August 29, 2018

In-Depth Issues:

Iran's Oil Exports Dropping Faster than Expected before U.S. Sanctions - Benoit Faucon (Wall Street Journal)
    Iran oil shipments are declining at a faster-than-expected pace ahead of U.S. sanctions set to begin in November.
    Officials at the state-run National Iranian Oil Co. expect crude shipments to drop to 1.5 million barrels a day in September, down from 2.3 million in June.
    Sara Vakhshouri, a former National Iranian Oil Co. market analyst, said she expects Iran's crude exports to drop to 800,000 barrels a day in November.
    Iranian oil exports to Europe and India have halved in recent months and, in August, fell by 25% in China.
    The developments reflect in part a reluctance of tanker companies to ship Iranian oil.

U.S., Israel Team Up to Enforce Iran Sanctions - Cassandra Gomes-Hechberg (Jerusalem Post)
    Israeli Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon and U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin agreed on Tuesday in Washington to set up a joint team for the enforcement of economic sanctions against Iran.
    Kahlon said "the sanctions on Iran contribute to removing a threat to Israel's security and to the security of the entire Free World."
    "The joint team that we have established will be of great importance in tightening sanctions on Iran."

Iran's Parliament Impeaches Finance Minister after U.S. Sanctions (Reuters)
    The Iranian parliament voted on Sunday to remove the minister of economic affairs and finance, Masoud Karbasian, amid a sharp fall in the rial currency and a deterioration in the economic situation after the U.S. reimposed sanctions on Iran.
    Earlier in August, Iranian lawmakers voted out the minister of labor and last month President Hassan Rouhani replaced the head of the central bank.

Iran Says It Has Arrested "Tens of Spies" in State Bodies (Reuters)
    Security forces in Iran have arrested tens of spies working in state bodies, Intelligence Minister Mahmoud Alavi said on Tuesday, indicating that many of the detainees were dual nationals.
    Iran does not recognize dual nationality.

First Country Club in Israeli Bedouin City - Sara Rubenstein (Jerusalem Post)
    A half-sized, half-indoor Olympic pool will open Wednesday in the new country club complex in Rahat, the largest Bedouin city in the world.
    The country club includes a huge fitness room, three studio rooms for group classes, a coffee shop, solarium, a basketball and soccer field, playground facilities, and a dry and wet sauna.
    The complex was funded by the Israeli government and will serve thousands of Israeli Bedouin residents in the Negev.

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • U.S. Tells UN Court Re-imposition of Iran Sanctions Is Legal - Mike Corder
    U.S. State Department legal advisor Jennifer Newstead urged judges at the International Court of Justice on Tuesday to reject an urgent request by Iran to order the suspension of sanctions re-imposed by the U.S. in May. Newstead said the U.S. re-imposition of sanctions against Iran was a legal and justified national security measure that cannot be challenged at the court.
        "The United States does intend, lawfully and for good reason, to bring heavy pressure to bear on the Iranian leadership to change their ways. We do this in the interests of U.S. national security as well as in pursuit of a more peaceful Middle East and a more peaceful world."  (AP)
  • Nikki Haley: Iran Could Become "the Next North Korea" - Uri Friedman
    U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley told the Foundation for Defense of Democracies in Washington on Tuesday, "We're not going to get Iran to stop [once it acquires nuclear weapons]." "You give literally millions of dollars" in economic relief to Iran "and they don't stop their ballistic-missile testing, they don't stop selling arms, and they continue to support terrorism. I look at [Iran] as the next North Korea. If you continue to fund this, and they continue to do these bad acts, and no one holds them accountable, we one day are going to be talking about Iran the same way we talk about North Korea."
        "Honestly, the other countries [who were parties to the Iran deal] came to me and said, 'We know. You're right.' But because everybody loves the deal, and their handprints are on it, they have to say it was successful, they were tiptoeing around all of these things. They just don't want to admit they were wrong," even though "they had good intentions."  (Atlantic)
        See also Video/Transcript: Amb. Haley at FDD - Aug. 28, 2018 (FDD)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Haley: "Palestinians Continue to Bash America," Yet "Have Their Hand Out Wanting UNRWA Money" - Eric Cortellessa
    U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley on Tuesday told the Foundation for Defense of Democracies she believed that Palestinian claims over a "right of return" to modern Israel should be taken "off the table."
        Regarding aid cuts to UNRWA, the UN agency responsible for Palestinian refugees, she said, "We will be a donor if it reforms what it does...if they actually change the number of refugees to an accurate account, we will look back at partnering [with] them," adding that "the Palestinians continue to bash America" and yet "they have their hand out wanting UNRWA money."
        "We have to have them come to the table for a peace agreement," Haley said. "That’s only going to happen if the region pushes them for that to happen."  (Times of Israel)
        See also U.S.: Assistance to PA "Does Not Provide Value to the U.S. Taxpayer"
    U.S. State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said Tuesday: "Earlier this year...the President directed an overall review of U.S. assistance to the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and also in Gaza to ensure that U.S. taxpayer dollars were being spent in accordance with U.S. national interests....The decision was then made...that that money at this time is not in the best interests of the U.S. national interest and also at this time does not provide value to the U.S. taxpayer....We believe that the United States alone does not have to shoulder a disproportionate share of financing programs overseas."  (U.S. State Department)
  • Israel Busts Hamas Network in Hebron in West Bank - Anna Ahronheim
    A Hamas terror network operating out of the West Bank city of Hebron was uncovered by the Israel Security Agency, it was announced Tuesday. The network recruited dozens of agents, including several women, to promote terror, pass along intelligence, and transfer funds to finance terrorism. The cell also attempted to take over Hebron's municipal activities and various charities in the city. Heading the cell were Nizar Shehadeh and Faras Abu Sharah, senior Hamas operatives who had served several sentences in Israeli prisons for terrorism offenses. (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • You Can Run, But You Can't Hide from Iran Sanctions - Richard Goldberg and Behnam Ben Taleblu
    If Iran deal supporters are pegging their hopes on Russia, China and India conspiring to violate U.S. sanctions on Iran, they're going to be sorely disappointed. Given the current strength of the U.S. dollar and the deterrent power of secondary sanctions, no legitimate actor will want to use a payment channel that cannot do business in dollars and subjects all participants to a total cutoff from the U.S. financial system. Mr. Goldberg is a senior adviser at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, where Mr. Taleblu is a research fellow. (Wall Street Journal)
  • Tech Giants Target Accounts Linked to Iran - Dustin Volz and Robert McMillan
    America's biggest tech companies are zeroing in on Iran, scrubbing their online networks of fake accounts, videos and social-media posts aimed at spreading misinformation. Google on Thursday said it had terminated 39 video channels on YouTube, six blogs on its Blogger platform and 13 accounts on the Google+ social-networking hub found to be pushing misinformation on behalf of Iran's state broadcasting arm. Google's investigators uncovered evidence that the accounts it took down are connected with the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting, which has been under U.S. sanctions since 2013.
        The fake accounts promoted "particular narratives and angles in line with Iranian national interests," such as pro-Palestinian and anti-Israeli stories, said Lee Foster, a manager with the security company FireEye. Facebook said it had taken down 652 pages and accounts and Twitter suspended 284 accounts they said were part of Iranian influence efforts. (Wall Street Journal)
        See also Iran's Huge Political Influence Operation - Jack Stubbs and Christopher Bing
    An Iranian influence operation targeting Internet users worldwide is significantly bigger than previously identified, encompassing a network of anonymous websites and social media accounts in 11 different languages. In addition to social media accounts and websites identified last week, a Reuters analysis has identified 10 more sites and dozens of social media accounts across Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube that were part of an Iranian project to covertly influence public opinion in other countries. (Reuters)

