Iranian Website Lays Out Plans to Kill Netanyahu's Sons - Marcy Kreiter (International Business Times)
An Iranian website Sunday laid out plans to kill the sons of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in apparent retaliation for last week's death of an Iranian general in the Syrian Golan Heights.
The Mashark website also detailed plans to kill the sons of former Israeli Prime Ministers Ariel Sharon and Ehud Olmert.
Covert CIA Mission to Arm Syrian Rebels Goes Awry - Adam Entous (Wall Street Journal)
All sides now agree that the U.S. effort to aid moderate fighters battling the Assad regime has gone badly.
Entire CIA-backed rebel units, including fighters who went through the training program, have changed sides by joining forces with Islamist brigades, quit the fight or gone missing.
Much of the U.S. focus is shifting to southern Syria, where rebels seem more unified but say they get just 5% to 20% of the arms requested from the CIA.
Officials defend the decision to keep the arms pipeline small and tightly controlled, citing concerns that weapons could fall into the wrong hands. Despite the controls, some weapons still wound up on the wrong side.
Pentagon officials are establishing a new program in Syria to build a rebel force to fight Islamic State, not the Assad regime, which will make it tougher for the Pentagon to attract rebel commanders to the program, some U.S. officials say.
Israeli High-Tech Firm Up-Armors the U.S.-Mexican Border - Todd Miller and Gabriel M. Schivone (TomDispatch.com)
In February 2014, Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) agency in charge of policing U.S. borders, contracted with Israel's Elbit Systems to build a "virtual wall," a technological barrier set back from the international divide in the Arizona desert.
CBP has tasked Elbit with creating a "wall" of "integrated fixed towers" containing the latest in cameras, radar, motion sensors, and control rooms.
This is not the first time Israeli companies have been involved in a U.S. border build-up. In 2004, Elbit's Hermes drones were the first unmanned aerial vehicles to take to the skies to patrol the southern border.
In 2007, the Golan Group, an Israeli consulting company made up of former IDF Special Forces officers, provided an intensive eight-day course for DHS immigration agents covering everything from hand-to-hand combat to target practice to getting proactive with their SUV.
Poll: Most Palestinians Think Israel Involved in Paris Attacks - Judah Ari Gross (Times of Israel)
A poll conducted by the Palestinian Ma'an news agency and released last week by the official PA newspaper Al-Hayat al-Jadida showed 84% of Palestinians believed that the Paris attacks were "suspicious, and that Israel may be behind it."
Only 9% thought the attacks were the result of growing Islamic fundamentalism in Europe.
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- Victory of Syriza Party in Greece Is Bad News for Israel
The radical left-wing Syriza party, the winner of Sunday's general elections in Greece, is widely viewed as having a clear anti-Israel stance. The party has constantly identified with the Palestinian cause and its program includes a demand for abolition of Greece's military cooperation with Israel. Israel and Greece have enjoyed strong military and intelligence cooperation since 2008.
Party leader Alexis Tsipras' inner circle have repeatedly attacked Israel and the "Zionists," while Syriza's former head, Nikos Konstandopoulos, has consistently offered his services as a defense lawyer for Arab terrorists arrested in Greece. During a march in Athens against Israel's operation against Hamas in Gaza last summer, Tsipras stated that "the world should make every possible effort so that Israel ends its criminal attack and brutality against Palestinians."
(European Jewish Press)
- Kurd Militia Says ISIS Expelled from Kobani, Syria - Anne Barnard and Karam Shoumali
Kurdish militias regained full control of the northern Syrian town of Kobani on Monday, driving Islamic State militants out with the help of American-led airstrikes in a bitter three-month battle, Kurdish activists on the scene said.
(New York Times)
- Thousands of West Bank Palestinians Protest Mohammad Cartoon
Thousands of Palestinians rallied in Ramallah and Hebron in the West Bank on Saturday to protest against the publication of cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammad in the French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo. "France is the mother of terrorism. America is the mother of terrorism," the protesters chanted.
The protests were called by the Islamist Tahrir Party, which advocates the establishment of an Islamic caliphate in Muslim countries. "We have taken to the streets in order to demand Muslim armies act the way France and the West deserve in response to the repeated offenses against the Prophet," said Baher Saleh, a member of the party.
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
- Netanyahu: Iran Deal Will Allow Production of Dozens of Nukes
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned on Monday:
"The greatest challenge to our security is the attempt by Iran to arm itself with nuclear weapons. In this regard, the agreement now being formulated between the major powers and Iran is unacceptable to Israel. This agreement is dangerous to Israel, to the region and to the world. It leaves Iran the ability to produce the necessary material for a nuclear bomb within a few months and afterwards, to produce dozens of nuclear bombs. Therefore, Israel adamantly opposes this agreement....We will do everything in order to prevent the arming of Iran with nuclear weapons capabilities." (Prime Minister's Office)
- New Sanctions Will Improve Chance of Iran Deal, Israel Says - Raphael Ahren
A crisis in the current nuclear negotiations between six world powers and Iran, generated by new sanctions, "can certainly sharpen dilemmas for Iran and can lead to the achievement of an agreement on better terms," a senior Israeli diplomatic official said Monday. "The combination of political pressure and economic levers increases the chances of better results in the negotiations....Putting pressure on Iran doesn't guarantee they reach a [favorable] agreement, but the absence of pressure will ensure there won't be an agreement." (Times of Israel)
See also Israeli Official: Nuclear Deal Will Not Be Reached Due to Iran's Intransigence - Herb Keinon
It is unlikely the world powers and Iran will reach a nuclear agreement before the end of March, a senior Israeli diplomatic official said Monday. It is difficult to see how it will be possible to overcome the Iranian demand for a removal of all the sanctions, he said.
