Latest Analysis and Commentary

A Deal Will Not Stop the Mullahs from Going Nuclear

by Majid Rafizadeh  •  August 13, 2022 at 5:00 am

  • When the regime's television host asked him about the video showing concrete being poured into the Arak reactor's pipes to block them, Ali Akbar Salehi, former head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran responded: "[N]ot the pipes you see here. We had purchased similar pipes, but I couldn't announce it at that time.... We needed to be smart." — Iran Focus, August 2, 2022.

  • In addition, during the deal, several reports, later proven to be accurate, warned that Iran was conducting secret nuclear activities.

  • Now, thanks to the Biden administration's focus on reviving the nuclear deal... the Iranian regime bought time by dragging out the negotiations long enough to reach the nuclear threshold.

  • Regrettably, it looks as though the Biden administration and Europe -- through their endless concessions and a staggering lack of deterrence -- are still trying to force-feed the world a hostile Iran, armed with nuclear weapons.

  • One can only assume that the Biden administration is hoping to bribe the mullahs with up to a trillion dollars just not to bomb Israel while he is still president. Meaning that afterwards would be splendid?

  • Not only are deals such as the Biden or Obama nuclear deal failing to halt the predatory regime of Iran from advancing its nuclear program and possessing nuclear weapons, it actually facilitates Iran's going nuclear by legitimizing its weapons.

Believing that the ruling mullahs of Iran will halt their nuclear advancement with a deal is laughable. The 2015 nuclear deal required that the core of the Arak nuclear reactor would be filled with concrete and disabled. When asked about the video showing concrete being poured into the reactor's pipes to block them, Ali Akbar Salehi, former head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran responded: "[N]ot the pipes you see here. We had purchased similar pipes, but I couldn't announce it at that time.... We needed to be smart." Pictured: Salehi delivers a speech at the Bushehr power plant, on November 10, 2019. (Photo by Atta Kenare/AFP via Getty Images)

The Biden administration has spent all its political capital to resurrect the nuclear deal -- presumably to perpetuate the idea that a nuclear agreement with the Iranian regime will stop Tehran from obtaining nuclear weapons. Unfortunately, believing that the ruling mullahs of Iran will halt their nuclear advancement with a deal is laughable.

The Iranian regime has even boasted about its shrewd policy of deceiving and misleading the international community during the previous nuclear deal. One of terms of the 2015 nuclear deal, for instance, was that the core of the Arak nuclear reactor would be filled with concrete and disabled. Iran, according to the country's Fars news agency, claimed that it had poured in the concrete and destroyed the reactor core. The US State Department, during the Obama-Biden administration, confirmed the move as well.

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Belgium's Prisoner Swap Treaty with Iran: "A Deal with the Devil"

by Soeren Kern  •  August 12, 2022 at 5:00 am

  • A Belgian court has temporarily prohibited the Belgian government from exchanging an Iranian diplomat convicted of terrorism for a Belgian citizen being held in Iran on dubious charges of espionage.

  • The court's ruling represents a potential blow to a controversial new prisoner exchange treaty, which critics say will embolden the Iranian government to step up its practice of taking foreigners hostage to pressure Western countries into making concessions.

  • The treaty has angered those who argue that it would grant impunity to Iranian agents such as Assadi and have accused the Belgian government of caving in to "odious blackmail." It has been variously described as: "frightening appeasement," "a green light to terrorists," and "very short-sighted," "dangerous," "outrageous," "a sign of weakness," "a stunning mistake," and "a deal with the devil."

  • "If the Belgian government proceeds with this treaty, Iran's regime will further turn Europe into a roaming ground for its terrorists, targeting not just Iranian dissidents but others also, as Tehran is essentially being told that it won't pay a price." — Ramesh Sepehrrad, Organization of Iranian American Communities, July 5, 2022.

  • "With the knowledge that prisoner swaps are an easy option, Tehran will now instruct more 'diplomats' and other operatives to engage in terrorism.... Europe must recognize that, ultimately, the only sustainable path to having a stable relationship with Iran is to support the Iranian people's democratic aspirations." — Cameron Khansarinia and Kaveh Shahrooz, Politico, August 1, 2022.

A Belgian court has temporarily prohibited the Belgian government from exchanging an Iranian diplomat convicted of terrorism for a Belgian citizen being held in Iran on dubious charges of espionage. Iran is suspected of holding Olivier Vandecasteele hostage to force Belgium to release Assadollah Assadi, who is serving a 20-year prison sentence in Belgium for masterminding a plot to bomb a rally of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, which took place near Paris in 2018. Pictured: Police guard the courthouse during Assadi's trial in Antwerp, on February 4, 2021. (Photo by Dirk Waem/Belga/AFP via Getty Images)

A Belgian court has temporarily prohibited the Belgian government from exchanging an Iranian diplomat convicted of terrorism for a Belgian citizen being held in Iran on dubious charges of espionage.

