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  DAILY ALERT Tuesday,
August 22, 2017

In-Depth Issues:

Spanish Police Kill Barcelona Van Attacker - Tim Lister and James Masters (CNN)
    Spanish authorities on Monday shot and killed Younes Abouyaaqoub, the driver of the van that plowed into crowds last week in Barcelona.
    Abouyaaqoub, a Moroccan national, was killed in Subirats, west of Barcelona, and was wearing an explosive belt and carrying knives, said Jose Trapero, head of the Catalan police.
    Investigators said Abouyaaqoub fled the scene of Thursday's attack on foot and hijacked a car to escape. He stabbed the owner of the car who was parking the vehicle, and drove off with his body inside the car.
    Catalan police said that of the 12-member terrorist cell, four had been detained and eight had been killed.

The Future Partition of Syria - Col. (ret.) Dr. Jacques Neriah (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
    Four major players are calling the shots in Syria - Russia, the U.S., Iran, and Turkey. As a result, this may be the outcome of the future partition of Syria:
    1. Kurdish areas stretching from Kobani down along the Euphrates until northwest of Deir el-Zor and the Turkish border in the north.
    2. An area that will be dominated by Turkey and Turkish-sponsored or controlled militias that will become a buffer zone between the Kurdish and the regime areas in northern Syria.
    3. A remnant of the original Syria backed by Russia, Iran, and its satellites.
    4. The Dara'a-Suwayda area in the south of Syria, stretching from south of Kuneitra in the Golan and north of the Jordanian border, has the potential of becoming an autonomous Druze area.
    The writer, a special analyst for the Middle East at the Jerusalem Center, was Deputy Head for Assessment of Israeli Military Intelligence.

New IDF Chief Medical Officer Is from Druze Community - Lilach Shoval (Israel Hayom)
    Brig. Gen. Dr. Tarif Bader, a member of Israel's Druze community, was sworn in Thursday as IDF chief medical officer.
    In his previous positions, Bader headed the IDF's medical mission to treat wounded Syrians on the northern border, and commanded three IDF humanitarian delegations: to Haiti in 2010, Nepal in 2015 and Turkey in 2016.
    See also Video: Meet the New IDF Chief Medical Officer - Dr. Tarif Bader (YouTube)
    It is written in the medical oath of the IDF Medical Corps:
    "I, a soldier in the Medical Corps of the Israel Defense Forces, take an oath and swear on this day to extend a helping hand to the wounded and to the sick without distinction between friend or foe."
    "I swear that on my heart shall forever be engraved the supreme commandment of self-sacrifice: never leave the wounded in the field."

