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  DAILY ALERT Thursday,
December 17, 2015

In-Depth Issues:

152 Coalition Troops Feared Dead in Yemen Missile Strike - Awad Mustafa (Defense News)
    152 coalition soldiers from Saudi Arabia, the Emirates, and Morocco are feared dead after a Houthi missile strike hit a coalition base in the Bab al-Mandab region in southern Yemen on Monday.
    Among the dead was the commander of the Saudi Special Forces, Col. Abdullah Al Sahyan.

France Attacks IS with Cruise Missiles (AFP-Defense News)
    A dozen French air force fighter planes launched from the United Arab Emirates and Jordan fired Scalp cruise missiles at Islamic State targets in Iraq on Tuesday, the French defense ministry said.
    French President Francois Hollande declared his country at war with Islamic State after the group carried out attacks in Paris last month that killed 130 people.

Kuwait Airways Drops NYC-London Route after Refusing to Fly Israelis - Bart Jansen (USA Today)
    Kuwait Airways informed the U.S. Dept. of Transportation that it will be eliminating service between JFK and London Heathrow after DOT threatened legal action for the airline's refusal to sell tickets to Israelis.
    "It is unfortunate that Kuwait Airways has decided to suspend its service, instead of accepting Israeli citizens as passengers," said Jeffrey Lovitky, a Washington lawyer representing Eldad Gatt, an Israeli citizen who was refused a ticket in 2013.
    Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announced Sept. 30 that the airline broke the law because it refuses to sell tickets to Israelis.

China, Israel Start Construction of Innovation-Oriented College (Xinhua-China)
    Construction began Wednesday on the Guangdong Technion-Israel Institute of Technology (GTIIT) in Shantou City, being developed by Shantou University and Israel's Technion.
    The facility will eventually enroll more than 5,000 students. Some teaching staff will come from Technion-Israel.
    "The GTIIT will be home to the wise and the innovators," said Li Ka-shing, Hong Kong's richest man, who donated $130 million to found the institute.
    Technion Nobel Prize winner Aaron Ciechanover will be vice chancellor of the new facility.
    China has eight joint universities with foreign counterparts.