The court's ruling represents a potential blow to a controversial new prisoner exchange treaty, which critics say will embolden the Iranian government to step up its practice of taking foreigners hostage to pressure Western countries into making concessions.

On July 20, after months of heated debate, Belgian lawmakers voted 79 to 41 (with 11 abstentions) to approve the "Convention between the Kingdom of Belgium and the Islamic Republic of Iran on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons." The Belgian government said the agreement, the first of its kind in Europe, is the only possible way to free Olivier Vandecasteele, a 41-year-old Belgian aid worker who has been held in solitary confinement at Tehran's notorious Evin Prison since his arrest on February 24.

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The US Must Ditch Its Incoherent Policy on Taiwan

by Con Coughlin  •  August 11, 2022 at 7:00 am

  • Russia's invasion of Ukraine, moreover, provides a timely illustration of what can happen when the West does not take sufficient action to safeguard the security of its allies.

  • In February, for example, the US approved a $100 million support package to improve the island's missile defences, which were designed to improve its Patriot missile defence system. But bureaucratic wrangling in Washington means Taipei has still to receive the support it needs.

  • Consequently, now that Beijing has provided the West with its military template for intimidating Taiwan, this has provided the US and its allies with an indication of the military defences, such as anti-missile, anti-aircraft and anti-warship missiles, to thwart any future Chinese attack.

  • So if Washington, as the Biden administration keeps insisting, is really serious about defending Taiwan from Chinese aggression, then it should get off the fence and abandon its confused policy of "strategic ambiguity" in favour of one that will deter future acts of Chinese aggression against this freedom-loving island state.

China's extreme military response to Nancy Pelosi's visit to Taiwan sends an unequivocal message to the US that it can no longer sustain its policy of "strategic ambiguity." Pictured: A Communist Chinese military jet flies over Pingtan island, one of China's closest points to Taiwan, in Fujian province on August 6, 2022. (Photo by Hector Retamal/AFP via Getty Images)

China's extreme military response to Nancy Pelosi's visit to Taiwan sends an unequivocal message to the US that it can no longer sustain its policy of "strategic ambiguity."

At a time when the very existence of the democratic island state is under threat from China's communist rulers, what Taipei badly needs is unconditional declarations of support from its Western allies, not the diplomatic equivalent of sitting on the fence, which essentially sums up the Biden administration's inadequate response to date.

Although the Chinese military committed numerous violations to Taiwan's territorial integrity in the days immediately following Pelosi's visit, the Biden administration shows no sign of abandoning the policy of "strategic ambiguity" that has defined Washington's approach to the Taiwan issue for decades.

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Iran: Systematic Persecution of Baha'is

by Mohshin Habib  •  August 11, 2022 at 4:00 am

  • Samin Ehsani had been running educational courses for Afghan children living in Iran, but who did not have access to education in the country. During the trial, her activities were presented as an example of the charges against her.

  • In Iran, an estimated 300,000 followers of the Baha'i faith are being denied many fundamental rights such as access to education, employment, political office, and practice of their religious rituals. Iran's clerical regime evidently considers the Baha'is to be heretics and as having no religion.

  • Baha'is consider Baha'ullah as a messenger in succession to Buddha, Jesus and Mohammed. For that, no other religion or state suppress them except Iran.

From the early 1980s, Baha'is in Iran have suffered under a wave of state-sponsored persecution. Hundreds of Baha'i leaders and notable figures have been killed and imprisoned by the Iranian authorities. (Image source: iStock)

On June 15, 2022, Samin Ehsani, a follower of the Baha'i faith and an activist for children's rights in Iran was arrested and transferred to the infamous Evin Prison in Tehran. Earlier, on July 2, 2011, Ehsani had also been sentenced by Branch 28 of the Islamic Revolutionary Court in Tehran to five years in prison on charges of "propaganda against the regime, acting against national security, and being a member of the heretical Baha'i faith."

