Archive for August 11, 2018

Turkish lawyers want US soldiers arrested for ‘ties to coup movement’

August 11, 2018

Published time: 11 Aug, 2018 16:28

© Friso Gentsch / Global Look Press

Turkish lawyers are calling for US soldiers at Incirlik Air Base to be arrested, alleging they have ties to the movement behind the 2016 coup attempt. They want the base searched via warrants and flights leaving it to be halted.

As the political row between Ankara and Washington intensifies, the attorneys from the pro-government Association for Social Justice and Aid ask for the “arrest of the commanders of the US Air Force who are the superiors of the soldiers based at Incirlik and took a role in the failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016.”

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© Umit Bektas

The details of the demands have been outlined in court documents filed at the chief public prosecutor’s office in Adana, published online by the Stockholm Center for Freedom, a group of exiled Turkish journalists.

The lawyers accuse the US military of attempting to destroy constitutional order through their activities with a movement led by Fethullah Gülen, who Ankara claims was behind the failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016.

“We want to arrest American soldiers for serious ties to FETO (Gülen movement) or in other words global American terror,” Muhammed Gömük, president of TayDer (Social Justice and Aid) told RT, adding that there are 12 “suspicious persons” implicated.

“We believe that all blames are true, absolutely, because we provided very strong evidence.”

Gömük said the investigation could spread to “lots of American officials,” including soldiers, embassy and consulate personnel. He went on to mention John Bass, the former US ambassador, claiming he had been “chatting with the coup team, according to a video record.”

In addition to their detention, the complaint seeks search and seizure warrants for the base, in order to gather evidence. It also seeks the halting of all outbound US flights from the base. Incirlik, an important staging base for combat operations against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS), is home to roughly 2,200 Americans, according to RealClear Defense.

When asked by RT what kind of response it expected from Washington, Gömük said its reaction “is not important so much,” as Turkey does not respect the US.

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© Murad Sezer

Meanwhile, US European Command spokesman Mark Mackowiak told the Air Force Times that “any reports that US government or military personnel had any previous knowledge or involvement in a Turkey coup attempt are baseless and completely false.”

The petition comes after the US levied economic sanctions on Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu and Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gul for their roles in the detention of American pastor Andrew Brunson, who has been held since October 2016 on charges of belonging to a terrorist organization – allegations which the US and international human rights organizations say are false.

Tensions between the US and Turkey, both NATO members, have steadily worsened in recent years, partly surrounding Ankara’s crackdown following the failed coup attempt. The situation declined again in October 2017, when Turkey arrested a US consulate worker for alleged ties to Gülen. The two have also recently been at odds over Turkey’s purchase of Russian S-400s, with the US holding back on its delivery of F-35 jets to Turkey over the issue.

Sweden’s Government Funds Anti-Semitism

August 11, 2018

ANALYSIS: What’s Behind the Latest Escalation in Israel’s South? 

August 11, 2018

Source: ANALYSIS: What’s Behind the Latest Escalation in Israel’s South? – Israel Today | Israel News

Friday, August 10, 2018 |  Yochanan Visser

The situation in southern Israel deteriorated significantly Wednesday night after Hamas started to pound the Israeli towns and communities in the Gaza belt with 180 rockets and mortar shells. Tens of thousands of Israelis spent several nights in bomb shelters, the IDF retaliated against over 150 terrorist targets, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his generals contemplated full-scale war.

According to Hamas, this brush with another destructive conflagration began as retaliation for an IDF attack on two of its snipers last Tuesday.

The two were taking part in an exercise that was attended by Hamas leaders and aimed their rifles at an IDF position opposite the border after which they were taken out by a Merkava tank.

However, the lead-up to this fresh outbreak of violence really started on July 20

th, when Hamas killed an IDF soldier close to the border fence in Gaza using a sniper.

