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An Iranian Insider's View of the Geneva Deal: Sohrab Ahmari, Wall Street Journal, Nov. 26, 2013
Iran, Hezbollah, and Obama’s Double Betrayal of Syria: Stephen Schwartz, Weekly Standard, Dec. 4, 2013
Iran after Geneva: Clifford D. May, National Review, Nov. 28, 2013
“It is very easy to receive a pat on the shoulder from the international community, to bow one’s head,” — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, restating his firm opposition to an international nuclear deal with arch-foe Iran at a candle-lighting ceremony in Rome’s main synagogue. “I would like to dispel any illusions. Iran aspires to attain an atomic bomb. It would thus threaten not only Israel but also Italy, Europe and the entire world,” he was quoted as saying on his website. “There should be no going astray after the attack of smiles. Today there is a regime in Iran that supports terrorism, facilitates the massacre of civilians in Syria and unceasingly arms its proxies,” he said. (Vanguard, Dec. 2, 2013)
Iran will not attend nuclear talks if the “Zionist regime” participates — Iran’s foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, quoted in a report by the country’s official IRNA news agency on Friday. According to Zarif, the Islamic Republic of Iran “would not attend a meeting in which the Quds [Jerusalem] occupying regime participates…We consider the Zionist regime as the biggest danger to the region and the world.” The report said Zarif's remarks were in response to possible Israeli participation in talks between Iran and world powers over Tehran's nuclear ambitions. Israel and the West suspect Iran's nuclear program has military dimension, a charge Iran denies. Iran does not recognize Israel and supports militant anti- Israeli groups like Palestinian Hamas and Lebanese Hezbollah. (Times of Israel, Nov. 29, 2013)
"We have accepted Iranian uranium enrichment." The "red line" with Iran has clearly changed —former CIA director (2006-2009) and NSA Director (1999-2005) Gen. Michael Hayden. "Right now, the Iranians are far too close to a nuclear weapon," he said. "We have hit the pause button. Now we've got to negotiate hitting the delete button with them." At the end of the day, Hayden said, "Iran's going to be a nuclear threshold state." The deal agreed to by the P5+1 in Geneva allows Iran to have uranium enriched to 5 percent. Previous U.N. resolutions have called for a complete dismantling of its nuclear program and that all materials be shipped out of the country. — (Newsmax, Dec. 1, 2013)
“Do Kerry and the president still believe Iran has no right to enrich, and if we don’t recognize that right, why does Iran keep insisting that is what the interim agreement does?” — Jennifer Rubin wrote in a Washington Post editorial Wednesday. Rubin continued: “If Iran refuses to dismantle its enrichment program, will the president really carry through on his promise that all options remain on the table? If so, why did he not say so in his remarks announcing the interim agreement?” (Washington Post, Dec. 4, 2013)
Iran has the capacity to build a nuclear weapon, but its leadership “has not yet decided to build or demonstrate the bomb” and “therefore our [U.S.] focus should be on convincing them not to flip the bomb-production switch.” — Siegfried Hecker, director of the Los Alamos National Laboratory from 1986 to 1997. (Washington Post, Dec. 2, 2013)
"I believe that our relations with Saudi Arabia should expand as we consider Saudi Arabia as an extremely important country in the region and the Islamic world," — Iran’s foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. "We believe that Iran and Saudi Arabia should work together in order to promote peace and stability in the region." Zarif has been making dramatic overtures for better relations with some of Iran’s fiercest enemies, the Sunni-led monarchies of the Gulf states. Mr Zarif visited three of the six Gulf monarchies, Kuwait, Oman and Qatar, on Sunday and Monday, fresh from meeting his opposite number from a fourth, the United Arab Emirates, in Tehran last week. (Telegraph, Dec. 2, 2013)
"The number one winner in this deal is the people of this region … I can not say that this agreement has annulled the choice of war permanently but I can say it has pushed it away for a long time." — Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, praising the nuclear agreement between Iran and world powers and saying that it had prevented a potential war in the region. Nasrallah also said that Israel would not possibly bomb Iran's nuclear facilities without receiving a green light from the U.S. He added that "They [the U.S.] were not able to topple the regime in Iran, but I cannot claim that they did not succeed in shaking its economic situation…right now, Iran is the most important state in the region and it is consulting with us and it sometimes endorses our viewpoint on certain issues." (Jerusalem Post, Dec. 3, 2013)
