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  DAILY ALERT Tuesday,
December 22, 2015

In-Depth Issues:

The Islamic State's Inroads into America - Adam Goldman (Washington Post)
    Federal prosecutors have charged 73 men and women around the country in connection with the Islamic State. So far, 22 have been convicted.
    The FBI says that in a handful of cases it has disrupted plots targeting U.S. military or law enforcement personnel.

Islamic State Selling Yazidi Women and Children through Office in Turkey - Uzay Bulut (Gatestone Institute)
    This month, the ARD consortium of public broadcasters in Germany produced footage documenting the slave trade being conducted by the Islamic State through a liaison office in the province of Gaziantep in Turkey, near the border with Syria.
    In August 2014, Islamic State jihadists attacked Sinjar, Iraq, home to over 400,000 Yazidis. The UN confirmed that 5,000 men were executed, and as many as 7,000 women and girls were made sex slaves.
    German TV channels NDR and SWR declared: "IS offers women and underage children in a kind of virtual slave market with for-sale photos....The women are sold in a digital slave market to the highest bidder....The transfer of money, as the reporter discovered, takes place through a liaison office in Turkey."
    A Yazidi negotiator who has been dealing with IS for the release of the slaves said that in the course of a year he transferred more than $2.5 million to IS from the families of 250 Yazidi women and children in order to free them.

Holocaust Denial and the Mullahs - Michael Rubin (Commentary)
    So much for the moderation that $100 billion in sanctions relief and new investment was supposed to usher in inside Iran. The Islamic Republic News Agency has announced a new Holocaust cartoon contest.
    Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is no moderate. He has always been a true believer in Khomeini's ideology.
    He may have reduced the number of Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps veterans serving in his cabinet, but he replaced them with Ministry of Intelligence veterans, in effect, selecting a KGB cabinet.
    The writer is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.

