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  DAILY ALERT Tuesday,
September 9, 2014

In-Depth Issues:

Steven Sotloff Was Sold to ISIS by "Moderate" Rebels - Ed Mazza (Huffington Post)
    Steven Sotloff, the American journalist murdered by Islamic State militants last week, was sold to the terrorist organization by moderate rebels in Syria, family spokesman Barak Barfi told CNN on Monday.
    "We believe that these so-called moderate rebels that people want our administration to support, one of them sold him probably for something between $25,000 and $50,000 to ISIS," Barfi said.

Report: Islamic State Has Anti-Tank Weapons Taken from Moderate Syrian Rebels - Thomas Gibbons-Neff (Washington Post)
    Anti-tank weapons that appear to be from stocks transferred to moderate Syrian rebels have landed in the hands of Islamic State militants, according to a newly released field investigation conducted by Conflict Armament Research in both northern Iraq and Syria.
    The Islamic State has also captured "significant quantities" of U.S.-manufactured small arms and has employed them on the battlefield.

UN: Islamic State Using Children as Suicide Bombers (UN News Center)
    The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) "has tasked boys as young as 13 to carry weapons, guard strategic locations or arrest civilians. Other children are used as suicide bombers," the UN Secretary-General's Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, Leila Zerrougui, told the Security Council on Monday.
    According to UN monitoring, up to 700 children have been killed or maimed in Iraq since the beginning of the year, including in summary executions.

Photos: The Children of Gaza (Elder of Ziyon)
    Photos of Palestinian children in Gaza carrying loaded automatic weapons.

Hamas: Give Us West Bank So We Can Destroy Israel - Khaled Abu Toameh (Gatestone Institute)
    If the West Bank had one quarter of the weapons that Gaza has, Israel would be eliminated in one day, Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahar said Friday.
    "Can you imagine what would happen if the enemy is targeted from the West Bank?" Hamas' goal now was to "move the Gaza example of resistance" to the West Bank.
    These threats support Israel's insistence on maintaining permanent security control over the border with Jordan. Without such a presence, Iranian-made weapons would easily find their way into the West Bank.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Israel Providing Intelligence on Islamic State - Dan Williams
    Israel has provided satellite imagery and other intelligence in support of the U.S.-led aerial campaign against the Islamic State in Iraq, a Western diplomat said on Monday. Once "scrubbed" of evidence of its Israeli origin, the information has often been shared by Washington with Arab and Turkish allies, the diplomat said.
        The Western diplomat said Israeli spy satellites, overflying Iraq at angles and frequencies unavailable from U.S. satellites, had provided images that allowed the Pentagon to "fill out its information and get better battle damage assessments" after strikes on Islamic State targets.
        Israel had also shared information gleaned from international travel databases about Western citizens suspected of joining the insurgents. "The Israelis are very good with passenger data and with analyzing social media in Arabic to get a better idea of who these people are," the diplomat said. (Reuters)
  • Obama Looks at Expanding Airstrikes in Iraq - Julian E. Barnes and Carol E. Lee
    The Obama administration is considering a major expansion of the scope of U.S. airstrikes in Iraq to target the logistics hubs and supply lines of militant Islamic State forces. During the past month, American military forces have confined their operations to protecting U.S. personnel, humanitarian relief operations, and defending key Iraqi infrastructure. (Wall Street Journal)
  • Abbas to Push for UN as Peace Broker Instead of Kerry - Jonathan Ferziger and Fadwa Hodali
    Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will urge the UN to take over from the U.S. as the Middle East's peace broker when he addresses the world body this month, senior aide Nabil Shaath said Monday. Palestinians will try to shame Israel into withdrawing from the West Bank and east Jerusalem, and if it doesn't agree to a pullout, "we will confront Israel politically all over the universe," he said. "We are going to ask the world to treat Israel as it did apartheid South Africa."
        Shaath said Abbas will ask the Security Council to "intervene and take control" of peace efforts. Abbas will seek a UN-endorsed deadline of three years for an Israeli retreat from the West Bank, Shaath said. (Bloomberg)
        See also Arab States Back New UN Appeal by Palestinians
    Arab foreign ministers say they will back Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' efforts to lobby the UN to set a deadline for Israel to withdraw from the West Bank within three years. Washington hinted that it would veto the plan should it come before the UN Security Council. The Palestinian ambassador to Egypt, Jamal al-Shobaki, said Monday that if a veto happens, the Palestinians will pursue their bid for joining the International Criminal Court, where they could pursue war crimes charges against Israel. Abbas also would bring his plan for a vote in the General Assembly, but General Assembly resolutions are not binding. (AP-Ha'aretz)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Steinitz: Abbas Is Offering Us "Collective Suicide" - Yaakov Lappin
    PA President Mahmoud Abbas' "demand for Israel to withdraw to the 1967 lines, without holding on to the Jordan Valley, without defensible borders, without security control, and without the demilitarization of a recipe for collective suicide," Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz said Monday. "Hamas took over half of the PA....If this repeats itself in Judea and Samaria [the West Bank], this becomes an existential threat. From there, thousands of short-range rockets...put Tel Aviv, Gush Dan and Jerusalem in range.... What constitutes a severe threat in Gaza becomes an existential threat from Judea and Samaria."  (Jerusalem Post)
  • Ya'alon: Iran Seeking to Renew Aid to Hamas - Yaakov Lappin
    Iran is attempting to renew aid to Hamas in Gaza, Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon said Monday. Hamas has "proven itself against the Zionist enemy" in Iranian eyes, while Qatar and Turkey support it as well, Ya'alon said. "The overseas headquarters of Hamas is situated in Istanbul. Salah Arouri sits there. Where is the world on this matter? When they talk about a war on terrorism, it starts with the question of whether this type of phenomenon is accepted, where there is open state support for terrorism," Ya'alon said. "The free world is too forgiving of terror organizations, terror entities, and states that activate terrorism."  (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Peres Supports Economic Sanctions Against Qatar and Turkey for Supporting Terror (Jerusalem Post)
  • Fatah: Gaza "Won't Get a Penny" Unless There's a "Legitimate Authority" - Khaled Abu Toameh
    Azzam al-Ahmed, a senior Fatah official who headed the Palestinian delegation to the Cairo cease-fire talks, said Monday that Gaza "won't get a penny" unless there's a "legitimate authority" there. He also reiterated the PA's refusal to pay salaries to tens of thousands of Hamas employees in Gaza, saying these employees had been appointed by an illegitimate Hamas government.
        On Sunday, PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah said he was unable to pay the Hamas employees as a result of threats from several donor countries. (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • Kissinger: Time for an All-Out Attack on ISIS - Toby Harnden
    Former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, 91, is clear about what should be done regarding ISIS: "We should launch an all-out attack on them." He describes the actions of the Islamic State, which just beheaded a second American journalist in Syria, as "an insult to our values and to our society" that demands a "very significant retaliation....There can't be any debate any more about fighting them."  (The Times-UK)
        See also The U.S. Is Right to Set Out to Destroy the Islamic State - Editorial
    President Obama is now employing the word "destroy" to describe U.S. objectives regarding the fanatical Islamic State. Already, the group has seized far more of Iraq and Syria than is compatible with the safety and human rights of the people living there, and its sights are set on further destabilization in Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Kurdistan, as well as terror attacks in Europe and, if it's capable of them, the U.S. The two Americans butchered by the Islamic State will not be the last if the group's leaders have their way. This murderous terrorist army can be neither contained nor "managed."
        We believe the mission President Obama is laying out is essential; we also believe the nation should not embark on it without a commitment to see it through. (Washington Post)
  • Despite Arab League Backing for Abbas' Diplomatic Initiative, Palestinians Understand War on Islamic State Comes First - Jack Khoury
    The Palestinians know very well that the Palestinian issue is not at the forefront of the interests of the Arab nations at this stage - especially its neighbors such as Jordan and Lebanon, as well as Egypt and Saudi Arabia. The main challenge that threatens these countries is the radical Islam of the Islamic State. The strengthening of the IS has the leaders of the Arab world worried. They see countries such as Libya, Iraq, Syria and Yemen collapsing like a house of cards. Arab leaders, especially the pro-Western ones, will take all the steps they can to keep IS fighters far from their own borders.
        In Ramallah and Gaza, the leaders have realized that priorities of Arab nations have shifted. Abbas' diplomatic initiative will now have to wait; the war against the Islamic State comes first. (Ha'aretz)

UN Human Rights Council Is Abusing Human Rights for Political Ends - David Pannick (The Times-UK)

  • On July 23, the UN Human Rights Council adopted (by 29 votes to 1, with 17 abstentions, including the UK and the other EU states) a resolution condemning "widespread, systematic and gross violations of international human rights and fundamental freedoms arising from the Israeli military operations" carried out in Gaza. The resolution decided to "dispatch an independent, international commission of inquiry" to investigate violations of international humanitarian law in Gaza. The commission is to report by next March.
  • The resolution was remarkable in two respects. First, that the Human Rights Council should condemn before receiving the report of the inquiry that it had commissioned to investigate. And second, that the condemnation does not mention Hamas, which has been responsible for appalling human rights violations including public executions of opponents of the regime.
  • The EU refused to support the resolution, concluding that it was "unbalanced, inaccurate, and prejudges the outcome of the investigation." The EU added that the resolution "fails to condemn explicitly the indiscriminate firing of rockets into Israeli civilian areas as well as to recognize Israel's legitimate right to defend itself."
  • Gaza poses difficult questions of international human rights law. In particular, what are the limits on proportionate action by a state under attack by a neighboring government dedicated to its destruction by all possible means, and which launches attacks from civilian centers without concern for its own people? Unfortunately, clear-sighted answers to the legal questions will not come from the UN Human Rights Council or its inquiry.
  • The determination of the council, and many of its members, to abuse human rights for political purposes is undermining the role of international law.

    Lord David Pannick, QC, former Deputy High Court Judge, is a leading human rights lawyer in the UK.

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