“We understand that the future of our country and of our shared civilization depends on the survival and thriving of that free and democratic homeland of the Jewish people in the Middle East,” — Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, speaking at the Jewish National Fund’s annual Negev Dinner in Ottawa. “Israel will always have Canada as a friend,” Harper added, citing the importance of Israel to him and his caucus colleagues. “As long as we are there, Canada will hold firm.” Harper also announced that he will visit the Jewish state for the first time in 2014. (National Post, Dec. 12, 2013)
"[Canadian Prime Minister] Stephen [Harper] doesn't follow the herd…he has stood up for the truth, time and time again…Stephen doesn't want to be politically correct, he wants to be correct. He had the courage to stand up for what he believed," — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a video greeting presented at the Negev Dinner. "I salute you Stephen, not only as a personal friend, and a friend of Israel but as a great leader." (Jerusalem Post, Dec. 2, 2013)
"The unique relationship between Israel and America extends beyond shared values and common interests…it is anchored in a profound belief, as Martin Luther King Jr. so eloquently put it, that the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends towards justice." — Ron Dermer, who officially took office on Tuesday as the eighteenth Israeli ambassador to the United States. Dermer added that "America is a country to which the Jewish people owe so much and to which I, as a son of America, am so personally indebted. I look forward to working with you and your administration to make the bonds between Israel and America stronger than ever." (Jerusalem Post, Dec. 4, 2013)
“If he doesn’t sign, Afghanistan will go to civil war and Karzai will be responsible,” — Moeen Marastial, a former member of parliament who previously served in Afghan president Hamid Karzai’s government. “Not only military commanders but ordinary people know, if this agreement is not signed, and there is no support and training for the military, the soldiers won’t be able to feed their families.” Karzai is facing a growing backlash from Afghan political leaders over his reluctance to sign a long-term security agreement with the United States. Karzai had appeared to reach an agreement last week that would permit up to 15,000 foreign troops to remain in Afghanistan after the formal end of U.S. combat operations in 2014. But Karzai has since refused to sign the accord until the U.S. government agrees to a series of escalating demands. (Washington Post, Nov. 27, 2013)
"I was taken aback when I heard this," — Yukio Okamoto, a former senior Japanese Foreign Ministry official, said in an interview on Sunday. "I can't think of any case like this in the past where the U.S. took a step that hurt Japan's interests over an issue related directly to Japan's national security in a way visible to the whole world." Japanese officials on Sunday played down publicly—but complained privately—that the U.S. isn't following Tokyo in rebuffing Beijing's demands for foreign airlines to file flight plans when navigating through China's new air-defense zone. The developments came as Japan openly questioned the Chinese military's ability to police the zone. (Wall Street Journal, Dec. 2, 2013)
"Let me tell you something about George Bush and oil money, and Obama and no money. People want to say Obama can't make these moves, or he's not executing. That's because he ain't got those connections. Black people don't have the same level of connections as Jewish people. Black people don't have the same connections as oil people. You know we don't know nobody that got a nice house. You know we don't know nobody with paper like that, that we can go to when we're down." — American hip-hop artist Kanye West. The statement was not the first time that West had made comments which raised eyebrows among Jews. In 2011, he was booed at a concert in England after comparing himself to Adolf Hitler. (Jerusalem Post, Nov. 29, 2013)
FINAL DEAL WITH IRAN COULD INCLUDE URANIUM ENRICHMENT — (Washington) A final deal with Iran could include a capacity for uranium enrichment, a White House spokesman said on Tuesday, seeking to clarify some of the terms of the interim deal signed between Tehran and world powers. The United States does not recognize that Iran has a right to enrich, but "we are prepared to negotiate a strictly limited enrichment program in the end state," said Bernadette Meehan, a spokeswoman with the White House National Security Council. This is supposedly because the Iranians have indicated for the first time that they are prepared to accept "rigorous monitoring and limits on level, scope, capacity and stockpiles," she said in response to a query arising from a story first reported by the Washington Free Beacon. (Jerusalem Post, Dec. 4, 2013)
NETANYAHU MEETS POPE, TALKS TOUGH ON IRAN — (Rome) Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met Pope Francis on Monday as part of a visit to Rome during which he restated his firm opposition to a nuclear deal with Iran. The Israeli PM gave the pope a Spanish translation of his father Benzion Netanyahu’s book The Origins of the Inquisition in Fifteenth Century Spain. The dedication was made to “Pope Francis, a great shepherd of our common heritage”. Netanyahu and Francis had been expected to discuss negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, which resumed in July after a three-year hiatus but which have faltered due to Palestinian opposition to Israeli plans for new settlement building. (Vanguard, Dec. 2, 2013)
