The JPOA, Billions Given by Obama to Iran Results in Huge Profits

Remember, Barack Obama and John Kerry gave billions to Iran, which is to say to the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. Two companies owned and controlled by the Supreme leader are Setad and Bonyad Mostazafan.

  For the full summary investigation performed by Reuters, go here.

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Iran Irony: IRGC And State Firms Are Benefiting From JCPOA

Mr. Alavi is an Iranian activist focusing on human rights, social crackdown, the regime’s support for terrorism, and its nuclear program.

Forbes: Those who raised the Iran deal flag, mainly in the United States and Europe, claimed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) would boost trade and encourage foreign investment, enhancing Iran’s private sector and eventually downgrading the regime’s tight grip on the economy.

This was back in 2015 when the P5+1 agreed to lift sanctions in return for having Iran’s nuclear program curbed. Now in early 2017, however, signs indicate the main winners in Iran are none other than state-owned companies. This means Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and the terrorist-supporting Revolutionary Guards are enjoying JCPOA benefits.

At least 90 of the nearly 110 agreements, totaling nearly $80 billion, involve such state-controlled companies. This includes the National Iranian Oil Company, parallel to others run by regime pension funds and massive conglomerates of semi-public nature.

Despite a long slate of harsh remarks made by Iran’s hardliners against the JCPOA, a recent Reuters study shows those businesses answering directly to Khamenei are benefiting most from the JCPOA.

Many deals, spanning the energy, infrastructure, pharmaceuticals and other sectors, remain in the preliminary stage. Iran’s foreign partners mainly include France, Germany, Italy, Russia and South Korea.

Iran’s “Setad Ejraiye Farman-e Hazrat-e Emam,” also known as the Headquarters for Executing the Order of the Imam and best known as Khamenei’s personal empire, has been the main benefactor of the highly flawed nuclear pact. This entity has stakes in and control over nearly all of Iran’s economy and benefits significantly through the JCPOA.

A 2013 Reuters probe shed light on Setad’s $95 billion empire, established through illegally seizing thousands of properties owned by business people, Iranians living abroad and religious minorities.

“A major network of front companies controlled by Iran’s leadership” is how the U.S. Treasury Department described Setad as it sanctioned the massive entity. Through the JCPOA, however, this conglomerate has enjoyed doing business with foreign companies.

One of the three such deals signed with foreign companies involves a $10 billion oil refinery construction plan. While Khamenei may not personally own these companies, his shadow—described as supervision—is essentially routing all invested finances.

In the past 18 months Khamenei-controlled companies, including the IRGC conglomerate, have sealed deals with foreign companies valued at over $11 billion.

It is a known fact that Tehran maintains a heavy hand over the economy, providing circumstances allowing state-controlled firms to acquire most business deals made possible after sanctions were lifted. The private sector makes up a mere 20% of Iran’s economy, according to official estimates.

To this end, private companies have received a dismal 17 deals, including a hotel management contract sealed most probably because of the French partner’s chief executive being the brother of Eshaq Jahangiri, Iran’s vice president.

The first slate of investments inked for Iran is most likely to strengthen state power, meaning Khamenei, counter to any hopes raised prematurely by JCPOA supporters. The supreme leader enjoys vast control, especially in the IRGC, through which he pursues his Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Bahrain and Lebanon policies.

Conglomerates, or foundations, whose chiefs are appointed directly by Khamenei, were the recipients of five of the 90 deals. Several of these entities enjoy widespread business transactions and not being obligated to pay full taxes. This includes Astan Qods Razavi, a vast religious institution controlling at least 36 subsidiary companies and entities.

One such firm is the Razavi Oil & Gas Development Company that sealed a preliminary agreement with Italy’s Saipem, also an oil and gas company.

The IRGC, known for its domestic crackdown and dispatching tens of thousands of Shiite militia members and arms throughout the region, is also considered a major destination point of JCPOA benefits.

The IRGC controls or has large stakes in four of the 90 deals sealed with the Iranian regime. And of course, Khamenei enjoys full hegemony over the IRGC. Despite remaining U.S. sanctions banning any “significant” business transactions with the IRGC, many of its front companies are free of any blacklisting.

Three of the four mentioned deals are signed with companies with strong ties to the IRGC and yet are not sanctioned. And to add insult to injury, the fourth company is on sanctions and yet enjoys involvement in a foreign deal through indirect routes.

Loopholes remain in the sanction regime imposed against Iran, all resulting from an appeasement/engagement approach adopted by former president Barack Obama. This is a gap in need of closing at a policy level.

“Despite a decline in sanctions… the Iranian economy is suffering from recession. The Iranian economy is under the control of the regime’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei and the IRGC. They are the only one who will benefit from trade with Iran and not the Iranian people,” said Iranian opposition leader Maryam Rajavi in a conference. Rajavi is president of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, an umbrella group of Iranian dissident entities, including the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK).

Debate over the JCPOA’s future remains a major issue. If kept intact despite all its flaws, the U.S. should fully implement all articles and have each and every loophole sealed. This initiative can be coupled with further sanctions punishing Iran’s lethal meddling across the Middle East, pursuing a dangerous ballistic missile program and atrocious human rights violations.

Iranian Leaders Issues Ultimatum to Trump

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Primer: Iran’s Exiled Prince to US, Israel: Don’t Fall into Tehran’s ‘Trap’

FILE - Former Iranian Crown Prince Reza Pahlavi speaks at the National Press Club in Washington, June 22, 2009.

FILE – Former Iranian Crown Prince Reza Pahlavi

VOA: Iran’s exiled crown prince, Reza Pahlavi, is urging the United States and Israel not to fall into a “trap” by escalating their disputes with the Iranian government into a military conflict.

U.S. President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are due to hold their first official meeting at the White House on Wednesday. White House spokesman Sean Spicer said Tuesday that the leaders of the two longtime allies will discuss how to respond to what they see as “threats posed by Iran and its proxies.”

In an exclusive studio interview with VOA’s Persian service, Pahlavi said he expects to see “more harmony and coordination” of U.S. strategy on Iran under the Trump administration, with Israel and other American partners in the Middle East and Europe.

Speaking in Washington last Thursday, Pahlavi said he anticipates Iran’s Islamist rulers reacting to that increased coordination with “typical rhetoric and bravado” for domestic consumption. But, he said, Tehran would be “ill advised” not to take the issue of U.S.-Israeli cooperation seriously. More here including videos from several associated dignitaries.

Iran Warns Trump Against Disclosing Secret Iran Deal Documents

Iran claims disclosure threatens deal

Kredo:   Senior Iranian officials are warning the Trump administration about disclosing secret deals related to the nuclear deal that have long been hidden from the public by the Obama administration, according to recent comments that prompted pushback from senior sources on Capitol Hill.

Alaeddin Boroujerdi Alaeddin Boroujerdi / AP

Iran’s warning comes on the heels of a Washington Free Beacon report disclosing that former national security adviser Michael Flynn had been pushed out of office partly due to his intention to release these sensitive documents to the American public.

Leading lawmakers in Congress launched multiple investigations last year into the Obama administration’s efforts to keep these documents secret and out of public view. Sources who spoke to the Free Beacon about the matter said that the Trump White House is working on ways to publicize this information despite warnings from Iran.

