Iran

Israel trolls Iran

The Iranian Air Force Chief threatened to “eliminate Israel from earth” after the Israeli Air Force bombed Syrian based Iranian installations. This is how the IDF responded on Twitter to the threat.

Do arms suppliers have a moral compass?

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40 murdered children in Yemen.  The Saudi logic behind the attack was that the Houthi rebels were training these kids as soldiers. A far-fetched claim. Yet where has the condemnation of Saudi’s role on the UN Human Rights Council been? Countless civilian deaths in Yemen at the hands of the Saudi military are nothing new. Where was the outrage then? The decades long proxy war has only accelerated since the assassination of former Yemeni dictator President Ali Abdullah Saleh in December 2017.

CNN looked to put the blame of this latest tragedy at the feet of US defence companies. Surely the Europeans are just as blameworthy for selling the Tornado or Eurofighter aircraft that likely dropped the American ordinance on these kids? Mattis has openly criticized the Saudi attack in this instance.

Arms deals are a dirty business. Let’s not pretend otherwise. Unfortunately these dangerous toys rarely come with a “please use responsibly” section inside the box of instructions. Some might argue that in certain cases users are not of the appropriate age bracket to play with them. Bribery scandals (aka incentives) are often more notable than the weapons deals themselves. Yet have there been incidences of arms suppliers turning down multi-billion dollar contracts?

If we go back in history, the Americans refused to release the source codes to the Saudis in a potential multi-billion dollar US jet fighter sale that would have allowed certain weapons (the US weren’t prepared to supply) to be fired. Even if the Saudis bought the US jets and sourced the banned weapons on the black market they wouldn’t be able to be fired.  Instead the Saudi’s bought the Panavia Tornado because the Europeans were happy to sell a similarly capable platform that the US refused to sell. UK defence contractor BAE Systems won a long term maintenance contract known as Al-Yamamah as a result of this Tornado deal. Why not bash the Brits for taking advantage of the US putting regional security ahead of arms sales in Saudi Arabia?

Perhaps we could question the moral fibre of the US refusing to sell the F-22 Raptor attack fighter to the Japanese. The Japanese top brass pleaded for the plane but US Congress refused to approve it claiming the billions required to redo all of the computer systems and source codes to ensure it had a lower capability than the USAF plane. The reality was more likely to prevent a leakage of its capability (something that had occurred when the Japanese ordered Aegis destroyers). The result was Japan didn’t get them even given its peaceful history post WW2.

Should we bash the Russians for supplying military hardware has been behind the deaths of over 100,000 Syrians? Or Ford for making the car that ran down people in Westminster?Or should we question the operators of these tools?

If we really want to get petty the Paveway Mk-82 bombs responsible for killing these kids were sold to the Saudi’s in a deal made in 2013 under the Obama administration. Was it Obama’s fault in allowing the sale? CM doesn’t believe he is but interesting that CNN left the period of sale out. Easier to attack the $110bn arms sales going forwards.

40 dead children is a tragedy. Arms deals are far from if ever holy. The instruments of death are sadly not always deploy in manners which are either moral or ethical. The Iranian backed Houthi almost sunk a French made Saudi frigate in the Red Sea at the beginning of last year. Several Emirati patrol boats have been severely damaged by the Houthi in the same area, the most recent incident occurring  last month. There are countless skirmishes along the Yemeni/Saudi border.

Unfortunately the Saudis and several other gulf states are key allies of the US in the proxy war against Iran/Russia. Do not expect a wholesale change in US arms deals with Saudi Arabia for the foreseeable future.

In closing perhaps people might question China’s new interest in the Middle East? Many may have missed it has deployed 5,000 troops (including special forces) in Syria since 2017. Geopolitics seldom look to protect the rights of anyone other than the home side. Don’t pretend it does otherwise.

Saving a 52yo convicted wife-beater

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Remember the self made movie starring heroine Elin Ersson preventing a plane taking off unless a man being cruelly deported was deplaned? CM always thought it was a bit odd. To be deported from a country like Sweden would likely mean one has to be a pretty unsavory character given its long standing forgiving social justice bent.

It turns out activist Ersson wasn’t rescuing who she thought she was. It wasn’t the 26yo Afghani man who’d lived in Iran for 20 years in safety she boarded to save on behalf of his parents but a 52-yo convicted wife beater who had just been released from jail so he could be deported. Which country would truly wish to welcome someone with such abhorrent values to settle? If it can’t pass Sweden’s often lenient smell test (we’ll get to that) on immigration it is probably a sign that it won’t pass anywhere else either.

