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AFPJuly 05, 2020, 08:13 PMlatest revision July 05, 2020, 08:54 PM
1 min read
Nation will know details of deal ‘when an accord has been concluded,’ Iranian FM says
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Sunday that Tehran has been negotiating a 25-year accord with China whose terms will be announced once a deal is struck.
”With confidence and conviction, we are negotiating a 25-year strategic accord with China,” Iran’s top diplomat said during a stormy session of parliament.
China is also a key market for Iranian crude exports, which, however, has been dampened by US sanctions imposed after Washington’s 2018 withdrawal from a nuclear deal with Tehran under the leadership of US President Donald Trump.
An accord with China has been a hot topic on Iranian social media since populist ex-president Mahmud Ahmadinejad last month denounced negotiations underway with a foreign country.
But Zarif, who came under fire over the 2015 nuclear accord which Iranian conservatives had opposed, insisted there was ”nothing secret” about the China deal.
The nation would be informed ”when an accord has been concluded”, he said, adding it had already been made public in January 2016 when Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Tehran.
As Turkey battles debt and a currency crisis, can Chinese investment save the day? Or will it just create more problems?By George Marshall LernerJuly 03, 2020
Turkey, a NATO member that once fought against the Chinese in the Korean War during the 1950s, is now becoming increasingly dependent on China to stave off a financial crisis. According to Morgan Stanley, Turkey’s deficit widened in April to $5.60 billion from just $500 million in late 2019, thanks to the combination of a trade deficit and a drop in revenues from tourism. Chinese investment has rushed to the rescue as Turkey has all but run out of crucial foreign reserves needed to pay down its debt. Just last week the People’s Bank of China extended a swap for Turkish lira for Chinese renminbi valued at $400 million. The currency swap deal was originally signed in 2012, but is finding new life now after Ankara found every other door to staving off a currency collapse was closed.
Beijing is eyeing this opportunity to ensure Turkey becomes a vital part of its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). One Chinese logistics company recently bought 48 percent of Kumport Terminal for $940 million; located on the northwest coast of the Marmara Sea, Kumport is Turkey’s third largest container terminal and is a strategic link to Europe. According to the Daily Sabah, in November 2019 Turkey also welcomed the first freight train from Xi’an via the Chinese-built and funded Marmaray Tunnel. Using this tunnel, any train can make a non-stop transit from China to Europe for the first time.
Gao Tian, the China-Germany Railway project manager, argues that projects like these foreshadow how Turkey will be the very center of the BRI rail and infrastructure project connecting East and West. The vision involves developing Turkey from a simple transit hub for LNG, freight goods, and other products into an active, global hub of international trade, the “Middle Corridor” of China’s Silk Road Economic Belt. Additional ancillary projects to help develop the Middle Corridor include Turkey’s Thermal Power Plant project, worth nearly $1.7 billion, which ensures the country’s long-term energy security.
Very enthusiastic Chinese investment, however, may not immediately offset either Turkey’s looming currency crisis or the long-term corporate debt problem, which is soaring to more than $300 billion. Issues of insolvency have already impacted Chinese-funded projects. Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge — one of the tallest in the world — was financed by China to the tune of $2.7 billion. When it became clear the owner would not be able to pay it back, the bridge was sold to Chinese investors for $688 million.
Beyond the failing areas of the economy, the only sector in Turkey that is still growing is technology — and it, too, is being heavily sought after by China. This includes Turkey’s largest e-commerce platform, Trendyol, with 2 million active shoppers and 25 million members. It was bought for $750 million by Alibaba. According to one person inside of Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce giant is promising cost savings with Chinese-origin goods, believing Alibaba’s vast infrastructure, transport, and logistics expertise will benefit Turkish consumers with cheaper goods and even free three-day shipping.
But is the heavy investment by China enough to save Turkey? As Western companies fleeing Turkey — where last week the world’s largest stock indexer announced $900 million is at risk in the likely event Turkey is downgraded from “emerging” to much lower “frontier” status — blue-chip European companies pull out, and private equity firms sell their stakes, China will not only have to fill the investment gap but also the looming foreign currency gap, too. Here is where the two problems are a distinction without a difference.
According to a former economic advisor to Turkey’s ruling AK Party, it is clear to Ankara the lira must be devalued even more than it has. The question is not if but when. The lira has lost nearly half of its value since 2018, but a shock devaluation will cause significant economic pain for a country that is a net importer, as goods will become more expensive. With large foreign investment, a gradual devaluation might be possible. One silver lining of COVID-19 is the lower energy prices — due to lower global energy demand — slightly lengthened the time Turkey has to use its limited amount of foreign currency to pay off its debt.
But in the next six months, Turkey will have to find a whopping $60 billion to enable Ankara to convert its foreign debt into more easily manageable local debt. If a foreign investor were to invest in Turkey in installments, then maybe the Turkish corporate sector will be able to ride out the COVID-19 storm. China does not want Turkey to end up like Argentina in the 1990s, where corporate earnings — which were backed by major U.S. creditors — were strong until a sudden shock currency crisis caused the peso to lose nearly all of its value. The resulting destruction of the Argentine peso meant corporations then had wheelbarrows full of worthless currency that could never pay off their American-denominated debt. Turkey might avoid such a catastrophe so long as Ankara opens its economy to more Chinese investment, especially with the very slim chance of being extended a lifeline by Washington.
For the civil servants in Washington D.C., the emerging influence of China into the economy of a NATO member is deeply unsettling. Thus Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is waiting out the storm, hoping U.S. President Donald Trump wins re-election and decides to aid his ally’s economic recovery by reversing the American veto on a IMF bailout of Turkey.
Finally, there is nothing inherently wrong in Turkey buying more from China than they sell. But the fact that trade is so one-sided should concern Ankara. Last year, Tajikistan — heavily indebted to China — paid a Chinese company building a power plant with a gold mine; a few years earlier it swapped Beijing some land for debt, according to Eurasianet. Turkey’s widening trade imbalances with China may be a warning for deals to come.
A graduate from the University of Edinburgh, George Marshall Lerner worked as a consultant for the last two and a half years focusing on trade and reconstruction in the Middle East. He helped co-found an NGO, Hêvî (which means hope in Kurdish), supporting women, children, healthcare initiatives in local communities, as well as starting the University of Kobane.
Det här är en debattartikel. Åsikterna som framförs är skribentens egna.
DEBATT. Det framstår allt mer som att våra politiska beslutsfattare inte har en verklighetsbaserad bild av vad stängning av kärnkraftverken som nu äger rum leder till, skriver Marcus Eriksson, med flera från Sveriges kärntekniska sällskap
Som framgått av en läckt delvis hemlig rapport från Svenska Kraftnät, finns nu risk att delar av Sverige redan i sommar kan drabbas av effektbrist, det vill säga att efterfrågan på el under vissa tidpunkter är större än vad utbudet är.
Det är konsekvensen av att fem, snart sex, kärnkraftreaktorer förtidsavvecklats utan att dessa ersatts av annan planerbar kraft. Följden blir att man periodvis kan komma att tvingas ransonera elkraft när inte effektreserven eller import räcker till.
Detta är något som för Sveriges del, i ett historiskt perspektiv, framstår som en häpnadsväckande utveckling och som närmast förknippas med länder i tredje världen och det forna östblocket.
Det märkliga är att det i betänkandet (Kraftsamling för framtidens energi) som den energikommission som den förra regeringen tillsatte, och som utgjorde underlag till energiöverenskommelsen 2016, inte lyftes något om de risker med effektbrist som nu Svenska Kraftnät uppmärksammar, trots att riskerna borde ha varit kända även då.
Det framstår allt mer som att våra politiska beslutsfattare inte har en verklighetsbaserad bild av vad stängning av kärnkraftverken som nu äger rum leder till och som är resultatet av politiska vägval. Nyligen gick att läsa att Ringhals 1 återstartas för att garantera en jämn elförsörjning i sommar. Dessutom körde man nyligen igång oljekraftverket i Karlshamn på obestämd tid på grund av effektbrist i södra Sverige.
De negativa effekterna av en avveckling av kärnkraften gör sig redan påminda och kommer att yttra sig på fler områden. Somliga effekter är uppenbara, som ökade kostnader för investeringar i ersättningskraft, överföringskapacitet och nätstabiliserande åtgärder. Det är åtgärder som i slutändan kommer att bekostas av elkonsumenterna genom högre elpris. Vilket i sig är ogynnsamt ur ett samhällsekonomiskt perspektiv.
