Iran

Down Argentine Way

Featured image Alberto Nisman was about to present the findings of his investigation of the cover-up of Iranian responsibility for the 1994 bombing of the Buenos Aires Jewish community center when he died in January 2015 under mysterious circumstances. The bombing was an act of mass murder; it killed 85 people. Was Nisman himself murdered in turn? We covered the attempts to unravel the circumstances behind his death in a series of »

Israel strikes Iranian base in Syria

Featured image Several Arab media sources have reported that twelve Iranian military personnel were killed in an Israeli air strike on an Iranian base in Syria Friday night. The Jerusalem Post has confirmed the strikes but apparently not the death count. Israel fired the missiles at a base Iran has been building near the Syrian city of ​​al-Qiswa (also spelled al-Kiswah) about 50 kilometers from the Golan Heights. Reportedly, the strike destroyed »

The battle for the lands of the caliphate

Featured image Cliff May, president of the Foundation for Defense of Democracy, argues that territories taken from the Islamic State (ISIS) must not be surrendered to the Islamic Republic (Iran). Such a surrender is almost certain unless President Trump acts to prevent it. The territory in question is in Syria’s Deir Ezzor province, which contains large oil and gas reserves and is adjacent to the Iraqi border. May warns that if Iran’s »

The Saudi purge in context

Featured image Steve has written two insightful posts about what’s going on in Saudi Arabia. Unlike Steve, I have no Saudi sources, nor do I know a lot about that kingdom. However, I’ve seen an assessment that looks right to me. It holds that Saudi Arabia is facing existential threats on at least two fronts: (1) economically, because of the global oil situation (not least American fracking) and a large youth cohort »

From the bin Laden files (2)

Featured image The current issue of the Weekly Standard highlights the release of the bin Laden files that were so jealousy guarded by the Obama administration. Editor in chief Steve Hayes has long called for the release of the documents. He now reports “The big reveal: The story of how 470,000 documents from Osama bin Laden’s compound finally got into the open.” What was the Obama administration hiding? The related editorial explores »

Protests in Iran

Featured image Portions of the Iranian émigré community in the U.S. and France are buzzing about reports of protest activity in Iran. Some are relying on reports from family and friends in Iran; others on various news outlets. Last week, Fox News reported that more than 2,000 people protested outside the country’s parliament. It relied on a report and video from an Iranian opposition group, the National Council of Resistance of Iran »

At FDD’s national security summit

Featured image Last week the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies held a “national security summit” in Washington featuring conversations with CIA Director Mike Pompeo and national security adviser H.R. McMaster. Each was interviewed by an extremely knowledgeable interlocutor: Juan Zarate in the case of Pompeo, Mark Dubowitz in the case of McMaster. For more on the participants, see this page. In the video below Juan Zarate interviews Pompeo. All I can »

The race is on in Syria

Featured image Yesterday, U.S. backed forces seized control of Syria’s biggest oil field. They beat the Syrian government and its foreign allies to the al-Omar field in Deir al-Zour province, a former ISIS stronghold. The U.S. backed forces are Kurds and Arabs fighting under the umbrella of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). They captured the oil field by charging 60 miles through the desert and launching a surprise attack against ISIS. The »

Iran not feeling the love

Featured image CBS News correspondent Elizabeth Palmer scored an interview with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in Tehran to discuss President Trump’s decertification of the Iran deal this past Friday. CBS News reports on the interview here; the transcript is posted here. David Rutz has posted the video excerpt of the interview at the bottom of this post along with his story at the Washington Free Beacon. Palmer also talked about »

Initial thoughts on Trump’s Iran speech: Do all roads lead to a pull-out? [UPDATED]

Featured image President Trump has just given an address that outlines how he plans to proceed against Iran. The two main points are: (1) he will impose new sanctions to punish Iran’s Revolutionary Guard and (2) he will not certify the Iran nuclear deal. The refusal to certify means that Congress has 60 days to act. Trump is asking it to adopt legislation, apparently already formulated, that would remedy the flaws in »

Is war the only alternative to the Iran deal?

Featured image Michael Oren is Israel’s deputy minister for diplomacy and a former Israeli ambassador to the United States. Writing in the New York Times, Oren disputes the argument that “the only alternative to the Iran nuclear deal is war.” Noting that the same argument was made before the Iran deal was reached in 2015, he responds that, now as then, the alternative to the deal isn’t war, but a better deal. »

Decertificaton of the Iran deal without withdrawal: What does it get us?

Featured image I wrote here about the Trump administration’s likely decision to decertify the Iran nuclear deal. In the same post, I quoted reports that Trump was unlikely, decertification notwithstanding, to push Congress to impose on Iran the sanctions we lifted as part of the nuclear deal. It now seems clear that, indeed, Trump will not lobby for reimposing the sanctions. If anything, he is lobbying not to have sanctions renewed. According »

Trump likely to decertify Iran deal; then what?

Featured image All indications are that President Trump next week will decline to certify Iran as in compliance with the nuclear agreement negotiated by former President Obama. So report Eliana Johnson of Politico and Adam Kredo of the Washington Free Beacon, among others. I don’t see how Trump, in good faith, can certify that Iran is complying. Last week the head of the IAEA revealed that his organization can’t verify that Iran »

Omri Ceren: Decertification approaches

Featured image Omri Ceren writes to comment on the Reuters story by Francois Murphy reporting that “IAEA chief calls for clarity on disputed section of Iran nuclear deal.” Omri’s commentary on the story — please check it out — should serve as a preview of coming attractions. He writes: This is pretty close to game over on certification. Condition 1 of Corker-Cardin requires the president to certify “Iran is transparently, verifiably, and »

Valerie Wilson’s war

Featured image Many of us who had long since forgotten Valerie Plame Wilson were not pleased to be reminded of her by means of her anti-Semitic stylings and related lies on Twitter yesterday, explored here by Paul Mirengoff. It was particularly unpleasing to be reminded of her in this fashion on Rosh Hashanah. Is there anything left to be said? I recommend Allahpundit’s Hot Air post and the explanatory context added by »

Trump Moves Against North Korea, Press Is Confused

Featured image Today President Trump issued an executive order that imposes financial sanctions on those who do business with North Korea: President Trump announced new U.S. financial sanctions Thursday that target North Korea and foreign companies or individuals that do business with the rogue nation…. The new penalties seek to leverage the dominance of the U.S. financial system by forcing nations to choose whether to do business with the United States or »

Netanyahu at the U.N.

Featured image Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu said of President Trump’s speech at the U.N today, “In over 30 years in my experience with the UN, I never heard a bolder or more courageous speech.” Netanyahu’s speech to the U.N. wasn’t bad either. You can read it here. Netanyahu began by celebrating Israel’s vastly improved standing in the world: We’re in the midst of a great revolution, a revolution in Israel’s standing among »