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The Daily TIP: In Wake of New Sanctions, Iran Rallies Around IRGC

Posted by Tip Staff - October 16, 2017

In Wake of New Sanctions, Iran Rallies Around IRGC
Iran-Backed Militias, Iraqi Forces, Joined by IRGC General, Attack Kurdish City of Kirkuk
Israeli Jets Destroy Syrian Anti-Aircraft Battery in Retaliatory Strike
Chinese E-Commerce Giant, Alibaba, Opening Research Lab in Israel

In Wake of New Sanctions, Iran Rallies Around IRGC

In the wake of President Donald Trump's speech last week saying that he would not certify that Iran was in compliance with the nuclear deal and that he would impose tough new sanctions on Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), Iran's political and military leadership has rallied behind the IRGC.

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Saturday echoed comments made last week by Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari ahead of Trump's speech, saying that the speech violated the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers, known as the P5+1.

Zarif charged on a broadcast Saturday that Trump's speech violated clauses calling on the parties involved to implement the deal "in good faith," and to "refrain from re-introducing or re-imposing" sanctions nuclear sanctions that were lifted, as part of the nuclear deal, Agence France-Presse reported Sunday.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which was tasked with monitoring Iran's adherence to the deal admitted last month that it could not verify Iran's compliance with elements of the deal listed in Section T. Iran, backed by Russia, has said that the IAEA has no authority over its Section T obligations.

Trump's call for sanctions on the IRGC cited "its support for terrorism" not any proliferation violations.

The IRGC and one of its generals, Qassem Soleimani, assisted Iraqi forces in capturing Kirkuk from the Kurds on Wednesday.

In a tweet Saturday, Zarif, made common cause with the IRGC, claiming that all Iranians, "boys, girls, men, women," are IRGC.

Iran-Backed Militias, Iraqi Forces, Joined by IRGC General, Attack Kurdish City of Kirkuk

Iraqi security forces and the Iranian-backed Hashd al-Shaabi, an umbrella group of Shiite militia, on Sunday night launched an attack on Kirkuk from two front lines, Kurdish news outlet Rudaw reported Monday.

The Iraqi army and Shiite militia fired on Peshmerga troops, using advanced weapons and vehicles supplied to them by coalition partners in the fight against ISIS. The two factions advanced on Kurdish controlled areas, with the intent to gain control of the K1 military base and oil fields.

On a regional scale, the attack on Kirkuk, ordered by Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi with the blessing of the regime in Tehran, is a punitive measure taken against the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG), after the autonomous region voted in favor of independence from Iraq on September 25.

The attack on Kirkuk was also a direct aggression by Iranian-backed militia on a key U.S. ally, just days after the Trump administration refused to certify the nuclear accord with the Islamic Republic and designated the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a terrorist organization in its entirety.

A KRG official said that Iran’s hand in the operation was undeniable. Iranian commanders, including the Quds Force’s leader Qassem Soleimani, as well as Hadi Al-Ameri and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, are on the ground in southern Kirkuk supervising the assault on Kurdish forces.

The Peshmerga General Command said that it was treating the attack on Kirkuk by the Iran-backed forces as “a flagrant declaration of war against the nation of Kurdistan.”

Israeli Jets Destroy Syrian Anti-Aircraft Battery in Retaliatory Strike

Israeli Air Force (IAF) jets destroyed an anti-aircraft missile battery in Syria following an attack on Israeli planes carrying out reconnaissance over Lebanon, The Jerusalem Post reported Monday.

Earlier, the SA-5 anti-aircraft battery, located about 30 miles east of Damascus, fired at Israeli planes conducting "routine" reconnaissance over Lebanon. Israel reported that the missile missed the IAF jets.

"We see the Syrian regime as responsible and see these missiles as a clear Syrian provocation, and it will not be accepted,” IDF Spokesman Brig.Gen. Ronen Manelis said.

According to the spokesman, Russia was informed of the incident and the matter will be discussed with Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, who is in Israel to meet with top Israeli officials to ensure that the Israeli and Russian militaries do not accidentally come into conflict in Syria.

In a conference call with The Israel Project, Ephraim Segoli, a retired IAF general, now with the Fisher Institute for Air and Space Strategic Studies, said that the unsuccessful Syrian attack against the Israeli planes was something "unique" that Israel might have to address. "The fact that the missile was launched from Syria to our planes in Lebanon, the fact that we are attacked a SAM battery after so many years ... something different has happened. Does it mean that there's a new direction in the ongoing campaign between us and Syria? I do not know," Segoli added.

< br /> Chinese E-Commerce Giant, Alibaba, Opening Research Lab in Israel

Alibaba Group Holding of Hangzhou, China, is opening a research lab in Tel Aviv as part of its new global Alibaba Academy for Discovery, Adventure, Momentum and Outlook designed to increase technological collaboration worldwide, advance cutting-edge technology and narrow the technology gap among countries.

The e-commerce infrastructure giant expects to invest more than $15 billion in research and development over the next three years. Alibaba Group’s Chief Technology Officer, Jeff Zhang, will head the academy and recruit talented scientists and researchers to join the program.

At first, the academy will focus in opening seven research labs. In addition to Tel Aviv, they are to be set up in China (Beijing and Hangzhou), the United States (San Mateo and Bellevue), Russia (Moscow) and Singapore.

The labs will focus on data intelligence, Internet of Things (IoT), fintech, quantum computing and human-machine interaction. Within those areas, the labs will explore areas such as machine learning, network security, visual computing and natural language processing.

“The Alibaba DAMO Academy will be at the forefront of developing next-generation technology that will spur the growth of Alibaba and our partners. We aim to discover breakthrough technologies that will enable greater efficiency, network security and ecosystem synergy for end-users and businesses everywhere,” said Zhang.

Alibaba has made several investments in Israel-based companies starting in January 2015, when it bought Visualead for $5 million.

(via Israel21c)

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