Selected articles (February 14, 2020)

PDF-Version: selected 14.2.2020

 

 

 

Selected articles (February 14, 2020)

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1a)

What Is Happening to Assange Will Happen to the Rest of Us

By Chris Hedges

February 10, 2020

What Is Happening to Assange Will Happen to the Rest of Us

„David Morales, the indicted owner of the Spanish private security firm Undercover Global, is being investigated by Spain’s high court for allegedly providing the CIA with audio and video recordings of the meetings WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange had with his attorneys and other visitors when the publisher was in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. […]“

„[…] La Repubblica, like El País, obtained important files, recordings and other information stemming from the UC Global surveillance at the embassy. They include photos of Assange in the embassy and recordings of conversations he had with doctors, journalists, politicians, celebrities and members of his legal team.

“The videos and audio recordings accessed by the Repubblica reveal the extreme violations of privacy that Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks journalists, lawyers, doctors and reporters were subjected to inside the embassy, and represent a shocking case study of the impossibility of protecting journalistic sources and materials in such a hostile environment,” the Italian newspaper wrote. “This espionage operation is particularly shocking if we consider that Assange was protected by asylum, and if we consider that the information gathered will be used by the United States to support his extradition and put him in prison for the crimes for which he is currently charged and for which he risks 175 years in prison: the publication of secret US government documents revealing war crimes and torture, from Afghanistan to Iraq to Guantanamo.” ”

 

1b)

Nils Melzer on the Psychological Torture of Assange & the importance of Individual Action

Febrauary 8, 2020

“In this interview with the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture & Professor of international law at the University of Glasgow, Nils Melzer, we talk about how the U.S. & U.K governments are psychologically torturing Julian Assange and how it is affecting his health. In addition we examine how member states such as Germany have responded to Melzer’s report on the psychological torture of Julian Assange. Lastly we discuss the importance of transparency and why it is a vital ingredient for individual action.

This interview was recorded on the 4th of February 2020 at the Royal National Hotel in London after the public rally for Julian Assange that was organized by the “Don’t Extradite Assange Campaign.””

 

1c)

Imprisoned WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange has been awarded Consortium News’ 2020 Gary Webb Freedom of the Press Award for courage in the face of an unprecedented attack on press freedom.

By Joe Lauria

February 10, 2020

Julian Assange Wins 2020 Gary Webb Freedom of the Press Award

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2a)

Mismanaging the Challenge: Responding to the Rise of China

By Robert Ross

February 10, 2020

Mismanaging the Challenge: Responding to the Rise of China

 „[…] The authors seem to believe that the United States remains the world’s sole great power and that it can readily persuade other countries to support its efforts to contain China. As is de rigeur in the contemporary policy debate, the report calls for the United States to strengthen its security partnerships in East Asia. But longstanding U.S. security partners in East Asia have made clear that they have no intention to take sides in U.S.-China strategic cooperation. Nor will they slow their economic cooperation with China, including participation in China’s Belt and Road Initiative and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) to secure much needed infrastructure assistance.  Asian countries are fully aware that the United States is no longer the region’s strategic or economic hegemon and that a bipolar East Asia requires greater security and economic cooperation with China. Trying harder will not sustain the U.S. alliance system. […]“

 

2b)

China, Iran and North Korea Are Almost Encircled by 500 US Military Bases

By Shane Quinn

February 7, 2020

China, Iran and North Korea Are Almost Encircled by 500 US Military Bases

„[…] The mass media, often echoing the Democratic Party stance in America, have been focusing on the wrong issues in a self-serving and ill-judged effort to discredit Trump. The attempts in linking him to Moscow have been disingenuous for the most part, routinely overlooking Bill Clinton’s blatant interference in the 1996 Russian presidential elections – Clinton, while dining at the Kremlin on 21 April 1996, actually informed Russia’s electorate they had better vote the right way, that is for Washington’s proxy incumbent Boris Yeltsin, or otherwise there would be “consequences” (2).

Broadly speaking, the press have avoided mentioning the greatest dangers posed by Trump’s presidency: Growing possibility of nuclear war with Russia or China as weapons treaties are abandoned, along with his administration’s contempt for the environment and climate change.

