Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
View this page at
Daily Alert Mobile
  DAILY ALERT Wednesday,
January 21, 2015

In-Depth Issues:

Israel: We Didn't Target Iranian General - Dan Williams (Reuters)
    Iranian Revolutionary Guard General Mohammed Allahdadi, killed in an Israeli air strike in Syria, was not the intended target, and Israel believed it was attacking only low-ranking guerrillas, a senior Israeli security source said Tuesday.
    "We thought we were hitting an enemy field unit that was on its way to carry out an attack on us at the frontier fence," the source said.
    "We got the alert, we spotted the vehicle, identified it as an enemy vehicle, and took the shot. We saw this as a limited tactical operation."

A Picture Says a Thousand Words - Ezra Levant (Toronto Sun-Canada)
    At the Miss Universe competition in Miami, Miss Israel snapped a selfie with a few other contestants - Miss Japan, Miss Slovenia and Miss Lebanon.
    Extremists in Lebanon were outraged that Miss Lebanon would even be seen with Miss Israel. They demanded that she be stripped of her Miss Lebanon title and the Lebanese government launched an investigation.
    It's sad that a girl would come to an event that is supposed to be about international sisterhood, and would be so paranoid about even being seen with a Jew. But even more gross is her bizarre claim that she was tricked and ambushed by Miss Israel.
    Take a look at the picture. Does it look like Miss Israel sneaked into the photo? Of course not. All four girls look posed and ready for the shot.

Both Al-Qaeda and Islamic State Threaten the West - Matthew Levitt (Politico)
    Organized terror attacks are still being planned against the West; the head of Britain's MI-5 noted that three plots targeting the UK alone were thwarted in the last months, and well over 30 since the 7/7 attacks.
    But as recent attacks in Ottawa, Montreal and Sydney make clear, one of the most pressing threats now comes from local individuals or cells working on their own with little more than inspiration from formal groups like al-Qaeda or ISIL.
    Such attacks may be less spectacular, but they are also more difficult to identify and disrupt.
    The writer is the Director of the Program on Counterterrorism and Intelligence at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

The Time of the Assassins - Hisham Melhem (Politico)
    A murderous, fanatical, atavistic Islamist ideology espoused by Salafi Jihadist killers is sweeping the brittle world the Arab peoples inhabit, shaking it to its foundations.
    On the day the globalized wrath of these assassins claimed the lives of the Charlie Hebdo twelve in Paris, it almost simultaneously claimed the lives of 38 Yemenis in their capital Sana'a, and an undetermined number of victims in Syria and Iraq.
    The devil's rejects of this ideology engage in wanton ritualistic beheadings while intoxicated with shouts of Allahu Akbar, oblivious to the fact that most of their victims are Muslims.
    The time of the assassins is upon us, and the true tragedy of the Arab and Muslim world today is that there is no organized, legitimate counterforce to oppose these murderers.
    The writer is the Washington bureau chief of the Al-Arabiya satellite channel.

RSS Feed 
Key Links 
Media Contacts 
Back Issues 
Fair Use/Privacy 

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Argentine Prosecutor's Death Was Not Suicide, No Gunpowder Found on His Hands - Uriel Heilman
    Argentine prosecutor Alberto Nisman, 51, was found dead from a gunshot wound to the head just hours before he was to present evidence to Argentina's congress that implicated his country's president and foreign minister in a nefarious cover-up scheme to whitewash Tehran's role in the 1994 AMIA bombing in Buenos Aires which killed 85 people. While officials connected to President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner said evidence pointed to suicide, the prosecutor investigating Nisman's death, Viviana Fein, said no traces of gunpowder were found on Nisman's hand and there was no suicide note.
        Among Argentina's 200,000 Jews, Nisman, who also was Jewish, was seen as a crusading hero. On Sunday night, thousands gathered outside the presidential palace to protest Nisman's death, with some holding aloft signs reading "Cristina murderer." Rabbi Sergio Bergman, a Jewish leader and member of Argentina's congress, called Nisman "victim 86 of the AMIA attack." Nisman told a TV interviewer last week, "With Nisman around or not, the evidence is there."  (JTA)
        See also Supporters Doubt Argentine Prosecutor Killed Self (AP-Washington Post)
        See also Alberto Nisman Was a Martyr in the Fight for Justice - Ronen Bergman (Ynet News)
  • UN: ISIS Executed Scores in Iraq this Month - Nick Cumming-Bruce
    Islamic State extremists have carried out scores of execution-style killings in Iraq this month, the UN said on Tuesday, reporting "cruel and inhuman" punishment of men, women and children in areas under their control. In Mosul, two men who had been accused of homosexuality were thrown off a rooftop, four doctors were killed for refusing to treat Islamic State fighters, and three female lawyers were also executed. "Educated, professional women, particularly women who have run as candidates in elections for public office, seem to be particularly at risk," the UN said in a statement. (New York Times)
  • Boko Haram Embraces Islamic State Model for Extremist Jihad - Guy Taylor
    "Boko Haram is meticulously choreographing the images and symbolism in its videos to Islamic State videos," said Jacob Zenn, an African and Eurasian affairs analyst at the Washington-based Jamestown Foundation, who noted the Nigerian group's leader, Abubakar Shekau, declared his own "caliphate" in Africa just a month after Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi did the same thing in Iraq. Shekau also pledged support to al-Baghdadi's group in a video circulated by Boko Haram in July.
        Recent editions of the Islamic State's glossy propaganda magazine Dabiq have made explicit reference to Boko Haram's kidnapping of Christian women in northern Nigeria as justification for its own kidnapping and sexual enslavement of non-Muslim women in Iraq. A Boko Haram video in August declared the group's intention to recreate an ancient Islamic caliphate that once included parts of Cameroon, Chad and Niger.
        AP reported that the group now controls 10% of Nigeria's territory. Zenn said there has been a noticeable strategy shift by Boko Haram "to seize and hold territory in northeastern Nigeria instead of using its former hit-and-run tactics."  (Washington Times)
        See also Boko Haram and the Future of Nigeria - Col. (ret.) Dr. Jacques Neriah (ICA-Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
        See also West Africa's Islamic State - Editorial (Wall Street Journal)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Arab Terrorist Stabs Tel Aviv Bus Passengers, 12 Israelis Wounded - Chaim Levinson
    12 Israelis were wounded when a Palestinian from the West Bank stabbed passengers on a Tel Aviv bus on Wednesday. Three of the wounded were in serious condition. Dr. Rafi Strugo, medical director of Magen David Adom services, said the wounded had "deep stab wounds and bleeding, especially in the chest, back and neck." The terrorist was shot in the leg and captured. Izzat al-Risheq, a member of Hamas' political bureau, called the attack "a bold, heroic act."  (Ha'aretz)
        See also Bus Driver, Prison Guards Prevented Greater Bloodshed in Tel Aviv Terror Attack - Raanan Ben-Zur
    Herzl Biton, 55, the bus driver, had stopped the bus and fought with the terrorist, sustaining two stab wounds to his chest during the attack. After the terrorist hurt the driver he continued to stab other passengers, Tel Aviv District Police Commander Bentzi Sau said. The terrorist then fled the bus and was chased and neutralized by a group of Israel Prison Service guards who were in the area taking a prisoner to a local courthouse. (Ynet News)
  • Netanyahu: Tel Aviv Terror Attack a Result of Wild Incitement by Palestinian Authority
    Prime Minister Netanyahu said Wednesday: "The terrorist attack in Tel Aviv is the direct result of the poisonous incitement being disseminated by the Palestinian Authority against the Jews and their state. This same terrorism is trying to attack us in Paris, Brussels and everywhere."
        "It is Hamas - Abu Mazen's [Abbas'] partners in a unity government - that hastened to commend this attack. This is the same Hamas that announced it will sue Israel at the International Criminal Court in The Hague. Abu Mazen is responsible for both the incitement and the dangerous move at the ICC in The Hague. (Prime Minister's Office)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • The AMIA Bombing Case Was Solved: Iran Ordered It, Hizbullah Terror Chief Imad Mughniyeh Arranged It - David Horovitz
    The 1994 AMIA Jewish community center bombing case that killed 85 innocents was solved by Alberto Nisman. An Iranian government committee headed by supreme leader Ali Khamenei and then-president Hashemi Rafsanjani commissioned the attack at an August 1993 meeting. The attack was arranged by the late Hizbullah terror chief Imad Mughniyeh.
        Despite Nisman's efforts, the Iranian conspirators have not been indicted, tried and jailed - in good part, because of the duplicity of Argentinian President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner. This is a supreme and terrible irony, given that it was her own late husband, Nestor Kirchner, who appointed Nisman a decade ago precisely to get to the truth and air it. (Times of Israel)
        See also International Investigation Needed for AMIA Bombing - Editorial
    The best hope of definitively establishing the truth about the horrific July 18, 1994, bombing of the Jewish community center in Buenos Aires and its tortured, politicized investigation is to impanel an international team of jurists who can take a fresh, objective look at the evidence. (New York Times)
  • Say It Like It Is - Thomas L. Friedman
    When I read that the Obama administration is organizing a Summit on Countering Violent Extremism for Feb. 18, in response to the Paris killings, I had a visceral reaction: Is there a box on my tax returns that I can check so my tax dollars won't go to pay for this?
        When you don't call things by their real name, you always get in trouble. And this administration, so fearful of being accused of Islamophobia, is refusing to make any link to radical Islam from the recent explosions of violence against civilians (most of them Muslims) by Boko Haram in Nigeria, by the Taliban in Pakistan, by al-Qaeda in Paris, and by jihadists in Yemen and Iraq. We've entered the theater of the absurd.
        I would never hold every Muslim accountable for the acts of a few. But it is not good for us or the Muslim world to pretend that this spreading jihadist violence isn't coming out of their faith community. (New York Times)
  • How Did We End Up Cheering for Israel? - Abdulrahman Al-Rashed
    Many on Arab social networks have cheered the Israeli strike on Sunday that killed six Hizbullah members and a general in the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps who were secretly present in Syria's Quneitra region. Hizbullah, and also Iran, have lost the respect and status they've always enjoyed. Hizbullah's biggest fall came after its members joined the terrible war in Syria, which has killed more than 250,000 people in what is surely the most shameful crime in the history of the region.
        In my opinion there's no doubt that if a confrontation occurs between Israel and Hizbullah, or between Israel and Iran, many Arabs will pray for the defeat of Hizbullah's militias and the generals of its Iranian ally. The writer is the general manager of Al-Arabiya television and former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat. (Asharq Al-Awsat-UK)

Coalition Airstrikes in Iraq and Syria: An Interim Assessment - Lt. Col. Scott Vickery (USAF) (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)

  • ISIS owes its survival to two factors. First, a power vacuum caused by the Assad regime's retreat from large portions of eastern Syria and the subsequent collapse of Iraqi security forces in the Sunni west of Iraq enabled ISIS to morph from a small, urban terrorist group to a de facto state.
  • Second, the toleration of Sunni populations hostile to government forces allowed ISIS to hold large swaths of territory in both countries with relatively few fighters. These are issues that airpower cannot solve alone.
  • As for reconstituting and reprofessionalizing Iraqi and Kurdish forces and select Syrian rebel forces, the prospects for success are mixed. U.S. efforts along those lines might eventually pay off in Iraq, but only to a limited degree. And such efforts are unlikely to bear significant fruit in Syria anytime soon, at least in part because the number of forces being trained is too small to decisively change the dynamic on the ground.
  • Killing more ISIS fighters will not eliminate the factors that enabled the group's rise in the first place. Thus, the coalition campaign should be expanded by stepping up efforts to debunk the group's image of invincibility among local Sunni populations and exploit its self-defeating tendencies.
  • The longer ISIS controls an area, the more its nihilistic ideology turns the local population against it, as demonstrated by recent tribal revolts in eastern Syria and western Iraq. If a tribal revolt were to succeed, even locally, it could create a powerful precedent with ripple effects across other ISIS-controlled areas.

    The writer is a visiting military fellow at The Washington Institute and former deputy ISR (intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance) chief at the 609th Air Operations Center in Qatar.

Unsubscribe from Daily Alert.