Secret side deals related to the nuclear agreement remain unclassified but have been stashed in a secure location on Capitol Hill, making it difficult for staffers and lawmakers to view them. Individuals seeking to view these documents must have security clearance and are barred from taking notes or speaking about what they see.

Multiple senior congressional sources familiar with the nature of the documents told the Free Beacon that lawmakers and the Trump administration would not be intimidated by Iranian threats.

Alaeddin Boroujerdi, a senior Iranian lawmaker and head of country’s foreign policy committee, warned the Trump administration against making these documents public in recent remarks.

“If Trump wants to publish confidential documents exchanged between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency, it will in fact constitute a violation of the agency’s obligations, because the agency has been committed not to make Iran’s confidential nuclear information and documents available to any country, including the U.S.,” Boroujerdi was quoted as saying in Iran’s state-run media.

Some of these documents surround side deals struck between Iran and the IAEA regarding the Islamic Republic’s ability to enrich uranium. They also include deals about how much information Iran must disclose to international inspectors about the country’s contested nuclear program.

As part of the nuclear deal, U.S. inspectors are not permitted to take part in the review of any Iranian sites.

Rep. Peter Roskam (R., Ill.), a vocal opponent of the Iran deal who has long been fighting for the full disclosure of the Iran deal documents, told the Free Beacon that the Obama administration hid these documents in order to mislead Americans about the true nature of the agreement.

“The administration is under no obligation to conceal information about secret side deals, nor should they feel obligated to protect the anonymity of individuals or institutions who misbehaved at the behest of the Obama administration,” Roskam said.

Included in these documents are details of multiple, secret payments to Iran that totaled close to $2 billion. The money is believed to have been part of an incentive package aimed at securing the release last year of several American hostages in Iran.

None of this information is technically classified, yet it remains hidden from the American public and a large portion of Congress.

“The deal has only survived this long because the Obama administration gave Iran secret exemptions to cheat,” said one veteran congressional adviser familiar with the documents. “The Iranians know that if people found out about those exemptions, it would be obvious that the deal was always a bad, unsustainable deal, and they couldn’t blame Trump. That’s why they’re making up reasons why parts of the deal should be kept secret.”

Iran is expressing opposition to the disclosure of the information in order to force the Trump administration into a corner, the source maintained.

A senior congressional aide familiar with the situation further told the Free Beacon that U.S. lawmakers would not be instructed by Iran about what can and cannot be made public.

“Our declassification procedures are not subject to the whims of Iranian officials,” the source said. “Unclassified documents should be released so the American public can see just how bad of a deal the previous administration negotiated on its behalf.”

A second congressional source explained that federal law mandates these documents be released to lawmakers. This includes side deals and other materials related to the future of Iran’s nuclear program.

“The American public has a right to know what’s really going on behind the scenes with the nuclear agreement. At the very least, Congress is entitled to all relevant documents—including side arrangements or any other related materials—as mandated by federal law under Corker-Cardin,” the source said. “We won’t be intimidated by these empty threats from Iran or any international body. It’s time to make these secret documents public so everyone can for themselves what this deal is really all about.”

Trump Declared Terror Attacks Either Under or Not Reported…

The Guardian takes huge exception to what President Trump said. There is merit in the Guardian’s rebuke. What could be in question however, is the outcome of the estimated thousand domestic cases the FBI is or was investigating, and this does remain unclear. Yet, it could be too that President Trump and his team are conflating the definition of terror attacks as there are cases of murder, too many to list done at the hands of illegals across the homeland.

So, as a review, it is important to go over the list as provided by the Guardian. It is a chilling history on its face.

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The full list of Trump’s ‘under-reported’ terror attacks – and how they were reported

What does the White House’s choice of ‘cases the very, very dishonest press doesn’t want to report’ tell us?

TIMELINE: September, 2014 – December, 2016
NUMBER OF ATTACKS: 78

It is not clear why these dates were chosen. A December 2016 cut-off excludes the Québec City mosque attack from the list. There were more than 78 terrorist attacks in that period – the ones selected by the White House are almost exclusively those linked – or rumoured to be linked – to Islamic State. The White House text is reproduced in bold and its errors have been kept.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA September, 2014
TARGET: Two police officers wounded in knife attack
ATTACKER: Abdul Numan Haider

Global media organisations including the Guardian, BBC, CNN and Fox News were among those who covered this story.

TIZI OUZOU, ALGERIA September, 2014
TARGET: One French citizen beheaded
ATTACKER: Jund al-Khilafah in Algeria

Algerian militant group Jund al-Khilafah broke its former allegiance with al-Qaida to pledge itself to Isis.

A memorial to Herve Gourdel, a French mountain guide who was kidnapped and beheaded in Algeria.
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A memorial to Herve Gourdel, a French mountain guide who was kidnapped and beheaded in Algeria. Photograph: Farouk Batiche/AFP/Getty Images

QUEBEC, CANADA October, 2014
TARGET: One soldier killed and one wounded in vehicle attack
ATTACKER: Martin Couture-Rouleau

The Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu ramming attack was described by the Canadian government and police as Isis-inspired.

OTTAWA, CANADA October, 2014
TARGET: One soldier killed at war memorial; two wounded in shootings at Parliament building
ATTACKER: Michael Zehaf-Bibeau

Read the Guardian’s live coverage here.

People place flowers in remembrance of Cpl Nathan Cirillo after he was killed by a gunman in Ottawa.
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People place flowers in remembrance of Cpl Nathan Cirillo after he was killed by a gunman in Ottawa. Photograph: Andrew Burton/Getty Images

NEW YORK CITY, NY, USA October, 2014
TARGET: Two police officers wounded in knife attack
ATTACKER: US person

This is vague but seems to refer to Zale Thompson, also known as Zaim Farouq Abdul-Malik, described as a “self-radicalised” Muslim convert. He was killed by police.

RIYADH, SAUDI ARABIA November, 2014
TARGET: One Danish citizen wounded in shooting
ATTACKERS: Three Saudi Arabia-based ISIL members

Read a news report here.

ABU DHABI, UAE DATE: December 2014
TARGET: One American killed in knife attack
ATTACKER: Dalal al-Hashimi

Read a news report here.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA December, 2014
TARGET: Two Australians killed in hostage taking and shooting
ATTACKER: Man Haron Monis

The Martin Place siege received blanket worldwide coverage.

A hostage runs to armed police in Sydney.
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A hostage runs to armed police in Sydney. Photograph: Rob Griffith/AP

TOURS, FRANCE December, 2014
TARGET: Three police officers wounded in knife attack
ATTACKER: Bertrand Nzohabonayo

Read a news report here.

PARIS, FRANCE January, 2015
TARGET: One police officer and four hostages killed in shooting at a kosher supermarket
ATTACKER: Amedy Coulibaly

The killings – part of the series of attacks around the Charlie Hebdo massacre – received global attention. Coulibaly had claimed to be acting for Isis. Curiously, the linked attacks by the Kouachi brothers, who had pledged allegiance to al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, are not on the list.

TRIPOLI, LIBYA January, 2015
TARGET: Ten killed, including one US citizen, and five wounded in bombing and shooting at a hotel frequented by westerners
ATTACKERS: As many as five ISIL-Libya members

Read a news report here.

