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May 2, 2016

In-Depth Issues:

Report: FBI Foils Terror Attack at Aventura, Fla., Synagogue (WSVN-Miami)
    Federal agents arrested a man who, sources said, was planning to throw an explosive device into a South Florida synagogue.
    According to law enforcement sources, the FBI set up a sting to thwart what they described as a terror attack at the Aventura Turnberry Jewish Center, Friday evening.
    Agents posing as terrorists were able to stop the suspect, who, they said, may have converted to Islam.

Iran Oil Exports to South Korea Quadruple after Sanctions Lifted (Reuters)
    Iran's oil exports to South Korea have more than quadrupled to 400,000 barrels a day since international sanctions were lifted in January, Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh was quoted as saying on Sunday.

German Official Denies Report on Foreign Policy Shift on Israel (Reuters)
    A German government official denied on Sunday a Der Spiegel report which said Berlin might end its support for Israel due to frustration with Prime Minister Netanyahu's policies.
    See also Israel Denies Report of German Frustration with Israel - Barak Ravid (Ha'aretz)
    A senior Israeli official said the "statements in the Der Spiegel report are most likely an internal German attempt to bash Merkel over her close relationship with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu."

French Journalist Infiltrates Jihadist Cell for Six Months - Michel Moutot (AFP)
    A French journalist infiltrated a cell of would-be jihadists, filming them with a hidden camera as they plotted an attack in the name of the Islamic State group, before they were arrested.
    The journalist, a Muslim, carried out the investigation for a documentary entitled "Allah's Soldiers," to be shown in France on Monday night.
    The journalist said, "One of the main lessons was that I never saw any Islam in this affair. No will to improve the world. Only lost, frustrated, suicidal, easily manipulated youths."

Mandela in Ramallah - Lionel Slier (Jerusalem Post)
    The City of Johannesburg sponsored the erection of a six-meter bronze statue of Nelson Mandela which was unveiled in Ramallah in the West Bank on Tuesday.
    Mandela did speak broadly about various peoples' liberation struggles, but he never said anything detrimental about Israel.
    In fact, a visit that he made to Israel in 1999, after he left office, was met with a great deal of applause.
    One member of the South African Zionist Federation commented: "I hope that the Palestinians listen to what Mandela had to say about peace and reconciliation and do as he did."