Under Trump, there has been an ongoing rise too in military expenditure (described ironically as “defence spending”) with many hundreds of billions of dollars forked out each year, dwarfing China’s arms expenses in second place, with Russia barely featuring (3). It is quite a defensive operation that the Pentagon has been pursuing with three of its main adversaries, China, Iran and North Korea, almost surrounded by about 500 US military bases. […]“

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3)

Why the Cold War Containment Model Doesn’t Apply to the Middle East

By Paul R. Pillar

February 10, 2020

Why the Cold War Containment Model Doesn’t Apply to the Middle East

„[… ] Although the global power structure of the Cold War era was predominantly bipolar, the Middle East of today is not. Contrary to Green’s assertion, power and interests in that region are not organized neatly into an Iran-led Shia crescent versus an alliance of Israel and some Sunni Arab states. Painting such a picture is partly an American habit of dividing the world into good guys and bad guys and partly a wish among those who want to attribute all the ills of the region to Iran.

The regional reality is far more complex. Cross-cutting conflicts that do not correspond to the oversimplified bipolar picture are significant enough to motivate regimes and rile streets. Those conflicts manifest themselves in, among other things, the Gulf Arab ostracism of Qatar, the external interventions in the current war in Libya, and the continued resonance of the Israeli-Palestinian dispute, as reflected in the Arab League’s recent unanimous rejection of the Trump administration’s “peace plan” on the subject. […]“

„[…] A final and glaring problem with trying to apply the Cold War experience, as it relates to containment or anything else, to current policy issues in the Middle East concerns the magnitude and nature of the Cold War. It was an ideologically defined struggle for global dominance between two nuclear-armed superpowers. Nothing remotely resembling that characterizes the Middle East of today, especially with regard to anything that impinges on, or poses a threat to, U.S. interests.

Iran is a mid-size nation-state that is a significant player in its own region but not a global factor militarily or ideologically. To treat it as a second coming of the USSR and make it a fixation of U.S. policy is an insult to the United States’ own global stature and significance.[…]“

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4a)

Israeli Blocking of Palestinian Exports to Jordan Shows Reality of Apartheid that the Kushner Plan Would Only Cement

By Juan Cole

February 12, 2020

Israeli Blocking of Palestinian Exports to Jordan Shows Reality of Apartheid that the Kushner Plan Would Only Cement

 „The Israeli government blockade on Palestinian agricultural exports through Jordan on Sunday illustrates the Apartheid character of Israeli rule over the Palestinians. Palestinian trucks loaded with produce were stopped by quickly-erected Israeli blast walls and forbidden to head into Jordan. The Palestine-Jordan trade in commodities such as vegetables, fruits, olives, olive oil, and dates is worth some $100 million a year. […]“

 

4b)

Kissing International Law Goodbye to Satisfy Israeli Greed

‘Passionate Zionist’ Boris Johnson and his lieutenants speak with forked tongue on Palestinian rights and sovereignty. And the small matter of justice simply isn’t in their playbook.

By Staur Littlewood

February 10, 2020

https://ahtribune.com/world/europe/uk/3878-satisfy-israeli-greed.html

”Palestinian chiefs say that Trump’s so-called peace plan contains 300 violations of international law and they will take it up with the Security Council. That’s nearly two violations per page. Given the document was put together by America and Israel, both lawless and criminal to the core, no-one is surprised. It is a brazen expression of criminal intent from start to finish. […]”

 

4c)

Sheldon Adelson to donate $100m to Trump and Republicans, fundraisers say

Billionaire casino magnate, a staunchly pro-Israel conservative, expected to give to Super Pacs and ‘dark money’ groups

By Peter Stone

February 10, 2020

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/feb/10/sheldon-adelson-trump-donation-republicans-congress

„[…] With a net worth that Forbes pegs at $39bn, Adelson has long championed several of the hardline pro-Israel moves that Trump has made, including relocating the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and ditching the Iran nuclear deal signed by the Obama administration.

