attempts to intercept several of the missiles.

In September, Syria accused Israel of carrying out a strike on the facility that left two dead. The bombing came after opposition sources claimed that Iranian and Syrian specialists were working there to develop chemical weapons capability for missiles.

A senior member of the Syrian opposition, citing security officials still working for the regime at the time, told The Times of Israel in 2014 that Assad’s forces were stockpiling chemical substances and missiles carrying chemical warheads at the site, which was not made available to international inspectors tasked with ensuring the destruction of the weapons.

Satellite images from July 7 and 17, 2018, showing the results of an alleged Israeli airstrike on an airfield in Aleppo, Syria, which is said to be a base for Iranian forces. (ImageSat International ISI)

Last week, Syria blamed Israel for a bombing raid targeted Al-Nayrab airbase, adjacent to Aleppo’s international airport. The facility was identified in the past as a base for Iranian forces, including Tehran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

Syrian rebel forces claimed that 22 people, including nine Iranians, were killed in the strike, the Qatar-based al-Jazeera network reported Monday. That figure, which could not be confirmed, was significantly higher than an earlier report of nine deaths by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based monitor.

Suspected Israeli airstrikes have hit Syrian army positions near Damascus and in the central provinces of Homs and Hama in the past, including on July 8, when Israel was said to have carried out an airstrike on the T-4 military base near Homs, also thought to be used by IRGC fighters.

Russian Envoy: Moscow, Jerusalem reached understandings on southwest Syria 

July 23, 2018

Source: Russian Envoy: Moscow, Jerusalem reached understandings on southwest Syria – International news – Jerusalem Post

Netanyahu and Putin have met three times this year, and have now spoken on the phone at least 10 times, a frequency that underlines the degree of coordination between the two countries.

 JULY 22, 2018 22:18
Russian Envoy: Moscow, J'lem reached understandings on southwest Syria

Israel and Russia have an understanding regarding what southwestern Syria will look like after President Bashar Assad retakes complete control over the area bordering Israel, Russia’s ambassador to Israel said in a recent interview.

Anatoly Viktorov, in an interview with Russia’s Rossiya- 24 television channel on Friday, said the high-level Russian delegation that came to Israel and met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a day before he left for Moscow to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin on July 11, “came to an understanding what these territories will look like after the complete expulsion of renegade and terrorist groups.”

The delegation included Alexander Lavrentiev, Putin’s special envoy on Syria, and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Vershinin.

“The sides came to the understanding of how it will look like for Israel,” Viktorov said. “There are different reports in the media that some groups will withdraw from this area to a certain number of kilometers. It is quite true. There are specific agreements how it will look like in the future.”

Following his meeting with Putin in Moscow, Netanyahu said the Russians had moved Iranian forces and their Shia proxies dozens of kilometers away from Syria’s border with Israel. Netanyahu has repeatedly said that Israel will not accept an Iranian presence in Syria, but made clear in Moscow that “the immediate priorities were to distance the Iranian forces away from the border, and to remove Iranian longrange missiles from Syria.”

According to an op-ed by Josh Rogin in The Washington Post on Friday, Russia agreed with Israel to keep Iranian troops and proxy groups 80 kilometers from Israel’s border, and that Putin would not object if Israel strikes Iranian military positions in southern Syria, especially if Iran deploys weapons such as strategic missiles or anti-aircraft systems.

Netanyahu spoke by phone with Putin on Friday, just nine days after their last meeting. Jerusalem and Moscow chose to focus on different aspects of the conversation about Syria in the laconic statements they put out about the call.

The Prime Minister’s Office issued a statement saying the two leaders spoke about developments in the region and the situation in Syria. Netanyahu, according to this statement, “noted that Israel will continue to act against the Iranian military entrenchment in Syria.”

The Kremlin statement, however, said the two leaders “continued their discussion on developments in the Middle East with an emphasis on the Syrian settlement process.”

In addition to the Putin-Netanyahu call, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman spoke on Friday with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Shoigu. In that conversation, according to a tweet put out by the Russian Embassy, the two men “discussed cooperation between the two defense departments” and “exchanged views on the situation in southwest Syria.”

Netanyahu and Putin have met three times this year, and have now spoken on the phone at least 10 times, a frequency that underlines the degree of coordination between the two countries.

The phone call came four days after Putin’s meeting with US President Donald Trump in Helsinki, in which both leaders spoke of the importance of Israel’s security.

Trump, in a Fox News interview after that meeting, said he and Putin “came to a lot of good conclusions” during the meeting, including “a really good conclusion for Israel, something very strong.”

