New Iranian Video Shows Captured U.S. Sailor Crying - Adam Taylor (Washington Post)
Iranian state television on Wednesday showed new video footage of the U.S. Navy crew members captured last month that included one sailor in tears.
Hossein Salami, a senior commander in the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, had said last month that the sailors had "started crying" after their arrest.
Robert Kennedy's Palestinian Assassin Denied Parole - Corky Siemaszko (NBC News)
Robert F. Kennedy's Palestinian assassin, Sirhan B. Sirhan, was denied parole for the 15th time on Tuesday.
Kennedy, the younger brother of slain President John F. Kennedy, was shot June 5, 1968, at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles just after he'd won the state's Democratic presidential primary.
Jordan Rejects 1982 Paris Attack Suspects Extradition (AFP)
Jordan has rejected an extradition request from France for two suspects accused of carrying out a 1982 deadly attack on the Chez Jo Goldenberg Jewish restaurant in Paris which killed six people and wounded 22 others, a judicial source said Wednesday.
The alleged mastermind of the attack, Zuhair Mohamad al-Abassi, 62, was arrested in Jordan last year. Jordan has also refused to hand over Nizar Tawfiq Hamada, 54.
Another suspect, Mahmoud Khader Abed Adra, lives in Ramallah in the West Bank, while suspect Walid Abdulrahman Abu Zayed is a resident of Norway.
India Readies $3 Billion Defense Deals with Israel (Economic Times-India)
India is close to concluding a clutch of bilateral military deals with Israel, collectively worth $3 billion.
The main pact concerns the joint development of a medium-range, surface-to-air missile system for the Indian Army.
Israeli Technology Can Detect Terrorists through Fog - Yoav Zitun (Ynet News)
The Israeli company Controp has developed a device that will allow drones to identify moving objects through fog.
Over the years there have been attacks from Lebanon and Gaza involving terrorists who took advantage of early morning fog.
Controp's Short Range Infra-Red technology can identify silhouettes or moving objects in fog from a distance of up to 20 km.
Philippines to Acquire Israeli Radar System - Jon Grevatt (IHS Jane's)
The Philippines Department of National Defense (DND) has contracted with Elta Systems, a subsidiary of Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), to supply its ELM-2288 air defense and air traffic control radar.
DND spokesman Peter Paul G. Galvez confirmed that the contract is valued at $56 million to provide three radar systems to the Philippine Air Force (PAF) to enhance the surveillance of territory in the South China Sea.
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- Russian Intervention in Syrian War Has Sharply Reduced U.S. Options - David E. Sanger
For months, the U.S. has insisted there can be no military solution to the Syrian civil war, only a political accord. But after days of intense bombing that could soon put the city of Aleppo back into the hands of Assad's forces, the Russians may be proving the U.S. wrong. There may be a military solution, one senior American official conceded Wednesday, "just not our solution."
The Russian military action has changed the shape of a conflict that had effectively been stalemated for years. Suddenly, Assad and his allies have momentum, and the U.S.-backed rebels are on the run.
(New York Times)
See also Will Russian Victories in Syria Spark a Regional War? - Yaroslav Trofimov
While Russia is achieving strategic victories in Syria with this month's Aleppo offensive, few expect that Moscow's main target - the moderate rebels backed by Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the U.S. - would now be forced settle the conflict on the Kremlin's and Syrian President Assad's terms.
"Their victory in Aleppo is not the end of the war. It's the beginning of a new war," said Moncef Marzouki, who served in 2011-14 as the president of Tunisia. Neither Turkey nor Saudi Arabia can afford to have the rebel cause, in which they have invested so much, wiped out by Moscow and its Iranian allies.
(Wall Street Journal)
- Two SS Men to Stand Trial for Auschwitz Killings
Two former SS men will go on trial this month for their complicity in the murder of thousands of people at Auschwitz.
Reinhold Hanning, 93, in Detmold was charged with 170,000 counts of accessory to murder as a former guard at the camp in occupied Poland.
Hubert Zafke, 95, was charged with 3,681 counts of complicity in killings in separate proceedings in Neubrandenburg. (AFP)
See also Jewish Woman Born in Nazi Death Camp to Give Evidence Against Former Guard - Sara Malm
Angela Orosz, 71, was one of only two babies born in the Auschwitz death camp during the Holocaust to survive the ordeal. Orosz, now living in Montreal, weighed just a third of what a normal infant does when she was born, and only escaped death because she was so weak she was "unable to cry." (Daily Mail-UK)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
- Hurdles Remain for Israel-Turkey Reconciliation Deal - Barak Ravid
Another round of talks between Israel and Turkey was held on Wednesday in Geneva. A senior Israeli official said that a number of hurdles remain. While Turkey demands free access to Gaza including letting Turkish vessels dock in the Strip, Israel wants to maintain the naval blockade on Gaza. Egypt also objects to increased Turkish involvement in the Strip.
Regarding Hamas' activities in Turkey, Israel claims that even though Ankara expelled senior Hamas operator Salah Aruri, who masterminded terror attacks in the West Bank, Hamas still operates a headquarters in Istanbul, which engages in fundraising and in planning attacks. Israel is demanding that Turkey shut down the Hamas headquarters and ban the group from its territory.