Since then Hamas had been talking about a long-term truce with Israel which would include the full opening of the Keren Shalom border crossing which is used for the import of Israeli goods.

The demand Israel fully opens the Keren Shalom border crossing has nothing to do with Hamas’ desire to improve the dire humanitarian situation in the Gaza strip but everything with rampant corruption within the top of the terror organization.

The Gatestone Insitute just published an investigative article detailing this corruption which has filled the coffers of the Hamas top since it violently took over control of Gaza from the Palestinian Authority in 2007.

Corruption is one way for Hamas to stay in power maintaining a low-intensity conflict with Israel is another.

For this reason Hamas started the so-called ‘Great March of Return’ at the end of March the two-month-long violent confrontations along the border with Israel in Gaza which turned into the so-called ‘Kite Jihad’ the daily attacks with incendiary balloons and kites which have caused a ecological disaster in southern Israel.

Hamas started these violent confrontations to remain relevant and to curry favor with Iran that is using the terror group as another proxy army against Israel.

It is no coincidence Hamas leader al-Arouri, who is living in Lebanon and never visited Gaza, arrived in the coastal enclave last week officially to hold consultations with other Hamas leaders about the ‘imminent’ long-term ceasefire with Israel.

Al-Arouri, an arch terrorist who has spent years in Israeli prisons for organizing terror attacks, was responsible for the reconciliation between Hamas and the Islamist regime in Tehran in October 2017 and the resuming of Iranian aid to the Sunni Islamist terror organization.

Shortly after this reconciliation Hamas started to prepare for another round of violence with Israel but was careful not to enter into all-out war with the Jewish state.

Israeli politicians like Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman have repeatedly accused Iran of being behind the current round of violence in Israel’s south.

Al-Arouri’s presence in Gaza could be the reason Hamas suddenly escalated the hostilities against Israel.

After all, Iran is working to create three fronts against Israel via its proxies as a preparation for a major war against the Jewish State: Lebanon, Syria -where Iran has taken-over the military as reported by the Jerusalem Post on Wednesday- and Gaza.

Scenarios for a US-Iran detente 

August 11, 2018

Source: Scenarios for a US-Iran detente – Israel National News

There are two possible scenarios for what is going to transpire between the US and the Ayatollahs, one positive and the other disastrous.

Dr. Mordechai Kedar, 10/08/18 17:49 | updated: 17:40

What does the future hold for  Iran?

The American sanctions on Iran went into effect this week and a large number of companies stopped doing business with Iran so as not to lose their permission to continue to be active in America’s economy. The sanctions will turn more severe in three months time and will include banks and energy industries, with the result that Iran will lose much of its income, the major part of which stems from oil, gas and related products. It seems that only China intends to continue its regular – or almost regular – economic ties with Iran and Russia, too,will probably not entirely halt its economic ties with the Ayatollah regime.

This article will explore two possible scenarios that could take place over the next two years. Both are based on the following basic assumptions:

1. President Trump will continue to pressure Iran in every conceivable economic way and that  US pressure will bring the Iranian economy to its knees and possibly to a state of total collapse.

2. If Iran does not engage in armed violence, Trump will refrain from military action as well. If Iran employs military measures against sea travel in international waters – the Straits of Hormuz and Bab el Mandeb – the US armed forces will strike Iran mercilessly.

3. President Trump will get even with Iran if it uses “proxies” in order to attack American interests.

4. Iran will attempt to get through the coming two and a half  years quietly, hoping that Trump is to be defeated and followed by a Democratic president who will reinstate the nuclear agreement and remove the sanctions.

5. European leaders will continue to support Iran with words, but they will not be able to force European industries to do business with Iran.

6. European leaders are worried that Iran’s regime will collapse and lead to general chaos, with everyone fighting everyone else and a new wave of millions of immigrants attempting to reach Europe. That is the reason Europe’s leaders are trying to resuscitate the Iranian regime in every way they can.