HEZBOLLAH COMMANDER KILLED OUTSIDE HOME IN LEBANON — (Beirut) Gunmen assassinated a senior Hezbollah commander outside his home Wednesday in southern Beirut, a major breach of the Shiite militant group’s security as it struggles to maintain multiple fronts while it fights alongside President Bashar Assad’s forces in Syria. The overnight killing of Hassan al-Laqis, described as a founding member of the group and one of its top commanders, was a huge blow to the Iranian-backed group that dominates politics in Lebanon. Hezbollah’s heavy-handed and very open involvement in the civil war next door has enraged both Lebanese, Sunnis and the overwhelmingly Sunni rebels seeking to oust Assad. The sectarian divisions have spilled over into Lebanon and exposed the group and its Shiite supporters to retaliatory attacks. (Washington Post, Dec. 4, 2013)
UN IMPLICATES BASHAR AL-ASSAD IN SYRIA WAR CRIMES — (Geneva) The UN's human rights chief has said an inquiry has produced evidence that war crimes were authorised in Syria at the "highest level", including by President Bashar al-Assad. It is the first time the UN's human rights office has so directly implicated Mr Assad. The UN's commission of inquiry into Syria has produced "massive evidence… [of] very serious crimes, war crimes, crimes against humanity," Ms Pillay said. "The scale of viciousness of the abuses being perpetrated by elements on both sides almost defies belief," she said. (BBC, Dec. 2, 2013)
NIGERIA IMPOSES CURFEW IN MAIDUGURI AFTER MILITANT ATTACK — (Lagos) Authorities have imposed a 24-hour curfew in the Nigerian city of Maiduguri after an attack by suspected Islamic Boko Haram militants. Local journalists report that the pre-dawn attack Monday targeted areas in and around the Maiduguri airport, including a Nigerian air force base. Soldiers blocked off roads leading to the airport after the attack. The Nigerian army said in a statement it had "successfully repelled" a Boko Haram attempt to gain access to parts of the Maiduguri metropolis and "inflicted serious casualties" on the militants. (Voice of America, Dec. 2, 2013)
EXECUTION-STYLE KILLINGS IN IRAQ RAISE FEARS OF RETURN TO SECTARIAN VIOLENCE — (Bagdad) More than 300 Iraqis have been killed this month in bombings and shootings in markets, along roadsides, near schools and mosques, and in bakeries. The United Nations Security Council condemned the recent spike in violence in Iraq and the deliberate targeting of places where civilians congregate. But on Wednesday, Nov. 27, the daily tally of violence took on an air of pinpoint deliberation with the execution-style killings of several groups of civilians, a grim reminder of the worst days of sectarian warfare in the country. (New York Times, Nov. 27, 2013)
KURDS FORGE A RISKY OIL DEAL WITH TURKEY — (Ankara) The autonomous Iraqi region of Kurdistan said it agreed to supply Turkey with oil through a pipeline in a landmark deal that raised tensions with Baghdad, which fears the move could spark independence drives by other Iraqi governorates. But the Monday announcement here, in the region's capital, was tempered by Baghdad's refusal to approve the deal, which it considers illegal. The tensions go to the heart of the disagreement between Kurdistan, a relatively prosperous and stable province, and Baghdad, where sectarian religious violence has soared in recent months as the central government strives to maintain control over restless regions. (Wall Street Journal, Dec. 2, 2013)
SAUDIS EXPEL 500,000+ ILLEGALS — (Riyadh) According to several Arab sources, Saudi Arabia has deported 71,000 illegal foreigners since its crackdown on migrant workers began on November 4, according to latest figures from the kingdom’s Passport Directorate. Arab News reports that, before the deportations began, almost 300,000 Egyptians had returned home on their own since the beginning of July. In Yemen, officials are expecting the total of Yemeni returnees from Saudi Arabia to reach 210,000. Some 130,000 returned during the initial crackdown last March (and the subsequent “grace” period), with a further 80,000 expected during the current crackdown. (Jewish Press, Dec. 2, 2013)
NETANYAHU VOWS TO ADVANCE BEDOUIN RESETTLEMENT PLAN DESPITE VIOLENT PROTESTS — (Hura) Bedouin Israelis and their supporters staged violent protests in several locations across the country on Saturday against the controversial Prawer-Begin resettlement bill currently being debated in the Knesset. Clashes between police and demonstrators were reported, inter alia, at the Hura Junction in the Negev, in Haifa and in east Jerusalem. Some 15 police officers were lightly wounded and 30 protesters were arrested. The Prawer-Begin bill is a five-year economic development initiative seeking to regulate Bedouin settlement in the South. It aims for a compromise solution for tens of thousands of Bedouin currently scattered in unrecognized villages throughout the Negev, legalizing 63 percent of claimed land. (Jerusalem Post, Nov. 30, 2013)
