Daily Alerts

  • The Rescue of Jewish Culture after the Holocaust
    (Mosaic) Diane Cole - In the immediate aftermath of World War II, the U.S. and Allied armies deployed a team, popularly known as the Monuments Men, to locate and restore to their rightful owners huge caches of European art and cultural works that had been looted by the Nazis. This group was also assigned to salvage the material artifacts that had survived the Nazi destruction of European Jewish culture: nearly three million books, manuscripts, art works, archives, Torah scrolls, ritual objects, historical records, letters, and other documents, some of them centuries old. In A Mortuary of Books: The Rescue of Jewish Culture After the Holocaust, the German scholar Elisabeth Gallas unfurls the saga of how a consortium of Jewish organizations and individuals helped deal with this material. ... read more
    Source: Daily AlertsPublished on Friday, September 20, 2019
    1 day ago
  • Israel’s Gantz Would Likely Maintain Netanyahu’s Foreign-Policy Stance
    (Wall Street Journal) Felicia Schwartz - If he becomes Israel's next leader, retired Gen. Benny Gantz, 60, would likely follow the same path as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Gantz served as the head of Israel's military from 2011 to 2015, while Netanyahu was the prime minister. President Trump has described Gantz as a good person and said Wednesday that the U.S. relationship is with Israel, not any one leader. Gantz has said he thought the Obama administration could have reached a better nuclear deal with Iran in 2015. He has wholeheartedly supported Netanyahu's campaign against Iran, as Israel has launched strikes against Tehran's positions and those of its allies in Syria, Iraq and Lebanon. "I am standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Prime Minister Netanyahu in the fight against Iran's aggression," Gantz told the Munich Security Conference earlier this year. Gantz has said he would put any Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank up for a public vote and would look to take unilateral steps if a peace deal can't be reached. "If it turns out that there is no way to reach peace at this time, we will shape a new reality," he said. After Netanyahu pledged to apply Israeli sovereignty to the Jordan Valley, Gantz called the area "a part of Israel forever." Many Israelis, including Gantz, consider that area on the Jordan border essential to Israel's security. ... read more
    Source: Daily AlertsPublished on Friday, September 20, 2019
    1 day ago
  • The West Cannot Ignore Iran’s Attacks
    (Jerusalem Post) Editorial - Iran is the greatest threat to the West. It has worked for decades to undermine moderate Arab regimes in the Middle East, to develop and acquire nuclear weapons, and to arm and support some of the worst terrorist organizations known to man: Hizbullah, Hamas, and the Houthis. Israel has single-handedly been fighting Iran along its different borders for years. Israel's conflict with Hamas and Hizbullah is, in reality, against Iran. Both groups are Tehran's proxies. The world cannot let Iran continue to get away with its attacks. The time has long come for Tehran to pay a price for its violence, support of terrorism and nuclear violations. If Iran can get away with attacking the U.S., attacking Saudi Arabia, and violating restrictions on its nuclear program, what will stop it from building a nuclear weapon one day and then using it against Israel or another Western country - especially when some of their leaders have made no secret of their intentions to do just so? If Iran's attacks go unanswered they will only intensify. ... read more
    Source: Daily AlertsPublished on Friday, September 20, 2019
    1 day ago
  • Estonia, Israel Mark 1944 Massacre of 2,000 Jews
    (AP) Estonian and Israeli officials on Thursday marked the 75th anniversary of a massacre of 2,000 Jews from Hungary, Latvia and Lithuania at the Nazi's Klooga forced labor camp, just three days before the Soviet Red Army liberated it. On Sep. 19, 1944, Nazi troops rushed to evacuate the camp and a special Waffen-SS commando shot the Jews in a single day. ... read more
    Source: Daily AlertsPublished on Friday, September 20, 2019
    1 day ago
  • How Saudi Arabia Failed to Protect Itself from Drone and Missile Attacks
    (CNBC) Natasha Turak - Saudi Arabia, the planet's third-highest defense spender, fell victim to a drone and missile attack on the world's largest oil facility. The kingdom's defenses are designed for entirely different threats. The low-flying and relatively cheap drones and cruise missiles used in the attack are a fairly new challenge that many nations are not prepared to counter. It also doesn't help that massive oil plants are just easy targets. "Saudi oil assets are vulnerable for the simple reason that when flying over them at night, they stick out against the desert background like a Christmas tree," said Michael Rubin, a former Pentagon official and Middle East expert at the American Enterprise Institute. "This means that enemies don't need high-tech GPS-guided drones, even though they might have them, but can also use relatively lower technology drones." Saudi Arabia boasts an arsenal of sophisticated and expensive air defense equipment. They have the American-made Patriot, German-made Skyguard, and France's Shahine mobile anti-aircraft system. But, as Jack Watling, a land warfare expert at the Royal United Services Institute, told CNBC, "The track record of Patriot engaging missiles of any kind is pretty awful, they very rarely hit the target." The other issue, he says, is that it's designed for shooting down high-altitude ballistic missiles, not cruise missiles and drones. "These were low-flying cruise missiles. They were coming in far below the engagement zone for Patriot." "The Saudis have a lot of sophisticated air defense equipment. Given their general conduct of operations in Yemen, it is highly unlikely that their soldiers know how to use it," Watling said. He added that Saudi forces have "low readiness, low competence, and are largely inattentive." ... read more
    Source: Daily AlertsPublished on Friday, September 20, 2019
    1 day ago
  • Who Is Benny Gantz?
