Archive for April 24, 2019

Iran threatens ‘consequences’ if US takes ‘crazy measure’ of blocking oil sales

April 24, 2019

Source: Iran threatens ‘consequences’ if US takes ‘crazy measure’ of blocking oil sales | The Times of Israel

At New York event, Foreign Minister Zarif vows Tehran will continue selling oil to countries and using the Strait of Hormuz to transport it

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif speaks at the Asia Society in New York, April 24, 2019. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif speaks at the Asia Society in New York, April 24, 2019. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Wednesday warned the United States of “consequences” if it prevents Tehran from selling oil, after Washington ended sanction exemptions over the Islamic Republic’s energy exports.

“We believe that Iran will continue to sell its oil,” Zarif said at an event at the Asia Society in New York, according to the Reuters news agency. “We will continue to find buyers for our oil and we will continue to use the Strait of Hormuz as a safe transit passage for the sale of our oil.

“If the United States takes the crazy measure of trying to prevent us from doing that then it should be prepared for the consequences,” he added. “[US President Donald Trump] thinks through further pressure on Iran — the so-called ‘maximum pressure policy’ — he can bring us to our knees. He’s mistaken.”

On Monday the US announced that, in a bid to reduce Iran’s oil exports to zero, it would from May 2 end waivers that eight countries including India, China, South Korea and Turkey currently have on buying Iranian crude — waivers it had granted when it reimposed sanctions on Iran in November. They expire May 2.

The move targets the Islamic Republic’s main economic earner and adds to sanctions pressure that has built up under Trump, who has pulled his country out of a 2015 international deal aimed at curbing Iran’s nuclear program. It will choke off more than $50 billion of annual Iranian income, which the US says the country uses to fund destabilizing activity in the Middle East and beyond.

Earlier Wednesday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said the Islamic Republic would be willing to negotiate with the US if it reverses economic sanctions and apologizes for its “illegal” actions.

“We have always been supporters of negotiation and diplomacy, the same way that we have always been a people of war and defense,” Rouhani was quoted as saying in state media.

He said that reports that Iran had rebuffed American offers to negotiate were untrue.

 

Arab League Pledges $100 Million to Palestinian Authority

April 24, 2019
By DEBORAH DANAN

https://www.breitbart.com/middle-east/2019/04/22/arab-league-pledges-100-m-to-palestinian-authority-to-make-up-for-pay-for-slay-shortfall/

AP/Nasser Shiyoukhi

TEL AVIV – The Arab League on Sunday pledged $100 million per month to the Palestinian Authority to cover the funds suspended by Israel in taxes and tariffs owed to the PA over the latter’s so-called “pay-for-slay” scheme paying salaries to terrorists and their families.

Earlier in the day, PA President Mahmoud Abbas appealed to the Arab League in Cairo to support him in rejecting the Trump administration’s as-yet unveiled peace plan.

“The Arabs need to be engaging actively at this critical time,” Abbas said.

He noted that the U.S. could offer nothing to the Palestinians in light of the moves it has taken against them, including recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and the subsequent transfer of the US Embassy there, as well as cutting aid.

“What’s left to offer us? Is there anything left to offer us that would make us happy? They took Jerusalem and the occupied territories, canceled the [rights of the] refugees and legitimized settlements. They want to fool us. They have nothing to offer us. Even if they want to offer something, it will be worse than anything else.”

“We can’t hear that the holy city of Jerusalem has been annexed to Israel,” he said. “After this crime, what can we expect?”

He also addressed President Donald Trump’s recent decision to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights.

“We don’t accept the annexation of the Golan and Jerusalem,” Abbas said. “These are all Arab territories. They are all occupied territories, and Israel needs to quickly withdraw from them.”

He also asked Arab nations to help alleviate the PA’s dire financial crisis.

“A safety net must be provided,” Abbas said.

In February, Israel began cutting monthly funds to the PA over its payments to convicted terrorists and their families, totaling close to $140 million. The PA at the time responded that it would result in anarchy in the West Bank. Abbas also said that if Israel deducts even “one penny” from tax monies owed to the PA, the PA would not accept the money transfers.

France last week called on Israel to “change your decision to freeze the transfer of tax funds to the Palestinian Authority,” Israel’s Channel 12 news reported on Sunday.