ISRAEL TO JOIN UNITED NATIONS HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL — (Geneva) Israel has been accepted as a member of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), Maariv reported Thursday. The international body, infamous for singling out the Jewish State for condemnation, will now add it to the list of 9 Western members. The move is a complete about-face for the UNHRC, which in its 5-year history has condemned Israel over 46 times – more than any other nation in the world. The UNHRC was also the body that appointed the Goldstone Commission's investigation of 'Operation Cast Lead' in the December 2008 – January 2009 Gaza War, eventually concluding that Israel had committed war crimes. (Arutz Sheva, Nov. 28, 2013)
U.S. ACADEMIC GROUP MAY BOYCOTT ISRAELI UNIVERSITIES — (Washington) At its annual meeting, this year held in Washington, D.C., the American Studies Association entertained a resolution calling upon the Association to boycott Israeli academic institutions. When the Boycott Israel resolution was discussed at the meeting, 37 out of 44 speakers favored passage of the resolution. A primary reason offered in the body of the petition in support of the boycott resolution is that the Israeli “Occupation” has a severely deleterious effect on the academic freedom rights of Palestinian Arabs. (Jewish Press, Nov. 29, 2013)
BOB DYLAN CHARGED WITH ‘INCITING HATE’ BY FRENCH AUTHORITIES AFTER COMPARING CROATIANS TO NAZIS — (Paris) French authorities have filed preliminary charges against Bob Dylan over a 2012 interview in which he is quoted comparing Croatians to Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan. The charges of “public insult and inciting hate” were filed against the musician in mid-November. They stem from a lawsuit by a Croatian community group in France over remarks in an interview in Rolling Stone magazine in September 2012. Speaking about race relations in the United States, Dylan was quoted as saying: “If you got a slave master or Klan in your blood, blacks can sense that. That stuff lingers to this day. Just like Jews can sense Nazi blood and the Serbs can sense Croatian blood.” (National Post, Dec. 3, 2013)
ANTISEMITISM DEFINITION UNDER THREAT — (Brussels) the EU Working Definition of antisemitism has been effectively removed as an official document, giving an opening for antisemites and enemies of Israel to discredit and delegitimize the fight against antisemitism. The European definition was originally published in 2005 by the EU’s Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia, which has since been replaced by its successor organization, the Fundamental Rights Agency. The antisemitism definition is, pointedly, not included on the FRA’s website. (Honest Reporting, Dec. 3, 2013)
UKRAINIAN JEWS SPLIT ON DANGERS OF PROTEST MOVEMENT — (Kiev) Ukrainian Jews are split in their perceptions of the potential dangers towards their community due to recent massive anti-government protests around the country. Following a rebuff of the European Union last week, hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians came out to protest against President Viktor Yanukovich’s turn towards Russia. On Friday, under pressure from Moscow, Yanukovich dropped plans to sign a free trade pact with Brussels that would have integrated the post-Soviet nation much more firmly into the Western bloc. Some local Jews have been worrying that the presence of Svoboda, one of the leading opposition factions and a significant presence in the street protests, may portend an ugly turn for the Ukraine. Oleg Tyahnybok, the leader of Svoboda, which has been called an antisemitic and neo-Nazi party by the World Jewish Congress and other Jewish organizations, is one of the four “emerging leaders” of the protests. (Jerusalem Post, Dec. 4, 2013)
NAZI WAR CRIMINAL HEINRICH BOERE DEAD AT 92 — (Berlin) The Justice Ministry in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia announced, Monday, that Heinrich Boere – convicted in 2010 for the murder of three suspected members of the Dutch underground during World War II – died in the infirmary of a prison where he was serving a life sentence. Boere was a member of an SS hit team in Holland and is believed to have murdered a total of 54 people. At his trial he expressed no regret and said he was just following orders. (Arutz Sheva, Dec. 3, 2013)
An Iranian Insider's View of the Geneva Deal: Sohrab Ahmari, Wall Street Journal, Nov. 26, 2013 — The Obama administration and Western diplomats were elated by an agreement, negotiated over the weekend, to temporarily limit some aspects of Iran's nuclear-weapons program.
Iran, Hezbollah, and Obama’s Double Betrayal of Syria: Stephen Schwartz, Weekly Standard, Dec. 4, 2013 — The Obama administration’s appeasement of Iran over its nuclear weapons program is intertwined with its appeasement of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad. For Obama, the red line in Syria was the Assad regime’s use of chemical weapons, not his murdering, at this stage, upwards of 120,000 people.
Iran after Geneva: Clifford D. May, National Review, Nov. 28, 2013 — To be fair, the document signed in Geneva is not meant to neutralize the threat posed by those who rule Iran. It is meant only to be a “confidence building” measure, a first step toward the “comprehensive solution” that President Obama envisions — or at least hopes for.
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