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America's Strategic Oil Reserves

by Lawrence Kadish  •  August 10, 2022 at 10:00 am

Why is President Joe Biden depleting America's Strategic Petroleum Reserve just when the US should be enlarging it? Why does the Biden administration seem as if it is trying to weaken America just at a time when China is becoming increasingly more aggressive? Pictured: Gasoline prices listed in Los Angeles, California on July 19, 2022. (Photo by Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images)

The Biden administration in April sanctioned the sale of our nation's Strategic Petroleum Reserve to the highest bidder. They have done so under the logic that putting more oil on the global market at a time when Russia has an energy stranglehold on Europe could force down the pump price of gasoline.

One could ask, as Congressional mid-term elections loom, and the price of gas soared to five dollars a gallon, has the White House made a strategic energy decision based on politics rather than on what is in the best security interests of our nation -- because the country that is among the high bidders for our oil reserves is China.

This is the China that has obliterated Tibet.

This is the China that practices slavery, torture in internment camps, forced labor, child labor and organ-harvesting on live detainees.

This is the China that has choked democracy in Hong Kong.

This is the China that threatens the freedom of 23 million Taiwanese.

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China and Russia—With Help from Biden—Attack the Dollar

by Gordon G. Chang  •  August 10, 2022 at 5:00 am

  • Russia and China have launched another attempt to develop a "new global reserve currency." In other words, they are again attacking the dollar.

  • There is only one country that can dethrone the dollar, and it is not a BRICS nation. It is the United States. President Joe Biden is China's and Russia's biggest ally in "dedollarizing" the world.

  • Russia's ruble, although showing surprising strength of late, is tied to a country in long-term—and seemingly irreversible—decline. Moreover, the Russian Federation, thanks to its aggression and barbarism in Ukraine, is cementing its role as a pariah.

  • Who wants to hold a weak Chinese currency that is racing toward the edge of the cliff?

  • Furthermore, Xi Jinping, the Chinese ruler, believes in "absolute" control of every aspect of society. The idea of free convertibility, therefore, is almost certainly anathema to him. So until China completely abandons its model of economic development and removes Xi as ruler, the renminbi cannot dethrone the dollar. The Chinese failure to make their currency widely acceptable means, as a practical matter, the BRICS currency will never get off the ground.

  • What are the attributes of a global reserve currency? It must be stable, it must be underpinned by a large and strong economy, it must be freely convertible, and it must be used widely.

  • Americans should not remain overconfident. The only reason the greenback is still the world's reserve currency is because there is no practical alternative. China and Russia, however, are busy trying to figure out how to engineer a replacement.

Russia and China have launched another attempt to develop a "new global reserve currency." In other words, they are again attacking the dollar. Meanwhile, President Joe Biden looks as if he is trying to kill the dollar. In Beijing and Moscow, they cannot believe their good fortune. Pictured: Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping meet in Beijing on February 4, 2022. (Photo by Alexei Druzhinin/Sputnik/AFP via Getty Images)

"The issue of creating an international reserve currency based on a basket of currencies of our countries is being worked out," said Vladimir Putin in June, at a meeting of the BRICS—Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa—grouping.

Russia and China have launched another attempt to develop a "new global reserve currency." In other words, they are again attacking the dollar.

A "coordinated global challenge taking place to the U.S. dollar... would be the biggest news story in decades," writes "Tyler Durden," the pseudonym for in-house staffers at the ZeroHedge site. Durden is "stunned that nobody seems to care that arguably the largest shift on the global macroeconomic playing field over the last half century may be taking place."

Hold the "shift" language. There's only one country that can dethrone the dollar, and it's not a BRICS nation. It's the United States. President Joe Biden is China's and Russia's biggest ally in "dedollarizing" the world.

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Climate Change: The Latest Excuse for Slaughtering Christians

by Raymond Ibrahim  •  August 10, 2022 at 4:00 am

  • "And it is striking how quickly politicians and commentators trot out the same discredited banal narrative that the drivers for such carnage are climate change and lack of resources. They say that the causes are 'complicated,' with hardly a mention of the Jihadist ideology that is behind the endless atrocities of ISIS and Boko Haram. And then they say that everyone [Christian and Muslim] suffers and there is a sort of equivalence with victims coming from varied religious backgrounds. They should tell that to the families whose loved ones are targeted, day in and day out, and see what sort of response they receive." — Lord Alton of Liverpool, June12, 2022.

  • "[T]he shocking murders in a church in #Nigeria are attributable to Ideology, Insecurity and Impunity - along with indifference by the Buhari Government. Nor can climate change be blamed for executions, abductions and murders." — Lord Alton, Twitter, June 6, 2022.

  • "[P]oliticians need to be more honest about what drives the carnage." — Lord Alton, June 12, 2022.