Last month, the Adelsons were at the White House for the unveiling of Trump’s Middle East peace plan, which Palestinians and most Arab countries rejected as too favorable to Israel but Trump dubbed the “deal of the century”. […]“

At an inaugural gala, Trump praised the Adelsons, thanking them for ponying up $120m to help his campaign and other GOP candidates in 2016, say two attendees at the event.

Trump has also recognized Adelson’s largesse in some private meetings and periodic phone talks.The day before Trump announced in May 2018 that the US was pulling out of the nuclear accord with Iran, Adelson flew into DC from his home in Las Vegas and met privately with Trump and a few top aides, including the vice-president, Mike Pence, and the then national security adviser, John Bolton, with whom Adelson had strong ties.

A few days later, Adelson was in Jerusalem with a few dozen fellow board members of the RJC and some top Trump aides, including Jared Kushner, to celebrate the official ceremony marking the US embassy move to Jerusalem, a top priority for Adelson and the RJC. […]”

 

4d)

President Donald J. Trump’s Vision for Peace, Prosperity, and a Brighter Future for Israel and the Palestinian People

Peace to Prosperity

A Vision to Improve the Lives of the Palestinian and Israeli People

January 28, 2020

https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/president-donald-j-trumps-vision-peace-prosperity-brighter-future-israel-palestinian-people/

„We are not here to lecture—we are not here to tell other people how to live, what to do, who to be, or how to worship. Instead, we are here to offer partnership – based on shared interests and values – to pursue a better future for us all. […]“

 

View the full plan: https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/Peace-to-Prosperity-0120.pdf

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5)

Trump’s ‘Maximum Pressure’ on Iran Exposes How Little the U.S. has Done for Iraq’s Economy

By Esfandyar Batmanghelidj

February 10, 2020

Trump’s ‘Maximum Pressure’ on Iran Exposes How Little the U.S. has Done for Iraq’s Economy

„[…] While Iraqi officials insist that they should not be forced to choose between the United States and Iran, the recent growth in Iranian trade and investment ties points to a cooperative vision for economic development that American policymakers appear to lack. Rather than advance American interests through greater support for the Iraqi economy, the Trump administration has fixated solely on the denial of Iranian interests. As a consequence, even if the administration succeeds in advancing its “maximum pressure” strategy by expelling Iranian firms from Iraq, it remains totally ill-equipped to compensate for the serious harm that will be inflicted on Iraq at a time when the country is gripped by economic protests. Absent a considered strategy to support regional economic development, the United States is bound to remain mired in a forever war with both Iraq and Iran.“

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6a)

Exclusive: New leaks shatter OPCW’s attacks on Douma whistleblowers

By Aaron Maté

February 11, 2020

Exclusive: New leaks shatter OPCW’s attacks on Douma whistleblowers

“Facing accusations that it issued a doctored report alleging a chemical attack in Syria, the OPCW has released an inquiry attacking two whistleblowers as rogue actors. Leaked documents obtained by The Grayzone reveal serious distortions in the OPCW inquiry as well as a campaign of intimidation against internal dissenters. […]”

 

6b)

Statement to a Meeting during the OPCW Conference of States Parties or to an Arriaformula Meeting of the UNSC

By Ian Hendeson

January 18, 2020

https://thegrayzone.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/Henderson-Testimony-UN.pdf

“This statement is presented as a narrative that describes the experiences of an OPCW inspector, during and after the Fact-Finding Mission that deployed to Douma in the Syrian Arab Republic in response to the alleged chemical attack on 7 April 2018. The statement was prepared in response to requests from multiple delegations that advised the author that they needed input from him on the matter […]”

 

 

6c)

SYRIA IMPOSES THE ASTANA DEAL BY FORCE, AS TURKISH-RUSSIAN TENSIONS RISE

By Elijah J Magnier

February 11, 2020

Syria imposes the Astana deal by force, as Turkish-Russian tensions rise

“[…] It is a new strategic turn in the Syrian war that Maarrat al-Nu’man, Khan Touman, Saraqeb, Tel el-Eiss, Rashedeen 4&5 are now liberated. It is an indication that Turkey will find it hard to protect its jihadists in the long run. The stability of Syria requires the liberation of its entire territory. Syrian stability is in the interest of Russia and its national security objectives. Russia walked into the Levant to stop the war. Its credibility is on the line. It has a large naval base offering unique access to the Mediterranean. It is also in the interests of Russia to eliminate al-Qaeda and all groups adhering to their takfiri ideology, notwithstanding their different priorities and names. The Uzbeks and Uighur jihadists in the Levant have no place to go and are expected to fight to the last man.

