Archive for September 1, 2018

Italy and Hungary Create ‘Anti-Immigration Axis’

September 1, 2018

Kredo Describes ‘Long-Ignored’ Story of Iranian Spy Operations in U.S.

September 1, 2018


Washington Free Beacon senior writer Adam Kredo said Friday that two Iranian spies recently arrested in the U.S. were part of a much larger intelligence effort by the Islamic Republic.

“This is a story long-ignored,” Kredo said.

Kredo, speaking on on One America News Network’s “Tipping Point,” described how Iran’s intelligence activity reaches far around the world. Rep. Peter Roskam (R., Ill.) described the arrested Iranians as just the “tip of the iceberg,” and Kredo warned of mounting evidence that Iran is actively engaged in the U.S. and the western hemisphere.

“All we have to do is look at Latin America and the sophisticated operation that Hezbollah runs to just operating with impunity in terms of drug trade and arms trafficking, but very much embedding themselves in the government of certain left-leaning South American nations,” he said.

He described how the agents arrested were focused on Jewish and Israeli facilities for a possible attack.

“They were canvassing, essentially spying on Jewish and Israeli facilities around town with what they expected was the intent of planning some sort of terror attack,” he said.

“The Iranians have a very sophisticated espionage operation,” he said, noting it is bolstered by terrorist organizations like Hezbollah.

He said it’s important to “take the Iranians at face value” when they show their intentions.

Roskam told the Free Beacon that more is yet to be learned about Iran’s activities:

While the arrest of the two Iranians was met with shock in the press, Roskam said he was not surprised by the arrests, which have unearthed concrete evidence of the Islamic Republic’s efforts to foment discord across the globe, including on American soil.

“This is the tip of the iceberg,” Roskam said in an interview. “This is not a surprise and this is a result of the Iran regime getting financial support from the Obama administration in the Iran deal.”

Iran has been emboldened by the lack of international repercussions on its malevolent behavior and may have increased its intelligence operations in America in the years since the landmark nuclear deal, he said.

Iran is “acting with impunity, that deal emboldened them,” Roskam said. “This is an unmasking of that. Unfortunately it’s all too predictable. Give a malevolent regime huge amounts of cash with no restraining influence and this is what happens.”

The Trump Justice Department announced last week it had arrested two Iranians and charged them with spying on behalf of the hardline regime, a discovery that has refocused attention on the Islamic Republic’s global spy operations.

U.S. announces immediate end to UNRWA funding 

September 1, 2018

Source: U.S. announces immediate end to UNRWA funding – Arab-Israeli Conflict – Jerusalem Post

“The administration has carefully reviewed the issue and determined that the United States will not make additional contributions to UNRWA,” the State Department said in a statement.

 AUGUST 31, 2018 23:41
U.S. announces immediate end to UNRWA funding

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration has cut all funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), questioning the organization’s “fundamental business model” of servicing an “endlessly and exponentially expanding community” of declared Palestinian refugees.

The move was previewed by US media outlets in recent weeks after e-mails from President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, were leaked showing his interest in “disrupting” the UN body.

“The administration has carefully reviewed the issue and determined that the United States will not make additional contributions to UNRWA,” the State Department said in a statement. “When we made a US contribution of $60 million in January, we made it clear that the United States was no longer willing to shoulder the very disproportionate share of the burden of UNRWA’s costs that we had assumed for many years.”

“Beyond the budget gap itself and failure to mobilize adequate and appropriate burden sharing, the fundamental business model and fiscal practices that have marked UNRWA for years– tied to UNRWA’s endlessly and exponentially expanding community of entitled beneficiaries– is simply unsustainable and has been in crisis mode for many years,” it continued. “The United States will no longer commit further funding to this irredeemably flawed operation.”

The Palestinian Authority envoy to Washington, Husam Zomlot, said in a statement that the US was “reneging on its international commitments” by cutting its aid– the most generous of any country.

“It’s not up to the US administration to define the status of Palestinian refugees,” Zomlot said. “The only status the US can define is, its own role in peacemaking in the region. By endorsing the most extreme Israeli narrative on all issues including the rights of more than 5 million Palestinian refugees, the US administration has lost its status as peacemaker and is damaging not only an already volatile situation but the prospects for future peace in the Middle East.”

A State Department official confirmed to The Jerusalem Post earlier this week that, while the administration would disapprove of UNRWA’s definition for Palestinian refugees qualifying for aid, it would not redefine nor enumerate the category.

UNRWA claims that the descendants of refugees from 1940s Mandate Palestine qualify as refugees themselves– a definition that has allowed the number of beneficiaries to balloon in recent years.