The Corinthia hotel comes under attack in Tripoli.
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The Corinthia hotel comes under attack in Tripoli. Photograph: AP

RIYADH, SAUDI ARABIA January, 2015
TARGET: Two US citizens wounded in shooting
ATTACKER: Saudi Arabia-based ISIL supporter

It’s not clear to which incident this refers. It could be two employees of Vinnell Arabia who were attacked by a former colleague in Al Ahsa, not Riyadh, that month; or the killing in October 2014 of another US VA employee, which did take place in Riyadh.

NICE, FRANCE February, 2015
TARGET: Two French soldiers wounded in knife attack outside a Jewish community center
ATTACKER: Moussa Coulibaly

Three soldiers were wounded.

COPENHAGEN, DENMARK February, 2015
TARGET: One civilian killed in shooting at a free-speech rally and one security guard killed outside the city’s main synagogue
ATTACKER: Omar Abdel Hamid el-Hussein

Read a news report here.

Flowers are placed at the site of a shooting in Copenhagen.
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Flowers are placed at the site of the shooting in Copenhagen. Photograph: Scanpix Denmark/Reuters

TUNIS, TUNISIA March, 2015
TARGET: 21 tourists killed, including 16 westerners, and 55 wounded in shooting at the Bardo Museum
ATTACKERS: Two ISIL-aligned extremists

In fact 22 people were killed, not including two perpetrators. Mention of “16 westerners” presumably excludes the Tunisian, Japanese and Colombian victims. Isis did claim responsibility but the Tunisian government blamed an al-Qaida splinter group. The story was carried live by many news outlets.

KARACHI, PAKISTAN April, 2015
TARGET: One US citizen wounded in knife attack
ATTACKERS: Pakistan-based ISIL supporters

No report of this could be found. However, an American woman, Debra Lobo, was shot and wounded in April 2015 in Karachi by a reported Isis sympathiser.

PARIS, FRANCE April, 2015
TARGET: Catholic churches targeted; one civilian killed in shooting, possibly during an attempted carjacking
ATTACKER: Sid Ahmed Ghlam

Sid Ahmed Ghlam is charged with the attack and is awaiting trial.

ZVORNIK, BOSNIA April, 2015
TARGET: One police officer killed and two wounded in shooting
ATTACKER: Nerdin Ibric

It is true there are few English-language reports on this attack. Here is one.

Officers secure an area near to a police station following a shooting in Zvornik.
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Officers secure an area near to a police station following a shooting in Zvornik. Photograph: Amel Emric/AP

GARLAND, TX, USA May, 2015
TARGET: One security guard wounded in shooting at the Prophet Muhammad cartoon event
ATTACKERS: Two US persons

The “two US persons” were Elton Simpson and Nadir Soofi, both killed in the attack.

BOSTON, MA, USA June, 2015
TARGET: No casualties; one police officer attacked with knife
ATTACKER: US person

Very vague but could refer to Usaama Rahim, who was shot dead by police after officers said he “threatened” (not “attacked”) them with a knife. He was under counter-terrorism surveillance.

EL GORA (AL JURAH), EGYPT June, 2015
TARGET: No casualties; camp used by Multinational Force and Observers (MFO) troops attacked in shooting and bombing attack
ATTACKERS: Unknown number of ISIL-Sinai members

Few reports on this in mainstream press, possibly explained by the “no casualties”.

LUXOR, EGYPT June, 2015
TARGET: One police officer killed by suicide bomb near the Temple of Karnak
ATTACKER: Unidentified

This could be wrong. A police officer sustained minor injuries in an attempted suicide bombing at Karnak in which two would-be assailants were killed and one injured. Possibly muddled with an earlier attack near Giza pyramids in which two police officers were killed.

SOUSSE, TUNISIA June, 2015
TARGET: 38 killed and 39 wounded in shooting at a beach frequented by westerners
ATTACKERS: Seifeddine Rezgui and another unidentified attacker

The Sousse massacre was extensively covered. Inquests into the deaths of British victims are ongoing.

Holidaymakers view flowers left on Marhaba beach in Sousse.
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Holidaymakers view flowers left on Marhaba beach in Sousse. Photograph: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

LYON, FRANCE June, 2015
TARGET: One civilian killed in beheading and explosion at a chemical plant
ATTACKER: Yasin Salhi

The suspect’s name was Yassin Salhi.

CAIRO, EGYPT July, 2015
TARGET: One killed and nine wounded in VBIED attack at Italian Consulate
ATTACKER: Unidentified ISIL operatives

Read a news report here.

CAIRO, EGYPT July, 2015
TARGET: One Croatian national kidnapped; beheaded on August 12 at an unknown location
ATTACKER: Unidentified ISIL-Sinai operative

The kidnapping and beheading of Tomislav Salopek received worldwide attention.

PARIS, FRANCE August, 2015
TARGET: Two civilians and one US soldier wounded with firearms and knife on a passenger train
ATTACKER: Ayoub el-Khazzani

Passengers who helped subdue the attacker were awarded the French legion of honour. Barack Obama personally called the three Americans involved to thank them.

EL GORA, EGYPT September, 2015
TARGET: Four US and two MFO troops wounded in IED attack
ATTACKER: Unidentified

Read news reports here.

DHAKA, BANGLADESH September, 2015
TARGET: One Italian civilian killed in shooting
ATTACKER: Unidentified

This could refer to the aid worker Cesare Tavella. Isis claimed responsibility.

Bangladeshi police at the site where Cesare Tavella was shot in Dhaka
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Bangladeshi police at the site where Cesare Tavella was shot in Dhaka. Photograph: A.M. Ahad/AP

COPENHAGEN, DENMARK September, 2015
TARGET: One police officer wounded in knife attack
ATTACKER: Palestinian national

It is not clear why the list spells “attacker” as “attaker” from here onwards.

EL GORA, EGYPT October, 2015
TARGET: No casualties; airfield used by MFO attacked with rockets
ATTAKER: Unidentified ISIL-Sinai operatives

News reports on this could not be found.

PARRAMATTA, AUSTRALIA October, 2015
TARGET: One police officer killed in shooting
ATTAKER: Farhad Jabar

The killing was widely reported in Australia and worldwide.

RANGPUR, BANGLADESH October, 2015
TARGET: One Japanese civilian killed in shooting
ATTAKER: Unidentified

Isis claimed responsibility for the death of Kunio Hoshi.

HASANAH, EGYPT October, 2015
TARGET: 224 killed in downing of a Russian airliner
ATTAKER: Unidentified ISIL-Sinai operatives

The Sinai plane crash was the subject of massive global media coverage.

MERCED, CA, US November, 2015
TARGET: Four wounded in knife attack on a college campus
ATTAKER: US person

Faisal Mohammad, whom the FBI called an Isis-inspired “lone wolf”, was shot dead. But why highlight this and the Ohio State University attack and not, say, these other campus attacks?

PARIS, FRANCE November, 2015
TARGET: At least 129 killed and approximately 400 wounded in series of shootings and IED attacks
ATTAKERS: Brahim Abdelslam, Saleh Abdeslam, Ismail Mostefai, Bilal Hadfi, Samy Amimour, Chakib Ahrouh, Foued Mohamed Aggad, and Abdelhamid Abaaoud

The White House surely cannot include the Paris attacks in the “most” on this list that it thinks were under-reported. It omits the names of three of the 11 men involved in the attack, and spells Chakib Akrouh’s name wrong. The death toll for the attacks stands at 130.

