Netanyahu called Trump and Putin's ceasefire in Syria a 'bad deal.' But it could be the one thing that prevents Israel from being dragged into war — whether by miscalculation or military escalation. By Shemuel Meir The dramatic announcement by presidents Trump and Putin of a ceasefire in “south-west Syria” earlier this month was greeted in Israel with skepticism. Official Israel wasn’t impressed with the agreement reached by the two superpowers to establish and enforce a buffer zone on Israel’s northern border in the Golan Heights, free of all military activity. [tmwinpost] In the first Israeli cabinet meeting held after…Read More...
There was a lot of spin in the coverage of Iran's missile strikes on ISIS in Syria last week. We can learn more from what Israel's leadership didn't say than what it did. By Shemuel Meir An extraordinary strategic event took place last week in the Middle East, when Iran launched surface-to-surface missiles against targets in Syria. This was the first-ever missile strike directed by Iran at a country bordering on Israel. Amazingly, all hell didn't break loose. What happened? How did Israel view the launch of the missiles? Did it grasp its full implications? How did it respond to…Read More... | 1 Comment
It is very difficult to accept at face value this newfound determination to defeat terrorism by the Gulf states by humiliating a smaller neighbor whose differences consist primarily of alternative choices of distasteful proxies. By Gary Sick There are several things that I find confounding about the current conflict within the GCC: First, as a member of the US policy team that first applied sanctions against Iran when our diplomats were being held hostage in Tehran, we drew the line at food and medicine. That has remained true in the succeeding 37 years. Despite all the onerous sanctions that the…Read More... | 1 Comment
For years, elections in Iran have been likened to a furnace that everyone must feed to fire up public participation. But the temperature is not always controllable. By Ali Reza Eshraghi Iran’s presidential elections have never been without drama. This year, the Guardian Council—a group tasked to approve candidates—set a new record for the number of disqualifications. Of the 1,636 individuals who registered, it approved only six. However, instead of being outraged over the Guardian Council’s nebulous and undemocratic process, everyone, including the Reformists, is frustrated about the ease with which anyone in Iran can register to run for president.…Read More... | 1 Comment
If an AIPAC spinoff did, in fact, help fund an attack on J Street it suggests the powerful lobby feels increasingly threatened by the upstart progressive Jewish group. By Eli Clifton The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) is going to have a challenging time at its annual policy conference this weekend persuading attendees and those watching at home that it has healed the partisan rift it opened by investing millions of dollars in opposing the Iran nuclear deal. Following Trump’s election, partisanship in Washington had reached an all-time high, making AIPAC’s role in currying bipartisan support for new Iran…Read More...
It’s high time for the United States to interject some realism into discussions about Iranian missiles. By Greg Thielmann Iran’s January 29 flight test of a medium-range ballistic missile helped prompt an ominous if ambiguous warning by U.S. National Security Advisor Michael Flynn on February 1: “As of today, we are officially putting Iran on notice.” Since it is facing so many other international crises, it is curious that the new administration gives such a prominent place to Iranian missile testing, which poses no existential threat to the United States or its allies and is not prohibited by the Iran…Read More...
Donald Trump and former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad have plenty in common — including a propensity for outlandish claims and bombastic speeches that veer into messianism. By Jim Lobe It was almost a year ago that Shervin Malekzadeh published a brief but incisive essay — which we republished immediately after the November 8 election — on the striking parallels between then-candidate Donald Trump and former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Among other similarities, he noted: As populists gifted with a preternatural ability to understand their country’s low mood, Trump and Ahmadinejad possess the authenticity of the non-politician and newcomer who says what he…Read More...
Thirty-seven leading Iranian Americans pen open letter to President-elect Trump, urging him to keep the Iran deal. Abandoning it, they write, will 'once again put the United States and Iran on the path of war.' By Jim Lobe In a particularly eloquent and straightforward defense of the Iranian nuclear deal, 37 prominent Iranian Americans have appealed to Donald Trump to maintain U.S. compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) between the P5+1 and Iran. The letter comes on the heels of an appeal to Trump by prominent U.S. scientists urging him to support the deal and a recent poll demonstrating…Read More... | 27 Comments
The Syria that was once an icon of enlightenment and education has been erased, crushed under barrel bombs and proxy power struggles, as the world watches and waits to see how it will all end. What, after all, have we learned from history? Run, run away all you strong and invulnerable Israelis, and all you Palestinian freedom fighters pursuing liberation from the occupation, Jewish and Arab human rights activists, seekers of peace and fellowship between peoples. Let’s all run away from Aleppo, Idlib, Palmyra, Raqqa, Homs and all the Syrian cities that have been destroyed. [tmwinpost] Who needs to see more…Read More... | 8 Comments
Residents of Be'er Sheva were enraged to find out that a new bus company had announcements in both Hebrew and Arabic. After numerous complaints, the Arabic announcements came to an end. By John Brown* An Israeli bus company in the southern city of Be'er Sheva stopped activating its Arabic-language announcement system last week, following complaints by city residents. [tmwinpost] The company, Dan Be'er Sheva, won a tender in January of this year, replacing the Metro Dan company to the delight of many residents, who have repeatedly criticized the city's poor public transportation. The new buses include a PA system, which…Read More... | 6 Comments
What foreign leaders would possibly be willing to engage in tough negotiations with the Trump administration if its top officials approach them as defective? By Derek Davison On Friday, Donald Trump’s transition team announced that Fox News national security analyst Kathleen Troia McFarland will serve as his Deputy National Security Advisor, working under National Security Advisor-designate Michael Flynn. McFarland previously served on Gerald Ford’s National Security Council and as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs in the Reagan administration, from 1982 to 1985. [tmwinpost] NBC News predicted that McFarland’s appointment “will likely be far less controversial” than that…Read More... | 6 Comments
Director Farschid Ali Zahedi fled Iran for Germany following the Islamic Revolution, where he became fascinated by Jewish history and the Holocaust. After four years of work he is now releasing his latest film on the extermination of Jews in the Ukrainian city of Kovel. Orly Noy sat down to speak to him about debuting his film in Israel, the memory of the Holocaust, and the bleeding wound of his homeland. Before the Second World War, the Ukrainian city of Kovel was home to an significant and flourishing Jewish community. During the Nazi occupation, which lasted from 1941 to 1944, the Jewish population…Read More...
Yet the deal's opponents continue to focus on how it could, possibly, one day, under certain circumstances, go wrong. By Derek Davison The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is reporting that Iran has so far complied with its obligations under the terms of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which went into effect in January and limits Iran’s ability to produce nuclear weapons. The IAEA report, which is confidential but was apparently shown to the Reuters news agency, “did not point to any violations in Tehran’s observance of the deal”: “Throughout the reporting period, Iran had no more than 130 metric tonnes…Read More... | 2 Comments
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