There are two possible scenarios:

Scenario I: Negotiations

The best outcome for the Ayatollah regime and the worst for the Middle East and the entire world is a return to the negotiating table along with world powers in response to American demands.

Iran will use negotiations to gain time until the 2020 elections, in the hopes that Trump loses and a  Democrat wins the presidency. The Iranians are convinced that a Democratic president will return to the 2015 nuclear agreement and remove the sanctions renewed by Trump. The Ayatollahs are negotiating wizards and will succeed in dragging out negotiations for years while creating a false picture of progress, keeping Trump, American politicians and the world media calm. Iran knows that from the start of 2020, Trump will do anything that he feels will lead to his reelection and will therefore present Iranian flexibility as his negotiating achievement.

Anyone following the development of the US-North Korean affair sees a similar picture: During the Singapore meeting we saw Trump impressed by Kim, his “new-found friend” and optimistic declarations from both participants. However, during negotiations taking place far from the cameras, things are much more difficult and it is entirely unclear whether Kim will actually dismantle his nuclear project and the long range missiles threatening the US.  It is obvious that Kim wants to gain time in order to heighten the pressure on the United States, which even during the Trump era, prefers to stay out of war and has no desire to exchange salvos of ballistic missiles with a regime that has no restraints and puts no value on human life.

Iran’s rulers hope to travel a similar route with Trump: They will meet him, smile at the cameras, scatter optimistic declarations in order to achieve positive public opinion, while trying to blacken Trump’s name and create an image of him as a troublemaker – all this to lower his chances for reelection. They know all about the hatred leveled at him from large sections of the  American  public, and they will try to fuel the fire of that enmity during the negotiations. They will create an image of a country willing to compromise and ease up, in order to give the anti-Trumpers a weapon to use against a president who does not want to reach an agreement similar to that granted them by Obama.

Anyone with the slightest understanding of the Middle East realizes that the very fact of the United States entering into negotiations with the Iranians is an Iranian victory. They will use the negotiations to gain time while Trump’s political clock approaches November 2020.  The negotiations will leave the Ayatollah regime intact, and despite the dire economic situation, they will survive Trump’s four year term and then continue exactly as they did before his election: Resume their military nuclear project, continue manufacturing long range ballistic missiles and continue threatening the stability of the Middle East and the rest of the world.

Scenario II: A systemic collapse

Developments in Iran over the past several months are leading the country to a collapse of its economic system, from which it is a short road to the collapse of the regime.
Developments in Iran over the past several months are leading the country to a collapse of its economic system, from which it is a short road to the collapse of the regime. Inflation is rampant at about 130%, local currency has lost 80% of its value and is still going down. The reason behind this negative development is the public’s lack of faith in the Iranian currency and a general feeling of pessimism with regard to Iran’s economy’s ability to survive the severe and strict sanctions to which it is going to be subjected.

There are demonstrations taking place in a good many Iranian cities almost every day. The public has lost its fear and is turning its anger towards a regime that wasted the 150 billion dollars in cash it received from Obama in 2015 on the needless wars in Yemen, Syria and Iraq – let alone the pockets of Lebanon’s Hezbollah and Gaza’s Hamas, refilled with hard-to-get Iranian funds by the Ayatollahs.  Chants heard at the protests include “Death to the dictator” and “Not Falestin and Lebanon – Iran first!”

The drought that hit large parts of the country has turned millions of farmers, especially in the Asfahan Province, into hungry, thirsty and embittered citizens. They complain – justifiably so – that the country has not invested in improving the water infrastructure, in drilling for water, building dams and bringing water from other areas. Instead, it invested its monies in useless wars and the bank accounts of corrupt leaders.

Iran’s citizens know well that every one of the regime’s leaders took care of their own, buying homes in China, Russia, South America or other havens where no questions are asked, no one’s past is checked and no one is put on trial for involvement in human rights violations. The Iranian public knows that its leaders and their families will flee the country to those ready and waiting sanctuaries as soon as they feel the end of the game is near – and to hell with the country and everyone in it.

