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Seized Iranian tanker: 3 lies, 3 controversies, and 3 huge questions left to be answered

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Seized Iranian tanker 3 lies 3 controversies and 3 huge questions left to be answered

The events surrounding the capture this morning of an Iranian oil tanker near Gibraltar have caused a major international stir as the Middle East nation continues to try to do anything it can to destabilize the region and the world. Though news reports and analyses have been relatively consistent, there are still major questions that need to be answered.

Before we get to those, let’s recap what transpired:

Tehran fumes as Britain seizes Iranian oil tanker over Syria sanctions

British Royal Marines seized a giant Iranian oil tanker in Gibraltar on Thursday for trying to take oil to Syria in violation of EU sanctions, a dramatic step that drew Tehran’s fury and could escalate its confrontation with the West.

The Grace 1 tanker was impounded in the British territory on the southern tip of Spain after sailing around Africa, the long route from the Middle East to the mouth of the Mediterranean.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry summoned the British ambassador to voice “its very strong objection to the illegal and unacceptable seizure” of its ship. The diplomatic gesture lifted any doubt over Iran’s ownership of the vessel, which flies a Panama flag and is listed as managed by a company in Singapore.

This is a sordid tale of triples: three lies, three controversies, and three lingering questions. Let’s quickly run through all of them.

Three lies

Iran has been a nation embroiled in lies since their 1979 revolution. The regimes are accustomed to using deceit to get their way, though the international community has continued to give them the benefit of the doubt until very recently.

In this one incident, Iran used at least three major lies in an attempt to circumvent U.S. sanctions against their export of oil and E.U. sanctions against Syria’s Assad regime receiving oil.

  1. Ship flagged from Panama – The Iraqis pretended the ship was under the control of Panama as a way of preventing international inspectors from boarding.
  2. Cargo tagged as Iraqi – Documents on the ship indicated the cargo, which was either crude or fuel oil, belonged to Iraq.
  3. Tanker company in Singapore “manages” the ship – Registration for the “Grace 1” shows the the tanker is managed by a Singapore-based company.

All three of these lies were debunked by Iran itself when they summoned a British ambassador to discuss the situation. This acknowledgement that it is their ship with their cargo is an admission of guilt, though from Iran’s point of view they did nothing wrong. This is their mentality; even if they were trying to disguise their property, they still own it and feel justified in using subterfuge to break two separate international sanctions.

Three controversies

There is nothing controversial about imposing and enforcing sanctions, though those who support Iran and Syria may protest. Both nations have taken actions that should be condemned by the international community, so I’m not listing the sanctions themselves as being controversial.

But there are three things springing up about the way this was handled the potential for confrontation between nations other than Iran and Syria.

  1. The U.K. acted without E.U. knowledge – It is the E.U. member states’ responsibility to enforce sanctions, including the one against Syria. But normally, such actions are coordinated through the E.U. itself. The United Kingdom acted independently from the E.U. despite them being the source of the sanctions. This is likely due to hopes of negotiations between the E.U. and Iran who both view this seizure as a roadblock to progress in salvaging the nuclear deal after the United States pulled out last year.
  2. Spain denies Great Britain controls Gibraltar – A European squabble was aroused by this action as Spain refuses to acknowledge British control over Gibraltar and the strait through which the ship traveled. This could bring up arguments of sovereignty between the two nations.
  3. All fingers point to U.S. intelligence calling for the operation – While Gibraltar and the U.K. claim full responsibility for the action, they acknowledge it was U.S. intelligence that pointed them to the tanker. This has brought predictable accusations by Iran and others that the Brits were acting as a proxy for the U.S. as increased tensions between the west and Iran have centered on the potential for military conflict.

Conspiracy theorists may believe the choice of running the ship all the way around Africa instead of cutting through the Suez Canal was intentional to spark controversy should the ship be detained. But it’s more likely Iran was simply trying to take the route and use the various lies surrounding the ship as their most likely way of succeeding in breaking two distinct sanctions.

Three questions

What does all of this mean? We’ll find out soon enough, but three questions will linger until they’re answered.

  1. What happens now with the tanker and the oil? This is not an insignificant seizure. The tanker likely held two million barrels, enough oil to infuse Iran with much-needed cash and make a dent in Syria’s fuel crisis. Assuming the oil is not going to get to Syria, do they have any other hopes of getting fuel?
  2. Will Iran step up its attacks on tankers from other nations? Iran has been known to react harshly to anything they perceive as a threat. Since they began their attacks on oil infrastructure in the region in May, it has been assumed their goal is to position themselves as a safe alternative, giving them a better hand to play in negotiations. But all of that assumed they wouldn’t get implicated in the attacks. Now, they may be believe their only course of action is to ramp up attacks and hope they don’t get caught this time.
  3. Is this a prelude to war? The ultimate goal of Iran is economic stability, but their backup goal is war waged against them. It may be counter-intuitive to think they would want war, but a better way of framing it is the want to be attacked. With hopes of achieving economic stability fading with every action against them, hawks in Iran may decide to stop going to the negotiating table and turn more towards terrorism and attacks to provoke a military response from the United States.

These are, indeed, strange times as the treacherous Islamic nation continues to try to outsmart the rest of the world. But when liars are called out, they often react irrationally. Iran isn’t known for being rational even when they’re not provoking war.

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Democrats

Ilhan Omar compares Israel blocking entry to South African apartheid

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Ilhan Omar compares Israel blocking entry to South African apartheid

Anti-Semitic Congresswoman Ilhan Omar did what she normally does. She played the race card, or more specifically, the Islamophobia card against Israel. To do this, she compared Israel’s blocking of her and Representative Rashida Tlaib to the apartheid blocking of a black Congressman by South Africa 44-years ago.

