ISIS Defector Reveals Personal Information on 22,000 Jihadis - Stuart Ramsay (Sky News-UK)
Tens of thousands of documents containing 22,000 names, addresses, telephone numbers and family contacts of Islamic State jihadis have been obtained by Sky News from a disillusioned member of the group.
The documents reveal the identities of previously unknown jihadis in the UK, northern Europe, the Middle East and North Africa, and in the U.S. and Canada.
The files were on a memory stick stolen from the head of Islamic State's internal security police.
Children of Islamic State - Mark Townsend (Guardian-UK)
"Children of Islamic State," a new report by Quilliam, a London counter-extremism thinktank, was compiled through a study of propaganda released by ISIS featuring children and liaising with trusted sources within the caliphate.
The portrait painted is of a terrorist group eager to enlist children to help safeguard its future.
Many are being trained as spies, preachers, soldiers, "executioners" and suicide bombers.
Israeli Tried to Stop Jaffa Terrorist with Guitar - Ben Hartman (Jerusalem Post)
Yishay Montgomery, 26, a street performer on the Tel Aviv-Jaffa promenade, saw a Palestinian terrorist running toward him on Tuesday.
I "hit him with the guitar because it's what I had," he said.
Montgomery was given a new guitar by the Halilit music store to reward his heroism.
Israel, Egypt and Jordan Have a Common Interest in Countering Islamic State and Hamas - Amos Harel (Ha'aretz)
Though the media focuses mainly on friction between Israel and its Arab neighbors, the behind-the-scenes relationship between Israel, Egypt and Jordan is very different.
All have a common interest in countering both the Islamic State and Hamas.
Egypt is even more hostile to Hamas in Gaza than Israel is, which has led it to keep its border crossing with Gaza closed to Palestinian traffic most of the year.
Israeli Armored Personnel Carriers with Anti-Rocket Defense Rolling Off Production Lines - Yaakov Lappin (Jerusalem Post)
Namer armored personnel carriers made in Israel are being equipped with the Trophy HV active protection system, which destroys antitank missiles and rocket-propelled grenades in mid-air.
The protection system already exists on Merkava Mark IV tanks, and successfully defended tanks during the 2014 Gaza war.
The Defense Ministry doubled orders of Namer and Merkava Mark IV tanks this year.
Both are key to carrying out offensives in Gaza and southern Lebanon, where Hamas and Hizbullah are heavily armed with anti-tank missiles and RPGs.
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- Biden: Iran Under Close Watch Amid Reports of Missile Tests - William Booth
Vice President Biden warned Wednesday that the U.S. would not hesitate to act against any "conventional" military activity by Iran outside of last year's nuclear deal, underscoring the Obama administration's concern after apparent back-to-back missile tests by Tehran. Biden said during a visit to Israel that the U.S. "will act" if Iran violates the nuclear pact. He also said that all Iranian programs outside the scope of the accord will be closely monitored. He reiterated that "a nuclear-armed Iran is an absolutely unacceptable threat to Israel, the region and the United States."
In Washington, White House press secretary Josh Earnest said the U.S. would "redouble" efforts to limit further expansion of Iran's missile program. (Washington Post)
- U.S. Forces in Iraq Capture ISIS Chemical Weapons Expert - David Martin
In a raid last month, U.S. Delta Force commandos in northern Iraq captured an ISIS chemical weapons expert, an Iraqi who had once worked for the regime of Saddam Hussein, who was developing mustard gas. By Pentagon count, ISIS has mounted a dozen chemical weapons attacks in Iraq and Syria.
See also U.S. Attacks ISIS Chemical Weapons Program - Nancy A. Youssef and Shane Harris
Two ISIS chemical weapons facilities in Iraq were destroyed in airstrikes this week thanks to intelligence provided by an Iraqi operative held in U.S. custody for the past month. (Daily Beast)
- Washington's New ISIS Plan Targets Terrorist Leaders - Paul McLeary
The recent killing of an Islamic State leader in Syria and the capture of another by American forces in Iraq mark the first steps in a shift to the targeting of specific terrorist leaders instead of exclusively striking assets and training local troops. On Tuesday, the Pentagon confirmed a March 4 strike in Syria killed Abu Omar al-Shishani, a major figure in the Islamic State's military command who was often described as the group's "minister of war." (Foreign Policy)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
- Netanyahu: Abbas' Fatah Party Praised the Palestinian Murderer of American Combat Veteran Taylor Force
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told visiting U.S. Vice President Joe Biden on Wednesday:
In the last 24 hours, "12 people were injured in five terrorist attacks. An American citizen, Taylor Force, was murdered....Nothing justifies these attacks. But unfortunately [PA] President Abbas has not only refused to condemn these terrorist attacks, his Fatah party actually praised the murderer of this American citizen as a Palestinian martyr and a hero....The persistent incitement in Palestinian society...glorifies murderers of innocent people, and calls for a Palestinian state not to live in peace with Israel but to replace Israel." (Prime Minister's Office)
See also Fatah Celebrates Murder of American Tourist - Itamar Marcus
Fatah and the Palestinian Authority celebrated Tuesday's murder of Taylor Force, an American tourist.
