April 16/15

Bible Quotation For Today/make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit
Matthew 28/16-20: "The eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. When they saw him, they worshipped him; but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.’"

Bible Quotation For Today/ Love one another deeply from the heart. You have been born anew, not of perishable but of imperishable seed
First Letter of Peter 01/22-25: "Now that you have purified your souls by your obedience to the truth so that you have genuine mutual love, love one another deeply from the heart. You have been born anew, not of perishable but of imperishable seed, through the living and enduring word of God. For ‘All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls, but the word of the Lord endures for ever.’ That word is the good news that was announced to you."

Latest analysis, editorials from miscellaneous sources published on April 15-16/15
A tribunal on the road to Damascus/Michael Young/The Daily Star/April 16/15
Khamenei: America Is A 'Cheater And A Liar'; The Lausanne Declaration Is Nothing; Saudi Arabia Will Be Damaged By Its 'Massacre' In Yemen/MEMRI/April 15/15
German Anti-Islamization Movement Seeks Comeback/
Soeren Kern/Gatestone Institute/April 15/15
Russia-Iran Missile Deal Major Threat to Middle East/Yaakov Lappin/Gatestone Institute/April 15/15
Obama’s Christianity: A Political Tool to Silence Christians/Raymond Ibrahim/FrontPage Magazine/April 15/15
For Hillary Clinton, much empty space to fill/David Ignatius/The Daily/April 16/15

Lebanese Related News published on April 15-16/15
Saudi Ambassador to Lebanon Ali Awadh Asiri: Yemen is Not Any of Hizbullah's Concern
Berri Confident that Mustaqbal-Hizbullah Dialogue Will Continue
Hizbullah Says Mustaqbal 'Attached' to Saudi 'Regime of Ignorance'
Hariri to seek protection for Lebanon on US visit 
Pro-Hizbullah Journalists Banned from Entering Gulf as Saudi Mulls Deporting 400 Lebanese
Two Detainees Charged with Belonging to Islamic State
EDL Contract Workers in Iqlim Kharoub Scuffle with ISF
Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi Exerting Efforts to End Presidential Vacuum, to Meet Prominent Western Ambassador
FPM Threatens to Boycott Cabinet over Military Officers Appointments
4 linked to Salafist sheikh Khaled Hoblos surrender
Report: Army Arrests Municipal Police Sergeant for Aiding Hoblos
Abou Faour Annuls Contracts of 6 Health Centers for Failing to Meet Primary Care Requirements
Hariri to seek protection for Lebanon on US visit 
Ibrahim urges Palestinians to prevent camp strife 

Miscellaneous Reports And News published on April 15-16/15
Netanyahu: Iran deal shows world hasn’t learned from Holocaust
Two Military Cadets Killed in Egypt Bombing
Zarif Holds Obama 'Responsible' for Fate of Nuclear Deal
Reports: Iran to Name First Woman Ambassador since 1979
Netanyahu Likens Iran to Nazis during Holocaust Remembrance
Report: Israel Coalition Govt. Talks Expand to Left
IS Seizes Parts of Iraq's Largest Oil Refinery
Egypt to Demolish Party HQ of Ousted President Mubarak
Egypt Jails Top Morsi Aide for Abuse of Power
Support for Free Speech Falls across Mideast, Survey Finds
U.N. Envoy to Visit Iraq, Syria to Address Sexual Violence
U.N. Denounces Libya Air Strike as 'Unacceptable'
Saudi Arabia Beheads Drug Trafficker
Syria Rebels in South Reject Cooperation with al-Nusra after Tensions

Jihad Watch Latest News
Raymond Ibrahim: Obama’s Christianity — A Political Tool to Silence Christians
UK Prison Service allowing jihadi book to be distributed to inmates
France: more women than men leaving for jihad in the Islamic State
Danish queen: “It is vital that we give Islam opposition”
Many streets in European cities have become hunting grounds for Jews”
Islamic State close to taking Ramadi, just 70 miles from Baghdad
Islamic State camp a few miles from Texas
Egypt: Christian arrested for offending Muslims, witch-hunt for 5 others
Egypt: Bombs explode near two churches on Easter Sunday
Hamas-linked CAIR demands Brooklyn College drop Pamela Geller talk

Saudi Ambassador to Lebanon Ali Awadh Asiri: Yemen is Not Any of Hizbullah's Concern
Naharnet/Saudi Ambassador to Lebanon Ali Awadh Asiri emphasized his right to defend his country in the wake of the criticism against it over its military operation against Huthi rebels, especially by Hizbullah, reported As Safir newspaper on Wednesday. He told the daily: “I have the right to respond to issues that concern my country and leadership, especially when these remarks exceed reason.”“I do not believe that Yemen is any of Hizbullah's concern,” he added. “Hizbullah is located in its own country, not in Yemen,” the ambassador said. “I believe that its intervention in Yemen, as demonstrated by the media and its support for the Huthis, is unacceptable,” Asiri remarked. Asked whether the war in Yemen has harmed efforts of rapprochement between Saudi Arabia and Iran, he replied: “As a diplomat, I hope they enjoy good diplomatic ties based on respect and refraining from meddling in Saudi, Yemeni, and Gulf affairs.”“The blatant Iranian meddling in a country that neighbors Saudi Arabia is unacceptable,” he stressed. “Iran has since 1979 been exporting its Islamic revolution through various means. Is that what it seeks in Yemen?” wondered Asiri. “We will not allow it. We will not allow the emergence of a faction that is hostile to us, located on our border, and supported by a country that has nothing to do with Yemen,” he noted. Addressing his objection to Tele Liban's broadcast of an interview with Hizbullah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah during which he caustically criticized the kingdom, Asiri said: “I respect Tele Liban as a government station.”“I have not objection to Hizbullah addressing the Lebanese people or Israel or whoever he likes. But it is unacceptable that he employ an official station to deliver negative messages and target the kingdom's leadership,” he explained. Saudi Arabia launched airstrikes in Yemen on March 25, announcing that it had put together a coalition of more than 10 countries, including five Gulf monarchies, for the military operation to defend Yemeni President Abedrabbo Mansur Hadi's government against Huthi rebels. It said that it will continue its operation Decisive Storm until Hadi is restored to power and the rebels, backed by Iran, are defeated. The military move against the Shiite Huthi rebels triggered fury from Saudi Arabia's regional rival Iran, Hizbullah's main regional ally, with officials in Tehran warning that the military action threatened to spill over into other countries. Nasrallah had slammed during his past two appearances the kingdom's offensive, launching a scathing attack against it and saying that it will suffer a “major defeat.” Media reports had recently said that Hizbullah had sent fighters to Yemen to support the Huthis.

Hizbullah Says Mustaqbal 'Attached' to Saudi 'Regime of Ignorance'
Naharnet/The war of words flared up anew on Wednesday between al-Mustaqbal movement and Hizbullah, with the latter slamming its rival as a subservient to “the Saudi regime.” “Al-Mustaqbal movement's attachment to the Saudi leadership and its efforts to satisfy it and defend it will not make us remain silent over an aggression of this magnitude against a brotherly Arab Muslim people” in Yemen, Hizbullah's media department said in a statement, a day after the two parties held their tenth dialogue session. The party said Mustaqbal officials and media outlets “went crazy” after Hizbullah took “a clear and honest stance in support of the aggrieved and targeted Yemeni people who are facing a Saudi aggression.”“The rhetoric of al-Mustaqbal movement gives the impression that this movement supports the extermination operations and mass murders that are being committed by the aggression's warplanes against innocent civilians,” Hizbullah added. “The regime of the Saud family is purchasing consciences, importing armies and soldiers, and sowing discord and divisions in order to fragment countries and murder innocents,” it said. In an apparent reference to anti-Tehran remarks by Interior Minister Nouhad al-Mashnouq, Hizbullah slammed Saudi Arabia as a “regime of ignorance and murder which is exporting terrorism, extremists and subversive ideologies.” Saudi Arabia “cannot be put in an unjust comparison with the Islamic Republic of Iran, which the world has acknowledged as an advanced and developed state,” the party added. Shortly after the dialogue session ended on Tuesday, Mashnouq launched a tirade against Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. “Those whose noses will be rubbed against the ground are the ones who have excelled in the culture of elimination and aggression,” said Mashnouq. On Thursday, Khamenei accused Riyadh of “genocide” in Yemen, saying “the Saudis' noses will surely be rubbed against the ground.” Dialogue between Hizbullah and al-Mustaqbal kicked off on December 21 and has recently faced the threat of collapse due to the heated exchange of tirades over the Saudi-led operation. A day after Saudi Arabia launched operation Firmness Storm on March 28, Hizbullah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah appeared in a televised address and slammed the campaign as a “Saudi-American aggression.” He also promised Riyadh that it will suffer a “major defeat.” Mustaqbal leader ex-PM Saad Hariri hit back at Nasarllah on the same night, denouncing his speech as a “storm of hatred.”