In addition, Israel is demanding that any agreement with Turkey include the return of the bodies of Israeli soldiers Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin who were killed in the 2014 Gaza war. (Ha'aretz)
- Video: Watch Palestinian Terrorist Stab Israeli Jogger in Gush Etzion - Tovah Lazaroff
Israeli Tomer Ditore, wearing a bright orange shirt, is seen jogging near Neve Daniel when a Palestinian man runs up behind Ditore and stabs him.
- Hamas Delegation Visits Iran - Khaled Abu Toameh
A Hamas delegation arrived in Tehran on Wednesday to participate in celebrations marking the anniversary of the "victory of the Islamic Revolution" in 1979.
- The Shift in Saudi Foreign Policy - David Schenker
The ascendance of King Salman to the throne last January signaled a more robust Saudi approach to countering Iranian regional subversion. The new Saudi foreign policy is a reaction to the Obama Administration's diplomatic overtures to Tehran in the context of the nuclear agreement. More broadly, it represents pushback from Riyadh against what President Obama has described as a "new geopolitical equilibrium...between Sunni, or predominantly Sunni, Gulf states and Iran."
The Saudis are especially concerned that the nuclear agreement would purchase Iran immunity from U.S. reprisal for its regionally destabilizing behavior, which would be exacerbated by the release of over $100 billion in frozen funds. In the months since the JCPOA was signed, the distance between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia has only increased as Washington has seemingly embraced Tehran as a potential force for regional stability.
Beyond its airstrikes targeting the Iran-backed, nominally Shiite Houthi rebels in Yemen and its backing of Syrian rebels in their fight against the Iranian-backed Assad regime, the more aggressive Saudi approach can also be seen in Riyadh's decision to keep oil production high and oil prices low, a policy calculated to undermine the Iranian and Russian economies.
In the aftermath of the Syria chemical weapons red-line debacle, the U.S. move away from its 2015 commitment to remove Assad, and the nuclear deal with Iran, Riyadh has determined that Washington is no longer a reliable ally. The writer is director of the Program on Arab Politics at The Washington Institute.
(Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
See also Don't Bet on Saudi Troops Fighting ISIS - Aaron David Miller (Wall Street Journal)
- Where Is the Third Intifada Headed? - Ron Ben-Yishai
Religious incitement, which was the main generator of motivation for Palestinians at the beginning of the current wave of terrorism, has now been upgraded with two powerful motives: The thirst for revenge (for relatives who were killed), and the desire to imitate terrorists to enjoy the fame they received and become "martyrs."
At the same time, the older Palestinian public hasn't joined the younger Palestinians and is not helping them. At times, adult family members even try to stop the youth from committing an attack in fear of Israeli punitive action, or to prevent the certain death of their family member. In addition, the attention of the Arab world has long been directed elsewhere and it is not ready to mobilize for the Palestinians. (Ynet News)
- Iran's Newest Palestinian Proxy - Khaled Abu Toameh
Al-Sabireen ("the Patient Ones") has recruited hundreds of Palestinians in Gaza, many of them former members of Hamas and Islamic Jihad, together with many disgruntled Fatah activists. Al-Sabireen considers Hamas "soft" on Israel because it does not wage daily terror attacks. Al-Sabireen has described the nuclear deal and the lifting of sanctions against Tehran as a "victory" for all Muslims and proof of their "pride and strength." Muslims should now unite to stand up to the "world's arrogance and remove the Zionist entity from the land of Palestine."
According to PA security sources, Al-Sabireen has already located some West Bank Palestinians who were more than happy to join the group's jihad against Jews and Israel. PA security forces recently arrested five members of an Al-Sabireen terror cell in Bethlehem. Iran is now free to underwrite terror throughout the region, including in the West Bank and Gaza.
The future of the Middle East will be shockingly different if any Palestinian state were to fall into the hands of Iran's Islamic extremists and their allies. (Gatestone Institute)
How Palestinians Hurt the Palestinians - Dr. Ely Karmon
(Times of Israel)
- While UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon spoke recently of growing Palestinian frustration, he did not mention the half century of frustration of the Israeli people, who sincerely hoped to achieve peace with the Palestinians.
- The Palestinians have been the pioneers of the global terrorism that now threatens the international community and many UN members. Palestinians were responsible for the first hijacking of a civilian airplane (El Al in 1968); attempts at suicide air attacks (by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine); the first attack on the Olympic Games (Munich 1972); the first use of anti-aircraft missiles against civil aviation (Rome 1971), and the use of barometer bombs in airplanes (Swiss Air flight 330 in 1970 - all 47 passengers killed).
- Most of the perpetrators of these attacks were quickly released by most of the countries involved, even when their own citizens were the victims.
- Before al-Qaeda set up its training camps in Afghanistan, Palestinians were training a long list of terrorist groups in Lebanon, including the Japanese Red Army, the Armenian ASALA, the Argentine Montoneros, and the Basque ETA.
- One al-Qaeda ideologue and strategist of jihad was Palestinian Islamic scholar Abdullah Azzam who created the Mujahideen Services Bureau in Afghanistan. His teachings about jihad had a huge impact on generations of fighters including Osama bin Laden himself and his ideas inspire foreign fighters to this day. Azzam was instrumental in the formation of Hamas.
- It is time the UN and the international community recognize the Palestinians' key role in their present predicament, as well as the Israeli people's frustration and lack of confidence in the Palestinians' acceptance of a historic compromise for a two-state solution.
The writer is Senior Research Scholar at the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism, IDC Herzliya.
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