“We are very mindful of and deeply concerned regarding the impact upon innocent Palestinians, especially school children, of the failure of UNRWA and key members of the regional and international donor community to reform and reset the UNRWA way of doing business,” the State Department said. “These children are part of the future of the Middle East.  Palestinians, wherever they live, deserve better than an endlessly crisis-driven service provision model.  They deserve to be able to plan for the future.”

US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo joined Kushner in support of the decision. The administration had already cut much of its aid to UNRWA earlier in the year.

“UNRWA can stay there, and we will be a donor if it reforms what it does,” Haley told the Foundation for Defense of Democracies earlier this week. “If it goes and makes sure that they’re not doing those teachings in textbooks, if they actually change the number of refugees to an accurate account. We will look back at partnering them.”

A spokesman for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas called the US decision a “flagrant assault” against the Palestinian people, and a “defiance of UN resolutions.”

“Such a punishment will not succeed to change the fact that the United States no longer has a role in the region and that it is not a part of the solution.”

In Gaza, the Islamist group Hamas also condemned the US move as a “grave escalation against the Palestinian people.”

“The American decision aims to wipe out the right of return and is a grave US escalation against the Palestinian people,” said Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri.

Abu Zuhri told Reuters the “US leadership has become an enemy of our people and of our nation and we will not surrender before such unjust decisions.”

Reuters contributed to this report.

Iran increases missile threat to Israel, linking Syria and Iraq

September 1, 2018

Source: Iran increases missile threat to Israel, linking Syria and Iraq – Middle East – Jerusalem Post

Missile facilities and launchers are reportedly located near Russian and US-led Coalition forces and run by Iranian proxies.

 AUGUST 31, 2018 17:31
An Iranian Officer of Revolutionary Guards with Israel flag drawn on his boots

Two new reports reveal the depth of Iran’s missile threat emanating from Iraq and Syria. In Syria a clandestine surface-to-surface missile (SSM) facility at Wadi Jahanamm will likely be completed by early 2019. In Iraq the Iranian regime has deployed medium-range missiles with Shi’ite militia proxies that are capable of hitting Israel. Together the missile threats represent a creeping power-play by Tehran at the same time Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has insisted Jerusalem would continue to act against threats and after John Boltonvisited Jerusalem in mid-August.

By reportedly basing its missiles near Russian forces in northern Syria and near US-led Coalition forces in Iraq, Iran is trying to protect its missiles while threatening Israel and potentially dragging Israel into a regional conflict if Jerusalem wanted to strike at these facilities and threats. Tehran seeks to play this dangerous regional missile game as it carves out an arc of influence from Baghdad via Damascus to Lebanon.

On August 30 ImageSat International released a report noting that “Tehran is a major contributor to the Syrian missile project, including building the new SSM facility near Baniyas.” ImageSat International had previously released satellite images of the Wadi Jahanamm site last August. But there are new details now that link the Wadi Jahannam facility to the nearby Masyaf facility which has been hit by airstrikes several times. The Syrian regime has blamed Israel for these attacks. Both Masyaf and the other site are “located within the operational range of an S-400 deployment” because they are close to Russian facilities at Tartus on the coast.

The warnings about the development at the Syrian site come as a new report emerged that Iran has sent missiles to its allies in Iraq. Iran has transferred three missile types into Iraq, including its latest Zolfaghar (Zulfiqar) missile, which is a solid-fueled short range ballistic missile capable of reaching a range of 700 km. It was first used in a strike by Iran against Islamic State in June 2017 and was fired from Kermanshah in Iraq. Its deployment in Iraq puts it within easy range of Israel. The Zolfaghar is complimented by Fateh 110 short range, road-mobile missiles that can reach up to 300km. To reach Israel these missiles would have to be deployed in the Western desert of Iraq. According to the report Iran also transported Zelzal-3 rockets that can reach up to 250km. Iranian and Iraqi sources told Reuters that Iran had made a decision to produce missiles in Iraq. A Western source said that factories had been established east of Baghdad and north of Kerbala. “It seems Iran has been turning Iraq into its forward missile base.” Kata’ib Hezbollah, a Shi’ite militia in Iraq that is allied to Iran controls the areas where the missiles are. It shares  a similar name and role as Lebanese Hezbollah, but is a separate militia.

There are two interesting details here. First, that the missiles or warheads for them are being produced in Iraq and that Shi’ite militias run the factories. Second, that Kata’ib Hezbollah is specifically mentioned. These militias is part of a group of militias that make up the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMU) which helped Iraq fight ISIS. In 2016 the PMU was incorporated into Iraq’s official paramilitary structure. In 2017 Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, said that these Shi’ite militias were the “hope” of the future of Iraq. In 2018 the militias gained even more influence when their political party, the Fatah alliance, came in second in the May elections.

