Iran-Russia Alliance Becomes Bigger Danger
AS IRAN-RUSSIA ALLIANCE GROWS, TEHRAN BECOMES BIGGER DANGER TO MIDDLE EAST – ANALYSIS: Reports over the weekend shed light on the growing Iran-Russia alliance. The US is now more interested in this partnership because Iran has supplied drones to Russia. However, the recent developments appear to relate to Russia providing Iran with more defense technology.
The reports over the weekend said that the Iran-Russia alliance now relates to Russia providing “unprecedented” support for Iran, according to US national security council spokesman John Kirby. This could now include Russia offering military and technical support to Iran, which might increase risk to US partners in the Middle East. The obvious target is Israel. Iran has already been using proxies, such as Hezbollah, to threaten Israel for years. Iran has also increasingly used drones as a threat and exported not only precision-guided munitions to Hezbollah in Lebanon, but also moved militias and weapons into Syria and Iraq. This includes ballistic missiles, air defenses and other systems, such as drones. The Iranian support for Russia came as a surprise earlier in 2022. Initial reports of Iran sending drones to Russia seemed odd, because Russia is the senior partner in the Iran-Russia relationship. (JPost / VFI News)
SAUDI FOREIGN MINISTER: IF IRAN GETS A NUCLEAR WEAPON – ALL BETS ARE OFF: Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister, Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud, said on Sunday, December 11, that Iran’s Gulf Arab neighbors would act to shore up their security if Tehran were to obtain nuclear weapons, British media reported.
“If Iran gets an operational nuclear weapon, all bets are off,” Prince Faisal said in an on-stage interview at the World Policy Conference in Abu Dhabi when asked about such a scenario.
“We are in a very dangerous space in the region…you can expect that regional states will certainly look towards how they can ensure their own security,” he added. “The signs right now are not very positive unfortunately,” Prince Faisal said, adding, “We hear from the Iranians that they have no interest in a nuclear weapons program, it would be very comforting to be able to believe that. We need more assurance on that level.” Saudi Arabia, which is Iran’s regional foe, has long spoken out against the Islamic Republic’s attempts to acquire nuclear weapons. During the negotiations between Iran and world powers on the 2015 nuclear deal, Saudi Arabia and other major Sunni states expressed concern over a deal which would allow Iran to produce nuclear weapons – a position which placed them very close to Israel’s position on the matter. (INN / VFI News)
REPORT: ISRAEL WARNS WILL BOMB BEIRUT AIRPORT IF IT’S USED FOR IRAN WEAPON SHIPMENTS: Israel has warned Lebanon that it could bomb Beirut’s international airport, according to one report made Saturday, December 10, after an earlier report that claimed Iran had recently transferred weaponry to the Hezbollah terror group via civilian flights.
An Arabic-language newspaper published in London, cited unidentified Israeli political sources as saying Israel was investigating claims made by a Saudi-funded Arabic media outlet, that Iran recently smuggled weapons through Beirut International Airport. According to the report, Israel has warned the Lebanese government that it could strike the airport if it is indeed used for smuggling attempts. The Israeli Air Force has admitted to conducting strikes in Syrian territory, targeting Iranian shipments of weapons meant for the Lebanese terror group to use against Israel. The IAF has largely abstained from conducting raids inside Lebanon itself, though it has indicated that it was prepared to do so. Citing unnamed sources, Arabic media said Thursday that Tehran had used the airline Meraj, which recently started flying a direct route between the two nations’ capitals, to transfer weapons to Hezbollah. (TOI / VFI News)
UN SAYS ISRAEL MUST GIVE UP NUCLEAR WEAPONS IN LOPSIDED VOTE: The United Nations General Assembly affirmed that Israel must give up its nuclear weapons in a 149-6 vote taken on Wednesday, December 7.
An earlier version of the text was approved in the UNGA’s Fifth Committee in October with a 152-5 vote. Ukraine had voted against Israel in the Fifth Committee, but this time around was absent from the proceedings after it had been criticized for standing against Israel.
Those who opposed the resolution were: Canada, Israel, Micronesia, Palau and the United States. Liberia, which had been absent from the vote in October, changed its position and opposed the text. Another 26 countries, including India and many European states, abstained from the resolution which is part of an annual package of over 15 anti-Israel and pro-Palestinian texts the UNGA approves. The Jewish state is believed to be the only one of nine countries to possess nuclear weapons and the only one in the region, even though it has never admitted to having such an arsenal. The resolution presumes that Israel has such weapons. It calls on Israel to “not to develop, produce, test or otherwise acquire nuclear weapons” and to “renounce possession of nuclear weapons.” The resolution was put forward by the Palestinian Authority and 20 countries, including Israel’s allies in the Middle East such as Egypt, Jordan, Bahrain, Morocco, Sudan and the United Arab Emirates. (JPost / VFI News)
CHINA OPENS ‘POLICE STATION’ TO SPY ON CITIZENS IN ISRAEL – REPORT: China has opened a police station in Israel to spy on Chinese nationals abroad, according to the NGO Safeguard Defenders. The station is one of 110 around the world cited by the Madrid-based organization, which seeks to support civil society groups and human-rights lawyers in Asia.
