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  DAILY ALERT Wednesday,
October 4, 2017

In-Depth Issues:

Russia: Airstrikes Wipe Out 300 IS Militants in Syria in Two Days (TASS-Russia)
    Russia's Aerospace Forces destroyed 304 militants of the Islamic State on the eastern bank of the Euphrates River in Syria over the past two days, Defense Ministry Spokesman Igor Konashenkov said Tuesday.
    The airstrike also destroyed a training center for IS foreign mercenaries, including nearly 40 militants from the North Caucasus.

Turkey Opens Large Military Base in Somalia - Abdi Latif Dahir (Defense One)
    Turkey opened its largest overseas military base in Somalia on Sep. 30. The $50 million base will train more than 10,000 soldiers.
    Since 2009, Turkey has increased its diplomatic missions in Africa from 12 to 39. In 2011, Turkish Airlines flew to 14 African cities; by the end of 2017, it will operate 52 such routes.

Terrorist Released in Shalit Prisoner Exchange Gets Life Sentence for Murder - Daniel K. Eisenbud (Jerusalem Post)
    A convicted Hamas operative released in the 2011 Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange was sentenced Monday to two life sentences for murdering Ch.-Supt. Baruch Mizrahi during a 2014 West Bank Passover terror attack.
    Ziad Awad, 45, had been sentenced to life in prison in 1993 for killing Palestinians he accused of collaborating with Israel.
    On April 14, 2014, Awad shot and killed Mizrahi and wounded his wife, Hadas, as well as two of their five children, near the Tarkumiya checkpoint in the West Bank while the family was driving to a Seder.
    Awad's son Izzadin, 21, was convicted of aiding him in the murder and sentenced Tuesday to 20 years imprisonment.
    After the murder, Awad told his son that "according to Islam, anyone who kills a Jew goes to heaven."

Saudi Poll Shows Domestic Sunni-Shia Split - David Pollock (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
    A poll last month by an Arab commercial market research company of 1,000 Saudi citizens found that 68% say "Arab states should play a new role in Palestinian-Israeli peace talks, offering both sides incentives to take more moderate positions."
    The survey offers hard data about Saudi sectarian differences, where 90% are Sunni and 10% are Shia.
    Asked about Iran's recent policies, 46% of Saudi Shia express a favorable opinion - as against 3% of Saudi Sunnis.
    57% of Saudi Shia have a positive view of Hizbullah, compared with 4% of Sunnis.

Photos: IDF Operations Seen through Night Goggles - Lilach Shoval (Israel Hayom)
    Many clandestine IDF missions are carried out at night, made possible by some of the world's most advanced night vision technology.
    Here are photos of IDF operations as seen through night goggles.

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Daily Alert will not appear on Thursday, October 5

