Saturday, December 11, 2021

Defense Min. Benny Gantz presents Iran attack timeline to US officials - Yaakov Katz

 

by Yaakov Katz

A senior diplomatic source said on Friday that the Americans did not voice opposition to the Israeli preparations when presented with the date by Gantz.

 

Defense Minister Benny Gantz and US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin meet outside the Pentagon, December 9, 2021. (photo credit: DEFENSE MINISTRY)

MIAMI - Defense Minister Benny Gantz updated the Americans on Thursday that he has set a deadline for when the IDF will need to complete preparations for an attack against Iran. 
A senior diplomatic source said on Friday that the Americans did not voice opposition to the Israeli preparations when presented with the date by Gantz. 
 
“There was no veto,” the source said. 
 
The IDF has intensified planning for an attack against Iran. Last week, American sources revealed that Austin and Gantz were expected to discuss joint military preparations and a report on Kan said that the IDF was planning a massive aerial drill mocking a strike against Iran this coming summer. 
 
Gantz met on Thursday with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Secretary of State Antony Blinken. The conversations focused mostly on Iran and its continued pursuit of a nuclear capability but some of the US officials also brought up Israeli settlement activity and their concern that building in the West Bank will block a future two-state solution. 

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin welcomes Israel's Defense Minister Benny Gantz during an enhanced honor cordon arrival ceremony at the Pentagon, in Arlington, Virginia, US, December 9, 2021. (credit: REUTERS/KEN CEDENO) US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin welcomes Israel's Defense Minister Benny Gantz during an enhanced honor cordon arrival ceremony at the Pentagon, in Arlington, Virginia, US, December 9, 2021. (credit: REUTERS/KEN CEDENO)

On Friday Gantz addressed the Israel American Council summit in Miami and said that Iran is a great threat to Israel but first and foremost to the world. 
 
“This is why the international community, with US leadership, must stand together and act forcefully against Iran’s hegemonic aspirations and nuclear program and restore stability for the sake of global peace,” he said. 
 
Gantz later said that the consultations in Washington were “excellent” and included discussions about ways to ensure Israel’s qualitative military edge in the Middle East. 

Gantz said that he spoke with the Americans about ways to keep the pressure on Iran with the aim of keeping them away from a nuclear capability and to take advantage of Iranian vulnerabilities - particularly economic - that could be used to persuade them to suspend nuclear activity. 
 
The defense minister said that his impression from the meetings in Washington was that the fate of the negotiations in Vienna would be determined in the coming weeks. 
 
“I think that in the coming weeks we will know where we stand,” he said.

 

Yaakov Katz

Source: https://www.jpost.com/international/defense-min-benny-gantz-presents-iran-attack-timeline-to-us-officials-688489

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The Generals’ Belated Awakening - Caroline Glick

 

by Caroline Glick

Evidence is growing that members of the IDF General Staff and the Mossad are beginning to realize that the U.S. doesn’t share Israel’s goal of preventing Iran from becoming a nuclear power.

Something is changing in Israel’s military brass’ assessment of the Iranian nuclear threat.

Evidence is growing that members of the IDF General Staff and the Mossad are beginning to realize that the U.S. doesn’t share Israel’s goal of preventing Iran from becoming a nuclear power. Last week for instance, Michael Makovsky, the head of the Jewish Institute for National Security of America, (JINSA) a Washington-based group that cultivates ties between Israeli and U.S. generals published an article in the New York Post where he described their rude awakening.

Makovsky wrote, “Recent meetings with senior defense officials from our closest Middle East ally, Israel, were the most pessimistic I can recall. They perceive America as checked out, adrift, pusillanimous, unfeared and desperate to avoid military confrontation, and Iran as emboldened and nearing the nuclear weapons threshold.”

Makovsky said that all his interlocutors raised the same three points: The U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan showed that the Biden administration is comfortable betraying U.S. allies. The administration’s decision not to respond to the October 20 Iranian attack on its airbase in Tanf, Syria showed the U.S. is willing to allow Iran to attack it with impunity. And the administration’s willingness to be humiliated by the Iranians at the nuclear talks in Vienna shows that the only thing the administration wants is to reach a deal – any deal — with Iran.

By Makovsky’s telling, the Israelis are divided on what the Iranians want and they still haven’t completely given up hope that the Americans will come through, somehow. He ended his article by arguing that the U.S. should provide Israel with the equipment and weapons platforms it requires to successfully strike Iran’s nuclear installations without the U.S. But it was clear from his description of the Israeli security brass’ disposition that their faith the U.S. will actually follow through on its pledge to block Iran from becoming a nuclear power has waned significantly. It is beginning to dawn on them that in the fight against Iran, Israel is alone.

While Israel’s security establishment’s frustration with the Biden administration, and their apparent, grudging acceptance of reality are understandable, there is something deeply unsettling about both.

Where have the generals been for the past thirteen years?

Since former president Barack Obama entered office in January 2009, the U.S. has had two policies for contending with Iran’s nuclear program. The first is the Obama-Biden policy. The second is the Donald Trump policy.

The Obama-Biden policy is to engage in diplomacy with Iran that will enable Iran to acquire nuclear weapons, with the backing of the UN Security Council. And then to call the outcome “peace,”

Obama’s 2015 nuclear deal with Iran — the so-called Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action — which Biden now seeks desperately to reinstate in some fashion, guaranteed that Iran would be a nuclear threshold state by 2030 at the latest. As Makovsky’s general friends indicated, from Biden’s diplomatic machinations it’s clear that as far as Biden and his team are concerned, any deal is fine with them – even one that gives Iran international approval of its nuclear weapons program and lifts all sanctions on Iran immediately.

Trump’s policy towards Iran’s nuclear program was a welcome respite from the Obama-Biden policy. Trump’s policy did not involve abandoning America’s Middle East allies. It involved empowering them. Trump’s policy was to create the diplomatic, economic and military conditions that would enable Israel to successfully attack Iran’s nuclear installations.

For all the differences between them, the Obama-Biden policy on the one hand and the Trump policy on the other shared a common denominator: Both ruled out a U.S. military strike on Iran’s nuclear installations.

This common reality was never hard to see. Anyone willing to really listen to what the Americans were saying and watch what they were doing could have figured out that the U.S. had no intention of attacking Iran’s nuclear installations. The only party that could possibly be expected to attack Iran’s nuclear sites – if it were to be done at all – was Israel.

Those who were unwilling to look reality in the face have clung to certain popular, but incorrect narratives. The most popular one, which several of Makovsky’s friends shared with him is the utterly false claim that Obama’s 2015 deal slowed down Iran’s nuclear progress, and therefore was a positive development. Today, leading Israeli military leaders in the dominant America-centric clique and their colleagues on the political left argue that the 2015 deal served to slow Iran’s nuclear advance and that Biden’s plan to reinstate the deal will do the same. This is a good thing they say, because it buys Israel time to develop the military means to attack Iran’s nuclear sites.

Unfortunately, this position is based on ignoring, rather than accepting reality. As U.S. strategic expert Dr. David Wurmser explained recently to Israel Hayom, the Iranians did not slow their uranium enrichment because they agreed to the JCPOA. Wurmser, who served in both the Bush and Trump national security councils, explained that the Iranians timed the agreement to align with their nuclear schedule. In 2014-2015, the Iranians began work on advanced centrifuges capable of enriching uranium to military levels of purity. In the course of the negotiations on the nuclear deal, the Iranians insisted that they be permitted under the deal to continue their nuclear research and development on the advanced centrifuges. Obama and his team accepted their demand. In 2016 and 2017, reports emerged that Iran had successfully acquired the capacity to use advanced centrifuges. 

