Daily Alerts

  • U.S. Kills Pakistani Taliban Leader in Afghanistan
    (Long War Journal) Bill Roggio - Omar Khalid al Khurasani, the leader of Jamaat-ul-Ahrar who was closely tied to al-Qaeda, was killed in a U.S. drone strike in Afghanistan earlier this week, a spokesman for the group confirmed. Nine other JuA members were also killed in the strike. The group has claimed credit for multiple attacks inside Pakistan. A suicide bomber at a park in Lahore on Easter in 2016 killed 72, mostly women and children, and wounded 300. The group's spokesman said "the target was Christians." The group has also targeted the U.S. consulate in Peshawar and polio vaccination teams in Karachi. In Aug. 2016, the U.S. State Department designated JuA a global terrorist organization. ... read more
    Source: Daily AlertsPublished on Friday, October 20, 2017
    3 days ago
  • The Jobless Youth of Gaza Have Lost Faith in Everyone
    (WorldCrunch-Le Figaro-France) Cyrille Louis - Unemployment among the under-25 age group in Gaza is 60%, with 73% for recent graduates. Abdel Rahman in Gaza City looks back on the past as if talking about a golden age. "When they were our age, our fathers and grandfathers would earn 10 times more by working for the Israelis," he says. Shayma al-Naji, 24, obtained her architecture certificate from the Islamic University of Gaza in 2015. She and most of her classmates are unemployed, and many have resorted to work as taxi drivers. She dreams only of leaving Gaza, with two of her older sisters already moved to Britain. Jouman Abou Jazar, 28, says, "Everybody would accept to go and work in Israel without hesitation, including some members of Hamas who can't make ends meet." ... read more
    Source: Daily AlertsPublished on Friday, October 20, 2017
    3 days ago
  • CIA Chief: “Enormous Consensus” among U.S. Allies to Tackle Iran’s Destabilizing Activities
    (CNBC) Tom DiChristopher - Tehran supports the U.S.-designated terror group Hizbullah, threatens Israel and Lebanon, and supports Shiite Muslim militias in Iraq, CIA Director Mike Pompeo told the Foundation for Defense of Democracies on Thursday. "It has been far too inexpensive for the Iranians to conduct this adventurism. We should raise the cost of that....To push back against these non-nuclear activities I think is something the president is intent on doing." Pompeo said there is "enormous consensus" among U.S. allies that they should tackle Iran's destabilizing activities. National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster told the group that the U.S. needs to expose the Revolutionary Guards' business and financial network. The message to the international business community is "don't do business with the IRGC. Don't enrich the IRGC. Don't enable their murderous campaign. Don't enable their threat to our friends in the region, especially Israel, but also Saudi Arabia and others." ... read more
    Source: Daily AlertsPublished on Friday, October 20, 2017
    3 days ago
  • Fatah Spokesman: Fatah Will Never Recognize Israel
    (Palestinian Media Watch) Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik - Fatah spokesman Osama Al-Qawasmi told Fatah-run Awdah TV on Aug. 23, 2017, that Hamas should not recognize Israel, since Fatah itself does not recognize and will never recognize Israel. Fatah and the PA regularly teach Palestinian children to see all Israeli cities such as Jaffa and Haifa as "occupied" Palestinian cities that will eventually be under Palestinian sovereignty. ... read more
    Source: Daily AlertsPublished on Friday, October 20, 2017
    3 days ago
  • Europe’s Iranian Moment of Truth
    (Wall Street Journal) Editorial - Europe was overdue for a moment of truth on Iran. The damage new sanctions would do to many European firms is at the heart of complaints after Mr. Trump's decertification of the Iran nuclear deal. But Europeans should have known better than to believe promises about the deal's staying power in the U.S. Mr. Obama never submitted the deal to the Senate for ratification as a treaty since he knew it wouldn't pass. That was a clue for Europe. British firms picked up on the signals and have been notably slower to strike new Iranian deals, fearing that Washington could reimpose sanctions. The question for Europe is whether to double down on its investment of political capital and its own credibility in a deal Washington increasingly scorns and whose spirit Tehran habitually violates. European leaders should join Washington in crafting an approach to Iran that makes the Middle East - and Europe - more secure. ... read more
    Source: Daily AlertsPublished on Friday, October 20, 2017
    3 days ago
  • Hamas Chief: We Won’t Discuss Recognizing Israel, Only Wiping It Out
    (Times of Israel) Dov Lieber - "Over is the time Hamas spent discussing recognizing Israel. Now Hamas will discuss when we will wipe out Israel," Yahya Sinwar, the new leader of Hamas in Gaza, said Thursday, according to the Hamas-linked Shehab news agency. "No one in the universe can disarm us," he added. ... read more
    Source: Daily AlertsPublished on Friday, October 20, 2017
    3 days ago
  • Report: UN Promoting Anti-Semitic Hate Groups, Terrorism
    (Washington Free Beacon) Adam Kredo - The UN has formally accredited scores of non-profit organizations that use their legitimacy to spread anti-Semitic propaganda promoting terrorism against Israel and Jews, according to a new report by Human Rights Voices, a watchdog organization. "More than 6,200 NGOs have been invited to participate on a year-round basis in UN activities," said Anne Bayefsky, senior editor of Human Rights Voices. "The NGOs' ranks include bigots, anti-Semites, and terrorist advocates who are now spreading hatred and inciting violence from the world stage." ... read more
    Source: Daily AlertsPublished on Friday, October 20, 2017
    3 days ago
  • Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Vow to Step Up Fight Against Israel, Advance Missile Power