Pro-Hizbullah Journalists Banned from Entering Gulf as Saudi Mulls Deporting 400 Lebanese
Naharnet/After the UAE expelled more than 70 Lebanese citizens in March, Saudi Arabia is contemplating the deportation of hundreds of Lebanese expats amid a heated row with Hizbullah over the Riyadh-led military operation in Yemen. According to information obtained by Naharnet, Saudi authorities are assessing the situations of around 400 Lebanese nationals who might be deported soon from the kingdom. Naharnet has also learned that the Saudi labor ministry is inclined to revoke the residency permit of Samar Khayat, the wife of al-Jadeed TV owner Tahsin Khayat. She owns a Saudi-based event management company. Furthermore, a number of pro-Hizbullah Lebanese and Arab journalists have also been barred from entering Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf states. They include Lebanese journalist Ghassan Jawad, according to the information. Jawad is close to Hizbullah and is known for his fiery statements against Saudi Arabia. He had recently slammed the Saudi-led intervention in Yemen during an interview on MTV. Around 70 Lebanese citizens, mostly Shiites, were deported in mid-March from the United Arab Emirates, prior to the Emirati participation in the Saudi-led campaign. Hundreds of Lebanese have been quietly deported from the UAE since 2009. Deportations of Shiites from oil-rich Gulf states rose in 2013 after Hizbullah joined Syrian government forces in Syria's civil war. The developments come amid a war of words between Hizbullah and Saudi Arabia over the Yemeni conflict. “I do not believe that Yemen is any of Hizbullah's concern,” Saudi Ambassador to Lebanon Ali Awadh Asiri said in remarks to As Safir newspaper that were published Wednesday. Saudi Arabia launched airstrikes in Yemen on March 25, announcing that it had put together a coalition of more than 10 countries, including five Gulf monarchies, for the military operation to defend Yemeni President Abedrabbo Mansur Hadi's government against Huthi rebels. The military move against the Shiite rebels triggered fury from Saudi Arabia's regional rival Iran, Hizbullah's main regional ally, with officials in Tehran warning that the military action threatened to spill over into other countries. Hizbullah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah has fiercely slammed the kingdom's offensive, promising Riyadh that it will suffer a “major defeat.” Other Hizbullah officials have also blasted the Saudi-led operation.

Berri Confident that Mustaqbal-Hizbullah Dialogue Will Continue
Naharnet/Speaker Nabih Berri voiced optimism that dialogue between the Mustaqbal Movement and Hizbullah will continue despite the tensions between the two sides and their respective allies Saudi Arabia and Iran, reported As Safir newspaper on Wednesday. His visitors on Tuesday quoted him as expressing his confidence that “both sides of the dialogue are committed to the talks despite some calls to halt it.”“Why doesn't the dialogue adhere to the positions of Iran and Saudi Arabia, who despite their differences, are engaged in calm rhetoric,” he noted. Tensions flared between the Mustaqbal Movement and Hizbullah over Saudi Arabia's military operation against Yemen. The former has backed the campaign, while the latter has slammed it as blatant interference in the country's affairs. A war of words soon ensued between the two sides, with movement chief MP Saad Hariri declaring Saudi Arabia's right to defend Arab interests against Iran, while Hizbullah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah vowed that the kingdom will suffer a defeat in its mission. Despite the tensions, the two officials have repeatedly voiced their commitment to continuing the dialogue. Tuesday's latest round of dialogue between the movement and party emphasized this commitment. Saudi Arabia launched airstrikes in Yemen on March 25, announcing that it had put together a coalition of more than 10 countries, including five Gulf monarchies, for the military operation to defend Yemeni President Abedrabbo Mansur Hadi's government against Huthi rebels. It said that it will continue its operation Decisive Storm until Hadi is restored to power and the rebels, backed by Iran, are defeated. Berri continued by revealing that Saudi Ambassador to Lebanon Ali Awadh Asiri had visited him on Tuesday in order to voice the kingdom's support for the Mustaqbal-Hizbullah talks.

Abou Faour Annuls Contracts of 6 Health Centers for Failing to Meet Primary Care Requirements
Naharnet /Health Minister Wael Abou Faour annulled on Wednesday the contracts of six health centers throughout Lebanon for failing to meet the requirements of the primary care program, reported the National News Agency. The centers were ordered to improve their conditions and the contracts may be restored if they meet the needed requirements. A committee was formed to follow up on the matter. The facilities are: Beit Habbak Center in Jbeil, al-Kayan Health Center in al-Qulaiyaa in Marjeyoun, Imam Moussa al-Sadr Center in Houmin al-Tahta in al-Nabatiyeh, Bafleh charitable center in Tyre, al-Nabi Elias center in al-Khinshara in al-Metn, and the Popular Help Association in Bikfaya in al-Metn. Abou Faour launched a food safety campaign in October shaming restaurants, supermarkets and suppliers accused of breaching health and safety standards. His inspections have forced the closure of butchers, the seizure of expired goods and even the arrests of businessmen. The campaign has widen to include hospitals and day cares and other establishments under his ministry's jurisdiction.

Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi Exerting Efforts to End Presidential Vacuum, to Meet Prominent Western Ambassador
Naharnet/Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi will reportedly meet on Thursday the ambassadors to Lebanon of western powers, Gabriele Caccia, the papal ambassador to Lebanon and U.N. Special Coordinator for Lebanon Sigrid Kaag to urge them to facilitate the election of a new head of state. According to al-Joumhouria newspaper published on Wednesday, Bkirki's move comes in light of its continued efforts to resolve the presidential deadlock. Sources told the daily that the patriarch “will exert efforts” to resolve the presidential dispute, pointing out that his meeting with the ambassadors aims at “urging them to interfere to facilitate the election of a new president.”“The matter will not remain a local affair when the Lebanese fail to carry out their duties.”The patriarch's main concern is to “elect a new president as the repercussions of the vacuum have begun surfacing on all levels,” the sources added. “Al-Rahi fears that vacuum will expand and impact other state institutions, which will consequently harm the active Christian presence day after day,” they said. MPs failed on several occasions to elect a new head of state over lack of quorum. President Michel Suleiman's term ended in May without the election of a successor. Hizbullah and Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun's Change and Reform bloc have been boycotting electoral sessions due to a disagreement with the March 14 camp over a compromise presidential candidate. The patriarch is expected to travel to the French capital Paris on April 26 where he will discuss with French President Francois Hollande the presidential stalemate and the Christian role in the Middle East. “Al-Rahi believes that the president is the sole guarantee for the continuation of coexistence and the state,” the sources remarked.

Report: Army Arrests Municipal Police Sergeant for Aiding Hoblos
Naharnet /The army intelligence reportedly detained a police sergeant at the municipality of the northern city of Tripoli on charges of aiding Sheikh Khaled Hoblos and renting an apartment for him. According to As Safir newspaper published on Wednesday, Sergeant Mohammed Seifeddine Qader, who is related to Hoblos, had rented two apartments for the sheikh, one in the area of Dahr al-Ain in Koura and another in Tripoli's al-Qobbeh. Hoblos reportedly moved between the two apartments. Qader also faces charges related to forging identification papers for Hoblos. The detainee, according to the report, collected the identification papers of people on the pretext of wanting to grant them aid from the Higher Higher Relief Council. However, Qader used the identification papers for Hoblos and added his picture on one of them. The forged identification papers were in the name of Bassem Haitham Toufic Khodr. Last week, security forces succeeded in arresting Hoblos and killing militant Osama Mansour and Ahmed al-Nazer in an ambush in Tripoli. Hoblos and Mansour had been wanted for taking part in clashes with the army in Tripoli in October 2014 and were suspected of having links to jihadist organizations in Syria. Media reports said that Hoblos had underwent plastic surgery to change his appearance and shaved his mustache and beard.

FPM Threatens to Boycott Cabinet over Military Officers Appointments
Naharnet/The Free Patriotic Movement warned on Wednesday of the ongoing clamping down on the activities of the party, threatening to boycott its political activity or resign from the cabinet. “If they want to rule without the (Change and Reform) bloc then they have the green light,” sources close to the FPM said in comments published in al-Akhbar newspaper. The sources slammed unnamed sides with waging a war on FPM chief Michel Aoun's bloc ministers by directly rejecting all their proposals. “If they continue to ignore and smother the movement of the bloc then we are heading towards a serious dispute,” the sources told the daily. The sources expressed Aoun's annoyance from the party's partners at the cabinet, stressing that the FPM leader will not “ignore” anymore the campaign against the party under the pretext of consensus. Media reports had said that Aoun's main objective is to receive political consensus on the appointment of his son-in-law Commando Regiment chief Brig. Gen. Chamel Roukoz as army chief as part of a package for the appointment of other top security officers. Roukoz's tenure ends in October 2015 while the term of army commander Gen. Jean Qahwaji expires at the end of September. Despite the reports about his insistence to have his son-in-law as army chief, Aoun denied that he had made such a proposal.