Turkey is showing its teeth to Russia by refusing to recognise Russian sovereignty of Crimea and offering 33$ billion to Ukraine in arms. Turkey is aiming for a more effective and recognised role in Libya where the central government is officially requesting Ankara’s support. However, the situation in Syria is different. Turkey knows its presence in Syria cannot last for long, and that the liberation of Idlib, even if it is not on the agenda today, will happen soon. It is only a question of time.[…]”

“[…] Russia and Iran are playing an important role in easing Turkish-Syrian tensions, but the bottom line is full Turkish withdrawal from Syria.

Turkey has bought the S-400 from Russia and the Turkstream pipeline was officially launched last month to reduce Russian shipments via Ukraine. On the other hand, Turkey is also a NATO ally with a powerful US military base on its borders. Turkey will find it hard to strike a balance between the two superpowers and at the same time protect its jihadists in Syria. The time for Turkey to weigh up its options is near.”

 

6d)

Syria – Turkey Invades Idleb But Its Bluff Will Be Called

Moon of Alabama

February 10, 2020

https://www.moonofalabama.org/2020/02/syria-turkey-invades-idleb-but-its-bluff-will-be-called.html#more

„[…] The aim of the current campaign is to regain control over the M5 highway between Damascus and Aleppo city and the M4 highway between Latakia and Aleppo. These highways are of importance for the revival of Syria’s economy.

It was originally Turkey’s task to guarantee free civilian traffic on both highways. The Sochi Memorandum of Understanding (pdf) between Turkey and Russia, signed on September 17 2018, provides (machine translated):

  1. A demilitarized zone with a depth of 15-20 km will be created in the de-escalation zone.
  2. The specific passage of the lines defining the demilitarized zone will be agreed upon in the course of further consultations.
  3. All radical terrorist groups will be withdrawn from the demilitarized zone by October 15, 2018.
  4. All tanks, artillery, MLRS and mortars of the conflicting parties will be withdrawn from the demilitarized zone by October 10, 2018.
  5. The Armed Forces of the Republic of Turkey and the military police of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation will carry out coordinated patrols and monitoring using unmanned aerial vehicles in the demilitarized zone.
  6. In the interests of ensuring free movement of local residents and goods, as well as restoring trade and economic ties, transit traffic along the routes M4 (Aleppo-Latakia) and M5 (Aleppo-Hama) will be restored before the end of 2018.

None of these points were ever fulfilled by Turkey.

Idleb is still under control of the al-Qaeda aligned Hayat Tahrir al Shams (HTS) which has continued to attack Syrian government positions as well as civilian targets. HTS is internationally recognized as a terrorist organization, including by Turkey. But Turkey has done nothing to remove it. It instead provides the organization with weapons and other supplies. […]“

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7)

US Sanctions Venezuelan State Airline, Threatens Russian Oil Giant

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov rejected the sanctions regime as “outrageous.”

By Paul Dobson

February 12, 2020

US Sanctions Venezuelan State Airline, Threatens Russian Oil Giant

„The US government has sanctioned Venezuela’s state-owned airline CONVIASA, claiming it is being used to “shuttle corrupt officials.” While already subject to previous US unilateral coercive measures, the latest sanctions add the airline and 40 of its planes to the US Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control’s Specially Designated Nationals List so as “to ensure strengthened compliance.” […]“

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8a)

Was U.S. Wrong About Attack That Nearly Started a War With Iran?

Iraqi military and intelligence officials have raised doubts about who fired the rockets that started a dangerous spiral of events.

