Archive for October 5, 2018

France’s Schizophrenic Iran Policy 

October 5, 2018

Source: France’s Schizophrenic Iran Policy – International news – Jerusalem Post

As Paris freezes assets of Iranians involved in bomb plot, the Macron government is working to circumvent renewed American sanctions on Tehran

 OCTOBER 5, 2018 04:28
France's Schizophrenic Iran Policy

“[Actions of] such extreme seriousness on French territory could not be let go without a response,” a joint statement issued by France’s foreign affairs, interior and economic ministries read in part. “[We have] taken preventive, proportionate and targeted measures…[to] reiterate [our] determination to fight terrorism.”

Notably, the announcement coincided with a massive police operation targeting a Shiite Muslim “club” named the Centre Zahra France, whose leaders are accused of having ties to Tehran’s Lebanese proxy Hizbullah as well as to Iranian sleeper cells in the country.

Thereafter, Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian suggested that the developments “confirm the need for a tough approach in our relations with Iran.”

Except that France’s decision to sanction Iranian officials—including Assadi, who is set to be extradited to Belgium for prosecution—was made one week after Paris signed off on the creation of a “special purpose vehicle” geared towards circumventing renewed American financial penalties on the Iranian regime. Indeed, the government of President Emmanuel Macron committed to “assist and reassure economic operators pursuing legitimate business with Iran,” possibly by setting up a mechanism to barter European goods for Iranian oil.

This, in turn, came just hours after a meeting on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly between Le Drian and his Iranian counterpart Mohammed Javad Zarif, during which Tehran’s direct involvement in the bomb plot was discussed in detail. The two diplomats previously met—in, of all places, Vienna—only days after Assadi was arrested as part of an ongoing effort to salvage the 2015 nuclear agreement. For good measure, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani was welcomed in Austria earlier that same week after the news of the unsuccessful attack had already surfaced.

France’s Jekyll-and-Hyde game seemingly reinforces the contention of opponents of the atomic pact that the de-coupling of the nuclear issue from Iran’s other “nefarious” behaviors was bound to embolden the Islamic Republic. While this boomerang effect is only beginning to be felt more broadly in Europe—including as a result of Tehran’s role in creating the migration crisis through its military activities in Syria—the Revolutionary Guard Corps and its allies have over the past three years accelerated their march across the Middle East, leaving a wake of death and destruction.

“The French authorities are blind to reality and for years all governments—Left and Right—have been lax in tackling the growing threat of Muslim fundamentalism,” Christian Malard, a Paris-based political analyst who interviewed former Iranian revolutionary leader Ruhollah Khomenei multiple times, opined to The Media Line. “Now, the Iranian regime is playing off the rift between the US and Europe and if the goal is to topple the Ayatollahs then the gaps have to be bridged. This is not the case presently and could lead to a catastrophe.

“There is an incoherence in the French government’s way of dealing with Iran,” he continued, “as the foreign minister is declaring that there needs to be a re-evaluation of the [bi-lateral] relationship but [concurrently] shields Tehran from US sanctions.”

Avi Pazner, a former Israeli ambassador to Paris, likewise sees elements of hypocrisy in France’s position, which “is very lenient when it comes to the nuclear agreement and its economic ramifications even though the government knows exactly what it is dealing with: a state that sponsors terrorism.

“In this respect, [Macron] is not ready to make any concessions as France has been hit hard [by attacks]. But [he] needs to explain how it makes sense to continue doing business with Iran when this obviously helps a terrorist regime. Israel always [pleads with] the Europeans to not allow Iran to use their money to conduct terror. Apparently, economic considerations are more important than moral ones.”

How ironic, then, if reports are true that Israel’s Mossad spy agency provided invaluable intelligence to European security services about the Iranian plan, and then spearheaded the manhunt across the continent to thwart the plot.

On the flip side, supporters of France’s Iran policy note that the country was, initially, the party most skeptical of the atomic deal and in certain instances pushed the Obama administration to strengthen the language of its formulation. More recently, President Macron expressed a willingness to address Iran’s ballistic missile program and regional adventurism, albeit within an undefined context.

There is thus some common ground with President Donald Trump, although few believe that Paris will fall in line with Washington.

As such, perhaps the most probable scenario was encapsulated by an anonymous French source who told the Reuters news agency that, “We hope this matter [of terrorism] is now over. We have taken measures and said what we needed to say.”
The problem is that while France looks willing to forgive and forget, Iran may yet want the last word.


