As Israel Burned, U.S. Firefighters "Dropped Everything" to Help Battle Flames - Andrew Tobin (JTA)
Dozens of U.S. firefighters put their lives on hold - leaving behind jobs and families - to help subdue the wildfires that swept Israel over the past week.
"When guys hear about a situation like this one, where the Israelis are working as hard as they can, they want to come help," said Billy Hirth, a retired firefighter from Arlington, Texas, who coordinated the American effort from Jerusalem.
On Friday, Israel's Public Security Ministry formally requested firefighting help from the Emergency Volunteers Project, a network of over 950 American volunteers and professional first responders.
By Saturday evening, the firefighters started arriving. Some went to work battling the remaining wildfires, while others performed routine firefighting tasks, relieving Israeli firefighters who have worked grueling shifts over the past week.
"Because most of the Americans were trained in Israel, they are familiar with how we operate, and they were able to easily relieve some of the burden on the crews," said Oren Shishitzky, a spokesman for Israel's Fire and Rescue Authority.
"I cannot emphasize enough our appreciation that these guys dropped everything around the Thanksgiving holiday to come here."
Israel's Dolphin Submarines - Aharon Lapidot (Israel Hayom)
Col. (res.) Michael Kesari headed Israel's Dolphin submarine project in Germany for four years.
He said, "In order to secure Israel's naval arena, six submarines are needed, which provide, on average, four operational submarines at all times. Put one Dolphin submarine near an unfriendly port, and every vessel that tries leaving it can be sunk."
"Considering the fact that in Syria, for example, there are two primary ports, Latakia and Tartus, the importance of these submarines is very clear."
The very fact that you have submarines obligates your enemy to invest a fortune in countermeasures: detection systems, frigates, mines, and helicopters.
The Dolphin submarines, which were built in Germany, were the first to allow Israel the opportunity to determine its features and characteristics.
"The Dolphin is the best conventional submarine in the world. It is a winning combination of original Israeli thinking and German technological conservatism, which assures that all the systems work."
It is smaller than the American attack submarines from the same class but is more heavily armed. The torpedo is German-made, but many of the weapons systems are developed in Israel.
Its sonar system is the most advanced of its kind, and it can remain submerged for days.
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- Somali-Born Student Injures 11 in Ohio State University Attack
Abdul Razak Ali Artan, a Somali-born Ohio State University student, plowed his car into a group of pedestrians on campus and then got out and began stabbing people with a butcher knife Monday before he was shot to death by a police officer. U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff, of California, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said the bloodshed "bears all of the hallmarks of a terror attack." (AP)
See also Ohio State Attacker: "America, Stop Interfering with the Muslim Nation" - Pete Williams
Abdul Razak Ali Artan posted a rant on his Facebook page shortly before the attack at Ohio State. He said he had reached a "boiling point," made a reference to "lone wolf attacks," and cited radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki. He added, "America! Stop interfering with other countries, especially Muslim Ummah." (NBC News)
- Syrian Assault on Aleppo Gains Momentum - Louisa Loveluck
Syrian government forces seized full control of northeast Aleppo on Monday, overrunning a third of what remained of the rebel enclave in Syria's former commercial capital.
- How the U.S. Targeted ISIS' Second-in-Command - Joby Warrick
On Aug. 30, when Abu Muhammad al-Adnani, chief spokesman and No. 2 leader for the Islamic State, left his hiding place in the northern Syrian town of al-Bab, the Americans were waiting for him. A joint surveillance operation by the CIA and the Pentagon tracked his car before a Hellfire missile struck the vehicle. At least six high-level Islamic State officials have died in U.S. airstrikes in the past four months, along with dozens of deputies and brigadiers.
The group's chieftain, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, has not made a public appearance in more than two years. "He is in deep hiding because we have eliminated nearly all of his deputies," said Brett McGurk, the Obama administration's special envoy to the anti-ISIS coalition.
The loss of senior leaders does not mean that the Islamic State is about to collapse. Terrorism experts caution that the group's decentralized structure ensures that it would survive even the loss of Baghdadi himself. But the deaths point to the growing sophistication of the targeted killing campaign by the CIA and the Defense Department over the past two years. (Washington Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
- Netanyahu: Israel Won't Allow ISIS to Open Terror Front on the Golan - Gil Hoffman
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Islamic State and other groups in Syria on Monday that Israel would have a zero tolerance policy for attacks across its border. "We will not tolerate even isolated fire, and we will respond forcefully and attack our enemies when necessary before they succeed in attacking us," he said. "We will not permit radical Islam or any other hostile entity to open a front of terror against us on the Golan." (Jerusalem Post)
- IDF: Clash with Terrorists in Syria Not Part of Larger ISIS Push - Judah Ari Gross
IDF spokesperson Brig.-Gen. Moti Almoz confirmed on Monday that the army believes Sunday's clash between Israeli troops and an Islamic State-affiliate in Syria was not part of a larger push by the Sunni terror group. "We do not see any change with IS or any other faction in Syria," he told the Saudi-owned, London-based Elaph.
Almoz added that Tehran has not become more moderate following the nuclear deal.
"Iran has not changed....Its objective remains the same, which is to maintain a foothold in the region and keep the fire of terrorism burning." (Times of Israel)
- Gunman Fires at IDF Base in West Bank
A gunman fired shots from a vehicle at an IDF base near Ofra in the West Bank on Monday evening.
No injuries were reported.
- A Look into the Mind of 9/11's Mastermind - Marc A. Thiessen
In his new memoir, Enhanced Interrogation: Inside the Minds and Motives of the Islamic Terrorists Trying to Destroy America, James E. Mitchell describes the day he was questioning Khalid Sheik Mohammed, when the 9/11 mastermind "launched into a gory and detailed description of how he beheaded Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl." He said, "I had very sharp knives. Just like slaughtering sheep."
KSM said that al-Qaeda expected the U.S. to respond to 9/11 as we had the 1983 bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut - when, as KSM said, the U.S. "turned tail and ran."
"How was I supposed to know that cowboy George Bush would announce he wanted us 'dead or alive' and then invade Afghanistan to hunt us down?" "KSM explained that if the United States had treated 9/11 like a law enforcement matter, he would have had time to launch a second wave of attacks."
He said large-scale attacks were "nice, but not necessary," and that "jihadi-minded brothers would immigrate into the United States" and "wrap themselves in America's rights and laws" until they were strong enough to rise up and attack us. "America may not be in a religious war with him, but he and other True Muslims are in a religious war with America" and "he and his brothers will not stop until the entire world lives under Sharia law." The writer is a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.
- Why Is Europe Turning a Blind Eye to Arab-Muslim Occupation? - Zvi Mazel
Why is Europe turning a blind eye to the deadly legacy of violence, chaos and backwardness left by the Islamic occupation of the Middle East and North Africa? From the 7th century onward, these regions were forcibly conquered and occupied by Muslim-Arab forces that have oppressed and pillaged its populations.
To this day, there is discrimination toward non-Arab minorities. National and religious minorities in the Arab region have not been given independence or autonomy. Prominent among them are the Kurds who number 30-40 million and have long fought for their independence or at least for a large measure of autonomy.
There are also some 38 million Berbers, the indigenous peoples of North Africa, whose language and culture were never recognized by the Arab regimes, which largely oppressed them. There are some 20 million Berbers in Morocco - 60% of the population. In Algeria, Berbers make up one-third of the population, while in Libya they comprise 12%.
The Copts are the indigenous people of Egypt, today making up 10% of the population.
They do not look for autonomy and feel an integral part of the country, but would like to be treated as equals. It is not likely to happen soon.
The writer, a fellow at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, is a former ambassador to Egypt, Romania and Sweden.
Will Obama Make a Last-Minute Policy Play on Israel and the Palestinians? - Ilan Evyatar (Jerusalem Report)
- Speculation has been rife that before he leaves office, President Barack Obama will lay out a suggested framework for a two-state solution, or use the UN Security Council to push a resolution that would either condemn settlements or lay down guidelines for a final-status agreement between Israel and the Palestinians.
- "I don't think there is cause for great concern," said former national security adviser Maj.-Gen. (ret.) Ya'akov Amidror.
"I see no reason for Israel to be overly worried. It may be unpleasant, and it would be better if it didn't happen, but I don't see the Americans putting anything extreme on the table."
- Amidror also pointed out that regional circumstances could impede going to the Security Council on this issue at this time.
"I think it would be ridiculous if that is what the UN were to discuss at a time when the battle is ongoing for Mosul, when there are so many deaths in Syria, [and] when refugees are pouring into Europe."
- "Either way, what the Americans have put on the table until now hasn't brought the Palestinians to negotiations and whatever they bring to the table won't get them to negotiate."
- Prof. Eytan Gilboa, Director of the Center for International Communication at Bar-Ilan University, says it would be a violation of custom
for an American president to come out with a new initiative during his remaining time in office that would affect the policies of the next president.
- "If I were advising Obama," says Gilboa, "I would tell him, 'If you want to do it, do it in a speech after the next president is in place or write it in your memoirs.'"
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