26 May 2018

English

US sanctions on Hezbollah will have no effect, Nasrallah says

KONFRONTASI - The secretary general of the Lebanese resistance movement says the latest round of sanctions by the United States and a number of its Persian Gulf Arab allies against the leadership of the group will have no effect and will not harm its officials at all.

US Senate passes bill to address Capitol Hill sexual harassment

KONFRONTASI - The US Senate has unanimously passed legislation that overhauls sexual harassment system on Capitol Hill by stepping up protections for congressional employees facing inappropriate workplace behavior.

Approved by voice vote on Thursday, the bipartisan legislation eliminated mandatory waiting periods for handling sexual harassment complaints and required lawmakers to use their personal funds to cover the cost of settlements if they were the alleged harassers.

US unilateral sanctions on Iran harmful: Russia's Putin

KONFRONTASI - Russian President Vladimir Putin says that the United States' move to impose "unilateral" sanctions against Iran will result in "harmful" consequences.

Putin made the remarks while addressing a session of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) with his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron on Friday.

Malaysia’s Anwar Ibrahim: ‘When it is denied to you, freedom is a torture’

THE GUARDIAN- The former Malaysian deputy leader, pardoned and released from jail, talks exclusively about his hopes for his nation . Anwar Ibrahim has seen it all. He has seen prison, he has seen betrayal, he has seen courtrooms, he has seen the highest office and opposition exile.

Facebook chief apologizes to EU lawmakers over data leak

KONFRONTASI - The top man in Facebook, the world’s largest social media network, has officially apologized to lawmakers in the European Parliament for a large-scale leak of personal data which reportedly enabled a political consultancy to impact the results of the election in Britain and elsewhere.

Mark Zuckerberg told a meeting of European parliament leaders in Brussels on Tuesday that he was sorry for the fact that his company did not take enough precautions to prevent others from misusing the private data of its users.

Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin to focus on agenda on security & peace, foreign workers

KONFRONTASI  -   Efforts to ensure national security and peace besides issues concerning immigration and foreign workers are among the main agendas that would be given emphasis by the Home Ministry.

Its minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said other issues that would also be given attention were reducing the crime rate and prevention of drug abuse as well as matters related to the Malaysian Volunteers Department (Rela).

Marcena Davis: Two arrests in fatal shooting after Georgia graduation

KONFRONTASI -  Police announced the arrests of two people Saturday in a fatal shooting outside a high school graduation ceremony in Georgia.

One woman was killed and another was wounded by gunfire Friday night after an argument in a high school parking lot across from the Clayton County Performing Arts Center, where the Perry Career Academy had just held its commencement for graduating seniors.

Bomb Surabaya and the ISIS family

by DR Sydney Jones, IPAC

Indonesia has again exploded in a paroxysm of terrorist violence, but with a new twist: family suicide bombers. This may be the first time in the world that parents took their children on a family outing to blow themselves up.

The three families included the six killed in the bombings of three churches in Surabaya on Sunday, 13 May: Dita Oepriarto, aged 45; his wife Puji, 42; Yusuf, a son, 18; Firman, a son, 16; Fadhila, a daughter, 12; and Pamela Rizkita, a daughter, 9.

North Korea threatens to cancel Kim-Trump meeting

KONFRONTASI-North Korea has threatened to cancel an unprecedented summit between its leader Kim Jung-un and US President Donald Trump.

Washington will "have to undertake careful deliberations about the fate of the planned North Korea-US summit in light of this provocative military" said the North's official news agency KCNA on Tuesday.

What's next for Iran?

KONFRONTASI-Iran's foreign minister has been touring world capitals to try and save the 2015 Iran nuclear deal after the US' withdrawal.

Pledges of continued support from China and Russia were no surprise. Even the European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini's support was expected; she's been an outspoken supporter of the agreement and her public remarks have made her a popular figure in Iran.

But talks in coming weeks with the leaders of Germany, France and the United Kingdom are likely to be more complicated. 

US President Donald Trump has been a critic of Iran's involvement in conflicts in the Middle East since he was a presidential candidate.

In an effort to placate the Americans, Europe's leaders will be looking for concessions on Iran's ballistic missiles programme, and are likely to raise the issue of Tehran's support for President Bashar al-Assad in Syria, groups such as Hezbollah in Lebanon, and the Houthi rebels in Yemen.

Iran's leaders say these relationships are part of a forward defensive strategy, all part of living in a tough neighbourhood, and that ballistic missiles are a necessity against the United States and other powerful countries in the region. 

Despite suggestions by European signatories, Iran says compromising its self-defence capability is off the table, even if it means scrapping the nuclear agreement.

"National security is a [necessity] for any activities in a country," said Kamal Dehghani, a member of Iran's parliament and the deputy chairman of the parliamentary commission on national security and foreign policy.

"If we cannot guarantee national security, we can never [have] economic development and public welfare," Dehghani added.

"The first step and foundation for a country is national security. Under the shadow of national security, national interests can be met."

Trust deficit

World leaders worry that Iran's rockets could someday carry a nuclear warhead. But Iran has been clear on that issue; Iran never intends on pursuing a nuclear bomb. But it seems many world leaders are unwilling to listen.

"Never," said Dahghani, when asked if Iran would ever build a nuclear weapon. "We have committed to the world that despite having enough nuclear knowledge to use nuclear power in many ways, we will only use it for peaceful purposes."

So, why doesn't anyone believe Iran?

Hamed Mousavi is a professor of political science at Tehran University. He says it's a problem of messaging. In the face of the bully pulpit that the American presidency has become, Iran is struggling to have its voice heard.

"I think Iran's [public relations] campaign is much much weaker than what the Israelis and the Americans have in terms of media outlets, in terms of the movie industry," Mousavi said.

"So they have all sorts of these tools to try to accuse Iran and Iran essentially has not really adopted wise policies in this regard. Giving our message to the world has not really been our strong point for perhaps even the past four decades." 

Iran's desire to keep itself safe goes back to the beginning of the Islamic Republic.

At the Tehran Peace Museum, many of the installations are about the war with Iraq in the 1980s.

Iraq under Saddam Hussein invaded Iran shortly after the 1979 revolution. The US as well as many of Iran's Gulf Arab neighbours supported Hussein in the eight-year conflict. 

Post-revolution Iran was outgunned and unprepared to take on an enemy with a more modern military, as well as short and long-range missiles. The conflict ended in a stalemate and hundreds of thousands of people died on both sides.

Iranians say they still remember the sound of air raid sirens on the radio and on TV, whenever an Iraqi jet on a bombing run or an Iraqi ballistic missile would be spotted in the skies over an Iranian city. For eight long years, people here say they looked up at the skies in constant fear.

That conflict shaped the way Iran looks at national security issues. The country's collective trauma changed how civilian and military leaders make decisions about present-day defence policies.

Iranians say they never again want to be in the position of coming under attack without being able to respond. So, even though it may be the excuse Europe's leaders use to distance themselves from Iran, the ballistic missiles programme is likely to be around indefinitely.

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