There are several holes in this narrative. First, her claims that only she and Tlaib were blocked because they are Muslim and the rest of those traveling with them were not blocked is a bald-faced lie that takes advantage of how the block was reported. The news was that the two Congresswomen were blocked, but in reality the trip itself was denied by the Israeli government. That means everyone traveling with them, not just the two Congresswomen, were not allowed entry based on the itinerary they presented to the Israeli government.

Second, this trip, which they claimed was to “Palestine” and included an itinerary that had them exclusively visiting anti-Israel factions, was singled out. None of the potential travelers were blocked from entry, as Israel demonstrated this morning when they allowed Tlaib to enter to see her 90-year-old grandmother in the West Bank. But Tlaib, of course, declined her own request because it was a bluff, a political stunt.

Third, the Representatives’ continued attacks on Israel as well as their support for BDS and Hamas is demonstrably a threat to the nation of Israel. This is unambiguous and has not even been denied by the Congresswomen because they know it to be true. In fact, they’re proud of their opposition to Israel’s right to exist.

If you can find a time when Ilhan Omar isn’t being disingenuous or blatantly lying, it’s only because she isn’t speaking at that moment. Her hatred for Israel and America are clear. She must be voted out in 2020.

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Democrats

Rashida Tlaib tried, failed to use her grandmother to score political points against Israel

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Rashida Tlaib tried failed to use her grandmother to score political points against Israel

This story is getting way more attention than it deserves, but that’s the news cycle when “The Squad” makes moves. Whether it’s Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley, Ilhan Omar, or Rashida Tlaib causing a big fuss, legacy media jumps to their defense faster than they did with President Obama. This time, it’s Tlaib who tried to double-down on the news cycle, but Israel called her bluff.

After being blocked from coming to Israel to spread her hateful views against the Jewish state, Tlaib tried to keep the spotlight on Israel by switching tactics and asking for a humanitarian pass so she could visit her ailing 90-year-old grandmother in the West Bank. Her letter was cordial and her request was quickly approved by the Israeli government. But her intention wasn’t to actually visit her grandmother. It was a bluff. She wanted to get rejected again so she could use it as further evidence of Israel’s “racism” and “oppression” against the Palestinian people.

So, she’s not going. She’s spinning it as a political statement against Israel, as she does so natural in nearly all of her actions. But intelligent people who don’t listen like sheep to the legacy media talking heads are realizing how disingenuous her actions have become (and, to be fair, have always been).

As Guy Benson noted:

Tlaib Bumbles Into Revealing Her Undeniable Priority: Bigoted Anti-Israel Propaganda

In response, Israel’s Interior Minister marveled, “I authorized this humanitarian trip, but it turns out that it was a provocation to embarrass Israel. Her hatred for Israel overcomes her love for her grandmother.”  That just about sums it up.  Her primary goal — always — was to embarrass and undermine the world’s lone Jewish state.  Her bigotry supersedes her professed love for her own flesh and blood.  I called Omar and Tlaib “clumsy, deeply unpopular stooges,” suggesting that any agitation in which they’d engage while in Israel would likely backfire and harm their own cause.  Right on cue, Tlaib managed to turn a partial PR victory into a revealing double defeat in less than 24 hours.  Israel is fortunate to have such moronic adversaries and enemies:

This won’t be treated as a loss for or a lie by Tlaib. One of the biggest reasons “The Squad” hasn’t crumbled under the weight of their own hypocrisy is because legacy media gives them cover. But conservatives know the truth. She’s a fraud.

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Foreign Affairs

Israel grants Tlaib West Bank visit on humanitarian grounds

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Israel grants Tlaib West Bank visit on humanitarian grounds

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel’s interior minister said Friday he has received and granted a request by Democratic Rep. Rashida Tlaib to enter the Israeli-occupied West Bank on humanitarian grounds.

Tlaib, who is of Palestinian origin, asked to visit her 90-year-old grandmother in the West Bank, Minister Aryeh Deri said in a statement.

Deri’s office published what it said was Tlaib’s written request, on congressional stationary. In the letter, Tlaib said she would respect any restrictions and “not promote boycotts” during her visit.

The minister’s decision marked yet another reversal concerning the high-profile West Bank tour that had been planned by Tlaib and fellow Democrat, Rep. Ilhan Omar.

On Thursday, Israel had announced it was barring the two from entry — an unprecedented move targeting members of the U.S. Congress. Israel’s decision came after President Donald Trump said in a tweet it would show “weakness” to allow in the two Democrats who have been sharply critical of him and of Israel’s policies toward the Palestinians.

Tlaib and Omar had planned to visit Jerusalem and several West Bank cities, starting this weekend. Both are known as supporters of “boycott, divestment and sanctions,” or BDS, a Palestinian-led global movement. Israel alleges that BDS targets Israel’s very existence, while the movement’s supporters say it is intended as leverage to end more than half a century of Israeli military rule over Palestinians.

Israel’s decision to ban the two had sparked widespread criticism, including from Israeli and Jewish organization who said it was an affront to U.S. institutions to bar the entry of members of Congress.

Deri said Friday he granted a subsequent request by Tlaib to visit the West Bank on humanitarian grounds. In her letter, Tlaib writes that this could be her last chance to see her grandmother.

Deri’s office said in a statement that he “decided to allow her entry to Israel and hopes she will stand by her commitment and that the visit will be for humanitarian needs only.”

Tlaib’s apparent pledge to conduct the visit in line with restrictions imposed by Israel was bound to anger Palestinians who had hoped the congressional tour would highly their plight.

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