    (Fars-Iran) The Islamic Revolution Guards Corps "will continue its relentless fight against the hegemonic system and Zionism more resolutely and powerfully than before and it will not hesitate a moment in defending the Islamic Revolution and the country's national interests," the IRGC said in a statement on Thursday. "The regional influence and might and development of the Islamic Republic's missile power...will continue and advance without a stop and more rapidly." ... read more
    Source: Daily AlertsPublished on Friday, October 20, 2017
    3 days ago
  • Hungarian Who Printed Fake Passports to Save Jews Honored in Budapest
    (AP-Times of Israel) Emil Wiesmeyer, a Hungarian who printed thousands of passports allowing Jews to flee the country during World War II, was honored on Wednesday with a memorial plaque in Budapest. Wiesmeyer's Antiqua Printing House initially made 4,000 passports as part of efforts by Swedish special envoy Raoul Wallenberg to save Jews from Nazi death camps. Wiesmeyer then produced 20,000 more on his own to help Jews leave Hungary. Wiesmeyer died in 1967. His son Gabor attended the ceremony. ... read more
    Source: Daily AlertsPublished on Friday, October 20, 2017
    3 days ago
  • Photos: Breathtaking 1,700-Year-Old Mosaic to Find Permanent Home
    (Times of Israel) Amanda Borschel-Dan - After touring the world, Israel's most impressive mosaic will move to the Shelby White and Leon Levy Lod Mosaic Archaeological Center in 2019. The richly colorful mosaic was discovered accidentally during salvage excavations in 1996 at a central city square in Lod and then covered up again until 2009, when it began to travel. The Lod mosaic was discovered in what appears to be a large Roman villa from the Byzantine era. Made up of several panels, it is 17 meters long and 9 meters wide. It includes colorful illustrations of elephants, lions, birds, fish, crustaceans, plant life and flowers, boats, and geometric patterns. ... read more
    Source: Daily AlertsPublished on Friday, October 20, 2017
    3 days ago
  • How the Jewish Resistance Movement in Algeria Saved American Lives in World War II
    (Mosaic) Robert Satloff - On November 8, 1942, 110,000 American and British troops invaded North Africa. That same day, 377 young men, led by resistance leader Jose Aboulker, 20, a medical student, fanned out across Algeria's capital city of Algiers. Armed only with knives, pistols, and antiquated 19th-century rifles, they aimed to take over the city, arrest the local Vichy French generals, cut communications with the outside world, and immobilize thousands of French soldiers in their barracks. Astonishingly, by 2:00 a.m. on the morning of the invasion, Algeria's capital was theirs, making it easy for Allied troops to enter, in stark contrast to the relatively stiff defense put up by the Vichyites elsewhere along the North African front. Aboulker himself and 315 of those resistance fighters were Jews. The risks taken by those Jews saved the lives of American soldiers and sailors. French historian Leon Poliakov wrote, "The role of the small Aboulker group was decisive in the world war at a crucial moment." However, Algerian Jews remained for months in concentration and forced-labor camps set up by the Vichy government. Many resistance leaders were rounded up and sent to a remote desert site by the French rulers still in place after the invasion, where last-minute intervention by agents of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), America's overseas clandestine intelligence operation, saved their lives. The writer is executive director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. ... read more
    Source: Daily AlertsPublished on Friday, October 20, 2017
    3 days ago
  • Kirkuk’s Kurdish Governor Is Forced to Flee
    (Bloomberg) Eli Lake - Najmaldin Karim, the Kurdish governor of Kirkuk Province who was elected in 2011 and 2014, fled his home on Tuesday. He told me, "Shiite militias raided Kurdish neighborhoods, and today thousands are leaving. They beat up people. This was all from the Shiite militias - the ones the U.S.-led coalition said were not there." Iraqi Prime Minister "Abadi claims there were no casualties. We have seen trucks full of dead bodies." ... read more
    Source: Daily AlertsPublished on Friday, October 20, 2017
    3 days ago
  • Trump Is Right about the Iran Deal
    (Ha'aretz) Nehemia Shtrasler - President Trump is trying to keep Iran from becoming a nuclear power with long-range missiles that will threaten the entire world. After all, anyone with eyes in his head recognizes that Iran, with its enormous oil reserves, isn't interested in nuclear technology for electricity or scientific research. It wants a bomb, as the only way to guarantee the survival of the regime and its leaders. Iran is an evil regime, all terror and aggression. Its leaders want first to control the Middle East, and then to become a world power that will also threaten Europe and the United States. It is a Shi'ite extremist regime that funds terror attacks around the world, including by supplying arms to terrorist organizations in many Muslim states: Saudi Arabia, the Gulf States, Lebanon, Syria, Yemen, Egypt and Jordan. Israel is at the top of the kill list, and Iran is trying to surround it on all sides: Syria (the Assad regime), Lebanon (Hizbullah) and Gaza (Hamas). But to really destroy Israel, Iran needs a nuclear bomb. That's why it's so important to try to prevent it from getting one. Israel has a clear interest in Trump's success. The moment Iran becomes a nuclear power, our entire existence will be at risk. The writer is a veteran columnist for Ha'aretz. ... read more
    Source: Daily AlertsPublished on Friday, October 20, 2017
    3 days ago
  • Iraq’s Shiite Militias Are Just Getting Started