Andra konsekvenser är mer dolda. Hit hör försämrad leveranssäkerhet och minskad beredskap mot elbrist. Dessa blir kännbara först i situationer av kris. Den mest allvarliga effekten, och den mest förrädiska, är ökade utsläpp av växthusgaser som följer i spåren av en kärnkraftsavveckling.
Internationella energirådet (IEA) trycker på alarmklockan i sin rapport och skriver att avvecklingen av kärnkraften globalt hotar möjligheterna att nå klimatmålen och varnar för att försörjningstryggheten hotas i de länder som använder kärnkraft. Vi menar att det snarast behövs en ny kommission som denna gång tar hänsyn till konsekvenserna för elförsörjning, miljö och samhällskostnader i sitt underlag för beslut om den långsiktiga energipolitiken.
Marcus Eriksson, teknisk doktor och ordförande, Sveriges Kärntekniska Sällskap
Michael Klein, energiingenjör, Sveriges Kärntekniska Sällskap
Claes-Inge Andersson, Sveriges Kärntekniska Sällskap
Petty Cartemo, teknisk doktor, Sveriges Kärntekniska Sällskap
The international diplomatic landscape is changing.
One of the best examples is the newly created bond between Israel andGreece.
Greeceand Israel are advancing a series of mutual defense agreements.
Those agreements include weapons, training and services. The agreement was approved by the Greek Parliament’s Standing Committee on National Defense and Foreign Affairs on Weds. July 2, 2020.
National Defense Minister Nikos Panagiotopoulos explained it this way: ”the strategic relationship between Greece and Israel is a major priority for our country, mainly due to the common challenges but also the common interests that unite the two countries . . . We believe that cooperation with Israel strengthens a pillar of stability in the eastern Mediterranean.”
As the agreement was reached, Greek’s Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis had a telephone conversation with U.S. Sen. Robert ”Bob” Menendez, D-N.J.
Sen. Menendez is a leading member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. More than that, the New Jersey senator is a strong critic of Turkey.
He has been critical of Turkey for wandering out of the sphere of U.S. influence and into the waiting and eager arms of Russia and Iran.
Greece and Turkey have a long and ugly history of tension.
For many years Israel chose to advance their Turkish contacts and simply placate the Greeks. And whenever Israel’s relationship with Greece seemed to be warming, Turkey would grumble and express their displeasure.
Over the past five years, however, that balance has shifted almost totally.
Relations between Israel and Turkey have cooled and Greek/Israeli relations have blossomed. Israel is not alone. The same relationship, and shift in relationship, is mirrored in present day relations between the United States and Greece and the United States and Turkey.
Historically, numbers have played a role.
Greece only has a population of 10 million while Turkey’s population is 84 million.
Also, Israel and the U.S. saw Turkey as a foothold into the Muslim world.
They were hoping that Turkey would be the perfect springboard into economic opportunities and normalization.
There is good reason for the shifting relationships and agreements.
Economics plays only a small role.
More important is that, over these past few years, Turkey has turned into an irresponsible party in the region. The country has consistently lashed out at the West, especially at the United States and at Israel. Turkey has been siding with arch enemies of the West especially Russia and Iran.
Greeks and Turks have been involved in four major wars during the modern period. The modern period, of course, dates back hundreds of years and these modern tensions date back to when the Greeks achieved independence from the Ottoman Empire.
That was in 1830.
The island country of Cyprus has become a classic example of the fallout from tensions between Greece and Turkey. Beginning in the 1950’s, continuing to today, both Greece and Turkey claim Cyprus as their own. As a result, Cyprus is divided.
There is a split in the island. The city of Nicosia is divided, complete with a concrete wall and armed soldiers, part Greek, part Turkish. Nicosia today resembles Berlin of old.
For Israel, tensions between Turkey and Greece are an opportunity and Greece is very happy to partner with the Jewish State – especially because it comes at the expense of Turkey.
Israel had wanted to repair their relationship with Turkey. But Turkish leadership, especially Turkish President Erdogan, has been recalcitrant. Erdogan has been leading his country down a path that embraces ever more Islamic ideals and spews anti-Western rhetoric. Given Erdogan’s character, there is little chance for change.
And so, now the United States and Israel are searching for ways to punish Turkey because of their arrogance and their anti-Western behavior. The nature of foreign relations is that those who subscribe to shared principles are rewarded.
Those who do not are punished. It’s the carrot and stick phenomenon.
Greece is on a roll. This agreement betweenIsrael and Greece is a sign of the future.
Greece will be rewarded with further expansions and economic adventure.
And Turkey will be pushed further and further to the sidelines.
Micah Halpern is a political and foreign affairs commentator. He founded ”The Micah Report” and hosts ”Thinking Out Loud with Micah Halpern” a weekly TV program and ”My Chopp” a daily radio spot. A dynamic speaker, he specializes in analyzing world events and evaluating their relevance and impact. Follow him on Twitter @MicahHalpern. Read Micah Halpern’s Reports — More Here.
On Wednesday, Spokesman for the Libyan National Army (LNA) Maj. Gen. Ahmed Al-Mismari said that Turkey was extending its control throughout western Libya and supplying militias with weapons to recapture the southwestern cities.
In an Interview with Sky News Arabia, Al-Mismari said that Turkey was mobilizing Libyan and foreign forces to attack Sirte and take control over the Al-Hilal oil region.
He confirmed that the Libyan army was monitoring Turkish movements in Sirte and Al-Jufra. He stressed that the real war was between the Libyan people and the invading Turks.
Al-Mismari also accused the Chairman of the National Oil Corporation, Mustafa Sanalla, of participating in a dubious campaign aimed at putting pressure on the General Command and the Libyan people.
He denied the existence of foreigners, mercenaries or Russian Wagner forces in Libya’s oil fields and facilities.
“We are still committed to the ceasefire, but there is no response from the other side in reference to the Government of National Accord (GNA),” he noted.
The LNA spokesman confirmed said “We must unite together to expel the Turkish invaders from our country,” noting, “The Libyan army is fighting for peace and protection of our people”.
Al-Mismari emphasized that Turkey was seeking to control Libya’s natural resources, saying that billions of Libyan dinars were looted and smuggled to Ankara.
He noted that if the current crisis continues, sovereignty will be transferred to Ankara, which is not acceptable to any free Libyan citizen.
Kristna för Israel protesterar mot Kyrkornas världsråds brev: Var är det ekumeniska samfundet när Israel hotas?
|Kristna för Israel protesterar mot Kyrkornas världsråds brev:|
Var är det ekumeniska samfundet när Israel hotas?
|Amsterdam – Inte alla Kyrkornas världsråds kristna partnerorganisationer håller med om brevets innehåll. Detta blev klart i Nederländerna där en kampanj ordnad av Christians for Israel – en av ECI:s grundande medlemmar – ställde den Genève-baserade ekumeniska organisationen till svars för det ensidiga brevet till EU.|
”Var finns Kyrkornas världsråd när Israels själva existens hotas av Iran och dess lokala allierade terroristgrupperingar”, frågade direktor Cornelis Kant (bilden), ordförande Leon Meijer och president Willem J.J. Glashouwer från organisationen Christian for Israel International i ett brev till Kyrkornas världsråd. I sitt brev konstaterar de att det ekumeniska samfundet aldrig har uppmanat regeringar att införa sanktioner mot något annat land. ”Varför denna selektiva indignation?”
Kampanjen orsakade en splittring mellan världsrådets medlemmar i Nederländerna och resulterade i att två medlemsorganisationer öppet tog avstånd från rådets brev och ondgjorde sig över att deras namn hade lagts som medundertecknare utan deras samtycke.
ECI kommer att följa upp den fråga som Christians for Israel ställde: ”Varför väljer Kyrkornas världsråd att kritisera endast ett land, den enda judiska staten i världen?” Enligt Alliansen för internationella minnesdagen för Förintelsen (IHRA) finns det en klar definition för detta att välja ut endast ett enda land, den judiska staten. Det kallas antisemitism.
Crazed with their hatred of Trump, it makes them hate the entire country as a result. Voters should remember this in November.
By Monica Showalter, American Thinker
President Trump delivered the speech of his presidency at Mount Rushmore Friday, a magnificent affirmation to Americans on their 244th national birthday that what they have always cherished is still cherished, along with a warning shot to those who hate and despise all the United States stands for.
It was non-partisan — there was no mention of Democrats or Joe Biden. It was inclusive — celebratory of people of all races, and celebratory in particular of the singularity of America being great for such diversity.
It was also big-hearted, magnanimous, celebrating all the range of achievements of the country. Yet it also did the thing Trump does best, which is to call out and identify authentic enemies, stating that he knows who they are, what their game is, and that he won’t let them win. In this era, that was necessary shadow.
