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  DAILY ALERT Tuesday,
September 8, 2015

In-Depth Issues:

Migrant Wave Inspires Others to Attempt Trek to Europe - Nour Malas and Joe Parkinson (Wall Street Journal)
    Stories and images of migrants pouring into Europe are inspiring thousands more, from Iraq to Nigeria, to rush out on their own risky journeys.
    "This is a golden opportunity," said Osama Ahmed, 27, who lined up Sunday at Baghdad International Airport, heading for Greece via Turkey with five friends.
    Baghdad travel agents report surging demand for plane tickets, prompting airlines to add three more daily flights to Istanbul - on top of five packed flights a day already.
    In Turkey, which hosts almost two million Syrian refugees, officials spoke of a rush for the border.

The Eclipse of Iranian General Suleimani? (Economist-UK)
    Maj.-Gen. Qassem Suleimani, 58, commander of the Quds Force, the foreign wing of Iran's Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), has all but vanished from view in recent months.
    Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, Iraq's most senior Shia cleric, issued a public rebuke of Suleimani on March 13, following a series of boastful remarks by the general about Iran's mighty influence in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Bahrain.
    "He is under the control of a council now and can no longer act as a de facto foreign minister," according to a well-placed source in Tehran.
    Mohammad Javad Zarif, the foreign minister, now dominates Iran's foreign policy - a break with recent years, when General Suleimani was often seen as Iran's power-broker abroad.

IDF: Improved Radar System for Mortars Increases Warning Time by 7-8 Seconds - Yasser Okbi (Maariv Hashavua-Jerusalem Post)
    A new radar system to detect mortars was successfully tested recently, and will improve the alert warning time by 7-8 seconds, the IDF announced on Sunday.
    While residents of communities adjacent to Gaza previously only had five seconds to find safe shelter when the mortar alert siren sounded, the new system gives people 12-13 seconds to run to a protected area.

Palestinian Man Gets Threats for Saving U.S. Jewish Students (Times of Israel)
    Faiz Abu Hamadiah, 51, of Hebron in the West Bank, says he has been receiving death threats ever since he gave shelter to five American Jewish tourists who were attacked by a Palestinian mob last Thursday.
    Hamadiah told Israel Channel 2 TV on Sunday that people threatened to "burn his house down, or cut off his head."
    "I'm not a hero; this is what every person should have done. I did it because I'm a human being," he said. "I did the right thing. We need to live here together."

