IDF: In Next War, Hizbullah Will Try to Grab Territory Inside Israel - Yoav Limor (Israel Hayom)
"I believe that next time we will see Hizbullah forces on Israeli soil," Brig. Gen. Itai Brun, the outgoing director of the IDF Military Intelligence research division, warned in an interview this week.
"They will come in two forms: One will be terror attacks - pinpoint strikes in Nahariya or Shlomi or Maalot - and the other will be more substantial operations to grab territory inside Israel," meaning that a Hizbullah unit would take over an entire community.
Hizbullah plans to fire more than 1,000 rockets every day in an effort to damage strategic facilities in Israel.
Brun added that the Syrian government is still using chemical weapons. "Bashar [Assad] has in fact been using chemical weapons on his people throughout all of last year. It's not sarin or VX, but other agents."
These chemical agents "neutralize in low doses and kill in high doses. [Assad] used chlorine gas, for example."
See also Hizbullah's Operational Plan for War with Israel: Missile Fire on Tel Aviv and Conquest of the Galilee - Brig.-Gen. (ret.) Dr. Shimon Shapira (ICA-Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
Hizbullah Confirms Member Spied for Israel - Hugh Naylor (Washington Post)
The leader of Lebanon's Hizbullah, Hasan Nasrallah, confirmed Thursday that a spy for Israel infiltrated the group.
In an interview with a local television station, he said an official who held a "sensitive" position in the organization was arrested five months ago for working with Israel's Mossad. "He was responsible for one department inside one of the security units of Hizbullah," Nasrallah said.
Media reports said the mole, Mohammad Shawraba, worked as the head of Hizbullah's external-operations arm as well as the head of security for Nasrallah.
Shawraba's espionage reportedly allowed Israel to foil several attempts to retaliate for the assassination of Hizbullah's top military commander, Imad Mughniyah, in 2008 in Damascus.
U.S. to Deploy 400 Troops to Train Syrian Rebels (Reuters)
The U.S. military is planning to deploy more than 400 troops to help train Syrian rebels to fight the Islamic State, along with hundreds of U.S. support personnel, Pentagon spokesman Col. Steve Warren said Thursday.
Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia have offered to host the training.
Critics in Congress have said the Pentagon program won't aid Syrian opposition forces fast enough, and question whether it is too small to influence the course of Syria's civil war.
Across the border in Iraq, President Obama has authorized more than 3,000 U.S. troops to advise and train Iraqi and Kurdish forces.
Two Arrested in Berlin on Suspicion of Supporting Terrorism (AP-Washington Post)
Hundreds of Berlin police raided 11 residences at dawn Friday, taking two Turkish men into custody on suspicion they were recruiting fighters and procuring equipment and funding for the Islamic State in Syria.
Saudi Arabia's "Great Wall" to Keep Out ISIS - Richard Spencer (Telegraph-UK)
The Saudis are building a 600-mile-long "Great Wall" - a combined fence and ditch - to separate the country from Iraq.
Much of the area on the Iraqi side is now controlled by ISIS, which regards the ultimate capture of Saudi Arabia as a key goal.
Work began last September. The border zone now includes five layers of fencing with watch towers, night-vision cameras and radar cameras.
Riyadh also sent an extra 30,000 troops to the area.
Saudi Arabia has also created a physical barrier along parts of its 1,000-mile border with Yemen.
Palestinian Statehood: Why Nigeria Held Back Support - Jide Ajani (Vanguard-Nigeria)
Fresh facts have emerged on why the Federal Government of Nigeria did not support the motion for Palestinian statehood at the UN.
Diplomatic sources suggested that the decision was based on a "long-term, strategic position" by the government.
One source said that "since the seeming difficulty by the Federal Government to procure arms in its fight against the insurgency in Nigeria's northeast, Israel has played a very useful role....That Nigeria is even being able to contain the insurgency is to a large extent due to the support it is getting from Israel."
At the same time, the Arab states in OPEC refused to reduce production as oil prices fell, leading to even greater reductions in oil revenue for Nigeria.
Another diplomatic source disclosed that the indirect funding of the Salafist movement in Nigeria by some Arab countries contributed to the rise of Boko Haram.
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- Belgian Police Kill Two on Verge of Terrorist Attack - Paul Cruickshank
A terror cell on the brink of carrying out an attack was the target of a raid Thursday that left two suspects dead, Belgian authorities said.
A third suspect was injured in the operation in Verviers, prosecutor's spokesman Thierry Werts said. The cell is believed to have received instructions from ISIS.