Trump began by restating the entire meaning of the holiday:
Kaepernick slams July 4th as celebration of white supremacy×
“Our founders launched not only a revolution in government, but a revolution in the pursuit of justice, equality, liberty, and prosperity. No nation has done more to advance the human condition than the United States of America and no people have done more to promote human progress than the citizens of our great nation.
“It was all made possible by the courage of 56 patriots who gathered in Philadelphia 244 years ago and signed the Declaration of Independence. They enshrined a divine truth that changed the world forever when they said, ‘All men are created equal.’
“These immortal words set in motion the unstoppable march of freedom. Our founders boldly declared that we are all endowed with the same divine rights, given us by our Creator in Heaven, and that which God has given us, we will allow no one ever to take away ever.”
He then delved into an especially wonderful appreciation of America’s presidents on Mount Rushmore, the memory of which has apparently grown so forgotten in the wokester educational world that it became fresh and new as Trump spoke of it, beginning with George Washington:
“Before these figures were immortalized in stone, they were American giants in full flesh and blood, gallant men, whose intrepid deeds unleashed the greatest leap of human advancement the world has ever known. Tonight I will tell you and most importantly the youth of our nation the true stories of these great, great men.
“From head to toe George Washington represented the strength, grace, and dignity of the American people. From a small volunteer force of citizen farmers, he created the Continental Army out of nothing and rallied them to stand against the most powerful military on earth.
Through eight long years, through the brutal winter at Valley Forge, through setback after setback on the field of battle, he led those patriots to ultimate triumph. When the army had dwindled to a few thousand men at Christmas of 1776, when defeat seemed absolutely certain, he took what remained of his forces on a daring nighttime crossing of the Delaware River.
They marched through nine miles of frigid darkness, many without boots on their feet, leaving a trail of blood in the snow. In the morning, they seized victory at Trenton after forcing the surrender of the most powerful empire on the planet at Yorktown, General Washington did not claim power but simply returned to Mount Vernon as a private citizen.
When called upon again, he presided over the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia and was unanimously elected our first president. When he stepped down after two terms, his former adversary, King George called him the greatest man of the age. He remains first in our hearts to this day, for as long as Americans love this land, we will honor and cherish the father of our country, George Washington. He will never be removed, abolished, and most of all, he will never be forgotten.
Celebrating heroes from all walks of life
Since this sort of thing is no longer taught in schools, it was a stellar reminder. Yet he didn’t stop at the four presidents depicted — he did what he always does, which is celebrate the heroic people from all walks of life — Clara Barton, the Tuskegee Airmen, Wild Bill Hickok, Alan Shepard, Elvis Presley, Harriet Tubman — an amazing and wonderful array.
Even the mild NeverTrumps, such as Rich Lowry, were impressed.
A superb speech, tough but appropriately so, gave our forefathers their due, invoked the wonders of American culture, and accurately stated the stakes of the culture war—Trump’s best since Warsaw
— Rich Lowry (@RichLowry) July 4, 2020
Here’s the full transcript, with broken up little videos of the different passages.
Yet in the midst of that, that reminder of what made America great — something that was common knowledge in the pre-COVID, pre-wokester era — the New York Times could only call the speech “dark and divisive” and express its deep upset that Trump didn’t spend his Fourth of July speech at Mount Rushmore talking about the coronavirus instead. Here’s the paper of record’s funhouse mirror take:
Breaking News: President Trump delivered a dark and divisive speech at Mount Rushmore, leaning into the culture wars and barely mentioning the pandemic.https://t.co/03WOgau4Zx
— The New York Times (@nytimes) July 4, 2020
The paper was especially upset that he called out “far-left fascism.” Apparently any rejection of looters, rioters, cancel culture, and all the cultural rot in our educational system is “divisive,” and these miscreants just wanted to be included, and not including them hurt their feelings.
Nope, not in the real world, it didn’t. Some of them probably took it as a compliment. But divisive it was not, given that they’re the ones doing the rejecting by their outrageous acts and dirty libels. And as for dark, yes, dark on the dark forces because they are encroaching right now, toppling our statues, targeting our museums, erasing our history, yet the lion’s share of the speech was devoted to light and praise for the things Trump is passionate about, which is all the people and institutions that make America great. It was a speech loaded with uplift for everyone except those who hate the place.
The Times wasn’t the only one seeing “dark and divisive” — here’s longtime AP guy turned Atlantic essayist Ron Fournier with a cynical take:
My take on the Rushmore speech:
Trump is like a man who’s about to lose his house to the bank — so, out of pique and self-loathing, he torches it.
On his way out of office, he’s burning our house down
— Ron Fournier (@ron_fournier) July 4, 2020
Here’s CNN’s self-beclowning bid to appear woke:
CNN are part of the lynch mob of the left! If people die they don’t care ! Same CNN who had no problem with Bernie or Obama visiting Rushmore
— Suze Michelini (@emilia_suze) July 4, 2020
Ted Cruz easily took down this CNN pinhead:
Your network is literally arguing to tear down Mount Rushmore.
And claiming that murderous, raping anarchists are a peaceful “street festival.” https://t.co/7JL2P1UV5W
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) July 4, 2020
Here’s more seething:
A tiny man diminishes himself still further: Down in the polls and failing to control a raging pandemic @realDonaldTrump struggles to read a dark and divisive speech written by the ignorant racist Stephen Miller. #IndependenceFromTrump #BenedictDonald https://t.co/PsgEjSdu2r
— The Daily Edge (@TheDailyEdge) July 4, 2020
Here’s a nakedly partisan canard, long discredited, from someone who’d rather take “patriotism” lessons from Antifa:
Yeah, I’m not taking lessons in patriotism from a guy who knew that a hostile foreign entity placed a bounty on US soldiers and refused (continues to refuse) to do anything about it or the pandemic that has killed 132k Americans. #Rushmore https://t.co/SDFCu3IJKn
— Kim Nelson For Congress (@KimforSC) July 4, 2020
The hypocrisy was palpable.
Lowry pointed out the Times‘ double standard:
A project re-defining America on the basis of slavery and lying in important respects about our history—inspiring journalism
A speech extolling America’s heroes and the wonders of its culture—dark and divisive pic.twitter.com/WXJ4lY7v7M
— Rich Lowry (@RichLowry) July 4, 2020
Here’s more double standard: Mount Rushmore was considered a wonderful place when President Obama visited – and marveled at the sculptures, and when Bernie Sanders visited and also was impressed.
Now Mount Rushmore itself is being reviled because President Trump is visiting it:
— The Hill (@thehill) July 4, 2020
It’s all a sputtering sheet show from the press and its political allies who sense danger to their position. Yet it’s also disgraceful. Here Trump was, offering them all a golden opportunity to dissociate themselves from the fascist left, and embrace the things they have always embraced – America’s singularity, its heroes, its achievements – and they’d rather sit in the mud and take potshots at Trump and even Mount Rushmore, just because President Trump went there. They’re crazed with their hatred of Trump and it makes them hate the entire country as a result. Voters should remember this in November.
Image credit: Monica Showalter, camera shot aimed at television set, processed with Graphite drawing app.
Health Ministry officials also demanded limits on beaches and parks as well as other restrictions.
By David Isaac, World Israel News
Israel’s Corona Cabinet met on Monday to discuss further tightening of health guidelines as the deadly pandemic has returned in a country that prided itself for its relative success in containing the disease in the first wave.
New restrictions include the closing of bars, clubs, public swimming pools and event halls. In restaurants, the number of people allowed to gather at one time has been reduced to 20 inside and 30 outside. In synagogues and other places of worship, the number of worshipers has been capped at 19.
No more than 20 people will be allowed in buses at one time.
In government offices, at least 30 percent of workers must operate from home.
Kaepernick slams July 4th as celebration of white supremacy×
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at the meeting that Israel was “only one step” away from a complete lockdown.
At a Sunday meeting, the discussion grew heated, reports say, with Health Minister Yuli Edelstein blasting other ministers, including from his own Likud party, for failing to cooperate.
The central dispute was balancing the economy with people’s health.
Minister of Finance Yisrael Katz told Professor Eli Waxman, who heads Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s advisery staff, “The plan of the Ministry of Health will kill the economy.”
Waxman presented a gloomy outlook on the situation in Israel and said: “We must close, otherwise we will have Italy here.”
Israel currently has 11,856 active cases, of which 90 are said to be serious. The situation is much worse than when Israel imposed its first lockdown on March 20. Then there were 700 cases of which 23 were serious.