As Wurmser explains, Iran began using their advanced centrifuges to enrich uranium to 60 percent purity as soon as they were ready. The popular claim that Trump’s decision to abandon the JCPOA in 2018 precipitated Iran’s actions is nothing more than a delusion. Iran would have done so regardless of Trump’s actions. The real leap in Iran’s uranium enrichment came after Biden’s inauguration. His arrival gave the Iranians confidence that they would face no opposition from Washington as they sprinted to the nuclear finish line.

The one person who understood and acted on the basis of reality from the outset of the Obama administration was then prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Netanyahu saw that Iran was galloping ahead as quickly as it could with its nuclear program and that the U.S. had no intention of using force to block its advance. When the chorus began chanting in unison that the JCPOA slowed Iran’s nuclear progress, Netanyahu rightly rejected their contention as absurd.  

Recognizing that the Americans would not attack Iran’s nuclear installations, Netanyahu worked to develop, expand and use Israel’s diplomatic, military, intelligence, cyber and sabotage capabilities to harm Iran’s nuclear program. Netanyahu was willing for Israel to go it alone and also eagerly sought out and cooperated with anyone who was willing to work with Israel to oppose Iran.

Among other things, Netanyahu pushed economic sanctions on Iran to prevent the ayatollahs from having the economic means to fund their nuclear program. Sanctions also work to destabilize their regime and delegitimize its nuclear program in the eyes of the impoverished Iranian people.

To undermine Obama and Biden’s ability to sell their pro-Iranian policy to Congress as non-proliferation, or peace, Netanyahu worked in the diplomatic arena to highlight the danger Iran’s nuclear program poses to Israel, the Middle East, global security and U.S. security.

Netanyahu’s most powerful and trenchant opponents at home were Israel’s national security brass. Led by IDF chiefs of General Staff Gaby Ashkenazy, Benny Gantz and Gadi Eisenkot, and Mossad directors Meir Dagan and Tamir Pardo, Israel’s security leadership embraced a policy based not on reality, but on faith. Despite all evidence to the contrary, the generals insisted the U.S. would come through in the end and attack Iran’s nuclear installations.

True, they acknowledged, Israel is the only country that Iran threatens to annihilate. But they insisted that since Iran’s nuclear program threatens the entire region as well as Europe and the U.S., taking out Iran’s nuclear installations is America’s responsibility, not Israel’s. And even as Obama acknowledged that at the end of the JCPOA in 2030, Iran’s breakout time to independent nuclear capabilities would be “zero,” the generals insisted that America could be trusted when it promised that it would not permit Iran to become a nuclear power.

Given their aspirational, rather than reality-based policy assessment of U.S. intentions, Israel’s security leaders argued that Israel’s job is to cooperate with the Americans and under no circumstance should it publicly dispute anything the Americans say. Israel’s security leaders said that through proper coordination, when the day arrived to strike Iran, they would be able to convince Washington to do the right thing.

Operating on this assessment, the heads of Israel’s national security establishment opposed Netanyahu’s diplomatic campaign against the nuclear deal and harshly criticized him for his actions in this arena. They supported Obama against Netanyahu and praised the deal.

In 2010, Ashkenazy and Dagan refused Netanyahu’s direct order to prepare Israel’s forces to attack Iran’s nuclear installations. If that weren’t bad enough, Dagan divulged Netanyahu’s order to his U.S. counterpart then CIA chief Leon Panetta.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has expressed no clear policy on Iran, although his refusal to meet Robert Malley, Biden’s envoy to the negotiations when he travelled to Israel two weeks ago indicated that Bennett is aligned with Netanyahu’s position. At any rate, with paltry support in the public and in in his own government, Bennett is not the primary decision-maker on Iran. That power today rests with Defense Minister Benny Gantz. Gants is the most prominent and powerful member of the America-dependent camp. And even as the Biden administration remains fixated on reaching a deal – any deal – with the mullahs –Gantz flew to Washington this week to coordinate. To neutralize growing concern in Israel’s security establishment, the administration decided to put pull out a few stoppers.

Ahead of Gantz’s arrival in Washington, a senior administration official told Reuters that Gantz would speak with his counterpart Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin about holding a joint U.S.-Israel training exercise to practice attacking Iran’s nuclear installations. While comforting, it is hard to credence the statement for several reasons. First, if the U.S. was really planning to attack Iran’s nuclear installations with Israel, senior officials wouldn’t call Reuters to divulge this highly classified state of affairs.

Second, while the unnamed official was revealing ostensibly top-secret operational plans to Reuters, Malley was in the Persian Gulf telling America’s allies that the U.S. is dead set on cutting a deal.

Finally, Malley’s boss Secretary of State Tony Blinken pointedly refuses to even pay lip service to the notion of attacking Iran’s nuclear installations militarily.

Obviously, Israel’s credulous generals would rather believe Reuters than Malley. But reality isn’t really concerned with their preferences. If Iran is to be prevented from becoming a nuclear-armed state, the generals’ belated awakening must proceed at top speed. Not only must they recognize that Netanyahu was right all along. They must adopt his policy of working across the board to weaken Iran’s regime and block its path to the bomb.

Originally published in Israel Hayom.

 

Caroline Glick

Source: https://carolineglick.com/the-generals-belated-awakening/

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Jussie Smollett's Subway sandwich was key to case, ex-Chicago police superintendent says - Brie Stimson

 

by Brie Stimson

Smollett was convicted on five of six counts

Actor Jussie Smollett was found guilty of lying to police last week after he claimed he was the victim of a hate crime in 2019 and, of all things, a Subway sandwich was a key piece of evidence in the case against him, the former Chicago police superintendent said, according to reports. 

Ex-Superintendent Eddie Johnson told NewsNationNow's "Morning in America" that Smollett left his home around 2 a.m. on the day he claimed to be attacked to buy the sandwich. 

"OK, that’s fine," Johnson said, adding that morning was one of the coldest in Chicago that year and hardly anyone was on the street. "He comes back and gets attacked in a hate crime, supposed hate crime, and during all this scuffle – they poured bleach on him and all of this – when he got up and went into his apartment building he still had that Subway sandwich with him. That doesn’t happen."

Actor Jussie Smollett, center, leaves the Leighton Criminal Courthouse with unidentified siblings, Thursday, Dec. 9, 2021, in Chicago, following a verdict in his trial. Smollett was convicted Thursday on five of six charges he staged an anti-gay, racist attack on himself nearly three years ago and then lied to Chicago police about it. 

Actor Jussie Smollett, center, leaves the Leighton Criminal Courthouse with unidentified siblings, Thursday, Dec. 9, 2021, in Chicago, following a verdict in his trial. Smollett was convicted Thursday on five of six charges he staged an anti-gay, racist attack on himself nearly three years ago and then lied to Chicago police about it.  (Associated Press)

Smollett's interview with police inside his apartment after the claimed attack was caught on body camera footage. 

Johnson said victims usually abandon whatever they have with them when they’re attacked "because they’re afraid."

"This guy had the sandwich in his hand, never been touched. So that was a real tip and a clue to us that something was amiss." 

"This guy had the sandwich in his hand, never been touched. So that was a real tip and a clue to us that something was amiss." 

— Eddie Johnson, former Chicago police superintendent
Then-Chicago police Superintendent Eddie Johnson speaks at a news conference in Chicago, Nov. 7, 2019. (Associated Press)

Then-Chicago police Superintendent Eddie Johnson speaks at a news conference in Chicago, Nov. 7, 2019. (Associated Press)

JUSSIE SMOLLETT VERDICT: ‘BEING A CELEBRITY BACKFIRED,’ SAYS LEGAL EXPERT 

Johnson added that Smollett was suspiciously "nonchalant" about removing a noose the supposed attackers had placed around his neck once he got back to his apartment, the video showed, which he said also gave him pause. 