    (Foreign Policy) Anchal Vohra - The Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), the umbrella organization of Shiite militias in Iraq, has emerged as a powerful political actor. Following Ayatollah Sistani's 2014 fatwa calling on Iraqis to take up arms against the Islamic State, and with weapons and military training provided by Iran, they fought the terrorist group with fanatical zeal - and the victory has empowered them like never before. Now, they are pushing officials in Baghdad to end the Kurds' aspiration for independence and to curtail the U.S.-Iraqi partnership. Iraq's Iran-backed militias are determined to hold on to the power that their members have fought and died to acquire. By building political power in Baghdad, the PMF hopes to increase their access to Iraq's patronage networks - which means jobs in the security services or a government ministry. By wresting the oil fields around Kirkuk from the Kurds, the PMF and their allies are dramatically enlarging the revenues available to Baghdad. ... read more
    Source: Daily AlertsPublished on Friday, October 20, 2017
    3 days ago
  • Hizbullah Playing Prominent Role in Eastern Syria
    (Al-Monitor) Mona Alami - Hizbullah is playing a prominent role in the northeastern Syrian region of Deir ez-Zor, according to a Hizbullah commander who spoke to Al-Monitor. The region holds large deposits of oil and gas, and borders Iraq, which means it is a potential pathway for Iran to link Tehran to Beirut. More than 8,000 Hizbullah fighters are involved in eastern Syria, said the commander. The commander said Hizbullah forces in the eastern sector range from infantry, rocket launcher battalions, and operation forces to logistics and supply forces. "We are an army," he said. A joint operations room led by Iran, Hizbullah and the Syrian military runs the operations in Deir ez-Zor, he added. Hizbullah is usually responsible for offensive operations and Syrian troops generally follow to stabilize various areas. The Hizbullah commander said the organization is using the recent de-escalation deal in southern Syria to do reconnaissance work there. According to a previous interview with a Hizbullah official, Hizbullah "has missiles with a range that could target Israel [from Syrian territory] without Hizbullah having to be physically present near the border area." ... read more
    Source: Daily AlertsPublished on Friday, October 20, 2017
    3 days ago
  • Israeli Opposition Leader: Israel Must Retain Jordan Valley
    (Times of Israel) Alexander Fulbright - Labor Party leader Avi Gabbay on Thursday said Israel must maintain control over the Jordan Valley as "Israel's eastern security buffer" under a future peace agreement, echoing a sentiment expressed by previous Labor leaders, most notably Yitzhak Rabin. "For us, the Jordan Valley was and will remain Israel's eastern security buffer. And security requires settlement." ... read more
    Source: Daily AlertsPublished on Friday, October 20, 2017
    3 days ago
  • “If ISIS Knew I Came to Israel They Would Behead Me”: Syrian Parents Risk Everything to Get Israeli Treatment for their Children
    (Telegraph-UK) Raf Sanchez - Before dawn some 50 Syrian women and children huddle at an Israeli military post along the Golan Heights fence. The group is among nearly 5,000 Syrians who have made the perilous journey from rebel-controlled areas of Syria to Israel to receive medical treatment. "If ISIS knew I came to Israel they would behead me," said Rouba, who had brought her daughter to get treated for damaged nerves in her arm. In the waiting room at Ziv hospital in Safed, one woman said, "I never thought I would come here." Her daughter was in danger of losing her sight in one eye to an infection. "I was surprised that Israel wanted to help the Syrians. I never expected this in my life." As she spoke, the 25 Syrian children were gathered around a table coloring under the supervision of two Arab-Israeli nurses. ... read more
    Source: Daily AlertsPublished on Friday, October 20, 2017
    3 days ago
  • How Artificial Intelligence Is Shaping the IDF
    (JNS.org) Yaakov Lappin - Artificial Intelligence (AI) is revolutionizing the ways in which Israel defends itself, said Lt.-Col. Nurit Cohen Inger, a senior IDF officer overseeing the introduction of this technology. AI provides the IDF the ability to accurately predict what enemies will do, based on an analysis of what they've done and are currently doing. AI systems analyze real-time video feeds, and then assist the IDF in making decisions accordingly. The same kind of technology is helping the IDF deal with the avalanche of audio and text-based intelligence they receive. In the IDF, soldiers and platforms are broadcasting vast amounts of data on their own activities to the military's shared data network. The IDF is using artificial intelligence to take stock of what its units are doing, enabling officials to make significantly more effective battlefield decisions. ... read more
    Source: Daily AlertsPublished on Friday, October 20, 2017
    3 days ago
  • Reconstructed Auschwitz Prisoner Text Details “Unimaginable” Suffering
    (Deutsche Welle-Germany) Dagmar Breitenbach - A document written in 1944 by a Greek Jewish prisoner at Auschwitz found buried in a thermos near Crematorium III has been newly reconstructed. Marcel Nadjari wrote in 1944: "We all suffer things here that the human mind cannot imagine. Underneath a garden, there are two endless basement rooms: one is meant for undressing, the other is a death chamber. People enter naked and when it is filled with about 3,000 people, it is closed and they are gassed." "After half an hour, we would open the doors, and our work began." The prisoners' job: delivering the corpses to the crematory ovens, where "a human being ends up as about 640 grams of ashes." "I am not sad that I will die," Nadjari wrote, "but I am sad that I won't be able to take revenge like I would like to." Nadjari survived the war and died in New York in 1971 at age 54. ... read more
    Source: Daily AlertsPublished on Friday, October 20, 2017
    3 days ago
  • Israel’s Iron Dome a Quick Fix for Seoul’s Vulnerability to North Korean Attack?