One of the unanswerable questions at this point is how loyal the armed forces will be to the Ayatollah regime and how much they will do to stop the protests. It is reasonable to assume that the Basij, the civilian guards, will be loyal to the regime while attempting to avoid confrontation with local citizenry in order to prevent fanning the flames. Over the last year, that restraint was evident when damage was inflicted on police stations that serve them. The Revolutionary Guards will probably show more cruelty, but will be held in reserve for last ditch fighting. The army will be called to suppress protests only as a last resort, as the regime is not entirely sure whether its loyalties lie with the people or the government.

If street demonstrations continue, it is probable that ethnic minorities will begin to get into the act with violent partisan activities against the regime. The Baluchi, in southwest Iran and their armed Jondrallah militia will be the first to take advantage of government weakness. The Arabs in the Ahwad region will probably be the next group to declare a rebellion against the regime and the Kurds in northwestern Iraq will soon follow suit.

World opinion is crucial at this point. Support, even in the form of declaratory words, will encourage the public to go out to the streets, and will be of immense help if real aid also arrives from the countries that wish to see the collapse of the Ayatollah regime:  Coded means of communication, arms, weapons, money and medical supplies for treating the wounded. The most effective and significant help is a credible threat to the Ayatollahs that any use of violence against protestors will be responded to by the bombing of Revolutionary Guard bases, communications centers and government institutions. That kind of threat will paralyze the regime’s ability to face a furious public and expedite the date its heads flee the country.

If there is a general systemic collapse in Iran, it might sink into a state of chaos with a battle raging and everyone fighting everyone else. People will take revenge on government leaders, their families and their property, thereby letting out their anger against the regime and its symbols.  We can expect loyalists to set intelligence, police and Revolutionary Guard archives on fire to prevent their falling into the hands of their opponents.

What next?

The best thing President Trump can do is send a Twitter message to the Ayatollahs to this effect: “My dear Iranian Leaders – Your time is up and the game is over.”
The best thing President Trump can do is send a Twitter message to the Ayatollahs to this effect:

“My dear Iranian Leaders – Your time is up and the game is over. You are disturbing the stability of the Middle East, scheming of war and causing indescribable suffering to many millions of people, in and out of Iran. You lie and cheat shamelessly so that no one has faith in you.  There will be no negotiating with you – not on anything. Because I do not believe a word you say. You have exactly a month to do the following:

1. Dismantle all the equipment at your nuclear sites, except for the Busheir power plant, removing all the dismantled equipment including centrifuges and enriched uranium to Russia.

2. Dismantle all the rocket and missile plants you have built

3. Dismantle all the ballistic missiles you have manufactured.

4. Bring back all the Iranian, Afghan and Iraqi forces from Syria, Iraq and Yemen.

5. Cease sending arms, weapons, communications and other military equipment to Yemen, Syria, Lebanon and Iraq.

6.  Cease sending funds to Lebanon’s Hezbollah,  to Shiite militias in Iraq and to Hamas.

7. Confiscate all the monies stolen by the regime’s leaders and return them to the national treasury.

8. Allocate the sums needed to develop water sources in the Isfahan region and to cleanse the earth and rivers in the Ahwaz region.

You have exactly a month to carry out every single one of these demands without exception, and do not request an extension because you will not be granted one.

If you do not meet any or all of these demands, all options will be open to us, including the use of force to defend ourselves and the peace of the region and the world against the revolution-fomenting ideology you have been exporting in such terrible fashion for 38 years. Read my lips because I mean every word I say and if you wish to survive, take me seriously.