    (Washington Post) Ruby Mellen - With a parliamentary election producing a deadlock, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has called for a unity government with his opponent, Benny Gantz, leader of the Blue and White alliance. Born in Israel to Holocaust survivors, Gantz entered the armed forces in 1977 at age 18 and steadily climbed the ranks in a military career that spanned 38 years. In 1989, he oversaw an operation that airlifted 14,500 Ethiopian Jews to Israel. A decade later, he served as the commander of Israeli forces in southern Lebanon and then oversaw Israel's withdrawal from the region. While chief of staff, the IDF fought two wars in Gaza in 2012 and 2014. In January he ran a campaign ad taking credit for the 1,364 terrorists the IDF says it killed in the 2014 war. ... read more
    Source: Daily AlertsPublished on Friday, September 20, 2019
    1 day ago
  • Ben-Gurion University Study Says Injuries to Diplomats in Cuba Caused by Pesticides
    (Jerusalem Post) Aaron Reich - What was previously believed to be the result of acoustic attacks on U.S. and Canadian diplomats in Cuba, the "Havana Syndrome," is now thought to be the result of pesticides, according to a new study by Dr. Alon Friedman of Ben-Gurion University and the Dalhoisie University Brain Repair Center in Nova Scotia, Canada. In 2017, U.S. and Canadian diplomats in Cuba began to report a diverse array of health problems, including loss of balance, lack of sleep, difficulties in concentration and memory retention, and headaches. Using 26 Canadian participants, the study identified the specific regions of the brain involved. "We followed the science," said Dr. Friedman. "Pinpointing the exact location of where the brain was injured was an important factor that helped lead us to perform specific biochemical and toxicological blood tests and reach the conclusion that the most likely cause of the injury was repeated exposure to neurotoxins." ... read more
    Source: Daily AlertsPublished on Friday, September 20, 2019
    1 day ago
  • Hizbullah Agent Tried to Kill Israeli Spy
    (AP) Larry Neumeister - Hizbullah agent Alexei Saab tried to murder a suspected Israeli spy in Istanbul, Turkey. According to the federal complaint, he pointed a weapon at the individual at close range and pulled the trigger twice, but the firearm did not fire. ... read more
    Source: Daily AlertsPublished on Friday, September 20, 2019
    1 day ago
  • Operating in the “Gray Zone” to Counter Iran
    (Washington Institute for Near East Policy) Michael Eisenstadt - The combined drone/cruise missile strike against key Saudi oil facilities on Sep. 14 marks the most audacious in a series of Iranian asymmetric "gray zone" operations since May, all intended to counter Washington's "maximum pressure" policy. If Washington does not impose a military cost on Tehran for such actions, the regime will continue to escalate, with negative repercussions for the U.S. economy, American credibility, and regional stability. Pursuing a gray zone strategy of its own represents Washington's best chance of avoiding significant escalation while buying time for its pressure campaign to work. Plausible deniability works both ways. The U.S. should respond in-kind to Iranian actions, using nonlethal ripostes to impose material costs. Just as the Abqaiq strike demonstrated the vulnerability of Saudi oil facilities, Iran's own oil industry is vulnerable to sabotage, cyberattacks, and precision strikes. 90% of its oil exports go through a single terminal, Kharg Island. The U.S. should ensure that Tehran gets worse than it gives in these exchanges. An effective U.S. gray zone strategy could help blunt Iran's counter-pressure campaign, constrain its ability to engage in destabilizing regional activities, and dissuade it from eventually attempting a slow-motion nuclear breakout. Conversely, failure to pursue such a strategy could embolden Tehran on all of these fronts. More fundamentally, if the U.S. does not operate successfully in the gray zone against a third-tier power like Iran, this will raise questions about its ability to counter much more capable actors like Russia and China in the years to come. The writer is director of the Military and Security Studies Program at The Washington Institute. ... read more
    Source: Daily AlertsPublished on Friday, September 20, 2019
    1 day ago
  • U.S. Official: Iran Is “Testing Its Strength”
    (Reuters) Michelle Nichols - The U.S. and Saudi Arabia blame Iran for the attack on the world's biggest crude oil processing facility and have said they will present evidence to back that up. A senior U.S. official suggested, however, that the tensions were manageable. "Iran has a long history of testing its strength. But they never climb too high up the escalation ladder. At a certain point, when the world says enough, they come back down." An Iranian official close to Ayatollah Khamenei said, "Eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. They think by sanctions they can back us into a corner. Wishful thinking. As long as they pressure Iran, we will push back. Iran is a big country with lots of resources and can survive without oil money." ... read more
    Source: Daily AlertsPublished on Friday, September 20, 2019
    1 day ago
  • Dutch Army Installing Israeli Protection System on 150 Combat Vehicles
    (Calcalist) Udi Etsion - The Royal Netherlands Army has selected European defense contractor BAE to integrate Israel's Elbit Iron Fist active protection system (APS) into 150 Dutch CV90 combat vehicles, BAE announced Tuesday. Iron Fist uses independent optical sensors, tracking radars, launchers, and munitions to detect, track, and neutralize incoming threats to protect the vehicle. In July, Elbit announced its subsidiary Cyber Intelligence Ltd. will be providing the Dutch National Police with a cyber intelligence system. ... read more