Additional anti-terrorism operations are underway in other cities, a senior Belgian counterterrorism official said. He added that ISIS may have started directing European extremists in Syria and Iraq to launch terrorist attacks back in their home countries.
A Western intelligence source said the ongoing terror threat appears to involve up to 20 sleeper cells of between 120 to 180 people ready to strike in France, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands. EU and Middle East intelligence agencies identified an "imminent threat" to Belgium.
See also Belgian Authorities Say 15 Arrested in Anti-Terrorist Raids
Belgian authorities say 13 people have been detained in Belgium and two arrested in France in an anti-terror sweep.
Eric Van der Sypt, a Belgian federal magistrate, said Friday that a dozen searches had led to the discovery of four military-style weapons including Kalashnikov assault rifles. (AP-Washington Post)
See also Jewish Schools in Amsterdam, Antwerp and Brussels Closed after Anti-Terrorist Raid in Belgium (Reuters)
See also Belgium Anti-Terror Raid Highlights Security Fears within Jewish Community - Ben Cohen (Algemeiner)
- Obama and Sen. Menendez Spar on How to Handle Iran - Michael D. Shear
President Obama and Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) traded sharp words on Thursday over whether Congress should impose new sanctions on Iran while the administration is negotiating with Tehran about its nuclear program, according to two people who witnessed the exchange at the Senate Democratic Issues Conference in Baltimore.
Obama vowed to veto legislation being drafted by Menendez and Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) that would impose the sanctions before the multiparty talks are set to end this summer.
Obama said he understood the pressures that senators face from donors and others, but he urged the lawmakers to take the long view rather than make a move for short-term political gain. Menendez, who was seated at a table in front of the podium, stood up and said he took "personal offense." Menendez said he had worked for more than 20 years to curb Iran's nuclear ambitions and had always been focused on the long-term implications. He also warned that sanctions could not be imposed quickly if Congress waited to act and the talks failed.
(New York Times)
See also U.S., Iran Hold Lengthy Nuclear Talks in Geneva - Arshad Mohammed and Stephanie Nebehay
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Jawad Zarif "had substantive meetings for approximately five hours" on Tehran's disputed nuclear program on Wednesday, a senior State Department official said.
- Quartet of Mideast Mediators to Meet on Jan. 26 - Edith M. Lederer
Envoys from the Quartet of Mideast mediators - the U.S. UN, EU and Russia - will meet on Jan. 26 in Brussels, U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power announced during the UN Security Council's monthly Mideast debate. The Palestinians have made clear that they oppose further direct negotiations with Israel mediated by the U.S.
Israel's UN Ambassador Ron Prosor accused Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas of remaining "committed to the three 'no's. He will not negotiate, he will not recognize Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people, and he will not make peace." He accused the Palestinian Authority of committing "every form of diplomatic treachery" last year by abandoning peace talks, forming a government with Hamas, honoring "convicted terrorists," and breaking its word by signing up to join dozens of treaties and conventions including the International Criminal Court.
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
- Israel Begins Diplomatic Fight Against UN Commission of Inquiry on Gaza - Herb Keinon
Israel this week launched a campaign to thwart the UN Commission of Inquiry on Gaza, headed by William Schabas, that is due to present its findings to the UN Human Rights Council on March 23. In 2009, Schabas - who has accused Israel of war crimes and crimes against humanity - expressed surprise that Sudan's president, and not then-Israeli president Shimon Peres, would be prosecuted by the ICC.
"The Schabas Commission was born in sin," explained Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon. "Its mandate is highly distorted, and its head has decided to indict Israel even before the commission started its work. This is a sham, a mockery of justice, and reminiscent of the Inquisition trials." Nahshon labeled the Human Rights Council "an anti-Israel body which has no intention whatsoever of judging Israel fairly and honestly." (Jerusalem Post)
- IDF Intelligence Officer Testifies in NY on PA's "Revolving Door Policy" for Terrorists - Yonah Jeremy Bob and Frank G. Runyeon
Lt.-Col. (res.) Alon Eviatar, who led 50 IDF intelligence officers in a unit focused on Palestinian terrorism, testified for the plaintiffs in the terrorism case against the Palestinian Authority in Manhattan federal court on Thursday. Eviatar discussed the PA's "revolving door policy" in loudly arresting and then quietly releasing terrorists. (Jerusalem Post)
The Attacks in France
- A New Phase in the War on Terror: Coordinated Commando Strikes by Homegrown Native-Speaking Islamists Activated and Instructed from Abroad - Charles Krauthammer
The Paris killers were well-trained, thoroughly radicalized, clear-eyed jihadist warriors. They cannot be dismissed as lone loons. Worse, they represent a growing generation of alienated European Muslims whose sheer number is approaching critical mass.