A letter of this ilk will seen as a credible threat to the rulers of Iran. Ever since they seized the throne in 1979 they only act the way they should when they feel a tangible threat. That is what happened in 1980 when they unconditionally freed the US diplomats they had trapped in the American Embassy in Teheran because of the threat made by newly elected President Ronald Reagan, one which they perceived as authentic. It happened again in 1988 when they gave in to the Iraqis because the US downed an Iranian passenger plane by mistake. And so it was in 2003, when they froze their military nuclear plans because of the Western armies’ invasion of Iraq, fearing that they were next in line. Once that concern was gone in 2006, they returned to implementing their military nuclear program.

It is important to realize that the more credible the American threat, the more chance there is that there will be no need to make good on it. The Iranian regime is not suicidal and they know full well that absolutely no one will come to their aid if they are attacked by US planes or missiles. If President Trump sends them a message that makes it clear that he intends to take action against the Iranian regime if he must, they will give in, do what is demanded of them and possibly survive the angry Iranian masses.

This is the only way to achieve the desired result for 80 million Iranian citizens, the region and the world. Negotiating with them would be a disaster as it grants them a life insurance policy which they will exploit to its fullest on the backs of the Iranian common man, the region’s countries and the world. Only a believable threat can save Iran from total collapse and Europe from the influx of millions fleeing the Iranian hell. If Europe’s leaders want to avoid another wave of refugees, they will have to support the economic sanctions placed on Iran and join Trump’s credible threat – in the hopes of freeing the world from the Iranian nightmare during Trump’s first term of office.

Iran TV accused of muting ‘death to the dictator’ stadium chants at soccer game

August 11, 2018

Source: Iran TV accused of muting ‘death to the dictator’ stadium chants at soccer game | The Times of Israel

Sports commentators for the state broadcaster tell viewers low volume due to ‘network disruption’

FILE -- Iranian soccer fans follow a qualifying match with Uzbekistan in their Asia Group A, 2018 Russia World Cup at the Azadi Stadium in Tehran, Iran, June 12, 2017 (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)

FILE — Iranian soccer fans follow a qualifying match with Uzbekistan in their Asia Group A, 2018 Russia World Cup at the Azadi Stadium in Tehran, Iran, June 12, 2017 (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)

TEHRAN, Iran — Iranians reported Saturday that the state broadcaster had muted stadium noise during the previous evening’s soccer match in Tehran, in an apparent attempt to drown out anti-government chants.

Mobile phone footage shared widely on social media showed thousands of fans in Tehran’s Azadi stadium chanting “Death to the dictator” during the fixture between the capital’s Esteghlal and Tractor Sazi from the northwestern city of Tabriz.

Although the video could not be independently verified, it coincided with a decision by state broadcaster IRIB to mute the sound and avoid shots of the crowd.

“Yesterday, when the football was being shown, the sound in the stadium was turned down to such a level that one would think they were playing in an alleyway,” said one Twitter user.

The Voice of America


Fans of visiting team Tractor Sazi of Tabriz chant “death to the dictator” as they await a match against local team Esteghlal at Tehran’s Azadi Stadium, August 10, 2018. 

IRIB’s soccer commentators blamed “network disruption” for the low volume, without giving details.

“They turned down the volume so no one could hear the slogans,” said another Twitter user.

Iran has seen nationwide strikes and protests in recent weeks, focused on high prices and unemployment but also featuring radical political slogans.

The authorities have acknowledged anger over the economic situation — which has been exacerbated by the United States’ reimposition of sanctions on Tuesday following its abandonment of a landmark 2015 nuclear deal.

But they say any political agitation is the work of outside instigators, fomented by the US, Saudi Arabia and Israel.

Heavy reporting restrictions and reports of mobile internet blackouts in affected areas have made it difficult to verify claims by the authorities and on social media.

In possible message to U.S., Iran fires anti-ship missile during naval drills 

August 11, 2018

Source: In possible message to U.S., Iran fires anti-ship missile during naval drills – Middle East – Jerusalem Post

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards confirmed on Sunday it had held war games in the Gulf over the past several days.