Pictured: The bloodstained floor of St. Francis Catholic Church in Ondo State, Nigeria, after the murder of 50 Christians there, on June 5, 2022. (Photo by AFP via Getty Images)

Politicians have found a new straw man: climate change. There are certainly many things we can gradually do not to pollute or wreck our planet, but blaming it for the pervasive slaughter of Christians by Muslims in northern Africa is not one of them. It seems, sadly, that what drives the persecution of Christians there, and elsewhere, is doctrine, not climate change.

On June 5, 2022, Muslims massacred 50 Christians inside a Nigerian church on Pentecost Sunday (one of many examples of Nigerian Christians massacred while worshipping in their churches).

Two days later, Ireland's President Michael Higgins issued a statement linking the Nigerian church massacre to -- climate change. "The neglect of food security issues in Africa, for so long has brought us to a point of crisis that is now having internal and regional effects based on struggles, ways of life themselves," he wrote, implying that food shortages caused by the climate are what cause murder.

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Palestinians: It Pays Better to Be America's Adversary, Not Its Friend

by Bassam Tawil  •  August 9, 2022 at 5:00 am

  • The statement in support of China is yet another example of the Palestinians' betting on the wrong horse. Always on the side of the despotic regimes and countries, Palestinians appear to have learned nothing from their mistakes.

  • While Israel consistently stands by its US partners, Palestinians continue to ridicule and condemn the US, undermine its interests by aligning themselves with anti-US parties, and financing the families of Palestinians who murder Israeli and US citizens.

  • Palestinians expect US financial aid, but oppose the US on every foreign policy front. The Biden administration does not seem to have a problem funding the Iranian regime, the Chinese Communist Party, the illegitimate Venezuelan government or the Palestinian leadership while Palestinians are spitting in the face of the US and openly supporting all those who hate the US and the Americans. It sometimes seems as if the harder America's adversaries spit, the harder the Americans rush to fund them.

  • Palestinians, who have sided against America with Nazi Germany, the Russians, Saddam Hussein, North Korea, Syria's Assad, Iran, Hezbollah, and now China, are again exposing their anti-US sentiments. They will happily pad their bank accounts with American money, while continuing to act against the US and its policies in different parts of the world.

  • Many Arab countries have learned the lesson of Palestinian betrayal: that is why they long ago stopped funding the Palestinians. The Arab leaders refuse to throw their money at those who praise their enemies.

  • The US has actually been teaching those who wish to create a Palestinian state that being best buddies with America's worst enemies is where the biggest profits lie.

Palestinians have chosen to be on the side of China in its latest skirmish with the US over Taiwan. The statement by the Palestinian "presidency" supporting China illustrates what has been known for years -- that Palestinians are adversarial to American interests and hostile to American allies. Pictured: Palestinians burn a US flag in Bethlehem, on January 29, 2020. (Photo by Musa Al Shaer/AFP via Getty Images)

Palestinian leaders have a tradition of backing tyrants and corrupt regimes around the world. When their choices prove disastrous, they run to the Americans begging for pity.

The Palestinian leaders do not run to their Arab brothers: they know that most Arab countries are sick and tired of Palestinian lies and backstabbing.

The Palestinians, in addition, are best known in the Arab world for biting the hand that feeds them.

Less than a month after the Biden administration announced new contributions totaling $316 million to support the Palestinian people, the Palestinian leadership proved once again that the Palestinians are not friends of the US.

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US: The New Real Hoaxes?

by Pete Hoekstra  •  August 8, 2022 at 5:00 am

  • The investigative reporting by these two organizations [the New York Times and the Washington Post] was so thorough and groundbreaking it turned up things that were not even there.

  • For having refused to rescind these awards, the Pulitzer Committee should receive its own Pulitzer -- for fraud.

  • The real hoax appears to have been the CCP's ostensible good behavior and the now-hugely-discredited initial reporting on the virus.

  • Or how about the Hunter Biden laptop cover-up? Once again, On October 14, 2020, just weeks before the 2020 presidential election, a critical story of possible extensive influence-peddling with senior intelligence officers in the CCP, Russia and Ukraine by the son of a presidential candidate. The contents of the laptop raised questions that the candidate at the time, Vice President Joe Biden, could be compromised. The entire subject was decisively pushed aside, along with the potential threat to national security that such an eventuality might entail.

  • Also not allowed during the January 6th hearings have been any witnesses for the defense, any cross-examination, or any exculpatory evidence.

  • One wonders, for instance if the January 6th Committee will consider the July 29, 2022 tweet by General Keith Kellogg, that on January 3, 2021, Trump, in front of witnesses, did indeed ask for "troops needed" for January 6. Kellogg wrote: "I was in the room."

