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Yesterday Stand for Israel discussed the reported Israeli airstrikes in Syria – strikes that took out weapons bound for the terrorist group Hezbollah. Writing at Israel Hayom, Professor Eyal Zisser explains that Hezbollah, Iran, and what is left of Syria make up an axis of evil whose priority is the destruction of Israel:
There is little left of Syria as we knew it, with the exception of one thing — the strategic alliance between Damascus, Tehran and Hezbollah, which has only grown stronger over the past few years. The deeper Assad has become embroiled in the quagmire of civil war, the more dependent he has become on his Iranian ally and its proxy, Hezbollah.
It is doubtful that Assad could have survived this long without the financial aid Iran has afforded Syria, but the assistance lent to him by Hezbollah has also been crucial to his ability to maintain his grip on the regime. The thousands of Hezbollah fighters sent to battle the rebels may not have been able to defeat them, but it is Hezbollah’s hundreds of wounded and dead that have been keeping Assad in power.
Iran and Hezbollah have made it their mission to save Assad, because Syria is pivotal to the Shiite axis they seek to install between Tehran, Baghdad, Damascus and Beirut. Syria is Iran’s gateway to the Mediterranean, as well as a crucial supply route through which Iran continues to arm Hezbollah with tens of thousands of missiles.
Assad, for his part, feels obligated to do his Shiite allies’ bidding. After all, for years emissaries from Washington and Jerusalem whispered in his ear that he should sever his ties with the axis of evil, strike a peace deal with Israel and restore diplomatic relations with the U.S., but at the moment of truth, the U.S. became his adversary while Iran rallied to his side.
Syria’s alliance with Iran and Hezbollah is so strong that Assad has not thought twice…Read More » Comments (4) »
Tuesday, December 9th, 2014 at 8:37 AM | Stand For Israel
As the deadline for an agreement between the United States and other world powers on Iran’s nuclear program was extended, we’ve been keeping an eye on global reactions to the situation – American, Israeli, and otherwise. The Times of Israel’s David Horovitz reports that 69% of Americans oppose a deal that would allow Iran – which they consider the greatest threat to the U.S. – to obtain nuclear capabilities:
More than two-thirds of Americans oppose a deal with Iran that would allow it to maintain nuclear weapons capabilities, according to a new survey by American political strategist Frank Luntz. Americans are also overwhelmingly mistrustful of Iran, and consider it to be the country that poses the greatest threat to the United States …
… an overwhelming majority of Americans believe the Iranians are stalling rather than negotiating in good faith, and that the regime in Tehran cannot be relied upon to honor any accord it may reach.
More broadly, Americans overwhelmingly feel the world to be less safe today than 10 years ago, and believe America is weaker today than it was 10 years ago …
The survey also showed 62% of Americans consider that Iran is an enemy of the US, while 37% consider it neutral, and 1% consider it an ally. It found that 73% of Americans consider that Iran is an enemy of Israel, while 25% consider it neutral, and 1% consider it an ally.
A staggering 81% of respondents do not believe the current government in Iran can be trusted to keep agreements, compared to 5% who think it can be trusted. And an even more overwhelming 85% do not believe the Iranians’ assertions that their nuclear program is peaceful, as compared to 8% who do.
“When it comes to Iran, the Israeli prime minister is closer to the American people than the US president,” Luntz said of the findings. This was a reference to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s call for any deal with Iran to provide for the dismantling of Iran’s entire nuclear…Read More » Comments (6) »
Wednesday, November 26th, 2014 at 8:36 AM | Stand For Israel
In yesterday’s Daily Dispatch, we noted that the deadline for an agreement on Iran’s nuclear program was extended until July, with meetings expected to resume next month. Writing at Israel Hayom, Ruthie Blum says that while world powers declare that we are closer to world safety, Iran is openly stating that it is closer to something much different and more sinister:
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry gave a joint press conference with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.
”Today we are closer to a deal that will make our partners like Israel and the Gulf states safer,” he said. “We now see a path for solving issues that until now were intractable.”
Responding to this turn of events at a forum in Tehran on the same day, Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Commander Maj. Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari expressed satisfaction.
”The Americans have very clearly surrendered to Iran’s might,” he said. “[Which] is obvious in their behavior in the region and in the negotiations.”
He then pointed to the fact that Iran is arming Hezbollah and Hamas with heavy weaponry for the purpose of defeating Israel and attaining a “final victory” over the West.
Jafari was referring to hundreds of Fateh missiles — with 160- to 220-mile ranges and the ability to carry 1,100-pound warheads — whose transfer was announced over the weekend by Revolutionary Guard Aerospace Force Brig. Gen. Seyed Majid Moussavi.
”Our strategic guiding principle is … to allow the resistance groups to deal with the bloodthirsty Zionist regime,” Moussavi told Iran’s Fars news agency.