Actor Jussie Smollett, second from right, along with his mother Janet, returns to the Leighton Criminal Courthouse, Thursday, Dec. 9, 2021, in Chicago, after the jury reached a verdict in his trial. 

Actor Jussie Smollett, second from right, along with his mother Janet, returns to the Leighton Criminal Courthouse, Thursday, Dec. 9, 2021, in Chicago, after the jury reached a verdict in his trial.  (Associated Press)

"I don’t think there are many Black people in America that would have a noose around their neck, and wouldn’t immediately take it off," Johnson, who is Black, told the Chicago station

Smollett had claimed that he was attacked by two men in 2019 because he is Black and gay. The two purported attackers have since said they were paid by Smollett to stage the attack. 

Jussie Smollett's intact Subway sandwich caught the attention of investigators, a former Chicago police superintendent says.

Jussie Smollett's intact Subway sandwich caught the attention of investigators, a former Chicago police superintendent says. (iStock)

He was found guilty of telling a police officer he was a hate crime victim, telling an officer he was a battery victim, telling a detective he was a hate crime victim, telling a detective he was a battery victim and then telling a detective again he was battery victim. He was not found guilty on a sixth charge of telling a second detective he was an aggravated battery victim.

In this courtroom sketch, special prosecutor Dan Webb, left, cross-examines actor Jussie Smollett Tuesday, Dec. 7, 2021, in Chicago.

In this courtroom sketch, special prosecutor Dan Webb, left, cross-examines actor Jussie Smollett Tuesday, Dec. 7, 2021, in Chicago. (Associated Press)

Prosecutors said he even staged a rehearsal with the hired attackers beforehand.

Smollett maintains his innocence and his lawyer said he plans to appeal his conviction, saying the team is confident he will eventually be cleared of all charges.   

Fox News' Stephanie Nolasco contributed to this report.

 

Brie Stimson

Source: https://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/jussie-smollett-subway-sandwich-chicago-police-superintendent

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Two positive developments pertaining to January 6 - David Zukerman

 

by David Zukerman

"pre-trial inmates related to January 6 are treated more harshly than other inmates in the D.C. jail, even though they have yet to be convicted of any crime."

More than eleven months have elapsed since the events at the Capitol, January 6, 2021 — and many people arrested in connection with that physical intrusion into the Capitol building are still held in pre-trial confinement.  Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) has published a report on her visit to the D.C. jail, with Rep. Louis Gohmert (R-Texas) on November 4.

The Greene Report points out that the tour was hastily arranged by the office of the mayor after previous attempts by the representatives to visit the January 6 detainees — held for months without trial — had been denied.

On November 4, Representatives Greene and Gohmert were invited to join the tour of members of the D.C. City Council, a tour scheduled after the U.S. Marshals' Service found that the jail did not meet minimum standards for confinement and had arranged for the transfer of 400 detainees to a prison in Pennsylvania.  The finding by the Marshals' Service is appended to the Greene Report.  And even on the evening of November 4, after visiting other areas of the facility, it took a threat of seeking a court order before Reps. Gohmert and Greene ware permitted into the area of the jail, where some 40 January 6 detainees were confined, restricted to their cells for 19 hours a day, one detainee held since last February 4.

The following is taken from the Conclusion to the Greene Report: "pre-trial inmates related to January 6 are treated more harshly than other inmates in the D.C. jail, even though they have yet to be convicted of any crime."  The Greene Report suggested that four members, Reps. Gaetz and Gosar, in addition to Ms. Greene and Mr. Gohmert, have expressed interest in the well-being of the January 6 detainees. Where, one wonders, are the other members of the House Republican Conference?  And where are the social organizations concerned about the treatment of prison inmates?  Ms. Greene noted in her conclusion that there is a "two-track justice system in the United States, but it is based on politics, not race."  One cannot help but believe that if the detainees were members of Antifa and BLM, The New York Times would be screaming from the top of its building at 62 Eighth Avenue for the immediate release of leftist radicals held for nearly a year in pre-trial confinement.  Although with respect to the January 6 detainees, one cannot dismiss the thought that such indefinite and harsh pre-trial confinement for Trump supporters is what the Times had in mind when it suggested, in an August 2016 editorial, that after Hillary Clinton wins the presidential election, "The toxic effects of Trumpism will have to be addressed."

The New York Times, to no one's surprise, ignored the Greene Report.  The paper did print news that Mark Meadows, former chief of staff to President Trump, was suing to quash the subpoena issued to him by the House Select Committee on January 6, 2021.  But the Times account, December 9, by Luke Broadwater gave no information whatsoever as to the substance of the complaint.

As to the substance of the complaint brought by Mr. Meadows, against Speaker Pelosi, the individual members of her puppet panel, and the committee as a whole, well, the complaint expresses what, I believe, all House GOP members, save two, should have protested when the speaker refused the House Republican leader's nominees to the panel.  And, as it happens, Pelosi's refusal to permit House minority leader Kevin McCarthy's nominees to sit on the select committee provided Mr. Meadows with the grounds to challenge the committee's existence.

The Meadows complaint alleges that the subpoenas issued against him, and Verizon, his cell phone carrier, are invalid because Pelosi violated the terms of House Resolution 503, which provided, among other things, that the minority members would be appointed in consultation with the minority leader.  The complaint cited a judicial opinion holding that Congress cannot violate its own rules.  The Meadows complaint also points out that the select committee itself has no legislative purpose; rather, it is acting more like an investigative law enforcement body, and a partisan one at that.  House committees must have a legislative purpose.  The resolution establishing the select committee prejudges the people who invaded the Capitol on January 6 as "domestic terrorists."  Isn't this "Queen of Hearts" justice?

Media reports that I have seen online make more of the executive privilege issue raised in the complaint, but I see a more essential decision throwing out the committee and its subpoenas — as a landmark case — on the nature of our tripartite government. A correct decision, holding that a congressional committee cannot function absent legitimate legislative purpose and must abide by the terms of the resolution authorizing its existence, would be a dagger in the heart of the unconstitutional attempt to transform congressional committees into inquisitorial bodies, which could only lead to tyrannical government.

Why didn't Republican congressmen raise a hue and cry once Pelosi turned the inquisitorial corner?  I can't say.  They don't return my emails or phone calls.  Maybe I should lie and say I'm with The New York Times or The Washington Post?

The Meadows complaint seeks injunctive relief.  If granted, and it should be, that would mean the subpoena against him (and all others served by this irregular, unconstitutional select committee?) would be quashed, with the select committee itself left to...what?  Utter incantations against Trump and Trumpism?  Mr. Meadows also seeks reasonable costs and attorneys' fees — and he richly deserves such compensation, even if the sums would be derived from the taxpayers, as the committee members are sued only in their official capacities.  (But if, as alleged, they acted in an ultra vires manner, they ought to pay costs and fees out of their personal pockets — or, if permissible, their PACs?)

Seems to this observer that all individuals plagued by the Pelosi puppet panel should join the Meadows lawsuit against Pelosi —and, finally, the House GOP conference ousting the vice chair of the Pelosi cabal, plus the member who plans to resign with the expiration of his current term — if for no other reason than to deny Pelosi the change to yell, "But Meadows is a liar!  I did appoint minority members to my select committee!"

By the way, she can't get around the fact that while her select panel has a vice chair, it lacks a ranking member — and House Res. 503 also called for a ranking member.  How do you like them apples, Ms. Cheney?

Image: Gage Skidmore via Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0.

 

David Zukerman

Source: https://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2021/12/two_positive_developments_pertaining_to_january_6.html

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The Iran Nuclear Deal: Biden Administration's Fatal Mistakes - Majid Rafizadeh

 

by Majid Rafizadeh

This is the same dangerous mistake that the Obama administration made.... All four rounds of UN sanctions that were putting pressure on Iran -- which had taken decades and a significant amount of political capital to put in place -- were lifted on day one.