This puts militias like Kata’ib Hezbollah close to the center of power in Baghdad. US officials said in May that these militias “posed the greatest threat to the safety of US personnel” and could harm the stabilization of Iraq. The US Department of Treasury has not only sanctioned Kata’ib Hezbollah leader Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, but also sanctioned the Iraqi bank Al Bilad Islamic Bank, accusing it of transferring funds to Hezbollah and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

In June an airstrike in Syrua near Albukamal on the Iraqi allegedly killed numerous members of Kata’ib Hezbollah. The militia is operating in Syria aiding the Syrian regime. The militia blamed the Americans for the airstrike but Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Jarida blamed Israel. It now appears that Iran transferred new missiles to Iraq since June, according to the Reuters report. This also took place as the Fatah alliance was jockeying for control of a coalition government in Iraq. So the transfer of weapons into Iraq to be managed and run by the Shi’ite militias gives these militias new power and leverage over Iraq, allowing them to act not only as an official force of the government, but as a parallel state with their own missiles capable of striking Israel. This, in affect, allows the militias like Kata’ib Hezbollah to be the long arm of the IRGC and Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani. Iran can use Iraq as a base to threaten Israel, and not only do Iraqis pay the potential consequences, but Iran’s proxy forces hope that the US Coalition would have to defend Iraq from any potential Israeli retaliation for the presence of these missiles. The US is still training and equipping the Iraqi army and an ally of Baghdad.

This is the strategic paradigm that underpins Iran’s goals in Syria and Iraq. It wants to use both countries for its own goals. It wants to build missile factories underneath the S-400 air defense umbrella in northern Syria near Russian forces in order to protect its facilities. In Iraq it wants to locate missiles near Coalition air bases and facilities in Anbar province.

Jerusalem has the multi-layered missile defense to confront these threats, including David’s Sling, the Arrow and US Patriot batteries. But Tehran’s goals is to pressure Israel on two or more fronts, making any Israeli moves more complex in this dangerous chessboard of missile threats.

Holding the West Hostage With the Threat of More Nuclear Research for Peaceful Purposes

September 1, 2018

IRAN has issued a clear warning to signatories of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear deal, threatening to once again build up its arsenal unless economic ties with Tehran are guaranteed.

Iran wants more guarantees now that the US is imposing sanctions (Image: GETTY)

PUBLISHED: 03:02, Sat, Sep 1, 2018 | UPDATED: 03:05, Sat, Sep 1, 2018
The Express

Source Link: Iran threatens to WITHDRAW from nuclear pact and DEMANDS more guarantees from signatories

{Imagine the threats if Iran really had the bomb…assuming they do not. – LS}

Iranian Foreign Minister, Javad Zarif, warned on Thursday his country was willing to pull out of the agreement if those within the nuclear deal did not honour the terms of the pact.

His statement comes after Donald Trump reintroduced sanctions on the Middle Eastern country and threatened to impose sanctions on any companies from other countries doing business with Tehran.

Writing on Twitter, Mr Zarif threatened: “If preserving JCPOA is the goal, then there is no escape from mustering the courage to comply with commitment to normalise Iran’s economic relations instead of making extraneous demands.

“Being the party to still honoUr the deal in deeds & not just words is not Iran’s only option.”

The UK, US, Russia, France, China, and Germany all signed the agreement in 2015 which aims to limit the country’s nuclear capabilities.

It was also signed by Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama, but the Republican pulled out of the agreement earlier this year.

Trump has argued the Iran nuclear agreement is too lenient and called for tougher sanctions to be imposed on the rogue state.

The US President has previously called the agreement “not a fair deal” and claimed: “It’s a deal that should have never ever been made.”

The remaining signatories of the JCPOA have all tried to reassure Iran they remain committed to the agreement, but the Middle East regime wants more guarantees.

A €50million (£45million) international aid package was adopted for Iran by the European Commission last week in an attempt to prove their intention to uphold the deal.

Further, a joint statement released at the start of last month by the EU foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, and the foreign ministers of France, Germany and the UK said the deal was “crucial” for international security.

It said: “We are determined to protect European economic operators engaged in legitimate business with Iran, in accordance with EU law and with UN Security Council resolution 2231.

“This is why the European Union’s updated Blocking Statute enters into force on 7 August to protect EU companies doing legitimate business with Iran from the impact of US extra-territorial sanctions.”

Those countries involved in the agreement are desperate to ensure firms continue to trade with Iran rather than listen to the threats from the US.

Trump has warned companies doing business with Iran: “Individuals or entities that fail to wind down activities with Iran risk severe consequences.”