Poll: Israelis among Happiest Employees - Sarah Levi (Jerusalem Post)
    Israelis are among the happiest employees in the world, according to a July survey published on Sunday based on 10,000 Dapulse platform users employed in 60 industries in 136 countries.
    Israel tied with the U.S. on overall happiness of employees at work.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • PA to Give Trump Team Ultimatum on Peace Plan - Shlomi Eldar
    A senior Palestinian source said a decision has been reached to present U.S. envoys Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt with a clear ultimatum at their Aug. 24 meeting with PA President Mahmoud Abbas. Unless progress is made within 45 days on launching talks with the Israelis, the Palestinians will consider themselves no longer committed to the U.S. channel and Abbas will turn to an alternative plan "to mobilize anyone and everyone he can for the UN General Assembly session on the establishment of a Palestinian state."
        Abbas surprised members of an Israeli opposition party at an Aug. 20 meeting at his Ramallah headquarters with his harsh criticism of the Trump administration. (Al-Monitor)
  • U.S. Pushing to Quash UN Blacklist of Firms Doing Business in Israeli Settlements - Anne Gearan
    The Trump administration is urging the UN not to publish a "blacklist" of international firms that do business in Israeli settlements. The UN Human Rights Council voted to approve the database of companies last year, over objections from the U.S. and Israel, which describe the list as a prelude to anti-Israel boycotts.
        American companies on the list include Caterpillar, TripAdvisor,, Airbnb and others. Israel's UN ambassador, Danny Danon, on Monday called moves toward publication of the list "an expression of modern anti-Semitism." U.S. ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said in June, "Blacklisting companies...based entirely on their location in areas of conflict is contrary to...any reasonable definition of human rights. It is an attempt to provide an international stamp of approval to the anti-Semitic BDS movement."  (Washington Post)
  • UN Says North Korean Shipments to Syria Chemical Arms Agency Intercepted - Michelle Nichols
    Two North Korean shipments to a Syrian government agency responsible for the country's chemical weapons program were intercepted in the past six months, according to a confidential UN report on North Korea sanctions violations submitted to the Security Council earlier this month. (Reuters)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Concern in Israel over U.S. Positions on Syria - Ronen Bergman
    A delegation of Israeli defense officials in Washington last week was not able to secure a commitment from the Americans to ensure any agreement to end the war in Syria would include the evacuation of Iranian military forces from the country. Israeli intelligence officials said the delegation "presented sensitive, credible and highly disturbing intelligence information," backed by documents and photographs, which showed the ever-growing spread of Iranian influence in Syria.
        The main concern is the deployment of Iranian and Hizbullah forces on the Syrian Golan, on the border with Israel. Hizbullah has started creating infrastructure for intelligence collection on the Golan. Moreover, the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Quds Force, responsible for foreign operations, is building a naval terminal for Iran and Hizbullah at Tartus on the Mediterranean. (Ynet News)
        See also Iran's Growing Influence in Syria - Roi Kais
    Iran's influence in Syria is growing stronger by the day, according to intelligence analyst Ronen Salomon. The Iranian presence in Syria begins at Damascus airport and includes the Iranian embassy and bases on Mount Qasioun, overlooking Damascus, and near the Presidential Palace. The Quds Force makes use of the Iranian Red Crescent to insert Revolutionary Guard and intelligence ministry operatives into Syria and to transport military aid.
        Iran has transported a large number of containers carrying advanced implements of war by sea under the guise of commercial shipments, carried out through companies connected to Iran's international shipping company, IRISL. Simultaneously, Iran runs an airlift to Syria from Tehran's airports and Iranian airbases adjacent to the Iraqi border. These flights fly civilian routes through Iran Air and Mahan Air, but also use army transportation aircraft under a company called Qasem Fares Air. Flights leave at night to prevent satellite monitoring.
        Iranian units in Syria now number close to 1,500 men, with some 18,000 fighters of different militias present in the country. (Ynet News)
  • Police Foil Stabbing Attack in Central Israel - Gadi Golan and Nitzi Yakov
    Israel Police noticed a Palestinian from the West Bank city of Tulkarem loitering in a Netanya street early Sunday. They searched him and found a knife. He admitted to planning a stabbing attack. (Israel Hayom)
        See also IDF Finds Rifle in Palestinian Car
    IDF soldiers at a checkpoint northwest of Nablus in the West Bank searched a Palestinian vehicle on Monday and found an M-4 rifle, a variant of the M16 assault rifle. The driver fled the vehicle and escaped. (Times of Israel)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • Combating 21st Century Terror: What Europe Can Learn from Israel - David Patrikarakos
    Spain, Finland, Russia: in the space of a few days, Europe is reminded, yet again, that terrorism kills brutally, indiscriminately and transnationally. In too many countries, counter-terrorism measures are still insufficient. One country, above all, has the method and the solution. Israel has been dealing with terrorism since the state's inception 70 years ago. From airline hijackings to suicide bombers to stabbings, shooting and vehicle attacks, Israel has seen them all and has adapted accordingly.
        Pini Schiff, former head of security at the Israel Airports Authority, says: "Both the UK and France, for example, have really professional [intelligence] agencies, but that is not enough. There is not enough communication between intelligence agencies across Europe, like there is between all branches of the Israeli security services. It needs to be a 'one nation' intelligence community."
        An Israeli counter-terrorism official told me: "Simple things, like placing bollards and barriers at strategic points in major centers, can almost eliminate the possibility of vehicle rammings." Moreover, in Israel the police have a dedicated Facebook page where people can report terrorist content they find posted on social media, all of which is checked. It has saved lives. (Spectator-UK)
        See also What Europe Can Learn from Israel in Its War Against Terror - Col. Richard Kemp and Arsen Ostrovsky
    The wave of vehicular terror we are seeing across Europe now was pioneered by Palestinian terrorists in Israel, when the world mostly looked the other way, trying to downplay, excuse or just plain ignore the attacks, seeking to differentiate terror in Israel from terror in Europe. Today, Islamic jihadists are copying and exporting this murderous methodology across Europe.
        In June, Nadav Argaman, head of the Israel Security Agency, revealed that the agency has used cyber-technology to prevent more than 2,000 terror attacks since the beginning of 2016. Europeans need to engage their Israeli counterparts to learn and apply best practices to monitor online channels and conduct surveillance in order to identify and stop would-be terrorists before they carry out an attack. (International Business Times-UK)
        See also Lessons from Israel's Response to Terrorism - Fiamma Nirenstein, ed. (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • The Muslim Brotherhood's Fatal Mistake - Eric Trager
    Of the many strategic misjudgments that the Muslim Brotherhood made during Egypt's short-lived "Arab Spring," its belief that it could out-mobilize the regime's repression was its costliest. Within months, the Brotherhood was barely visible throughout much of the country. Since then, the Brotherhood has split between a "revolutionary" wing and the "old guard." The writer is a fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. (Foreign Affairs)

Hizbullah Is Running Rings around UN Monitors in Lebanon - Danny Danon (Wall Street Journal)

  • I have given dozens of UN ambassadors tours of Israel's border with Lebanon, where IDF officers identified Hizbullah positions along the border. Our guests asked where the UN Interim Force in Lebanon was, and why nothing was being done to stop Hizbullah terrorists from blatantly violating numerous Security Council resolutions. Our answer was that the UNIFIL force is there, but they are not effectively fulfilling their mandate.
  • In 2006, UNIFIL was charged with ensuring that the territory south of the Litani River remained free of weapons and fighters other than the Lebanese army. When UNIFIL's mandate comes before the Security Council later this month, there are practical steps that can be taken to ensure that this important UN force succeeds and another conflict with Hizbullah is avoided.
  • UNIFIL must meticulously inspect the towns and villages of southern Lebanon. Hizbullah strongholds must be dismantled, and other villages must be kept free of rockets and weapons aimed at Israeli population centers.
  • UNIFIL forces also must insist on unlimited access to all suspicious installations under their mandate. As a report by the UN secretary-general recently noted, UNIFIL is regularly obstructed in southern Lebanon.
  • No one wants UNIFIL to succeed more than Israel does. With Hamas rearming in Gaza and Islamic State increasing its strength along our frontier with Syria, we seek calm and stability on our northern border.
  • To achieve this, the Security Council must step up its efforts to ensure that UNIFIL's renewed mandate fulfills the goals outlined above.

    The writer is Israel's ambassador to the UN.

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