People being evacuated near the Bataclan concert hall in Paris
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People being evacuated near the Bataclan concert hall in Paris. Photograph: Miguel Medina/AFP/Getty Images

DINAJPUR, BANGLADESH November, 2015
TARGET: One Italian citizen wounded in shooting
ATTAKER: Unidentified

This appears to refer to the attack on the priest Piero Parolari.

RAJLOVAC, BOSNIA December, 2015
TARGET: Two Bosnian soldiers killed in shooting
ATTAKER: Enes Omeragic

Read news reports here.

SAN BERNADINO, CA, US December, 2015
TARGET: 14 killed and 21 wounded in coordinated firearms attack
ATTAKERS: Two US persons

The spelling should be San Bernardino. The “two US persons” were Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik. Media coverage extended to networks carrying live footage as reporters entered the couple’s home.

The scene of a mass shooting in San Bernardino, California.
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The scene of a mass shooting in San Bernardino, California. Photograph: Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

LONDON, ENGLAND, UK December, 2015
TARGET: Three wounded in knife attack at an underground rail station
ATTAKER: Muhyadin Mire

The stabbing was covered in the US as well as across the UK. Mire was jailed for life.

DERBENT, RUSSIA December, 2015
TARGET: One killed and 11 wounded in shooting at UN World Heritage site
ATTAKER: Unidentified ISIL-Caucasus operative

Read news reports here.

CAIRO, EGYPT January, 2016
TARGET: Two wounded in drive-by shooting outside a hotel frequented by tourists
ATTAKERS: Unidentified ISIL operatives

Another unclear one. There was a drive-by shooting outside a Cairo hotel that month, though no injuries were reported. A police officer and a soldier were shot dead in a separate incident in the following days.

PARIS, FRANCE January, 2016
TARGET: No casualties; attacker killed after attempted knife attack on
Paris police station
ATTAKER: Tarek Belgacem

Read news reports here and here.

PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA January, 2016
TARGET: One police officer wounded in shooting
ATTAKER: US person

The case of Jesse Hartnett, the police labor union said after the White House claim, was covered adequately and fairly.

HURGHADA, EGYPT January, 2016
TARGET: One German and one Danish national wounded in knife attack at a tourist resort
ATTAKER: Unidentified

As with the Cairo incident cited above, this is not clear. Three people – two Austrians and a Swede – were stabbed at a Hurghada resort. One perpetrator was shot dead.

MARSEILLES, FRANCE January, 2016
TARGET: One Jewish teacher wounded in machete attack
ATTAKER: 15 year-old Ethnic Kurd from Turkey

Read a news report here.

ISTANBUL, TURKEY January, 2016
TARGET: 12 German tourists killed and 15 wounded in suicide bombing
ATTAKER: Nabil Fadli

Thirteen people were killed. Turkey said Isis was responsible.

The coffins of twelve German tourists arrive back at Berlin’s Tegel airport.
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The coffins of 12 German tourists arrive back at Berlin’s Tegel airport. Photograph: Axel Schmidt/AP

JAKARTA, INDONESIA January, 2016
TARGET: Four civilians killed and more than 20 wounded in coordinated bombing and firearms attacks near a police station and a Starbucks
ATTAKERS: Dian Joni Kurnaiadi, Muhammad Ali, Arif Sunakim, and Ahmad Muhazan bin Saron

See the Guardian’s live coverage here.

COLUMBUS, OH, US February, 2016
TARGET: Four civilians wounded in machete attack at a restaurant
ATTAKER: US person

This received widespread coverage in the US. The “US person” was Mohamed Barry, who was shot dead by police.

HANOVER, GERMANY February, 2016
TARGET: One police officer wounded in knife attack
ATTAKER: Safia Schmitter

The incident was covered by media but most chose not to identify the alleged attacker, who was 15.

ISTANBUL, TURKEY March, 2016
TARGET: Four killed and 36 wounded in suicide bombing in the tourist district
ATTAKER: Mehmet Ozturk

Read a news report here.

BRUSSELS, BELGIUM March, 2016
TARGET: At least 31 killed and 270 wounded in coordinated bombings at Zaventem Airport and on a subway train
ATTAKERS: Khalid el-Bakraoui, Ibrahim el-Bakraoui, Najim Laachraoui, Mohammed Abrini, and Osama Krayem

The attack on Brussels garnered wall-to-wall media coverage. The death toll was 32.

Rescue workers outside the damaged front of Brussels airport.
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Rescue workers outside the damaged front of Brussels airport. Photograph: Belga via ZUM/REX/Shutterstock

ESSEN, GERMANY April, 2016
TARGET: Three wounded in bombing at Sikh temple
ATTAKERS: Three identified minors

Three boys are charged with attempted murder.

ORLANDO, FL, US June, 2016
TARGET: 49 killed and 53 wounded in shooting at a nightclub
ATTAKER: US person

The worst mass shooting by a single perpetrator in US history was far from “under-reported”. The “US person” responsible was Omar Mateen.

Newspapers around the world reporting the Orlando shooting.
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Newspapers around the world reported the Orlando shooting. Composite: Various

MAGNANVILLE, FRANCE June, 2016
TARGET: One police officer and one civilian killed in knife attack
ATTAKER: Larossi Abballa

Read a news report here.

KABUL, AFGHANISTAN June, 2016
TARGET: 14 killed in suicide attack on a bus carrying Canadian Embassy guards
ATTAKER: ISIL-Khorasan operative

Although mostly covered in Canada, the attack was reported globally. The victims were Nepalese.

ISTANBUL, TURKEY June, 2016
TARGET: 45 killed and approximately 240 wounded at Ataturk International Airport
ATTACKERS:
Rakhim Bulgarov, Vadim Osmanov, and an unidentified ISIL operative

Another deadly attack in Turkey dominated news headlines. The two identified perpetrators are reported to be Russian.

DHAKA, BANGLADESH July, 2016
TARGET: 22 killed, including one American and 50 wounded after hours-long siege using machetes and firearms at holy Artisan Bakery
ATTACKERS: Nibras Islam, Rohan Imtiaz, Meer Saameh Mubasheer, Khairul Islam Paye, and Shafiqul Islam Uzzal

The location was the Holey Artisan Bakery; 22 civilians and two police officers were killed.

NICE, FRANCE July, 2016
TARGET: 84 civilians killed and 308 wounded by an individual
ATTACKER: Mohamed Bouhlel

86 people were killed by Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel.

A makeshift memorial in Nice.
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A makeshift memorial in Nice. Photograph: Valery Hache/AFP/Getty Images

WURZBURG, GERMANY July, 2016
TARGET: Four civilians wounded in axe attack on a train
ATTACKER: Riaz Khan Ahmadzai

Read a news report here.

ANSBACH, GERMANY July, 2016
TARGET: At least 15 wounded in suicide bombing at a music festival
ATTACKER: Mohammad Daleel

See the Guardian’s live coverage.

NORMANDY, FRANCE July, 2016
TARGET: One priest killed in knife attack
ATTACKERS: Adel Kermiche and Abdel Malik Nabil Petitjean

The killing provoked horror and was covered globally.