A Parched Iran - Thomas Erdbrink (New York Times)
    Iran is in the grip of a seven-year drought that shows no sign of breaking, and the country has already consumed 70% of its groundwater supplies over the past 50 years.
    According to the UN, Iran is home to four of the 10 most polluted cities in the world, with dust and desertification among the leading causes.
    In Gomishan, on the shores of the Caspian Sea, the fishermen who once built houses on poles surrounded by fresh water now have to drive for miles to reach the receding shoreline.
    In Kerman province, 1,455 of 2,064 village reservoirs have dropped below levels needed to sustain the population, according to the local water management agency.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • New Israeli Missile Defense System Passes Final Tests - Barbara Opall-Rome
    With hit-to-kill precision, the joint U.S.-Israel David's Sling Weapon System (DSWS) demonstrated Monday its ability to destroy salvos of rockets and missiles during a series of tests conducted in the Negev Desert. The tests put the system through several operational scenarios against multiple targets. The system is slated for delivery to the Israeli Air Force in the first quarter of 2016.
        Israel expects DSWS to be particularly useful in defending against the arsenal of Syrian 302 mm. rockets and Iranian half-ton warhead Fatah-110 rockets in the hands of Hizbullah. (Defense News)
        See also Israeli Air Defense System Can Intercept Medium-Range Missiles, Cruise Missiles - Yoav Zitun
    The David's Sling air defense system is designed to shoot down rockets with ranges of 100 to 200 km. or low-flying cruise missiles, the Israel Defense Ministry said on Monday. It fills the gap between the Iron Dome short-range rocket interceptor and the Arrow ballistic missile interceptor, both already in service. Shlomo S., head of the project at Israeli defense firm Rafael, said: "We developed technologies that are the first of their kind in the world and have so far been considered science fiction....The goals and targets we had were achieved in full."  (Ynet News)
  • Iran Objects to New U.S. Visa Rules - Eli Lake and Josh Rogin
    The State Department is scrambling to confirm to Iran that it won't enforce new rules that would increase screening of Europeans who have visited Iran and plan to come to America. There is concern the new visa waiver provisions, passed last week, would hinder business people seeking to open up new ventures in Iran once sanctions are lifted.  At issue is a provision that would require travelers who visit certain countries - including Iran, Sudan, Syria and Iraq - to apply at a U.S. Embassy for a visa before coming to the U.S.
         Iran was included for good reason, because it remains on the U.S. list of state of sponsors of terrorism for its open support for Hizbullah and Hamas. The White House did not object until the Iranian government told the administration that the bill would violate the nuclear agreement.
        "If the United States Congress cannot implement a more secure visa procedure for those who travel to state sponsors of terrorism like Iran, then the Iran deal ties the hands of lawmakers to a greater extent than even deal critics feared," said Mark Dubowitz, executive director of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. (Bloomberg)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Netanyahu: Turkey Expelled Hamas Official, But Group's Command Post in Istanbul Still Operative - Barak Ravid
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday, "There are ongoing talks with Turkey, but there are no understandings" for a reconciliation agreement. Netanyahu said that Turkey has deported Saleh Aruri, a senior Hamas official, but his departure was primarily due to American pressure after the U.S. Treasury Department put Aruri on its blacklist of terrorists. The Istanbul command post Aruri set up to direct Hamas terror cells in the West Bank continues to operate. "We want to ensure that there is no terrorist activity against Israel from Turkey," Netanyahu said. (Ha'aretz)
  • Israel Screens Gaza Imports to Block Military Supplies for Hamas - Alex Fishman
    The heads of Hamas' military wing are focusing on preparing for the next war against Israel. They blame Hamas' political leadership for preventing them from making that surprise move inside Israel during the 2014 Gaza war that should have wreaked destruction and death and left the Israeli public in shock. They won't listen to the political leadership in the next round of fighting. They will once again try to launch simultaneous attacks on several targets inside Israel. At the same time, Hamas is working on building up its stockpiles to allow for continued rocket fire over a period of many weeks.
        Hamas' military industry demands raw materials. It also must import tools and materials to construct attack tunnels. Some ten tons of iron oxide, which is used for rocket propulsion, have been seized at the Kerem Shalom crossing, enough for 20,000 rockets. In addition, 6.3 tons of aluminum oxide, enough for 620 rockets, and four tons of graphite, enough for 1,300 rockets, have been seized at the crossing.
        Confiscated merchandise stopped on its way to Gaza includes advanced cameras, scuba diving equipment, multicopter drones, bullet-proof vests, generators, solar panels, communication devices, fiber optics, radios, computers, welding equipment, and water pumps purchased for the tunnels. Yet the basic assumption is that Hamas does have some successes in smuggling forbidden materials. (Ynet News)
  • Jerusalem Bus Stops Get Security Upgrade - Roi Yanovsky
    The Jerusalem Municipality has begun erecting steel columns to shield some 300 bus stops around the city to prevent terrorists from committing car-ramming attacks on those waiting for buses. (Ynet News)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • The Risks of Inaction in the Face of Iranian Misbehavior - Michael Singh
    The Obama administration has emphasized that the nuclear deal with Iran was not intended to address concerns such as Iran's support for terrorism or its regional activities. Since the agreement was signed in July, Iran has sentenced Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian and imprisoned another Iranian-American. It has defied UN sanctions by exporting arms to Yemen and Syria, and by conducting two ballistic missile launches. In addition, Iranian hackers have reportedly engaged in cyber attacks on the State Department.
        In defending the nuclear deal, administration officials were at pains to note the multiple multilateral and unilateral options remaining to them to respond to just these sorts of situations. But the administration has not acted. Inaction in the face of Iranian misbehavior implies that Tehran stands to receive broader-than-intended relief.
        Maintaining deterrence as well as the integrity of UN sanctions will require meaningful responses to Iranian provocations with the full range of tools at Washington's disposal. It means wielding carrots and sticks together, and not neglecting U.S. commitments. If Iran's disregard for international injunctions is ignored, it cannot be long before Tehran treats the nuclear deal the same way. The writer, managing director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, worked on Middle East issues at the National Security Council from 2005 to 2008. (Wall Street Journal)
  • Optimism on Syria Is Misplaced - Hassan Hassan
    The UN Security Council passed a unanimous decision on Friday calling for peace negotiations and a ceasefire to steer Syria towards a political settlement. But optimism seems to be misplaced because it is not based on any progress or attainable objectives in the foreseeable future. Even if another Alawite loyalist replaces Bashar Al-Assad, many close to regime circles doubt the new president would be obeyed by everyone. Already the regime has fragmented in many parts of the country into roving fighting factions led by a field commander, not so dissimilar to the rebel forces.
        Likewise, the survival of Assad at the helm of power in Damascus is a no-brainer for many within the opposition. Rebel forces who accept a compromise that keeps him in power risk the loss of support from their constituencies. Agreeing to a ceasefire should not be confused with accepting a political settlement led by Assad. The writer is an associate fellow at Chatham House. (The National-Abu Dhabi)

BDS and Campus Politics: A Bad Romance - Mark Yudof (Inside Higher Ed)

  • Today's proponents of the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement against Israel on college campuses see their movement as a way of protesting Israel's alleged mistreatment of Palestinians, its efforts to defend itself in a dangerous neighborhood and its purported colonialism. Yet their rhetoric corrupts the language of human rights and expropriates the words historically used to demean the Jew.
  • At the University of California at Berkeley, a professor who attended a BDS debate reported that Israeli soldiers were accused of deliberately killing women and poisoning wells. In an age of exquisite sensitivity on some campuses to microaggression, or language that subtly offends underrepresented groups, the ironic toleration of microaggression against Jews often goes unnoted.
  • In the words of Santa Barbara Hillel Rabbi Evan Goodman: "At a university, of all places, there must be space for legitimate political discourse and analysis....But when the one Jewish state in the world is obsessively singled out for condemnation, Jewish students recognize that their own religious and cultural identity is being called into question."
  • As former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers has observed, the impact if not the specific intent of the BDS movement is anti-Semitic. While nations like China, Iran, Russia, Syria and others get a pass on campuses, Israel is the sole object of BDS. There are many displaced peoples around the globe, many conflicts and many settler nations. The double standard for Israel yields suspicion about the real agenda.
  • Most of all, I worry that the spirit of democracy may be withering on college campuses. Those who seek to silence campus speakers - as occurred most recently at the University of Minnesota, when pro-Palestinian protesters tried to shout down Israeli philosopher Moshe Halbertal - argue that they have a First Amendment right to drown out opponents.

    The writer is president emeritus of the University of California.

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