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • UK Drone Strike Kills Two British Members of ISIS in Syria - Nicholas Winning
    The British air force killed two UK nationals who had joined Islamic State in a drone strike in Syria, Prime Minister David Cameron said Monday. Cameron said the Royal Air Force killed Reyaad Khan on Aug. 21 as he was traveling in a vehicle near the city of Raqqa. Two Islamic State associates also were killed in the attack, including another British national, Ruhul Amin.
        "I want to be clear that this...was a targeted strike to deal with a clear, credible and specific terrorist threat to our country at home," Cameron told Parliament. He said Khan was actively recruiting extremist sympathizers and seeking to orchestrate attacks against the West, including on high-profile public commemorations in Britain over the summer.
        The drone strike was the only feasible means of effectively disrupting the attacks planned and directed by Khan, Cameron said. "There was nothing to suggest that Reyaad Khan would ever leave Syria or desist from his desire to murder us at home," the prime minister said. (Wall Street Journal)
  • Terror in U.S. at Highest Level Since 9/11
    According to the "Terror Threat Snapshot" for September released by House Committee on Homeland Security Chairman Michael McCaul (R-Tex.), "the Islamist terror threat in the U.S. homeland has escalated dramatically this year and remains high." "There have been more U.S.-based jihadist terror cases in 2015 than in any full year since 9/11. The number of U.S. terrorist cases involving homegrown violent jihadists has gone from 38 in July 2010 to 124 today."
        "There have now been nearly twice as many ISIS-linked attack plots against the West this year (37) as there were in all of 2014 (20)." "Since early 2014, the majority of Islamist terror plots on U.S. soil have featured plans to kill police or U.S. service members."  (Homeland Security Today)
  • Iran's Staggering Execution Spree: Nearly 700 Put to Death in Six Months
    Iranian authorities are believed to have executed 694 people between Jan. 1 and July 15, 2015, Amnesty International reported on July 23, a rate of more than three people per day. "The state [is] carrying out premeditated, judicially-sanctioned killings on a mass scale," said Said Boumedouha, Deputy Director of Amnesty International's Middle East and North Africa Program. (Amnesty International)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • IDF: Continued Hamas Rule in Gaza Is Not Assured - Elhanan Miller
    The head of the IDF Southern Command, Maj. Gen. Sami Turgeman, told the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism in Herzliya on Monday: "We don't see Hamas as something that has to remain forever. Hamas would like to replace the State of Israel with an Islamic state, and we would like to replace it as well" - attempting to counter the impression that Israel would maintain Hamas in power at all costs.
        Turgeman warned against the growing power of Hamas' military wing, headed by Muhammad Deif, which could lead to insubordination against the group's political leadership. He was pessimistic as to the possibility of an official ceasefire with the Islamic terror group. "The best option we have is managing the conflict, with sporadic outbursts of violence from time to time."  (Times of Israel)
        See also Hamas Building Up Attack Capabilities - Yaakov Lappin (Jerusalem Post)
  • Jerusalem Yawns at PA Threat to Tear Up Oslo Accords - Herb Keinon and Khaled Abu Toameh
    Israeli officials on Monday dismissed as "more brinkmanship" the claim by PLO Executive Committee member Ahmed Majdalani on Sunday that PA President Abbas plans to tell the UN General Assembly this month that he is no longer bound by the Oslo Accords. "The Palestinians have a history of negotiating through brinkmanship - either Abbas threatens to resign, or to dismantle the Palestinian Authority, or to annul the Oslo Accords," one Israeli government official said. "None of this is new," and is part of a Palestinian tactic to get the world to "hold it back" before it "jumps off the cliff." "This is a charade. The Palestinians refuse to negotiate and then say that it is time for radical steps because there are no negotiations."  (Jerusalem Post)
  • Israel to EU: Labeling Settlement Products Is Unfair - Herb Keinon
    Israel Foreign Ministry deputy director-general for political affairs Alon Ushpiz voiced strong opposition on Monday to the EU plan to label goods produced beyond the "green line," diplomatic officials said. He charged that labeling products from the settlements discriminated unfairly against Israel, since the EU does not have a similar policy toward other disputed areas such as northern Cyprus or western Sahara. Israel also argued that this would lead to discriminatory steps against Israeli products and eventual boycott. (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • Hold Iran to the Language in the Deal - Alan M. Dershowitz
    The following commitment is made in the nuclear deal: "Iran reaffirms that under no circumstances will Iran ever seek, develop or acquire any nuclear weapons." It sets no time limit on the prohibition against Iran's acquisition of nuclear weapons. Was this language merely hortatory or was it an integral and enforceable component of the agreement?
        The American public has the right to know whether this deal is intended to prevent Iran from ever obtaining a nuclear arsenal, or merely postponing such a catastrophic eventuality. Congress has the power to resolve that ambiguity by enacting legislation declaring that Iran's reaffirmation that it will never obtain nuclear weapons is an integral part of the agreement and represents enduring U.S. policy. It may be too late to change the words of the deal, but it is certainly not too late for Congress to insist that Iran comply fully with its provisions.
        Congress should now enact a law authorizing the president (and his successors) to employ military force to prevent Iran from ever developing or acquiring nuclear weapons. In this way, Iran will be on notice that the president or a successor already has the legislative authorization to act. The writer is a professor of law emeritus at Harvard Law School. (Wall Street Journal)
  • U.S. Still Needs Israel - Prof. Abraham Ben-Zvi
    Contrary to apocalyptic scenarios predicting a fracture in Washington-Jerusalem ties over the Iran deal, reality paints a very different picture, at least on the security level. Israel is a pro-Western stronghold located in the midst of a radical sphere threatening to drown the Middle East. Upgrading Israel's strategic position is necessary to serve broader American interests in the region. The White House sees Israel, alongside the moderate Sunni states, as the main device that could be leveraged into presenting actual red lines to the fanatic forces of radical Islam. The writer is professor of international relations and head of the executive program on negotiations and decision-making at the University of Haifa. (Israel Hayom)

Why the Fight Against the Iran Deal Was Worth It - Amiel Ungar (Ha'aretz)

  • The opposition to the Iran deal, led by Netanyahu, helped push public and congressional opinion away from the transformational approach, which views Iran as a normal and even welcome part of a Middle East equilibrium, and toward a more hard-headed approach.
  • Thus, Israel's opposition strengthened the hands of those in the administration who are wary of Iran.
  • Former U.S. Deputy Secretary of State William Burns, who was a key member of the U.S. negotiating team for the 2013 interim accord and testified in favor of the JCPOA before congressional committees, wrote in the New York Times last week that it was time for a bipartisan foreign policy "to win the long-term struggle with Iran for power in the Middle East."
  • The Burns approach to Iran is undoubtedly preferable to the approach that believes that the Islamic Republic of Iran can be tamed by the deal and displays of American humility.
  • It also treats Israel as an ally; not as an accidental partner with the same status as Iran.

    Dr. Amiel Ungar is a political scientist.

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