EDL Contract Workers in Iqlim Kharoub Scuffle with ISF
Naharnet /with members of the Internal Security Forces after they tried to force the employees to reopen the doors of the facility in the village of Mazboud in Mount Lebanon's Iqlim al-Kharroub region. A person was injured in the brawl, the state-run National News Agency reported on Wednesday. EPS Service provider company delegated Marwan al-Ghosaini, who was accompanied by ISF members, to reopen the doors of the facility. However, the contract workers, who have been holding a sit-in outside the facility's building for the past few days, banned them from entering, which led to a verbal spat between Ghosaini and the workers. ISF members were then compelled to withdraw Ghosaini, which caused frustration among protesters and a scuffle erupted with the police. Anwar Salim was injured and admitted to a nearby hospital for treatment. The contract workers have erected over the weekend a tent at the gates of the company to protest EPS company's decision to sack eight of its employees. EPS is subcontracted by NEU service provider, which is one of other three service providers under Debbas Group and manages Mount Lebanon's electricity. EPS has been accused of firing around 36 contract employees in the southern city of Tyre in January. Four months ago the contract workers ended an open-ended strike at EDL's headquarters in Beirut's Mar Mikhail area after an agreement with the administration to sit for qualification exams until they reach their full-time employment. However, they accused EDL of violating a deal that was adopted by parliament in April 2014 by imposing hard entrance exams to sack employees who failed.

Two Detainees Charged with Belonging to Islamic State
Naharnet/State Commissioner to the Military Court Judge Saqr Saqr charged two detainees with belonging to the Islamic State group, reported the National News Agency on Wednesday. It said that Nabil al-Siddiq, also known as Abi Sayyaf, and Ali Ayyoub were charged with belonging to the group and forming cells for the aim of carrying out terrorist attacks. These cells were also trained to carry out assassinations and combating the Lebanese army during its clashes with extremists in the northeastern border town of Arsal in August. The case was referred to First Military Examining Magistrate Riad Abou Ghida. The army was engaged in August in clashes with jihadists from the IS and al-Nusra Front. The gunmen abducted at the end of the unrest a number of servicemen. A few of them have since been released, four were executed, while the rest are still being held.

Zarif Holds Obama 'Responsible' for Fate of Nuclear Deal
Naharnet/Iran's foreign minister said Wednesday that U.S. President Barack Obama was “responsible” for making sure that Washington respects a final agreement over Iran's nuclear program even though Congress has been given a say on the accord's fate. "It is the obligation of the government of the United States to implement its international agreements. And we will hold the U.S. government, the U.S. president accountable" for the application of the treaties that they sign, Mohammad Javad Zarif told journalists in Lisbon. He was reacting to a move by the U.S. Senate foreign relations committee on Tuesday giving the green light to a bill that would give Congress the right to review a possible final agreement on the Iranian nuclear issue. Zarif, Iran's chief nuclear negotiator, said Iran would study the bill "to see if it infringes upon or hinders the capability of the president to carry out the obligations that he is going to assume with Iran."Israel, which is bitterly opposed to the emerging agreement between Iran and world powers that would rein in but not halt Tehran's nuclear activities, has welcomed the U.S. bill. Global powers reached a framework agreement for a deal with Iran on April 2. They must now resolve a series of technical issues by a June 30 deadline for a final deal, including the steps for lifting sanctions on Iran, and remaining questions over the possible military dimensions of its nuclear program. Iran wants sanctions lifted immediately the deal is signed, while the powers are saying they will be eased gradually, and want a mechanism to ensure they can be swiftly re-imposed if Iran breaks its word.
Zarif also said that Russia's decision to go ahead with the sale of S-300 air defense missile systems to Iran is "fully legal" and has no impact on the talks for a nuclear deal with major powers. "Russia is fulfilling its contractual treaty obligation to deliver the S-300 defense capabilities to Iran. It had nothing to do with the negotiations," he said during a joint news conference with his Portuguese counterpart Rui Machete. "I think it is the right decision that Russia has made, it is a contract that we have with Russia which is fully legal and will have no impact on the negotiations."Agence France Presse
Two Military Cadets Killed in Egypt Bombing
Naharnet/Two Egyptian military cadets were killed in a bombing north of Cairo on Wednesday as they waited to board a bus, officials said. The blast struck in the Nile Valley city of Kafr al-Sheikh and wounded 10 other people, police officials said. Scores of policemen and soldiers have been killed in attacks since the military overthrew Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in 2013.Most have taken place in the Sinai Peninsula, where the Islamic State group's affiliate in Egypt is based.Other attacks have targeted policemen and soldiers in the capital and the Nile Delta Kafr el-Sheikh governor Osama Hamdi Abdel Wahid told the private CBC Extra news station that he could confirm two cadets had been killed. The bombing took place outside the city's football stadium where the cadets were waiting for their bus, he said. Though facing stiff resistance from jihadists in Sinai, police have killed and detained many militants in Cairo and Nile Delta. Yet small-scale attacks continue. Earlier this month a bombing on a Cairo bridge killed a policeman and wounded two people. Hours later police announced they had killed the leader of the group Ajnad Misr, which took responsibility for that attack and others in Cairo. Ajnad Misr acknowledged their leader had died in a shoot-out in the capital and named a new commander. The group has said it carries out its attacks in retaliation for the deaths of hundreds of Islamist protesters in the past two years. After the military overthrew Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in 2013, authorities unleashed an extensive crackdown on his supporters that left hundreds dead and thousands in prison. Civilian and military courts have sentenced dozens of people to death, although only one sentence has been carried out so far, by hanging. Morsi himself could face the gallows if convicted in one of his trials on charges of espionage with foreign powers and collusion to carry out attacks with militants before he became the country's first democratically elected president in 2012. Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood, the strongest political movement before his overthrow, has been designated a terrorist group although it denies it is violent. But some of its members are believed to have resorted to plotting attacks on policemen after the crackdown drove them underground.In the Sinai peninsula, jihadists affiliated to IS have killed scores of security personnel, including at least 14 people in attacks last week, most of them policemen. Agence France Presse

Netanyahu Likens Iran to Nazis during Holocaust Remembrance
Naharnet /Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu seized on Israel's annual remembrance of the Holocaust Wednesday to compare arch-foe Iran to Hitler's Germany. "As the Nazis sought to stamp out civilization and to set the master race to rule across the earth... while wiping out the Jewish people, so does Iran seek to control the region, spread outwards and destroy the Jewish state," he said. Speaking at Jerusalem's Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial, as Israel began marking the liberation of the Nazi death camps 70 years ago, he used the occasion to keep us his constant pressure against the emerging nuclear agreement between Tehran and world powers. World powers agreed with Iran this month on the framework of a deal to rein in its nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of international sanctions.
Israel and many Western governments suspect Iran's civilian nuclear program is a front for efforts to build a military capability, a charge Tehran denies. Warning against appeasing "tyrannical regimes," he questioned whether the lessons of World War II had been fully absorbed. "Has the world really learned from the incomprehensible universal and Jewish tragedy of the previous century," he asked. "The bad agreement being drafted with Iran teaches us that the historic lesson has not been internalized.""The powers turn a deaf ear to the crowds in Iran shouting 'Death to America; death to Israel,'" Netanyahu said. "The democratic governments made a momentous mistake before World War Two and we, along with many of our neighbors, are convinced that a bitter mistake has also been made now."
Last week, Netanyahu demanded that Iran "stop its threats to annihilate Israel." President Reuven Rivlin, born in British-ruled Palestine in 1939, recalled his first sight of the human remnants of the camps. "I remember the first of the survivors who arrived in Jerusalem," he told the hushed audience. "The face and extent of the horror was exposed to us." National Holocaust day runs until sunset Thursday, with events scheduled throughout the day. At 0700 GMT sirens will sound across the country, signaling the start of two minutes silence, during which traffic stops and pedestrians stand at attention. Later there will be ceremonies at Yad Vashem, parliament and elsewhere.From sunset Wednesday, radio and television stations broadcast programs on the genocide and play sombre music, while places of entertainment are closed. Agence France Presse