  • The January 6th Committee has also not released any information about government informants or FBI undercover law enforcement officers who might have been in the crowd, and Pelosi is also said to be blocking access to a massive quantity of documents. Finally, according to attorney Mark Levin, under the Constitution's separation of powers, Congress, has no legitimacy even to hold a criminal investigation: that power belongs to the Judiciary. The entire proceeding is illegitimate and a usurpation of power.

  • Is it surprising that after the Pulitzer decision, the Russia collusion hoax, the Whitmer kidnapping hoax, the Covid origin hoax, the Hunter Biden laptop hoax, and now the January 6th Committee hoax, that many Americans believe there is something wrong with the system?

Is it surprising that after the Pulitzer decision, the Russia collusion hoax, the Whitmer kidnapping hoax, the Covid origin hoax, the Hunter Biden laptop hoax, and now the January 6th Committee hoax, that many Americans believe there is something wrong with the system? (Photo by Al Drago/Pool/AFP via Getty Images)

Recently former US President Donald Trump challenged the award of Pulitzer Prizes to the New York Times and the Washington Post for their investigative reporting on alleged collusion between the 2016 Trump campaign and Russia.

The investigative reporting by these two organizations was so thorough and groundbreaking it turned up things that were not even there.

You have to hand it to them for this so-called "great reporting": the Pulitzer Committee sure did.

We now know, of course, the grand conspiracy pushed by these papers is nothing more than thoroughly debunked disinformation. For having refused to rescind these awards, the Pulitzer Committee should receive its own Pulitzer -- for fraud.

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Gaza: The Usual Suspects Condemn Israel

by Richard Kemp  •  August 7, 2022 at 5:00 am

  • Commenting on the killing of Zawahiri, UN Secretary General's spokesman Stephane Dujarric said the UN was "committed to fighting against terrorism and strengthening international cooperation in countering that threat".

  • Of course it was a different story when Israel acted against Jabari. UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Tor Wennesland was "deeply concerned" by "the targeted killing today of a Palestinian Islamic Jihad leader inside Gaza."

  • Israel has not claimed its operation in Gaza — codenamed Breaking Dawn — is to deter. The government has made it clear that the strikes were to prevent an imminent threat to the Israeli population. It had hard intelligence that PIJ, led by Jabari, was planning attacks across the border from Gaza. Protecting its people from violent external attack is not only permitted under international law, it is the duty of every government. If deterrence of such attacks were possible, Israel would have taken action to deter.

  • PIJ is an Iranian proxy, directed and funded to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars by Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). Its leader, Ziad Nakhaleh, has been in Tehran for the last few days, meeting with his IRGC paymasters and other government officials including Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi.

  • As PIJ and its fellow jihadists have indiscriminately fired an estimated 400 missiles (at time of writing) at targets from Sderot to Tel Aviv since Operation Breaking Dawn began, the IDF has continued to launch precision strikes from the air and the ground to halt the attacks on Israeli citizens. Just as Israel's casus belli for attacking PIJ targets was lawful, it has taken the utmost care to ensure its continued strikes are also lawful, only attacking targets that are proportionate and necessary to the military objectives and giving warnings where civilian casualties could occur.

  • We can expect non-governmental organisations (NGOs) such as Human Rights Watch to pile on. Amnesty International, however, might be slightly more circumspect as they are at present gyrating from the widespread international reproach that greeted their just-published report condemning Ukraine's defensive actions, in which they again showed the total incomprehension of war and the laws of war that they often demonstrate in their denunciations of Israel.

  • Slavering for the last two days at the prospect of IDF-inflicted mass casualties, much of the media immediately and without any evidence eagerly pointed the finger at Israel over the tragic killing of seven people, including four children, in Jabalia camp in the Gaza Strip. They will undoubtedly try, but journalists and UN investigators will find it hard to refute the IDF's confirmation that they did not strike the location and have conclusive video and radar evidence that the deaths were caused by a misfired PIJ rocket, launched as so often from within the civilian population. This would certainly fit, as approximately a quarter of all terrorist rockets fired so far during this campaign have landed inside Gaza, not in Israel.

