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October 10, 2016

In-Depth Issues:

German Police Detain Syrian "Refugee" Preparing Bomb Attack on Berlin Airport - Ed Wight and Julian Robinson (Daily Mail-UK)
    German police have arrested Jaber Albakr, 22, a Syrian refugee suspected of plotting a jihadist bomb attack at Berlin's Schonefeld airport.
    A major manhunt had been launched after police raided an apartment in Chemnitz and found several hundred grams of "an explosive substance more dangerous than TNT."

U.S. Navy Ship Targeted in Failed Missile Attack from Yemen - Phil Stewart (Reuters)
    A U.S. Navy guided missile destroyer, the USS Mason, was targeted on Sunday in a missile attack from territory in Yemen controlled by Iran-aligned Houthi rebels.
    "Both missiles impacted the water before reaching the ship," Pentagon spokesman Captain Jeff Davis said. "There were no injuries to our sailors and no damage to the ship."

Muslim Leaders Warn Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa "Is in Danger" - Ilker Girit (Anadolu-Turkey)
    More than 500 Muslim leaders and clerics from 30 countries met in Istanbul on Friday to warn that the Al-Aqsa Mosque, Islam's third holiest site that is located in Jerusalem, was in danger.
    A month-long series of Jewish holidays have in the past caused heightened tensions as many Palestinians object to the increased numbers of Jewish visitors to the Al-Aqsa compound, which Jews know as the Temple Mount.
    See also The "Al-Aksa Is in Danger" Libel: The History of a Lie - Nadav Shragai (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

Israel to Rebuild Destroyed Jerusalem Synagogue - Nadav Shragai (Israel Hayom)
    The Tiferet Yisrael Synagogue was the last post of the Jewish Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem to fall in Israel's War of Independence.
    The 144-year-old synagogue rose to great height and came under direct fire from the Temple Mount and Al-Aqsa Mosque.
    When the Jewish Quarter was lost in 1948, the Jordanians shelled the white dome of Tiferet Yisrael, along with its "twin" - the Hurva Synagogue, and the two landmarks were turned into piles of rubble.
    The Hurva was rebuilt six years ago and the Israeli government is now reconstructing Tiferet Yisrael.