Fuller story here.

N.B. Sweden has a national election on September 9th this year and the anti-immigrant Sweden Democrats (SD) are polling at 25.5% according to an August Sentio survey, vs the incumbent Social Democrats at 21.1%. CM has written about the Sweden Democrats before. This was a banned commercial.

Is it any wonder the party is gaining traction when left wing politicians like  Barbro Sörman tweeted the difference with migrants commiting rape is that Swedish men culturally should know better. She tweeted “The Swedish men who rape do it despite the growing gender equality. They make an active choice. It’s worse…” When contacted by a local newspaper for clarification she replied, “Take a picture of Sweden as an equal society, where all are nurtured in equality. Then you can say that if you are brought up in it, you make an active choice to not be equal, rather than if you are brought up in a society that is not equal.” How can apologists take such views?

The Gatestone Institute highlighted some of the outcomes of migrant crime in Sweden in June 2016 alone. The list is long but here are some of the crimes which seem so lenient and moreover question why some people wouldn’t be deported for committing such acts.

June 8: Three Somali men in their 20s, who locked a 14-year-old girl in a room and took turns raping her, received very lenient sentences — and all three avoided deportation. Two of the men got two and a half years in prison. The third, who was also convicted of drug-related crimes and drunk driving, got three years. After serving their time, they will all be allowed to stay in Sweden, even though they are not Swedish citizens.

June 14: An exceptionally lenient verdict against a rapist from Yemen caused emotions to run high in Mariestad. Maher Al Qalisi attacked a 13-year-old girl, knocked her off a bicycle, knifed her in the face and raped her in a park — yet, he only got 18-months’ probation and will not be deported. Al Qalisi claims he is 17 years old, even though his Yemenite passport says he is 20. If he had been tried as an adult, he would certainly have gotten a more severe punishment. Prosecutor Jonas Lövström was disappointed with the verdict: “It is my firm belief that he is older than 21.”

June 28: An Eritrean, who raped a Swedish woman in a public restroom in Sundsvall, gets to stay in Sweden after being sentenced to one year and four months in prison. The Swedish Migration Agency apparently did not feel he could be sent back to his home country. The mild sentence was given because he claimed to be only 19 years old.

Surely Ersson might reflect on how hard it is to get deported in the first place before hijacking a plane to protect the wrong man. Maybe question why there are now as many as 55 “no-go zones” spread throughout several Swedish cities where the police have little or no ability to control rising rates of violence which is putting a huge burden on over-worked police officers. Is it any wonder many are choosing to quit the force in record numbers. The Police Union had a website Polisliv (Police Life) which allowed police to air grievances anonymously because a growing number lost faith in the National Police Commissioner. The site has since been closed.

Putin’s puppet?

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Not surprising from Rasmussen overnight:

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that 65% of Likely Democratic Voters believe critics of Trump’s recent meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin truly believe he is a treasonous Russian puppet. Just as many Republicans (67%) disagree and think those critics are only making the charges for political purposes, a view shared by a plurality (47%) of voters not affiliated with either major party.”

Trump’s  unconventional (yet unsurprising) outburst of diplomacy against Iran (if it can be called that) on Twitter in capital letters does dispel this somewhat. To fire a social media salvo at Rosoboronexport’s second largest arms customer (one Russia has sold weapons to Iran  for 98 years) would somewhat dispel that myth of kowtowing to Putin’s every move. 85% of Iran’s military hardware is Russian. Syria is Russia’s #1 export client with the prize being the naval base in the Mediterranean port of Tartus.

In any event both Iran and Syria serve Russia’s ability to interfere with US policy in the Middle East. Israel now claims Iranian Revolutionary Guard soldiers have stepped up from being mere advisors in the Golan Heights to actively fighting. Israel has commenced day raids in Syria such has the threat escalated.

If POTUS is intending  to remove one or two of Putin’s clients (list here) then one suspects the Russian dictator should be pulling Iran’s strings to get them to arm in silence rather than pick a fight with the US.

Perhaps a more apt way to look at this is Trump’s hatred of Obama’s (foreign) policies far outweighs his supposed love of Putin. The evidence for that is not only obvious but entirely factual, backed with empirical evidence.

Gaza flare up was inevitable

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On July 4, CM wrote that a skirmish with Gaza was highly possible,

“What might have escaped many is that in the last few months terrorists have burnt more than 30,000 dunam (7,400 acres) of land near the border with Gaza. Israel’s honey industry has almost been wiped out. Israel is under pressure to do something to stop such destruction. Iran is the biggest headache for Israel at present. Despite digital diplomacy, the last thing the country wants to invite is a conflict with Iran-backed Hamas.