Obama’s Christianity: A Political Tool to Silence Christians
Raymond Ibrahim/April 15, 2015
FrontPage Magazine
Here in the United States, where Americans are used to hearing their president always invoke Christianity in a manner that silences Christians, United Kingdom Prime Minister David Cameron’s recent Easter message was moderately refreshing.
Among other things, Cameron made it a point to say “that we should feel proud to say, ‘This is a Christian country.’ Yes, we’re a nation that embraces, welcomes and accepts all faiths and none, but we are still a Christian country.”
The context of Cameron’s statement, it should be recalled, is a UK with a large, intolerant, and aggressive Muslim populace—a populace that increasingly seeks to treat the UK’s indigenous Christians the way the Islamic world’s indigenous Christians are habitually treated, that is, subjugated, enslaved, raped, and murdered.
In fact, Cameron touched on the phenomenon of Christian persecution in mostly Muslim lands:
We have a duty to speak out about the persecution of Christians around the world too. It is truly shocking that in 2015 there are still Christians being threatened, tortured, even killed because of their faith. From Egypt to Nigeria, Libya to North Korea. Across the Middle East Christians have been hounded out of their homes, forced to flee from village to village; many of them forced to renounce their faith or brutally murdered. To all those brave Christians in Iraq and Syria who practice their faith or shelter others, we will say, “We stand with you.”
While one may argue that Cameron is all talk—after all, the UK’s foreign policies, like America’s, have only exacerbated the plight of Christians in the Middle East—it is still refreshing to hear such honest talk, since here in the U.S., one seldom gets even that from President Obama. Consider what Obama—who is on record saying “we are no longer a Christian nation,” who never notes the Islamic identity of murderers or the Christian identity of their victims, and who ignored a recent UN session on Christian persecution—had to say about Christians at the Easter Prayer Breakfast: “On Easter, I do reflect on the fact that as a Christian, I am supposed to love. And I have to say that sometimes when I listen to less than loving expressions by Christians, I get concerned.”
This is in keeping with his earlier statements calling on Americans in general Christians in particular to be nonjudgmental and instead to have “humility” and “doubt” themselves. For example, during the National Prayer Breakfast last February, after Obama alluded to the atrocities committed by the Islamic State—which include beheadings, crucifixions, rape, slavery, and immolations—he said:
I believe there are a few principles that can guide us, particularly those of us who profess to believe. And, first, we should start with some basic humility. I believe that the starting point of faith is some doubt—not being so full of yourself and so confident that you are right and that God speaks only to us, and doesn’t speak to others, that God only cares about us and doesn’t care about others, that somehow we alone are in possession of the truth.
Humility, of course, is a well-recognized Christian virtue. It is the exact opposite of pride; a modest if not humble opinion of oneself, one’s shortcomings. But what does exercising humility have to do with our understanding of Islamic violence and terrorism, which was, after all, the topic Obama was discussing immediately before he began pontificating about humility? Are we not to judge and condemn Islamic violence—since we’re apparently no better, as the president made clear when he told Christians to get off their “high horse” and remember the Crusades and Inquisition?
Furthermore, while Christian humility encourages self-doubt, it does not encourage doubt concerning right and wrong, good and evil. The same Christ who advocated humility repeatedly condemned evil behavior, called on people to repent of their sins, and hurled tables in righteous anger. The point here is that, whenever Obama invokes Christianity and Christian virtues, it is almost always in the context of trying to silence Christians: telling them to “love” more—that is, to never judge or condemn anything, and instead be doormats ever “turning the other cheek”; telling them to remember the historic “crimes” of other Christians—even if they are a thousand years old and no crimes at all—that is, telling Christians not to criticize Islam because they too live in glass houses.
This is the “liberal Christianity” which Obama and others hail, because its chief purpose is to silence Christians from condemning and combatting what are otherwise clear evils. Christians are being persecuted by Muslims all around the world? That’s okay, seems to be Obama’s response; just turn the other cheek—have some more “humility” and “doubt,” show their Islamic persecutors some more “love”—and everything will be set aright.

Russia-Iran Missile Deal Major Threat to Middle East
by Yaakov Lappin/Gatestone Institute
April 15, 2015
The impact that Russian S-300 missiles will have in the region is far wider than just on Israel and its neighbors.
Iran can use the system to harden air defenses around its multiple nuclear sites, making any potential future air attack significantly more difficult, and presenting Iran's threshold nuclear status as an almost invulnerable established fact. This, in turn, would allow Iran confidently to continue exporting arms and terrorism across the Middle East.
Russia is keen to capitalize on lifted sanctions to resume business with Iran. China also just agreed to build nuclear plants for Iran. Their decision looks like a sign of things to come
Middle East regional instability is set to worsen after Russia's lifting of its ban on the delivery of the advanced S-300 air defense missile system to Iran.
Russia's decision on April 13 to lift the ban is a highly dangerous development, which might well further destabilize the Middle East, and has serious potential to spark new conflicts.
The S-300 is one of the world's most advanced surface-to-air missile defense systems. Designed as a truck-mounted air defense battery, it can also be used as an offensive weapon, thanks to its long range and ability to track and strike many planes simultaneously.
Batteries of Russian-made S-300 surface-to-air missiles, pictured here in service with the Slovakian military. (Image source: EllsworthSK/Wikimedia Commons)
If Russia follows through on its pledge to deliver the S-300 to Iran, the Iranians could then smuggle these sophisticated weapons into Syria, and from there, use a cross-border network to move the missiles on to Hezbollah in Lebanon.
From Lebanon, the S-300 missiles, which have a range of 125 miles, would not only pose a threat to vital Israel Air Force activity, but could also be used by Hezbollah to target civilian air traffic over Israel, triggering a devastating Israeli response.
In addition, Iran can be expected to try to smuggle the system to the Syrian Assad regime, as it has done with so many other types of weapons. Damascus, too, would in all likelihood use the S-300 to threaten Israeli aircraft over northern Israel.
Both the Assad regime and Hezbollah might also use the S-300 to try to challenge vital missions flown by the Israel Air Force, such as intelligence-gathering flights that help Israel keep an eye on the perpetual, threatening -- also Iranian-backed -- developments to its north.
It is reasonable to assume, however, that the Israel Air Force has already developed ways to overcome such threats.
The impact that Russian S-300 missiles will have in the region is far wider than just on Israel and its neighbors. Iran will doubtless be tempted to smuggle S-300 batteries, together with Iranian technicians and operators, to its Houthi clients in Yemen. The Shi'ite Houthis, also proxies of Iran, are currently unable to shoot down Saudi fighter jets engaged in an air campaign to stop the Shi'ite forces from taking over all of Yemen. Receiving the Russian-made surface-to-air missiles would change that.
Most critically, Iran can use the system to harden air defenses around its multiple nuclear sites, making any potential future air attack significantly more difficult.
Enhancing defenses around Iran's nuclear program has implications for global security as a whole, by making it easier for Iran to present its threshold nuclear status as an almost invulnerable established fact. This in turn would weaken the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, allow Iran confidently to continue exporting arms and terrorism across the Middle East, and allow Iran to build ballistic missiles that would place all of the Middle East, and large areas of Europe, in their range. If deployed on Iranian ships or submarines, Iranian ballistic missiles have the potential to reach even farther. For the past five years, Russia has refrained from sending the S-300 system to Iran, due to Israeli and American pressure, as well as the biting sanctions that have been in place against the Islamic Republic.
Israel's Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, explaining that regional stability was at stake, lobbied Moscow intensively in 2010 to cancel a 2007 deal to supply the system to Iran. Russia, after sending mixed signals, eventually cancelled the deal.
Now, with a "framework" deal on Iran's nuclear program in place, and with the P5+1 countries working with Iran on a finalized deal by the end of June, Russia is keen to capitalize on lifting sanctions to resume business with Iran. China has also just agreed to build nuclear plants for Iran. Their decision looks like a sign of things to come. Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) is already active throughout the entire Middle East; it has been supplying Iranian proxies with more arms, training, and funds. This forward positioning, in turn, gives Iran the ability to remotely spark conflicts and destabilize the region. As Russia's and China's decisions illustrate, lifting sanctions on Iran will only boost the IRGC's efforts to spread Iran's increasingly destructive influence.