  • [T]he Biden administration's objective is not to halt Iran's deeply flawed nuclear program permanently -- the biggest flaw being that in a few years Iran is permitted in its "sunset period" to have as many nuclear weapons as it likes -- but just to limit Iran's program for a period of time while removing the sanctions that hurt it economically.

  • The Biden administration has suggested a new sunset period of 25 years -- assuming the Iranian regime does not lower it to 10 or 5 years. This will allow the Islamic Republic to resume enriching uranium at any level they desire, spin as many advanced centrifuges as they want, make its reactors fully operational, build new heavy water reactors, produce as much fuel as they desire for the reactors, and maintain higher uranium enrichment capability with no restriction after the period of the agreement.

  • All that is really needed is for Iran to stop enriching uranium. Totally. No enriched uranium, no nukes. But the realistic chances of Iran complying with anything even resembling that are less than zero.

  • [T]he Biden administration is also planning to lift the remaining sanctions against Iran's regime on the first day of agreement -- before Iran has even complied with anything. Washington will then have no actual leverage against the regime.

  • This is the same dangerous mistake that the Obama administration made.... All four rounds of UN sanctions that were putting pressure on Iran -- which had taken decades and a significant amount of political capital to put in place -- were lifted on day one.

  • Finally, the Biden administration has not so much as mentioned curbing Iran's intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) program. A report by Iran's... Afkar News... stated: "The same type of ballistic missile technology used to launch the satellite could carry nuclear, chemical or even biological weapons to wipe Israel off the map, hit US bases and allies in the region and US facilities, and target NATO even in the far west of Europe."

  • Why would the Biden administration want to propose a nuclear deal with the Iranian regime that will only empower and embolden the malign actions of the ruling mullahs?

The Biden administration, in an attempt to revive the nuclear deal, is continuing to forge ahead by negotiating with the government of Ebrahim Raisi (pictured), known -- for his crimes against humanity and his involvement in a massacre of nearly 30,000 political prisoners -- as the "Butcher of Tehran." (Photo by Atta Kenare/AFP via Getty Images)

The Biden administration, in an attempt to revive the nuclear deal, is continuing to forge ahead by negotiating with the government of Ebrahim Raisi, known -- for his crimes against humanity and his involvement in a massacre of nearly 30,000 political prisoners -- as the "Butcher of Tehran."

First of all, the Biden administration's objective is not to halt Iran's deeply flawed nuclear program permanently -- the biggest flaw being that in a few years, Iran is permitted in its "sunset period" to have as many nuclear weapons as it likes -- but just to limit Iran's program for a period of time while removing the sanctions that hurt it economically.

The Biden administration has suggested a new sunset period of 25 years -- assuming the Iranian regime does not lower it to 10 or 5 years. This will allow the Islamic Republic to resume enriching uranium at any level they desire, spin as many advanced centrifuges as they want, make its reactors fully operational, build new heavy water reactors, produce as much fuel as they desire for the reactors, and maintain higher uranium enrichment capability with no restriction after the period of the agreement. All that is really needed is for Iran to stop enriching uranium. Totally. No enriched uranium, no nukes. But the realistic chances of Iran complying with anything even resembling that are less than zero.

In short, the sunset period terms will most likely ensure that after the pause detailed in any agreement, Iran will be a nuclear state. It is also pretty safe to assume, from Iran's track record, that during any agreement, Iran will covertly violate the rules.

Technologically speaking, after Iran becomes a nuclear threshold state, it is just a matter of weeks to convert the materials into weapons grade material.

In addition, after having lifted some of the sanctions, the Biden administration is also planning to lift the remaining sanctions against Iran's regime on the first day of agreement -- before Iran has even complied with anything. Washington will then effectively have no actual leverage against the regime. Iran will immediately join the international community, increase its oil sales and trade, and the ruling clerics will ensure their hold on power, eliminating at least the economic danger that accompanies massive domestic unrest and threatens even further the mullahs' repressive hold on power.

This is the same dangerous mistake that the Obama administration made. In 2015, the Iranian regime received an extremely favorable deal from the "P5+1": China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States, plus Germany. All four rounds of UN sanctions that were putting pressure on Iran -- which had taken decades and a significant amount of political capital to put in place -- were lifted on day one.

If all sanctions again are lifted immediately upon the revival of the nuclear deal, and Iran later decides to breach the terms of the nuclear deal, the West will no longer find a consensus in the UN Security Council to reimpose sanctions on Iran: China and Russia will vote no. This scenario already took place in 2020. When the International Atomic Energy Agency announced that Iran was violating all restrictions of the nuclear pact, the US could not get the backing of Russia and China, or even the consent of the EU3 (France, the UK and Germany), to reimpose sanctions on Iran.

Finally, the Biden administration has not so much as mentioned curbing Iran's intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) program. Iran's ICBM program is linked to the regime's nuclear program. A report by Iran's state-controlled Afkar News, with the headline "American soil is now within the range of Iranian bombs," stated:

"The same type of ballistic missile technology used to launch the satellite could carry nuclear, chemical or even biological weapons to wipe Israel off the map, hit US bases and allies in the region and US facilities, and target NATO even in the far west of Europe."

The report also boasted about the damage the Iranian regime could inflict on the US:

"By sending a military satellite into space, Iran now has shown that it can target all American territory; the Iranian parliament had previously warned that an electromagnetic nuclear attack on the United States would likely kill 90 percent of Americans."

The international community also witnessed how the Iranian regime expanded and launched more ballistic missiles after the 2015 nuclear deal despite the UN Security Council resolution that states:

"Iran shall not undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using ballistic missile technology, and that States shall take all necessary measures to prevent the transfer of technology or technical assistance to Iran related to such activities."

Why would the Biden administration want to propose a nuclear deal with the Iranian regime that will only empower and embolden the malign actions of the ruling mullahs?

 

Dr. Majid Rafizadeh is a business strategist and advisor, Harvard-educated scholar, political scientist, board member of Harvard International Review, and president of the International American Council on the Middle East. He has authored several books on Islam and US foreign policy. He can be reached at Dr.Rafizadeh@Post.Harvard.Edu

Source: https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/18023/iran-nuclear-deal-biden

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Ron DeSantis comes out with a five-point workable plan to get around Biden on illegal immigation - Monica Showalter

 

by Monica Showalter

Five points to cut illegal immigration all the way past its 'root causes.'

The more you look at Florida's governor, Ron DeSantis, the more you like him.

Here's his new plan on how to deal with Joe Biden's open borders policies that have brought the surge of illegal immigrants into the country, in a neatly presented, effectively communicated Twitter summary:

It's impressive, frankly for multiple reasons.

First, as noted above, it's effective Twitter communication, fearlessly getting the word out and summing up the precise details for all to read quickly.

Second, it's well in tune with what Americans are most thinking about in these days of Joe Biden's failed presidency.

 

According to the Washington Times last Dec. 7:

The survey, conducted by OnMessage Inc. from Nov. 19 to Dec. 3, tested a wide range of hot-button issues among more than 4,000 registered voters and found surprising areas of consensus.

Some 80% see rising inflation and supply chain issues as a “crisis.” That notion spans party lines.

About 70% of voters say the southern border, which is experiencing an unprecedented surge of illegal immigrants, is in “crisis.” That, too, spanned party lines.

That percentage is huge.

It's a poll result that echos what's been seen elsewhere: According to the University of Texas in one of its public sentiment polls last June, (illegal) immigration rated number two, behind political corruption/U.S. leadership as the top issue to voters.