This is in keeping with the nine-point plan for Israel’s destruction tweeted earlier this month by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. It also jibes with Khamenei’s anti-Israel and anti-American speeches surrounding the celebration of the Nov. 4, 1979, takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran by Islamic revolutionaries who had ousted Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi and ushered…Read More » Comments (5) »
Tuesday, November 25th, 2014 at 8:30 AM | Stand For Israel
Last week we reported on some members of the Presbyterian Church (USA) who had the sense to take a stand against their congregation’s divestment from Israel. But now the PC(USA)’s Office of Public Witness is alerting church members to stand with Iran. At The Algemeiner, Dexter Van Zile reports on the PC(USA)’s belief that there is nothing questionable about Iran’s nuclear aspirations:
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So-called peace activists within the Presbyterian Church (USA) have decided that they know better than the International Atomic Energy Agency.
The IAEA has stated that Iran is blocking efforts to determine whether or not its nuclear program is being used for military purposes. On Nov. 7, 2014, Reuters reported that the “International Atomic Energy Agency said Tehran had still not provided information it was due to produce more than two months ago to help advance a long-running IAEA inquiry into suspected nuclear weapons research.” According to Reuters, the IAEA report stated that “Iran has not provided any explanations that enable the agency to clarify the outstanding practical measures …”
Nevertheless, the geniuses at the PC(USA)’s Office of Public Witness have a different message for us: Don’t worry, be happy.
They make this case in an “action alert” that calls on Presbyterians to contact their lawmakers and “Speak Out for Diplomacy With Iran.” The alert states that negotiations with Iran “have resulted in the most extensive verification program in history.”
Never mind that the IAEA has said that Iran is blocking efforts to determine if it is attempting to use its program for military purposes …
In sum, the Presbyterian Church (USA) has irresponsibly pushed a pro-Iranian line that encourages people to ignore real concerns over its nuclear program.
Sadly, such naked propagandizing is what we should expect from staffers and peace activists in the PC(USA).
Monday, November 24th, 2014 at 12:16 PM | Stand For Israel
On November 24 – a week from today – the extended deadline for a nuclear deal with Iran is set to expire. Writing at The Weekly Standard, Lee Smith says that even if the United States doesn’t make a final deal on Iran’s nuclear program, it has still caved to a nation that supports terrorism:
The White House has caved on so much already that whether or not a final agreement is reached at the end of the month, American interests have already been damaged by the administration’s pliant dealings with a state sponsor of terror. Its record on Iran—not only during nuclear negotiations, but also in its larger regional policy—is nothing but a chronicle of concessions to the Islamic Republic.
It’s instructive to recall that very early in his presidency Obama promised that the military option was still on the table, if all else failed to stop the Iranians from building a bomb. The concern, as White House officials warned back then, was that strikes—American or Israeli—on Iranian nuclear facilities might cause Tehran to retaliate against American -targets in the region, especially U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. Never mind that the Iranian regime was already responsible for thousands of American deaths, and tens of thousands of wounded, in those two theaters. What’s telling is that the White House saw the U.S. military not as the guardian of American interests, the best friend of American allies, and the dread enemy of American adversaries, but as potential hostages.
In other words, Obama was keen to forfeit his advantages from the outset of his dealings with Iran. In due course, he would trade away American leverage and get nothing in return …
What did the Obama administration get in exchange for rescuing the Iranian economy and thereby saving the clerical regime from domestic turmoil that might have toppled it? Nothing.
Instead, the interim deal acknowledged Iran’s right to enrich uranium. It ignored Iran’s ballistic missile program (the most obvious delivery mechanism for a bomb), despite…Read More » Comments (13) »
Monday, November 17th, 2014 at 8:35 AM | Stand for Israel
Last week the United Nations released a report on the ongoing (and worsening) human-rights abuses in Iran. Two news reports discuss this list of Iranian abuses, abuses being performed by the same nation with which the Western world is preparing to make a nuclear agreement. Christian Daily writes that Iran continues to persecute religious minorities (these often being Christians):
A new report released by United Nations complies a list of extreme persecution that religious minorities have faced in Iran including closing down churches, raiding services, arrests without proper warrants, psychological abuse, and death threats.
“At least 49 Protestant Christians are currently detained, many for involvement in informal house churches,” the UN report writes. “In April 2014, security forces reportedly raided an Easter service in a private home in southern Tehran and detained six individuals.”
The 28-page report was compiled together by Ahmed Shaheed, the UN’s Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Right in the Islamic Republic of Iran. President Hassan Rouhani was elected as Iran’s president in 2013 and promoted a new era of tolerance in the region, but Shaheed’s report shows the persecution of minorities has been prevalent since his election.
In the report, Shaheed also makes note that many religious minorities who are arrested in Iran are not given proper representation or due process in court.
“The Baha’i International Community and Iranian Evangelical Christian leaders added that many of the lawyers who had accepted sensitive Baha’i or Christian cases had been imprisoned or had to flee the country,” the report states.
Before Rouhani was elected he stated, according to Fox News, that, “All ethnicities, all religions, even religious minorities, must feel justice. Long live citizenship rights!”
Among the pastors that are imprisoned for their faith is Saeed Abedini, who has been in Iranian prison for over a year. His case has received international attention, and last month more than 500 cities in 30 countries held prayer vigils in honor of Pastor Saeed.