As Palestinian Islamic Jihad and its fellow jihadists have indiscriminately fired an estimated 400 missiles (at time of writing) at targets from Sderot to Tel Aviv since Operation Breaking Dawn began, the IDF has continued to launch precision strikes from the air and the ground to halt the attacks on Israeli citizens. Pictured: Local residents and Hamas police officers assess the damage from a missile strike by Palestinian Islamic Jihad that hit the Jabalia refugee camp in the Gaza Strip, on August 7, 2022. (Photo by Mahmud Hams/AFP via Getty Images)

A week ago US President Joe Biden ordered the elimination of Al Qaida boss Ayman al-Zawahiri in Kabul. A few days later Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid ordered the elimination of Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) commander Tayseer al-Jabari in Gaza. These were two of a kind: mass killers whose sole purpose was to inflict pain, death and destruction on ordinary decent people to bring about their vision of Islamic conquest.

Commenting on the killing of Zawahiri, UN Secretary General's spokesman Stephane Dujarric said the UN was "committed to fighting against terrorism and strengthening international cooperation in countering that threat".

Of course it was a different story when Israel acted against Jabari. UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Tor Wennesland was "deeply concerned" by "the targeted killing today of a Palestinian Islamic Jihad leader inside Gaza."

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Putin's Threshold of Pain

by Amir Taheri  •  August 7, 2022 at 4:00 am

  • Worse still, [Putin] may already be plotting to open diversionary fronts to confuse his adversaries and stretch their resources. One such front is already taking shape as Serbia, under a pro-Putin team, prepares to invade Kosovo, which is likely to drag in Albania as well. Another front is also looming in Moldova, where Putin has been shipping vast amounts of arms to a pro-Moscow faction. Russia is also probing the possibility of mischief-making in former French Africa to threaten the supplies of rare metals needed by European industry. Don't be surprised if even Estonia, a member of NATO, is subjected to what is known as "proximity pressures."

  • The fact that the war in Ukraine has been relegated to the inside pages and lower rungs in news bulletins in the West encourages Putin in his illusions about a victory he is unlikely to achieve.

  • The effect of Putin's strategy is to cast Russia as an existential threat to the world order, something that would endanger other nations beyond NATO and the European Union. Putin is delusional if he thinks he could foment chaos and expect sympathy and support from China, India and Brazil among the nations he is trying to woo to his side.

  • In his novel Dead Souls, Gogol notes that "We Russians tend to blame others for our miseries, not knowing that whatever wrong is done to us is done by ourselves." Putin would do well to listen to the master of Russian literature, even though he was an ethnic Ukrainian.

(Photo by Mikhail Klimentyev/Sputnik/AFP via Getty Images)

In any international conflict that involves tough political and diplomatic measures and violence of one sort or another, a key question faces the adversaries on both sides: what is the other side's threshold of pain?

More than six months after Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine, his adversaries would do well to ponder that question.

The threshold of pain is a point which when reached obliges the adversary to re-think its current strategy and seek relief. Some adversaries may try to push that threshold as far as possible even after hearing their bones being crushed. This was the case with Adolf Hitler, who was ready to see the whole of Germany turned into a pile of rubble but could not contemplate surrender.

Others, like what the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini did in August 1988, would "drink the poison chalice" to avoid the collapse of their regime.

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Thanks to the EU, Iran's Mullahs Will Continue Taking Even More Hostages

by Majid Rafizadeh  •  August 6, 2022 at 5:00 am

  • Recently the Belgian government proposed and ratified legislation that appears to pave the way to transfer terrorists who have been convicted abroad back to Iran.

  • Does Belgium not understand that returning convicted terrorists to Iran will further embolden and empower the mullahs to carry out more terrorist acts on the European soil while they maintain complete impunity? The new concession will also encourage Iran's regime to take even more European citizens as hostages and demand still more concessions from the EU.

  • "It has been a crime to kill prisoners for centuries. The difference is that if it amounts to a particular crime of genocide, there is an international convention that binds countries to take action and punish that genocide... There is no doubt that there is a case for prosecuting [Iranian President Ebrahim] Raisi and others. There has been a crime committed that engages international responsibility. Something must be done about it as has been done against the perpetrators of the Srebrenica massacre." — Geoffrey Robertson, human rights barrister and first president of the UN's Special Court for Sierra Leone, YouTube, August 27, 2021.

  • "The Iranian authorities are using Ahmadreza Djalali's life as a pawn in a cruel political game, escalating their threats to execute him in retaliation for their demands going unmet. The authorities are attempting to pervert the course of justice in Sweden and Belgium, and should be investigated for the crime of hostage taking." — Diana Eltahawy, Amnesty International Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa, May 19, 2022.

  • Even though the current Iranian government is a party to the International Convention against the Taking of Hostages, Tehran has long taken foreign hostages as pawns to extract economic concessions and achieve geopolitical and financial gains. The Obama administration, for instance, shipped $400 million in an unmarked plane to Iran for the release of four Iranian-American prisoners.

