At Least 20 Islamists Infiltrated German Army (Reuters)
Germany's military counter-espionage service (MAD) has identified 20 Islamists in the country's armed forces, the German media group Funke reported on Saturday.
A spokesman for the agency added that 60 additional cases were under investigation.
Recruiting offices had received a number of queries from people who wanted to join the military for only a few months and expressed a keen interest in intensive weapons training, the MAD spokesman said.
Russians Secretly Dying for the Kremlin in Syria - Maria Tsvetkova and Anton Zverev (Reuters)
An army of Russian private contractors is playing a substantial role in ground combat in Syria.
They fly to Syria on board Russian military aircraft which land at Russian bases. When injured, they are treated in hospitals reserved for the Russian military and get state medals.
According to "Kapa," a former Russian officer and volunteer in the Ukraine conflict, Russian veterans of the Ukraine fighting were recruited for ground combat in Syria when it became clear that Syrians would not be able to hold ground without help, despite Russian air support.
"The Arabs are not warriors by nature, but are thrown together and told to storm high ground. They don't know how to storm it, let alone conquer their instincts and move towards the bullets....That's why our guys reinforced their units."
IDF Reins in Palestinian Celebratory Gunfire - Yoav Zitun (Ynet News)
Israeli forces sealed a Palestinian event hall Monday in Azaria near Jerusalem following gunfire during a wedding Sunday night.
In the West Bank, gunfire from guests is a frequent occurrence during celebrations.
IDF officials explained that over the last year, dozens of cases of stray bullets fired during Palestinian weddings have damaged homes and vehicles in Ma'ale Adumim and other villages.
Israeli Drones Operated by German and French Peacekeepers in Mali - Anna Ahronheim (Jerusalem Post)
As part of its UN peacekeeping mission in Mali, Germany has begun to operate Israeli-made Heron drones.
The French Air Force has been flying a variant of the Heron since the beginning of the UN mission in January 2013.
According to foreign media reports, Israel has also sold UAVs to Australia, South Korea, Chile, Colombia, India, Mexico and Singapore.
Moroccan Journalists Visit Israel - Roi Kais and Itamar Eichner (Ynet News)
Seven leading Moroccan journalists are currently being hosted in Israel by the foreign ministry.
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- Assad: West Growing Weaker in Syria
President Bashar al-Assad claimed Western powers are "becoming much weaker" in Syria, in an interview published in The Sunday Times. "ISIS was smuggling oil and using Iraqi oilfields under American satellites and drones to make money, and the West was not saying anything.
Whereas here [in Syria] the Russians interfered and ISIS started to shrink in every sense of the word....We were fighting an unlimited reserve of terrorists coming to Syria and we struggled, so Russian firepower and Iranian support has compensated." (AFP)
- Jerusalem Mayor Links Israeli and Palestinian Building Violations
Reacting to a ruling by Israel's Supreme Court ordering the evacuation and demolition of the Amona outpost, where 40 families are living on private Palestinian-owned land, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat said the demolition "could have implications for similar cases in Jerusalem, where Arabs have illegally built on private or municipal land." (AFP-Daily Mail-UK)
See also Jerusalem Mayor: We Cannot Have One Law for Arabs and Another for Jews - Dov Benovadia
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat wrote to State Attorney Avichai Mandelblit this week: "It has come to my attention that the legal department has determined that there are similar instances in Jerusalem, especially in Arab neighborhoods in the eastern part of the city, where homes were illegally built on Jewish-owned land. According to the law that would apply to Amona, the city would be obligated to evict thousands of Arab families and demolish their homes."
The Jerusalem municipality said that "Mayor Barkat has asked State Attorney Mandelblit to assess the implications of the Amona decision on the city. There are many cases in Jerusalem that are identical to the situation in Amona, where Arabs have built homes on privately owned or municipal land and have lived there for decades. Obviously we cannot have a situation where there is one law for Arabs and another for Jews." (Hamodia)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
- Israel Opposes French Initiative, Won't Attend International Conference in Paris - Barak Ravid
Israeli officials told French envoy Pierre Vimont on Monday that Israel remains opposed to a French initiative to hold an international peace conference in Paris and would not attend such an event.
"Israel's position [is] that genuine advancement of the peace process and reaching an agreement will only come through direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians," the Prime Minister's Office stated. "All other initiatives only distance peace in the region." The French initiative "would allow Abbas and the Palestinian Authority to continue evading direct negotiations with Israel without preconditions." (Ha'aretz)
- Interpol Rejects Palestinian Membership Bid
The International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) rejected a bid by the Palestinian government to join the body on Tuesday after Israel lobbied against the move. The Palestinians' application was opposed by 62 countries. The vote reflects a change in Israel's international status, the Israel Foreign Ministry said.
Allowing the Palestinians to Join Interpol Would Be a Serious Mistake - Ted R. Bromund
The General Assembly of Interpol is meeting in Bali, Indonesia, where the Palestinian Authority is seeking admission to the worldwide federation of law enforcement agencies. Interpol's job is to administer databases of wanted notices from police agencies around the world.
But letting the Palestinians in would be a serious mistake.
The Palestinians aren't seeking admission to Interpol because they want to support it. They want to join because it is a cheap way to win a legitimacy they do not deserve on their merits. And if they can use Interpol to persecute a few supporters of Israel, that would be a bonus.
Giving the Palestinians rewards they do not deserve only incentivizes them to keep on governing badly. We should stand on our principles, and vote against giving the Authority the opportunity to join the parade of dictatorships that already abuse Interpol. The writer is a senior research fellow at The Heritage Foundation.
- Setting the Record Straight on Israel - Lee Smith interviews Martin Kramer
Americans tend to assume that everyone wants democracy, and that more democracy is the solution for dysfunctional parts of the world. But parts of the Middle East resist because democracy and its freedoms undercut the entire political, social, and moral order. So if you bring down a dictator, you unshackled all the genies that the dictator locked up, such as Islamism and sectarianism.
Americans sometimes forget that Israel really is a vibrant democracy. Israel's top leaders are sometimes faulted in America for not making "tough decisions" or taking "risks for peace." But they're politicians in a democracy, they answer to voters. In almost every household, there are soldiers and reservists who know the realities surrounding Israel through first-hand experience.
Israel doesn't face a dire threat from any of its Arab neighbors. But the looming challenge is Iran's almost limitless regional ambitions. Blunting the thrust of Iran is a multi-decade project. The nuclear deal has postponed the reckoning, but the challenge still looms. Martin Kramer is the founding president of Shalem College in Jerusalem, where he chairs the department of Middle Eastern and Islamic studies.
- Iran and Turkey Jostling for Power in Iraq - Jonathan Spyer
The eventual outcome of the battle for Mosul in Iraq cannot be in doubt. There are 5,000 Islamic State fighters inside the city, facing a combined force of 100,000. The attackers have complete control of the skies and vastly superior weaponry.
Shi'a militiamen of the Popular Mobilization Units are moving into position to prevent Islamic State fighters from escaping westward toward the Syrian border. The PMU consists of around 40 Shi'a militias, the most significant of which are directly supported by the government of Iran. The Shi'a militias of the PMU are thus a classic Iranian production - combining political, military and paramilitary/intimidatory roles for the maximization of power and Iranian influence.
Meanwhile, the Turks established a military base at Bashiqa, east of Mosul, in December 2015, where Turkish officers are training a Sunni militia. The Iranians and their allies are already engaged against Turkish-supported militias in northern Syria. Even as the fight for Mosul has not yet reached its completion, the various players are already competing for supremacy in the aftermath. The writer is Director of the Rubin Center, IDC Herzliya, and a fellow at the Middle East Forum.
Advice for the Next President: Reward Your Friends and Punish Your Enemies - Michael J. Totten (The Tower)
- Dear President-Elect, the world is beset by a constellation of problems - international terrorism, rogue states, and a renascent expansionist Russia. You will not be able to democratize the Middle East or diplomatically "engage" your way with the Vladimir Putins and Ali Khameneis of the world. These are problems to be managed rather than solved. At least the Israelis, who have become masters of this art, can commiserate with your unenviable role.
- The only indigenous forces willing and able to take on ISIS and win are the Kurds.
The Kurds are religiously moderate, politically centrist, and allergic to the kinds of paranoid conspiracy theories so tragically common in the Arab world. They're more pro-American than even Americans, and they're the best fighters in the region by far after the Israelis. They've wanted their own state for more than 100 years now, and they were promised one, too, after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire.
- Under what theory do the Palestinians deserve their own state while the Kurds don't? The Kurds are our best friends in the Muslim Middle East. They stand with us on every question that matters. It's time to back the Kurds to the hilt and give them the green light to declare independence, partly because it's the right thing to do, partly because we need their help and partly because it's the smart move strategically. Free Kurdish states in Syria and Iraq will permanently deny territory to the likes of both Assad and ISIS.
- You could spend your entire presidency litigating every detail of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, or we could skip all that and boil it down to its essence: The majority of Israelis have repeatedly elected prime ministers who are willing to sign on to a two-state solution, but the Palestinians haven't. When a clear majority of Palestinians catch up to the Israelis, the conflict will end. You can try to force the Israelis to give up more than they already have, but it won't do an iota of good if the Palestinian side remains rejectionist.
- There can be no peace between Israelis and Palestinians while Hamas still rules Gaza anyway, and one of the reasons Hamas still rules Gaza is because it's still receiving money and guns from Iran, just as the Assad regime and Hizbullah do. Iran is a brutally repressive sectarian theocracy that is the biggest state sponsor of international terrorism in the world. It has been our chief adversary in the Middle East since followers of Ayatollah Khomeini took 52 American diplomats hostage at our embassy in Tehran in 1979.
- In essence: Get real about Russia, finish off ISIS in Syria, back the Kurds to the hilt, downgrade relations with Turkey, repair our relations with Israel and crack down hard again on Iran. The first rule of foreign policy is that you reward your friends and punish your enemies. Presidents who behave as though this rule doesn't apply to them are doomed to fail in foreign policy.
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