Israel Military Industries Wins Pentagon Contract for GPS-Guided Mortars - Yaakov Lappin (Jerusalem Post)
    The Pentagon awarded U.S. defense corporation Raytheon and Israel Military Industries a contract worth $98 million to develop and manufacture GPS-guided mortar shells, IMI announced on Wednesday.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Iran Says It Will Not Accept Any Restrictions on Its Missile Program - Bozorgmehr Sharafedin
    Iran will not accept any restrictions on its missile program, Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan said Wednesday, after sanctions monitors said Tehran had violated a UN Security Council resolution by test-firing a missile. "We tested Emad to show the world that the Islamic Republic will only act based on its national interests and no country or power can impose its will on us," Dehghan said. Ballistic missile tests by Iran are banned under Security Council Resolution 1929. (Reuters)
  • U.S. Congress Votes to Sanction Banks Dealing with Hizbullah - Cristina Marcos
    The U.S. House of Representatives voted 425-0 on Wednesday to sanction banks found to be knowingly handling transactions with Hizbullah. The Senate passed a companion bill last month. The measure also directs the administration to report on the terror group's drug trafficking and organized crime activities, as well as outline its global support networks including those that contract with Al-Manar, a TV station affiliated with Hizbullah. (The Hill)
        See also Hizbullah Outraged by U.S. Sanctions Bill - Louay Faour (Daily Star-Lebanon)
  • Russia Using Satellites to Support Attacks in Syria - David Axe
    Russia's two-month-old military intervention in Syria has involved highly visible strikes by jet fighters, heavy bombers, artillery, and even ships and submarines launching missiles over long distances. No less impressive is Russia's claim that it has positioned 10 satellites over Syria to map terrain, spot targets gather other intelligence, and relay radio signals between ground, air, and sea forces.
        While the U.S. is the world leader in space, with 400 satellites in Earth's orbit, including nearly 200 military models, Russia possesses the second-largest space force - 89 satellites including 50 working for the armed forces. (Daily Beast)
  • IS Recruiting for Terror Attacks in Germany - Hubert Gude and Wolf Wiedmann-Schmidt
    Harry S., 27, from Bremen, has returned to Germany from Syria and has told security officials everything about the three months he spent with Islamic State. In addition to describing firing squads and decapitations, he also says that on several occasions, IS members tried to recruit volunteers for terrorist attacks in Germany. He said that pretty much every European jihadist was approached and asked if he was interested in bringing jihad to his homeland. (Der Spiegel-Germany)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Two Palestinians on Trial in Germany for Targeting Israeli Embassy - Itamar Eichner
    Two Palestinian men went on trial on Wednesday in Germany on charges of planning a terror attack against the Israeli embassy in Berlin. Police experts said the remains of bomb-making materials were found on their clothes. It was revealed during the trial that both are supporters of the Islamic State. (Ynet News)
  • Egyptian Planes Using Israeli Airspace - Yoav Zitun
    Egyptian Air Force planes have in recent months crossed into Israeli airspace with Israel's permission as part of Egypt's campaign against Islamic State in Sinai, Ynet learned on Tuesday. Egyptian aircraft have bombed IS targets in the vicinity of El Arish and Sheikh Zuweid in northern Sinai.
        The IDF is devoting more resources to intelligence gathering on the Egyptian border because of threats by IS, while the Israel Security Agency has established a special department for gathering intelligence in Sinai. (Ynet News)
  • Jordanian Air Force Pilots on "Working Visit" to Israel
    Pilots from the Royal Jordanian Air Force recently conducted a "working visit" to Israel, Jordanian media reported. One pilot, Majdi Asmadi, refused to join the delegation and was subsequently ejected from the air force. Asmadi said he had joined the air force to fight Israel, not visit it or cooperate with it. Jordanian fighter pilots trained closely with their Israeli counterparts at a U.S.-hosted air force exercise this summer and even refueled from an Israeli tanker over the Atlantic Ocean. (Times of Israel)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • American Dentist with Mother in Israel Refused U.S. Security Clearance - Bret Stephens
    When Dr. Gershon Pincus, a New York City dentist, turned 60, he decided he wanted to give something back to his country and in 2014 took a low-paying, part-time job at an off-base Naval dental clinic in Saratoga, N.Y., commuting 400 miles each week. In a routine interview to obtain a security clearance for civilian employees, he mentioned that his mother and two siblings lived in Israel. This year his security clearance was denied, meaning he would not be able to continue doing his Naval dental work.
        Since the Obama administration came to office, there have been 58 cases in which Israeli ties were a significant factor in denial of a security clearance. Of these, 36 applicants (62%) had their appeals for clearance denied. For comparison, there has been just one case of a French citizen losing an appeal and being denied a clearance, and zero involving British citizens. Pincus' lawyer Avi Schick notes that the process of disqualifying Dr. Pincus "was driven by headquarters personnel" at the Office of Personnel Management. His case suggests the level of scrutiny to which any applicant with the slightest Israeli connection is subjected. (Wall Street Journal)
  • Israeli Black Flags: Salafist Jihadis in Israel and the Rise of the Islamic State - Ariel Koch
    The Israel Security Agency reported that the Salafist movement in Israel is "gaining a foothold and is a draw for young radicals," but it is failing to pull in the masses. While the appearance of black flags in Israel points to the presence of Salafist jihadist adherents, violent action depends more on the means (or their lack thereof) available to radical Salafists, and less so on their wishes.
        The radicalization of individuals in the Israeli Muslim Arab sector affects their immediate surroundings; their uncompromising approach, which enjoys a tailwind blowing from Iraq and Syria, has a tendency to attract others. Given the actions carried out publicly by the Islamic State, the one who flies this flag knows exactly with what he identifies. (Military and Strategic Affairs-Institute for National Security Studies)
  • Iranian and Hizbullah Operations in South America - Matthew Levitt
    While Hizbullah continues to raise significant sums of money through illicit business and smuggling in the tri-border area of South America and other free trade zones in the region, its activities have spread far beyond these well-known hot spots and include not only logistics and financing, but terrorist operational planning as well. Iran has also been tied to operations in the region, but is far more invested in building up a robust intelligence network spanning the length of the southern half of the Western Hemisphere.
        The threat posed by Iran and Hizbullah in the Western Hemisphere, a key geo-strategic interest and historic stronghold of American influence, should be recognized as a clear and present danger. The writer is Director of the Stein Program on Counterterrorism and Intelligence at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy. (Prism-Center for Complex Operations-National Defense University)

The Price of Unjustifiable Murder - Jonathan S. Tobin (Commentary)

  • The Palestinians should understand that if they continue to practice indiscriminate terror, they may ultimately pay a price, even if mass murder is something their leaders tell them is not only justifiable but think is a smart tactic.
  • In the last few months PA leader Mahmoud Abbas has fomented a new surge of violence with lies about mythical Israeli plots against the Temple Mount mosques. Then he has treated those Palestinians that attempt to murder random Jews as "martyrs" or victims of Jewish persecution and part of a "popular peaceful uprising."
  • Though the Obama administration hasn't specifically condemned Abbas' incitement, as they should, they've grown tired of justifying him.
  • Abbas may believe, as Arafat did, that more violence only generates greater interest in the Palestinian cause. But support for a terrorism double standard that exempts Palestinians from the consequences of their actions is not inexhaustible.
  • With the world distracted from the myth of the centrality of the Palestinians by ISIS and the wars in Syria and Iraq, the Palestinians are on the verge of rendering themselves completely irrelevant. The Palestinians are watching their opportunity for peace and statehood dissolve in the gore of a stabbing intifada that is disabusing even their most ardent apologists.
  • It is impossible to imagine anyone caring much about a national movement that cannot even pretend to distance itself from random slaughter.

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