  • Appeasing terrorists, as we all know, only incentivizes them. It only breeds more terrorism and hostage-taking; it is an endless, deliciously profitable jobs and extortion program. The EU's policy, which ensures that Iran's ruling mullahs enjoy impunity, is a blow to the victims of the Iranian regime's terrorism and will simply endanger the security and safety of European citizens.

Even though the current Iranian government is a party to the International Convention against the Taking of Hostages, Tehran has long taken foreign hostages as pawns to extract economic concessions and achieve geopolitical and financial gains. Iran's regime appears as if it is attempting to secure the release from Swedish prison of Hamid Nouri, who was found guilty by a Stockholm court of crimes against humanity, including being a key figure in the 1988 massacre of political prisoners in Iran, in which at least 30,000 dissidents were executed. Pictured: People protest against the crimes of Iran's regime outside the Stockholm District Court, during the trial against Hamid Noury, on November 23, 2021. (Photo by Duygu Gertiren/TT News Agency/AFP via Getty Images)

The Iranian regime has lately been taking more European hostages -- the direct result of the EU's appeasement policies to the ruling mullahs of Iran.

The Iranian authorities announced on July 30 that they had arrested another Swedish citizen. The Tehran regime normally detains European citizens on vague security-related charges such as having "suspicious behavior and contacts". Iran's hardline state-controlled newspaper, Kayhan, has also urged the government to take more European hostages.

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The Growing Threat from North Korea

by Judith Bergman  •  August 5, 2022 at 5:00 am

  • China's urging "flexibility" on North Korea appears to coincide with the Chinese Communist Party's ambitions in the region.

  • "According to unclassified intelligence reports to Congress, there are five key Chinese banks and a specially created holding company that funds the North Korean missile and nuclear technology programs." — Peter Huessy, Real Clear Defense, August 10, 2017.

  • China's main strategic concern when it comes to the Korean peninsula is apparently to end the US presence there and keep it out of US hands so that China can finally establish itself as the hegemon in the region.

  • North Korean escalation in the form of increased missile tests and resumption of ICBM and nuclear tests to pressure the US to make concessions -- in the shape of troop withdrawals from South Korea -- would play directly into the hands of China, enabling it to replace the US and establish itself as the primary power in the region.

  • "They are looking to take actions, which we believe are fundamentally destabilizing, as a way to increase pressure." — US official in Washington to journalists, France24.com, January 31, 2022.

  • China, however, seems to have no interest in cooperating with the US on North Korea. Attempts to secure "Beijing's cooperation" to build necessary economic leverage over North Korea are therefore exercises in futility.

  • China clearly cannot be relied on voluntarily to use its leverage over North Korea to persuade Kim Jong-un to give up his missile and nuclear program. To resolve the impasse, it is necessary to employ means that will leave China no choice other than to cooperate on North Korea.

  • A highly efficient way of doing that, Gordon Chang has suggested, would be to cut off the large Chinese banks and businesses that support the North Korean missile and nuclear technology from the global financial system by designating them a "primary money laundering concern" under Section 311 of the Patriot Act.

  • "In short, American policymakers know how to get China to begin acting responsibly." — Gordon G. Chang, Newsweek, May 10, 2021.

  • The question now is -- will the Biden administration muster the political will to designate those large Chinese banks under Section 311 of the Patriot Act?

North Korean escalation in the form of increased missile tests and resumption of ICBM and nuclear tests to pressure the US to make concessions -- in the shape of troop withdrawals from South Korea -- would play directly into the hands of China, enabling it to replace the US and establish itself as the primary power in the region. Pictured: A launch of the Hwasong-12 ballistic missile from an undisclosed location in North Korea, on August 29, 2017. (Photo by North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency/STR/AFP via Getty Images)

North Korea, despite a UN Security Council ban on its ballistic missile tests, continued to develop its nuclear and missile programs in 2021, according to a new UN report. In January 2022 alone, North Korea launched a record 11 missiles, including two hypersonic missiles and the first firing since 2017 of a Hwasong-12 mobile intermediate-range ballistic missile which is within reach of US territory with its estimated range of 4,500 kilometers. In 2017, North Korea tested the Hwasong-15, which has an estimated range of 8,500-13,000 kilometers.

Both US and South Korean officials expressed concern that the Hwasong-12 test indicated that North Korea would resume testing of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) and nuclear weapons.

