Archive for September 9, 2018

Russian, Syrian jets pound Idlib province to root out ‘terrorists’ 

September 9, 2018

Source: Russian, Syrian jets pound Idlib province to root out ‘terrorists’ – Israel Hayom

Shana Tova from PM Netanyahu – YouTube

September 9, 2018

 

 

 

Rouhani: US asks Iran for new talks ‘every day’ 

September 9, 2018

Source: Rouhani: US asks Iran for new talks ‘every day’ | The Times of Israel

Iranian president says Tehran in an ‘economic, psychological and propaganda war’ after Trump keeps open possibility of meeting at UN

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speaks during a press conference in Tehran, September 7, 2018. (AFP/Kirill Kudryavtsev/Pool)

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speaks during a press conference in Tehran, September 7, 2018. (AFP/Kirill Kudryavtsev/Pool)

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Saturday said the United States sends Iran requests “every day” to hold negotiations.

Following his decision to withdraw from the deal meant to limit Iran’s nuclear program and reimpose sanctions, US President Donald Trump in July offered to hold unconditional talks with Tehran, an offer rejected by Iranian leaders.

“From one side they try to pressure the people of Iran, on another side they send us messages every day through various methods that we should come and negotiate together,” Rouhani said in a speech shown on state television, according to Reuters.

The US says “we should negotiate here, we should negotiate there,” Rouhani added. “We want to resolve the issues… should we see your message… or should we see your brutish actions?”

Echoing comments made Thursday by Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Rouhani also said Iran is in an “economic, psychological and propaganda war” against the US and Israel.

Trump in May announced the US would leave the 2015 agreement between Iran and world powers, charging it did not do enough to curb Iran’s nuclear development. He also assailed the accord for not addressing Iranian support for armed groups in the region or the country’s ballistic missile program.

US President Donald Trump gestures as he boards Air Force One at Sioux Falls, South Dakota, on September 7, 2018. (AFP/Nicholas Kamm)

Despite his frequently hawkish rhetoric toward Iran, Trump has kept open the possibility of talks and on Wednesday said it was possible he could meet Rouhani at the UN General Assembly later this month.

“We’ll see what happens with Iran. Whether they want to talk or not, that’s up to them, not up to me,” Trump told reporters in the Oval Office.

“Iran is a much different place than when I took over the presidency,” he added, describing the country as “in turmoil.”

“When I took office it was just a question of how long until they took over the entire Middle East. Now they are just worrying about their own survival as a country.”

Trump is due to lead a September 26 meeting of heads of state of the UN Security Council, with the goal of ramping up pressure on Tehran over its alleged violations of council resolutions.

With the United States now holding the presidency of the Security Council, UN Ambassador Nikki Haley on Tuesday said the aim was to put further pressure on Tehran.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in New York, April 24, 2018. (AP/Richard Drew)

But Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, on Wednesday hit out at the US plan.

“There’s only one UNSC resolution on Iran… @realDonaldTrump is violating it & bullying others to do same,” Zarif wrote on Twitter.

Washington has sought to build up international pressure on Iran after reimposing tough, unilateral sanctions on August 7 and setting a November 5 deadline for halting Iran’s oil exports.

Iran’s economy has been battered as countries wrap up trade ties in fear of violating the US sanctions, which Washington said would be strictly imposed.

 

Off Topic: No long-range missiles, N.Korea military parade features floats and flowers

September 9, 2018

Source: No long-range missiles, N.Korea military parade features floats and flowe – International news – Jerusalem Post

The regime also refrained from carrying out nuclear tests to mark the day, as has happened in each of the last two years.

BY REUTERS
 SEPTEMBER 9, 2018 09:15

kim jong un

PYONGYANG- With no long-range missiles on display, North Korea staged a military parade on Sunday focused on peace and economic development, filled with colored balloons and flowers to mark the 70th anniversary of the country’s founding.

A sea of spectators watched the parade as tens of thousands goose-stepping soldiers and columns of tanks drove past a review stand where North Korean leader Kim Jong Un took the salute.

Unlike in previous years, there were no inter-continental missiles on display. And there were no nuclear tests to mark the day, as has happened in each of the last two years.

North Korea routinely uses major holidays to showcase its military capabilities and the latest developments in missile technology.

But that has been dropped this year, underlining Kim’s stated aim for denuclearising the Korean peninsula and his recent meetings with South Korean President Moon Jae-in and summits with U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

The theme for the celebrations this year was unifying the Korean peninsula, divided since the 1950-53 Korean War. Floats on unification passed by a throng of North Koreans waving unified Korea flags.

“All Koreans should join forces to accomplish unification in our generation. Unification is the only way Koreans can survive,” said an editorial in North Korea’s party newspaper Rodong Sinmun.

Kim and Moon will meet in Pyongyang on Sept. 18-20 for the third time this year and discuss “practical measures” towards denuclearisation, officials in Seoul have said.

Kim was seen laughing and holding hands up with a Chinese special envoy as he oversaw the festivities at Pyongyang’s main Kim Il Sung square on a clear autumn day. Kim waved to the crowd before leaving but did not make any public remarks.

North Korea has invited a large group of foreign journalists to cover a military parade and other events to mark the 70th anniversary of its founding.

That includes iconic mass games that Pyongyang is organizing for the first time in five years, a huge, nationalist pageant performed by up to 100,000 people in one of the world’s largest stadiums.

