By: ICEJ News Posted on: 30 Jan 2019 (All day)
The regime’s in Teheran and Damascus continued to consolidate their alliance on Tuesday with the launch of a new banking and financial agreement. The deal, one of many signed by officials of the Assad regime and visiting Iranian Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri this week, will also give Iranian companies, many of which are controlled by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) an advantage in winning contracts for the reconstruction of Syria’s infrastructure and military. Philip Smyth, the Soref Fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, told the Jerusalem Post in an interview Tuesday that despite its public statements on the subject, Russia lacks both the will and the capacity to force Iran out of Syria.
“It’s about building long-term capabilities,” he said. “The Israelis have been rather effective in countering certain things that have been brought in (from Iran to Syria) but this is a longer term process. The Syrian front has allowed them so much access, it’s a dream come true for Tehran…the Iranians are looking at this as a decades-long process, the war in Syria gave them a new opportunity… They are on the ground, they have force-presence there and they are building local, domestic Hezbollah segments. Over the long-term, even if they are not ideologically loyal to them, they are still taking a check from Tehran.”

The movement to Boycott, Divest and Sanction (BDS) Israel suffered a couple more defeats this week as the Jewish State was visited by some of the world’s most popular celebrity chefs and diplomats from some of its closest European allies. The so-called “celebrity chef Birthright” was organized by culinary industry heavyweight Herb Karlitz, who told the Jerusalem Post “My goal is for them to have this amazing experience in Israel, very organic, and return to the United States almost as ambassadors, unofficial ambassadors for Israel and its food.”
Several of the participants have already posted dozens of pictures and videos of their to social media, allowing their millions of followers to see what the Holy Land has to offer visitors.
“We’ve done everything we can to make this apolitical,” Karlitz said. “We’re not taking a stand on anything – this is about breaking bread, food, cuisine, the culture.”
Meanwhile, Lithuanian Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis was in Jerusalem on Tuesday to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other senior officials, telling journalists that he is “very glad that Israel is at the frontline defending Europe” from various threats.