    (Forbes) Loren Thompson - South Korea's capital, Seoul, is 35 miles from the demilitarized zone, within range of North Korean artillery and short-range rockets that hold 25 million South Koreans - half the country's population - hostage. Truck-mounted Thaad missile defense batteries began deploying in South Korea earlier this year. But Thaad is not configured to deal with artillery shells, and rocket launchers located right over the border don't loft their munitions to an altitude where Thaad could be effective. So protecting Seoul against short-range threats is difficult. Last week, Raytheon displayed an effective solution at the annual exposition of the Association of the U.S. Army in Washington that could be available for deployment within months. Raytheon calls the system SkyHunter, but longtime military observers will know it as Iron Dome - the short-range air and missile defense system that Israel activated in 2011 to counter rockets fired by Hizbullah in Lebanon. Iron Dome has a success rate of over 90% in countering short-range ballistic threats and has successfully intercepted over 1,500 hostile munitions headed for Israel. It is designed to defend precisely the kind of target the South Korean capital represents - a densely populated urban area. Its radar, built by Israeli company Elta, can track the trajectories of over a thousand targets simultaneously. SkyHunter looks to be the only combat-proven option that could be on the ground and in action in South Korea by next spring. So chances are, U.S. investment in Israel's defense is going to pay dividends few observers could have imagined when Iron Dome was first conceived. ... read more
    Source: Daily AlertsPublished on Friday, October 20, 2017
    3 days ago
  • The Coming Confrontation between Israel and Iran
    (Atlantic) Elliott Abrams - While we in the U.S. have been debating the nuclear deal, Iran has been acting - and Israel has been reacting. Israel has struck sites in Syria 100 times in the last five years, bombing when it saw an Iranian effort to move high-tech materiel to Hizbullah in Lebanon. Previous Israeli efforts to get Putin to stop Iran's steady expansion in the Middle East have failed, which suggests that Israel will need to do so itself, alone. If Iran does indeed plan to establish a large and permanent military footprint in Syria - complete with permanent naval and air bases and a major ground force - Israel will have fateful decisions to make. Such an Iranian presence would fundamentally change Israel's security situation. The writer, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, handled Middle East affairs at the U.S. National Security Council from 2001 to 2009. ... read more
    Source: Daily AlertsPublished on Friday, October 20, 2017
    3 days ago
  • Taking Stock of Hizbullah’s Losses in Syria
    (Jerusalem Post) Colin P. Clarke - Much of the analysis of the civil war in Syria has failed to highlight how participation in the war has hurt Hizbullah. While Hizbullah has gained valuable combat experience fighting alongside Russian and Iranian forces, it has lost 1,700-1,800 fighters, including many seasoned veterans. In comparison, Hizbullah lost 1,200 fighters in its conflicts with Israel between 1982 and 2000. To replenish its ranks, the group has been forced to recruit younger and less qualified fighters. In addition, its image suffered drastically after it sent its fighters to defend the odious Assad regime that has repeatedly used chemical weapons against its own civilian population. The writer is a political scientist at the RAND Corporation and an associate fellow at the International Centre for Counter Terrorism-The Hague. ... read more
    Source: Daily AlertsPublished on Friday, October 20, 2017
    3 days ago
  • Netanyahu: “The Jordan Valley Will Always Remain a Part of Israel”
    (Ha'aretz) Yotam Berger - "The Jordan Valley will always remain a part of Israel. We will continue to settle it, invest in infrastructure and tourism," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Thursday at a ceremony marking 50 years of Israeli settlement there. "The Middle East is unstable and violent. The valley is a strategic defensive belt for the country, and without it the fundamentalist flood could reach the interior, up to greater Tel Aviv. Thus, our eastern defensive line starts at this place. If we won't be here, Tehran and Hamastan will be here. We won't let that happen." Netanyahu said Israel will never abandon the Jordan Valley settlements "because they are of utmost security importance to Israel." ... read more
    Source: Daily AlertsPublished on Friday, October 20, 2017
    3 days ago
  • Israeli Model Is a Former Combat Soldier
    (JTA) Andrew Tobin - Orin Julie, 23, is a former Israeli combat soldier who is trained to discharge the weapons she poses with. "I don't stand around in swimwear," she said in an interview at her Tel Aviv modeling agency. "I know how to hold guns, how to shoot, how to do combat stuff - and Americans appreciate that." Two years into her career, Julie has modeled for a half dozen Israeli and American companies that sell firearms and related products. In high school, as she began thinking ahead to her mandatory military service, Julie resolved to become a combat solider. "No one thought I could do it," she said. "But I really love Israel, and I wanted to show I could do more and be more." She served in the IDF's new mixed-gender search and rescue brigade. ... read more
    Source: Daily AlertsPublished on Friday, October 20, 2017
    3 days ago
  • Pompeo: Al-Qaeda-Iran Connection an -Open Secret-
    (Weekly Standard) Jenna Lifhits - CIA Director Mike Pompeo said Thursday: "It's an open secret and not classified information that...there have been times the Iranians have worked alongside al-Qaeda....They view the West as a greater threat." ... read more
    Source: Daily AlertsPublished on Friday, October 20, 2017
    3 days ago
  • U.S. Treasury Ramps Up Sanctions on Iran