CHALEROI, BELGIUM August, 2016
TARGET: Two police officers wounded in machete attack
ATTACKER: Khaled Babouri

It is Charleroi. See the Guardian report.

Officers secure the area around a police building in Charleroi, Belgium.
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Officers secure the area around a police building in Charleroi. Photograph: Virginie Lefour/AFP/Getty Images

QUEENSLAND, AUSTRALIA August, 2016
TARGET: Two killed and one wounded in knife attack at a hostel frequented by Westerners
ATTACKER: Smail Ayad

Smail Ayad has been charged but not brought to trial; proceedings have been suspended and referred to the mental health court. Police and the mother of one of the victims have said extremism was not a factor.

COPENHAGEN, DENMAKR September, 2016
TARGET: Two police officers and a civilian wounded in shooting
ATTACKER: Mesa Hodzic

It is Denmark. Isis claimed responsibility – the attacker is dead – but it is thought the crime could be linked to drugs.

PARIS, FRANCE September, 2016
TARGET: One police officer wounded in raid after VBIED failed to detonate at Notre Dame Cathedral
ATTACKERS: Sarah Hervouet, Ines Madani, and Amel Sakaou

Read the Guardian report here.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA September, 2016
TARGET: One civilian wounded in knife attack
ATTACKER: Ihsas Khan

Ihsas Khan has been charged but still awaits trial.

ST. CLOUD, MN, US September, 2016
TARGET: 10 wounded in knife attack in a mall
ATTACKER: Dahir Ahmed Adan

Read the Guardian report here.

NEW YORK, NY; SEASIDE PARK AND ELIZABETH, NJ, US September, 2016
TARGET: 31 wounded in bombing in New York City; several explosive devices found in New York and New Jersey; one exploded without casualty at race in New Jersey; one police officer wounded in shootout
ATTACKER: Ahmad Khan Rahami

Rahami has been charged but no trial date has been set.

A dumpster mangled by an explosion in New York.
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A dumpster mangled by an explosion in New York. Photograph: Pool/Getty Images

BRUSSELS, BELGIUM October, 2016
TARGET: Two police officers wounded in stabbing
ATTACKER: Belgian national

Belgian prosecutors said the attack could be terrorism-related.

KUWAIT CITY, KUWAIT
TARGET: No casualties; vehicle carrying three US soldiers hit by a truck
ATTACKER: Ibrahim Sulayman

The soldiers were not harmed. The attempted attack was reported.

MALMO, SWEDEN October, 2016
TARGET: No casualties; mosque and community center attacked with Molotov cocktail
ATTACKER: Syrian national

A Malmo court charged a man with arson but said it was not a terrorism offence.

HAMBURG, GERMANY October, 2016
TARGET: One killed in knife attack
ATTACKER: Unknown

The story that a 16-year-old boy had been killed attracted global attention. Isis claimed responsibility but police say a motive has not been confirmed.

MANILA, PHILIPPINES November, 2016
TARGET: No casualties; failed IED attempt near US Embassy
ATTACKERS: Philippine nationals aligned with the Maute group

Police said there were no explosives in the package.

COLUMBUS, OH, US November, 2016
TARGET: 14 wounded by individuals who drove a vehicle into a group of pedestrians and attacked them with a knife
ATTACKER: US person

Read the Guardian report here.

N’DJAMENA, CHAD November, 2016
TARGET: No casualties; attacker arrested after opening fire at entrance of US Embassy
ATTACKER: Chadian national

This one was barely covered by media. There were no injuries.

KARAK, JORDAN December, 2016
TARGET: 10 killed and 28 wounded in shooting at a tourist site
ATTACKERS: Several gunmen

Read the Guardian report here.

BERLIN, GERMANY December, 2016
TARGET: 12 killed and 48 wounded by individual who drove truck into a crowded market
ATTACKER: Anis Amri

The Berlin Christmas market attack dominated the news agenda in the run-up to Christmas.

A policeman inspects the truck that crashed into a Christmas market in Berlin.
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A police officer inspects the truck that crashed into a Christmas market in Berlin. Photograph: Odd Andersen/AFP/Getty Images

Fatah and Hamas to form unity government after Moscow deal

The timing is purposeful and Putin led the coordination. This is a real message to the West.

Fatah and Hamas agree to form unity Palestinian government to end election gridlock,” by Bethan McKernan, Independent, January 19, 2017:

The governing bodies of the West Bank and Gaza Strip have agreed to bury their differences to form a unity government in order to finally hold delayed elections.

The secular Fatah-led Palestinian Authority, based in Ramallah, and Islamist militant group Hamas, which seized control of Gaza in 2007, will form a new National Council including the Palestinian diaspora to hold elections.

“We have reached agreement under which, within 48 hours, we will call on [Palestinian Authority President] Mahmoud Abbas to launch consultations on the creation of a government,” Fatah spokesperson Azzam al-Ahmad told media after three days of reconciliation talks in the Russian capital of Moscow concluded on Tuesday.

“Today the conditions for [the idea] are better than ever,” Mr Ahmad added.

Relations between Fatah and Hamas have been tense since Hamas seized control of the Gaza Strip a decade ago.

The first elections since 2007 were due to be held in 2016 but were delayed multiple times after legal complaints filed by various political actors and a high court ruling found elections could only be held in the West Bank.

The non-official Russian brokered talks also involved representatives from the Shia Islamic Jihad militant group, which has not been present at political talks in years.

While in Moscow, Palestinian representatives also met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, asking him to pressure US President-elect Donald Trump into reneging on a campaign promise to move the US Embassy to Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem….

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According to Al Jazeera, the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority has agreed to form a unity government with rival organisation Hamas.

The two organisations will form a new National Council. The plan is to include Palestinians in exile and then hold elections.

It should be noted that the Islamic Jihad group was also included in the negotiations.

The last time the Palestinians staged elections in which both Hamas and Fatah took part was in 2006.

The Palestinian representatives also met on Monday with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, asking him not persuade the US government not to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

This new Russian involvement in the Palestinian issues is an upgrade for Moscow and with the new foreign policy Donald Trump will follow, it might not be the last.