Israel responded that the request itself was immoral and opposed to the EU’s own laws.

According to a new report from the World Bank, the Palestinian deficit is set to increase from $400 million last year to over $1 billion this year.

Last week, newly appointed PA prime minister Mohammad Shtayyeh accused the Trump administration of facilitating Israel’s “financial war” on the Palestinian Authority.

“Israel is part of the financial war that has been declared upon us by the United States. The whole system is to try to push us to surrender” in order to force the PA into accepting Trump’s upcoming peace proposal, Shtayyeh said.

“This is financial blackmail, which we reject.”

Shtayyeh outlined some ways he’s hoping to alleviate the dire financial crisis, including cutting bonuses for PA officials, developing agriculture, receiving more aid from the Arab world and Europe, and seeking financial independence from Israel. The last proposal may include importing fuel from neighboring Jordan as opposed to Israel, and even introducing a Palestinian currency.

The European Union: Nurturing Instability and Terrorism in the Middle East

April 24, 2019

Rumors seek to drive U.S. and Iran into conflict in eastern Syria 

April 24, 2019

Source: Rumors seek to drive U.S. and Iran into conflict in eastern Syria – Middle East – Jerusalem Post

The false reports of airstrikes come in the context of both the US-IRGC tensions and tensions between the SDF and the Syrian regime.

BY SETH J. FRANTZMAN
 APRIL 24, 2019 13:12
HAS HE won in Syria?

Over two consecutive nights, rumors of airstrikes by the US against pro-Syrian regime forces in eastern Syria have led to false reports and denials. The frequency of the reports points to attempts by different actors in the conflict to create tensions between not only Iran and the US, but also between the Syrian regime and the Syrian Democratic Forces, which are backed by Iran and the US, respectively.

The reports are laundered via various publications and spread on social media. For instance Al-Masdar News, which is generally supportive of the Syrian regime, claimed on Tuesday night that the US is “plotting to expel [the] Syrian army, IRGC from key border town.”

The report is based on another report in Al-Watan which claims that “these forces will attempt to expel the Syrian Arab Army and Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps from the key border town of Albukamal and the large town of Al-Maydeen in rural Deir Ezzor.”

Al-Masdar News

@TheArabSource

US plotting to expel Syrian Army, IRGC from key border town: Al-Watan https://aml.ink/YIrXP 

US plotting to expel Syrian Army, IRGC from key border town: Al-Watan

BEIRUT, LEBANON (5:00 P.M.) – The Arabic-language Al-Watan newspaper claimed on Monday that the U.S.-backed Jaysh Mughawar Al-Thura is forcing tens of

mobile.almasdarnews.com

On the night of April 22, social media accounts reported airstrikes near Deir Ezzor. Soon thereafter, the Syrian military had reportedly had to deny that there was a “US attack on IRGC.” The report, also from Al-Masdar, noted that “all reports claiming the US air force bombed the IRGC near Albukamal are false.” The source said reports claiming the SDF and SAA clashed near Albukamal are false. The clashes actually involved ISIS fighting with the Syrian regime. Yet the reports of US “plots” go back several days, seeking to fuel tensions along the Euphrates River, where the US and SDF are stationed on one side, and Syrian regime and pro-Iranian militias on the other.

The area near Albukamal is a restive and sensitive area. The SDF, with backing from the US-led coalition defeated ISIS in Baghouz, just across the river from Albukamal, in late March. The SDF and the US clashed with pro-Syrian regime militias last year near Deir Ezzor after militias tried to grab control of an oil field in February 2018. In addition in the summer of 2018 an airstrike hit a group of Kata’ib Hezbollah, fueling accusations the US had targeted the Iraqi-based pro-Iranian militia.

Since the US left the Iran Deal and began exerting pressure on Tehran via sanctions, there have been tensions between the US and pro-Iranian groups in Syria and Iraq. This includes the Hashd al-Shaabi (PMU), a group of mostly Shi’ite paramilitaries in Iraq that are now part of the Iraqi Security Forces. They have harassed US soldiers in Anbar province and near Mosul in the last several months. In addition, some militias in the Hashd have openly threatened the US. This includes Asaib Ahl al-Haq and Harakat Hezbollah al-Nujaba. Harakat Hezbollah was listed as a terrorist organization in March by the US. The US has warned that any attack by pro-Iranian groups in Iraq would lead the US to hold Tehran responsible.