In an attempt to regain control of the situation, the government approved the use of GPS tracking by the Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security agency. However, there are reported malfunctions, with hundreds being incorrectly told to go into self-isolation. A source told Haaretz on Monday, “of course there can be malfunctions because it is tailored to the war on terror and not health needs.”
He added that “there must therefore be an effective epidemiologic system that will respond to people who claim to have not been in contact with a [coronavirus] patient and examine the claim,” he said.
July 6, 2020The Ofek-16 reconnaissance satellite blasts off at the Palmachim air base in central Israel, July 6, 2020. (AP via Israel Ministry of Defense Spokesperson’s Office)Tweet Email Print11 Comments
Israel is one of only 13 countries in the world capable of launching into space.
By David Isaac, World Israel News
Israeli successfully launched its Ofek-16 (or, “Horizon-16”) satellite at 4:00 a.m. on Monday. It joins a collection of satellites Israel has deployed recently.
Not only the satellite, but its Shavit launcher were developed locally in Israel. The project could be described as all ‘Blue and White,’ a term referring to Israel’s national colors and often used to describe locally produced products.
The satellite has already entered orbit and has undergone initial tests. It will begin transmitting its first pictures next week.
Ofek-16 is a reconnaissance satellite. Although Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) made no comment about the details of its mission, reports have assumed that it will bolster Israel’s ability to monitor Iran, particularly its nuclear weapons development.
Kaepernick slams July 4th as celebration of white supremacy×
Israel is one of the few countries with satellite-reconnaissance capabilities. Iran is another in that elite group.
Update: The Israel Ministry of Defense and Israel Aerospace Industries have successfully launched the Ofek 16 satellite – *which has begun its orbit in space* pic.twitter.com/ubNWFsf1Q0
— Ministry of Defense (@Israel_MOD) July 6, 2020
Defense Minister Benny Gantz tweeted on Monday, “Israel’s technological and intelligence superiority is a cornerstone of its security.”
“The success of the launch of the satellite tonight is another tremendous achievement for the defense establishment, the security industry in general and the aerospace industry in particular,” he said.
“The fact that Israel is one of 13 countries in the world capable of launching into space is not self-evident and stands first and foremost thanks to the people who have been working on these systems and advancing breakthrough capabilities over the years,” he added.
Israel’s Ofek-16 follows the 2016 launch of Ofek-11. Israel Aerospace Industries wouldn’t comment on the jump in numbers.
“The Ofek-16 is highly advanced, including breakthrough ‘blue and white’ technology that serves our defense interests,” said Shlomi Sudari, who heads IAI’s space program.
“We will continue to strengthen and fortify Israel’s power on every front and everywhere,” Gantz said.
Israeli defense firm Elbit systems, which specializes in electronic defense systems, developed the satellite’s payload.
While social media platforms censor right-wing posters, terror groups continue to post freely, says attorney Nitsana Darshan-Leitner.
By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News
Facebook and other social media platforms are cracking down on right-wing pages, while giving a free pass to terror groups, said attorney Nitsana Darshan-Leitner on Fox Nation’s Reality Check with David Webb.
Darshan-Leitner of Shurat HaDin, an Israeli nonprofit that advocates for terror victims and seeks to freeze terror funding via international legal cases, spoke out about how Facebook, Twitter and YouTube allow incitement from terror groups on their platforms, while clamping down on right-wing posts.
Twitter recently began flagging President Donald Trump’s tweets with warning labels blocking the content, claiming the tweets violate the platform’s policies against abusive behavior.
“Social media has become an essential tool in the work of a terror organization. They cannot do without it,” said Darshan-Leitner. “We all know Hezbollah’s campaigns to raise funds… are not done on the street, or through a bank, or through email… it’s done through social media.”
Netanyahus approval rating plummets in latest poll×
“Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah, ISIS, Boko Haram, every terror organization is using Facebook, using Twitter, using YouTube.”
Darshan-Leitner explained that the content terror groups post clearly violates the platforms’ terms of service.
Hamas, she said, uses their social media presence to recruit and train potential terrorists. “On Facebook… they put videos illustrating how to kill.. what sort of knife is preferable… where to ambush the Jew… diagram of the human body, where to slaughter the Jew… these are all posts training you how to kill Jews.”
“This isn’t the dark web. What about the speed at which Facebook responds [to these posts], and what about their liability legally?” asked Webb.
Darshan-Leitner said that Prime Minister Netanyahu was concerned about the incitement to terror on Facebook and asked to arrange a meeting between his ministers and the social media giant to discuss the issue.
“Facebook refused,” she said. “They said they are a bulletin board, they are not involved with the content, and they are not taking a side in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.”
“But when they want to get involved, they do,” she added.
Shurat HaDin decided to test Facebook’s policy of non-involvement.
“We opened two identical pages on Facebook – one calling to kill Palestinians, and the other calling to kill Israelis. We posted identical posts, with identical images. Facebook immediately took down the page asking to kill Palestinians, saying it violated their community standards.
“But they left up the [kill] Israeli page, even after we reported the page, saying it didn’t violate their community standards.”
In an interview on Israel’s Channel 20 News program The Patriots, Darshan-Leitner said Facebook must take responsibility for the consequences of allowing incitement to terror on its platform.
She announced that Shurat HaDin has filed a lawsuit against Facebook in American federal court on behalf of the families of American victims of terrorist attacks in Israel.
“We want Facebook to take responsibility and change its policies. We want zero tolerance for terror on Facebook’s platform, and on Google and Twitter as well.”
“Imagine ISIS without YouTube – nobody would know who they are.”
Unconfirmed report quotes ‘Middle Eastern intelligence official’ saying Israel behind the explosion at top secret nuclear facility; rockets fired from Gaza Sunday night might be an initial Iranian response.
By Paul Shindman, World Israel News
Following a New York Times report alleging Israel was behind the mysterious explosion at an Iranian nuclear site, Israeli sources speculated Monday that a rocket attack from Gaza over the weekend might be the first Iranian response.
The Times report on the weekend quoted an unidentified “Middle Eastern intelligence official with knowledge of the episode” who said the damage at the top secret Natanz nuclear facility was caused by a bomb and not by a cyberattack as first speculated.
A previous report in a Kuwaiti newspaper claimed Israel had carried out an airstrike on Natanz using F-35 stealth bombers.
However, Defense Minister Benny Gantz denied the reports, saying “not every incident that transpires in Iran necessarily has something to do with us.”
Nationalizing El Al: Government may end up owning it to save it×
Although an Iranian military official confirmed that Natanz had been seriously damaged by a bomb, attention focused on a possible Iranian retaliation.
Several rockets were fired at Israel from Gaza Sunday evening in what the Security Parliament news stream speculated could be a first Iranian retaliation using the Islamic Jihad terror group – an Iranian-backed proxy in Gaza known to act independently of the Hamas terror organization that runs Gaza.
“Iran’s concern is that the lack of response will be interpreted as a weakness similar to what is happening in Syria as a result of attacks attributed to Israel on Iranian targets,” Security Parliament tweeted.
Veteran Arab affairs analyst Yoni Ben Menachem said that after Iran pointed the finger of blame at Israel, the Jewish state is trying to distance itself from the Natanz bombing as well as an explosion last week in the mountains outside Iran and another explosion at a power plant over the weekend.
“Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei will determine the nature and timing of the Iranian response,” Ben Menachem tweeted.
NETANYAHU’S ‘WINDOW OF NECESSITY’
Why the prime minister is still pushing to apply Israeli sovereignty to parts of the West Bank, despite legions of critics and even disquiet in the Trump White House
Why is Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu so keen on annexation? Theories range from the psychological — he’s seeking a legacy — to the political — to distract the public from his corruption trial — to the ideological — he’s an expansionist ideologue empowered by a right-wing American administration.
Some have spoken about the “window of opportunity” represented by the remaining months of the Trump presidency — assuming, as most Israelis do, that Donald Trump is not reelected.
The question is a good one, if only because the downsides of annexation are so glaring and significant. For example, a unilateral annexation will make it harder for Israel’s longtime defenders to continue to insist that the Jewish state seeks peace with intransigent Palestinians. Israel, its detractors will say, was only ever interested in expanding its hold in the West Bank and has no intention of letting the Palestinians live free of Israeli control.
That sudden advantage for the anti-Israel side could have a real effect: hurting Israel’s diplomatic standing and weakening its regional alliances, International Criminal Court investigations of some Israeli officials, political isolation and even the threat of economic or diplomatic sanctions, a prospect made more dire by an economy already ravaged by the coronavirus.
