A video produced by Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s office and released on his website on Tuesday claims that the US is behind the recent Paris attacks because it founded and armed ISIS. On the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-affiliated Facebook page, the video is tied to an image of US President Barack Obama, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and ISIS leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi appearing to socialize with one another.
Despite numerous US and NATO airstrikes against ISIS in both Iraq and Syria, Iranian officials have repeatedly claimed that the US and its allies support ISIS, and have placed the blame for the Paris attacks on the French themselves, as well as the US and Israel. Deputy Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Brigadier General Massoud Jazzayeri stated, "The French people paid the price for their government's support for the ISIL and the Takfiri terrorism.” The hardline newspaper Kayhan’s front page headline was “ISIS’s rabid dog bites its master.” Commander of Iran's Basij Force Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Naqdi called ISIS “the infantry unit of the US and the usurper Zionist regime" and Army Commander Ataollah Salehi alleged, "The West is the culprit behind the spread of corruption and terrorism.” Last June, US Director of National Intelligence James Clapper declared that Iran is the foremost state sponsor of terror. Iran arms and finances the terrorist groups Hezbollah, Hamas, and Islamic Jihad; and has invested a large amount of resources in shoring up Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who has conducted indiscriminate bombings against his own people. In February, the International Business Times noted that Assad has actually killed more Syrian civilians than ISIS.
Assad has also accused the French of being responsible for the attacks in Paris, asserting, “Wrong polices adopted by western states, particularly France, towards events in the region… are reasons behind the expansion of terrorism.” However, Assad himself has been blamed for the spread of ISIS. Secretary of State John Kerry stated that Assad is “the principal reason – that ISIS exists. President Assad is a magnet for jihadists and foreign fighters from around the world.” Kerry also noted that Syria and ISIS have a “symbiotic relationship” in that Assad buys oil from ISIS and avoids targeting them.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has publicly confirmed for the first time that he turned down a peace offer in 2008 that would have provided for an independent Palestinian state containing all of the Gaza Strip, much of the West Bank (with land swaps), and a tunnel connecting the two areas.
Abbas made his comments in an interview on Israel’s Channel 10, which has been broadcasting a three-part series on the peace talks of 2000 and 2008. According to both Abbas and Ehud Olmert, Israel’s Prime Minister in 2008, Olmert presented Abbas in September of that year with a map that delineated the borders of the future State of Palestine. Abbas said that he “rejected it out of hand” because he claimed not to be an expert on maps, and because Olmert’s domestic scandals meant that he would shortly leave office (Olmert was later convicted of corruption). While both Olmert and other Palestinian leaders have previously said that Abbas turned down a peace proposal, this is the first time that the Palestinian Authority president has admitted as such.
At 24:05 of the video, Channel 10 reporter Raviv Drucker asked Abbas: “In the map that Olmert presented you, Israel would annex 6.3 percent [of the West Bank] and compensate the Palestinians with 5.8 percent [taken from pre-1967 Israel]. What did you propose in return?”
“I did not agree,” Abbas replied. “I rejected it out of hand.”
The existence of the peace offer was first reported by The Tower’s Avi Issacharoff in 2013, when Olmert told him that he presented Abbas with a map proposal during talks at the Prime Minister’s Residence. (To read the whole post, go to TheTower.org)