The area of Albukamal is also sensitive because ISIS is present there. Even after its defeat, its cells move back and forth, striking the Syrian regime and SDF. Iran carried out a ballistic missile strike on ISIS near Albukamal in October 2018, not far from US forces. In addition, the US had claimed it was leaving Syria in December 2018, only to reverse the policy. However, the changes in US posture led the SDF, the main partners of the US against ISIS, to open more discussions with the Syrian regime about the possibility of a compromise.

Those discussions have gone cold in the last month and tensions between the SDF and regime may increase. Amid all this, the Iranians have sent high-level delegations to Syria, including the foreign minister, earlier this month. Iran says it supports Syria taking back all of the country, including from the SDF and Turkey in the north. Iran, Turkey and Russia are all part of the Astana peace process in Syria and they all oppose the US presence in eastern Syria. This means that many of these actors and their supporters want tensions with the US to rise and that some may want to test the SDF.

It is in this context that recent rumors have been spread to see if the SDF and the regime will clash and if Iran and the US might be dragged in. The US recently designated the IRGC a terrorist group, which further raises the prospect that any small conflict could spill over into US-IRGC tensions in Syria. Iran has dozens of bases in Syria, a result of its support of the regime in the civil war.

Members of the PMU has were also reported to have claimed the US is conspiring with the SDF to strike at Albukamal and Al-Qaim in Iraq. For instance, on the night of April 23, reports on social media claimed 100 trucks had arrived at Al-Qaim with fuel for Syria and they had been hit by airstrikes. It turned out very quickly to have been entirely made up. Just after midnight, Al-Arabiya reported the same claim: “US airstrikes targeted 32 oil tankers in Deir ez-Zor which tried to enter Syrian government-held areas.”

The reports on April 23 were also oddly specific, with maps and arrows even being posted by users.

“Local sources confirm the targeting by US warplanes of a number of sites belonging to the IRGC and militias affiliated with them in the vicinity of Albukamal and inside the military airport of Deir ez-Zor,” tweeted Eva Koulouriotis, an analyst. There were even images of flares. “100% false,” wrote another user who follows developments in Iraq and Syria. Yet the rumors have persisted now for 24 hours, with each night bringing more “reports” of battles that never took place.

The reports of the strike on oil tankers came after a full day of reports that the SDF was trading oil with the Syrian regime and the US was pressuring them not to. It is almost as if those who created the stories about the strikes wish they would be true but can’t even decide if it is Iraq sending oil to the Syrian regime, or the SDF.

Eva J. Koulouriotis – إيفا كولوريوتي@evacool_


Preliminary information on the destruction of large parts of military airport by warplanes and many dead and wounded in the ranks of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards there.

View image on TwitterView image on Twitter

Eva J. Koulouriotis – إيفا كولوريوتي@evacool_


A picture of the surrounding area now. pic.twitter.com/HDDXAMCGML

View image on TwitterView image on Twitter
The Syrian conflict has always been full of rumors and conspiracies. On April 24, Iran’s Press TV claimed that a Jihadist group in Idlib was preparing a “false flag chemical attack.” This is the level of coverage pushed by different countries and groups that have an agenda. The way the rumor-mill becomes “news” is that it begins with several social media accounts and then smaller websites pick up the chatter and claim there are “local reports.” Then larger media organizations pick up the “local media reports” and suddenly there are whole articles at Press TV or other places. Then Western media will repeat the claim based on an “Iranian report.”

What may be entirely manufactured or made-up information can then become “reports of airstrikes.” Once the cycle of laundering the information has begun, it spreads quickly. Eventually governments may even be forced to respond to the rumors. Even hours after the “airstrikes” on the 32 tankers, more and more media were picking up the report. At the same time, other social media users were still trying to figure out what happened on the night of April 22, concluding there had been no airstrikes. Idrees Ali of Reuters also noted on Wednesday morning that “US officials say they have no evidence to support any such strike taking place.”