    Source: Daily AlertsPublished on Friday, September 20, 2019
    1 day ago
  • Lebanon Is Fully Under the Control of Hizbullah and Iran
    (Wall Street Journal) Tony Badran and Jonathan Schanzer - The U.S. continues to treat Lebanon as a friend, even as the difference between its government and Hizbullah has become hard to discern. The institution receiving the most U.S. support, the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF), has worked hand-in-hand with Hizbullah nationwide. UN Security Council Resolution 1701 in 2006 called for Lebanon to disarm Hizbullah. Instead, the LAF looked the other way when Hizbullah dug cross-border attack tunnels into Israel. The LAF allowed the import of technology, flown in by Iranian planes, to upgrade Hizbullah missiles. The problem isn't only a lack of control - it's collusion. Israel recently exposed a Hizbullah precision-rocket facility in eastern Lebanon that is a short drive away from an LAF base. Hizbullah and its allies hold the majority in Parliament and dominate Lebanon's security and foreign policies. Tony Badran is a research fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, where Jonathan Schanzer is senior vice president for research. ... read more
    Source: Daily AlertsPublished on Friday, September 20, 2019
    1 day ago
  • Trump Sees Many Options Short of War with Iran after Attacks on Saudis
    (Reuters) Jeff Mason and Stephen Kalin - President Trump said on Wednesday there were many options short of war with Iran after its attack on U.S. ally Saudi Arabia's oil sites. "There are many options. There's the ultimate option and there are options that are a lot less than that," Trump said. "I'm saying the ultimate option meaning go in - war." ... read more
    Source: Daily AlertsPublished on Friday, September 20, 2019
    1 day ago
  • U.S. Arrests Hizbullah Agent Who Scouted Boston for Targets
    (Boston Herald) Lisa Kashinsky - Alexei Saab, 42, of Morristown, N.J., was charged in federal court Thursday, accused of scouting and photographing potential terrorism targets for Hizbullah in 2003-06 - including Fenway Park and Quincy Market. Prosecutors say Saab has been part of Hizbullah since 1996 and has extensive training in firearms and bomb-making. ... read more
    Source: Daily AlertsPublished on Friday, September 20, 2019
    1 day ago
  • Israel’s Enlight Inaugurates Largest Wind Farm in Serbia
    (RenewablesNow) Radomir Ralev - Israel's Enlight Renewable Energy opened the 104.5 MW Kovacica wind farm in Serbia, the country's largest, on Sep. 19, Serbian Energy Minister Aleksandar Antic said. The wind farm will supply electricity to 68,000 households. ... read more
    Source: Daily AlertsPublished on Friday, September 20, 2019
    1 day ago
  • UK Councils and Universities Face Being Named and Shamed in New Anti-Semitism Crackdown
    (Sunday Express-UK) David Maddox - Local councils and universities that refuse to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of anti-Semitism will be named and shamed, in a move due to be announced by Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick after a record 1,652 anti-Semitic incidents were reported in the UK in 2018. "Councils have a duty to stamp out anti-Semitism wherever they find it so it's troubling that, in some cases, we're seeing the reverse. I am also concerned with some of the stories coming out of our universities - Jewish students whose experiences on campus are not the same as everyone else's....These organizations are recipients of public money. Failure to act is simply unacceptable," Jenrick said. ... read more
    Source: Daily AlertsPublished on Friday, September 20, 2019
    1 day ago
  • U.S. Military Presenting Range of Options to Trump on Iran
    (New York Times) Eric Schmitt and Edward Wong - Senior U.S. national security officials met on Thursday to refine a list of potential targets to strike in Iran, should President Trump order a military retaliation for missile and drone attacks on Saudi Arabian oil fields last weekend. Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper and Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, are to present the updated options to Trump at a National Security Council meeting on Friday. Saudi Arabia is said to fear that any military response could lead to further attacks against its vulnerable oil facilities. ... read more
    Source: Daily AlertsPublished on Friday, September 20, 2019
    1 day ago
  • Iranian Ayatollah Khamenei: Death to America – May This Come True Soon
    (MEMRI) Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Sep. 1 in a broadcast on Channel 1 TV (Iran): "Forty years have passed since the beginning of the Islamic Revolution. [In that time,] America and its lackeys, collaborators, and mercenaries have been conspiring against the Islamic Republic." Audience: "Death to America! Death to America! Death to America!" Khamenei: "Allah willing, the slogans you chant against America, the Zionist regime, and the arrogant enemies will be realized in the not-so-distant future. Allah willing, you will succeed." ... read more
    Source: Daily AlertsPublished on Friday, September 20, 2019
    1 day ago
  • Iran Entrenches Its “Axis of Resistance” across the Middle East
    (New Yorker) Robin Wright - In 2016, Iran's Revolutionary Guard started shipping kits to convert Hizbullah's short-range rockets into longer-range missiles, with precision guidance systems capable of hitting strategic targets in Israel, from an electricity grid to an airport or a desalination plant. "That's what's called a game-changer," said Uzi Rubin, the former head of Israel's Missile Defense Organization. "They converted a weapon of terror into a military weapon for war. They'd only need two hundred to stop Israel's ability to wage its own war." By early 2018, the Revolutionary Guard had deployed at 40 military facilities in Syria, with their own headquarters, drone-control rooms, and training centers. At least a third were deployed to target Israel, Israeli defense officials said. The Iranians are not visible. They dress in Syrian military uniforms. Iran's so-called axis of resistance - which totals more than a hundred Shiite militias - has become entrenched across the Middle East, right up to Israel's borders with Syria and Lebanon. Iran's network spans half a dozen countries and has fundamentally altered the region's strategic balance. ... read more
    Source: Daily AlertsPublished on Friday, September 20, 2019
    1 day ago
  • Proposal for a Narrow U.S.-Israel Defense Pact
    (Jewish Institute for National Security of America-JINSA) Under the leadership of former NATO Supreme Allied Commander Adm. (ret.) James Stavridis, JINSA released a report recommending policies to bolster the U.S.-Israel security relationship to meet the growing Iranian threat. This included consideration of a bilateral U.S.-Israel mutual defense treaty similar to, but more narrowly defined than, existing U.S. arrangements with 50 countries on five continents. The primary purpose of a U.S.-Israel mutual defense pact is to add an extra layer of deterrence to Israel's strategic position, and to America's position in the Middle East, and ultimately a last line of defense. We envision a narrow formal treaty alliance which, unlike existing U.S. defense treaties stating unequivocally that an attack on one is an attack on all, would cover only a defined set of exceptional circumstances that would place either country in extreme peril. These would include the threat or use of weapons of mass destruction; major armed attack by a powerful regional or global power, or coalition of powers; an assault threatening vital lines of air and sea communication; an attack undermining Israel's qualitative military edge; or an urgent request from either government. While balancing each country's concerns about freedom of action and overextension, and committing no American troops to Israel, we believe a narrowly defined mutual defense pact would advance U.S. interests and help prevent an extraordinary conflict that could threaten Israel's strategic and economic vitality and viability. ... read more
    Source: Daily AlertsPublished on Friday, September 20, 2019
    1 day ago
  • Report: Anti-Semitic Harassment at U.S. College Campuses Hits Historic Levels
    (Washington Free Beacon) Adam Kredo - Anti-Semitic harassment on college campuses aimed at pro-Israel students jumped by 70% from 2017 to 2018, according to a new study by the AMCHA Initiative, that monitors anti-Semitism on more than 400 college campuses. It has recorded 2,500 anti-Semitic incidents across the U.S. since 2015. AMCHA found there had been a major spike in students being targeted with hate speech and violence due to their open support for Israel. "Anti-Semitic acts involving the singling out of Jewish and pro-Israel students and groups for personal vilification more than doubled," including a 147% increase in incidents of the students being linked to "white supremacy." "Attempts to exclude" Jewish and pro-Israel students "from campus activities more than doubled, with expressions calling for the total boycott or exclusion of pro-Israel students from campus life nearly tripling." The findings are a sign that hatred toward Jews and pro-Israel students is primarily coming from activists aligned with the BDS movement, rather than classic anti-Semitic motivators. ... read more
    Source: Daily AlertsPublished on Friday, September 20, 2019
    1 day ago
  • The Egyptian Army Is Making a Fortune in Sinai
    (Ha'aretz) Zvi Bar'el - Egyptian President Sissi said tens of billions of Egyptian pounds had been allotted to develop the Sinai Peninsula. The government now realizes that restoring the Sinai economy, especially in the northern peninsula, may create jobs for the many Bedouin who joined terror groups or helped them as a way to support their families. So Sinai residents are starting to see change brought about by the new policy. In southern Sinai, particularly in the tourist areas along the Red Sea coast, the president gave the army control over 47 islands in the Red Sea and over hundreds of thousands of acres along the shore. In some places the military will build resorts and sports facilities, while some of the already operating tourist sites will now be managed by the National Services Projects Organization, a subsidiary of the armed forces. Egypt is expecting 12 million tourists this year, most of them at the Red Sea resorts. Most of the profits will go to the military. ... read more
    Source: Daily AlertsPublished on Friday, September 20, 2019
    1 day ago
  • A Long-Forgotten Holocaust Diary
    (Washington Post) Rick Noack - As the Nazis strengthened their grip on Europe in 1939, Renia Spiegel, a 14-year-old Jewish girl in Poland, began to keep a diary. For more than three years, Renia documented her life in more than 650 handwritten and densely filled pages. On July 30, 1942, Renia, then 18, was executed by the Nazis after they discovered her hideout in the city of Przemysl. Her translated diary - long kept locked in a vault - is to be published in the U.S. on Tuesday as Renia's Diary: A Holocaust Diary. "Przemysl was attacked. We had to flee. The three of us escaped: me, [my sister Elizabeth] and Grandpa," she wrote. "Granny stayed behind." In the subsequent three years, Renia documented their family's transfer into a ghetto, along with thousands of other Jews who were given only 24 hours to move. As the Nazis were preparing to transfer thousands of Jews to a death camp, Renia's boyfriend, Zygmunt Schwarzer, arranged a desperate attempt to rescue the sisters. He survived and preserved Renia's diary. ... read more
    Source: Daily AlertsPublished on Friday, September 20, 2019
    1 day ago
  • Poll: Most Palestinians Oppose Two-State Solution
    (Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research) Dr. Khalil Shikaki - 56% of Palestinians oppose and 42% support the concept of the two-state solution, according to a Palestinian poll conducted on Sep. 11-14, 2019. 50% support a return to an armed intifada. 55% of Palestinians believe that Iran has a military capacity to defeat Israel in war. 59% of West Bankers said they could not criticize the PA without fear. In Gaza, 53% say they cannot criticize Hamas without fear. 67% of Gazans say they believe that humans can be possessed by demons (Jinn), while 24% believe it is superstition. In the West Bank, 37% believe in demons, while 56% do not. ... read more
    Source: Daily AlertsPublished on Thursday, September 19, 2019
    2 days ago
  • With 96 Percent of Vote Counted – Blue and White Leads Likud by 2 Seats
    (Ynet News) Amir Alon - Neither the Blue and White party nor Likud appears to be able to muster the 61 MKs needed to form a majority in the Knesset. ... read more
    Source: Daily AlertsPublished on Thursday, September 19, 2019
    2 days ago
  • Iran Suspended from World Judo for Banning Competition Against Israelis
    (Radio Farda) The International Judo Federation (IJF) on Wednesday accused Iran of violating the Olympic Charter and suspended the Islamic Republic from participation in all world judo competitions. The decision is based on the case of Iranian judo gold medalist Saeid Mollaei, who was forced to give away matches to avoid a potential contest against an Israeli athlete. ... read more
    Source: Daily AlertsPublished on Thursday, September 19, 2019
    2 days ago
  • Netanyahu Calls on Rival Gantz to Form National Unity Government
    (Israel Hayom) Ariel Kahana - After Israel's deadlocked election, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday called on his main rival, Blue and White party leader Benny Gantz, to join in a broad, unity coalition. Speaking at a memorial ceremony for former Prime Minister Shimon Peres at Mount Herzl Cemetery in Jerusalem, Netanyahu noted that Peres had forged a coalition with then-Likud leader Yitzhak Shamir in 1984. President Reuven Rivlin welcomed Netanyahu's call for a broad coalition. ... read more
    Source: Daily AlertsPublished on Thursday, September 19, 2019
    2 days ago
  • The Attack on the Saudi Oil Facilities: A New Level of Iranian Audacity
    (Institute for National Security Studies-Tel Aviv University) Yoel Guzansky, Eldad Shavit, and Sima Shine - The Sep. 14 attack on the oil facilities in Saudi Arabia is the most serious such attack since the 1991 Gulf War. Even if the Saudis manage to resume full production quickly, the vulnerability of the oil supply chain in the Gulf has been revealed. It is evident that Iran is prepared to take new and more daring risks, based in part on the assessment that the U.S. as well as the Saudis and other Gulf states are not interested in a broad escalation. The Iranian readiness to incur greater risk reflects the price that it is prepared to pay in order to extricate itself from the American sanctions. Its steps are also an indirect signal to Israel regarding Iran's military ability to respond with advanced weapons. Saudi weakness against the background of the ongoing war in Yemen and U.S. hesitation to react militarily to Iranian moves, including the downing of an American drone, have eroded American deterrence and apparently encouraged the Iranians to heighten the kinetic campaign in the Gulf. Dr. Yoel Guzansky is a senior researcher at INSS. Col. (res.) Eldad Shavit served as head of the research division of IDF Military Intelligence. Sima Shine, formerly responsible for the Iranian file at Israel's Ministry of Strategic Affairs (2009-2015), was also head of research at the Mossad. ... read more
    Source: Daily AlertsPublished on Thursday, September 19, 2019
    2 days ago
  • Pompeo Calls Attacks on Saudi Arabia an “Act of War”
    (New York Times) Ben Hubbard - Secretary of State Mike Pompeo accused Iran on Wednesday of carrying out an "act of war" with strikes on oil facilities in Saudi Arabia, as he met with Saudi leaders to discuss building a coalition to deter further attacks. ... read more
    Source: Daily AlertsPublished on Thursday, September 19, 2019
    2 days ago
  • Report: Drones Attack Iran-Backed Militia on Iraq-Syria Border
    (Ha'aretz) Jack Khoury - Drones attacked Iranian-backed Popular Mobilization Forces fighters Wednesday evening in Syria near the border with Iraq, Sky News in Arabic reported, citing an Iraqi security source. Five people were killed in the attack and nine more were wounded. Overnight Monday, ten fighters died in a strike on weapon storage facilities in the border area run by Iran-backed militias. ... read more
    Source: Daily AlertsPublished on Thursday, September 19, 2019
    2 days ago
  • Iran’s Leadership Thinks Escalation Can Pay Off
    (Washington Post) Suzanne Maloney - The attack on Saudi oil facilities is straight out of the playbook that Iran has employed since May. Provoking a crisis is a time-honored Iranian strategy. Iran calculates that targeting U.S. allies and interests would generate diplomatic leverage that could be used in any future negotiations, inject urgency among world powers, and dissuade its neighbors from cooperating with Washington's pressure campaign. The writer is deputy director of the foreign policy program at the Brookings Institution. ... read more
    Source: Daily AlertsPublished on Thursday, September 19, 2019
    2 days ago
  • A U.S.-Israeli Defense Pact: How to Ensure that Its Advantages Outweigh Its Disadvantages
    (Institute for Contemporary Affairs-Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs) Brig.-Gen. (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser - The idea of a defense pact between Israel and the U.S. has already been considered several times and rejected. Both sides are cautious about making commitments that would limit their freedom of action and require them to act militarily in contexts that are not viewed as vital by their respective populations. Israel has reserved the right of nonintervention in conflicts that do not directly affect Israel, preserving its independent decision-making when it comes to using its power, and, above all, upholding the principle that Israel should be able to defend itself by itself. To date, Israel's expectations of the U.S. in the security domain have gone unfulfilled in a number of cases. According to unwritten understandings, Israel is to deal with threats within its own immediate environment while relying on U.S. assistance in intelligence, equipment, and resources, and the U.S. is supposed to prevent, with Israeli help, the emergence of strategic threats to Israel and to the U.S. from the second and the third tier. At several critical junctures the U.S. has decided to prefer other interests over Israel's security needs, allowed the threats to its security to intensify, and forced it to stretch its capabilities to the limit, with Israel devoting huge budgets to its defense. Nevertheless, a U.S.-Israeli defense pact could help promote the common goal of deterring Iran and curbing its activity by making it clear that aggression against Israel is tantamount to aggression against the U.S. and would prompt harsh American countermeasures. Such a pact must preserve both sides' independence of decision-making in case of disagreement about a joint action; reinforce the principle that Israel must continue to be capable of defending itself by itself, to the extent possible; and it must not put new limits on Israel's ability to develop ties with other important states such as China and Russia. The writer, former head of the IDF Military Intelligence Research Division and director general of the Strategic Affairs Ministry, is director of the Project on Regional Middle East Developments at the Jerusalem Center. ... read more
    Source: Daily AlertsPublished on Thursday, September 19, 2019
    2 days ago
  • Rockets Fired from Gaza Fall Short, Wound 7 Palestinians
    (Israel Hayom) Seven Palestinians were wounded after two rockets fired from Gaza exploded outside a home in the Palestinian city of Rafah. ... read more
    Source: Daily AlertsPublished on Thursday, September 19, 2019
    2 days ago
  • Tehran Thinks It’s Winning
    (Wall Street Journal) Editorial - No one should expect Iran to stop its provocations, especially as it concludes there is little cost to escalating. The U.S. and Saudis have shown they can't protect the oil fields, and the next attack may hit the UAE or Kuwait. Tehran has a clear policy to become the dominant power in the Middle East, and its actions - including aggression to destabilize its Arab neighbors - support that policy. ... read more
    Source: Daily AlertsPublished on Thursday, September 19, 2019
    2 days ago
  • Saudi Arabia Says Iran Sponsored Attack as U.S. Plans New Sanctions
    (New York Times) Richard Perez-Pena - On Wednesday, the Saudi Defense Ministry in Riyadh presented evidence of Iran's responsibility for aerial strikes on Saudi oil processing facilities. "This attack was launched from the north, and was unquestionably sponsored by Iran," said Col. Turki al-Maliki, a ministry spokesman. On Wednesday, President Trump tweeted that he had told Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin "to substantially increase sanctions on the country of Iran." ... read more
    Source: Daily AlertsPublished on Thursday, September 19, 2019
    2 days ago
  • Israel Faces New Enemy: Iranian-Backed Shiite Militias in Syria
    (Israel Hayom) Neta Bar - "Today, now that the Assad regime is well-based in Syria and there is no longer any danger it will be defeated, Iran is waging an offensive against Israel from Syria, whose vanguard is located on the Syrian Golan Heights," said Dr. Yossi Mansharof, who researches Iran and Shiite militias at the Ezri Center for Iran and Persian Gulf Studies at the University of Haifa. The efforts to build up Shiite militias in Syria were headed by Hizbullah operative Ali Mussa Daqduq, who was previously involved in setting up a Shiite terrorist front against the U.S. in Iraq. "Daqduq was captured by the Americans and released into the custody of the Iranian government, which promised he would not resume terrorist activity, but they didn't live up to their commitment, and today Daqduq is heading the front on the Golan Heights on behalf of Hizbullah and the Quds Force." "The Shiite militias active in Syria are comprised of three main forces: the Iraqi al-Nujaba; the Afghan Fatemiyoun, and the Pakistani Zainebiyoun. These are hired swords, people who are motivated by a combination of Shiite faith, loyalty to [Iranian Supreme Leader] Khamenei, and greed....The use of a third element, a proxy, is designed to save Iranian lives and prevent criticism from the Iranian public, who will not accept Iranian losses in a foreign conflict." ... read more
    Source: Daily AlertsPublished on Thursday, September 19, 2019
    2 days ago
  • Saudi Oil Attack Was Approved by Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei
    (CBS News) David Martin - The cruise missile and drone attack on Saudi oil facilities was approved by Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei, but only on the condition that it be carried out in a way that made it possible to deny Iranian involvement, a U.S. official told CBS News. U.S. officials said unreleased satellite photos show the Iranian Revolutionary Guard making preparations for the attack at Ahvaz Air Base in southwestern Iran. From there, the weapons flew through Kuwaiti airspace some 400 miles to their targets in Saudi Arabia. ... read more
    Source: Daily AlertsPublished on Thursday, September 19, 2019
    2 days ago
  • Israeli Elections Did Not Determine the Future of the Peace Process
    (Israel Hayom) Jonathan S. Tobin - With all the apocalyptic rhetoric over the Israeli election, many still fail to understand the broad consensus among Israelis on security issues and the peace process. That consensus holds that the Palestinians have no real interest in peace and that in the absence of a peace partner, the kind of territorial concessions some demand that Israel make wouldn't be so much unwise as insane. That's why all the talk about Israel's latest election deciding the future of the peace process is wrong. As Arafat did in 2000 and 2001, PA leader Mahmoud Abbas said "no" to Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's 2008 offer of an independent Palestinian state in Gaza and almost all of the West Bank, as well as a share of Jerusalem. Abbas to this day refuses to recognize the legitimacy of a Jewish state, no matter where its borders are drawn. Palestinian peace with Israel is impossible until a sea change in their culture produces a leadership that would be serious about peace. Should such a leadership ever emerge, they will, no doubt, find willing Israeli partners. But that's something for the future. For now, Israelis understand that the Palestinians have already decided against peace - no matter who is Israel's prime minister. ... read more
    Source: Daily AlertsPublished on Wednesday, September 18, 2019
    3 days ago
  • Video – Knesset Speaker: Applying Israeli Sovereignty in Jordan Valley Could Bring Us Closer to Peace
    (CNN) Becky Anderson - Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein told CNN on Thursday: "We are talking about the plan of applying Israeli sovereignty to the area of the Jordan Valley, an area not densely populated by the Palestinians, and the prime minister was very clear that sovereignty would not apply to the town of Jericho where the Palestinians live, according to the Oslo agreements." "On this particular issue of the Jordan Valley, I would justify it with two paragraphs: One, our historic rights there in the area, and the other one - every military expert I know and you know would agree that it's impossible to defend the State of Israel without military control in this area. So with these two issues combined I think that is quite obvious that under no negotiations will we be able to give up the Jordan Valley." "Unfortunately, I haven't seen any negotiations for the last several years. I regret that. That's definitely not Israel's fault or Netanyahu's fault. But I would dare say, I noticed your stress on the word 'unilateral.' When we were protesting Israel's unilateral withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, I don't remember that anyone was talking so negatively about unilateral steps." "The results are very well-known. The moment we uprooted all the Jewish communities there and withdrew all the Israel Defense Forces from the Gaza Strip, we've been in an ongoing war on our southern border for the last 14 years." "I think that as far as the Jordan Valley plan is concerned, it could bring us even closer to peace because things will become more clear. Right now with this probably illusion of some people about the future of this area, it makes it harder to negotiate." ... read more
    Source: Daily AlertsPublished on Wednesday, September 18, 2019
    3 days ago
  • Billions Spent on U.S. Weapons Didn’t Protect Saudi Arabia’s Critical Oil Sites
    (Washington Post) Adam Taylor - The Saturday attack on Saudi oil facilities represented an unusually well-planned operation that would have been difficult for even the most well-equipped and experienced countries to detect and neutralize. The operation appeared to circumvent Saudi Arabia's six battalions of Patriot missile defense systems. Thomas Karako, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said that in theory the Patriot system could protect against low-flying cruise missiles and drones, although it is primarily designed for ballistic missiles. However, it would depend where it was placed. "The defended area for a Patriot battery is relatively small," Karako said. "There are real limits, even if you have a ton of Patriots, on what you can defend." ... read more
    Source: Daily AlertsPublished on Wednesday, September 18, 2019
    3 days ago
  • Israeli Rhythmic Gymnast Linoy Ashram Wins Silver, Bronze Medals at World Championships
    (Times of Israel) Israeli rhythmic gymnast Linoy Ashram, 20, won silver and bronze medals at the World Championships in Baku, Azerbaijan, on Tuesday. Ashram won silver in the hoop competition and bronze in the ball competition. ... read more
    Source: Daily AlertsPublished on Wednesday, September 18, 2019
    3 days ago
  • U.S. Pinpoints Launch Sites in Western Iran for Saudi Oil Strikes
    (The Times-UK) Richard Spencer - Pentagon officials told U.S. television stations Tuesday that radar imagery and other intelligence suggested that the cruise missiles that struck Saudi oil facilities on Saturday flew south from Khuzestan, an Arabic-speaking region of southwestern Iran near the Iraqi border. ... read more
    Source: Daily AlertsPublished on Wednesday, September 18, 2019
    3 days ago
  • U.S. Gathers Evidence on Strikes Against Saudi Oil Facilities
    (New York Times) Eric Schmitt - American analysts are poring over satellite imagery, assessing radar tracks of the cruise missiles, and reviewing communication intercepts to determine the origin of the strikes against Saudi oil facilities on Saturday. Forensics specialists are also examining circuit boards recovered by the Saudis from one of the cruise missiles that fell short of its target. One theory gaining traction among American officials is that the cruise missiles were launched from Iran and programmed to fly around the northern Persian Gulf through Iraqi air space instead of directly across the gulf where the U.S. has much better surveillance, one senior official said. In the hours before the attacks, American intelligence detected unusual activity at military bases in southwest Iran that would be consistent with preparations for strikes, another senior American official said. Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper and Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, have presented President Trump with an array of military options in response. Officials voiced worry about the cost of doing nothing. ... read more
    Source: Daily AlertsPublished on Wednesday, September 18, 2019
    3 days ago
  • Stand Up to Iran’s Oil Market Terrorism
    (Washington Examiner) Mark Dubowitz and Brenda Shaffer - From a single attack by the Islamic Republic of Iran on Saudi Arabia's main oil processing facilities, the global oil market lost more supply on Saturday than on any single day in its recorded history. Saudi Arabia's critical infrastructure is vulnerable, a weakness common to many other oil installations around the globe. At times, previous administrations have tolerated Iran's provocations in the Gulf, hoping restraint would prevent a direct conflict. It never worked then and is not working now. During the last six months, Iran has attacked vessels in the Gulf and made transit insecure. Tehran remains undeterred. The U.S. and its allies should therefore expect more attacks. Mark Dubowitz is CEO of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. Prof. Brenda Shaffer is an international energy expert. ... read more
    Source: Daily AlertsPublished on Wednesday, September 18, 2019
    3 days ago
  • Initial Israeli Knesset Election Results
    (Central Election Committee-Hebrew-Jerusalem Post) With 63% of the vote counted, the results of the Sep. 17 Knesset elections were: Blue & White (Gantz-Lapid) - 25.7% - 32 seats. Likud (Netanyahu) - 25.0% - 31 seats. United Arab List - 10.7% - 13 seats. Shas (Religious-Sephardi) - 7.6% - 9 seats. Yisrael Beiteinu (Lieberman) - 7.1% - 9 seats. United Torah Judaism (Religious) - 6.3% - 8 seats. Yamina (Shaked-Peretz) - 5.7% - 7 seats. Labor - 4.8% - 6 seats. Meretz-Barak - 4.3% - 5 seats. ... read more
    Source: Daily AlertsPublished on Wednesday, September 18, 2019
    3 days ago
  • Saudi Energy Minister Says Half of Crude Oil Production Restored after Attack
    (AP-TIME) Saudi Arabia's energy minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said Tuesday that 50% of the production cut by the attack on its oil processing plant has been restored. The prince added that production capacity will be up to 11 million barrels per day by the end of September. It had been around 9.6 million barrels per day before the attack. ... read more
    Source: Daily AlertsPublished on Wednesday, September 18, 2019
    3 days ago
  • Don’t Panic Over the Saudi Attack and the Oil Supply
    (Wall Street Journal) Donald L. Luskin and Michael Warren - After the attack on Saudi Arabia's oil infrastructure last weekend the market reaction was muted, with global oil prices rising only to where they were in May. This was in part due to the explosion in U.S. crude-oil production, which has risen by 3.65 million barrels since the end of 2016, a leap of more than 40%. The only thing keeping global markets from falling into abject glut are offsetting voluntarily production cuts by some of the world's largest producers including Saudi Arabia. And it's only beginning. In the next several months, pipeline capacity in West Texas' Permian Basin shale fields will expand by about one million barrels a day. ... read more
    Source: Daily AlertsPublished on Wednesday, September 18, 2019
    3 days ago
  • Hard-Liners in Iran See No Drawback to Bellicose Strategy
    (New York Times) David D. Kirkpatrick - Iranian scholars said Tehran has concluded that its recent aggressions have effectively strengthened its leverage with the West. Ali Ansari, a professor of Iranian history at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, said that for Iranian hard-liners, "their policy of 'maximum resistance' is working." Sanam Vakil, a scholar of Iran and the Persian Gulf at Chatham House policy institute in London, said the Iranians appear to have concluded from recent American actions that confrontation cannot lose, because even a potential American military action would almost certainly be a limited strike designed to avoid a prolonged ground war. Domestically and in the region, surviving such a strike could strengthen the current Iranian government by rallying public opinion. "They are challenging American supremacy and forcing the international community to come to terms with a new relationship with the Islamic Republic," she said. ... read more
    Source: Daily AlertsPublished on Wednesday, September 18, 2019
    3 days ago