Laura Ingraham had this excellent monologue yesterday on the top three issues bothering Americans now -- inflation, violent crime, and illegal immigration, all of which affect Americans directly in ways they can see with their own eyes. The video is here, or try this experimental link in non-typical format below here, I'll delete if it does not work:

 

Third, it's action at a time when action needs to be taken. There are a lot of red-state governors out there doing some work on the ongoing border surge -- Texas, Arizona -- but none have come up with as strong a plan of action for disincentivizing illegal immigration from the start as this program has. Texas, for instance, has cleverly erected barriers from shipping containers. However, that's triage, albeit fast triage. This deSantis plan hits at the root causes of the illegal immigration by targeting the wealthy enablers of illegal immigration - the NGOs, the activists, the open-borders lobby, the church groups, in a way that's designed to end the incentives and profit motives that these groups operate on.

Fourth, It's fascinatingly tailored to actions that a governor, as opposed to a president, can effectively do. 

DeSantis, for instance, can't shut down the border or build the wall or re-negotiate the treaties with Latin American partners in the way a good president could do, but he can target the NGOs who profit from dumping illegals into communities and then wash their hands of the costs they impose on others, through special taxations. The first three points of his five point plan do just that, target the NGOs, and others who profit from enabling the cartels and human smugglers from sponsoring more illegal immigration. It would bee nice to include Facebook, too, but that may be part of the plan. That's forcing these organizations to act responsibly, wiping those dollar-signs right out of their eyes and returning to their original missions.

The fourth point restores jails and courts as collection points for illegals -- the ones who break U.S. laws in ways that are so violent that they actually get charged for their crimes. Those characters need to be off the streets immediately with all due data collected on them, same as it's done with vaccines from ordinary Americans. A state can do that even if it can't force a deportation. That's important.

DeSantis's fifth point is important, too: E-Verify. Why isn't that the law of the land? Illegals are getting in left and right on phony work papers and working, taking away jobs from Americans or else depressing wages for those at the bottom of the economic ladder. The main reason they come is for work, but the identifications requirements in place lend to easy forging and corner-cutting. Why not e-Verify? Politicians have been talking about this for years, even Republican ones, but nothing has been done. Making it impossible for an illegal to find work is as great a deportation device as a court order and takes a lot less time and money, too. DeSantis hit a bullesye with this one. Shutting off Florida to illegal immigrants, one of the most economically booming of states that amounts to a job magnet, is going to have an impact.

DeSantis has done a yeoman's job on identifying what a governor can do on illegal immigration -- and doing it. He must have extremely good people, given the well-considered nature of these doable proposals.

All of this undercuts badly Joe Biden's plan for open borders and unlimited illegal immigration. That's what Americans want.

We can add another hashmark-scratchmark into the 'presidential' column for Ron DeSantis for this one. 

Image: Twitter screen shot

 

Monica Showalter

Source: https://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2021/12/ron_desantis_comes_out_with_a_fivepoint_workable_plan_to_get_around_biden_on_illegal_immigation.html

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Senior source reveals PM Bennett's true position on construction in Judea, Samaria - Ido Ben Porat

 

by Ido Ben Porat

Senior source who accompanied Defense Min. Gantz to Washington says Israel 'wants a diplomatic solution with supremacy on security issues.'

 

PM Bennett at a government meeting
PM Bennett at a government meeting                                                                    Yoni Kempinski

A senior security source who accompanied Defense Minister Benny Gantz (Blue and White) on his trip to Washington has revealed the Israeli government's true position on construction in Judea and Samaria.

According to the source, the issue came up in conversations Gantz had with American officials, but "less than in the past." The source added that, "There is mostly an American desire not to block the two-state solution."

With regards to the position Gantz presented in Washington, the source said, "Israel wants a diplomatic solution with supremacy on issues of security. The Israeli position is that we can build in the blocs, and also in the towns which need construction."

Gantz also told the US that he had ordered the IDF to prepare for an attack on Iran. Washington still sees a direct attack on Iran as a last resort, to be used only if the diplomatic efforts fail.

A senior Israeli security source said that "the Americans are with us, and at the same time, we as Israelis need to understand that the US is looking at the world in a broad fashion, and they have a different order to their priorities. The Americans understand well that Iran is playing for time, and that they don't have good cards."

"Alongside the relationship with the US, Israel needs to be strong on its own merits. We are not yet in a place where we can use force, it could be that the public opinion will change. Specifically, increasing the pressure by means of economic sanctions may cause the Iranians to backtrack on nuclear issues, and this is the time to do that."

On Thursday, Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked (Yamina) said that she is working to connect the young settlements in Judea and Samaria to basic water and electricity infrastructure.

In an interview with Reshet Bet, Shaked said, "We can connect the young settlements to electricity by means of a Commander's Order which will allow the Defense Minister to connect them to electricity. We are working on that, and I hope that it will happen in the coming months."

About the coalition itself, she said, "If the government functions well, it will live out its days. As long as we work well."

She also said that Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett intends to make his diplomatic visits abroad using the plane purchased by the previous government for the former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin.

"Bennett intends to use the plane, and he instructed that it be made ready. There is no reason it should stand unused in the Israel Aerospace Industries storehouse, and there's no reason to put out money on commercial flights," she said.

Shaked was also asked if she regrets the appointment of Avichai Mandelblit to the position of Attorney General. To this she responded, "There was a full partner to that appointment, and his name is Benjamin Netanyahu. We did it together."

 

Ido Ben Porat

Source: https://www.israelnationalnews.com/news/318464

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Palestinian Authority Crackdown on Hamas and PIJ in the West Bank - Hugh Fitzgerald

 

by Hugh Fitzgerald

Jihadist thuggery and contests over power and money.

 


In the West Bank, Mahmoud Abbas’ Palestinian Authority has been cracking down on Hamas, the PIJ, and the PFLP, in what has become a ruthless campaign to suppress his political rivals, by shutting down their events, and preventing them from appearing in the public square. Some have been hauled in for interrogation, others have been detained. The PA is now enduring an avalanche of criticism both from those groups, and from Palestinian human rights organizations, over its crackdown.

A report on this internecine Palestinian warfare is here: “PA steps up crackdown on Hamas, Islamic Jihad members,” by Khaled Abu Toameh, Jerusalem Post, November 27, 2021:

The Palestinian Authority has stepped up its security crackdown on members of Hamas and other Palestinian factions in the West Bank, drawing sharp criticism from the groups, political activists and human rights organizations.

In separate statements, Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) and the popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), whose members are the prime targets of the ongoing clampdown, called for an end to the measures taken by the PA security forces.

A PA official in Ramallah said that the security measures were designed to “enforce law and order” and “prevent attempts by thugs and armed gangs to undermine the Palestinian Authority and disturb the peace.”

It is not “law and order” that the PA is enforcing but the iron rule of Mahmoud Abbas, who brooks no opposition. The PA violates “law and order” whenever it feels like, in order to suppress even non-violent protests, or even just the public showing of Hamas or PIJ flags or banners, or to rid itself of dangerous dissidents, as Abbas recently did when he had his goons murder Nizar Banat, the activist who, on social media, had been the most damaging critic of Abbas’ corruption. That murder led to waves of protest in the PA-controlled parts of the West Bank.

Abbas was particularly intent on keeping funerals from turning into political rallies against him. At a recent funeral for Wasfi Kahaba, a Hamas member who had died of Covid, armed members of both Hamas and the PIJ showed up in force, in a direct challenge to Abbas that embarrassed and infuriated him. Ever since then, his men have been monitoring high-profile funerals, to make sure there is no repeat of that symbolic challenge to his rule by members of Hamas or the PIJ. .

The PA official dismissed accusations that the PA leadership was exploiting the security crackdown to target political rivals and silence critics….

This PA crackdown was precisely intended to “target political rivals and silence critics.” Abbas knows how deeply unpopular he is. In a recent poll, 80% of Palestinians said they wanted him to resign because of his mismanagement and, especially, his massive corruption. He is deeply resented.