Given the high potential costs, none of the usual run of explanations seems adequate. Even the “window of opportunity” theory is hard to understand. An annexation amounts to an Israeli declaration about the status of some territory. Trump may recognize that declaration, but would a President Joe Biden uphold that recognition in six short months? And if the latter does not recognize the declaration, what has Israel achieved by making it? Does it matter that even the Trump White House seems less than thrilled?A view of the Israeli settlement of Ariel in the West Bank, on July 1, 2020. (Jack Guez/AFP)
Netanyahu has done an exceedingly poor job explaining his thinking, which may be responsible for the proliferation of theories trying to explain it. There’s also the fact that his insistence on such a dramatic step is wildly out of character for the prime minister, who has built his reputation and much of his popularity over the last decade on his overriding caution in matters of land, peace and war.
If the benefits seem elusive and the potential costs high, why now? Why pursue a policy so vehemently opposed by many Democrats and now so closely identified with a Republican administration statistically unlikely to survive the November race?
’Crumbling before our eyes’
When Israeli defense planners who support an annexation move talk about a “window of opportunity” in Washington, they mean something larger than the expected end of the Trump presidency. There is a fear that America itself is in retreat, and with it a global order that could be relied upon to ensure some measure of stability and security for a small country like Israel.
“American hegemony is crumbling before our eyes,” said Dr. Eran Lerman, a prominent conservative defense thinker who supports the annexation plan, when asked by The Times of Israel this week why Netanyahu seemed so bent on the idea. Lerman is a grizzled veteran of such Israeli debates and an important voice in the conservative camp. After 20 years as a top analyst in Israel’s military intelligence directorate, Col. (res.) Lerman became a deputy national security adviser to Netanyahu and the National Security Council’s point man on foreign policy. He is now vice president of the Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security (JISS).
It is hard to exaggerate the effect of the sense of American retreat has on Israeli thinking. Even if the rumors of general American decline are exaggerated or premature, Washington’s retreat is more acutely felt in the Middle East because of the American pivot toward the Pacific and the strategic challenge of China. That is, the retreat here — the drawdown of troops and capabilities from the Middle East and Mediterranean and a growing unwillingness to engage and police — is a willful strategic choice. Neither a Republican nor a Democratic administration is likely to re-prioritize the Middle East in the foreseeable future.The USS Boxer transits the Strait of Hormuz, August 12, 2019. (US Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class David Ortiz/Released)
A great deal of annexation’s downsides amount to possible fallout in international legal and diplomatic forums, from the UN to the European Union to the ICC. A lot of the underlying divide within Israel over the annexation is rooted in the debate about the relevance of those institutions sans American power.Eran Lerman (Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security
As Lerman quipped, the rules that western European states ask Israel to follow “are in force only in western Europe.” The strategic choices Israel faces are not those of France, Germany or Britain.
In broad terms, this skeptical view holds that the global order is shaped by power, and a happy accident of history – the overwhelming power of the United States in the wake of WWII — imposed a thin veneer of moralizing legalisms on an international system still essentially ruled by hard power. That’s just how Americans like to conduct their foreign policy: everything America does in the world must be couched in moral terms.
Yet even when it moralizes, American power is essentially constructing a narrative about itself. The morality is a story told by the powerful about their power; it is not the real engine of their policymaking. A hint at that fact might be gleaned from the watershed moment in the construction of the modern global order of international law and norms: the Nuremberg trials of leading Nazis in 1946. The trials claimed to set a new moral standard for international conduct — but they could only set them in a military tribunal imposed on a defeated Germany by a triumphant conqueror. It was not law or justice that defeated the Axis, it was carpet bombing and nuclear attacks.
This isn’t an academic exercise. Strip American power away from the idea of “international law” and a great deal starts to come apart at the seams. A handful of lawyers and activists threatening to sit in judgment of small wayward nations while the Chinese juggernaut operates “reeducation” camps for millions with impunity does not an international legal order make. That’s not a defense of any particular small wayward nation, only an indictment of the pretense behind international legal institutions. One of the essential elements at the heart of “law” is not merely enforcement, but equal enforcement. If the powerful need not obey, then demanding obedience from the weak isn’t “law,” it’s servitude. Law must also deliver protection; an international legal enforcement system that cannot protect is hard-pressed to make costly demands on the national security decisions of those it will not save from an enemy’s wrath.
The better world that emerged after World War II, this view argues, is an outgrowth of American power, nothing more. Genocides were stopped not when the world’s conscience was pricked, but when American power swung into action. The safe and open seaways, the stable international financial order – all these global public goods have stood on the necessary foundations of American hard power, and could not have existed without it.US soldiers fill the pews of Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris, France, April 16, 1945, during the GI memorial service for US President Roosevelt. (AP Photo/Morse)
Similarly, the European Union trumps its “soft” power, but has proven over the past decade it could not influence a Syrian civil war in which it has vital interests and which would drive millions of refugees into its borders. Soft power is a fine thing. Israel desires a role in European scientific research agreements and “Mediterranean dialogue” initiatives as much as any small Mediterranean nation. But it is no replacement for hard power of the sort that could ensure a small nation’s safety as enemies multiply. Western Europe’s talk of its “soft” power sounds to the ears of many Israelis as a way to avoid noticing the fact that Western Europe spent the second half of the 20th century, including the terrifying years of the Cold War, comfortably ensconced behind an enormous and expensive American defense umbrella. Europe was protected by hard power, just not its own.
It isn’t surprising that Americans and other Westerners sought to clothe the era of American power with the veneer of “law” and “norms.” There’s nothing new in superpowers interpreting their management of the world as a mantle of moral leadership. In all the centuries of the Roman Empire’s brutal expansions, the Roman state never stopped insisting that every conquest and every genocide was a defensive act. Americans at least had better reasons than Romans to believe their moral narratives.
In the end, a certain type of Israeli defense planner argues, while the niceties of international diplomacy and law should be respected, they cannot be relied upon as a defense strategy. As American power recedes, the idea that one can rely on international norms for safety — that Israel should plan for a better world rather than a worse one — recedes with it.
That’s especially true in the Middle East, where the withdrawal of Pax Americana leaves only dangers in its wake.
A Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated regime in Turkey is on the march in Syria and asserting new maritime rights in the eastern Mediterranean. Iran is briefly contained — primarily by America and by the weaknesses of its own regime. But remove America, lift the sanctions reimposed by the Trump White House, and the Shiite axis Tehran has constructed from Lebanon to Yemen is, at least in the short term, contained no more. Russia has moved into the region, as has China with its forward base in Djibouti.Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses an election rally in Istanbul, March 24, 2019. (Presidential Press Service via AP, Pool)
This point is argued by Israeli defense planners on both sides of the annexation debate. The anti-annexationists say a dangerous new region and a retreating America requires bolstering alliances with conservative Sunni states like Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states. Annexation only makes that more difficult.
But the same vulnerability lends a new importance to the West Bank. A withdrawal from the Jordan Valley, say most Israeli defense planners, now becomes impossible to justify. A vacuum of Israeli security control in the West Bank would be used by rising enemies from Ankara to Tehran — and their proxies and ideological compatriots in Hamas, Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad — to directly threaten the Israeli heartland of the coastal plain.
In other words, an Israeli withdrawal from the Jordan Valley grows more distant as US power recedes. It isn’t Trump’s “window of opportunity” that drives Netanyahu’s thinking, but what some are calling a “window of necessity” forged by a US retreat that began long before the Trump administration. Ironically, a Biden presidency may delay the Israeli effort to lay formal claim to the Jordan Valley — and thus permanent overall security control over the West Bank as a whole — but it won’t weaken it. If Biden continues the trend of the Obama and Trump administrations in seeking to draw down American commitments overseas, he will only strengthen that Israeli resolve.Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden speaks during an event in Dover, Delaware, June 5, 2020. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
The conservative Israeli view of the world has its answers to the many criticisms leveled at the annexation plan.
It won’t undermine regional alliances, or at least not the ones that matter, says this camp. For the two states most vociferously and publicly opposed to the annexation, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates, the alliance with Israel is a “supreme interest,” said Lerman.
“I think [Israeli control over] the Jordan Valley is important to our security, to Palestinian security – and to Jordanian security,” he argued.