Asia Soaks Up Iran's Post-Sanctions Oil - Dan Strumpf and Jenny W. Hsu (Wall Street Journal)
    China, India, Japan and South Korea are among big Asian oil consumers that have sharply boosted their imports of Iranian crude this year.
    Sales to Asia have soaked up 70% of Iran's oil exports since the end of Western sanctions in January.
    China and India are looking to further lock down Iranian supply with a large planned investment in Iran's oil and gas infrastructure.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • U.S. Further Eases Financial Sanctions on Iran - Jay Solomon
    The U.S. Treasury Department on Friday released new guidelines for dealings with Iran that loosen restrictions on the country's ability to trade in U.S. dollars. Treasury also widened the potential business partners for non-American investors in Iran by announcing that U.S.-sanctioned Iranian entities can partake in projects provided they aren't the controlling shareholder.
        The U.S. maintains sanctions on Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, which is the dominant player in the Iranian economy. The Treasury has long dissuaded foreign companies from conducting any business with the IRGC. But the new measures indicate the Obama administration will now accept some Revolutionary Guard presence in international projects. (Wall Street Journal)
  • UK Freezes Aid to PA over Terror Funding - Steve Hawkes
    Britain's International Development Secretary Priti Patel has suspended 25 million pounds of aid payments to the Palestinian Authority amid claims that taxpayers' cash is ending up in the hands of terrorists. Earlier this summer there were revelations that UK aid supposedly paying for civil servants in Gaza was being transferred to the Palestine Liberation Organization. One Hamas master bomber was alleged to have been given 100,000 pounds by the PLO. Other "salaries" are said to have gone to families of suicide bombers. (The Sun-UK)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Two Israelis Are Killed by Palestinian Gunman in Jerusalem - Daniel K. Eisenbud
    Israel Police Staff-Sgt.-Maj. Yosef Kirma, 29, and Levana Malichi, 60, a former Knesset employee, were shot and killed, and six others were wounded, by an Arab resident of east Jerusalem during a drive-by attack in the capital on Sunday. The terrorist first opened fire on a male and female civilian near the Ammunition Hill light rail stop.
        "After shooting the two civilians, the suspect continued driving his vehicle into the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, where two officers on motorcycles from the Special Patrol Unit chased him. Shots were fired at our officers, who returned fire, and the terrorist was shot and killed at the scene," police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Daughter of Palestinian Terrorist: "We're Very Proud of Him and What He Did" - Jack Khoury and Nir Hasson
    The Palestinian assailant behind Sunday's Jerusalem shooting attack was set to begin a four-month prison sentence for assaulting a police officer, the Ma'an news agency reported on Sunday. The assailant, 39, a resident of east Jerusalem's Silwan neighborhood, was linked to the Mourabitoun, an outlawed Islamist group whose members demonstrate on the Temple Mount whenever Jews visit there.
        After the attack, the shooter's daughter told Ha'aretz that she and her family were "very proud of him and what he did." The shooter had served a year in prison for incitement on social media. (Ha'aretz)
        See also Fatah Honors Terrorist Murderer as "Martyr" - Itamar Marcus
    In two separate posts on its official Facebook page, Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah movement honored Musbah Abu Sbeih, the terrorist murderer who went on a shooting spree in Jerusalem on Sunday, referring to him as an Islamic martyr. (Palestinian Media Watch)
  • Jerusalem Attacker Said to Belong to Hamas - Yaakov Lappin
    In a videotaped message, the terrorist behind Sunday's attack said his actions were designed to "safeguard Al-Aksa Mosque," vowing that Jerusalem would be "liberated from their [Jews'] contamination." This rhetoric is a reflection of the ongoing incitement in Palestinian media aimed at promoting the popular Palestinian conspiracy theory that Israel plots to harm Al-Aksa. Such incitement traditionally surges during Jewish holiday periods.
        The footage left behind by the terrorist was aired by Hamas' mouthpiece, Al-Quds television, and Hamas members in Gaza claimed the attacker was one of their own. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Celebrations Outside Home of Jerusalem Terrorist - Judah Ari Gross
    On Sunday evening, crowds gathered outside the home of the Palestinian murderer to praise the attack. People handed out candies to passing motorists at the same time that the funerals of the two victims were taking place. The house was decorated with green Hamas flags and a huge poster calling him a martyr. His mother stood outside welcoming visitors who came to celebrate the killings. (Times of Israel)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • Iran's Game Plan in Syria: A Path to the Mediterranean - Martin Chulov
    After 12 years of conflict in Iraq and an even more savage conflict in Syria, Iran is now closer than ever to securing a land corridor that will anchor it in the region - and potentially transform the Islamic Republic's presence on Arab lands. A European official who has monitored Iran's role in both wars for the past five years said, "They will be able to move people and supplies between the Mediterranean and Tehran whenever they want, and they will do so along safe routes that are secured by their people, or their proxies."
        The route weaves across Iraq, through the Kurdish north into Kurdish north-eastern Syria and through the battlefields north of Aleppo, where Iran and its allies are prevailing on the ground. The plan also involves demographic shifts, which have already taken place in central Iraq and are underway in northern Syria.
        Ali Khedery, who advised all U.S. ambassadors to Iraq in 2003-11, said Iran's securing a Mediterranean link "should trouble every Western leader and our regional allies because this will further embolden Iran to continue expanding, likely into the Gulf countries next, a goal they have explicitly and repeatedly articulated. Why should we expect them to stop if they've been at the casino, doubling their money over and over again, for a decade?"  (Guardian-UK)
  • Tip of the Iceberg: Russian Use of Power in Syria - Maj. Gen. (res.) Yaakov Amidror
    The Russians are determined to reacquire some of the status once enjoyed by the Soviet Union. They believe Western carelessness is to blame for the rise of Islamic State, and are using the Syrian theater to demonstrate their strategic capability. Some argue that Russia has become the most powerful superpower in the Middle East due to Russian President Vladimir Putin's ability to invest significant resources in the region, coupled with his willingness to take significant risks.
        Russia is still feeling the effects of the trauma of the Libyan crisis. In March 2011, Russia agreed to get on board with the UN Security Council resolution, which had been carefully worded so as to prevent an all-out war on late Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's regime. Russia found itself surprised by Western powers, which - under the umbrella of the resolution - took out the regime in which Russia, and the Soviet Union before it, had invested considerable funds and political energy.
        Israel has some major disagreements with Russia, especially after the sale of sophisticated weapons to Iran and Syria and the transfer of many weapons systems to Hizbullah. On the other hand, Russia's willingness to tolerate Israeli Air Force operations over Syria reflects a certain understanding of Israel's position. Yet Israel should not rely on the hope that the Russians will limit Hizbullah's and Iran's operations against Israel or do anything to mitigate them. The writer is a former Israeli national security advisor and former Director of the Research Division of IDF Military Intelligence. (Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies-Bar-Ilan University)

American BDS Organization Takes Its Case to Capitol Hill - Dan Diker (Institute for Contemporary Affairs-Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

  • The "US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation," a national coalition of American Boycott-Divestment-Sanctions (BDS) organizations, will hold its annual conference on October 14-17 in Arlington, Virginia. The conference will include a "Lobby Day" on Capitol Hill targeting Members of Congress.
  • The US Campaign supports BDS and calls for Israel's destruction as a Jewish state. Rather than opposing particular Israeli policies, it opposes Israel's very existence and rejects a two-state solution.
  • The US Campaign leadership and key members support (and in some cases have ties to) designated terrorist organizations and have a track record of violence and incitement.
  • The policies of the BDS campaign adopted by the US Campaign have frequently been described as discriminatory and anti-Semitic and may violate relevant anti-discrimination laws. Institutions facilitating the work of the US Campaign should carefully consider the possible legal implications of this facilitation.
  • Members of Congress, regardless of their views on Israeli polices, should be wary of meeting with representatives of an organization that calls for the destruction of a U.S. ally, supports terror and violence, and promotes discriminatory and anti-Semitic policies.

    The writer is Director of the Political Warfare Project at the Jerusalem Center, which seeks to expose the strategy, tactics, and long-term ideological goals of the BDS movement and to uproot BDS at the source.

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