 AUGUST 11, 2018 00:57
In possible message to U.S., Iran fires anti-ship missile during naval drills

WASHINGTON – Iran test-fired a short-range anti-ship missile in the Strait of Hormuz during naval drillslast week that Washington believes were aimed at sending a message as the United States reimposes sanctions on Tehran, a US official said on Friday.

The official, however, did not suggest that such a missile test was unusual during naval exercises or that it was carried out unsafely, noting it occurred in what could be described as Iranian territorial waters in the Strait.

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards confirmed on Sunday it had held war games in the Gulf over the past several days, saying they were aimed at “confronting possible threats” by enemies.

US Army General Joseph Votel, head of the US military’s Central Command, said earlier this week the scope and scale of the exercises were similar to ones Iran had carried out in the past. But the timing of this particular set of exercises was designed to get Washington’s attention.

“It’s pretty clear to us that they were trying to use that exercise to send a message to us that as we approach this period of the sanctions here, that they had some capabilities,” Votel told reporters at the Pentagon.

Iran has been furious over US President Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of an international agreement on Iran’s nuclear program and re-impose sanctions on Tehran. Senior Iranian officials have warned the country would not easily yield to a renewed US campaign to strangle Iran’s vital oil exports.

Last month, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei backed President Hassan Rouhani’s suggestion that Iran may block Gulf oil exports if its own exports are stopped.

Votel said the US military was keenly aware of Iran’s military activities.

“We are aware of what’s going on, and we remain ready to protect ourselves as we pursue our objectives of freedom of navigation and the freedom of commerce in international waters,” Votel said.

German businesses suffering as U.S. sanctions and tariffs bite

August 11, 2018

Source: German businesses suffering as U.S. sanctions and tariffs bite – International news – Jerusalem Post

“Of course the US policies are impacting German foreign trade.”

 AUGUST 11, 2018 06:38
German businesses suffering as U.S. sanctions and tariffs bite

BERLIN – German companies are increasingly suffering from US President Donald Trump’s policy of sanctions – including those against Iran – and the tariffs he is pursuing in an escalating trade war with China, business associations said on Thursday.

Washington said on Wednesday it would also impose fresh sanctions on Russia by the end of August after it determined that Moscow had used a nerve agent against a former Russian agent and his daughter in Britain, something the Kremlin denies.

“Of course the US policies are impacting German foreign trade,” Holger Bingmann, head of the BGA trade association, told Reuters. “Individual companies are grinding their teeth and are severely affected.”

Volker Treier, foreign trade chief at the DIHK Chambers of Commerce, said the international environment was becoming increasingly complex for German businesses.

Treier said many of Germany’s trading partners were affected by the US measures and their effects, which was in turn hurting business with German companies. Exports were not faring as well as last year, he added.

He said DIHK’s forecast that German exports would increase by 5 percent this year “seems increasingly ambitious.”

Bingmann and Treier were reacting to the new US sanctions against Russia but also to punitive measures against Iran and reciprocal tariffs and trade threats by the US and China.

The United States will impose tariffs on another $16 billion of imports from August 23 and China plans to slap additional tariffs of 25 percent on the same amount of US imports ranging from fuel and steel products to autos and medical equipment.

On Wednesday China and Germany defended their business ties with Iran in the face of Trump’s warning that any companies trading with the Islamic Republic would be barred from the United States.

“It’s simply unacceptable that US laws are being enforced outside US territory,” Bingmann said.

He urged the German government to provide details on how it would protect German firms after the latest U.S. sanctions against Iran, adding that if Berlin did not do that, German firms would gradually cease doing business there.

On Monday German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said Germany, France and Britain were determined to protect European companies engaged in business with Iran using an updated version of the EU’s so-called Blocking Statute, which bans any EU company from complying with US sanctions.

Bingmann said German trade with customers in other countries was doing well overall but that was largely due to good business in the EU.