German Anti-Islamization Movement Seeks Comeback
Soeren Kern/Gatestone Institute.
April 15, 2015 at 5:00 am
"Look at all the countries where Islam is dominant. Look at Saudi Arabia, Iran, Pakistan. Non-Muslims, Christians, Jews, women, gays and apostates are treated there as inferior. They are being humiliated, persecuted, and even murdered. That is exactly what we are fighting against." — Geert Wilders.
"We have enough of the political correctness. We have enough of the Islamization of our societies. We stand for freedom, for the truth. Because we think that without freedom, life is not worth living. Freedom and human rights -- that is what we stand for." — Geert Wilders.
"Every day, we hear the same mantra that Islam is a religion of peace. After every atrocity committed in the name of Islam, Barack Obama, David Cameron, Angela Merkel and my own Prime Minister rush to the television cameras to declare that these acts have noting to do with Islam. How stupid do they think we are?" — Geert Wilders.
"Dear friends, German patriots, look at Israel, learn from Israel. Israel is an island in a sea of Islamic barbarism. Israel is a beacon of freedom and prosperity in a region of Islamic darkness. Israel refuses to be overrun by the jihadists. So should we." — Geert Wilders.
It seems clear that ordinary Germans, including those with legitimate concerns about the spread of Islam in their country, are reluctant to identify publicly with PEGIDA, even if they privately support the cause.
Dutch politician Geert Wilders addressed a rally of the German grassroots anti-Islamization movement known as PEGIDA in the eastern city of Dresden on April 13.
PEGIDA organizers were hoping that Wilders's appearance would inject new life into the group after a recent leadership split cast doubt on its future.
Despite excellent weather, however, only 10,000 people showed up for the event, far fewer than the 30,000 attendees that PEGIDA had been expecting.
Wilders told the crowd gathered in Dresden that there is "nothing wrong with being proud German patriots. There is nothing wrong with wanting Germany to remain free and democratic. There is nothing wrong with preserving our own Judeo-Christian civilization. That is our duty." He added:
"Most of the politicians, media, churches and academics are looking away from the threat of Islamization. They are afraid. But you are not.
"We hate no one. We fight for our freedom and hence we object to totalitarian Islam, but we do not hate Muslims. Neither do we hate our political opponents who are protesting here in Dresden against us. I am happy that we in Germany and the Netherlands are allowed to demonstrate against each other. Without violence. Without hatred."
The rest of Wilders's speech was directed far more at German politicians than at the anti-Islamization activists. He said:
"I say to the Prime Minister of Saxony, who felt he needed to warn against me: We are, indeed, those who are fighting against discrimination and hatred.
"Look at all the countries where Islam is dominant. Look at Saudi Arabia, Iran, Pakistan. Non-Muslims, Christians, Jews, women, gays and apostates are treated there as inferior. They are being humiliated, persecuted, and even murdered. That is exactly what we are fighting against.
"And it is a disgrace, Mr Prime Minister, that we do not find you on our side. It is a disgrace, Mr Prime Minister, that you do not warn against that.
"We have enough of the political correctness. We have enough of the Islamization of our societies. We stand for freedom, for the truth. Because we think that without freedom, life is not worth living. Freedom and human rights -- that is what we stand for.
"Frau Merkel says Islam belongs to Germany. I ask you: Is she right? She is not right! Frau Merkel, the majority of your people say that Islam does not belong to Germany!
"Frau Merkel, the Netherlands, Germany, the other nations in the West, are not Islamic countries. We do not want a Monokultur, but we want our own Judeo-Christian culture to remain the Leitkultur [guiding culture] in our land. We want to remain what we are. We want to remain who we are!
"While most politicians sing the praise of Islam, we worry about the future of our country. We worry because we have read the Koran. In verse 9:29 it states that it is okay to fight Jews and Christians. In verse 4:89 it instructs Muslims to kill anyone who leaves Islam.
"We worry because recent academic research revealed that 45% of the Muslims in Germany believe Islamic religious rules are more important than secular German laws. We worry because 73% of the Muslims in my country say that Dutch Muslims who fight in Syria are heroes. 73%!
"We worry because in the past months, we have seen thousands of homegrown youths leave our countries to join the Islamic State. We worry because we have seen how many of these jihadists have returned to Europe, and most of them have not been imprisoned. They currently roam our streets like ticking time bombs.
"We cannot afford to do nothing. We have to do something...
"Every day, we hear the same mantra that Islam is a religion of peace. After every atrocity committed in the name of Islam, Barack Obama, David Cameron, Angela Merkel and my own Prime Minister rush to the television cameras to declare that these acts have noting to do with Islam. How stupid do they think we are?
Most of our politicians look away. But we will not be silent. Because we are the people -- the people that refuse to be enslaved!
"Dear friends, German patriots, look at Israel, learn from Israel. Israel is an island in a sea of Islamic barbarism. Israel is a beacon of freedom and prosperity in a region of Islamic darkness. Israel refuses to be overrun by the jihadists. So should we."
PEGIDA organizers had promised that Wilders would be followed to the podium by an "international lineup" of anti-Islamization experts, but that promise was left unfulfilled.
PEGIDA -- named after the German abbreviation for "Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West" -- has been organizing "evening strolls" (Abendspaziergang) through downtown Dresden on Monday evenings since October 2014 to protest against runaway immigration and the Islamization of Germany.
Around 500 people gathered at the first PEGIDA event held on October 20, 2014, to complain about Germany's lenient asylum policies. From that point on, the number of protesters increased exponentially from week to week, with more than 25,000 people attending a rally on January 12, just days after Islamic terrorists murdered 17 people in Paris.
Attendance fell sharply, however, after the German tabloid BILD published a photograph on January 21 of PEGIDA founder Lutz Bachmann sporting an Adolf Hitler-style haircut and moustache. The newspaper also reported on Facebook posts in which Bachmann referred to asylum seekers as "trash"and "filth."
PEGIDA's detractors in the German media jumped on the revelations, which they said proved that the movement is fundamentally racist.
Bachmann stepped down as PEGIDA leader immediately after the photograph was published. "I am sorry that I have damaged the interests of our movement," he said. "I sincerely apologize to anyone who has felt attacked by my online postings. They were comments made without serious reflection, which I would no longer express today."
Less than one week later, however, PEGIDA effectively imploded when the group's spokeswoman, Kathrin Oertel, and four other leaders announced they also were leaving the group to form their own movement, Direct Democracy for Europe (Direkte Demokratie für Europa)They said that from now on, their focus would be to seek ways to increase voter participation rather than to protest the Islamization of Germany.
Direct Democracy's first rally was held in Dresden on February 8, but only 500 people attended, far fewer than the 5,000 that Oertel had expected; Oertel shuttered her group on March 11.
Meanwhile, in late February it emerged that Bachmann had been reinstated as one of three directors of PEGIDA. Since then, the group has invited well-known Islam critics -- including René Stadtkewitz, a German center-right politician who founded the German Freedom Party (Die Freiheit) -- to speak at PEGIDA rallies. But attendance numbers have not recovered to those seen during the group's pre-scandal heyday.
Only 2,900 people showed up at a Dresden rally held on March 30, while 7,100 attended a rally held on April 6, when PEGIDA announced that it would be fielding Tatjana Festerling, a former politician with the euroskeptic Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, as a candidate to run for mayor of Dresden in elections set for June 7.
Festerling was ousted from the AfD after she spoke out in favor of the "Hooligans versus Salafists" protest movement, which saw thousands of German football hooligans gather in the western city of Cologne in October 2014 to protest the spread of radical Islam in the country.
In announcing Festerling's candidacy, Bachmann said that this election was a "historic chance," one that would "set the direction for future elections across Germany and the rest of Europe." Festerling's performance in the mayoral elections for Dresden, which has 400,000 registered voters, will be viewed as an indicator of how large PEGIDA's following really is.
Meanwhile, PEGIDA offshoots have emerged across Germany, including: Bavaria (BAGIDA), Berlin (BAERGIDA), Cologne (KöGIDA), Hamburg (HAGIDA), Kassel (KAGIDA), Leipzig (LEGIDA), Rostock (ROGIDA), Südthüringen (SüGIDA) and Würzburg (WüGIDA).
With varying degrees of success, PEGIDA has also branched out into other European countries, including Austria, Belgium, Britain, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Norway, Poland, Spain and Sweden.
At the same time, a branch of PEGIDA has sprung up in Australia. More than 20,000 people attended "Reclaim Australia" rallies held in 16 different cities across the country on April 4 to protest the spread of Sharia law and Islamic extremism.
Still, the lackluster turnout for Wilders's speech in Dresden represents a significant blow for PEGIDA's efforts to rebuild itself as a meaningful protest movement in Germany.
In a March 30 interview with the Austrian newsmagazine Profil, Wilders said that PEGIDA-founder Lutz Bachmnan's decision to dress up like Adolf Hitler was "very stupid of him." Wilders added: "But, we all make mistakes."
That may be true, but the German academic, political and media establishment has been engaged in a no-holds-barred campaign aimed at portraying PEGIDA as right wing extremist group. Ralf Jäger, the Interior Minister of the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia, recently referred to the leaders of PEGIDA as "neo-Nazis in pinstripes," while Markus Ulbig, the Interior Minister of the German state of Saxony, characterized them as "rat catchers" (Rattenfänger).
It seems clear that ordinary Germans, including those with legitimate concerns about the spread of Islam in their country, are reluctant to identify publicly with PEGIDA, even if they privately support the cause.
While it may be too soon to write PEGIDA off as a failure, the group is unlikely to build the influence necessary to force meaningful change in German policy-making.
*Soeren Kern is a Senior Fellow at the New York-based Gatestone Institute. He is also Senior Fellow for European Politics at the Madrid-based Grupo de Estudios Estratégicos / Strategic Studies Group. Follow him on Facebook and on Twitter.