That’s not a flippant comment. Since 1970, when Israeli warplanes overflew a Syrian invasion force into Jordan and forced it to retreat, Jordan has in many ways been under de facto Israeli military protection. An Israeli withdrawal from the Jordan Valley leaves a glaring gap in the Jordanian perimeter, a perimeter that already includes long stretches of porous border with splintered Iraq and war-torn Syria. The alliance with Israel isn’t warm, but it doesn’t have to be. Both countries have too much at stake to worry about such niceties. A Jordan desperate for Israel to continue holding and securing its western flank should not be taken too seriously as it postures against Israel declaring that hold, so vital for Jordan itself, permanent.The West Bank settlement of Ma’ale Ephraim in the hills overlooking the Jordan Valley, February 18, 2020. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)
Putting the car on the road
Annexation offers one final strategic advantage, say proponents.
“In two panels on annexation at [think tanks] JISS and INSS, we reached the same conclusion. The idea of applying Israeli law [in the West Bank] puts the [Trump plan] car on the road,” said Lerman.
That is, it transforms a theoretical plan into an operational one.
The key point, yet again, is a question of power. “Where the Israeli consensus goes, that has resilience,” Lerman believes. If most Europeans imagine one border in the West Bank but most Israelis believe they need a different border, which is more likely to be the final result on the ground?US President Donald Trump (center) meets with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (second from left) alongside Israeli Ambassador to the US Ron Dermer (left), US Vice President Mike Pence, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (2nd right) and White House adviser Jared Kushner (right) in the Oval Office of the White House on January 27, 2020. (Saul Loeb/AFP)
The Trump plan is vague. Critics, including in Israel, have assailed it from all sides. But it nevertheless provides a number of basic Israeli needs that have become vital truths for most Israelis, including control of the large settlement blocs and of the Jordan Valley.
This domestic political support is another kind of “window of opportunity.” The very existence of such a favorable plan has become a vehicle within the Israeli debate for advancing the sort of delineated defensive border that, its supporters feel, a dangerous new world demands. The debate between the pro- and anti-annexation camp, at least within mainstream Israeli discourse, isn’t about the merits of retaining Israeli control of the Jordan Valley. It is about the timing for doing so.
So why now, when the diplomatic fallout could be so grave?
The answer for Netanyahu and his camp within the Israeli defense community: We do this now because American power is in retreat; because our enemies are on the rise; because our allies won’t really abandon us, since they need us just as much as we need them; and because if we don’t “put the car on the road” – move from theory to practice on a question of existential significance for our future – no one else will.
ONLINE VIDEOS SHOW COLUMN OF SMOKE RISING FROM FACILITY
Incident in city of Ahvaz in southwest follows mysterious explosions at nuclear facility and site near Tehran, which prompted regime to issue warning to Israel and US
An explosion reportedly damaged a power plant in the Iranian city of Ahvaz on Saturday, the latest in a series of mysterious blasts in the country that prompted Iran to issue a warning to Israel and the US earlier this week.
Persian and Arabic media reported an explosion and fire at the Zargan power plant in Ahvaz in Iran’s southwest, near the Persian Gulf and the Iraqi border.
Videos posted online showed a column of smoke at the facility and workers filing past a fire truck.
Iran’s IRNA news agency later reported that the fire at the plant had been brought under control.
A fire department official said a transformer blew up and sparked the blaze, according to the Al Arabiya news outlet.https://platform.twitter.com/embed/index.html?dnt=true&embedId=twitter-widget-0&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1279398483343147009&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.timesofisrael.com%2Fexplosion-reportedly-damages-power-plant-in-iran-the-latest-in-series-of-blasts%2F&siteScreenName=timesofisrael&theme=light&widgetsVersion=9066bb2%3A1593540614199&width=550pxhttps://platform.twitter.com/embed/index.html?dnt=true&embedId=twitter-widget-1&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1279389369439268864&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.timesofisrael.com%2Fexplosion-reportedly-damages-power-plant-in-iran-the-latest-in-series-of-blasts%2F&siteScreenName=timesofisrael&theme=light&widgetsVersion=9066bb2%3A1593540614199&width=550px
On Thursday an explosion damaged Iran’s Natanz nuclear facility, and last week a large blast was felt in Tehran, apparently caused by an explosion at the Parchin military complex, which defense analysts believe holds an underground tunnel system and missile production facilities.
An Israeli TV report Friday night said that Israel was bracing for a possible Iranian retaliation as officials in Tehran suggested on Friday that the mystery fire and explosion at Natanz could have been caused by an Israeli cyberattack.
The report said the attack “destroyed” a laboratory where Iran was developing advanced centrifuges for faster uranium enrichment, and a Kuwaiti report quoted an unnamed source assessing that the strike set back the Iranian nuclear program by two months.
Three Iranian officials told the Reuters news agency they believed the incident at the Natanz enrichment facility early Thursday was the result of a cyberattack, and two of them said Israel could have been behind it, but offered no evidence.
Asked about reports of the incident at a press conference Thursday evening, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu brushed aside the question: “I don’t address these issues,” he said.
But Amos Yadlin, the head of the Institute for National Security Studies, and a former head of IDF military intelligence, tweeted Friday that, “According to foreign sources, it appears that the prime minister focused this week on Iran rather than [his plan for West Bank] annexation. This is the policy I’ve been recommending in the last few weeks.”
Added Yadlin: “If Israel is accused by official sources then we need to be operationally prepared for the possibility of an Iranian reaction (through cyber, firing missiles from Syria or a terror attack overseas).”
Officially, Iran reported an “accident” occurred Thursday at the Natanz nuclear complex in central Iran, saying there were no casualties or radioactive pollution. But top generals also said Iran would respond if the incident turned out to be a cyberattack.This photo released Thursday, July 2, 2020, by the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, shows a building after it was damaged by a fire at the Natanz uranium enrichment facility some 200 miles (322 kilometers) south of Tehran, Iran. (Atomic Energy Organization of Iran via AP)
Israel’s Channel 13 TV military analyst Alon Ben-David said Friday evening that the attack hit “the facility where Iran develops more advanced centrifuges — what are meant to be the next stage of the nuclear program, to produce enriched uranium at a far faster rate. That facility yesterday took a substantial hit; the explosion destroyed this lab.
“Those were centrifuges that were supposed to be installed underground at the Natanz facility; they were intended to replace the old centrifuges and produce a lot more enriched uranium, a lot more quickly,” he added. “They suffered a blow. It has to be assumed that at some stage, they will want to retaliate.”
Ben-David said Israel was “bracing” for an Iranian response, likely via a cyberattack. In an April cyberattack attributed by western intelligence officials to Iran, an attempt was made to increase chlorine levels in water flowing to residential Israeli areas.
Hours after the Natanz fire and reported explosion on Thursday, Iran’s state news agency IRNA published an editorial warning that “if there are signs of hostile countries crossing Iran’s red lines in any way, especially the Zionist regime (Israel) and the United States, Iran’s strategy to confront the new situation must be fundamentally reconsidered.”
IRNA also reported that unnamed Israeli social media accounts had claimed the Jewish state was responsible for the “sabotage attempts.” It stressed that Iran had tried “to prevent escalations and unpredictable situations while defending its position and national interests.”
Natanz, located some 250 kilometers (155 miles) south of Tehran, includes underground facilities buried under some 7.6 meters (25 feet) of concrete, which offers protection from airstrikes.
There was “no nuclear material (at the damaged warehouse) and no potential of pollution,” the spokesman for Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization Behrouz Kamalvandi told state television.
Kamalvandi said no radioactive material or personnel were present at the warehouse within the Natanz site in central Iran, one of the country’s main uranium enrichment plants.
The Iranian Atomic Energy Organization released a photo purportedly from the site, showing a one-story building with a damaged roof, walls apparently blackened by fire and doors hanging off their hinges as if blown out from the inside.
The Fars news agency, which is close to the country’s ultra-conservatives, initially reported that the Parchin blast last week was caused by “an industrial gas tank explosion” near a facility belonging to the defense ministry. It cited an “informed source” and said the site of the incident was not related to the military.
However, this was largely disregarded by defense analysts as satellite photographs of the Parchin military complex emerged showing large amounts of damage at the site.This photo combo from the European Commission’s Sentinel-2 satellite shows the site of an explosion, before, left, and after, right, that rattled Iran’s capital, on June 26, 2020. The explosion appears to have charred hundreds of meters of scrubland. (European Commission via AP)
Later, Iranian Defense Ministry spokesman Davood Abdi blamed the blast on leaking gas that he did not identify and said no one was killed in the explosion.
Satellite photos of the area, some 20 kilometers (12.5 miles) east of downtown Tehran, showed hundreds of meters (yards) of charred scrubland not seen in images of the area taken in the weeks ahead of the incident. The building near the char marks resembled the facility seen in the state TV footage.