Earlier on Sunday, Kim visited the mausoleum where his grandfather, the country’s founder, and his father lie in state, according to state media.A concert on Saturday night attended by the titular head of state, Kim Yong Nam, and foreign delegations featured little in the way of martial messaging or images, with only a few shadowy American bombers shown briefly in footage of the 1950-1953 Korean War.

 

While Iran’s leaders and allies confer on Idlib, Shiite Iraq implodes in their faces – DEBKAfile

September 9, 2018

Source: While Iran’s leaders and allies confer on Idlib, Shiite Iraq implodes in their faces – DEBKAfile

Tehran’s back yard, Shiite Iraq, is on the brink of a violent civil war. Anti-Iran riots were raging in the southern oil city of Basra and spreading to Baghdad when Iran’s leaders, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Hassan Rouhani were conferring with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkey’s Tayyip Erdogan in Tehran on Friday, Sept. 7 on an offensive to subdue the last rebel holdout of Idlib and so finally end Syria’s civil war.

Iraq was to have emerged as the vital link in Iran’s coveted post-war land bridge to the Mediterranean via Syria and Lebanon. However, this week, the Islamic Republic of Iran was slapped by a historical irony, a backlash from its own Shiite coreligionists in Iraq, which threatens to snatch that goal away just as it comes within Tehran’s grasp.

During five days of violent protests and clashes with security forces, in which at least 11 people were killed, Shiites who dominate Iraq’s second city, the southern port of Basra, stormed and set fire to the Iranian consulate, blaming Tehran for the corruption rife in the country and the breakdown of basic services. Crowds on the streets chanted slogans against Iranian influence on Iraqi politics, ransacking and torching official buildings. Pro- and anti-Shiite militias were fighting each other on the streets. The violence reached the capital on Friday, when the fortified Green Zone, seat of government and foreign embassies, came under attack – first by Katyusha rockets then by mortars. The streets were cleared on Friday night by a nocturnal curfew. Moments after it was lifted Saturday morning, protesters came out to shell Basra’s international airport. Overnight they had seized control of Umm Qasr, Iraq’s oil export port.

If Iranian and Russian leaders had hoped to get the Idlib operation quickly out of the way and so ring the curtain down on the Syrian civil war, they were suddenly set back by the real prospect of a civil war breaking out in Iraq. Tehran was caught unawares by this development, which is all the more calamitous given the country’s disastrous economic crisis: Shop shelves in Tehran and other cities are empty, and even baby diapers are hard to find. The national currency continues the slide sparked in May by President Donald Trump’s exit from the Iran nuclear deal. The rial has plunged 140pc in value.

Putin too is confronted with a grave setback to his plans. He had gambled on the Idlib operation bringing the Syrian war to an end and, by solidifying Iran’s grip on Syria, opening the door for Russia to set up bases in Iraq. Iraq’s descent into internal anti-Iran Shiite violence may oblige Moscow to revamp the basic premise of his policy, i.e. partnership with the Shiite Muslim camp against the US- Israeli alignment with the Sunni Muslim bloc. The fate of the Idlib operation pales in significance compared with the pivotal turnabout in the region’s balance of power generated in less than a week by fiery Iraqi Shiite protests.

For this setback, Tehran has only itself to blame. In early July, when temperatures in Iraq were hitting 48 degrees Celsius, an unnamed Iranian official decided to turn off the current to Basra because the Baghdad government had stopped paying electricity bills. With their water taps running dry and air conditioning switched off, the citizens of Shiite Basra surged onto the streets to vent their ire against Tehran. It appeared that Iranian intelligence sources fell down on the job of assessing the mood current in the Shiite majority in Iraq.

However, DEBKAfile’s sources report that non-payment of electric bills was merely a pretext. Tehran had decided to stir up trouble in Iraq as a muscle-flexing lesson for President Trump and a demonstration of Iran’s ability to sow mayhem in various parts of the Middle East, if he goes through with the sanctions he proposes to impose on Iranian oil sales on Nov. 4. But the Iranian policy-maker responsible for sparking unrest in Shiite Iraq failed to appreciate its boomerang effect against Tehran rather than America.
The masses out on the streets in the Shiite towns of Iraq are protesting against the corruption deeply entrenched in Iraq’s ruling circles, including the government, the army and the forces of law and order, for which they hold strong Iranian political and military influence in Baghdad responsible. The violence was immediately directed against the pro-Iran militias and their political organs, while images of Ayatollah Khamenei were burned and banners carried the legend: “In the name of religion, the thieves are robbing us.”

Although Iraq’s general election took place in May, the various parties, none of which gained a majority, have failed to form a coalition, leaving the former prime minister Haydar Abadi at the head of a caretaker government. The machinations in Baghdad of Iran’s foremost regional wire-puller and strategist, Al-Qods chief Gen. Qassem Soleimani, are a key factor in the chaotic situation in Iraq. His efforts to install an Iranian puppet, Iraqi militia chief Hadi al-Amiri, as prime minister has deadlocked coalition negotiations, since it is opposed mainly by the Shiite cleric Muqtada Sadr whose bloc came out first in the election. The unrest in Iraq, though sparked by Tehran, threatens to veer out of its control in the absence of a government in Baghdad. to seize the reins.