Meanwhile: From Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center

  • The electricity crisis in the Gaza Strip brought masses of protesters into the streets (one held in the Jabalia refugee camp had thousands of demonstrators). Qatar and Turkey promised aid (money and fuel) to help Hamas cope with the immediate problem, although it will not fundamentally solve the problem.
  • The crisis illustrates Hamas’ difficulty in coping with the challenges of governance in the Gaza Strip, and its inability to cooperate with the Palestinian Authority (PA), even over vital services for the population. However, Hamas’ security forces have proved themselves effective in controlling the situation and so far have managed to contain the protests.
  • Senior Palestinian figures have initiated a campaign threatening mainly the United States, in the wake of the possibility that America will relocate its embassy to Jerusalem.One of the Palestinians’ main claims was that such a move would “ignite the region” and “open the gates of hell in the Middle East and the world.” Mahmoud Abbas said it would make the United States ineligible to play a role in resolving the conflict, destroy the two-state solution and lead the PA to examine possible responses, including retracting Palestinian recognition of the State of Israel.
  • Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem
  • Detention of Palestinian Who Attempted Vehicular Attack
    • On January 11, 2017, during an IDF activity in the al-Fawwar refugee camp (south of Hebron), a Palestinian attempted a vehicular attack. There were no casualties. The Palestinian media reported the Israeli security forces had detained a Palestinian, claiming he had tried to run over a Border Policeman on the road between the town of Dura and the al-Fawwar refugee camp (Shasha News, January 11, 2017).
    Riots and Clashes
    • In the meantime, routine popular terrorism continued unabated (the throwing of stones and Molotov cocktails). The more prominent attacks were the following:
    • January 17, 2017 – Palestinians threw stones at Israeli vehicles on route 443 near the Ofer military camp. There were no casualties. The vehicles were damaged (Facebook page of Red Alert, January 17, 2017).
    • January 16, 2017 – Border Policemen operating in A-Tor detained a Palestinian bus passenger who looked suspicious. Initial investigation revealed that he lived in Judea and Samaria and did not have an entry permit for east Jerusalem. During his interrogation the police began to suspect he had come to east Jerusalem to carry out a stabbing attack targeting Israeli security forces near the Nablus Gate in the Old City of east Jerusalem (Jerusalem Police spokesperson’s unit, January 17, 2017).
    • January 16, 2017 – A Palestinian who clashed with IDF forces in a riot near Tekoa in Gush Etzion and threw stones at the soldiers was shot and killed. (Facebook page of Red Alert, January 16, 2017). The Palestinian media reported him as Qusay al-Amur, 17, a Fatah operative (Facebook page of the Fatah movement, January 16, 2017).
    • January 15, 2017 – Israeli security forces sealed a weapons workshop that was exposed in Hebron three weeks ago. It was discovered at the beginning of December 2016 in a large underground chamber in a residential house in Hebron’s southern industrial zone. The workshop produced hundreds of weapons (Ynet, January 15, 2017).

     

    • January 12, 2017 – Palestinians threw stones at a car and truck near Beit Hanina in east Jerusalem. One man was injured; the vehicles were damaged (Facebook page of Red Alert, January 12, 2017).
    • January 11, 2017 – Palestinians threw a pipe bomb at IDF forces on the Husan detour near Beitar (west of Bethlehem). There were no casualties (Facebook page of Red Alert, January 11, 2017).
    • January 11, 2017 – Israeli policemen stopped an Israeli truck at the Beqaot crossing which was driving in the direction of Nablus. It was found to contain 14 tons of fertilizer, which is also used to making explosives and not allowed into Judea and Samaria. The truck was confiscated and the driver detained for questioning (Civilian administration spokesperson’s unit, January 11, 2017).

     

    • On the night of January 15, 2017, in a joint Israeli security force operation, 13 Hamas operatives were detained near Ramallah. One of them was Ahmed Mubarak, a Hamas member of the Palestinian Legislative Council. The forces confiscated money, vehicles and Hamas propaganda materials. The operation was carried out after the Israeli security forces exposed a Hamas network of about 120 operatives. The network operated in the region of Ramallah and in effect served as the local Hamas headquarters. Ahmed Bahar, deputy chairman of the Palestinian Legislative Council, condemned the detention of Ahmed Mubarak, claiming it was a clear violation of parliamentary immunity (Quds.press, January 16, 2017).
    • The objective of the network exposed in the Ramallah region was to strengthen Hamas in Judea and Samaria, and to achieve the goal it also engaged in the da’wah (Islamic indoctrination), providing economic support for prisoners and the families of terrorists, and supporting a Hamas student cell. The network also distributed Hamas propaganda and organized mass demonstrations. Its activities were financed by Hamas sources abroad and by Hamas in the Gaza Strip (Israel Security Agency media unit, January 16, 2017)
  • Israel’s South
  • Rocket Fire Attacking Israel
    • Palestinians opened fire at an IDF force maintaining the border security fence between Israel and the Gaza Strip in the southern Gaza Strip. There were no casualties. A military vehicle was damaged. In response an IDF tank fired at and destroyed a Hamas post near the source of the shots (Ynet, January 15, 2017).
  • Developments in the Gaza Strip
  • The Electricity Crisis
    • The electricity crisis in the Gaza Strip recently worsened, and Gazans currently have electricity for only about three hours a day. The crisis is apparently the result of several factors, including the increase in consumption due to the winter cold; a problem with the power lines from Egypt, which supply 11% of the Gaza Strip’s electricity; the completion of a number of infrastructure projects which require electricity; and a rise in the price of fuel, which made it more expensive to operate the power plant.
    • The situation resulted in mass protests throughout the Gaza Strip (one in Jabalia had thousands of demonstrators). Some of the demonstrations were harshly dispersed by Hamas’ security forces and their organizers detained. Hamas rejected the claims of civilians and claimed Mahmoud Abbas and the national consensus government were responsible for the crisis. Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum stressed the right of the public to protest, but said it could not create “anarchy in [the Gaza Strip’s] security” and disturb public order. Senior Hamas figure Fathi Hamad urged the demonstrators to move to Egypt or the West Bank if life in the Gaza Strip was unsatisfactory. He added that Hamas would use all its power to suppress the protests (Facebook page of Watan, January 14, 2017).
    • The crisis led Hamas and the Palestinian Authority to exchange mutual accusations. At its weekly meeting, the Palestinian national consensus government blamed Hamas for the ongoing shortages of electricity in the Gaza Strip. The PA claimed Hamas was determined to take control of the electric company and the Palestinian energy and natural resources authority, and did not allow them to perform their functions (Wafa, January 10, 2017).

    • The crisis raised claims that there was a connection between Hamas’ use of electricity the tunnels and its shortage in the public sector. In response Abu Obeida, spokesman for Hamas’ military wing, claimed the tunnels were one of the “greatest creations of the Palestinian resistance” in response to Israel’s military arsenal and the closure of the Gaza Strip. He claimed building the tunnels had caused the “resistance” many sacrifices, and strongly rejected any attempt to link the “resistance” to the lack of electricity (Twitter account of Abu Obeida, January 12, 2017).
    • To find an immediate arrangement for the electricity crisis, Ismail Haniyeh, deputy head of the Hamas political bureau, consulted with the emir of Qatar. The emir promised him that over the next three months Qatar would transfer $12 million to buy fuel for the power plant (Gaza al-A’an, January 15, 2017). In addition, Turkey promised to send 15 million liters (almost four million gallons) of fuel to the Gaza Strip. Both are supposed to arrive shortly (Safa, January 16, 2017). The aid from Qatar and Turkey may be able to provide Hamas with a short-term solution but it cannot fundamentally end the crisis.
    • In conclusion, the crisis illustrates the difficulties Hamas has in dealing with the challenges of governance in the Gaza Strip, one of which is the uninterrupted supply of electricity to the Gazans. It has also led the local residents to strongly protest against Hamas and again shows that Hamas and the PA are incapable of cooperating, even on issues that relate to the daily life of the population. However, as far as can be seen, the Hamas enforcement agencies still function effectively, and so far Hamas has successfully contained the protests and prevented them from spinning out of control.

