Daily TIP

The Daily TIP: Dutch Government Accuses Iran of Hiring Criminals to Kill Dissidents in the Netherlands

Posted by Tip Staff - January 11, 2019

Dutch Government Accuses Iran of Hiring Criminals to Kill Dissidents in the Netherlands
U.S. Begins Withdrawing Troops from Syria
UK Development Secretary Urged to Reconsider UNRWA Aid Due to Its Failure to Reform
IsraAID Establishing Network to Train Disaster Response Professionals in U.S.


Dutch Government Accuses Iran of Hiring Criminals to Kill Dissidents in the Netherlands

The Dutch government has revealed for the first time that Iran hired criminal hitmen to assassinate two Iranian dissidents in the Netherlands, The Daily Telegraph reported Tuesday. The announcement was part of a coordinated European Union initiative that saw sanctions imposed on Tehran for a widespread campaign of assassination plots across Europe.

In a statement on Tuesday, the Dutch foreign ministry said it had “strong indications that Iran was involved in the assassinations” and that it kept the evidence secret “in the interests of facilitating this common EU action” against Iran. “Hostile acts of this kind flagrantly violate the sovereignty of the Netherlands and are unacceptable,” the ministry added.

The EU brought sanctions against Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence and two Iranian agents on Tuesday, after two well-publicized attempted terror attacks against dissidents in Paris and Denmark last year. The sanctions will freeze the assets held by the organization and the individuals in the EU.

The two Iranians murdered in the Netherlands were Ahmad Mola Nissi, gunned down in the Hague in November 2017 by a man who emerged from a BMW and shot him at his front door, and Mohammad-Reza Kolahi Samadi, murdered in the city of Almere in December 2015 under similar circumstances.

Iran is suspected of having hired local Dutch gangsters to carry out both killings as a way of concealing the political motive behind the assassinations. Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed terrorist organization, is involved in the global drugs trade and officials believe they may have facilitated connections with Dutch criminals.

In July, the Netherlands announced that it had expelled two Iranian diplomats, but at the time the Dutch government refused to say if it had any evidence that the Islamic Republic was behind the assassinations. “We have always been 99 percent sure it was the Iranian regime but the Dutch government never revealed any information,” Hawra Nissi, the daughter of Ahmad Mola Nissi, told the Telegraph.



U.S. Begins Withdrawing Troops from Syria

The United States has begun withdrawing its troops from Syria, following last month's announcement by President Donald Trump that the U.S. would leave the country, The Washington Post reported Thursday.

Col. Sean Ryan, spokesman for the U.S.-led forces fighting ISIS, stated that U.S. troops have "begun the process of our deliberate withdrawal from Syria." He provided no further details of the withdrawal, saying, "Out of concern for operational security, we will not discuss specific timelines, locations or troop movements.”

Subsequent to Trump's announcement of the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria, senior administration officials have sought to assure Israel and other regional allies that the withdrawal would not endanger them.

The area in northeastern Syria, where 2,000 U.S. ground troops are stationed, is oil-rich and strategically located near the border with Iraq through which Tehran has been sending into Syria Iranian-backed militia forces under the pretext of fighting ISIS. Israel and Arab allies fear that, as a result of the U.S. withdrawal from Syria, Iran will tap into the area’s natural resources to offset some of the economic losses it is incurring following the reimposition of U.S. sanctions after the Trump administration pulled out of the nuclear deal.

However, in a visit to Israel earlier this week, National Security Adviser John Bolton said that the withdrawal would be gradual and would not put U.S. regional allies in "jeopardy."

In a major speech delivered in Cairo on Thursday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the U.S. would work to “expel every last Iranian boot” from Syria. He also expressed U.S. support for "Israel’s efforts to stop Tehran from turning Syria into the next Lebanon."



UK Development Secretary Urged to Reconsider UNRWA Aid Due to Its Failure to Reform

Britain’s International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt has been urged to take “a firmer approach” to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNWRA), which is under fire for a lack of reform and the perpetuation of the Palestinian refugee problem.

After the United States announced in September that it was ending funding to UNRWA, Britain pledged an additional £5 million ($6.4 million) in emergency aid for the agency’s activities in Gaza. Earlier this week, Mordaunt wrote to parliamentarians to explain the background of the decision.

However, in a letter to the cabinet, Conservative Friends of Israel (CFI) said that the Secretary of State’s correspondence “fails to give the necessary assurances that this additional aid designation will be dispensed responsibly,” raising additional concerns on the “troubling” omission of Hamas’s status as an internationally designated terrorist organization.

The group added that there is no “recognition of [Hamas’s] harmful impact upon the people of Gaza,” including “Hamas’s efforts to divert international aid to construct cross-border attack tunnels into Israel and produce rockets to fire towards Israeli civilian communities.”

In their letter, CFI observed that a debate about how to define Palestinian refugees was “long overdue,” claiming that Palestinian refugees are “globally unique in that refugee status is inherited in perpetuity.”

They also conveyed “longstanding concerns” over “the presence of antisemitism, violent rhetoric and incitement within the Palestinian Authority (PA) curriculum,” which is dispersed by UNRWA across its network of some 700 schools, as well as condemnation for the PA’s “abhorrent practice of paying salaries to convicted Palestinian terrorists.”

Britain’s parliament on Tuesday approved in a first hearing a bill, drafted by Labour lawmakers Joan Ryan and Dame Louise Ellman, that could significantly cut aid funds to the PA over incitement against Israelis and Jews.

The legislation demands that teaching programs in schools run by the PA that receive financial assistance from Britain should promote values such as peace, freedom, tolerance and non-discrimination.



IsraAID Establishing Network to Train Disaster Response Professionals in U.S.

The need to train health, mental-health and engineering professionals in disaster response for quick deployment around the world is behind the Los Angeles launch of the new IsraAID Humanitarian Professionals Network(IHPN).

Founded in Israel in 2001, IsraAID is a non-governmental organization that provides lifesaving emergency relief and long-term, sustainable solutions for populations affected by natural disasters, epidemics and post-conflict situations. To date, IsraAID has helped 2 million beneficiaries in 49 countries.

Trained IHPN teams “will leverage Israeli innovation, work in full collaboration with local partners, and educate the public and professionals on disaster prevention and relief,” said Seth H. Davis, Executive Director of IsraAID (US) Global Humanitarian Assistance, an independent 501c(3) organization.

Following a kickoff event January 10 in Los Angeles and another at the end of February in the San Francisco Bay Area, IHPN members from the target professions will enter a one-year IsraAID disaster-response training program in order to equip them with the skills and knowledge to deploy to disaster zones locally and globally as needed.

“We are bringing Israeli know-how to people in need in the world,” says Farah Shamolian, IHPN program director. Born and raised in LA, Shamolian has a master’s degree in public health and took part in IsraAID relief missions to Greece and Guatemala last year.

“As a Persian Jewish woman whose parents were refugees, working with refugees with a Jewish organization is very powerful,” Shamolian tells ISRAEL21c, emphasizing, however, that professionals of any faith are welcome to become involved in IHPN. “This is an opportunity to apply their skills in a global way.”

Specific professionals sought by IHPN are physicians, public-health experts, nurses, social workers, psychologists, expressive-arts therapists, behavioral therapists, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) experts and water, environmental or civil engineers.

(via Israel21c)


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