    (U.S. Treasury Department) Sigal Mandelker - The Iranian regime is wreaking havoc on the Middle East and beyond. Iran continues to pursue ballistic missile capabilities in defiance of UN Security Council Resolution 2231. Iran finances and supports Hizbullah, Hamas, and the Taliban, as well as Bahraini, Iraqi, Syrian, and Yemeni militant groups. The President's Iran strategy focuses on far more than just the nuclear deal. It is a broad and comprehensive strategy to counter Iran's support for terrorism, ballistic missile development, and human rights abuses. Over the last 10 months, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has issued seven tranches of sanctions, designating 72 targets in China, Iran, Lebanon and Ukraine in connection with the IRGC, Iran's ballistic missile program, support for terrorism, and human rights abuses. And we are continuing to ramp up the economic pressure on Iran's illicit networks using all of the tools and authorities at our disposal. The President also authorized us to take additional action against the IRGC's officials, agents, and affiliates later this month. We will continue to aggressively target other organs of state power in Iran that foment instability and support terrorism. U.S. Treasury Undersecretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Sigal Mandelker, a child of Holocaust survivors, addressed AIPAC on Oct. 16, 2017. ... read more
    Source: Daily AlertsPublished on Thursday, October 19, 2017
    4 days ago
  • Poll Shows Fatah More Popular than Hamas in Gaza
    (An-Najah University-PA) According to a new survey of 1,862 Palestinian adults in the West Bank and Gaza by An-Najah University conducted Oct. 12-14, 2017, 38% identify with Fatah, 11% with Hamas, 2% with the Popular Front, and 1% with Islamic Jihad. 75% support the accession of Hamas and Islamic Jihad to the Palestine Liberation Organization. Asked if the U.S. is serious this time in its endeavors to bring the peace negotiations between the Palestinians and Israelis to a successful end, 61% said no, 29% said yes. In the West Bank, 70% said they reject an armed intifada in the Palestinian territories, while 27% support one. Asked if they support the creation of a Palestinian state on the 1967 lines with some land exchange as a final solution for the Palestinian cause, 66% said no, while 26% said yes. At the same time, 67% reject the creation of a binational state. When Gazans were asked to whom they would give their vote for president, 41% said Fatah, while 8% said Hamas. ... read more
    Source: Daily AlertsPublished on Thursday, October 19, 2017
    4 days ago
  • Top Syrian General Killed
    (Telegraph-UK) Josie Ensor - Syrian Brig.-Gen. Issam Zahreddine, the commander of Syrian troops in the battle to retake the city of Deir Ezzor, died after his convoy hit a landmine on Wednesday. ... read more
    Source: Daily AlertsPublished on Thursday, October 19, 2017
    4 days ago
  • Why There Is No Peace in the Middle East
    (Gatestone Institute) Philip Carl Salzman - Peace is not possible in the Middle East because values and goals other than peace are more important to Middle Easterners. Loyalty to kin, clan, and cult are the cultural imperatives. Some prefer to attribute the problems of the Middle East to outsiders, such as Western imperialists, but it seems odd to suggest that the local inhabitants have no agency and no responsibility for their activities. Honor comes from winning. Having lost in a political struggle results in loss of honor. Losing is regarded as deeply humiliating. Only the prospects of a future victory and the regaining of honor drives people forward. An example is the Arab-Israel conflict, in the course of which the despised Jews repeatedly defeated the armies of Arab states. The only way to regain honor is to defeat and destroy Israel. This is why no agreement over land or boundaries will bring peace: peace does not restore honor. The writer is professor of anthropology at McGill University in Canada. ... read more
    Source: Daily AlertsPublished on Thursday, October 19, 2017
    4 days ago
  • Iran Steps Up Its Economic Domination in Syria
    (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs) Brig.-Gen. (ret.) Dr. Shimon Shapira - Iran is stepping up its economic involvement in Syria. Iranian leaders envision the construction of a railway from Tehran to the Mediterranean Sea. Syria has also signed agreements to import five power plants from Iran to rehabilitate the power sector. Iran announced plans to build a refinery near Homs and to rehabilitate two additional refineries. The Iranian takeover of the Syrian economy will probably be relatively rapid, given Syria's desperate need to rehabilitate its economy. Iran's main competitor in rebuilding Syria is Russia, but the Russians demand payment for their investments. The writer, a senior research associate at the Jerusalem Center, served as Military Secretary to the Prime Minister and as Israel Foreign Ministry Chief of Staff. ... read more
    Source: Daily AlertsPublished on Thursday, October 19, 2017
    4 days ago
  • Video: NFL Films Joins Hall of Famers on Inspiring Trip to Israel
    (NFL.com) Ed Sherman - "NFL Films Presents: Touchdown in Israel" documents New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft taking 18 Hall of Famers on a spiritual journey to the Holy Land last summer. The one-hour film, which airs Friday on NFL Network, shows the impact a visit to Israel had on these great players. ... read more
    Source: Daily AlertsPublished on Thursday, October 19, 2017
    4 days ago
  • Why Real PA Unity Won’t Happen
    (Jerusalem Post) Hillel Frisch - The conflict between the PA and Hamas boils down to beards. Hamas security personnel are almost always bearded, while the PA's security personnel sport no beards. A bearded security officer means that the political entity he serves is or aspires to be a theocratic state. A non-bearded member of an official security force means that the state he serves is secular and most certainly anti-theocratic. Even absent the crucial religious element, the PA/Fatah-Hamas standoff is a bitter zero-sum game and the prospects of true Hamas-Fatah unity are negligible. In Egypt during the "Arab Spring," it was clear from the beginning to the Egyptian army that the Muslim Brotherhood must be confronted at all costs. The episode ended in zero-sum fashion with President Sisi emerging all-powerful, and Muslim Brotherhood President Morsi locked in jail. The common denominator is that one side was totally victorious and the other totally defeated. Only a similar showdown in Gaza can decide between PA and Hamas rule. But it is doubtful whether the Fatah-led PA can muster the strength to make a true bid for absolute power in Gaza, and even more unlikely that it will win a shootout. The writer is a professor of political and Middle East studies at Bar-Ilan University and a senior fellow at the Jerusalem Institute for Strategic Studies. ... read more
    Source: Daily AlertsPublished on Thursday, October 19, 2017
    4 days ago
  • Germany: Iran Working to Build Nuclear-Armed Missiles
    (Jerusalem Post) Benjamin Weinthal - German security officials have accused the Iranian regime of pursuing its goal to build missiles armed with nuclear warheads, the Berlin daily Der Tagesspiegel reported Friday. "Despite the nuclear agreement, Iran has not given up its illegal activities in Germany. The mullah regime also made efforts this year to obtain material from [German] firms for its nuclear program and the construction of missiles, said security sources. Iran has clearly not given up its long-term goal to become a nuclear power that can mount nuclear weapons on rockets....Security experts say Iran is very interested in equipment to extend the range of missiles." ... read more
    Source: Daily AlertsPublished on Thursday, October 19, 2017
    4 days ago
  • Slain Syrian General Considered a War Criminal
    (Ynet News) Roi Kais - The anti-Assad opposition has accused Syrian Gen. Zahreddine of committing horrendous war crimes, including a massacre in the suburbs of Damascus in 2012. Al Jazeera reported that "Zahreddine is known for his cruelty. He has previously been recorded in a video posted online as boasting while the bodies of the slaughtered lay in front of him." ... read more
    Source: Daily AlertsPublished on Thursday, October 19, 2017
    4 days ago
  • IDF Thwarts Palestinian Stabbing Attack in West Bank
    (Jerusalem Post) A Palestinian armed with a knife attempted to attack IDF troops in Gush Etzion on Wednesday before being shot and wounded. ... read more
    Source: Daily AlertsPublished on Thursday, October 19, 2017
    4 days ago
  • Netanyahu and Putin Discuss Iran Nuclear Program, Syria
    (Ha'aretz) Barak Ravid - Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke by phone with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, at the initiative of the Israeli side, to discuss the Iran nuclear program, the situation in Syria, and the referendum in Iraqi Kurdistan, the Kremlin said on Wednesday. ... read more
    Source: Daily AlertsPublished on Thursday, October 19, 2017
    4 days ago
  • Unity Deal Could Allow Hamas Leader to Become PA President
    (Israel Hayom) Daniel Siryoti - A cunning plan to pave the way for senior Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal to win the Palestinian Authority presidency to replace the aging Mahmoud Abbas may have been the true aim behind Hamas' willingness to sign a reconciliation deal with Fatah, according to senior Palestinian and Egyptian intelligence officials. Mashaal, who headed the Hamas political bureau for almost two decades, has made no effort to disguise his ambition to clinch the PA presidency. He is said to back reforms to the Hamas charter to allow the organization to join the Palestine Liberation Organization - a move that would allow a Hamas candidate to compete in elections for the presidency. "Mashaal saw an opportunity to realize his ambition of inheriting the Palestinian presidential seat because of the rift in the Fatah leadership after Marwan Barghouti's imprisonment in Israel, and the fact that polls conducted by Palestinian bodies show a dramatic drop in the support for Barghouti as Abbas' successor," a senior Egyptian official told Israel Hayom. ... read more
    Source: Daily AlertsPublished on Thursday, October 19, 2017
    4 days ago
  • U.S.: Palestinian Unity Government Must Recognize Israel, Disarm Hamas
    (AFP) In the first detailed U.S. response to last week's Palestinian unity deal, Jason Greenblatt, President Trump's special representative for international negotiations, said Thursday: "Any Palestinian government must unambiguously and explicitly commit to nonviolence, recognize the State of Israel, accept previous agreements and obligations between the parties - including to disarm terrorists - and commit to peaceful negotiations. If Hamas is to play any role in a Palestinian government, it must accept these basic requirements." ... read more
    Source: Daily AlertsPublished on Thursday, October 19, 2017
    4 days ago
  • Israeli President Rivlin: “Israel Is Not Compensation for the Holocaust”
    (Jerusalem Post) Greer Fay Cashman - President Reuven Rivlin welcomed 130 Christian broadcasters from 30 countries at the President's Residence on Wednesday. Rivlin explained that he was "a seventh generation Jerusalemite," whose forebears arrived in 1809. That his own family and many others came to the Land of Israel well over a century before the Holocaust is proof that Israel was not created as compensation for the outrages of the Holocaust. ... read more
    Source: Daily AlertsPublished on Thursday, October 19, 2017
    4 days ago
  • U.S. Amb. Nikki Haley Tells UN: “Nearly Every Threat to Peace and Security in the Middle East Is Connected to Iran”
