U.S. Ignored Israeli Warning on Aircraft Sale to Iran that Violated Sanctions - Jeffrey Heller (Reuters)
A senior Israeli official said Tuesday that, despite a tip-off from Israel, the U.S. allowed Iran to purchase 15 used commercial planes in the last three months,
even though the acquisition violated international sanctions.
"Israel learned from intelligence sources about this very significant breach of the sanctions in advance of it occurring," the Israeli official told Reuters.
"We flagged the issue to the U.S. administration. Unfortunately, the deal still went through and there was no success in preventing it."
U.S. Approves $1.9 Billion Munitions Sale to Israel - James Drew (Flightglobal)
The U.S. State Department on Tuesday approved the sale to Israel of a variety of munitions including the joint direct attack munition, laser-guided paveway, small diameter bomb, hellfire missile and advanced medium-range air-to-air missile in a deal worth $1.879 billion.
The sale would be a windfall for U.S. arms suppliers, principally Boeing, Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, Ellwood Group and Raytheon.
The U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress of the possible sale, stating:
"The United States is committed to the security of Israel, and it is vital to U.S. national interests to assist Israel to develop and maintain a strong and ready self-defense capability."
See also Text: Israel - Joint Direct Attack Munition Tail Kits and Munitions (U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency)
International Soccer Head Opposed to PA Call to Suspend Israel - Allon Sinai (Jerusalem Post)
Sepp Blatter, the president of FIFA - the international governing body of soccer - reiterated his stance that the Israel Soccer Association has not violated any statutes and should therefore not be suspended from world soccer's governing body, after meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem on Tuesday.
The Palestinian Soccer Association and its president, Jibril Rajoub, support a Palestinian request to ban Israel, on the agenda for FIFA's Congress on May 29.
Blatter said, "I will try until the Congress begins to avoid such a situation [where a vote will be held]. Israel knows it and the Palestinians know it. It is not appropriate that in the Congress we say we shall suspend somebody."
ISIS Finances Are Strong - Sarah Almukhtar (New York Times)
The Islamic State has revenue and assets that are more than enough to cover its current expenses despite expectations that airstrikes and falling oil prices would hurt the group's finances, according to analysts at RAND Corporation.
The Islamic State takes in more than $1 million per day in extortion and taxation. Salaries of Iraqi government employees are taxed up to 50%, adding up to at least $300 million last year.
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- Iran's Khamenei Rules Out Interviews with Nuclear Scientists - Parisa Hafezi
Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei told state TV on Wednesday Tehran would not accept "unreasonable demands" by world powers during negotiations over its disputed nuclear program, and ruled out letting inspectors interview its atomic scientists. Khamenei, who has the final say for Iran on any deal, last month ruled out any "extraordinary supervision measures" over nuclear activities and said military sites could not be inspected.
See also Khamenei: U.S. Is Enemy to Both Sunnis and Shias - David Daoud
The U.S. is the enemy of both Shia and Sunni Muslims, as well as the world's main sponsor of terrorism, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Saturday, Hizbullah-affiliated Al Manar reported. Khamenei stressed that Iran would continue supporting "the oppressed people" of Yemen, Bahrain, and Palestine in every way possible.
- New Tensions Build Between U.S. and Iran in Waters off Yemen - Dion Nissenbaum and
Two Iranian warships have linked up in the waters off Yemen's coast with an Iranian vessel said to be carrying aid for Yemen, Pentagon officials said Tuesday. American officials have called on Iran to send the ship to the African country of Djibouti to undergo newly established UN inspections for aid going to Yemen. But Iran has ignored that appeal so far.
(Wall Street Journal)
See also Iran Ship to Refuse Inspections
Iranian officials said an Iranian cargo ship, which left from Bandar Abbas, Iran, for al Hudaydah, Yemen, and is escorted by the Iranian Navy's 34th Fleet, will refuse inspections by countries involved in the conflict in Yemen. Iran appears to be testing U.S. redlines in the Gulf of Aden. Recent incidents involving the U.S.-flagged Maersk Kensington, Marshall Islands-flagged Maersk Tigris, and a convoy of seven cargo ships reportedly carrying weapons for the Houthis demonstrate Iran's willingness to test the line.
(American Enterprise Institute)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
- Two Policewomen Hurt in Palestinian Car-Ramming Attack in Jerusalem - Roi Yanovsky
Two Israeli police officers were wounded Wednesday in a Palestinian car-ramming attack at the At-Tur junction near the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem.
The driver identified a group of police officers and tried to run them over. After the attack, he tried to "confirm the kill" by reversing back over the wounded officers. He was then shot and killed by police. Arab bystanders hurled stones at security forces as they arrived at the scene.
- Israel to Norway: Press Palestinians to Recognize Israel as Jewish State, Understand that a Consensus in Israel Supports a United Jerusalem - Herb Keinon
Israel would like Norway to pressure the Palestinian leadership to recognize Israel as the Jewish national home, Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely told visiting Norwegian Foreign Minister Borge Brende on Tuesday.
