Sunday, August 13, 2017

More Steps Towards Gog-Magog: Vacuum Left By ISIS Retreat To Allow Iran To Have 'Land Bridge' To Lebanon

Iran filling vacuum left by IS retreat in Syria, Iraq, Mossad chief warns

The head of the Mossad warned Sunday that as the Islamic State terrorist group is beaten back, Iran and its proxies are rushing in to take over its territory.

“The areas where Daesh [an Arabic term for IS] presence is decreasing, Iran is working to fill the void,” Mossad chief Yossi Cohen said during a security briefing to cabinet ministers on Sunday.

In late 2014, the terrorist group controlled approximately 100,000 square kilometers (38,610 square miles) of territory in western Iraq and eastern Syria, according to the US-based RAND Corporation think tank. (The group also controlled an additional 10,000 square kilometers in Nigeria, Libya, Afghanistan and Egypt.) It started losing ground in 2015 and currently controls less than half that area, or some 36,200 square kilometers (14,000 square miles), according to the IHS Conflict Monitor intelligence think tank.

Israeli security officials have warned that Tehran may use the area of western Iraq and eastern Syria as a “land bridge” connecting the Islamic Republic to Lebanon, through which it can move fighters and weaponry.

Cohen said Iran is also taking over territory for itself and its proxies in Lebanon and Yemen.

The Mossad chief noted that in the two years since the signing of the Iran nuclear deal, known formally as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, Tehran has not abandoned its desire to develop nuclear weapons, and that the agreement “only reinforced that trend and strengthened Iranian aggression in the region.”

The JCPOA came under considerable criticism in Israel for its failure to address Iran’s disruptive non-nuclear activities, and for what Israeli officials described as legitimizing the regime in Tehran and its activities in the region.

During his presentation to the ministers, Cohen said Iran was now enjoying economic growth and international contracts in the deal’s wake.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded to Cohen’s presentation by noting “that Israel is in no way beholden to international treaties signed by Iran,” the Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement.
The Prime Minister’s Office added that “Israel will continue to operate with determination and in a variety of ways in order to protect itself from those threats.”

Iran’s parliament voted Sunday to allocate $520 million to develop its missile program to fight Washington’s “adventurism” and sanctions, and to boost the foreign operations of the country’s Revolutionary Guards.

“The Americans should know that this was our first action,” said speaker Ali Larijani, after announcing an overwhelming majority vote for a package “to confront terrorist and adventurist actions by the United States in the region.”

A total of 240 lawmakers voted for the bill, out of the 244 parliamentarians present.

The vote came after fresh US sanctions in July against Iran, targeting Tehran’s missile program.

“The bill is backed by the foreign ministry and the government and is part of measures by the JCPOA supervision committee to confront the recent US Congress law,” deputy foreign minister Abbas Araghchi.
He was referring to a 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, known officially as the JCPOA, under which Iran agreed to strict limits on its nuclear program in exchange for an easing of sanctions.
Iran meanwhile has launched ballistic missiles in tests, something it is allowed to do under the deal, despite American criticism.
The bill passed Sunday mandates the government to allocate an additional $260 million for the “development of the missile program” and the same amount to the Revolutionary Guards’s foreign operations wing, the Quds Force, state news agency IRNA said.
After Larijani announced the vote results, lawmakers shouted: “Death to America.”

No comments: