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  DAILY ALERT Wednesday,
November 25, 2015

In-Depth Issues:

Turkey Shoots Down Russian Warplane near Syrian Border - Neil MacFarquhar and Steven Erlanger (New York Times)
    Turkish fighter jets shot down a Russian warplane that Turkey said had strayed into its airspace on Tuesday.
    While few expect a military escalation, the incident has soured chances for a diplomatic breakthrough over Syria.

Iranian Hackers Attack U.S. State Department - David E. Sanger and Nicole Perlroth (New York Times)
    Since the nuclear accord with Tehran, American officials and private security groups say they see a surge in sophisticated computer espionage by Iran, culminating in a series of cyberattacks against State Department officials over the past month.
    Iranian hackers identified individual State Department officials who focus on Iran and the Middle East, and broke into their email and social media accounts.
    The attack used the social media accounts of young government employees to gain access to their friends across the administration, showing an ingenuity beyond the Russian brute-force attack that infiltrated the State Department's unclassified email system a year ago.

Poll: 73 Percent of Palestinians Oppose State on 1967 Lines with Land Swap (An-Najah University-PA)
    73% of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza oppose and 21% favor the creation of a Palestinian state on the 1967 lines with some land exchange, according to a poll conducted on Nov. 20-22 by the Center for Opinion Polls and Survey Studies at An-Najah University in Nablus.
    58% in the West Bank said they reject the rise of an armed intifada in the Palestinian territories, while 39% approve.
    74% reject and 20% support the creation of a binational state for both Arabs and Jews.
    70% support and 24% reject ceasing security coordination between the PA and Israel.
    When asked "If elections are conducted in the Palestinian territories, do you think they will be fair?" - 51% said no, 38% said yes.

Homeland Security Officials Brief Jewish Groups (JTA)
    Some 300 Jewish agencies in the U.S. joined a conference call on Monday with Alejandro Mayorkas, Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security, organized by the Secure Community Network, the security outlet for the national Jewish community.
    SCN Director Paul Goldenberg said, "We're asking Jewish agencies to institutionalize security as a part of the culture."
    SCN is an arm of the Jewish Federations of North America and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Egypt, Israel Rebuff Bid to Trim Sinai Peacekeeping Force - Dan Williams
    The U.S.-led peacekeeper force in Sinai will remain unchanged after Egypt and Israel rebuffed proposals to trim it, an Egyptian official said Tuesday. Some of the 12 contributor countries worry about the safety of the 1,900 peacekeepers and had proposed withdrawing some 400 troops and replacing them with remote surveillance equipment. But at a review meeting in Rome last week attended by a U.S. delegation, "We said this is not the proper time, during a war on terrorism. It would give jihadists the wrong message," the official said. (Reuters)
  • Paris Attacks Spur Intense Policing in France - Adam Nossiter
    All over France, police have been breaking down doors, conducting searches without warrants, aggressively questioning residents, and hauling suspects to police stations. The extraordinary steps are now perfectly legal under the state of emergency decreed by the government after the attacks on Nov. 13 in Paris. A government spokeswoman said Monday that about 200 weapons had been discovered during the searches. (New York Times)
        See also below Observations: We Will Defeat Islamist Extremism - British Prime Minister David Cameron (Telegraph-UK)
  • Suicide Bomber Takes Out Leadership of ISIS Brigade in Syrian Golan - Paul Alster
    A suicide bombing in southern Syria on Nov. 15 killed six of the top leaders of the Yarmouk Martyrs Brigade, an ISIS militia that holds parts of the Syrian Golan Heights. The Al Nusra Front, al-Qaeda's Syrian affiliate, took credit for the "heroic" attack. "The Islamic State [ISIS], that controls the closest area to the Israel border in the Syrian Golan Heights, suffered a severe blow and lost its entire top command in the area in one fell swoop," noted Alex Fishman, a veteran military correspondent for Israeli daily Yediot Ahronot.
        "Nusra Front also called on ISIS fighters, who number about 2,000 and who have acquired a large arsenal of weapons including tanks seized from Syrian army garrisons in the border area, to surrender themselves," Lebanon's Daily Star reported. (Fox News)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Netanyahu Links Palestinian Building in Area C to Recognition of Israeli Settlement Blocs - Herb Keinon and Khaled Abu Toameh
    Israel will not allow Palestinian projects in Area C, the West Bank territory under its control, unless Israel's right to build in the settlement blocs is recognized, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Tuesday, according to Israeli diplomatic officials. Netanyahu said that in any event, a restoration of calm is the first condition to any economic or security steps that Israel may take toward the Palestinians. In practice, the civilian projects that the Palestinians are interested in will only be possible if the level of violence is lowered and Israel's security needs are met. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also U.S. Will Not Recognize Settlement Blocs in Return for West Bank Gestures - Barak Ravid
    Secretary of State Kerry told Prime Minister Netanyahu during their meeting on Tuesday that the U.S. would not agree to recognize construction in the West Bank settlement blocs in exchange for Israeli steps in the West Bank, Deputy State Department Spokesman Mark Toner said. (Ha'aretz)
  • Israeli Seriously Wounded in Palestinian Stabbing Attack near Hebron on Wednesday - Gili Cohen and Jack Khoury
    An Israeli in his 20s was seriously wounded in a stabbing attack at the al-Fawwar junction southwest of Hebron in the West Bank on Wednesday. According to initial reports, a Palestinian man came out of his car armed with a knife and stabbed the Israeli before being shot by Israeli security forces. (Ha'aretz)
  • "With a Knife in His Heart, My Son Shot the Terrorist" - Tovah Lazaroff
    In the last moments before his death, IDF soldier Ziv Mizrahi fired at the Palestinian assailant who stabbed him in the heart. "With a knife in his heart, my son shot at the terrorist," his father Doron Mizrahi said Tuesday. Ziv, 18, was killed Monday at a gas station on Route 443 that links Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. Doron explained that the shot Ziv fired had saved the life of his commander.
        Doron's brother, Allon, was a 22-year-old security guard at Cafe Hillel in Jerusalem in September 2003 who was killed trying to stop a suicide bomber. (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • To Defeat ISIS, Create a Sunni State - John Bolton
    Recent proposals lack a strategic vision for the Middle East once the Islamic State is actually defeated. Today's reality is that Iraq and Syria as we have known them are gone. The Islamic State has carved out a new entity, mobilizing Sunni opposition to the Assad regime and the Iran-dominated government of Iraq.
        If defeating the Islamic State means restoring to power Assad in Syria and Iran's puppets in Iraq, that outcome is neither feasible nor desirable. Rather than striving to recreate the post-World War I map, Washington should recognize the new geopolitics. The best alternative to the Islamic State in northeastern Syria and western Iraq is a new, independent Sunni state. This "Sunni-stan" could be a bulwark against both Assad and Iran-allied Baghdad.
        Many Sunnis today support the Islamic State as a bulwark against being ruled by Tehran via Baghdad. Telling these Sunni people that their reward for rising against the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq will be to put them back in thrall to Assad and his ilk, or to Shiite-dominated Baghdad, will simply intensify their support for the jihadists. The writer, a former U.S. ambassador to the UN, is a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. (New York Times)
  • Defeating Islamic State - Amitai Etzioni
    The U.S. actually won the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq easily and quickly. The 2001 overthrow of the Taliban in Afghanistan was carried out within a few weeks, with minimal American casualties. The 2003 removal of Saddam's regime also was carried out with few casualties and low costs. Both campaigns ended up badly only after the U.S. decided to make stable, democratic, U.S.-friendly regimes out of these nations.
        Saddam had 400,000 soldiers; IS has about 40,000. Its seasoned fighters are being killed off and it now relies increasingly on newcomers. If the U.S., France and the UK were to put a force on the ground working with the Kurds, IS would not be much of an opponent. Once IS is defeated, though, the U.S. cannot engage in rebuilding Syria. The other parties in Syria must be left to work out their differences. The writer is a professor of international relations at George Washington University. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Hamas Looks Beyond Rome and Beyond - Pinhas Inbari
    Europe is in no hurry to equate global terrorism and Palestinian terror. But a careful examination of the roots of the Palestinian struggle reveals that it is geared towards the eventual takeover Europe. As senior Hamas leader Dr. Yunis Al-Astal proclaimed in 2008, "We will conquer Rome, and from there continue to conquer the two Americas and even Eastern Europe" (Al-Aqsa TV, April 11, 2008, via MEMRI TV).
        While Al-Astal is a Hamas member, there was not a word of disapproval or disagreement from Fatah. There is a deep division between Fatah and Hamas, and they do not hide points of disagreement between them, yet the words of a senior Hamas official about the conquest of Europe apparently is not one of them. (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

We Will Defeat Islamist Extremism - British Prime Minister David Cameron (Telegraph-UK)

  • As the murders on the streets of Paris reminded us so starkly, Islamic State (ISIL) is not some remote problem thousands of miles away; it is a direct threat to our security.
  • We will take whatever actions are necessary to keep our country safe. This is not a time to equivocate about allowing our police to shoot a terrorist to save the lives of innocent people.
  • We will tackle the poisonous ideology of Islamist extremism.
  • The bottom line of our National Security Strategy must always be the willingness and capability to use force where necessary.
  • Britain [should] join our international allies in going after ISIL at their headquarters in Syria, not just Iraq. We cannot leave the burden and risks of protecting our country to others.

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