    (U.S. Mission to the UN) U.S. UN Ambassador Nikki Haley told the Security Council on Wednesday: "We can't talk about stability in the Middle East without talking about Iran. That's because nearly every threat to peace and security in the Middle East is connected to Iran's outlaw behavior....Iran must be judged in totality of its aggressive, destabilizing, and unlawful behavior. To do otherwise would be foolish." "The Security Council has repeatedly passed resolutions aimed at addressing Iranian support for terrorism and regional conflicts. But Iran has repeatedly thumbed its nose at those efforts. Worse, the regime continues to play this Council. Iran hides behind its assertion of technical compliance with the nuclear deal while it brazenly violates the other limits on its behavior. And we have allowed them to get away with it. This must stop." ... read more
    Source: Daily AlertsPublished on Thursday, October 19, 2017
    4 days ago
  • As Iraqi Forces Consolidate Control of North, Kurds Flee
    (Wall Street Journal) Isabel Coles and Ali A. Nabhan - Thousands of Kurdish civilians fled their homes in northern Iraq on Wednesday, fearing harassment by government forces and Shiite militias. South of Kirkuk, the entire Kurdish population of Tuz Khurmato left the town as local Turkmen - many of whom belong to government-backed Shiite paramilitary groups - ransacked and torched their homes. "People are afraid," said Feraydoun Ahmed, 50, who fled with his family from Kirkuk. "We are scared they (Iraqi forces) will harass our families." On the main road out of the city, Iraqi forces blocked the way with armored vehicles, holding back hundreds of cars. ... read more
    Source: Daily AlertsPublished on Thursday, October 19, 2017
    4 days ago
  • The IDF’s “War between Wars” Prevents the Next War
    (Ynet News) Brig.-Gen. Yitzhak Turgeman interviewed by Yossi Yehoshua - Brig.-Gen. Yitzhak Turgeman, head of the IDF Operations Division, was a division commander in the 2014 Gaza war. He says that in Gaza "today we are dealing with a very complex constructed area, with a population that cannot be evacuated anywhere, and with a huge underground space." He is certain Hamas has been deterred since then. "Salafists...fire [rockets and mortars] to make us target Hamas....Following every local incident Hamas goes out and acts against the rebels. Hamas understands that Israel will act aggressively." Turgeman's great concern is the moment Hamas internalizes the meaning of the new underground obstacle being built on the Gaza border. "They're surprised by the scope. At first, we built opposite the communities. We wanted to [first] close the areas opposite the communities. Now...they're beginning to realize that this is going to shut off the entire strip." "Hamas has realized that we have the Iron Dome [anti-missile] system, and I think that as soon as we harm its tunneling project, it will be much more deterred....The political echelon's instruction was: 'We want the obstacle to be completed by 2019.'" On the northern front opposite Hizbullah, "Israel has unique intelligence capabilities, which give us a major advantage....We want to attack infrastructures like launching pads and warehouses, which will prevent Hizbullah from hitting our home front....Today we're talking about thousands of targets compared to 277 in the Second Lebanon War in 2006." "The complexity in the Second Lebanon War was to act against an independent, decentralized terror organization." Today, Hizbullah "is starting to resemble an army, and that's where its weakness lies....When you're dealing with a [larger formation], the ability to hit is much more effective." Turgeman is the manager of "the war between wars" - the operations aimed at preventing Hamas and Hizbullah from arming themselves. "At the end of the day, the 'war between wars' prevents the next battle. We work to prevent abilities that we don't want our enemies to have." "Iran is investing hundreds of millions in funds and in war materials in Syria and in Lebanon....It supports our entire first circle of enemies - Hamas, the Islamic Jihad, Hizbullah and Syria. Iran is doing everything in its power to strengthen its presence in Syria...[including a] base, with planes that are deployed there. We'll do everything to prevent this from happening." "We do everything in our power to clarify things and to avoid creating friction with the Russians in the 'war between wars.'...Moreover, we have an intelligence advantage, and when we detected a concrete warning of an attack against Russian forces, we informed them about it and prevented the attack. They were very grateful." ... read more
    Source: Daily AlertsPublished on Wednesday, October 18, 2017
    5 days ago
  • Israel Is Done Threatening Syria
    (Ynet News) Alex Fishman - For at least six months, Israel has been exercising restraint over Syrian anti-aircraft fire at Israel Air Force planes, warning that if the fire doesn't stop, Syrian missile batteries will be targeted. Since March 2017, Syria has changed its policy and has attempted to shoot down Israeli photography and patrol flights quite a few times, while Israel has avoided reporting these events. After realizing that the Iranians were not taking Israel seriously either (Tehran appeared unfazed by the Israeli warning that it would not accept permanent Iranian bases on Syrian soil), Israel could no longer afford to keep threatening without responding. On Monday, the IDF made it clear to the Iranians as well that the Israelis are dead serious. Israel not only attacked a Syrian missile battery but also made the strike public. The air strike cannot be disconnected from Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu's visit to Israel. An Israeli attack on a Syrian military facility, deep within Syria, while the Russian defense minister is in Israel, conveys the message to the Syrians: Russia won't automatically back you. Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman also approved a strike in Syria several months ago while meeting with the Russians in Moscow. He explained that the Russians despise weakness and don't respect those who don't fight for their interests. ... read more
    Source: Daily AlertsPublished on Wednesday, October 18, 2017