By Alissa J. Rubin

February 6, 2020

„[…]  Iraqi officials say their doubts are based on circumstantial evidence and long experience in the area where the attack took place. The rockets were launched from a Sunni Muslim part of Kirkuk Province notorious for attacks by the Islamic State, a Sunni terrorist group, which would have made the area hostile territory for a Shiite militia like Khataib Hezbollah. Khataib Hezbollah has not had a presence in Kirkuk Province since 2014. The Islamic State, however, had carried out three attacks relatively close to the base in the 10 days before the attack on K-1. Iraqi intelligence officials sent reports to the Americans in November and December warning that ISIS intended to target K-1, an Iraqi air base in Kirkuk Province that is also used by American forces. […]“

 

8b)

The United Nations needs to get involved in the US-Iran standoff.

By Jalil Bayat

February 12, 2020

The United Nations needs to get involved in the US-Iran standoff.

„[…] Even though the EU, China, and Russia have spent the past 21 months criticizing the U.S. withdrawal from the nuclear deal, in practice they have been unable to create the conditions for Iran to reap its economic benefits. Banks and private businesses are unwilling to work with Iran for fear of U.S. secondary sanctions and punitive measures. As such, it seems the EU, China, and Russia should now take a step towards enforcing the U.N. “Uniting for peace” resolution.

The resolution has already been used ten times and resolves that if the Security Council fails to maintain international peace and security when one of its permanent members uses its power of veto in cases of threat against peace, breach of peace, or act of aggression, the General Assembly will immediately consider the matter and make recommendations to its members. […]“

 

8c)

Iran’s nuclear chief: U.S. JCPOA move undermining diplomacy

Tehran Times

February 11, 2020

https://www.tehrantimes.com/news/445049/Iran-s-nuclear-chief-U-S-JCPOA-move-undermining-diplomacy

„[…] EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell has said that Europe must ensure Iran’s benefits from the nuclear deal if it wants the deal to survive. “If we want the Iran nuclear deal to survive, we need to ensure that Iran benefits if it returns to full compliance,” he wrote in an article in the Project Syndicate published on Saturday. Borrell visited Iran on Feb. 3. He held talks with Foreign Minister Zarif, President Rouhani and Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani. Elsewhere in his speech, Salehi said as a member state to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), Iran maintains that in line with Article IV of the NPT, nothing “shall be interpreted as affecting the inalienable right of all the parties to the treaty to develop research, production, and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes without discrimination.“ […]“

 

8d)

Speech of Ali Akbar Salehi, the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), during the International Conference on Nuclear Security in Vienna

It’s Time for Europe to Play Its Role in Saving JCPOA: Iran

By IFP Editorial Staff

February 11, 2020

It’s Time for Europe to Play Its Role in Saving JCPOA: Iran

 

8e)

Absence of US sanctions on Iran’s healthcare is ‘a lie’

By Maysam Bizaer

February 10, 2020

https://www.trtworld.com/magazine/absence-of-us-sanctions-on-iran-s-healthcare-is-a-lie-33663

“Washington claims imports of medicine are exempted, but the ground reality says the opposite, as tens of thousands of Iranians in need of emergency medical care are slowly inching towards death. […]“

 

8f)

How Donald Trump can max-out ‘Maximum Pressure’ on Iran

Sanctions loopholes must be closed. Fortunately, it is possible to address these in a manner that would pressure the Iranian regime without harming the Iranian people, the majority of whom chafe under the clerical regime.

By Michael Rubin

The American Enterprise Institute

February 12, 2020

How Donald Trump can max-out ‘Maximum Pressure’ on Iran

„[…] U.S. concern about the Islamic Republic’s nuclear ambitions and its ballistic missile work may be the stuff of headlines, but Iran’s industry is broader, and the applications from other high-technology sectors can also augment Iran’s programs. It would be a mistake to ignore niche Iranian industries today, because they form the basis of asymmetric capabilities which the Iranian leadership will not hesitate to deploy or export tomorrow. It is time to undermine the building blocks of Iran’s next-generation military-industrial ambition.“

 

8g)