The gas storage area sits near what analysts describe as Iran’s Khojir missile facility. The explosion appears to have struck a facility for the Shahid Bakeri Industrial Group, which makes solid-propellant rockets, said Fabian Hinz, a research associate at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey.
The Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies identified Khojir as the “site of numerous tunnels, some suspected of use for arms assembly.” Large industrial buildings at the site visible from satellite photographs also suggest missile assembly being conducted there.
Iranian officials themselves also identified the site as being home to a military base where the International Atomic Energy Agency previously said it suspects Iran conducted tests of explosive triggers that could be used in nuclear weapons.
Iran long has denied seeking nuclear weapons, though the IAEA previously said Iran had done work in “support of a possible military dimension to its nuclear program” that largely halted in late 2003.
Western concerns over the Iranian atomic program led to sanctions and eventually to Tehran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers. The US under President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew from the accord in May 2018, leading to a series of escalating attacks between Iran and the US, and to Tehran abandoning the deal’s production limits.
Översättning av originaltexten: When Everyone Kneels, Who Will Stand Up for Western History and Culture?
- ”Vi är rädda för att allt vi gör är kolonialistiskt. Det finns gott om länder som är villiga att fylla denna globala regeringslucka: Kina, Iran, Ryssland, Turkiet.” – Bruce Gilley, The Times, 10 maj 2018.
- Brittisk postkolonialistisk skuld får dock återverkningar som är mycket större än statyer. Det råder till exempel fortfarande en total tystnad om förföljda kristna, enligt en brittisk biskop som leder en regeringsgranskning om deras lidande.
- Västerländsk historia verkar skrivas om för att porträttera alla de västerländska civilisationerna som bara en stor apartheid. Det är som om vi inte bara borde ta ner statyer, utan också ta ner oss själva. En framgångsrik demokrati kan dock inte vara byggd på att bara sudda ut det förflutna.
- ”Varje dokument har förstörts eller förfalskat, varje bok har skrivits om, varje tavla har målats om, varje staty och byggnad har döpts om, varje datum har ändrats. Och processen fortsätter dag för dag och minut för minut. Historien har stannat. Inget existerar förutom ett ändlöst nu i vilket Partiet alltid har rätt.” – George Orwell, 1984.
- Vad ska detta makabra ideologiska spel uppnå? (…) Det är en maktkamp för att skapa en kulturrevolution, för att hindra alla från att säga att kulturer inte är varandra lika; för att döma Europas förflutna; för att ingjuta en ständigt återkommande ånger i folks medvetanden, och för att sprida intellektuell terror för att främja multikulturalismen.
|Statyn i London av Winston Churchill – som stod upp mot nazisterna under Andra Världskriget och räddade Europa från barbari – täcktes av stadens myndigheter under den senaste tidens protester. Dess visuella avlägsnande påminner om en av de nakna statyerna i Rom som täcktes för den iranska presidenten Hassan Rouhanis skull, eller ”försvinnandet” av porträtt i det forna Sovjetunionen. (Foto av Tolga Almen/AFP via Getty Images)|
”Antirasism är inte längre ett försvarande av folks lika värdighet, utan en ideologi, en vision för världen”, sa den franska filosofen Alain Finkielkraut, son till förintelseöverlevande.
”Antirasismen har förändrats … Vid tiden för den stora migrationen är det inte längre en fråga om att välkomna nykomlingar genom att integrera dem i den europeiska civilisationen, utan att exponera denna civilisations brister.”
Han hänvisade till ”självrasism” som ”den mest förfärande och groteska patologin i vår tid”.
Dess huvudstad är London.
”Störta rasisterna” består av en karta med 60 statyer i 30 brittiska städer. Avlägsnande av statyerna begärs för att stötta en rörelse som föddes i USA efter att en vit polis, Derek Chauvin, dödade en svart man, George Floyd, genom att pressa sitt knä mot hans hals.
I Bristol tryckte en folksamling ner statyn av filantropen och slavägaren Edward Colston i floden. I London följdes denna handling av protester och vandalisering av statyer av Winston Churchill, Mahatma Gandhi och Abraham Lincoln. Londons borgmästare, Sadiq Khan, meddelade, efter att ha avlägsnat monumentet till minne av Robert Milligan, en skotsk slavhandlare, från utsidan av Museum of London Docklands, att man startat en kommission för att granska avlägsnandet av statyer som inte reflekterar ”stadens mångfald”. Man beordrade att två ytterligare statyer skulle avlägsnas från två sjukhus i London.
Vandaliseringen och självhatet vinner snabbt mark. Stora upptäckter som associeras till det Brittiska imperiet har blivit skamliga. Protesterna handlar inte om slaveri. Ingen i Storbritannien idag skulle hylla denna period. Det är i grund och botten en uppmaning till kulturell rensning av alla verk som går emot det nya mantrat: ”mångfald”.
”En ny form av taliban föddes i Storbritannien idag”, skrev Nigel Farage, och syftade på två enorma uråldriga buddhastatyer som sprängdes av talibanerna i Afghanistan år 2001. ”Såvida vi inte får ett moraliskt ledarskap snart kommer våra städer inte vara värda att bo i.”
Listan över statyer att avlägsna inkluderar namnen Oliver Cromwell och Horatio Nelson, två framstående figurer i brittisk historia, samt Nancy Astor, den första kvinnan som valdes in i det brittiska parlamentet och tillträdde år 1919. På listan fanns också namnen Sir Francis Drake, Christopher Columbus och Charles Gray (premiärministern vars regering såg över avskaffandet av slaveri 1833).
Den brittiska premiärministern Boris Johnson sa, för att uttrycka sitt motstånd till kampanjen:
”Vi kan inte försöka göra om eller censurera vårt förflutna nu. Vi kan inte låtsas som att vi har en annan historia. Statyerna i våra städer och byar restes av föregående generationer. De hade andra perspektiv, andra uppfattningar om rätt och fel. Men dessa statyer lär oss om vårt förflutna, med alla dess brister. Att riva ner dem skulle vara att ljuga om vår historia, och att utarma kommande generationers utbildning.”
Brittisk postkolonialistisk skuld får dock återverkningar som är mycket större än statyer. Det råder till exempel fortfarande en total tystnad om förföljda kristna, enligt en brittisk biskop som leder en regeringsgranskning om deras lidande. Man har också dragit sig tillbaka nämnvärt från världsscenen. ”När Väst tappar självförtroendet, på grund av överdriven eller missriktad skuld över kolonialismen, så går det över till isolationism”, noterade Bruce Gilley, professor i politisk vetenskap. ”Vi är rädda för att allt vi gör är kolonialistiskt. Det finns gott om länder som är villiga att fylla denna globala regeringslucka: Kina, Iran, Ryssland, Turkiet.”
Postkolonialistisk skuld kväver också yttrandefriheten i Storbritannien. Den före detta brittiska ”jämlikhetsväktaren”, Trevor Phillips, blev avstängd från Labour Party efter anklagelser om ”islamofobi”. Phillips brott? Att vara kritisk mot multikulturalismen. Enligt Phillips:
”Enligt min åsikt riskerar vi, genom att vara överkänsliga när vi talar om mångfald och riskerna med missnöje som låter vårt land gå i sömnen mot en katastrof som kommer att ställa samhälle mot samhälle, stödja sexistisk aggression, undertrycka uttrycksfriheten, låta svårvunna medborgerliga friheter gå förlorade och underminera den liberala demokrati som har tjänat detta land så väl under så lång tid.”
Phillips hävdade också att brittiska politiker och journalister är ”livrädda” för att diskutera ras och därigenom låta multikulturalismen bli en ”bluff” som exploateras av vissa för att befästa segregationen. En man av guyanskt ursprung, en Labour Party-veteran och en jämställdhetskommissionär talade sanning till multikulturalisterna.
Aktivisterna som bedriver kampanjen för att avlägsna statyerna vill radikalt förändra utseendet på den brittiska huvudstaden. Sammandrabbningen verkar bestå av å ena sidan våldsamma censurister som trakasserar alla, och å andra sidan fega, blidkande politiker som är rädda och viker sig för vandalerna. Monument är en viktig och synlig del av en global stad; de förkroppsligar sin plats i en stads historia – annars skulle bara busshållplatser och Burger King-restauranger bestå. Dessa demonstranter verkar vilja ha en reviderad, rentvådd historia. Om vi inte snabbt förstår att om vi raderar vårt förflutna, som Sovjetunionen försökte göra, så kommer det bli lättare för folk att skapa sin vision om vår framtid utan förankring till oss eller våra värderingar. Kvar kommer bara skärvor av vår historia och kultur att finnas.