The war on terror 2015 is at a new phase with a new geography. At the core are parallel would-be caliphates: in Syria and Iraq, the Islamic State; in Sub-Saharan Africa, now spilling out of Nigeria into Cameroon, a near-sovereign Boko Haram; in the badlands of Yemen, AQAP, the most dangerous of all al-Qaeda affiliates.
And beyond lie not just a cast of mini-caliphates embedded in the most ungovernable parts of the Third World from Libya to Somalia to the borderlands of Pakistan, but an archipelago of no-go Islamist islands embedded in the heart of Europe.
This is serious. In both size and reach it is growing. (Washington Post)
- France's Jews and Israel - Shmuel Rosner
On Sunday, France's president, Francois Hollande, reportedly vowed to Jewish leaders that he would take all necessary measures to defend them, including deploying the army. But it is a devastating prospect that in 2015 the Jews of France might need soldiers to protect them from anti-Semitic violence.
For the four Jews who were killed at a Paris grocery store, Israel will be their final resting place. If the only way for Jews to live in France today is behind guards with guns, perhaps it makes more sense not just for the dead to go to Israel, but also for the living to move to a place where we are the guards, we are the army and we are the government. (New York Times)
- Canary in the Coal Mine - Warren Goldstein
The plight of Jews in France bodes evil for the world. A few years ago, the murder of Rabbi Sandler and the young children of the Jewish day school in Toulouse occurred, followed by many other attacks on French Jewry, all of which were early warning signs of the lethal threat posed by radical Islam. A society in which Jews are not safe will ultimately not be secure for journalists, or for freedom, or for any values of human decency.
On the Shabbat after the attacks, the Grand Synagogue of Paris was closed for services for the first time since the Nazi occupation of France. A society in which synagogues cannot open freely and in which Jews are not safe is one that is itself in danger. If Europe becomes Judenrein once again, the civilized world will have succumbed to the worst forces of barbarism and savagery.
The fact that virtually every Jewish institution throughout the globe has to be heavily protected against the threat of Islamist terrorism is a sign of the dangers that the civilized world faces from these ominous forces. The fact that Jews cannot exist in places such as Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and many other Muslim countries is a moral disgrace which portends danger for the very future of humanity.
Israel is the canary in the coal mine of the community of nations. Suicide bombers first launched themselves against the people of Israel, and then after that came the attacks of 9/11 in New York, 7/7 in London, in Bali, and in many other places.
As the great powers of the world negotiate with the Islamic Republic of Iran, they should realize that while today its nuclear ambitions are directed at Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, history has taught that tomorrow their targets will be Paris, London, New York and Cairo. The writer is chief rabbi of South Africa.
- Preventing Terrorism in Europe - Lior Akerman
Radical Islamist groups have been carrying out terrorist attacks in Europe for more than a decade. This past year a British soldier was decapitated in London, French soldiers were killed in Montauban and Toulouse, and two car bombs wreaked havoc in Malmo, Sweden.
44 million Muslims live in Europe. Four years ago, the official number of Muslims residing legally in Europe was 20 million.
The Europeans assumed that their new immigrant Muslim neighbors would soon acculturate to a Western way of life. But they have come in order to change Western culture to be more like theirs. The immigrants established their own neighborhoods, built mosques and independent Muslim schools. Moreover, the birth rate among Muslims in Europe is three times the average.
Steps to prevent terrorism from increasing include mapping out the dangerous extremist Muslim population centers, empowering law enforcement authorities and the courts to thwart future activity and prevent terrorist cells from forming, carrying out intelligence-gathering among problematic populations, and increasing intelligence cooperation and transparency among the various EU intelligence agencies.
The writer is a former brigadier-general who served as a division head in the Israel Security Agency.
- Somewhere between the Holocaust and 2015 It Became OK to Blame Jews Again - Emma Barnett
When I heard the news that four Jews had been murdered last week on European soil by an Islamist gun-toting terrorist, my blood ran cold.
While I was stunned and enraged by the murders of the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists and writers - both as a journalist and citizen - it was the murder of my fellow Jews just across the Channel that left me feeling personally exposed.
A startling YouGov survey found that more than half of British Jews fear the community may have no long-term future in Europe; over half say they have witnessed more anti-Semitism in the past two years than they have ever seen before. It's become OK to blame "Jews" again - and the latest stick to beat the Jewish diaspora with is Israel.
- Save Us from Islamist Terror and Hate - Anne Bayefsky
The warm feelings on display in Paris in response to the recent horrors, unfortunately, will do next to nothing to change the tide against Islamist terrorism. Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, now entering the eleventh year of what was originally billed as a four-year term, turned up to represent a would-be Judenrein state, where terrorism and the absence of the rule of law are the order of the day.