     

  • The Palestinian Authority
  • Palestinian Reactions to the Paris Conference
    • On January 15, 2017, a peace conference organized by France was held in Paris. Seventy countries sent representatives, most of them foreign ministers. There were no representatives from either Israel or the PA. The conference’s final summation confirmed that a negotiated solution of two states, existing side by side, was the only way an enduring peace could be achieved. It stressed the importance of both sides’ commitment to a solution to the conflict and to taking immediate steps that would bring an end to continued acts of violence and ongoing settlement activity.[2] The announcement noted that the solutions would be in accordance with the relevant Security Council resolutions, including Resolution 2334, and with the principles formulated by John Kerry, the American secretary of state, on December 18, 2016 (Website of the French foreign ministry, January 15, 2017).
    • Responses from a number of senior Palestinian figures were the following:
    • Mahmoud Abbas, PA chairman, called on Israel to stop construction in the settlements. He said the PA was prepared to renew negotiations to revitalize the peace process within an international framework and with a defined time table. He called on all states around the globe that had not yet recognized the Palestinian state to do so, and to monitor the implementation of Security Council Resolution 2334 (Watan, January 15, 2017).
    • Nabil Abu Rudeina, spokesman for Mahmoud Abbas, said the Palestinians’ many recent achievements had proved the failure of Israel’s policies and the victory of the Palestinian cause. He said that was shown by the global consensus over resistance to construction in the settlements and support for the two-state solution (Wafa, January 16, 2017).
    • Riyad al-Maliki, foreign minister of the national consensus government, said the foreign ministry would monitor the implementation of the conference’s conclusions that Israel stop building in the settlements so that a Palestinian state could be established and officially join the UN (Watan, January 15, 2017).
    • Saeb Erekat, secretary of the PLO’s Executive Committee, stressed the need to end the “Israeli occupation” and the right of the Palestinian people to establish an independent state. He also noted the importance of the two-state solution, thanked all the countries that attended the conference and called on them to recognize the Palestinian state immediately (Watan24, January 15, 2017).
    • While senior PA figures tried to represent the results of the conference as an achievement, senior Hamas figures mocked the conference, its results and its final statement:
    • Senior Hamas figure Mahmoud al-Zahar said he found it hard to believe an international conference would bring any benefit to the Palestinian cause (Quds.net, January 15, 2017).
    • Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem said Hamas viewed the conference as “a waste of time” that copied previous failed peace conferences. He called on the PA to focus on the internal Palestinian reconciliation instead (al-Anadolu News, January 15, 2017).
    • Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said the Paris conference was an attempt to renew the “absurd negotiations” that would give the “Zionist entity” the legitimacy to remain in the territories of Palestine. He said the Palestinian people had to stand fast by their principles and focus on the path of “resistance” to defend themselves (Hamas website, January 16, 2017).
    • Hamas spokesman Abd al-Latif al-Qanu’ said Hamas did not have much hope that an international conference held for the sake of the Palestinian cause because Israel did not honor its conclusions. He added that any negotiations with Israel were a “waste of time” (al-Aqsa, January 14, 2017).
    Responses to Possible Relocation of American Embassy to Jerusalem
    • Senior PA figures continue dealing with the possibility that the American embassy will be moved to Jerusalem. They said the following:
    • Mahmoud Abbas said he had appealed to the American president-elect not to relocate the American embassy in Jerusalem, because, he said, such a step would make the United States ineligible to play a role in resolving the conflict and destroy the two-state solution. He added that if the Americans did relocate their embassy, there were a number of possible responses which would be discussed with the Arab states, including the possibility of retracting Palestinian recognition of the State of Israel.
    • Rami Hamdallah, prime minister of the national consensus government, demanded that the institutions of the international community stand up to the threat of the new American administration to relocate its embassy. He warned that if the United States did relocate it, there would be a significant deterioration of regional security (Safa, January 11, 2017).
    • Saeb Erekat, secretary of the PLO’s Executive Committee, sent a communiqué to Russian President Putin asked Russia to intervene and prevent the American embassy from being relocated. Interviewed by the RT channel in Arabic, he said that moving the embassy to east Jerusalem meant annexing Jerusalem to Israel (YouTube, January 12, 2017).
    • Fatah spokesman Osama al-Qawasmeh issued an announcement threatening that it would “open the gates of hell in the Middle East and the world.” He also said that it would put a lid on any possibility for regional peace and stability, because east Jerusalem was the capital of the Palestinian state (Ma’an, January 14, 2017).
    • Muhammad Hussein, the mufti of Jerusalem and the PA, warned the incoming administration that relocating the embassy could “ignite the region” (alresala.net, January 12, 2017). In his Friday sermon in al-Aqsa mosque, he said relocating the embassy was “aggression against the entire Muslim world” and was liable to have consequences “that only Allah knew.” He said it was an attack on all the conventions and UN Security Council resolutions, and that Muslims would not silently accept it (YouTube, January 13, 2017).
    • The weekly riot in Kafar Qadoum was also exploited for a protest. Demonstrators held signs reading that relocating the embassy to Jerusalem was “a despicable crime” (Wafa, January 13, 2017). On January 16, 2017, Gazans demonstrated in the center of Gaza City. The held signs reading “Jerusalem is a red line” (Facebook page of QudsN, January 16, 2017).
    Palestinian Legation Opened in the Vatican
    • Mahmoud Abbas paid a visit to the Vatican and met with the Pope. He also participated in the ceremony opening the legation of Palestine in the Vatican City. He told newspaper correspondents that he called on all the nations of the world to follow the Vatican and recognize the sate of Palestine. He called on the states to participate in realizing peace (al-Wataniya, January 14, 2017).
    Memorial to the Hamas Terrorist Engineer Killed in Tunisia
    • In Deir Ghassaneh, a town northwest of Ramallah, a sign was hung naming a street for Muhammad al-Zoari, a Hamas terrorist engineer who was killed in Tunisia (Twitter account of Palinfo, January 15, 2017).[3] Hanging the sign might have been a local initiative.

 

Threats of Attacks on Jewish Centers a Growing Trend

Security Expert: Threats Against US Jewish Institutions Part of ‘Unfortunate Growing Trend’

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The Jewish Community Center in Manhattan. Photo: Team Boerum via Wikimedia Commons.

The Jewish Community Center in Manhattan. Photo: Team Boerum via Wikimedia Commons.

The bomb threats received by more than a dozen Jewish community centers across the US on Monday — leading to evacuations at some of them — were part of an “unfortunate growing trend,” an international security consultant and political risk analyst told The Algemeiner.

“There has been an increase in non-profit organizations — both Jewish and not — receiving these types of bomb threats, whether through robocalls or other telephonic means,” Dr. Joshua Gleis, president of Gleis Security Consulting, said.

One reason for this, according to Gleis, is technology.

‘Despicable’ Antisemitic Cyber Attack at Tennessee Campus Outrages Jewish Student Community

The Jewish community at Vanderbilt University in Nashville expressed “outrage” at the “despicable” cyber attack on campus, causing some of…

“It’s very easy today to anonymously make phone calls,” he noted. “Law enforcement cannot always find out where they are coming from.”

The perpetrators, Gleis said, might “just be looking to sow fear in the community.”

“But another concern, which is more sinister, is that it is not just to create panic and fear, but really, God forbid, to see how different organizations respond and then potentially attack them while they’re responding — for example attack them while they are evacuating, where they could be potentially more vulnerable because now there are hundreds of people outside,” he added.