Shamkhani phones Ukrainian counterpart over January plane crash investigations

Tehran Times

February 11, 2020

https://www.tehrantimes.com/news/445051/Shamkhani-phones-Ukrainian-counterpart-over-January-plane-crash

„Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Ali Shamkhani, in a phone conversation on Monday, briefed his Ukrainian counterpart Alexei Danilov over the ongoing investigations into the passenger plan that was mistakenly downed by Iran’s air defense on January 8. […] He invited his Ukrainian counterpart to visit Tehran for the joint investigations regarding the incident by the national security agencies of the two countries. “Achieving a mutual technical assessment can yield the final result on this case in a professional and non-political environment.” […]“

 

8h)

More Than 100 Troops Have Brain Injuries From Iran Missile Strike, Pentagon Says

The number of troops injured has steadily increased since the Jan. 8 attack.

By Mihir Zaveri

February 10, 2020

„More than 100 American service members have traumatic brain injuries from Iranian airstrikes on Al Asad Air Base in Iraq in January, the Defense Department said, a number that was more than 50 percent higher than previously disclosed. Of the 109 troops who have been diagnosed with brain injuries, 76 had returned to duty, officials said Monday. […]“

 

8i)

After the Deal: A New Iran Strategy

SPEECH

MICHAEL R. POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE

WASHINGTON, DC

THE HERITAGE FOUNDATION

MAY 21, 2018

After the Deal: A New Iran Strategy

„[…] So what should it be? We must begin to define what it is that we demand from Iran. First, Iran must declare to the IAEA a full account of the prior military dimensions of its nuclear program, and permanently and verifiably abandon such work in perpetuity. Second, Iran must stop enrichment and never pursue plutonium reprocessing. This includes closing its heavy water reactor. Third, Iran must also provide the IAEA with unqualified access to all sites throughout the entire country. Iran must end its proliferation of ballistic missiles and halt further launching or development of nuclear-capable missile systems. Iran must release all U.S. citizens, as well as citizens of our partners and allies, each of them detained on spurious charges. Iran must end support to Middle East terrorist groups, including Lebanese Hizballah, Hamas, and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Iran must respect the sovereignty of the Iraqi Government and permit the disarming, demobilization, and reintegration of Shia militias. Iran must also end its military support for the Houthi militia and work towards a peaceful political settlement in Yemen. Iran must withdraw all forces under Iranian command throughout the entirety of Syria. Iran, too, must end support for the Taliban and other terrorists in Afghanistan and the region, and cease harboring senior al-Qaida leaders. Iran, too, must end the IRG Qods Force’s support for terrorists and militant partners around the world. And too, Iran must end its threatening behavior against its neighbors – many of whom are U.S. allies. This certainly includes its threats to destroy Israel, and its firing of missiles into Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. It also includes threats to international shipping and destructive – and destructive cyberattacks. […]

 

 

 

 

8j)

Sanctions Are Not an Alternative to War

Economic warfare hurts innocent people in Iran and beyond.

By Keyvan Shafiei

February 5, 2020

https://prospect.org/world/iran-us-sanctions-not-an-alternative-to-war/

„[…] That said, the notion that sanctions promote peace is central to the thinking of mainstream American foreign policy, and thus a difficult one to challenge. But practical and moral appraisals of this idea suggest that such measures fail more often than they succeed, and that in the process they produce humanitarian crises that injure everyday, working-class people. The story of my family attests to the price that innocent citizens often pay under the pressures of economic sanctions. But it is also extremely dubious that sanctions serve the practical ends that they are supposed to. Addressing these failures, and ensuring that we don’t repeat them, requires that we propound a coherent leftist foreign policy that rejects the use of economic sanctions, emphasizing in their place the need for multilateral cooperation and dialogue.“

 

8k)

Iran says foils cyberattack targeting internet providers

Author AFP

February 8, 2020

https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/contents/afp/2020/02/iran-internet.html

„Iran repelled a cyberattack on Saturday that disrupted the country’s internet services for an hour, a telecommunications ministry official said. […]“

 

8l)

Rouhani faces winter of Iran’s discontent

Week in Review

Al-Monitor

February 7, 2020

https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2020/02/iran-winter-discontent-trump-talks-election-khamenei-rouhani.html

„Iran’s parliamentary elections on Feb. 21 are already a done deal. The 12-member Guardian Council, which vets candidates and legislation to assure revolutionary, constitutional and Islamic orthodoxy — and the prerogatives of Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei — have assured a victory for the hard-liners and a massive setback for Reformists.