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • U.S. Special Forces Kill 40 ISIS Operatives Responsible for Europe Attacks - Kimberly Dozier
    U.S. special operations forces have quietly killed 40 key ISIS operatives blamed for plotting deadly attacks in Europe and beyond, defense officials said. The U.S. counterterrorist mission is credited with crippling ISIS efforts to recruit foreign fighters and carry out more plots like the deadly assault on Paris that killed 130 last fall.
        Most of the ISIS targets were killed in Syria by combat aircraft, but also by troops who attempted to capture a handful of high-value ISIS targets. All of those targets resisted arrest and were killed, officials said. (Daily Beast)
  • Khamenei: U.S. Is Main Enemy, "Zionist Regime" a Close Second
    Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Khamenei received the Secretary General of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement, Ramadan Abdullah Shalah, on Sunday in Tehran. Khamenei said, "What is going on in the region today is in fact a confrontation of the United States with the Islamic Establishment in Iran." Khamenei reaffirmed that Iran sees the U.S. as its main enemy, with the "Zionist regime" standing behind it. (Mehr-Iran)
  • Iran Touts Israel Invasion to Recruit Teenage Boys to Fight in Syria - Rowan Scarborough
    Iran has begun to ask its teenage boys to volunteer to fight in Syria, the opposition National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) said. The group released a translated video that was shown over several days on state-run Iranian television this month, offering the selling pitch to youngsters: You will be defending sacred Shiite shrines in Syria and will position yourselves to invade Israel, whose destruction is an Iranian regime priority.
        In the video, the boys sing, "On my leader's [Khamenei's] orders I am ready to give my life. The goal is not just to free Iraq and Syria; my path is through the sacred shrine [near Damascus], but my goal is to reach Jerusalem."  (Washington Times)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • ISIS Attack on Israeli Embassy in Rome Thwarted - Dan Lavie
    An Islamic State plot to attack the Vatican and several foreign embassies, including the Israeli Embassy in Rome, was recently uncovered by Italian authorities. Four Islamic extremists were arrested in connection with the terrorist plot, and arrest warrants were issued for two other individuals, the Milan prosecutor said. (Israel Hayom)
  • Israel Rejects French Peace Initiative - Herb Keinon
    The only path to peace is through bilateral relations between Israel and the Palestinians, the Prime Minister's Office said Thursday, formally rejecting a French peace initiative calling for an international Middle East peace conference. France announced it would hold an international summit in Paris on May 30 to discuss the parameters of a peace deal.
        "The best way to resolve the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians is direct, bilateral negotiations. Israel is ready to begin them immediately without preconditions. Any other diplomatic initiative distances the Palestinians from direct negotiations," the PMO statement said.
        Last month France was one of 33 countries that supported a UNESCO resolution that expunged any mention of a Jewish connection to the Temple Mount. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Video Proves Hamas Link to Israeli Bus Bombing
    Thousands of Palestinians in Gaza attended a large Hamas rally on Thursday. Directly behind the speakers was a green bus with the words "Number 12" - the same number as the bus blown up last month by a Hamas operative in Jerusalem. Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh complimented the "heroic act" of Abd al-Hamid Abu Srur, who wounded 20 people.
        Three months before blowing up Bus No. 12, the terrorist Abu Srur appeared at the mourning tent for the family of Srur Abu Srur, who was killed in a clash with security forces in Beit Jala in January. In a video clip from the tent released by Hamas, he appears masked and wearing a military uniform with a Hamas headband, reading a message on behalf of Hamas. (Ynet News)
  • Palestinian Terror Attack in West Bank Foiled Thursday - Lilach Shoval
    Two female Palestinian terrorists, armed with knives, on Thursday attempted to attack Israeli soldiers at a security checkpoint near Beit Horon in the West Bank. The two asked the soldiers for water and then tried to stab them. One of the women was also found to be carrying a syringe full of an undetermined liquid. (Israel Hayom)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • U.S. Holocaust Museum: Iranian Authorities Back Holocaust Cartoon Event
    The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum challenged a claim by the Iranian foreign minister that Iranian government authorities had nothing to do with a Holocaust cartoon contest. Javad Zarif last week told the New Yorker that his government "does not support, nor does it organize, any cartoon festival of the nature that you're talking about."
        The museum said Friday, "The organizations associated with the contest are sponsored or supported by government entities, including the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, the Tehran Municipality, and the Ministry of Islamic Guidance....Previous contests in 2006 and 2015 have had the endorsement and support of government officials and agencies" and "there are reports in the Iranian press that the Ministry of Culture is asserting its support for the upcoming contest."  (JTA)
  • Combating Terror in Israel - Boaz Ganor
    The wave of terror that Israel has been facing in recent months is not, and has never been, an "intifada" - a popular uprising. While Israel is currently facing a severe wave of terrorist attacks, the number of people taking part is small compared with the number of Palestinians who took part in the intifadas. This is not to downplay the severity of the current wave or the challenge it presents.
        Despite the diversity among the Palestinian terrorists in the current wave, it is still possible to isolate the characteristics unique to this wave. At the base is a deep hatred of Israel; personal and social frustration; despair over the national and economic situation; or a generational crisis. All of these are channeled at a particular moment and under the influence of deliberate and prolonged incitement into an act considered by the terrorists themselves and many members of Palestinian, Arab and Muslim society to be an admirable expression of altruism, patriotism and religious devotion.
        The terrorists are not necessarily different from young Muslims in the West who undergo a process of radicalization and decide to join a group of foreign fighters in conflict zones or carry out locally initiated terrorist attacks in their own country (such as the couple who carried out the terrorist attack in San Bernardino, California, in 2015). Prof. Boaz Ganor is dean at the Lauder School of Government, Diplomacy and Strategy, and founder and executive director of the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism at IDC, Herzliya. (Jerusalem Post)

A Plan for the Day After ISIS Is Defeated - Noam Tibon (Times of Israel)

  • In the background to the religious, sectarian war in Iraq and Syria are local struggles by minority populations who are fighting to survive and safeguard any semblance they have of independence. The solution has to be based on a division of Syria and Iraq into four new countries, on an ethnic and religious basis, in order to provide each group with a sense of security, independence, and prosperity.
    1. A Sunni state should be established in western Iraq and eastern Syria, whose borders would be similar (but not identical) to the areas controlled by ISIS.
    2. A Shi'ite state should be established in southeast Iraq, which, we can assume, will be under strong Iranian influence. Today, Shi'ite Iran effectively runs the affairs of the central government in Baghdad, and also exercises control over large Sunni tribes in other parts of Iraq. It is important to create a clear separation between "Iranian Iraq" and "Arab-Sunni Iraq."
    3. A Kurdish state ought to be founded in the territory of northern Syria and northern Iraq. This country already exists, in a de facto manner, as an independent Kurdish autonomy, with a military force that has proven itself in combat against ISIS.
    4. An Alawite state can be forged in the Damascus region and along the Syrian coastline. This state would form a safe haven for the Alawite minority that ruled Syria in recent decades and today feels that it is fighting for its life. As long as Alawites in Syria fear for their very existence, they will continue to support the murderous Assad regime and the Iranian militias that support it.
    5. Alongside these steps, the world powers must also ensure that all of the various new countries respect and safeguard the rights of other minorities living within their boundaries such as Christians, Druze, and Assyrians.
  • Finally, with regret, we must disabuse ourselves of the illusion that new countries established in the Middle East will necessarily be democratic. In the near term, stability, security, and economic prosperity should be the priorities.

    Maj.-Gen. (ret.) Noam Tibon served as commander of the IDF's Northern Division.

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