"There has still not been a deep Iranian change regarding the concessions that can bring them to an agreement," the official said. "We are not seeing a strategic decision regarding concessions by [Supreme Leader] Khamenei." (Jerusalem Post)
- Two Rockets Hit Northern Golan Heights - Ilan Ben Zion
The IDF confirmed that two rockets hit the northern Golan Heights on Tuesday. At least one exploded near Kibbutz El-Rom, near the border with Syria.
(Times of Israel)
Observations: 70th Anniversary of the Liberation of Auschwitz
- U.S. Policy in Syria: A Recipe to Contain, Not Defeat, ISIS - Andrew J. Tabler
The Assad regime's tacit agreement to avoid firing on coalition strike aircraft - juxtaposed with long delays in the Obama administration's train-and-equip program for the Syrian opposition and the president's October 2014 letter to Iran's Supreme Leader on cooperation against ISIS - is creating widespread perceptions that the U.S. is heading into a de facto alliance with Assad and Tehran regarding the jihadists. If Washington continues this policy, it will merely contain ISIS, not "defeat" or "destroy" the group.
Beyond the terrible optics of assisting a president who has used chemical weapons and Scud missiles against his own people, the Assad regime is financially and militarily crippled and therefore unable to retake and hold areas currently controlled by ISIS. Instead of allowing the regime's strength to grow, Washington should weaken both Assad and ISIS by encouraging the fight between them, weakening Iran's foreign legions and the jihadists at the same time.
The writer is a senior fellow at The Washington Institute.
(Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
- Iranian Weapons of War America Should Fear - Zachary Keck
With the possible exception of North Korea, no country in the post–Cold War era has sought to challenge the U.S. as much as Iran. Tehran has never missed an opportunity to antagonize the U.S. and limit its influence.
In any conventional military conflict, Iran wouldn't stand a chance against the U.S. armed forces. To compensate, Iran pursues a deterrent-based military doctrine premised on three types of capabilities: an expansive ballistic missile arsenal, asymmetric naval warfare (particularly the threat of closing down the Strait of Hormuz), and ties to non-state militant groups.
Perhaps Iran's greatest deterrent threat is its ability to threaten oil shipments in the Strait of Hormuz, which roughly 20% of global oil supplies must transverse on their way to markets. Iran has at least twenty 150-ton Ghadir-class midget submarines that would be especially deadly in any conflict. As Chris Harmer, an expert on Iran's military at the Institute for the Study of War (ISW), explains, "The quietest submarine in the world is one that rests on a sandy seabed. That is how the Iranians would use the Ghadir - get it out of port, sink to the bottom of the shallow Persian Gulf, rest on the sandy bottom, and wait for a target to come to it."
With the benefit of hindsight, Iran's decision to infiltrate Lebanon seems like pure strategic genius, as Hizbullah has been the gift that just keeps giving. Time and again Hizbullah has proven to be the most versatile and usable "weapon of war" in Iran's arsenal. Iran used Hizbullah to carry out terrorist attacks like the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and successfully attacked Israeli tourists in Bulgaria in 2012.
- The Voices of Auschwitz - Anthony Faiola, Ruth Eglash, and Michelle Boorstein
The Soviet army entered Auschwitz - the network of extermination camps operated by Nazi Germany in occupied Poland - on Jan. 27, 1945. The 70th anniversary of the liberation is on Tuesday. A decade ago, 1,500 survivors traveled to Auschwitz to mark the 60th anniversary. This year, organizers are expecting 300. By September of 1941, Auschwitz became an assembly line of death where more than 1 million would perish at the hands of the Third Reich.
The vast majority were Jews, but others also died there including ethnic Roma, gays, Jehovah's Witnesses, and Polish prisoners of war.
What follows are the tales of four survivors of Auschwitz. In the U.S., survivor Anna Ornstein, 87, a psychoanalyst who has spent a lifetime treating children in trauma, says humanity has not learned from the Holocaust, as genocide has continued in many parts of the world.
- Auschwitz Survivor: Being Alive Is Best Revenge - Michele Chabin
Shortly after the Nazi invasion of what was then Hungary in May 1944, Renee Ganz's family and most of the 25,000 Jews in the city of Oradea were forced into cattle cars and transported to the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. On Tuesday - Holocaust Remembrance Day - Ganz will return to the death camp for the first time. For her, traveling to Auschwitz is about getting "revenge." "I have children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. The Germans tried to kill the entire Jewish people but they failed. I am alive. I am here." (USA Today)
- On Haifa's "Survivors' Street," Memories of the Holocaust Live On - Daphne Rousseau
Along a small road in Haifa about 100 Holocaust survivors are living out their last days side-by-side. About 180,000 Jews who survived the Holocaust are currently living in the Jewish state, according to the Foundation for the Benefit of Holocaust Survivors in Israel. Numerous ceremonies are held for survivors every year and classes about the genocide are compulsory in schools. Older students are likely to make at least one class trip to the former death camps of Auschwitz-Birkenau in Poland.
- Acknowledge the Righteous Muslims - Robert Satloff
Joseph Naccache is a Jewish survivor of Nazi labor camps in his native Tunisia. His Muslim neighbor Hamza Abdul Jalil hid him inside the bathhouse he owned for two weeks to avoid a German dragnet.
The writer is the executive director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. (Daily Star-Lebanon)
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