And then there is France's Jewish problem. There is no getting away from the fact that to be Jewish in France in 2015, you might have to hide in a basement freezer if you want to survive a trip to the grocery store.
On Dec. 30, 2014, France voted for a Palestinian resolution in the Security Council, and against the United States. The resolution trashed a negotiated path to a Palestinian state (and thus genuine Arab acceptance of a Jewish state). The writer is director of the Touro Institute on Human Rights and the Holocaust. (Fox News)
- French-Israeli Jews in Netanya Await New Arrivals - Isabel Kershner
At one end of Independence Square in Netanya, French speakers sat at tables outside La Brioche, a patisserie, drinking coffee and ordering from a window display of eclairs, macaroons and mille-feuilles.
At the other end of the square, French and Hebrew speakers lunched at Chez Claude, a falafel and shawarma joint owned by French immigrants. A plethora of real estate agencies advertised themselves with the French word "immobilier" and hair salons offered "coiffure."
This Israeli city on the Mediterranean coast has long been a magnet for French-Jewish immigrants; its municipal website has branded it "the Israeli Riviera." It offers French-speaking synagogues and dentists and provides immigrants with an immediate sense of community.
(New York Times)
See also Should French Jews Come to Israel - or Stay Home? - William Booth and Ruth Eglash
- Nanoparticles that Attack Cancer - Ruthie Blum
An Israeli breakthrough in the treatment of cancer developed by Tel Aviv University Professors Rimona Margalit and Dan Peer involves the use of "GAGomers," a new class of nanoparticles that specifically target tumors and blood cancers based on a biomarker expressed on malignant tissue.
The bio-pharmaceutical company Quiet Therapeutics is working fast and furiously to make the innovation accessible and marketable to oncology patients and their doctors.
CEO Dr. Ron Lahav explains: "When treated with nucleic acid-based substances (such as chemotherapeutic drugs) entrapped within the GAGomers, tumors induced in mice from human cancer cells were greatly reduced or eradicated altogether, and with no significant undesirable toxicity." The pioneering treatment not only promises to be more effective, but will involve far less suffering from the common side effects of chemotherapy, such as nausea and hair loss. Lahav received his PhD in environmental microbiology from Ben-Gurion University and a post-doctorate in molecular biology from Princeton.
The Attacks in France: An Isolated Incident or the Start of a Global War? - Dore Gold (Israel Hayom)
- In response to the attack in Paris on the offices of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, a member of a jihadi forum affiliated with ISIS wrote: "France was once part of the Islamic land and it will be Islamic again." Muslims held parts of the Iberian Peninsula from 711 until 1492.
Shortly after the Muslim conquest of Spain, an Arab army crossed the Pyrenees and occupied territories that today are part of France, including Bordeaux and Lyons. In fact, parts of France remained under Islamic rule until 759.
- The passion to recover lost territories that were once under Islamic rule hundreds of years ago is a theme running through most of the organizations associated with the global jihadist network. Hassan al-Banna, the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, wrote: "Andalusia, Sicily, the Balkans, South Italy and Roman Sea Islands were all Islamic lands that had to be restored to the homeland of Islam."
- Sheikh Yusuf Qaradawi, regarded by many as the highest spiritual authority in the Muslim Brotherhood, told Qatari television in 2007: "I expect that Islam will conquer Europe without resorting to the sword or fighting. It will do so by means of proselytizing and ideology....The conquest of Rome - the conquest of Italy, and Europe - means that Islam will return to Europe once again."
- On January 9, the American journal National Review published emails that were leaked from an al-Jazeera producer who sought to play down the significance of the terror in Paris, rejecting the notion that this was a "civilizational attack on European values." He suggested that the motivation of the attackers was a reaction to France's military actions against ISIS, or its operations in Libya and Mali.
- In other words, the al-Jazeera producer did not want his network to admit that the attack in Paris was motivated by an aggressive Islamist ideology, but rather preferred to blame Western policies, which, if it became widely accepted, would cripple its leaders and deny them the self-confidence to take any effective action.
- On Monday, Ghassan Charbel, the editor-in-chief of al-Hayat, the leading newspaper in the Arab world, wrote: "What is clear is that the Paris attack is just the opening shot of a global war that the Islamist extremists will be waging in the West and the rest of the world." Until the West internalizes his warning of what it is facing, unfortunately a new wave of attacks in the West will only be a matter of time.
The writer, a former Israeli ambassador to the UN, is president of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.
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