PA TV honored the killer by calling him a "shahid" - an Islamic martyr, and claimed: "12 settlers were hurt, among them an American tourist who was killed." Fatah's official Facebook page honored all the terrorists who were killed Tuesday, posting their pictures and calling them "the pride of all of the young Palestinians....Your blood will continue to be a torch that illuminates our path." (Palestinian Media Watch)
See also Abbas Ignores Biden's Call to Condemn Terrorist Attacks - Khaled Abu Toameh and Tovah Lazaroff
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas offered condolences Wednesday to visiting U.S. Vice President Joe Biden over the death of U.S. citizen Taylor Force in a terrorist stabbing in Jaffa on Tuesday, but stopped short of heeding a call by the U.S. to condemn the attack. Abbas told Biden that Israel has "killed 200 Palestinians in the past five months," but he did not clarify that many of those deaths were Palestinians killed attempting to execute attacks against Israelis. (Jerusalem Post)
- Israel: Iran's Ballistic Missile Program Must Be Stopped - Raphael Ahren
The Israel Foreign Ministry on Wednesday slammed Iran's tests of long-range missiles.
"The missile launches over the past few days represent a clear violation of Security Council Resolution 2231, which adopted the nuclear deal between Iran and world powers. The decision bars Iran from firing missiles that have the capability to carry a nuclear warhead - which are precisely the missiles they fired."
That Iran is developing missiles that are suited for nuclear warfare "raises a big question about Iran's intentions to comply fully with its part of the nuclear deal." Israel said Iran was "defying" world powers and urged the international community to act "forcefully and determinedly" to halt Iran's missile activity.
"Iran's surface-to-surface missile program must be stopped." (Times of Israel)
- My Friend Taylor Force Is Dead - David Simpkins
Taylor Force was a model of "America's finest." He was handsome, articulate, brilliant, and exuded an aura of pure positive energy. He was murdered in cold blood by a West Bank Palestinian. Taylor is dead because of a lot of misleading ideas about exactly what goes on in Israel.
There is a belief that if the Palestinians don't want to live with us, it's because of something we Jews did to cause this. The world believes that we, the Jewish-Israeli people, are to blame if Palestinians attack us because we are to blame for their frustration. This is simply not true or realistic.
The Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research found in a poll conducted last December that 2/3 of all Palestinians support the knife attacks against Israelis. Not everyone is willing to risk their lives and stab you themselves, but they actively support and cooperate with the ones who do.
The writer is a West Point graduate and former U.S. Army officer who lives in Israel. (Times of Israel)
- The Search for Elusive Iranian Moderates - Clifford D. May
Elections in February have apparently bolstered the position of President Hassan Rouhani. Though sophisticated and pragmatic, "Rouhani is not a moderate, he is a hardliner," says Wendy Sherman, former Undersecretary of State who served as President Obama's lead negotiator on the Iran nuclear agreement.
Within Iran's ruling elite, there are serious differences over how to achieve the goals of the Islamic Revolution. But on the goals themselves there is consensus. All envision Iran becoming the Middle East's new master. All want to see the "arrogant" U.S. humbled.
All agree with Ayatollah Khomeni who said in December 1979: "In the revolution that was achieved in Iran, people were screaming that they wanted Islam; these people did not rise up so their country could have democracy." It is the task of Iran's theocrats to make sure they never do. To believe otherwise is wishful thinking, a poor substitute for analysis.
The writer is president of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.
- The Two States in the West Bank and Gaza Annul the Two-State Solution - Lt. Col. (ret.) Jonathan D. Halevi
The Palestinian Authority is pushing for international recognition of the state of Palestine along the 1967 lines. But international initiatives aimed at recognizing the "state of Palestine" in the pre-1967 territories ignore the Palestinian rift that paralyzes and nullifies a Palestinian leadership that could take binding decisions in the name of the Palestinian people. The writer is a senior researcher of the Middle East and radical Islam at the Jerusalem Center. (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
Iran: The Deep State Endures - Lawrence A. Franklin (Gatestone Institute)
- The results of Iran's recent elections signify next to nothing. The people were given a limited choice from a thoroughly vetted set of pro-regime candidates, all of whom favor Islamic rule.
- The political superstructure of Iran's government is much like that of the former Soviet Union. The office of the President, the parliament, and the court system have little real decision-making power. They are more for show, for the people to let off steam.
- The Rouhani era will not usher in an Iran which will conduct itself like a conventional member of the nation-state system.
- The unelected leaders of Iran's deep state institutions are even more powerful today. The Council of Guardians, the Assembly of Experts, the Ministry of Information and Security (MOIS), the IRGC's Intelligence Bureau, the Special Courts, and the Office of the Supreme Leader remain largely insulated from external pressure and domestic transitory moods.
- Western governments need to accept the harsh reality that the Islamic Republic of Iran remains a revolutionary regime.
- All decisions over ballistic missiles and associated delivery systems, the pursuit of a nuclear weapons capability, export of the revolution, aggressive support of the Shi'a ascendancy in the Gulf and militant acts of inhumanity towards their own people are made by the deep state.
The writer was a former military attache at the U.S. Embassy in Israel and was the Iran Desk Officer for the U.S. Secretary of Defense.
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