The question is whether Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and the Reformist camp can win by losing: that is, by rallying popular discontent on the outside, as an opposition party, ahead of the presidential election next year. And whether Rouhani, with nothing to lose, would be willing to finally explore US President Donald Trump’s longstanding offer to talk about a deal. […]“

 

8m)

MEMBERS OF CONGRESS MET WITH IRANIAN ANTI-REGIME ACTIVIST WHO GAVE $280K TO GOP

By Eli Lee

February 5, 2020

Members of Congress Met with Iranian Anti-Regime Activist Who Gave $280k to GOP

„Last November, eight members of the House and Senate met privately with a representative of a group that advocates for the “overthrow of the Islamic Republic in Iran.” Six of these members of Congress had received maximum contributions from the regime-change activist during the previous election; two of them, Senators Ted Cruz and Marsha Blackburn, sit on the powerful Senate Foreign Relations and Armed Services Committees, respectively.

The access granted to this donor, who has given a total of nearly $280,000 to Republican Party campaigns and committees since 2018, despite never having given contributions in the past, shows the degree to which members of Congress can allow deep-pocketed donors to weigh in on even the most delicate issues, such as Iran policy. It also sheds light on who has the ear of American officials regarding Iran as relations between the two countries reach their tensest point in years. […]“

 

8n)

VOA PERSIAN AWARDED JOURNALISM CONTRACT TO CONTROVERSIAL FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN OPERATIVE

By Lee Fang

January 7, 2020

https://theintercept.com/2020/01/07/voa-persian-iran-trump-conflict-of-interest/

„NICK MUZIN, a controversial Republican lobbyist and loyalist to President Donald Trump, holds a contract to provide programming services for Voice of America Persian, the American government-backed media outlet set up to produce journalistic content for the Iranian community around the world. […]“

 

8o)

IRGC Aerospace Forces Commander’s debriefing about Iran’s strike against Al-Assad US Airbase

Press conference by the Commander of the Aerospace Forces of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), Ali Hajizadeh, on January 10, devoted to the Iranian strikes against al-Assad US Airbase.

Original Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HSrTi0YY6XY

Translation published on February 13, 2020

IRGC Aerospace Forces Commander’s debriefing about Iran’s strike against Al-Assad US Airbase

 

8p)

Senate Votes To Claw Back War Powers With Help Of 8 GOP Senators

The measure seeks to reassert Congress’s constitutional authority over any action against Iran.

By Barbara Boland

Febraury 13, 2020

Senate Votes to Claw Back War Powers With Help of 8 GOP Senators

„On Thursday eight Senate Republicans joined with Democrats to claw back Congress’ mandate on matters of war and peace. In a vote of 55-45, the Senate passed a measure that would require the President to seek congressional authorization before taking military action against Iran. The measure seeks to reassert Congress’s constitutional oversight of war, which for decades has languished as lawmakers from both parties have ceded those powers to the executive with little fanfare, say the measure’s supporters. […] President Trump is expected to veto the measure. […]“

 

8q)

Iran kicks off parliamentary election campaign

By Al-Monitor Staff

February 13, 2020

https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2020/02/iran-parliament-election-campaign-disqualifications-tehran.html

„Campaigning for Iran’s parliament election has officially begun and will last only one week. […]“

 

8r)

Iran Foils Major Cyber Attack from US: Official.

February 14, 2020

https://www.tasnimnews.com/en/news/2020/02/14/2202663/iran-foils-major-cyber-attack-from-us-official

„Head of Iran’s Civil Defense Organization Brigadier General Gholam Reza Jalali said the recent large-scale cyber attack targeting the country’s infrastructure carried out by the US government has been foiled. […]“