The participation of Hamas and PIJ masked gunmen in the funeral was seen as a huge embarrassment for, and a direct challenge to, the PA’s leadership.

In response, PA President Mahmoud Abbas decided to replace the commanders of the various branches of the Palestinian security forces in the Jenin area.

Furious at the public show of force by both Hamas and the PIJ, Abbas chose to replace his local commanders with others, presumably chosen for their ruthlessness in clamping down on Hamas and PIJ.

Abbas is also reported to have issued strict instructions to the PA security forces to ban all public events held by Hamas, PIJ and other groups that are not affiliated with his ruling Fatah faction.

Abbas Is now in take-no-prisoners mode with Hamas and PIJ. No public gatherings, protests, speeches, welcome-home events for just-released prisoners, or funerals, will be allowed if they are tin any way connected to a group other than his own Fatah. He is trying to squeeze Hamas and the PIJ out of the public square altogether. His security services have now been engaging in proleptic arrests of Hamas and PIJ members, taken into custody not for anything they have done but for what they are deemed likely to do.

According to Palestinian sources, at least 65 Palestinians have been detained by the PA security forces in the past two weeks. Most of the detainees are suspected of being affiliated with Hamas and PIJ, the sources said.

In addition, more than 50 Palestinians were summoned for interrogation by the PA security forces, especially in the northern West Bank.

Hamas condemned the PA crackdown, dubbing it a “national and moral crime.”

Mahmoud Abbas will do whatever it takes in order to stay in power. He’s having people hauled in for questioning, in order to scare them, and to make them understand that they are under observation and must not deviate into dissidence. He’s detained others, and held them in prison — without trials — not for any act they’ve carried out, but only because they are affiliated with, or deemed sympathetic to, Hamas and the PIJ.

Referring to the PA ban on public events, Hamas spokesperson Hazem Qassem said that such actions by the Palestinian security forces “only serve the occupation.” He pointed out that the PA crackdown coincided with an increase in “the Zionist aggression against Palestinians” in the West Bank. “Instead of targeting Palestinian factions and preventing them from holding activities, the Palestinian Authority should be defending Palestinians,” Qassem said in a statement.

Qassem’s charge could be turned on its head: it is the terror groups Hamas and the PIJ whose murders of Israeli civilians have sullied the image of the Palestinian cause and thereby “serve the occupation” (that is, the state of Israel). The PA’s Fatah faction has been “defending Palestinians” who are loyal to it, just as Hamas and the PIJ have defended their own members. And at the same time the P.A. tries ferociously to suppress its political rivals within the Palestinian camp. Hazem Qassem has some gall in denouncing the PA crackdown on Hamas, when he knows perfectly well that the greatest internecine bloodletting among the Palestinians has been that let loose by Hamas on members of Fatah in 2006-2007.

Hussein Abu Kweik, a senior Hamas official from Ramallah, condemned the PA for targeting events to celebrate the release of Palestinians from Israeli prison. “This behavior violates Palestinian values that respect the prisoners and glorify their struggle,” he said.

The targeting of Hamas members and its banners will not “discourage the movement from continuing with its honorable path of resistance and pursuit of national unity,” Abu Kwiek added.

The PA is not against celebrating the release of all prisoners from Israeli prisons. But it will not allow an event celebrating their release if they belong to Hamas or the PIJ, when it is likely these events will turn into celebrations not only of the individual prisoner, but of the group to which he belongs. It thus can become a vehicle for the public display of anti-PA sentiments, and this is something that Abbas will not permit.

PIJ said in a statement that the “abduction of our activists by the Palestinian security forces in Jenin is an unpatriotic and immoral act.” The group claimed that the PA crackdown was intended “to serve the occupation.”

The PA is not interested in “serving the occupation.” It remains an implacable enemy of Israel, as its “Pay-For-Slay” program, providing generous monthly subsidies to imprisoned terrorists and to the families of terrorists killed in action, demonstrates. It even goes beyond dispensing money to reward past, and incentivize future, acts of terrorism. The PA also names schools, streets, squares, sports teams, and much more, after terrorists, including such people as Dalia Moghrabi, responsible for the Coastal Road Massacre in which 38 Israeli civilians, 13 of them children, were murdered. Naming public places for these terrorist murderers keeps them fresh in the Palestinians’ pantheon, and encourages young Palestinians to emulate those whose names have been memorialized in such a fashion.

The PA crackdown has nothing to do with “the occupation” and everything to do with maintaining the PA’s continued despotic rule over West Bank Palestinians, by forcibly suppressing any public demonstrations of support for the PA’s rivals Hamas and PIJ.

But for the PA there is only one legitimate Palestinian group – its own – and those who, in Hamas and PIJ, challenge the PA’s authority, and the rule of Mahmoud Abbas, must be suppressed.

Commenting on the incident during the funeral in Bethlehem, the PFLP accused the PA security forces of carrying out a “brutal assault” on the mourners.

“What happened confirms that the [PA] security forces have not learned lessons from their assaults on public freedoms and that they insist on proceeding with their repressive measures,” the PFLP said in a statement. “The attack on the funeral represents a dangerous shift in the practices of the Palestinian security services, which requires the prosecution of those involved in it and of those who gave the orders.”…

The Palestinian security services are being told by the PFLP that they should investigate the practices of the Palestinian security services. I can believe six impossible things before breakfast, but that scenario is not among them.

Referring to the PA ban on public events, Hamas spokesperson Hazem Qassem said that such actions by the Palestinian security forces “only serve the occupation.” He pointed out that the PA crackdown coincided with an increase in “the Zionist aggression against Palestinians” in the West Bank. “Instead of targeting Palestinian factions and preventing them from holding activities, the Palestinian Authority should be defending Palestinians,” Qassem said in a statement….

Hazem Qassem denounces the PA’s attack on other factions – that is, Hamas, the PIJ, and the PLP – insisting that Palestinians should always “defend” and never “target” other Palestinians. Has he forgotten the bloodbath carried out by Hamas in Gaza in 2006-2007, when it attacked Fatah members, murdering many hundreds and causing many more to flee the Strip? A total of 616 Palestinians were killed in internecine warfare in Gaza between 2006 and 2007, most of them members of Fatah murdered by Hamas. 

Mahmoud Abbas is engaged in a full-scale crackdown on his Palestinian political rivals, Hamas and the PIJ, and cannot now back down. It’s a case of what the Soviets used to call “Kto kovo” – “Who (does it to) Whom.” Among the Palestinians in the West Bank, this rivalry has become a zero-sum game. Abbas knows perfectly well that those rivals – Hamas, the PIJ — would gladly do to him what he is now doing to them. He remembers how Hamas murdered hundreds of Fatah members in Gaza in 2006-2007. He’s determined to squeeze Hamas and PIJ out of the public square, by closing down all their events in the West Bank, including funerals of their members, and welcome-homes to released prisoners who belong to Hamas or the PIJ. He’s had some of their members rounded up for interrogations, and detained still others. He’s even banned the public display of their flags and banners.

There is no grand principle at stake here. It’s purely a contest over power and money: who is to prevail among the Palestinians — the Slow Jihadists of the PA, or the Fast Jihadists of Hamas and the PIJ? It’s nothing like the political rivalries in the advanced West, between Tories and Labor, or Democrats and Republicans. No, these Palestinians at daggers drawn should make us think only of the Crips and the Bloods.

 

Hugh Fitzgerald

Source: https://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/2021/12/palestinian-authority-crackdown-hamas-and-pij-west-hugh-fitzgerald/

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Chaos and the Threat to Democracy - Abraham H. Miller

 

by Abraham H. Miller

[F]or those committed to an ideological view of the world where chaos is the paving stone to revolution, means are significant.