Evacuating a threatened building, Gleis pointed out, might not always be the best move.

“You have to start to think like a bad guy,” he said. “Why are they calling in a bomb threat and should you in fact evacuate as a knee-jerk reaction? Often times the case is no. By not evacuating, you’re not exposing yourself to other potential threats — such as an active shooter or vehicular ramming outside. It doesn’t mean that you never evacuate, it just means there are specific times when you would evacuate, but much of the time — like on Monday when the threats were non-specific — you should not. Terrorists today who are looking to target Jews tend not to give them a heads-up beforehand.”

Another concern, Gleis said, is that the threats could be a diversionary tactic.

“All these times these things are making the news and nothing is happening,” he said. “They might do it again and draw all the law enforcement response to one place and hit another location, or just get people so attuned to assuming that it’s nothing that eventually they just ignore the threats and eventually there ends up being one that is serious and it is ignored.”

In general, in Gleis’ view, Jewish institutions “do not have proper security measures in place yet — be it a combination of proper training for staff, well-trained security guards and different target-hardening measures. Many are against doing so — not necessarily JCCs, but Jewish non-profits in general.”

“Unfortunately, we live in a time when we do need security and we have to be thinking about these things,” Gleis said. “And I actually think that by doing these things and being pro-active, instead of creating fear and panic, it actually does the opposite. To me, knowledge is power. So the more you can train yourself and understand how to better protect yourself, the safer you’re going to feel ultimately.”

Michael Feinstein — the president and CEO of the Bender JCC of Greater Washington, which was among the JCCs that received threats on Monday — told The Algemeiner that a review of security procedures was underway in the wake of the incident.

“I don’t know if it will lead to changes,” he said. “JCCs balance being open and welcoming with providing for the safety and security of our members and participants. We feel that currently we have the right procedures in place. We are always learning and seeking to improve what we do. External forces may require us to change what we do.”

Feinstein said he believed Monday was the first time ever that the Bender JCC — which opened in 1969 — had received a bomb threat.

“The possibility of a serious security incident is one of the things I lose sleep over,” he said. “There seems to be a recent uptick in hate speech and hate crimes. In our local area, there have been a number of instances involving antisemitic symbols. All of these actions seem to be intended to cause fear and disruption. We need to be vigilant in adhering to our security procedures and emergency response plans.”

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There is history of this….

Honor Alberto Nisman’s sacrifice by continuing his probe of Iran

On Jan. 18, 2015, Argentine terrorism prosecutor Alberto Nisman was found dead with a gunshot wound to his head in what was almost certainly murder, not suicide. Whoever murdered him didn’t just want to kill him but rather his body of work. They wanted to bury the revelations he was about to make the very next day in front of the country’s Congress.

Nisman was in charge of investigating the 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish center that killed 85 people, making it Argentina’s deadliest terrorist attack. He assembled compelling evidence against senior Iranian officials whom he accused of masterminding the bombing. In 2007, on the basis of evidence compiled by Nisman, Interpol issued red notices for five Iranian officials. These red notices, akin to international arrest warrants, remain a black mark on their reputation.

In the case he was due to present in person to Congress, Nisman revealed other devastating evidence, this time against Argentina’s then-president, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner. Nisman had legally secured thousands of wiretaps of Kirchner allies, Foreign Minister Hector Timerman and Iranian agents operating in Argentina. Nisman said the wiretaps and other evidence proved Kirchner was plotting to find a way to lift the red notices and buy immunity for the Iranian officials he held responsible for the AMIA attack in exchange for expanded trade with Argentina.

Nisman’s exhaustive investigations also found that Iran used its embassies, mosques and cultural centers to radicalize and recruit from the local population.

While Nisman’s death precluded him from presenting his accusations to the Congress, and Kirchner supporters spent almost two years deliberately keeping the complaint from being investigated in the courts, this month an Argentine court agreed to open an investigation into the allegations he assembled.

Some of the wiretaps discussed fabricating “new evidence” that would have been presented to a joint Iran-Argentina “truth commission” that Kirchner had negotiated with Iran purportedly to jointly investigate the AMIA bombing. Nisman believed the truth commission, part of a 2013 Memorandum of Understanding between the two countries, was a mechanism to whitewash Iran’s role in the AMIA attack. The memorandum was found to be unconstitutional before anything moved forward.

According to one account, one of those heard on the wiretaps, a Kirchner supporter, discussed inventing a culprit for the AMIA bombing.

“They want to construct a new enemy of the AMIA, someone new to be responsible,” he said. The blame would be placed on a “group of local fascists.”

Mauricio Macri, who was elected president of Argentina in late 2015, has distanced himself from Iran’s malign activities and taken constructive steps to investigate Nisman’s death. Macri is continuing the investigation into the AMIA bombing.

While opening an investigation into Nisman’s allegations is an important step forward that could prove determinative, it’s unclear whether Argentina’s judicial system will operate without a high degree of politicized partiality. Politics and the justice system remain closely aligned in Argentina, which the World Economic Forum ranked 121st out of 138 countries when it comes to judicial independence. Macri has an opportunity to reform the judicial system as he has begun to do for other parts of the government.

The investigation will have regional repercussions, as Argentina is not the lone target of Iranian penetration in the hemisphere.

In Peru, a Hezbollah operative, Mohammad Hamdar, is on trial. Authorities found bombmaking material and hundreds of photos of high-value Israeli and Jewish targets in his home. Hamdar and his new wife reportedly received money from Hezbollah, Iran’s proxy, to stage their wedding. Hamdar was designated by the U.S. Treasury Department as being a member of Hezbollah’s External Security Organization.

In Venezuela, President Nicholas Maduro recently named Tareck El Aissami to be his vice president. El Aissami is known for his ties to Hezbollah and Iran’s revolutionaries, and reportedly used his previous positions to supply fake Venezuelan passports to Syrian terrorists and drug smugglers.

These and other examples show how Iran views Latin America as a target-rich region for its revolution and should send red flags throughout the hemisphere.

Argentina and the United States can benefit from lessons learned from Nisman’s work.

First, Iran reportedly continues to seek the removal of the AMIA-related red notices. While Argentina must take the lead, the U.S. should support the effort to ensure the red notices are renewed by Interpol when they are up for review in November. There should be no statute of limitations on murder.

Second, the U.S. should support a transparent investigation into Nisman’s death. In addition to recent death threats to the prosecutor investigating Nisman’s apparent assassination, the crime scene has been compromised. Moreover, there has been evidence tampering in both the murder case and the AMIA investigation itself. Macri should have a zero-tolerance policy for this scheme and punish those who have engaged in it.

Tehran’s Argentine agents, such as those heard on the wiretaps, have not been tried or punished. Presumably their nefarious activities continue unfettered. Argentina should monitor their activities and hold them accountable.

Finally, the U.S. government should update the report mandated by the Countering Iran in the Western Hemisphere Act of 2012. General John Kelly, the nominee to become the head of the Department of Homeland Security, understands the challenge and noted that “Iran is willing to leverage criminal groups to carry out its objectives in the U.S. homeland.”

Along with ensuring an impartial examination of his final investigation, heeding the lessons from Nisman’s lifelong work will be a critical element of our national security.