An additional pastor detained in Iran is Behnam Irani who…Read More » Comments (6) »
Tuesday, November 4th, 2014 at 8:07 AM | Stand For Israel
Yesterday Stand for Israel reported on Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon’s meeting with his American counterpart, Chuck Hagel, where Hamas’ presence in both Gaza and Turkey was discussed. The men also discussed Israel’s concern over Iranian nuclear aspirations. After the meeting, Ya’alon voiced his nation’s worry over the impending nuclear agreement with Iran – and what kind of deal it might be – while still emphasizing the strong U.S.-Israel partnership:
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Israel is concerned about the shape of an international agreement with Iran over its nuclear aspirations, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said Tuesday night after talks with his American counterpart Chuck Hagel in Washington DC.
“The Iranian issue indeed worries us,” said Ya’alon in a Hebrew audio message released by his office after the meeting with Hagel at the Pentagon. “The question of if there will be an agreement and what kind of agreement worries us. I’m talking about that here and behind closed doors we express our concerns.”
“We’ve said all along that better no agreement than a bad agreement and the question is what are they discussing at the moment, are they talking about how many centrifuges there will be and if so, why should they have centrifuges at all?” Ya’alon said.
“Are they talking about other elements of the Iranian military nuclear project such as missiles ready for nuclear warheads?”
Ya’alon said he and Hagel had also talked about the conflicts in Iraq and Syria and the US-Israel defense partnership. Between Israel and the United States, he said, “arguments exist, but we must remember that the US is Israel’s most important strategic ally in every respect.”
Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014 at 3:29 PM | Stand for Israel
Even while Israel has come under attack from closer enemies, we have kept you updated on the nuclear threat posed by Iran. And as the deadline for a nuclear deal with the Iranians nears, Yediot Achronot now reports that the United Nations has realized Iran has not been transparent with its nuclear investigators:
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Iran has still not implemented all the nuclear transparency measures it had agreed to carry out by late August, the head of the UN atomic energy agency said on Monday, suggesting little headway in an inquiry into suspected bomb research.
Western officials say Iran must cooperate more with United Nations nuclear sleuths if it wants to settle a protracted dispute with six world powers over its nuclear program and be rid of crippling financial sanctions.
Nearly two months after an Aug. 25 deadline for answering questions about alleged activity that might be used to develop atomic arms, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) made clear that Iran had not yet fully done so.
Monday, October 20th, 2014 at 2:48 PM | Stand for Israel
As the Islamic State (IS or ISIS) and other brutal terrorist organizations make the headlines, Iran is still a powerful threat to Israel, the United States, and the free world. Professor Efraim Inbar writes that while the smaller groups are a threat, the danger they pose remains small compared to Iran:
The emergence of the Islamic State (IS) on the battlefields of the civil war in Syria, and its subsequent spectacular successes in conquering parts of Syria and Iraq, have grabbed international attention. The gruesome pictures of IS’s barbaric beheadings supplied to the international media has only added to IS’s notoriety …
This organization is a reflection of the rise of radical political Islam in the Middle East over the last decades. Islam has always been a central component in the identity of the peoples of the Middle East. While Egypt, Iran and Turkey succeeded in maintaining a strong ethno-statist parallel identity, most of the Arab states have failed to instill statist identities through their education system …
Therefore, the Islamic State of today, which displays religious extremism and transnational tendencies, is the result of historic dynamics in the fledgling Arab civilization. Any long term look at the performance of the Arab states could reach the gloomy conclusion that their societies are doomed to poverty and political instability for a long while yet.
While the military and political successes of the Islamic State seem remarkable, its achievements are taking place in a political limbo with no real power to oppose it. The Islamic State has not faced yet any real test in state building and in overcoming violent opposition. Therefore, it is probably much too early to conclude that the Islamic State is able to govern and impose law and order in the swaths of land it has conquered.
Will it be spared the typical processes of fragmentation taking place among radical groups? Can the Islamic State take on Turkey or Iran – the rising powers in the Muslim Middle East? Can this organization be…Read More » Comments (5) »
Monday, October 20th, 2014 at 8:19 AM | Stand for Israel
Last week, a massive explosion occurred at Iran’s military base at Parchin – a facility also believed to be one of its illicit nuclear facilities. Much speculation has been made about why the explosion occurred. Writing at The Weekly Standard, Lee Smith says that Iran blames Israel – and its ally, the United States – and is using its terrorist proxy, Hezbollah, to retaliate:
Experts continue to debate whether the explosion at an Iranian military base at Parchin earlier in the week was an act of sabotage.
The New York Times notes that the satellite images of the incident showed evidence “reminiscent of pictures of a missile-development site 30 miles west of Tehran that was virtually destroyed during a test in November 2011 that killed 17 people, including Gen. Hassan Tehrani Moghaddam, the leading force behind Iran’s advanced missile efforts.”
Nonetheless David Albright, head of the Institute for Science and International Security, told the Times that it “could have been an accident.” However, Hussain Abdul-Hussain, writing in the Kuwaiti newspaper al-Rai, reports that European diplomatic sources in Washington confirm that “the massive blast … was no accident, but a premeditated attack by a foreign country.”
Tuesday, October 14th, 2014 at 8:23 AM | Stand For Israel