Daily TIP

In latest flare-up on border, Israel allegedly strikes Iran-trained militia in Syrian Golan Heights

Posted by Tip Staff - July 29, 2016

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An Israeli missile allegedly struck a regiment of an Iran-trained militia in the Syrian Golan Heights on Thursday, Lebanese media reported. “The commander of the Golan Regiment’s First Battalion, Majid Himoud, escaped the Zionist [strike],” the group claimed on its Facebook page. The Golan Regiment is part of Syria’s National Defense Forces (NDF), which was organized by Iran, modeled after the Iranian regime’s Basij paramilitary group, and is believed to be directed and financed by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). NDF troops have received training from the IRGC and Hezbollah in Syria, Lebanon, and Iran. The NDF has been accused of committing human rights atrocities, including massacring up to 450 civilians in two western Syrian villages in May 2013.
This incident, if true, would be the latest flare-up on the Syrian-Israeli border. The commander of the Basij was photographed making inspections earlier this week in Quneitra, in the Syrian Golan Heights. This past Monday, the Israeli Air Force launched air strikes against the Syrian army in response to errant mortar fire. And earlier this month, a drone infiltrated Israel from Syria, which Hezbollah claimed to have sent to photograph Israeli army maneuvers in the Golan Heights.
Israel has made clear that it will strike convoys of weapons destined for Hezbollah. “We have a red line, a boundary that we will not allow to be broken,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu emphasized when visiting Moscow last month. “Iran will not be allowed, using Hezbollah, to use Syrian territory to attack us and open up another terrorist front against us in the Golan.” In January 2015, for example, an Israeli airstrike killed Iranian and Hezbollah commanders who were attempting to establish terrorist infrastructure on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights. Four months later, the Israeli Air Force struck a weapons shipment convoy on the Syria-Lebanon border. And last December, Samir Kuntar, a Hezbollah-affiliated terrorist who was imprisoned for decades for the murder of an Israeli father and his four-year-old daughter in 1979, was assassinated after reportedly working to build up Hezbollah’s infrastructure and attack capacity on the Golan. Hezbollah relies on the regime of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad to use Syrian territory as a land bridge to Iran, as well as for strategic depth in its confrontations with Israel. Because of this, the terrorist group has become highly invested in Assad’s survival, and has had some 1,500 of its fighters killed in the Syrian civil war. Israeli analyst Daniel Nisman told The Financial Times in January that if the Assad regime were to control the Syrian Golan, “that could be Iran’s way to put in a second front and a second Gaza or a second southern Lebanon.”

 

Iran was ranked as the world’s top global money laundering threat by the Basel Institute on Governance this week, marking the third straight year that the Islamic Republic held the position.
The 2016 Basel Anti-Money Laundering (AML) Index identified Iran as the highest money laundering risk out of 149 countries surveyed, The Wall Street Journal reported. A statement (.pdf) accompanying the index explained that “Although a majority of countries legally comply with current AML/countering terrorism financing (CTF) standards, they fall short in the effective implementation and enforcement of these laws.”
According to the Journal, companies are hesitant to resume commercial ties with Iran because of money laundering concerns.
The publication of the index comes a month after the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), a global anti-money laundering watchdog, suspended financial countermeasures against Iran for one year. At the time, sanctions experts Mark Dubowitz and Toby Dershowitz of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) wrote that the decision to temporarily suspend sanctions rather than totally remove Iran from the FATF’s high-risk blacklist indicated that the country “still has a long way to go before it’s safe to do business there.”
Dershowitz and Saeed Ghasseminejad, an associate fellow at FDD, wrote earlier this week that Iran is attempting to convince nations that it is serious about complying with FATF standards, including on combating the financing of terrorist groups, by referring to recent legislation passed by its parliament. However, according to Abdolmahdi Arjmandnejad, the Central Bank of Iran’s deputy for anti-money laundering affairs, “liberation organizations are not subject to this law and the Supreme National Security Council decides who is a terrorist.”
Since Hezbollah, a terrorist organization that has targeted Western interests for over 30 years, is considered a “liberalization organization” by Iran, Dershowitz and Ghasseminejad observed that the country is merely using “wordplay not to cease terrorism but to justify it.”
Iran has complained that it has not received the benefits it should have from sanctions relief after all nuclear-related sanctions were lifted from the country in January. Some Iranian officials, including Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and Central Bank of Iran governor Valiollah Seif, have threatened that the nuclear deal could collapse if Iran doesn’t receive more investment and further sanctions relief.
However, many financial sanctions were imposed on Iran before nuclear sanctions were imposed as a reaction to the country’s money laundering and financing of terrorist groups. The New York Times editorial board asserted in April that Iran’s corruption was responsible for the country’s economic problems. Similarly, Stuart Levey, President Barack Obama’s former undersecretary of the treasury for terrorism and financial intelligence and now the chief legal officer of HSBC Bank, wrote in The Wall Street Journal in May that because Iran remained a risk for “financial-crime risks and the underlying conduct,” his company had “no intention of doing any new business involving Iran.” The Journal, CNBC, and other outlets reported a few days later that other European banks were hesitant to do business with Iran because of the risks involved.
An International Monetary Fund official also told Iranian authorities in May that “the best thing the government [of Iran] can do, and the banks can do, is to bring those standards up to international levels and try to reassure foreign partners, banks and otherwise that Iran’s banks are safe to deal with.”
Despite the limitations that corruption-related sanctions impose on Iran, nuclear-related sanctions relief has provided the Iranian economy with enough of a boost to possibly grow by four percent per year for the next five years. The Central Bank of Iran earmarked much of that sanctions relief for military spending, which is expected to grow by 90 percent next year. (via TheTower.org)

 
What time you wake up and fall asleep, when you eat and even your urine and hormone production depends on your personal circadian rhythm, an internal biological clock. Scientists have long believed that environmental factors such as sunlight and ambient temperature affect the circadian rhythm of both humans and animals. And they know that disturbances of the body clock are associated with diseases including cancer, mental illnesses and metabolic disorders including diabetes and obesity. A study conducted at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and published in the journal Nature Communications adds a new wrinkle to the understanding of circadian rhythms. Apparently, social interactions play a major role in synchronizing internal clocks. The researchers performed a set of large-scale experiments in which they manipulated social interactions and light exposure for more than 1,000 honeybees in cages and in freely foraging colonies housed in observation hives. Every experiment was repeated two to four times, each with genetically different bees from a different source colony. The data showed that resetting the circadian rhythm by manipulating the social environment had a robust and stable effect for several days even for two-day-old bees, which are typically active around the clock with no overt circadian rhythms. (via Israel21c)

 


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