The increased tensions appear to be leading to false reports of airstrikes. This could be an honest mistake that feeds rumors. It also appears that the groundwork has been laid through reports of “conspiracies” to accuse the US of actions against the IRGC in the border area of Iraq and Syria. This could potentially lead to a wider conflict if the rumors eventually turn into reality, because people on the ground are also tense and nervous regarding the complex situation and competing groups all in close proximity to one another.

Unconfirmed Reports Claim US-led Air Strikes Target Iranian Forces, Oil Tankers in Syria | The Jewish Press 

April 24, 2019

Source: Unconfirmed Reports Claim US-led Air Strikes Target Iranian Forces, Oil Tankers in Syria | The Jewish Press – JewishPress.com | Hana Levi Julian | 19 Nisan 5779 – April 24, 2019 | JewishPress.com

( I have found no other source for this story and so deeply doubt its credibility.  Just in case it’s true I’m posting it with this caveat. JW )

An Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon refuels during operations in support of US-led coalition forces in Syria.

U.S.-led air strikes targeted Iranian-backed forces and oil tankers late Tuesday night, according to multiple unconfirmed reports from local sources, Middle East political analysts and Arab media.

A gathering of Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps were targeted by air strikes aimed at the forces in the Syrian village of Al Sayyal, according to the reports.

In addition, 32 oil tankers were attacked in Deir es-Zor as they tried to enter Syria’s government-held areas, according to a report by Al Arabiya.

U.S. coalition aircraft also allegedly bombed the military airport at the Deir es-Zor air base, multiple local sources reported late Tuesday night.

Large parts of the airport were reportedly destroyed, along with the runway and radar facilities, and “many dead and wounded” were reported in the ranks of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) forces there, according to Middle East political analyst Eva J. Koulouriotis.

According to a local source, the mountain, radar, air defenses, command center and airport runways were targeted.

“Local sources confirm the targeting by #USA warplanes of a number of sites belonging to the Iranian Revolutionary Guards and militias affiliated with them in the vicinity of the city of #Albuqmal,” Koulouriotis tweeted.

 

Unconfirmed Reports Claim US-led Air Strikes Target Iranian Forces, Oil Tankers in Syria | The Jewish Press 

April 24, 2019

Source: Unconfirmed Reports Claim US-led Air Strikes Target Iranian Forces, Oil Tankers in Syria | The Jewish Press – JewishPress.com | Hana Levi Julian | 19 Nisan 5779 – April 24, 2019 | JewishPress.com

Photo Credit: US Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jordan Castelan
An Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon refuels during operations in support of US-led coalition forces in Syria.

U.S.-led air strikes targeted Iranian-backed forces and oil tankers late Tuesday night, according to multiple unconfirmed reports from local sources, Middle East political analysts and Arab media.

A gathering of Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps were targeted by air strikes aimed at the forces in the Syrian village of Al Sayyal, according to the reports.

In addition, 32 oil tankers were attacked in Deir es-Zor as they tried to enter Syria’s government-held areas, according to a report by Al Arabiya.

U.S. coalition aircraft also allegedly bombed the military airport at the Deir es-Zor air base, multiple local sources reported late Tuesday night.

Large parts of the airport were reportedly destroyed, along with the runway and radar facilities, and “many dead and wounded” were reported in the ranks of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) forces there, according to Middle East political analyst Eva J. Koulouriotis.

According to a local source, the mountain, radar, air defenses, command center and airport runways were targeted.

“Local sources confirm the targeting by #USA warplanes of a number of sites belonging to the Iranian Revolutionary Guards and militias affiliated with them in the vicinity of the city of #Albuqmal,” Koulouriotis tweeted.

 

Katie Hopkins – Do not let America Become London 

April 24, 2019

Very powerful ( and scary ) speech. – JW

 

