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  DAILY ALERT Thursday,
November 19, 2015

In-Depth Issues:

Suspected Architect of Paris Attacks Is Dead, European Officials Say - Souad Mekhennet (Washington Post)
    The suspected ringleader of the Paris attacks, Abdel­hamid Abaaoud, a Belgian extremist, was killed Wednesday by French police commandos, two senior European officials said.

    See also Video: Jihadist Sprays Paris Cafe with Bullets - Stephen Wright (Daily Mail-UK)
    Dramatic video footage shows a sustained attack on a Paris restaurant by an Islamic State assassin.
    It also shows a woman he tried to kill at point-blank range but who escaped because his gun jammed.

Jewish Teacher Stabbed in France by Islamic State Supporters (AFP-France 24-Times of Israel)
    Tzion Saadoun, 56, a Chabad emissary and teacher at a Jewish school in Marseille, was stabbed on Wednesday by three people shouting anti-Semitic obscenities and expressing support for the Islamic State group, local authorities said.

Airstrikes on ISIS Stronghold in Syria Kills 33 Militants (BBC News)
    Airstrikes by France and Russia on the Islamic State stronghold of Raqqa in Syria have killed at least 33 militants since Sunday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
    It also reported the families of ISIS leaders had started leaving Raqqa for Mosul in Iraq.

How Do ISIS Terrorists Finance Their Attacks? - Matthew Levitt (The Hill)
    ISIS is primarily financed through a wide array of criminal activities.
    ISIS steals livestock; sells foreign fighter passports; taxes minorities, farmers and truckers; runs a sophisticated extortion racket; kidnaps civilians for ransom payments; and loots antiquities.
    It also makes about $40 million a month from illicit oil sales.
    The writer is director of the Stein Program on Counterterrorism and Intelligence at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

In the Muslim World, Much Disdain for ISIS - Jacob Poushter (Pew Research Center)
    Poll data from 11 countries with significant Muslim populations shows overwhelming opposition to ISIS - except in Pakistan.
    In Lebanon, 99% had a very unfavorable opinion of ISIS. The comparable figure in Jordan was 94%.
    91% of Israeli Arabs and 84% in the Palestinian territories had a negative view of ISIS, both in Gaza (92%) and the West Bank (79%).