Students at Columbia U protest harassment from Pro-Palestinian activists

October 5, 2018

Source: Students at Columbia U protest harassment from Pro-Palestinian activists – Diaspora – Jerusalem Post

( My Alma Mater as well as my father’s and oldest son’s has been taken over by radical leftists.  What a horrible waste… – JW )

Despite video evidence supplied by SSI, the Columbia University administration dismissed evidence-backed complaints of harassment which seemingly violate university rules.

 OCTOBER 5, 2018 15:01

CONNECT WITH them. Students walk outside the Library of Columbia University in New York.

Several dozen students and activists at Columbia University in New York staged a demonstration on Thursday afternoon outside the university’s main gates against what they describe as the dismissive and disinterested attitude of the university administration towards the complaints of harassment by pro-Palestinian groups against Jewish and pro-Israel students.

The Columbia chapters of Students Supporting Israel (SSI) and Alums for Campus Fairness staged the protest following concerted efforts to get the university administration to act against alleged serial harassment by anti-Zionist groups.

In January this year, Students Supporting Israel submitted a detailed complaint, providing evidence of how such groups, including Students for Justice in Palestine, Jewish Voice for Peace and Columbia University Apartheid Divest have “systematically maligned, harassed and silenced” SSI and other pro-Israel groups and individuals.

In one incident in the Autumn semester of 2017 recorded in SSI’s complaint, “SJP members started a hostile, anti-Israel and anti-Semitic chant simply because they recognized SSI members walking by” outside an event unrelated to Israel.

The pro-Palestinian activists reportedly surrounded the Jewish students “while surrounded by a raging mob of around 50 angry activists encroaching on them in a physically threatening and intimidating way.”

Despite video evidence supplied by SSI, the Columbia University administration dismissed this and other evidence-backed complaints of harassment which seemingly violate university rules.

“Our goal was to show the Columbia University administration that Students Supporting Israel, its members and supporters, are not going to sit back while Columbia ignores our multiple harassment complaints,” SSI said following the demonstration on Thursday.


US to give Israel more F-35s to face S-300s, deploy a squadron in Emirates – DEBKAfile

October 5, 2018

Source: US to give Israel more F-35s to face S-300s, deploy a squadron in Emirates – DEBKAfile

DEBKAfile Exclusive: President Donald Trump has ordered additional F-35 stealth planes supplied forthwith to Israel, in response to the four S-300 air defense batteries Russia has sent Syria and its upgrade of electronic warfare measures.
The decision was taken, our sources reveal, after consultations between Washington and Jerusalem at the highest administration and military levels on the enhanced threat the recent Russian steps presented to Israeli air operations against Iranian targets in Syria. The F-35s will be drawn from US Air Force’s active service squadrons, just as the S-300s for Syria came from Russia’s operational air defense missile stocks.

In addition to informing Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu of the president’s decision, Washington also notified the two Gulf crown princes, Muhammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia and Muhammad Bin Zayed of the United Arab Emirates, that the first US F-35 squadron in this region will be posted shortly at the Al Dhafra Air base 32km south of Abu Dhabi.

DEBKAfile’s military sources take this massive transfer of advanced American stealth planes to the Middle East and the Persian Gulf to betoken US and Israel’s determination to maintain Israeli Air Force’s operations over Syria, notwithstanding the presence of the S-300s and boosted Russian-Syrian air defense capabilities.

It was this determination that prompted Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Vershinin to comment on Thursday, Oct. 4, that he hoped “Tel Aviv will exercise good judgment in the region despite Israel’s insistence on not abandoning operations in Syria and Russia’s S-300 supply to Syria.” He was in fact conveying a warning to Israel not to attack the Russian S-300 batteries.


US general slams Russia’s ‘needless’ deployment of S-300 missiles in Syria 

October 5, 2018

Source: US general slams Russia’s ‘needless’ deployment of S-300 missiles in Syria – Israel Hayom


US: Iran is the world’s central banker of international terrorism 

October 5, 2018

Source: US: Iran is the world’s central banker of international terrorism – Israel Hayom


Merkel: Germany agrees with Israel that Iran must never obtain nukes 

October 5, 2018

Source: Merkel: Germany agrees with Israel that Iran must never obtain nukes – Israel Hayom


Trump envoy Greenblatt consults senators on Mideast peace plan 

October 5, 2018

Source: Trump envoy Greenblatt consults senators on Mideast peace plan – Israel Hayom