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EU: Last-Ditch Effort to Salvage Iran Nuclear Deal

by Soeren Kern  •  August 4, 2022 at 5:00 am

  • The European Union has presented Iran with a new draft text that aims to revive the 2015 nuclear deal. The document, which has not been made public, presumably offers additional concessions to coax Tehran into rejoining the agreement.

  • In May 2022, for instance, Iran reached a new dangerous and destabilizing threshold: its stockpile of uranium enriched to 60% reached 42 kilograms, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

  • In June, Iran removed 27 surveillance cameras from its nuclear facilities. The move came after the IAEA censured Iran for not answering questions about uranium traces found at three undeclared sites.

  • The EU's continued appeasement of Iran also comes amid a violent crackdown against civil society in the country. Human rights groups have blasted the EU for its unwillingness to hold the Iranian government to account.

  • The EU appears to be sacrificing human rights on the altar of financial gain.

  • "If we simply cling to the idea that continued negotiations will somehow lead to resolution, we'll be sleepwalking as we did with Russia, allowing a hostile power to take advantage of diplomacy while pursuing increasingly aggressive actions against us and our allies.... " — Nicola Beer and Peter Neumann, "Iran: Time for a Plan B," Politico, July 21, 2022.

The EU's continued appeasement of Iran comes amid a violent crackdown against civil society in the country. Human rights groups have blasted the EU for its unwillingness to hold the Iranian government to account. Pictured: Iran's Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian (R) meets with EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell in Tehran on June 25, 2022. (Photo by Atta Kenare/AFP via Getty Images)

The European Union has presented Iran with a new draft text that aims to revive the 2015 nuclear deal. The document, which has not been made public, presumably offers additional concessions to coax Tehran into rejoining the agreement.

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, in a July 26 essay published by the Financial Times, wrote that time was running out to revive the nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA):

"After 15 months of intense, constructive negotiations in Vienna and countless interactions with the JCPOA participants and the US, I have concluded that the space for additional significant compromises has been exhausted. I have now put on the table a text that addresses, in precise detail, the sanctions lifting as well as the nuclear steps needed to restore the JCPOA.

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Is the Jewish Democratic Council Really Jewish - or Just Democrats?

by Alan M. Dershowitz  •  August 3, 2022 at 9:30 am

  • This organization -- the Jewish Democratic Council -- is misnamed. It recruits members and solicits money based on false advertising. It promotes itself as comprised of pro-Israel Jews. But the reality is that its leadership consists mainly of progressive Democrats who just happen to be Jewish. For them Israel, Iran and anti-Semitism are peripheral issues.

  • That is increasingly true of many Democratic Jewish voters who prioritize other concerns over Israel, over the growing threat of anti-Semitism from the hard left and hard right, and over other issues that directly affect the Jewish people.

  • [T]hey obviously do not want to hear the perspective of this Jewish Democrat, because the organization is more united behind social policy issues -- abortion, gun control, the environment and the Supreme Court -- than they are about Israel. I was told by two people who attended the event that the word "Israel" was never even mentioned....

  • I shake my head in frustration at why so many left-wing Jewish Democrats are willing to abandon Israel and continue to vote blindly for their grandparents' Democratic Party without demanding that it marginalize its anti-Israel extremists.

  • We have no loyalty to the current Democrat Party, just as many of its most prominent officials seem to have no loyalty to so many of their Jewish supporters. We certainly should have no loyalty to organizations such as the Jewish Democratic Council that hides its true priorities behind the misleading label "Jewish." There is nothing Jewish about their agenda, which is to elect Democrats regardless of their views on issues of direct concern to the Jewish community and Israel.

The Jewish Democratic Council is misnamed. It recruits members and solicits money based on false advertising. It promotes itself as comprised of pro-Israel Jews. But the reality is that its leadership consists mainly of progressive Democrats who just happen to be Jewish. For them Israel, Iran and anti-Semitism are peripheral issues. (Logo source: Jewish Democratic Council of America/Wikimedia Commons, CC-BY-SA 4.0 with modifications)

As President Joe Biden was returning from his productive trip to the Middle East, the Jewish Democratic Council was holding a fundraiser on Martha's Vineyard to support Democratic candidates in the 2022 midterm elections and to help elect a Democratic president in 2024. Former President Bill Clinton and former Senator Hillary Clinton were the guests of honor and speakers, thus suggesting that this organization purports to represent mainstream Jewish Democrats.

But it does not. It represents the left wing of the Democratic Party. It certainly does not represent mainstream Jewish voters who care about Israel and the growing threat of anti-Semitism.

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