Iranian Leader Khamenei: America Is A 'Cheater And A Liar'; The Lausanne Declaration Is Nothing; Saudi Arabia Will Be Damaged By Its 'Massacre' In Yemen
MEMRI/15, 2015
On April 9, 2015, Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei spoke about the April 2, 2015 Lausanne declaration, clarifying that it was merely a statement for the media, with nothing having been agreed regarding the details of the negotiations – details that the parties will only begin to discuss later on. As such, he said, there was no need for a response from him regarding the declaration.
Khamenei noted that he had no confidence in Iran's American negotiating partner, saying that it is "a cheater and a liar," and pointing out that the Americans have been misrepresenting the details of the negotiations in public for domestic political purposes, and also in order to deal with the opponents of the negotiations. He called President Obama's speech following the Lausanne declaration "smiling deception" and warned against believing in his promises.
At the same time, however, he noted that the nuclear negotiations constituted a test for the U.S., and that if the U.S. passed the test, the negotiations could be expanded to other areas.
Next in his speech, Khamenei publicly set out the negotiating framework for the Iranian negotiating team, the main points of which are: an immediate lifting of all sanctions the moment an agreement is reached; no intrusive oversight of Iran's nuclear and military facilities; the continuation of Iran's nuclear research and development program; and no inclusion of any topics not related to the nuclear program, such as missile capability or anything impacting Iran's support for its proxies in the region.
He then went on to discuss the Saudi "massacre" in Yemen, and warned Saudi Arabia about the results of its attacks there.
The following are his statements:
"What Has Happened So Far Is No Guarantee Of An Agreement, Of Negotiations That Will Lead To An Agreement, Of The Details Of [Such] An Agreement, Or Even That These Talks Will Conclude In An Agreement"
"Some ask why the Leader has not yet taken a position on the recent nuclear negotiations. The reason for this is that there is nothing to take a position on, because the regime [i.e. President Rohani] and nuclear officials [i.e. the negotiating team] say that nothing has been settled and that no obligatory issue has been concluded by both sides.
"Such a situation does not require [me] to take a position. If I were to be asked, 'Do you approve or disapprove of the recent nuclear talks?' I would say that I neither approve nor disapprove, since nothing has happened yet.
"All the problems [will begin] when the details are discussed, because the opposite side is stubborn, breaks promises, behaves badly, and backstabs. It [i.e. the U.S.] could put our country, our nation, and our negotiating team under siege while the details are under deliberation.
"What has happened so far is no guarantee of an agreement, of negotiations that will lead to an agreement, of the details of [such] an agreement, or even that these talks will conclude in an agreement. Therefore, any congratulations [on reaching any agreement] are meaningless.
"I was never optimistic about negotiating with America; this is not based on illusions, but on experience. If one day the details of the issues, the events, and the notes passed around during the nuclear talks currently [underway] are revealed, everyone will see where our experience comes from.
"Although I am not optimistic about negotiating with America, I have supported these talks, and I still do. I am 100% in support of an agreement that guarantees the honor of the Iranian nation, and if anyone were to say that the Leader opposes reaching an agreement, they would be contradicting reality. I completely accept an agreement that ensures the national interests of the nation and the state.
"As I have said, no agreement is better than a bad agreement, because there is honor in rejecting an agreement that seeks to trample Iran's national interests and destroy the honor of the nation – as opposed to [accepting] an agreement that humiliates the nation.
"Sometimes it is said that the details of these talks are overseen by the Leader, but this is not accurate. I am not indifferent to the talks, but thus far I have not interfered in their details, and neither will I do so in the future. I have already provided the general issues, the overall lines, the frameworks, and the red lines, mostly to President [Rohani] and on a few occasions to Foreign Minister [Zarif], but it is they who have the details. I have confidence in the nuclear negotiators and have never doubted them, and, Allah willing, this will be the case in the future as well. But I have serious concerns about the nuclear talks."
"The Other Side Cheats, Lies, Breaks Promises"; "Two Hours After The Talks... The White House Published A Declaration... Most Of Which Diverged From Reality"
"The reason [for my concerns] is that the other side is a cheater and a liar; it breaks promises and contrary to the straight path. An example of such conduct by the opposite side [the U.S.] came during the recent talks [in Lausanne], when two hours after the talks ended, the White House published a declaration several pages long [i.e. the Fact Sheet] about the negotiations, most of which contradicted reality. Such a declaration cannot be written in two hours – this means that they had engaged in composing this slanderous, erroneous statement that contradicted the content of the negotiations at the very same time as they were negotiating with us.
"Another example [of their deception] is that after every round of talks, they deliver a public speech, and later tell [us] in private that this speech was aimed at maintaining [their] dignity at home, and to deal with the opponents [of the negotiations] – while these matters have nothing to do with us.
"As the well-known parable says: 'The hunchback sees only his companion's hump.'[1] They [the Americans] say that even if the Iranian leader opposed the negotiations, he is not telling the truth in order to [maintain] his dignity at home. But they do not understand the reality in Iran. The Leader's statements to his people are based on mutual trust, and just as the people believe me, I completely believe the people, and I [also] believe that the hands of God are always with the people. The people's presence in the cold of February 11 [Revolution Day] and in the heat of Ramadan and Jerusalem Day are all signs of the hand of God, and therefore I fully trust the people and my words to them are in the framework of the sentiment, integrity, and wisdom of the people.
"I am concerned about the conduct of the other side [the U.S.] as the negotiations continue. We must not go overboard or be hasty in this context, but rather wait and see what happens."
"The Three Months [Allotted] To Reach An Agreement [I.E. By June 30, 2015]... Is Not Set In Stone, And.... If Additional Time Is Required, There Is No Problem Arranging It"
"The [presidential and negotiations] officials must update the people, especially the elites [i.e. the ideological camp in Iran that opposes the negotiations], and must inform them regarding the reality [of the talks], because nothing here is classified. Being empathetic is not just an edict by me, but something that must be created and nurtured, and in the current situation there is a golden opportunity to show empathy to the people. The [presidential and negotiations] officials, who are honest people who seek [to ensure] the national interest, should summon the prominent critics of the talks and talk with them. If [the critics] make a [good] point, this [point] should be used to better promote the talks, and if they do not have a point, they should be persuaded [that they are wrong]. This is the essence of empathy...
"The [presidential and negotiations] officials might say that the three months [allotted] to reach an agreement [i.e. by June 30, 2015] do not leave them enough time to hear out the critics. [They] should be told in response that the period of three months is not set in stone, and that if additional time is required, there is no problem arranging it – just as the other side, at some stage of the negotiations, held them up for seven months."
"These Talks Are A Test" For The U.S.
"Negotiations with the Americans revolve solely around the nuclear issue and none other. These talks are a test. If the opposite side [the U.S.] ceases its aberrant behavior, we can continue this experiment with other issues [as well] – but if the other side continues its aberrant behavior, this will reaffirm our past experience regarding distrust of America.
"It is America and the EU 3 – not the international community – that are breaking promises to the Iranian nation. The international community comprises those same 150 countries whose heads and representatives attended the Non-Aligned Movement Summit in Tehran several years ago. Those who say that the side opposite us [in the negotiations] is the international community that needs to trust us are mistaken.
"In my personal meetings on the nuclear issue with the [presidential and negotiations] officials, I insist that they perceive our current nuclear achievements as extremely important, and that they do not downplay them. The nuclear industry is vital to the state. Some intellectuals, who ask, 'Why do we need the nuclear industry?' are being deceitful. The state requires an advanced nuclear industry for energy, for producing radiological medicine, for desalinating seawater, and for agriculture. The most important aspect of the state's nuclear industry – that is, achieving this important industry – is the result of the talents of our young Iranians, and this is why we must continue [our] progress in the nuclear industry.
"Criminal countries like America, who have already used a nuclear bomb, or France, which conducted dangerous nuclear testing, are accusing us of attempting to manufacture a nuclear bomb, while based on a religious fatwa[2] and a basis of logic, the Islamic regime in Iran has never and will never aspire to a nuclear bomb, and considers it a headache."
"We Cannot Swallow The Smiling Deception" Of The U.S.; "Another Of My Demands... Is That A Complete Lifting Of The Sanctions Must Be Carried Out Immediately And All At Once On The Same Day The Agreement [Is Reached]"
"Another request I made to the [presidential and negotiations] officials is to not trust the opposite side. Recently, one official explicitly said that we do not trust the opposite side. This is a good position. We cannot swallow the smiling deception of the opposite side, and we must not believe its promises. A good example of this is the position and speech given by the American president following the recent statement [to the media in Lausanne]."
"Another of my demands to the [presidential and negotiations] officials is that a complete lifting of the sanctions must be carried out immediately and all at once on the same day the agreement [is reached]. This is very important. If the sanctions are meant to be lifted in a new process, then the basis of the negotiations will be meaningless, because the aim of the negotiations is to get the sanctions removed."
"No Form Of Special Oversight Which Would Make Iran A Unique Country With Regard To Oversight Is Acceptable"
"Another request I made to the [presidential and negotiations] officials concerns the oversight [of nuclear facilities]. We absolutely must not allow the pretext of oversight to enable them to penetrate our security and defensive zone. Even the state's military officials do not have the authority to permit foreigners access to this zone, or to halt our defensive advancement under the guise of oversight.
"We must establish our defensive capabilities and the nation's iron fist on the military front, and these are indeed growing stronger every day. Furthermore, we must not allow the talks to damage support for our fighting brethren in various places in the region [i.e. resistance organizations such as Hizbullah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, the Houthis in Yemen, and more].
"No form of special oversight which would make Iran a unique country with regard to oversight is acceptable. Oversight should be identical to the routine oversight that exists elsewhere and nothing more. Regarding the necessity of continuing the technical development of the nuclear program – scientific and technical advancement in various forms [i.e. research and development] should continue. The negotiating team might see the need to accept certain restrictions; I have no problem with this, but technical advancement should undoubtedly proceed at full force.
"Meeting these demands is the task of the negotiating team. They must find the proper methods to [promote] the talks, while obtaining assistance from the opinions of knowledgeable and credible people, including critics [of the negotiations]."
"The Saudi Government Is Currently Carrying Out Crimes In Yemen That Are Identical To Those Committed By The Zionists In Gaza... And Will Definitely Not Emerge Victorious"
"By attacking Yemen, the Saudis have made a mistake and created an evil and contemptible bid'a [i.e. forbidden innovation in Islam] in the region. The Saudi government is currently carrying out crimes in Yemen that are identical to those committed by the Zionists in Gaza. The operation against the Yemeni nation is a crime and a massacre, and should be hunted down internationally. Killing children, razing homes, and destroying the infrastructure and national wealth of a state are a great crime. The Saudis will undoubtedly suffer damage in this matter, and will definitely not emerge victorious. The coming defeat of the Saudis clear, and stems from the fact that the Zionists, who have many times the military capability of the Saudis, could not defeat a small territory like Gaza, [let alone] Yemen, which is a large country with a population of tens of millions. The Saudis will surely be struck down in this matter.
"We have many disagreements with the Saudis on various political issues, but I have always said that they would show a restrained and honorable foreign policy. But several inexperienced youths [i.e. Saudi King Salman, 80] have taken that state's affairs into their own hands and they want their barbarity to surpass the previous [regime's] restraint, which will undoubtedly end badly for them. This [Saudi] operation in the region is unacceptable, and I warn them to stop this criminal activity in Yemen.
"It is the nature of America to support the oppressor rather than the oppressed, but it will be harmed and defeated here as well. The criminal jets are undermining the security of Yemen's skies, but they do not call that interference in Yemen's affairs – instead, they accuse Iran of doing this, with moronic excuses that are unacceptable to God, the nations, or international logic.
"The Yemeni nation is a long-standing nation and is capable of determining its own government. The Saudis must immediately stop this disastrous crime. The initial plan of those who plot against the Yemeni nation is to create a leadership vacuum and replay the Libya scenario in Yemen. I am glad that goal was not achieved, because the faithful youth who are drawn to and continue the path of the Imam 'Ali – whether they are Shi'ites, Sunnis, Zaydis, or Hanafis – stood against them and will continue to stand against them in the future, and will be victorious..."[3]
[1] In Persian, "the infidel thinks everyone acts the same way he does."
[2] See: MEMRI Inquiry & Analysis No. 1151, Iranian Regime Continues Its Lies And Fabrications About Supreme Leader Khamenei's Nonexistent Fatwa Banning Nuclear Weapons, April 6, 2015; MEMRI Inquiry & Analysis No. 1080, U.S. Secretary Of State Kerry In New And Unprecedented Statement: 'President Obama And I Are Both Extremely Welcoming And Grateful For The Fact That [Iranian] Supreme Leader [Khamenei] Has Issued A [Nonexistent] Fatwa' Banning Nuclear Weapons, April 19, 2014; Prominent Iranian Analyst, Author, And Columnist Amir Taheri: Nobody Has Actually Seen Khamenei's Anti-Nuclear Fatwa, Which Obama Often Quotes, March 17, 2014; MEMRI Inquiry & Analysis No.1022, The Official Iranian Version Regarding Khamenei's Alleged Anti-Nuclear Weapons Fatwa Is A Lie, Oct 4, 2013; MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 5461, President Obama Endorses The Lie About Khamenei's 'Fatwa' Against Nuclear Arms, September 29, 2013; MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 5406, Release Of Compilation Of Newest Fatwas By Iranian Supreme Leader Khamenei – Without Alleged Fatwa About Nuclear Bomb, August 13, 2013; MEMRI Inquiry & Analysis No. 825, Renewed Iran-West Nuclear Talks – Part II: Tehran Attempts to Deceive U.S. President Obama, Sec'y of State Clinton With Nonexistent Anti-Nuclear Weapons Fatwa By Supreme Leader Khamenei, April 19, 2012; MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 5681.
[3], April 9, 2015.