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Talks between Palestinian Authority, Hamas Stall - Rory Jones
    The Palestinian Authority on Tuesday convened its first cabinet meeting in Gaza in three years, but talks with Hamas hit a stumbling block over its refusal to disarm. PA President Mahmoud Abbas has warned he won't allow Hamas to maintain its armed wing as part of a unity government.
        Abbas said Monday, "I will not accept or copy or reproduce the Hizbullah example in Lebanon. Everything must be in the hands of the Palestinian Authority," official PA media reported. (Wall Street Journal)
        See also First Rifts Emerge in Palestinian Reconciliation Talks - Hazem Balousha
    Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh said Tuesday the Hamas militant group would not give up its vast weapons arsenal. (Arab News-Saudi Arabia)
  • U.S. Seeking Ways Around Iran Recertification - Bradley Klapper and Matt Lee
    U.S. officials say the congressionally-mandated presidential review of Iran's compliance with the nuclear deal every 90 days has become such a source of embarrassment for President Trump that his national security aides are seeking ways for him to stop signing off on the accord without scuttling it entirely. Trump has said repeatedly that he doesn't want to certify Iranian compliance again after having done so twice already.
        "Decertification" could lead Congress to reintroduce economic sanctions on Iran. If that happens, Iran has threatened to walk away from the deal and restart activities that could take it closer to nuclear weapons. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Tuesday that staying in the deal was in America's national security interest. (AP-New York Times)
        See also Trump Prepares to Wound Iran Deal - and Then Save It - Eliana Johnson
    President Trump's national security team has unanimously recommended that he decertify the Iran nuclear deal - but that he stop short of pushing Congress to reimpose sanctions on Tehran that could unravel the agreement. At the same time, a new policy is expected to target Iranian-backed militias and terrorist groups, including Hizbullah, and the financial web that facilitates them. Of particular focus will be the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, which the administration will designate as a foreign terrorist organization. (Politico)
  • UK Cabinet Minister Michael Gove: "Anti-Zionism Is Anti-Semitism"
    British Environment Secretary Michael Gove said Monday, "At a time when people say that 'I'm not an anti-Semite, I'm just anti-Zionist,' it is important that we should say no, anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism."
        "At a time when people are casual, cruel and callous towards the fate of the Jewish people, it is time for all of us to say that...when there is prejudice and hatred directed towards the Jewish people, darker times will follow, and it is our moral duty to say that what begins with the Jews never ends with the Jews."  (Jewish News-UK)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Netanyahu Agrees with Abbas on Disarming Hamas - Dov Lieber
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Tuesday: "We expect anyone talking about a peace process to recognize Israel and, of course, recognize a Jewish state, and we won't accept faux reconciliations under which the Palestinian side reconciles at the expense of our existence. We have a very straightforward attitude toward anyone who wants to effect such a reconciliation: Recognize the State of Israel, dismantle Hamas' military wing, sever the relationship with Iran, which calls for our destruction."
        A senior Israeli official said Tuesday that "Hamas is trying to gain international legitimacy without accepting Israel's right to exist, without disarming and without accepting the Quartet principles. Hamas remains a ruthless, mass-murdering terrorist organization that seeks Israel's destruction."  (Times of Israel)
  • Arab Israeli Facebook Star Blasts Kuwait for Boycotting Israel - David Sedley
    Israeli Facebook star Nuseir Yassin, a Harvard graduate who has 2 million followers, was scheduled to fly from New York to India via Kuwait when he was told at JFK Airport that he would not be permitted to travel because Kuwait does not permit Israeli citizens to enter the country. In the Nas Daily Facebook video, Yassin slammed Kuwait's anti-Israel policy, saying the boycott only benefited the leaders, "not the Muslims and not the Jews." Furthermore, it was hypocritical for the country to profess to boycott Israel while using many Israeli products.
        "Dear Kuwait. If you want to boycott Israel, be my guest. Refuse me service. But also give me your USB flash drives, your phones, your safe driving cars, your Viber, your Waze or your anti-virus. This is also Israel."  (Times of Israel)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • Trump's Envoy Was Not Wrong on Israeli Settlements - Eli Lake
    Last week, the U.S. ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, said: "I think the settlements are part of Israel" and that Israeli settlements comprise 2% of the West Bank's territory. Explaining UN Security Council Resolution 242, adopted after Israel won the Six-Day War, Friedman said, "The existing borders, the 1967 borders, were viewed by everybody as not secure. So Israel would retain a meaningful portion of the West Bank - and it would return that which it didn't need for...peace and security."
        State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said last week that Friedman's remarks do not reflect a change in U.S. policy. Nauert is correct. They don't. The gist of what he said has more or less been U.S. policy for some time. The major Jewish population blocs in and around Jerusalem will remain part of Israel in any final status deal to create a Palestinian state.
        When Prime Minister Ariel Sharon withdrew unilaterally from Gaza in 2005, as part of that negotiation, President George W. Bush wrote a letter, later endorsed by a congressional resolution, that acknowledged: "In light of new realities on the ground, including already existing major Israeli populations centers, it is unrealistic to expect that the outcome of final status negotiations will be a full and complete return to the armistice lines of 1949."  (Bloomberg)
  • The War in Syria Is Far from Over - Anshel Pfeffer
    Six and a half years since the rebellion against Bashar Assad's regime began, we've been hearing about the "last stages" of the battle against Islamic State and discussions of a postwar settlement in Syria. However, the war is far from over. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported this week that September was the bloodiest month this year, with 3,055 people killed - at least a third of them civilians, among them 207 children.
        There are still significant pockets of resistance, with most of the casualties caused by the fighting against ISIS in Raqqa and the Euphrates Valley. Idlib province in northwest Syria, where rebels remain largely in control, has seen ferocious Syrian and Russian airstrikes in recent weeks. (Ha'aretz)

The Iran Deal's Critical Flaw Is Its Lack of Real Inspection by the IAEA - Yigal Carmon and A. Savyon (MEMRI)

  • The main, critical problem in the Iran nuclear agreement, which requires immediate attention, is its lack of real inspection. Recently it was reported that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) had chosen to refrain from inspecting sites in Iran based on information submitted to it about possible violations.
  • When Iran, the IAEA, and the heads of the parties to the JCPOA reiterate that there is robust, intrusive, and unprecedented inspection, they are perpetuating the false depiction of the section of the JCPOA concerning inspection. This is because the inspection procedure takes place only at sites where Iran has agreed to allow inspection, that is, sites Iran itself has declared as nuclear sites, but not at any other sites in Iran, including military sites.
  • Carrying out inspections in the other sites can take place only after political negotiations in the Joint Commission of the JCPOA - which comprises the U.S., UK, France, Germany, Russia, China, the IAEA, and Iran - and only after 30 days have passed from the time of the submission of the intelligence information that prompted the request for inspection, and only after the sources of this intelligence have been fully revealed to Iran, Russia, and China.
  • Under these conditions, there is no possibility of real and effective inspection of Iran's nuclear activity.
  • On Sep. 18, 2017, President Trump, via U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry, notified the IAEA General Conference that "we will not accept a weakly enforced or inadequately monitored deal." With this statement, Trump has set an actual condition for the continuation of U.S. support for the JCPOA.
  • This demand for robust oversight is not a demand for a change in the JCPOA, nor does it mean an exit from it, but rather it is based on acceptance of the agreement and on the insistence that it be rigorously enforced as it stands.

    IDF Col. (ret.) Yigal Carmon, former counter-terrorism advisor to two Israeli prime ministers, is President of MEMRI; A. Savyon is Director of the MEMRI Iranian Media Project.

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