Denna rörelse för hat mot Väst – som precis som vi alla har en historia med brister – verkar ha börjat på brittiska universitet. På Cambridge begärde litteraturprofessorer att vita författare skulle ersättas med representanter från minoriteter för att ”avkolonialisera” läroplanen. Studentfacket på Londons prestigefulla School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) begärde att avlägsna Plato, Kant, Descartes, Hegel och andra från läroplanen för att ”alla var vita” – som om vår hudfärg var det som avgjorde våra tankar. I Manchester målade studenter över en väggmålning baserad på Kiplings dikt ”Om…”.
Nigel Biggar, expert på kolonialism, sa att ett ”klimat av rädsla” har återvänt till brittiska universitet. University of Liverpool gick nyligen med på att döpa om en byggnad till minne av den forne premiärministern William Gladstone. På Oxford riskerar samtidigt statyn av Cecil Rhodes, filantrop och grundare av Rhodesia (nu Zimbabwe) att ryka härnäst.
”Det finns en del hyckleri”, påpekade Lord Patten, Oxfords kansler, ”i Oxford som tar emot pengar för 100 lärda män per år, ungefär en femtedel av dem från Afrika, för att komma till Oxford, och sedan säga att vi vill kasta Rhodesstatyn … i Themsen”. Han sa att hans egen åsikt förblev densamma som en som ”uttrycktes av Nelson Mandela på en hyllning av Rhodesfonden år 2003”: att trots de ”problem med anknytning till Cecil Rhodes i historien, om det var okej för Mandela, då måste jag säga att det var rätt okej för mig”. Men inte för revisionisterna.
Västerländsk historia verkar skrivas om för att porträttera hela den västerländska civilisationen som en enda stor apartheid. Det är som om vi inte bara bör ta ner statyer utan också ta ner oss själva. Men en framgångsrik demokrati kan inte vara byggd på att man bara raderar det förflutna.
Statyn i London av Winston Churchill – som stod upp mot nazisterna under Andra Världskriget och räddade Europa från barbari – täcktes av stadens myndigheter under den senaste tidens protester. Dess visuella avlägsnande påminner om en av de nakna statyerna i Rom som täcktes för den iranska presidenten Hassan Rouhanis skull, eller ”försvinnandet” av porträtt i det forna Sovjetunionen, av människor som Politburo ville bli av med. Det finns fortfarande en falskhet i att sudda ut sin historia. Som historikern Victor Davis Hanson skrev, ett land ”behöver inte vara perfekt för att vara bra”. Att avlägsna de osmakliga bitarna förändrar inte det som hänt; de kan till och med ersättas av bitar som är ännu osmakligare.
En del museum i London har redan antagit denna självcensur för ett tag sedan. Tate Gallery in London förbjöd ett verk av John Latham med Koranen inbäddad i glas. Victoria and Albert Museum ställde ut, och tog sedan bort, en andäktig bild av Muhammed. Saatchi Gallery ställde ut två verk av nakna kroppar med arabisk skrift över, som uppmanade till klagomål av muslimska besökare; museet täckte över verken. Whitechapel Art Gallery rensade i en utställning som innehöll nakna dockor.
Uppslagsverket Merriam-Webster reviderade precis definitionen av ”rasism” så att den skulle inkludera ”systematisk rasism”, förmodligen med betydelsen att hela samhället är skyldigt och ojust.
Censurerna verkar vilja kontrollera vårt mentala universum, som i George Orwells roman, 1984:
”Varje dokument har förstörts eller förfalskat, varje bok har skrivits om, varje tavla har målats om, varje staty och byggnad har döpts om, varje datum har ändrats. Och processen fortsätter dag för dag och minut för minut. Historien har stannat. Inget existerar förutom ett ändlöst nu i vilket Partiet alltid har rätt.”
Denna process av västerländsk självförnedring började för längesedan. Labour Party-råden i Storbritannien började till exempel undersöka alla statyer under sin jurisdiktion. Borgmästaren av Bristol, Marvin Rees, kallade det våldsamma avlägsnandet av Colston-statyn för en ”historisk poetisk” handling, istället för att försvara rättsstatsprincipen. När vandaler började förstöra statyer var det många som applåderade. Den brittiska premiärministern Boris Johnson kallade det för ”politiskt korrekt ikonoklasm”.
En vecka innan statybråket gick folk i Storbritannien ned på knä i George Floyds namn. Det var som om det fanns ett kollektivt krav på att det Västerländska samhället i helhet borde ångra sig. Det verkade bilda en form av ideologisk hysteri, inte så avlägset från Inkvisitionens eller häxprocesserna i Salems: de som gick ned på knä skulle verka som att de var mer moraliska, på ”rätt sida” av rättvisan. Det fanns till och med brittiska poliser som gick ner på knä, som, i USA, Representanthusets ledamot Nancy Pelosi och andra demokrater gick ner på knä inför sina överherrar. Båda var oansvariga och kapitulerande handlingar. Några dagar senare bugade det brittiska etablissemanget för den nya talibanen.
Vad ska detta makabra ideologiska spel uppnå? Inte att ta ner monument som, precis som statyerna av Christopher Columbus som har rivits ner eller halshuggits. Det är en maktkamp för att skapa en kulturrevolution, för att hindra alla från att säga att kulturer inte är varandra lika; för att döma Europas förflutna; för att ingjuta en ständigt återkommande ånger i folks medvetanden, och för att sprida intellektuell terror för att främja multikulturalismen.
Hur många kommer att vägra gå med på detta påtvingade undertryckande av historien? Om många går ner på knä inför denna nya totalitarianism, vem kommer att vara tapper nog att stå upp för den västerländska historien och kulturen?
Giulio Meotti, kulturredaktör på Il Foglio, är en italiensk journalist och författare.
July 2, 2020In this Jan. 13, 2015, file photo released by the Iranian President’s Office, President Hassan Rouhani visits the Bushehr nuclear power plant just outside of Bushehr, Iran. (Iranian Presidency Office, Mohammad Berno, File)Tweet Email Print21 Comments
The Atomic Energy Organization of Iran sought to downplay the fire, calling it an “incident” that only affected an under-construction “industrial shed.”
By AP and Paul Shindman, World Israel News
A fire and an explosion struck a building above Iran’s underground Natanz nuclear enrichment facility, a site that U.S.-based analysts identified as a new centrifuge production plant, early Thursday morning.
The Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (IAEO) had sought to downplay the fire at the top-secret nuclear facility, where it is widely believed the Islamic Republic is enriching uranium for use in nuclear weapons, calling it an “incident.”
IAEO spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi told IRNA earlier in the day that the “accident happened Thursday morning at the open site of Natanz facility under construction but caused no human casualties, nor has it disrupted the ongoing activities at the site,” adding that “there are no fears of nuclear pollution.”
A report by the state-run IRNA news agency said a “pre-fabricated steel framework of Natanz open site has broken.”Is Palestine on agenda at Black Lives Matter policy event?×
However, “In today’s case, there is no doubt. This is an operational site of advanced centrifuges that the Iranians are trying to enhance with the purpose of shortening the time to enrich uranium enrichment to military grade, if they wish,” the Israeli news website Intelli Times tweeted.
The latest incident occurred less than a week after a massive explosion in the mountains rocked Iran’s capital city Tehran.
On Wednesday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Iran was continuing to stonewall the International Atomic Energy Agency – the UN watchdog that monitors international violations of nuclear treaties.
“The IAEA filed a report that made very clear that the Iranians have failed to allow access to two sites that are suspected of potentially having engaged in nuclear activity related to their previous programs, programs that predate the JCPOA,” Pompeo said, referring to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, commonly known as the Iran Nuclear Deal.
“The Iranians continue to deny access to the IAEA,” Pompeo said. “I hope the Iranians will change their mind to allow full IAEA unfettered, repeated, consistent access. To date, they’ve chosen not to do so.”
The Natanz site is located about 250 kilometers (150 miles) south of the capital, Tehran, and is known as Iran’s main enriched uranium production facility. The Iranians had previously lied about its existence before a dissident opposition member in 2002 revealed details of the Natanz plant, which is reportedly buried underground and protected by a 2.5 meter (8 foot) thick reinforced concrete barrier.
The site is where the alleged Stuxnet cyber attack took place, which damaged thousands of centrifuges that purify uranium into weapons-grade material.
Although it sits on the world’s fourth-largest known oil reserves, Iranian leaders have invested tens of billions of dollars in what they claim is a need for the “peaceful” use of nuclear power, while at the same time developing long-range ballistic missiles and calling for the “total annihilation” of Israel.