A tribunal on the road to Damascus?
Michael Young/The Daily Star/Apr. 16, 2015
The remarks Tuesday by Hezbollah parliamentarian Hasan Fadlallah, deriding the Special Tribunal for Lebanon “as a scandalous breach of Lebanese sovereignty,” were better suited for a stand-up comedy routine.
Hezbollah is a party that Iran created as an instrument to advance its agenda in the region and therefore, almost by definition, undermine state sovereignty. Fadlallah was expressing his support for Al-Jadeed editor Karma Khayat, who Thursday starts facing a trial for obstruction of justice and contempt of court. In a 2012 report, Al-Jadeed unlawfully disclosed the personal details of the witnesses in the trial of the Hezbollah members accused of having participated in the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. This information, of course, should have remained confidential.
In moments such as these, I think of the Al-Akhbar journalist Omar Nashabe, long a critic of the special tribunal. His views only echoed an attitude prevalent at Al-Akhbar, which Nashabe himself helped shape. Nashabe was especially disapproving of the United Nations’ independent investigative commission’s work early on, believing its first commissioner, Detlev Mehlis, had failed to take measures to establish a credible witness protection program.
Today, Nashabe is counsel in the Special Tribunal’s defense office. Yet the court for which he works is about to put on trial a journalist and media outlet for endangering witnesses – pretty much what Nashabe accused Mehlis of doing a decade ago. If one agreed with Nashabe’s views then, it is only natural to apply the same logic today and approve of Al-Jadeed’s being censured, not to mention Al-Akhbar, which also illegally published a list of witnesses.
For the media foot soldiers enrolled in the battle against the tribunal, the latest developments arouse unease. The shoddy work of Mehlis’ successors, Serge Brammertz and Daniel Bellemare, was apparently not enough to neutralize the court, with the current prosecutor, Normal Farrell, going in investigative directions recalling those pursued by Mehlis. For the German former prosecutor, there was never much doubt that the Syrian regime was behind Hariri’s murder, and the witness statements Mehlis took down in 2005 supported this view. Yet public attention was drawn to the “false witnesses” dispatched to mar the U.N. investigation. However, Mehlis always insisted he had based his findings on much more than the testimony of these witnesses.
It’s strange how nobody ever asked what had happened to the testimony gathered by Mehlis, as Brammertz wasted time for two years without bothering to seriously expand his investigation to Syria. Mehlis interviewed Syria intelligence officers and sought to take down Bashar Assad’s witness statement, which the Syrians refused. The Security Council issued Resolution 1636, backing Mehlis in his efforts to conduct his investigation as he saw fit. Yet when Brammertz met with Assad in 2006, he failed to record a formal statement, though he had a mandate to do so.
Brammertz’s integrity was also seriously questioned by a Canadian Broadcasting Corporation documentary in 2010, which accused him of having mismanaged telecommunications analyses, leaving that burden to Lebanese investigators Wissam Eid and Samir Shehadeh. Both made headway and, as a consequence, became the targets of assassination – in the case of Eid a successful one. My own information about Brammertz’s conduct on this front is even more damning of the commissioner’s performance.
Bellemare’s failings were partly explained by the fact that he followed in Brammertz’s footsteps, therefore starting with a substantially empty investigation file. But the Canadian judge did not remedy the situation. Ultimately, he built his indictment around the telecoms analyses that Brammertz had neglected until his last weeks in office. This created a remarkable disconnect.
Bellemare’s indictment, focused as it was on technicalities, offered no motive for Hariri’s assassination. This was an egregious error, one that Farrell, a serious prosecutor, is apparently seeking to address. To most observers Hariri was killed because he intended to challenge Syria and its allies in the parliamentary elections of 2005, and likely would have won a majority with his partners. That is why Farrell has taken the trial in Syria’s direction, bringing to the witness stand individuals who could help consolidate a case for Syrian involvement in the Hariri assassination. Walid Jumblatt’s appearance next month before the tribunal, after that of Hariri acolytes in recent weeks, bolsters such an interpretation.
Hezbollah is unhappy, but should it be? If the trial redirects toward Syrian involvement, the party could argue that it is innocent. While those indicted are party members, Hezbollah could cast doubt on their actions having been the consequence of a party decision. Even if it is unconvincing, this could reduce the heat domestically.
The Syrian regime, in turn, may be taking precautions of its own. Many believe the beating of Rustom Ghazaleh several weeks ago by the men of another intelligence chief may have been linked to the tribunal. Ghazaleh was apparently seriously injured, with unidentified sources telling Al-Hayat that he was “clinically dead.”
Jameh Jameh, Ghazaleh’s deputy for Beirut when he was military intelligence chief in Lebanon, was killed in Deir al-Zor in 2013, reportedly by a sniper. Assef Shawkat, Assad’s late brother-in-law and the overall Syrian military intelligence chief when Hariri was assassinated, was killed in a bomb blast at a meeting of senior Syrian security figures in July 2012.
While it may be impossible to determine if these deaths were related to the Hariri affair, in practical terms they may have severed ties between the Syrian regime and the assassination, because military intelligence was at the heart of Syria’s Lebanon policy. With the Assad regime worried that the prosecution could expand its indictments and call Syrian officials to testify, wiping the slate clean may be advisable. In the months ahead we will see what Farrell does. But for now Khayat’s trial shows that the special tribunal is gaining in confidence and perhaps moving forward.
**Michael Young is opinion editor of THE DAILY STAR. He tweets @BeirutCalling.