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • UN: Iran Cuts Down on Some - But Not All - Nuclear Technology - George Jahn
    Iran has started cutting back on some nuclear technology which could be reengineered to make nuclear weapons, a UN nuclear agency report said Wednesday. However, diplomats said Iran is keeping thousands of machines on standby that can be restarted at short notice. The IAEA said 11,308 centrifuges were standing at Iran's main enrichment center as of Nov. 15, about 3,000 fewer than previously. But the diplomats said all of the machines that have been taken out were previously idle. (AP)
        See also below Commentary: Strengthening the Verification and Implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action with Iran - Olli Heinonen (Foundation for Defense of Democracies)
  • Israel: Syria Has Used Up 90 Percent of Ballistic Missiles in Civil War - Dan Williams
    Syria has used up more than 90% of its ballistic missiles against rebels during the four-year-old civil war, but a few were transferred to Hizbullah in Lebanon, a senior Israeli military officer said on Wednesday. He added that Hizbullah has "around 10" advanced Scud-D missiles with conventional warheads supplied by Syria. (Reuters)
  • Kerry: U.S., Turkey Working to Seal Northern Syria Border - David Brunnstrom
    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Tuesday the U.S. is starting an operation with Turkey to finish securing the northern Syrian border, an area that Islamic State has used as a lucrative smuggling route. "The entire border of northern Syria - 75% of it has now been shut off. And we are entering an operation with the Turks to shut off the other remaining 98 km.," he told CNN. (Reuters)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Israel to Respond Against EU Countries that Support Product Labeling - Itamar Eichner
    Israel has decided to respond against 16 European countries that pushed for labeling goods produced in the West Bank and the Golan Heights. The measures include a re-evaluation of the EU role in the peace process; summoning the ambassadors for an official rebuke; and restricting meetings to low-level Israeli officials. Israel will be far stricter regarding entry of foreign delegations to the West Bank and will also be stricter about which EU projects it permits in the West Bank and Gaza.
        "You can't act against us and then expect that everything will continue as normal," a senior Israeli official said. "We decided (the steps) for each country on their own merits. This is not mathematics but diplomacy; clearly, the measures are not going to harm our own interests."  (Ynet News)
  • 400 Security Cameras Cover Jerusalem's Old City - Roi Yanovsky
    The Jerusalem Police's Mabat 2000 unit operates some 400 security cameras in the Old City. These cameras documented many of the recent terror attacks and helped police track down the perpetrators, leading to their quick arrests. "We have a 95% identification rate," said Doron Turgeman, commander of the Jerusalem Police's David subdistrict. The unit's command center has dozens of screens that show what's happening in the Old City in real time. (Ynet News)
  • IDF Arrests Three Knife-Carrying Palestinian Women at Army Post
    IDF soldiers arrested three Palestinian women who tried to enter a military position armed with knives, the army announced on Thursday. The arrest took place on the road connecting Tekoa and the south Jerusalem neighborhood of Har Homa. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also IDF Soldier Wounded in Hebron Grenade Attack Thursday (Times of Israel)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • Strengthening the Verification and Implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action with Iran - Olli Heinonen
    The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) puts Iran's nuclear program under greater scrutiny than before and reduces the likelihood of an overt dash to the bomb for the next 10 years. But the agreement contains a number of notable weaknesses - particularly regarding undeclared nuclear activity and weapons-related research - that should be mitigated by adopting stronger verification measures.
        In the agreement, verification mechanisms to detect undeclared activities and sites remain limited; mechanisms to detect barred weaponization research are likely insufficient; and after a decade, the additional transparency measures will fade away - at the same time that Iran is able to start expanding its program - presenting additional verification challenges. The writer served for 27 years at the IAEA as Deputy Director General and head of its Department of Safeguards, where he oversaw its efforts to monitor and contain Iran's nuclear program. (Foundation for Defense of Democracies)
  • How to Fight a Real War on ISIS - Max Boot
    As long as the Islamic State continues to administer a "caliphate" - a functioning state - it will continue to serve as inspiration and training ground for jihadists. The fact that Paris has been hit twice this year with terrible terrorist attacks - the Charlie Hebdo attack was in January - shows what everyone already knows: that it is impossible to stop terrorism with a purely defensive strategy. The only way to diminish the threat is to go on the offensive. The writer is a Senior Fellow in National Security Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York. (Commentary)
        See also Taking the Fight to the Enemy - Naftali Bennett
    When fighting Islamic terror, there is one path to victory and that is taking the fight to the enemy. To win, the world needs to go on the offensive. There is no other way. When you take the fight to enemy territory, the enemy will have difficulty taking the fight to you. Only when that happens will the ability of ISIS to direct attacks in Europe or America be hindered. The writer, Israel's minister of education, is a major in the IDF reserves. (Wall Street Journal)
  • Will Cameras on the Temple Mount Work? - Pinhas Inbari
    An agreement to place cameras to monitor the Temple Mount compound in Jerusalem was made through the mediation of Secretary of State John Kerry with King Abdullah of Jordan. However, if they are installed, they may be destroyed, since the mosque compound is controlled by radical Islamic organizations like Hamas. The PA was not part of the agreement and is actively opposed to it. Therefore, Palestinians do not feel committed to the agreement and will not allow it to be implemented. (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • Why Pakistan Should Recognize Israel - Noman Sajjad
    Pakistan and Israel have never been directly involved in hostility or disputes with each other. However, Pakistan has categorically refused to recognize Israel since its inception. The need of the hour is to realize that Israel didn't vanish from the map because Pakistan decided not to recognize it. On the other hand, Pakistan is getting nothing out of this rigid stance. Logical reasoning, a rational attitude and political maturity need to replace the emotional stance, aggressive slogans and baseless rhetoric. (Express Tribune-Pakistan-Jerusalem Post)

Will We Finally Learn the Lessons that the Paris Attacks Teach? - Clifford D. May (Washington Times)

  • Self-proclaimed jihadis have been fighting to re-establish Islamic supremacy and domination in the world for almost two generations.
  • Leaders of the nations they have been targeting have regarded them as a problem - but mostly not as dangerous enemies who must be decisively defeated. And so their numbers have grown and their ability to project power has increased.
  • Time and again, the jihadis have demonstrated that they have other values that they are willing - indeed eager - to both kill and die for. Ignoring that, Western leaders speak about "countering violent extremism" through jobs programs and foreign aid. They have maintained that "there is no military solution" and that we can rely on diplomats to effectuate "conflict resolution" employing "soft power."
  • The jihadis are confident that France doesn't have the stomach for a long war. They view not just France but also the EU and NATO as spent forces - weak and war-weary.
  • Is there anyone who has the courage and the leadership skills necessary to resume leadership of the Free World and develop a comprehensive strategy to defeat jihadism in all its forms - Sunni and Shia alike?

    The writer is president of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

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