Israel ex-minister to get 11 years for spying for Iran

Gonen Segev served as energy and infrastructure minister from 1995 to 1996. (File/AFP)
Updated 09 January 2019
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Israel ex-minister to get 11 years for spying for Iran

  • As part of the agreement, Gonen Segev will plead guilty to serious espionage and transfer of information to the enemy
  • Segev served in the Labour government of prime minister Yitzhak Rabin after defecting from the far right

JERUSALEM: An Israeli ex-minister charged with spying for the country's arch-foe Iran has reached a plea bargain with prosecutors that will see him serve 11 years in prison, the justice ministry said Wednesday.
As part of the agreement, Gonen Segev will plead guilty to serious espionage and transfer of information to the enemy, the ministry said in a statement.
A sentencing hearing was set for February 11.
The trial of Segev, who served as energy and infrastructure minister from 1995 to 1996, opened in July but was held behind closed doors, with few details of the accusations publicly released.
Segev served in the Labour government of prime minister Yitzhak Rabin after defecting from the far right to cast the decisive vote in favour of the Oslo II peace agreement with the Palestinians.
He has previously served prison time on criminal charges.
In 2004, he was charged with trying to smuggle 30,000 ecstasy pills into Israel from the Netherlands using a diplomatic passport with a falsified expiry date.
The following year, he admitted the charges as part of a plea bargain.
He has also been convicted of attempted credit card fraud.


US has ‘no plan’ as Syria pullout proceeds: ex-envoy

Updated 21 min 57 sec ago
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US has ‘no plan’ as Syria pullout proceeds: ex-envoy

WASHINGTON: The United States has no plan for Syria as it proceeds with President Donald Trump’s order to pull American troops out of the country, a top official who quit in protest at the policy said on Sunday.
Brett McGurk, who was America’s envoy to the US-led global coalition against the Daesh group, said “there’s no plan for what’s coming next” and this is increasing the risk to US forces.
He spoke in an interview with CBS’s “Face the Nation,” after a suicide bomber on Wednesday killed four Americans and 15 others in the northern Syrian town of Manbij. It was the deadliest attack to hit US troops since they deployed to Syria in 2014 to assist local forces against the Daesh group.
The bombing came after Trump’s announcement last month that he was ordering a full withdrawal of the 2,000 US troops from Syria, shocking allies and leading to the resignations of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis as well as McGurk.
Senior US officials have since given contradictory statements about US intentions, but the Pentagon said it had begun the withdrawal, although how long it would take remained uncertain.
“The president has made that clear — we are leaving. And that means our force should be really with one mission: to get out and get out safely,” McGurk told “Face the Nation.”
But he added: “Right now we do not have a plan. It increases a vulnerability of our force... It is increasing the risk to our people on the ground in Syria and will open up space for Daesh,” another acronym for IS.
Most importantly, said McGurk, the US cannot expect “a partner” such as NATO-ally Turkey to take the place of the United States.
“That is not realistic. And if our forces are under order to withdraw, as at the same time they are trying to find some formula for another coalition partner to come in, that is not workable. That is not a viable plan.”
Trump announced the US withdrawal because, he said, IS had been defeated — something McGurk and other experts dispute.
McGurk has previously warned that the US pullout would shore up Syria’s President Bashar Assad and lessen America’s leverage with Russia and Iran.