For Hillary Clinton, much empty space to fill
David Ignatius/ The Daily /Apr. 16, 2015
Hey, “everyday Americans,” what are you getting ready for? One couple is having a baby boy. Another couple wants to train the dog to stop eating the trash. Some people are starting new jobs, others retiring. And what about you, Hillary Clinton? “I’m running for president,” because “everyday Americans need a champion.”Clinton’s campaign launch video has variously been described as “slick,” “gauzy,” “icky” and “vapid.” I’d just call it empty – but in a way that invites the political definition to come: What does Clinton stand for? How does she plan to change an America in which, as she says in the ad, “the deck is still stacked in favor of those at the top”?
This slow-rolling, inductive start to Campaign 2016 isn’t a bad thing, if it leads Clinton to make a searching examination of what policies the country needs to grow again, at home and abroad. The Republican field is already blathering about fixes large and small, apparently without much reflection. It’s fine if Clinton starts off fuzzy – so long as she gets to definition and a new synthesis.
Though Clinton is often seen as a continuation of the political ethos of her husband Bill, the 42nd president, the truth is that the first Clinton era is over. The centrist policies of his administration – reflecting the intellectual consensus that developed around the neoliberalism of the Democratic Leadership Council – are largely played out. President Barack Obama tried to follow this line, and has gotten little traction. The next president will need to break the mold, not triangulate within it.
So what comes next? How can a mature economy achieve higher levels of growth and better distribution of income without wrecking the wondrous machine of the free market? The reality is that none of the center-left politicians in America or Europe has figured this out, as British political strategist Peter Mandelson notes. They’re all groping to address the problem that Clinton’s simplistic ad evokes – the re-empowerment of the middle class.
One of the creative voices looking for new answers is, perhaps surprisingly, that old Clintonite, Larry Summers. Though he was the embodiment of the Democrats’ centrist, Wall Street-leaning consensus during his years as Clinton 42’s treasury secretary, and as Obama’s first-term economic czar, Summers has been brooding in the last few years about what he calls “secular stagnation” in the U.S. economy.
Summers has offered some mildly iconoclastic proposals. He doubts that continued downward pressure on interest rates will help. He wants a greater role for expansionary fiscal policy, in part to invest in an economy that has a severe excess of savings over investment. At the same time, he is suspicious of some aggressive regulatory and redistributive approaches favored by more progressive Democrats, such as Sen. Elizabeth Warren.
How will Clinton play the populist card that she flashed in her “Getting Started” video? Will she develop policies that build on new work by Summers and other economists who are studying the problems of stagnation and inequality? If so, how will she keep faith with the financial elite that isn’t just a source of campaign funds, but in a larger sense is ground zero for the Age of the Clintons?
I have similar questions about how Clinton will fill in the blanks on foreign policy. As I noted in reviewing her memoir “Hard Choices” last June, she can claim that as secretary of state, she understood many crucial international issues sooner than did her erstwhile boss.
Clinton rightly counseled an “orderly” transition away from President Hosni Mubarak in Egypt in 2011, a recommendation that might have averted some of the turmoil of the “Arab Spring.” She famously urged support for the moderate Syrian opposition in 2012, when it might have prevented the rebels’ disastrous slide toward ISIS extremism. And before leaving office in 2013, she wisely advised Obama that a bumpy period was ahead with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
What does this package of sensible foreign policy positions add up to, in terms of a worldview? Will we see a return of the muscular Clinton of her Senate years, whose defense views weren’t very different from those of, say, John McCain? Or will she evolve, distilling lessons from the past several years into a new stance that recognizes limits of U.S. power?
Iran is an example of the Hillary dilemma. She helped start the secret diplomacy that led to the potential nuclear deal. What’s her position now, precisely? That’s more empty space, waiting to be filled by candidate Clinton.
**David Ignatius is published twice weekly by THE DAILY STAR.

Netanyahu: Iran deal shows world hasn’t learned from Holocaust
By TOVAH LAZAROFF/J.Post/04/15/2015
Israel reserves the right to defend itself against a nuclear Iran, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Wednesday night as he compared its regime with that of the Nazis in his address at the annual state Holocaust commemoration at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem. “Even if we are forced to stand alone against Iran, we will not fear. In every circumstance we will preserve our right and our ability to defend ourselves,” Netanyahu said. He spoke just weeks after six world powers – the US, Great Britain, France, Russia, China, and Germany – reached a framework agreement with Iran to curb its nuclear program. Netanyahu used the platform at Yad Vashem to compare that agreement with the concessions the Western world made to the Nazis in the 1930s, before the outbreak of World War II.
Iran seeks to rule the region and destroy the Jewish state just 70 years after the Holocaust, Netanyahu said. But rather than demanding that Tehran significantly dismantle its nuclear weapons program, the world powers have struck an agreement that would leave it with the ability to produce atomic bombs. “Has the world really learned from the incomprehensible, universal and Jewish tragedy of the last century? I wish I could tell you that the answer is yes,” Netanyahu said. The Jews had to pay that price and it was “unbearable,” Netanyahu said. “Six million of our people were slaughtered and tens of millions more were killed in the terrible inferno. “Appeasing tyrannical regimes will only increase their aggression and is an approach that is liable to drag the world into larger wars,” he said. “The bad deal with Iran signals that the lessons of the Holocaust have not been learned.”
In the years prior to World War II, the free world tried to appease the Nazis with concessions, he said. Those who warned that such conciliatory gestures would only increase Hitler’s appetite were cast aside by those who wanted to buy peace at any price, Netanyahu said.
The “‘never again’ pledges” with regard to the Holocaust are meaningless if they are not acted on, Netanyahu said. The prime minister spoke of the growing storm around Israel. The threats to civilization have increased with radical Islamic forces slaughtering innocent people in the region, Netanyahu said. The fanatic regime in Iran is suppressing its own people, and its aggressive actions through the region have “drowned in blood” innocent people in Yemen, Syria, Lebanon, Gaza, and the Golan border, he said. “The Nazis sought to crush civilization and have a master race rule the Earth while destroying the Jewish people. In that same way, Iran seeks to dominate the region and to spread outward from there, with the declared intention of destroying the Jewish state,” he said. Iran has a two-pronged plan of action, he said. The first is to develop its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile capacity. The second is to use terrorism to take over large portions of the Middle East and to impose a Khomeini-style revolution, he said.
“This is clear to the naked eye,” he said. “This is all taking place in broad daylight in front of the cameras. And even so, there is still a great blindness,” he said. The masses in Tehran are calling “Death to the US, death to Israel,” while the world powers have sealed their ears, Netanyahu said. A partnership based on shared threats is possible with many countries in the region, but not Iran, he said. “The determination that stemmed from the bloody lessons of 70 years ago have vanished and have been replaced today by the darkness and fog of reality,” he said. “The civilized world has sunk into a coma” and is “lying on a bed of illusions,” he concluded.