Though Trump did not spell out what the conclusion was, he said Putin is “a believer in Israel; he is a fan of Bibi and really helping him a lot – and will help a lot, which is good for all of us.”

Putin, in his press conference with Trump after the Helsinki meeting, said, “The south of Syria should be brought to the full compliance with the treaty of 1974, about the separation of forces of Israel and Syria. This will bring peace to the Golan Heights and bring [a] more peaceful relationship between Syria and Israel – and also provide security of the State of Israel.”

Putin said during the press conference that Trump “paid special attention to the issue during today’s negotiations. And I would like to confirm that Russia is interested in this development and will act accordingly.”

Pompeo: Trump will be launching ‘maximum pressure campaign’ on Iran regim 

July 23, 2018

Source: Pompeo: Trump will be launching ‘maximum pressure campaign’ on Iran regim – Middle East – Jerusalem Post

The Iranian people are expressing their frustration with their government’s corruption and mismanagement.

 JULY 23, 2018 03:59
Mike Pompeo

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration has launched a “maximum pressure campaign” targeting the Iranian government, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Sunday, in an effort to collapse the regime and its economy in support of a dis-empowered Iranian people.

Speaking at the Reagan Presidential Library in California, Pompeo sought to appeal to the diaspora of Iranians that had fled the country after the 1979 revolution. He claimed that US President Donald Trump is “willing to talk to the regime in Tehran” if they show signs of change. But no signs are forthcoming, he said.

“The mission set for our team is clear,” Pompeo told gathered guests, including selectively invited Iranian Americans, donors, senators and congressmen: The administration will pursue a “diplomatic and economic pressure campaign” that will support the “shoots of liberty” growing through the Iran’s rocky soil.

It was the secretary’s second major speech on the topic of Iran, following the first major foreign policy speech of his tenure, on the path forward on Iran policy after Trump withdrew from the Iran nuclear agreement in May.

That decision, Pompeo said, has freed the US to reimpose crushing financial sanctions on the regime– and on those doing business with it. He repeated on Sunday that the administration seeks to force Iranian crude exports “as close to zero as possible by November 4,” when the harshest US sanctions lifted by the 2015 nuclear accord snap back into place.

Earlier in the day, Iran’s president, Hassan Rouhani, warned that Trump’s efforts to pressure the regime were tantamount to a war cry– and that “war with Iran would be the mother of all wars.” But Pompeo hit back several times on Sunday night with biting language on the regime leadership, characterizing them as “hypocritical holy men” operating secret hedge funds “driven by a desire to conform all of the Iranian society to the tenets of the Iranian revolution.”

“Fighting the United States and destroying are at the heart of the regime’s philosophy,” he said, questioning whether “statesmen or moderates” have any place in the current government. “It’s like an Iranian unicorn,” he quipped, calling the leadership– including Iran’s foreign minister, Javad Zarif, “polished frontmen for the ayatollah’s international con-artistry.”

He called them wolves in sheep’s clothing that dispatched “intolerant, black-robed enforcers” in the streets to enforce their rule. And yet he said the US was monitoring the most enduring protest moving across the country that it had seen since 1979, when the country’s Islamist mullahs took power.

“Iranians want to be governed with dignity, accountability and respect,” he said. “A constitution that enshrines the export of Iranian revolution is not normal.”

Thus, the administration would work to support grassroots protests in the country, Pompeo said, in part by targeting the people with US government broadcasts and by offering Iranians tools to circumvent Iranian government censors of the internet.

Already, supporters of the regime likened that effort to foreign campaigns to interfere in the 2016 US presidential election, spreading the hashtag #StopMeddlingInIran on Twitter.

And domestic critics of the administration, including veteran diplomats behind the 2015 international nuclear deal with Iran, were quick to criticize the speech.

Pompeo’s words “were meant to assure the Iranian diaspora that the Trump administration stands with the Iranian people,” said Diplomacy Works, an organization that campaigns for the preservation of the nuclear accord. “Instead of providing reassurance, however, his speech only underscores the counterproductive nature of this administration’s Iran strategy and parallels efforts by the G. W. Bush administration to prepare for war in Iraq by exploiting the voices of exiled Iraqis to validate their destabilizing plan.”

“Data shows that the sanctions regime this administration plans to impose following the president’s decision to violate the [Iran deal] will hurt the Iranian people– the very people Secretary Pompeo routinely promised to protect– far more than it will impact the IRGC or the government of Iran,” the statement continued, referring to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps.