Syria Rebels Shelling Hizbullah in Lebanon (AFP)
Syrian rebels on Thursday announced that they had started shelling Hizbullah positions in Lebanon and Syria.
The Free Syrian Army announced that it targeted a Hizbullah artillery battery in north Lebanon's Hermel, Al-Arabiya television reported.
See also Car Bomb Targets Syria's Ruling Party Headquarters in Damascus, Dozens Killed - Saad Abedine and Ben Brumfield (CNN)
Bahrain Says Iran, Hizbullah Behind "Terror Cell" (Al Akhbar-Lebanon)
Bahrain has accused Iran's Revolutionary Guard and Lebanese Hizbullah of setting up a militant cell to assassinate public figures and attack the country's airport and government buildings.
Bahraini authorities said on Sunday they had arrested eight Bahrainis in the group, with links to Iran, Iraq and Lebanon.
On Tuesday, Bahrain's head of public security said an officer from Iran's Revolutionary Guard paid the suspects $80,000 to take photos of "sensitive locations" and collect information on public figures in the country.
See also A Palace Rift in Persian Gulf Bedevils Key U.S. Navy Base - Charles Levinson (Wall Street Journal)
A widening split within Bahrain's royal family is empowering anti-American Sunni Islamists and eroding American influence where the U.S. maintains its primary naval base in the region.
The feud pits the king, whose predecessors nurtured Western ties for decades, against a hereditary line within the royal family known as the Khawalids, whose power base includes the hard-line Islamist movement.
There is concern among both palace insiders and Western observers that the current royal succession line could eventually be shuffled in favor of the Khawalids.
Retired U.S. Navy Admiral Dennis C. Blair, former Director of National Intelligence and Commander in Chief of the U.S. Pacific Command, this month urged the Pentagon to move the Fifth Fleet's headquarters out of Bahrain.
Israel Made Me Beat My Wife - Simon Plosker (Honest Reporting)
The Guardian looked at the status of women in Gaza and reported the following interview:
"My husband used to make good money working in Israel.... When he can't find any work and we have nothing to eat, he blames me....If he had a job, he wouldn't beat me."
So let's get this straight - Israel is the reason that Palestinian men beat their wives.
Maybe The Guardian's journalist might like to consider that violence against women might very well be a by-product of a society that glorifies violence and terrorism, where children learn jihadi skills at Hamas summer camps.
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
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- Cyprus Bomb-Plot Suspect Admits Hizbullah Ties - Nicholas Kulish
Hossam Taleb Yaacoub, 24, admitted on Wednesday in a Cyprus court that he is an operative of Hizbullah.
When he was arrested last July in Limassol, he had a notebook with the license plate numbers of two buses ferrying Israelis to vacation spots in the vicinity.
"The evidence seems quite compelling that what he was doing was conducting surveillance for a bombing that would parallel almost exactly what happened in Bulgaria," said Matthew Levitt, director of the program on counterterrorism and intelligence at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
Yaacoub said he was trained in the use of weapons and had acted as a courier for Hizbullah inside the EU since he has a Swedish passport. He also acknowledged staking out locations where Israelis appeared in large numbers - a parking lot behind a Limassol hospital and a hotel called the Golden Arches.
Like Bulgaria, Cyprus is a popular tourist destination, with nearly 40,000 Israelis visiting in 2012. (New York Times)
- Three Nigerians Arrested for Spying for Iran
Nigerian secret police on Wednesday announced the arrest of Islamic Shiite cleric Abdullahi Mustapha Berende and two accomplices for spying on prominent individuals and targets for Iran.
Berende underwent training in Iran and then returned to Nigeria "to identify and gather intelligence on public places and prominent hotels frequented by Americans and Israelis to facilitate attacks," state security service spokeswoman Marilyn Ogar said.
Berende admitted seeking information about the U.S. aid mission and the Jewish Cultural Center (Chabad) in Lagos.
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
- IDF Trains for Subterranean Warfare with Hizbullah - Yaakov Lappin
Reconnaissance soldiers from the IDF's Engineering Corps recently completed an intensive series of subterranean warfare drills to prepare them for a potential clash with Hizbullah in southern Lebanon. Hizbullah has dug a maze of tunnels and placed its command and control centers in underground bunkers. The training focused on how to approach the tunnels quietly and quickly, enter them, and eliminate terrorists, while scanning all underground areas methodically. The Engineering Corps's Reconnaissance Unit specializes in dealing with mines, explosives, breaking into structures, camouflage, lookouts and urban combat.
- Hizbullah and the Assassination of the Iranian General in Syria - Shimon Shapira
Gen. Hassan Shateri, 58, of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps Quds Force (IRGC-QF), who was killed in Syria, was a senior Iranian representative in Lebanon, though he was not the IRGC commander in the country. That position is held by Hassan Mehadavi, also known by his Persian name, Mohammad Riza Zahadi. Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah noted that Shateri was not the first Iranian to be killed on a mission with Hizbullah, thereby confirming that Iranian military forces are involved in Hizbullah's activity.
Shateri oversaw the rehabilitation program for southern Lebanon and the Dahiya quarter of Beirut, along with projects that enabled Hizbullah to create the independent infrastructure for a state within a state. Shateri also set up a real estate company whose task was to purchase land, sometimes quite sizable tracts, in Christian and Druze villages and thereby extend Hizbullah's control. Brig.-Gen. (ret.) Dr. Shimon Shapira is a senior research associate at the Jerusalem Center.
(Institute for Contemporary Affairs-Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
- Bereaved Parents Move to Israel from Yemen - Yori Yalon
Yemeni couple Yaish and Terneja Nahari immigrated to Israel in a secret operation on Monday, nearly five years after their son Moshe was gunned down in an anti-Semitic attack in Amran province. Moshe Nahari was killed by a radical Muslim. Five of his children moved to Israel shortly after the incident, and his widow, Louza, and their four remaining children immigrated last August. Nahari's killer was caught and convicted of murder by a Yemeni court, but was never sentenced. 113 Jews have immigrated to Israel from Yemen through the Jewish Agency since 2009. About 130 Jews remain. (Israel Hayom)
- Iran Is Just Too Dysfunctional to Cut a Nuclear Deal - Patrick Clawson
By their actions, Iranian leaders are giving the strong impression that they are so preoccupied by their internal differences that they cannot agree on a damn thing. Disunity helps the enemy, Khamenei frequently says. But the world powers negotiating with Iran would be glad to see more unity in Tehran, because a more unified Iranian government would be better able to reach a deal and then implement it. That seems less and less likely. The time is rapidly approaching when the big powers, or at least the U.S., need to set out a stark choice for Iran's leaders: Either accept a generous offer to resolve the nuclear impasse or be prepared for the consequences. The writer is director of research at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
- U.S. Needs to Show Egypt Some Tough Love - Robert Kagan and Michele Dunne
Egyptian President Morsi has yet to learn what it means to lead in a democratic society. His Muslim Brotherhood is Egypt's strongest political force, but it does not command a majority of public support. It cannot simply force its will on the nation. Morsi can hardly take on urgent tasks, such as the cutting of wasteful fuel subsidies and the reformation of a corrupt interior ministry and police force, when much of the country is against him and ready to take to the streets at the least provocation.
It would be better to hold up Morsi's planned trip to Washington until he demonstrates a sincere commitment to working with all of Egyptian society and allowing genuine freedom to all citizens. That means resolving the status of foreign and foreign-funded NGOs. It means ending the persecution of journalists and opposition figures, committing to reform the police and hold them accountable and building a consensus on such critical matters as the constitution.
The U.S. made a strategic error for years by coddling Mubarak, and his refusal to carry out reforms produced the revolution of Tahrir Square. We repeat the error by coddling Morsi at this critical moment. Robert Kagan is a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. Michele Dunne is director of the Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East at the Atlantic Council.
- Is Iran Creating a Health Crisis to Evade Sanctions? - Reuel Marc Gerecht and Mark Dubowitz
The Iranian government has claimed that U.S.-led pressure is causing shortages of medicines, powdered milk and other vital supplies. However, we do not believe that sanctions are threatening civilian lives. There are no sanctions against food or medicine imports to Iran. Iran's growing medical problems have much more to do with the regime's spending preferences and corruption than with sanctions.
Reuel Marc Gerecht, a former CIA officer, is a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. Mark Dubowitz is the foundation's executive director.
Tell Obama about Our Right to the Land - Nadav Shragai (Israel Hayom)
During President Barack Obama's visit to Israel in mid-March, the planned conversation will once again revolve around security issues. Even the traditional visit to Yad Vashem - if it occurs - will derive its power from the vision of the State of Israel as a refuge for the surviving remnant.
- What will be missing is any discussion of Jewish rights to the land. At the same time, such a discourse figures prominently in the conversations of Palestinians. They are not afraid to wax on endlessly about their past here, to rewrite and falsify their own history.
- Security is important, but it is not everything. It is impossible to base a demand for international legitimacy without the Bible, our patriarchs and matriarchs, Jerusalem, the Temple Mount and the City of David.
- The City of David contains a Herodian drainage ditch with the etching of a menorah. On display is the bell from the robe of the Temple's high priest.
- The Temple Mount represents the greatest unilateral concession that any nation and religion has ever made to another: placing our most holy place under the supervision of a competing religion, Islam.
- Our friends need to hear that the historical, religious, legal and emotional connection of the Jewish people to Jerusalem is no less powerful than that of the Palestinians. They need to hear that we are not occupiers of this land, that there are Jews for whom this land is sacred, just as it is for the Palestinians. That we too are connected to this land by bonds of love and tradition.
- Yes, we are here by right of force, but even before that, we are here by the force of our rights.
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