    5 days ago
  • Israeli Knesset Member at Inter-Parliamentary Union Meeting Calls Out PA for Racism Against Jews
    (Jerusalem Post) Lahav Harkov - The Palestinian Authority is racist against Jews, MK Sharren Haskel (Likud) told the Inter-Parliamentary Union assembly in St. Petersburg, Russia, this week. "The law in the Palestinian Authority says whoever sells land to a Jew will be killed. Isn't that a racist law? Your legislation has been racist against Jews for years." "Israel is the only country in the Middle East that is a democracy that gives equal rights to all its citizens no matter if they're Muslim, Christian, Druse, Bedouin, Jews....We coexist in Israel with all this multiculturalism and different religions, yet you continue to incite your younger generation to more terrorism." While the Israel-Palestinian conflict is generally on the assembly's official agenda, this year it was not. MK Nachman Shai (Zionist Union) said, "I see this as an important achievement....There is no reason to discuss Israel-related matters when there are events happening around us that are many times more important and significant." ... read more
    Source: Daily AlertsPublished on Wednesday, October 18, 2017
    5 days ago
  • Israeli Judo Team Barred from Wearing National Emblems in Abu Dhabi
    (AFP) Israel on Monday denounced a decision by the organizers of the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam preventing its 12 judokas from wearing "ISR" on their uniforms and the playing of their national anthem if they win at this month's tournament. Israeli Sport Minister Miri Regev wrote to Thomas Bach, president of the International Olympic Committee, that Abu Dhabi's demand "is contrary to the mandate of international sports associations, the main aim of which is to separate politics from sport. It is the obligation of any country which has the privilege of hosting an international competition to allow the competing athletes to represent the country honorably while ensuring their security." ... read more
    Source: Daily AlertsPublished on Wednesday, October 18, 2017
    5 days ago
  • U.S. Policy on Iran: Getting Tough without Leaving the Nuclear Deal
    (Institute for National Security Studies-Tel Aviv University) Emily B. Landau - The most notable feature of the new policy on Iran outlined by President Trump on Oct. 13 is that it covers the entirety of Iran's behavior that is viewed negatively by the U.S., beyond the nuclear program: Iran's missile program, support for terror, and regional aspirations that threaten the national security interests of the U.S. and its allies in the Middle East. Trump signaled that the U.S. will no longer refrain from pushing back against Iran's aggressions and provocations for fear of Iran exiting the nuclear deal. The writer is director of the Arms Control and Regional Security Program at INSS. ... read more
    Source: Daily AlertsPublished on Wednesday, October 18, 2017
    5 days ago
  • Anti-Balfour Declaration Posters Banned from London Underground
    (Guardian-UK) Ian Black - Adverts highlighting Palestinian objections to the Balfour Declaration of 1917, when Britain promised to establish a Jewish national home in Palestine, have been blocked by Transport for London. Theresa May and her Israeli counterpart, Benjamin Netanyahu, are expected to be the guests of honor at a London dinner celebrating the centenary of the declaration, the most high-profile of several events. Israeli officials say it is right to celebrate the centenary and have accused those demanding that Britain apologize for the declaration of being anti-Semitic and ignoring Palestinian hostility and intransigence. ... read more
    Source: Daily AlertsPublished on Wednesday, October 18, 2017
    5 days ago
  • Trump’s New Strategy on Iran
    (Asharq Al-Awsat-UK) Amir Taheri - Trump's new strategy on Iran aims at a sophisticated and measured use of American economic, diplomatic and, yes, military power in pursuit of carefully defined objectives. "The United States' new Iran strategy focuses on neutralizing the Government of Iran's de-stabilizing influence and constraining its aggression, particularly its support for terrorism and militants," Trump said. He did not say the U.S. hopes to "moderate" Iran's behavior, as Carter, George W. Bush, Clinton and Obama did. He said the aim is to "neutralize" it. He also abandons the childish claim that Iran's aggressive behavior is the work of "certain groups within the Iranian regime," and not the totality of it. The writer was the executive editor-in-chief of the daily Kayhan in Iran from 1972 to 1979. ... read more
    Source: Daily AlertsPublished on Wednesday, October 18, 2017
    5 days ago
  • Israel’s Security Cabinet Sets Conditions for Negotiations with Palestinian Government Supported by Hamas
    (Prime Minister's Office) Israel's security cabinet decided on Tuesday that the government will not conduct diplomatic negotiations with a Palestinian government that relies on Hamas, a terrorist organization that calls for the destruction of Israel, as long as it does not fulfill the following conditions: * Hamas will recognize Israel and desist from terrorism, as per the Quartet conditions; * Hamas must be disarmed; * IDF fallen and Israeli civilians held by Hamas must be returned; * The Palestinian Authority (PA) must exercise full security control in Gaza, including at the crossings, and prevent smuggling; * The PA will continue to act against Hamas terror infrastructures in Judea and Samaria; * Hamas will sever its ties with Iran; and * Funds and humanitarian equipment will continue to flow into Gaza only via the PA. ... read more
    Source: Daily AlertsPublished on Wednesday, October 18, 2017
    5 days ago
  • Photos: The Israel Navy Defends Israel’s Shores
    (Ynet News) The Israel Navy offers a rare glimpse at the vessels and people tasked with defending Israel's maritime borders night and day. ... read more
    Source: Daily AlertsPublished on Wednesday, October 18, 2017
    5 days ago