Comment posted on my YouTube upload of this vid: but taken down by YouTube

Islamic Threat:
As long as the Muslim population remains around or under 3% in any given country, they will be for the most part be regarded as a peace-loving minority, and not as a threat to other citizens.
This is the case in:
Spain — Muslim 3%
United States — Muslim 2%
Australia — Muslim 2.5%
Canada — Muslim 2.8%
Norway — Muslim 2.8%
China — Muslim 2.9%
Italy — Muslim 2.5%
At 3% to 8%, they begin to proselytize from other ethnic minorities and disaffected groups, often with major recruiting from the jails and among street gangs.
This is happening in:
Denmark — Muslim 5%
Germany — Muslim 6.7%
United Kingdom — Muslim 7.7%
Thailand — Muslim 7.6%
From 8% on, they exercise an inordinate influence in proportion to their percentage of the population. For example, they will push for the introduction of halal (clean by Islamic standards) food, thereby securing food preparation jobs for Muslims. They will increase pressure on supermarket chains to feature halal on their shelves –along with threats for failure to comply.
This is occurring in:
France — Muslim 12%
Philippines — Muslim 9%
Sweden — Muslim 8%
Switzerland — Muslim 8.3%
The Netherlands — Muslim 8.5%
Trinidad & Tobago — Muslim10.8%
At this point, they will work to get the ruling government to allow them to rule themselves (within their ghettos)under Sharia, the Islamic Law. The ultimate goal of Islamists is to establish Sharia law over the entire world. When Muslims approach 15% of the population, they tend to increase lawlessness as a means of complaint about their conditions. In Paris, we are already seeing car-burnings. Any non-Muslim action offends Islam, and results in uprisings and threats, such as in Amsterdam, with opposition to Mohammed cartoons and films about Islam.
Such tensions are seen daily, particularly in Muslim sections, in:
Guyana — Muslim 15%
India — Muslim 19.4%
Israel — Muslim 16%
Kenya — Muslim 18%
Russia — Muslim 21%
After reaching 25%, nations can expect hair-trigger rioting, jihad militia formations, sporadic killings,andthe burnings of Christian churches and Jewish synagogues, such as in:
Ethiopia — Muslim 32.8%
At 40%, nations experience widespread massacres, chronic terror attacks, and ongoing militia warfare, such as in:
Bosnia — Muslim 40%
Chad — Muslim 53.1%
Lebanon — Muslim 59.7%
From 60%, nations experience unfettered persecution of non-believers of all other religions (including non-conforming Muslims), sporadic ethnic cleansing (genocide), use of Sharia Law as a weapon, and Joya, the tax placed on infidels, such as in:
Albania — Muslim 70%
Malaysia — Muslim 60.4%
Qatar — Muslim 77.5%
Sudan — Muslim 70%
After 80%, expect daily intimidation and violent jihad, some State-run ethnic cleansing, and even some genocide, as these nations drive out the infidels, and move toward 100% Muslim,such as has been experienced and in some ways is on-going in:
Bangladesh — Muslim 83%
Egypt — Muslim 90%
Gaza — Muslim 98.7%
Indonesia — Muslim 86.1%
Iran — Muslim 98%
Iraq — Muslim 97%
Jordan – Muslim 92%
Morocco – Muslim 98.7%
Pakistan – Muslim 97%
Syria – Muslim 90%
Tajikistan – Muslim 90%
Turkey — Muslim 99.8%
United Arab Emirates — Muslim 96%
100% will usher in the peace of ‘Dar-es-Salaam’ — the Islamic House of Peace.. Here there’s supposed to be peace, because everybody is a Muslim, the Madrassas are the only schools, and the Koran is the only word, such as in:
Afghanistan — Muslim 100%
Saudi Arabia — Muslim 100%
Somalia — Muslim 100%
Yemen — Muslim 100%
It is important to understand that in some countries, with well under 100% Muslim populations, such as France, the minority Muslim populations live in ghettos, within which they are 100% Muslim,andwithin which they live by Sharia Law. The national police do not even enter these ghettos. Police will indeed harass and threaten to charge will breach-of-the-peace, to anyone who tries to enter these NOGO zones.
There are no national courts, nor schools, nor non-Muslim religious facilities.. In such situations, Muslims do not integrate into the community at large. The children attend madrassas. They learn only the Koran. To even associate with an infidel is a crime punishable with death.
Therefore, in some areas of certain nations, Muslim Imams and extremists exercise more power than the national average would indicate. The modernizing trend in the 1960’s came to a brutal end with the 1979 revolution by the radicals.
Today’s 2 billion Muslims make up 28% of the world’s population. But their birth rates dwarf the birth rates of Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, Jews, and all other believers. Muslims will exceed 50% of the world’s population by the end of this century.