Among politics’ strangest alliances are those between the elite and the mob. They don’t happen often. The few times they have occurred produced devastating effects. The most notable of them was the rise of the Nazi party, which recruited its original and most loyal adherents from the outcasts of society.

When the Nazis became mainstream, Hitler himself remarked how he missed the passionate street fighters of old who had been replaced by political opportunists and office seekers.

There is a method to this odd partnership. It is built on mobilizing the periphery, creating chaos, and enhancing chaos where it already exists.

The Nazi example finds its parallel much earlier in the coup of Louis Bonaparte, the nephew and pretender, who overthrew the French Republic in 1852 and became the last emperor of France. Bonaparte created, from the dregs of the socio-economic system, the foundation of a mass movement. He called it the Society of December the 10th. He just as well could have called it the Brownshirts. Hitler would have easily recognized it.

Revolutionary mobilization of the periphery does not occur in a day. And, in a legitimate democratic society, it will most likely bring chaos, dislocation, and division, but it will not bring about major political change. Nonetheless, for those committed to an ideological view of the world where chaos is the paving stone to revolution, means are significant.

The political nihilists who wrought chaos on Western Europe in the 1980s believed they were the foundation of a revolutionary movement that would take a hundred years.

No revolution takes place without elites. The men and women running through the streets with guns are only instruments. Somewhere an out elite provided the ideological justification and weapons for revolt, and before that they sowed chaos in various ways.

And this, oddly enough, brings us to a shootout in broad daylight in Chicago between two gangs. When the shooting stopped, one person was dead and two were wounded. Five gang members allegedly involved in the shootout were arrested. Yet Chicago’s controversial states attorney, Kim Foxx, refused to prosecute them. “Mutual combatants was cited as the reason for the rejection,” according to a Chicago Police Department report.

As long as both sides willingly participated in combat on Chicago’s streets, no crime was committed, was the CPD’s interpretation of Foxx’s decision.  Seeing this as a promotion of violence in a city already deluged with violence, Chicago’s mayor Lori Lightfoot spoke of the city falling into chaos and sought intervention by federal prosecutors. So far, that hasn’t happened.

Foxx was one of several high-profile and controversial prosecutors funded by organizations related to George Soros. The refusal to prosecute the alleged gang shooters is only one of several similar decisions. Soros’ organization also donated to PACs that support Los Angeles district attorney George Gasc√≥n and Philadelphia district attorney Larry Krasner, both known for their liberal views on crime.

Apart from Kim Foxx, the most controversial district attorney to receive aid from a Soros’ operation is San Francisco’s Chesa Boudin. Boudin is a big supporter of redistributive justice, which calls for behavioral changes rather than punishment. He pushed for shoplifting below 950 dollars to be treated as a misdemeanor, which set off a tidal wave of organized shoplifting. One Safeway store had to limit its hours in response and set up obstacles for exit. Walgreens closed some 22 stores for both economic and loss control reasons. Most controversial was a brutal attack on an elderly Asian man where the attacker was released on probation. Boudin’s office argued that the victim agreed to the decision. But the victim, who speaks no English, said he never agreed, and various community leaders have taken to the streets to make their opposition known.  Boudin is facing a recall election.

There is an alliance between prosecutors who have embraced redistributive justice and criminals who have found crime to be a revolving door. Redistributive justice, however, is part of a larger system that views criminal activity as a result of social forces and not individual decision making. It is part of a system that calls the very legitimacy of the polity into question.

Crime rates in these cities has risen. Chicago is seeing one of the highest crime rates in decades. Mayor Lightfoot is correct when she says the city is descending into chaos. But that is the plan.

For a strong, vibrant, economically sound democracy, such events are problematic but not a threat to the system. But change the equation, question the legitimacy, and such perturbations

Image: Montecruz foto

 

Abraham H. Miller is an emeritus professor of political science, University of Cincinnati, and a distinguished fellow with the Hyam Salomon Center.

Source: https://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2021/12/chaos_and_the_threat_to_democracy_.html

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Thursday, December 9, 2021

Dozens of IAF warplanes to take part in simulated attack on Iran - Israel National News

by Israel National News

Exercise will take place over Mediterranean Sea. "The aim is to prepare for every eventuality; we will not allow Iran to go nuclear."

The Israeli Air Force is currently in the midst of preparations for a broad-ranging exercise in which dozens of airplanes will participate, in preparation for a possible attack on Iran.

According to a report on Channel 11, the exercise will take place in the coming spring over the Mediterranean Sea, and will be held openly. Enhanced budgets have been allotted toward this exercise, which involves, among other things, flights of over 1000 kilometers in length, similar to what pilots would be traveling if they were headed to Iran.

Three months ago, IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi announced that the IDF was accelerating its plans for scenarios involving attacks on Iran – the announcement was made partly as a message to the world in order to convey Israel’s intentions and the seriousness with which it regards the current situation.

Meanwhile, on Wednesday night Defense Minister Benny Gantz departed for Washington D.C., where he will be holding talks with U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on possible military options for destroying Iran’s nuclear facilities, in the event that diplomacy fails. The talks between Gantz and Austin follow an October 25 briefing by Pentagon leaders to White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, on the full set of military options available to ensure Iran does not become capable of producing a nuclear weapon.

Gantz is expected to request of the United States that it continue to exert pressure on Iran – via retaining substantial armed forces in the Middle East, as well as taking steps to display its might against the Islamic regime. Israel is working under the assumption that such steps will be seen as more significant if they occur within the timeframe of the nuclear talks in Vienna which are set to resume on Thursday, and that with the talks appearing to have stalled, a show of force could prove effective.

Gantz has also assessed that now is the right time to advance what in the United States is known as “Plan B” – that is, sanctions along with a credible military threat. Prior to leaving for Washington, Gantz met with Kochavi and also with the head of IDF Military Intelligence, in order to be updated on the latest developments with regard to the Iran issue.

Commenting on the aerial exercise, Housing and Construction Minister Zeev Elkin (New Hope) told KanNews, “The aim is for us to prepare for every eventuality. Israel needs to be ready for any scenario; we will not allow Iran to go nuclear. Unfortunately, Israel has shown weakness in the past, and it’s vital that we address the situation alertly now.

“Anyone with eyes in his head can see that the Iranians are trying to entrench themselves in Syria,” Elkin added. “We are doing everything that we can and so far, we have had a large number of successes. I’m not going to relate to anything specific, but Israel has red lines,” he concluded.

 

Israel National News

Source: https://www.israelnationalnews.com/news/318342

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Arabs to Biden: Do Not Let Iran Play You for a Fool - Khaled Abu Toameh

 

​ by Khaled Abu Toameh

The message these Arabs are sending to the Biden administration: take a tough stance towards Iran before it is too late. Far from being a danger to Israel alone, Iran is terrorizing Arab countries and threatening world peace and security.

  • Iran has been insisting on its conditions and demands, including that Washington and the Western powers release frozen Iranian funds before reaching an agreement, according to Tariq Alhomayed, a Saudi journalist and former editor-in-chief of the Arabic-language newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat. He added that Iran was refusing to discuss ballistic missiles, drones and its terrorist militias in the Middle East as the mullahs continue their alarming rate of uranium enrichment.

  • "It is evident that Washington has been begging Iran to return to the negotiating table," he said. "Washington did not threaten Iran with the use of force. It is true that we hear statements from Washington about impatience, but they are neither serious nor real. The Americans did not convey any serious message to the Iranians." — Tariq Alhomayed, Asharq Al-Awsat, November 24, 2021.

  • Iraqi writer Ali Alsarraf believes that by seeking guarantees that the US will not reimpose sanctions on Iran in the future, the mullahs in Tehran are hoping that they will become immune from anything that their militias do in the Middle East, including striking American bases and forcing them to leave Iraq and Syria.