The latest update to the list of “stations” includes an unknown location of the Nantong Police. Safeguard Defenders cited a news report from Chinese media on April 29, 2020, describing a meeting between the Nantong Police and Overseas Chinese Linkage Service Centers in which “Xu Weisong from the Israeli workstation,” among others, participated. “The Nantong City Overseas Police and Overseas Chinese Linkage Service Center is an important link between Nantong and the international community and safeguards the rights and interests of Nantong overseas,” the report said. The police stations, most of which are in Europe, are used to harass and silence Chinese nationals and dissidents living abroad and to persuade them to return to China, Safeguard Defenders said. Officially, these “service stations” exist to help Chinese residents or tourists in given countries, as part of a diaspora association. However, these stations may have an alternative role: the persuasion of certain Chinese nationals to return to China. Safeguard Defenders cited specific examples of how these Chinese stations in Spain and Serbia persuaded Chinese nationals to return home. (JPost / VFI News)
MOROCCO’S MUSLIM KING CALLED ON JEWS TO PRAY FOR RAIN. RAIN CAME: As per Jewish law, on Saturday night, Jews in Morocco began inserting a section in their prayers for rain. Normally a custom marked only inside synagogues, this year’s prayers for precipitation came at the behest of Morocco’s King Mohammed VI, who turned to the Jews to save his nation from drought.
Remarkably, the prayers were answered within a few hours. Moroccan media reported that the king’s request from the Jews came in response to an ongoing drought. The Moroccan king’s request coincided with Jewish custom, in which Jews outside of Israel began praying for rain on the night of December 4. Responding to the king’s plea, the Council of Israelite Communities in Morocco, or CCIM, published a statement in which it “invites worshipers to pray in all the synagogues of the kingdom” so that God may “spare our country and help His Highness the King.” Heavy rain began falling in Casablanca on Sunday, just a few hours after Morocco’s Jews began praying for rain. Jewish tradition describes prayers for rain as responses to stubborn challenges in the face of the divine.
SHIN BET ARRESTS HAMAS OPERATIVE WHO GATHERED INTEL IN ISRAEL: Hamas officials in the Gaza Strip employed him to carry out various missions within Israel, during which he held meetings to promote terrorist activity, as well as to gather intelligence about Shin Bet agents.
Sabar Mahmoud Yousef Abu Thabat, a 28-year-old resident of Deir al-Balah was arrested for questioning in November at the Erez crossing, while trying to enter Israel from Gaza.
According to the Shin Bet, Abu Thabat, who had a permit to enter Israel for commercial purposes, held several meetings with Hamas operatives at the Beit Hanoun crossing to “promote terror activity and collect intelligence information.” The agency said that among the tasks that Hamas asked him to carry out was to reveal the identity of Shin Bet agents and to gather intelligence on sites in Israel. During his investigation, the Shin Bet said that he provided intelligence about the operating methods of the terror group’s intelligence apparatus, including the identity of agents, the location of tunnels, as well as stockpiles of weapons and military locations where the group operates. The Shin Bet said that Abu Thabat “took advantage of his stays in Israel, which were intended to give him the opportunity to work in Israel and provide for his family, for the benefit of providing intelligence information to his Hamas operatives and with full awareness of the implications.” (JPost / VFI News)
ISRAEL IS 5TH SAFEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD FOR TOURISTS – STUDY: Surrounded by a drumbeat of negative news about Israel, a recent survey on the least and most safe travel destinations around the world, by a US insurance comparison website may come as a jaw-dropping surprise.
According to this study, Israel is the fifth safest among the 50 countries in the world most widely visited by tourists. And here you thought that all those studies and surveys that consistently place Israel among the top 10 happiest countries in the world were counterintuitive? If we kvetch so much, one might ask, how can we be happy? Yet study after study, year after year, shows that we are; that in terms of happiness, we are right up there with New Zealand and a bevy of Northern European countries that are the happiest in the world.
The study – based on data culled from reports put out by numerous organizations such as the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, the World Health Organization, the World Bank, Our World in Data and the WorldRiskReport – came up with a “travel safety index” based on several per capita criteria: the number of homicide deaths, road traffic deaths, unintentional poisoning deaths, death from poor hygiene conditions, life years lost due to communicable disease, life years lost due to injury and a country’s likelihood to be hit by a natural disaster. Death or injury as a result of acts of terror, it is assumed, falls under either the homicide or life years lost to injury categories. Israel’s overall safety index was -60.22, giving it a grade of A. Only Switzerland, the Netherlands, Denmark and Singapore were considered safer, with the last two countries earning an A+ grade. (JPost / VFI News)
The suggestions, opinions and scripture references made by VFI writers and editors are based on the best information received.
Blessings from Jerusalem,
Barry Segal with the Editorial Staff