However do not be surprised if some skirmish kicks off on the border in coming months to contain the fire bombing of farmland.“

This is the first heavy handed strike since 2014. The Palestinian Islamic Jihad militant group said that a truce has been reached but small scale mortar fire continues.

Credit to Nimmy on the ground in Tel Aviv for live information.

Israel to deduct terrorist salaries from PA transfers

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No sooner had Australia announced it would no longer give money directly to the Palestinian Authority (PA) than the Knesset put into law a previous bill that sought to deduct terrorists’ salaries from the roughly $130 million in monthly tax revenues Israel collects on behalf of them. PA President Mahmoud Abbas’ spokesman, Nabil Abu Rudeineh said,

The Palestinian presidency strongly refuses to accept this severe decision, which damages the foundations of the relations since the Oslo Agreement to this day…If this decision is implemented, it will prompt important Palestinian decisions to deal with it.”

How is it that even with the Oslo peace process coming into effect in 1993 that the PLO carried out 4,000 attacks till 1999. The Israelis so desperate (under Ehud Barak of all people) for peace gave the PLO 95% of their territorial demands yet they still kept up the attacks killing more than 1,000 Israelis, a total exceeding the previous 25 years combined. So the foundations of the Oslo Agreement remain flakey at best. 

What Abbas’ spokesman is technically saying is that they openly admit to spending money on terrorist salaries (nothing new) when their very own people want monies to be allocated on services (education, sanitation, water, electricity, healthcare) that benefit the whole. The press doesn’t report the 1,000s of Palestinians treated in Israeli hospitals.

While Israel remains an open, democratic and multi-ethnic society the PA has proven itself to be an intolerant, corrupt and self-serving dictatorship which has little interest in serving its constituents as the comptroller of its first ever audit revealed. International aid money lined the pockets of the leaders of the PLO. The French money laundering authorities discovered that Arafat’s wife’s bank account had amassed $3bn over 20 years. It is ironic that most of the original founders of the PLO didn’t live in the Palestinian Mandate when Israel was created. Arafat was born in Egypt. 

At the time of the founding of the State of Israel in 1948, 90% of Palestinian Arabs lived in Transjordan. At the time there was no movement to create a Palestinian state. It is somewhat ironic that no Arab outrage ensued when Jordan annexed the West Bank (what we know as the occupied territories) in 1950 blatantly disenfranchising the Palestinian Arabs in the process. Even then they never fought for self-determination. In fact it wasn’t until the PLO was first established in 1964, a time the West Bank belonged to Jordan, that they started to pursue it.

The irony of many leaders in Palestine is the blatant hypocrisy. In 2014, during the last conflict, former Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh sent his daughter across the border to Israel for emergency medical treatment. On what grounds does a father trust his daughter to his mortal enemy to save her? Yahya Sinwar, a prisoner in an Israeli jail for murdering 12 Israelis was given life saving surgery after being diagnosed with cancer. He was released in a prisoner exchange in 2011 and took over from Haniyeh as leader of Hamas yet swears “we will tear out their hearts” of the very people who saved him.

What might have escaped many is that in the last few months terrorists have burnt more than 30,000 dunam (7,400 acres) of land near the border with Gaza. Israel’s honey industry has almost been wiped out. Israel is under pressure to do something to stop such destruction. Iran is the biggest headache for Israel at present. Despite digital diplomacy, the last thing the country wants to invite is a conflict with Iran-backed Hamas.

However do not be surprised if some skirmish kicks off on the border in coming months to contain the fire bombing of farmland. It will have nothing to do with cutting out payments to terrorists and martyrs although don’t be surprised if that pretext is used.

Israelis truly want peace. Yet the PA will only accept one which requires the destruction of the Jewish state. Ask yourself whether you would sign an agreement with that as a clause? Exactly.  Even Saudi Arabia’s crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, said several months ago,

In the last several decades, the Palestinian leadership has missed one opportunity after the other and rejected all the peace proposals it was given…It is about time the Palestinians take the proposals and agree to come to the table or shut up.”

More digital diplomacy

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More digital diplomacy from Israel to Iran. This time using Iran’s solid performance against Portugal in the World Cup. The last time digital diplomacy was used by the Israeli PM was to push free drip irrigation technology to prevent farmers suffering any more from drought. Bibi Netanyahu is a polarizing figure at home, but his message here seems to be resonating with Iranians too.