  • "As with North Korea, the world would be forced to grapple with Iranian aggression very cautiously because of the likelihood that it could rain down ballistic and nuclear weapons upon neighbors. Unlike North Korea, Iran has proxy forces deployed throughout the region which henceforth could act with impunity, shielded by Iran's nuclear umbrella." — Baria Alamuddin, award-winning Lebanese journalist and broadcaster, Arab News, November 28, 2021.

  • It is impressive to see that a growing number of Arabs, especially those... whose countries are occupied by Iranian-backed militias, share Israeli fears of the mullahs' evil plans.

  • The message these Arabs are sending to the Biden administration: take a tough stance towards Iran before it is too late. Far from being a danger to Israel alone, Iran is terrorizing Arab countries and threatening world peace and security.

On the eve of the resumption of the Iran nuclear talks in Vienna, Arabs have again warned the Biden administration against being duped by the mullahs of Tehran. (Image source: iStock)

On the eve of the resumption of the Iran nuclear talks in Vienna, Arabs have again warned the Biden administration against being duped by the mullahs of Tehran.

The Arabs, who share Israel's concern over Iran's accelerated efforts (and deceptive tactics) to achieve nuclear weapons, also warned the Biden administration against reaching a temporary deal that would give Iran more time to proceed with its disastrous and dangerous plans.

"Undoubtedly, a temporary nuclear agreement, if it is implemented, reflects the failure of the policy of President Biden's administration, which announced that it would seek a wider, stronger and more comprehensive agreement," wrote Saudi writer and political analyst Yahya Talidi.

Talidi pointed out that the US administration seems confused because of its changing policy priorities and objectives in the Middle East, "which reflects a lack of interest in strengthening and factors of stability and security in the region." The previous nuclear agreement in 2015, he added, was a failure.

"The failure has logical and realistic causes, most notably that it was limited to a specific time period (it expires in 2025) and did not address the ambitions of hegemony and expansion of the Iranian regime and its ballistic missiles.

"This failure may be repeated today in Vienna. A temporary agreement could become permanent, allowing Iran to maintain its nuclear infrastructure and supply it with uranium, with which it has doubled its stockpile, and then the region will become mired in an uncontrollable nuclear arms race."

Tariq Alhomayed, a Saudi journalist and former editor-in-chief of the Arabic-language newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat, warned the Biden administration that Iran was only trying to buy more time by returning to the negotiations with the US and other world powers:

"The Vienna negotiations aimed at reaching a final agreement on the Iranian nuclear file are supposed to resume next week, and all indications are that we are facing time-wasting negotiations...

"It is clear that the Iranian [leaders] are not seeking to seriously revive these negotiations, and therefore are not keen on the completion of the agreement, especially since the achievement of the agreement may weaken them at home."

Alhomayed pointed out that Iran has been insisting on its conditions and demands, including that Washington and the Western powers release frozen Iranian funds before reaching an agreement. He added that Iran was refusing to discuss ballistic missiles, drones and its terrorist militias in the Middle East as the mullahs continue their alarming rate of uranium enrichment.

"Iran is doing all of this to take advantage of the time factor... If a nuclear agreement is not achieved, Tehran will have reached levels of enrichment that would allow it to implement its nuclear project by imposing a fait accompli and declaring victory."

According to Alhomayed, the Biden administration has failed to send a tough message to Iran ahead of the resumption of the Vienna talks.

"It is evident that Washington has been begging Iran to return to the negotiating table... Washington did not threaten Iran with the use of force. It is true that we hear statements from Washington about impatience, but they are neither serious nor real. The Americans did not convey any serious message to the Iranians."

Iraqi writer Ali Alsarraf expressed concern that Biden might commit with Iran the same "sin" he committed with Afghanistan.

Iran, he said, cannot make any concessions on its demands because other parties, including Russia, are encouraging the mullahs to endorse a hardline approach in its dealings with the Biden administration:

"The current situation is that Iran and Russia are speaking with one voice, saying that there is no way to reach an agreement unless the original agreement is preserved without any additions to it...

"This position says, in other words, that all the previous six rounds were meaningless. Iran also wants all sanctions to be lifted at once, and on top of that, it wants guarantees that the US will not reimpose sanctions after the full return of the agreement. Returning to the original version of the nuclear agreement means refraining from adding any issues related to Iran's destabilizing activities in the region, including the activities of its terrorist militias in Iraq, Lebanon and Yemen."

Alsarraf believes that by seeking guarantees that the US will not reimpose sanctions on Iran in the future, the mullahs in Tehran are hoping that they will become immune from anything that their militias do in the Middle East, including striking American bases and forcing them to leave Iraq and Syria.

"With Iran's recent announcement that it has produced 25 kilograms of 60% enriched uranium, postponing the talks for an unknown period does not appear to be an acceptable option... Because 90% of the enrichment required to produce a nuclear weapon is very close. There is no doubt that Iran is using this for blackmail purposes."

Baria Alamuddin, an award-winning Lebanese journalist and broadcaster in the Middle East, said she supported the use of military force to stop Iran from gaining nuclear weapons.

Iran's attainment of nuclear capacity, Alamuddin wrote, has immediate implications for global security.

"As with North Korea, the world would be forced to grapple with Iranian aggression very cautiously because of the likelihood that it could rain down ballistic and nuclear weapons upon neighbors... Unlike North Korea, Iran has proxy forces deployed throughout the region which henceforth could act with impunity, shielded by Iran's nuclear umbrella."

She pointed out that despite spectacular Israeli acts of sabotage, Iranian scientists have gone to extraordinary lengths to rebuild and keep nuclear development on schedule, even at a time when thousands of impoverished citizens are dying from never-ending COVID-19 outbreaks and much of the country is running out of water.

"According to intelligence officials, Tehran replaced damaged equipment with new technology that operates faster and at higher volumes... Hence, reliance on cyberattacks and pin-prick sabotage has only made Iran double down on its efforts. The US dilemma is simple: If Iran is hellbent on developing nuclear weapons, and the world is serious about stopping Iran, then ultimately there may be no alternative to some form of military force, such as surgical strikes for permanently eliminating nuclear sites. There is no sugaring this pill. The ayatollahs must be under no illusion that they can stealthily filibuster their way toward nuclear breakout capacity".

Alamuddin warned that Western ambivalence and naivety have only made matters worse: "Iran must be bluntly and forcefully told: If you proceed down this path, we will stop you!"

Rafik Khoury, another Lebanese writer and political analyst, also expressed concern over the Biden administration's soft approach towards Iran.

"Washington seems to be begging Tehran to return to the indirect negotiations," Khoury noted.

"The men of the first row in the Biden administration were the men of the second row in the administration of President Barack Obama. Biden's men learned the lesson of driving from the back seat, despite Biden's statement that 'America is back in command.'"

Khoury advised the Biden administration to avoid making the same mistake Obama did by relying on empty and false promises by Iran.

He noted that Biden, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan initially insisted on a broader and more permanent agreement that would be linked to a halt to missile development and "destabilizing" activities by Tehran in the Middle East.

"When Tehran refused to discuss any issue outside of returning to the nuclear agreement and the lifting of sanctions, the US administration backed down," Khoury added.

The views expressed by these Arab writers and journalists are not uncommon in the Arab world, where many continue to regard Iran as a major threat to security and stability in the Middle East.

It is impressive to see that a growing number of Arabs, especially those living in the Gulf states or those whose countries are occupied by Iranian-backed militias, share Israeli fears of the mullahs' evil plans.

The message these Arabs are sending to the Biden administration: take a tough stance towards Iran before it is too late. Far from being a danger to Israel alone, Iran is terrorizing Arab countries and threatening world peace and security.

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Khaled Abu Toameh is an award-winning journalist based in Jerusalem.

Source: https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/17995/arabs-biden-iran

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