Video: Jeremy Corbyn and the Resurgence of European Anti-Semitism - Amb. Dore Gold (Institute for Contemporary Affairs-Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • Anti-Semitism is back. The real focus of our attention should be the rise of Jeremy Corbyn as the leader of the British Labour party in the United Kingdom.
  • Much of the concern about Corbyn emanates from fresh revelations of his past activities. In 2009, for example, he called Hamas and Hizbullah "friends" and advocated removing them from the UK's terrorism list.
  • In 2014 Corbyn visited the cemetery in Tunisia where the leaders of Black September were buried. Remember, they were responsible for the attack on the Israeli Olympic team at the 1972 Munich Olympics, where eleven Israeli athletes were brutally butchered.
  • Corbyn continuously campaigned to free Samar Alami and Jawad Botmeh, jailed for their role in the 1994 London bombing attacks against the Israeli Embassy in Great Britain and Jewish charity buildings. Recall both of these attacks were perpetrated on British soil and both individuals were prosecuted and found guilty in British courts. So why is Jeremy Corbyn calling this a mistrial and trying to get these two terrorists out of British prison?
  • Corbyn is also at the heart of the debate in Britain over the definition of anti-Semitism. He's refused to accept the definition advanced by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance which is accepted by 31 countries, 24 of which are members of the European Union. Corbyn and the British Labour party reject some of the examples the definition uses:
    • He denies that accusing Jews automatically of dual loyalty is anti-Semitic.
    • He denies that questioning the right of the Jewish people to self-determination is a form of anti-Semitism.
    • He rejects that it is anti-Semitic to compare Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.
  • This kind of demonization of the Jewish people is classic anti-Semitism. If these doctrines about Israel and Jewish rights become legitimized in Great Britain, which was the fountainhead of so many democracies, then there is a real danger that they become legitimized worldwide.
  • This is something that the State of Israel must firmly oppose and that Britain must not allow to happen.

    Amb. Dore Gold, former director general of the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Israeli ambassador to the UN, is president of the Jerusalem Center.

        See also Former UK Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks: "An Anti-Semite Leads Labour" - Andrew MacAskill
    Britain's former Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks (1991-2013) has called Labour opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn an anti-Semite. Sacks accused Corbyn of having "given support to racists, terrorists and dealers of hate who want to kill Jews and remove Israel from the map." "When he implies that, however long they have lived here, Jews are not fully British, he is using the language of classic pre-war European anti-Semitism," Sacks told the New Statesman.
        "Now, within living memory of the Holocaust, and while Jews are being murdered elsewhere in Europe for being Jews, we have an anti-Semite as the leader of the Labour party and Her Majesty's opposition. That is why Jews feel so threatened by Mr. Corbyn and those who support him."  (Reuters)