She said it is very important for Israel that Europe and the Norwegian government do not support unilateral Palestinian steps in the international arena.
She added that Norway needs to understand that there is a consensus in Israel regarding preserving the unity of Jerusalem. "This week the Knesset marked Jerusalem Day and Prime Minister Netanyahu declared that Jerusalem will remain united," Hotovely said. "The head of the opposition, Herzog, also agreed to that." (Jerusalem Post)
See also Netanyahu: Jerusalem Will Not Be a Divided City - Herb Keinon
Jerusalem will not return to be a "divided and torn" city with barbed wire and snipers on its walls, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reiterated on Tuesday at a special cabinet meeting held at the Israel Museum to commemorate Jerusalem Day.
See also Text: Netanyahu's Remarks in Honor of Jerusalem Day (Prime Minister's Office)
- Fall of Ramadi Reflects Failure of Iraq's Strategy Against Islamic State - Hugh Naylor
As Islamic State militants repeatedly attacked Ramadi this year, police solicited cash from local families and businessmen to buy weapons, recalled Col. Eissa al-Alwani, a senior police officer. The Iraqi government didn't pay the police for months, he said.
Now, with Ramadi being overrun, many Sunni tribal leaders and fighters who might have helped the government in Anbar have been killed or have fled, analysts say. "Now the Sunnis are even more suspicious of the government, and now it will be even harder to get them to cooperate with a political system that they already deeply distrusted," said Ihsan al-Shamari, a political analyst in Baghdad. A number of Sunni tribes in Anbar held out for months against the Islamic State. But they complained that the national government failed to deliver weapons and military reinforcements despite repeated requests for support. (Washington Post)
See also Capture of Ramadi a Setback for U.S. - David Ignatius
The Ramadi defeat showed that the cornerstone of U.S. strategy for Iraq - a Sunni tribal force that can work with the Iraqi military to clear and hold areas seized by the Islamic State - isn't in place yet.
See also How ISIS Gets Its Weapons from America - Dexter Filkins
An ISIS fighter in Ramadi posted a video from a recently captured Iraqi police station. It showed box after box of American mortar shells and bullets. Several Humvees sat abandoned nearby. "This is how we get our weapons," the narrator said in Arabic. "The Iraqi officials beg the Americans for weapons, and then they leave them here for us."
- Illinois Passes Historic Anti-BDS Bill, as Congress Mulls Similar Moves - Eugene Kontorovich
The Illinois House just joined the state's senate in unanimously passing a bill that would prevent the state's pension fund from investing in companies that boycott Israel. The Illinois bill is part of a broad political revulsion over the BDS movement ("Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions" - the strategy of economic warfare and delegitimization against Israel).
While BDS has gotten most of its successes with low-hanging fruit like British academic unions and pop singers, the anti-boycott efforts are getting an enthusiastic reception in real governments, on the state and federal level. And that is because the message of the BDS movement - Israel as a uniquely villainous state - is fundamentally rejected by the vast majority of Americans. Indeed, a wave of anti-BDS legislation is sweeping the U.S.
BDS is not like the civil rights protests, as its supporters love to claim, but rather more like the anti-Jewish boycotts so common in Europe in the 20th century, and in the Arab world until this day. The U.S. has long had legislation criminalizing participation in the Arab League boycott of Israel. The U.S. can just as rightly oppose privately propagated boycotts as it could governmentally-sponsored ones. The writer is a professor at Northwestern University School of Law.
See also "Who's for Boycott?" - Adam Shay
The attempt to impose a cultural boycott on Israel is not an organic Palestinian effort. This attempt is first and foremost a European effort, which enjoys very little following in the Palestinian street. Palestinians involved in this initiative are mostly second and third generation immigrants to Europe, and as such their narrative is much more radical than that of Palestinians in the PA. (Ha'aretz-Hebrew, 17May2015)
Three Core Deficiencies in the Iran Nuclear Deal - Michael Doran (Mosaic)
- It is clear to sober observers on all sides that the agreement with Tehran will fail to establish the elementary conditions for preventing the regime's development of a nuclear bomb.
- The emerging deal with Iran has three obvious defects that will be impossible to solve in the final round of negotiations.
- First, the deal, practically speaking, will lift the sanctions immediately.
- Second, the assurance that sanctions will "snap back" in the event of Iranian misbehavior is absurd. Re-imposition of sanctions will require concerted action by the UN Security Council, a body that no one has ever accused of being either speedy or efficient.
- Finally, Iranian leaders have asserted, repeatedly and explicitly, that they will never allow the U.S. and its partners to conduct the kind of "anywhere, anytime" inspections that the Obama administration has claimed are part of the deal; without such a guarantee, international inspectors will be incapable of verifying Iranian compliance.
- Thanks to these core deficiencies, the deal will enable the Iranians to pocket enormous benefits - diplomatic, economic, and military - up front.
- And once they have enriched themselves by playing nice, there will be nothing to prevent them from beginning to cheat again.
The writer is a former deputy assistant secretary of defense and a former senior director of the National Security Council.
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