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  DAILY ALERT Wednesday,
October 18, 2017

In-Depth Issues:

UK Intelligence Chief Warns of "Intense" Terror Threat - Gordon Corera (BBC News)
    The UK's intelligence services are facing an "intense" challenge from terrorism, the head of MI5 has warned.
    Andrew Parker said there was currently "more terrorist activity coming at us, more quickly" and that it can also be "harder to detect."
    The UK has suffered five terror attacks this year, and MI5 was following 3,000 individuals involved in extremist activity.
    Parker said the tempo of counter-terrorism operations was the highest he had seen in his 34-year career at MI5.
    Twenty attacks had been foiled in the last four years, including seven in the last seven months, he said - all related to Islamist extremism.

Israeli Judo Team Barred from Wearing National Emblems in Abu Dhabi (AFP)
    Israel on Monday denounced a decision by the organizers of the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam preventing its 12 judokas from wearing "ISR" on their uniforms and the playing of their national anthem if they win at this month's tournament.
    Israeli Sport Minister Miri Regev wrote to Thomas Bach, president of the International Olympic Committee, that Abu Dhabi's demand "is contrary to the mandate of international sports associations, the main aim of which is to separate politics from sport."
    "It is the obligation of any country which has the privilege of hosting an international competition to allow the competing athletes to represent the country honorably while ensuring their security." 

Anti-Balfour Declaration Posters Banned from London Underground - Ian Black (Guardian-UK)
    Adverts highlighting Palestinian objections to the Balfour Declaration of 1917, when Britain promised to establish a Jewish national home in Palestine, have been blocked by Transport for London.
    Theresa May and her Israeli counterpart, Benjamin Netanyahu, are expected to be the guests of honor at a London dinner celebrating the centenary of the declaration, the most high-profile of several events.
    Israeli officials say it is right to celebrate the centenary and have accused those demanding that Britain apologize for the declaration of being anti-Semitic and ignoring Palestinian hostility and intransigence.

Israel Elected to UN Space Committee (Times of Israel)
    An Israeli representative was elected by the UN General Assembly Tuesday to its Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) as the candidate of the Western European and Others (WEOG) regional group.
    Israel will be one of the six countries to head up the 84-member organization.
    Israel's ambassador to the UN Danny Danon said, "We have proven once again that Israel can succeed in all roles as we spearhead positive new initiatives as an equal partner in the UN."

Photos: The Israel Navy Defends Israel's Shores (Ynet News)
    The Israel Navy offers a rare glimpse at the vessels and people tasked with defending Israel's maritime borders night and day.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Dermer: Israel and U.S. Now Aligned on Iran Danger - Sara A. Carter
    Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer said he supported President Trump's strong stance against Iran's support of terrorist proxies. "There are two parts to President Trump's policy - first, fix the problems of the [nuclear] deal, but also start pushing back on Iran's aggression and terrorism in the region and around the world," said Dermer. "That's why it is a comprehensive policy and we are fully supportive of it."
        As for U.S.-Israel relations, Dermer said, "We are now lined up on the single most important and strategic security issue facing Israel, which is Iran and the dangers it poses to our future."  (Circa News)
        See also Video: Trump Got It Right on Iran, Says Israeli Ambassador (MSNBC)
  • Kurdish Forces in Iraq Withdraw from Areas Beyond Their Autonomous Region - Philip Issa and Balint Szlanko
    Kurdish forces on Tuesday pulled out of areas across northern and eastern Iraq they had seized from Islamic State in recent years, a day after giving up the city of Kirkuk, in a dramatic redeployment that opened the way for Iraqi government troops to move in. Kirkuk was a vital source of oil revenues for the Kurdish regional government.
        Peshmerga commander Wista Rasoul, who led a division in Kirkuk, said the pullout was a response to the central government's vastly superior firepower. Vahal Ali, a senior adviser to Kurdish President Masoud Barzani, said the peshmerga would withdraw to the areas it held in 2014. (AP-Washington Post)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Israel's Security Cabinet Sets Conditions for Negotiations with Palestinian Government Supported by Hamas
    Israel's security cabinet decided on Tuesday that the government will not conduct diplomatic negotiations with a Palestinian government that relies on Hamas, a terrorist organization that calls for the destruction of Israel, as long as it does not fulfill the following conditions:
    * Hamas will recognize Israel and desist from terrorism, as per the Quartet conditions;
    * Hamas must be disarmed;
    * IDF fallen and Israeli civilians held by Hamas must be returned;
    * The Palestinian Authority (PA) must exercise full security control in Gaza, including at the crossings, and prevent smuggling;
    * The PA will continue to act against Hamas terror infrastructures in Judea and Samaria;
    * Hamas will sever its ties with Iran; and
    * Funds and humanitarian equipment will continue to flow into Gaza only via the PA. (Prime Minister's Office)
  • Israel Is Done Threatening Syria - Alex Fishman
    For at least six months, Israel has been exercising restraint over Syrian anti-aircraft fire at Israel Air Force planes, warning that if the fire doesn't stop, Syrian missile batteries will be targeted. Since March 2017, Syria has changed its policy and has attempted to shoot down Israeli photography and patrol flights quite a few times, while Israel has avoided reporting these events.
        After realizing that the Iranians were not taking Israel seriously either (Tehran appeared unfazed by the Israeli warning that it would not accept permanent Iranian bases on Syrian soil), Israel could no longer afford to keep threatening without responding. On Monday, the IDF made it clear to the Iranians as well that the Israelis are dead serious. Israel not only attacked a Syrian missile battery but also made the strike public.
        The air strike cannot be disconnected from Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu's visit to Israel. An Israeli attack on a Syrian military facility, deep within Syria, while the Russian defense minister is in Israel, conveys the message to the Syrians: Russia won't automatically back you. Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman also approved a strike in Syria several months ago while meeting with the Russians in Moscow. He explained that the Russians despise weakness and don't respect those who don't fight for their interests. (Ynet News)
  • Israeli Knesset Member at Inter-Parliamentary Union Meeting Calls Out PA for Racism Against Jews - Lahav Harkov
    The Palestinian Authority is racist against Jews, MK Sharren Haskel (Likud) told the Inter-Parliamentary Union assembly in St. Petersburg, Russia, this week. "The law in the Palestinian Authority says whoever sells land to a Jew will be killed. Isn't that a racist law? Your legislation has been racist against Jews for years."
        "Israel is the only country in the Middle East that is a democracy that gives equal rights to all its citizens no matter if they're Muslim, Christian, Druse, Bedouin, Jews....We coexist in Israel with all this multiculturalism and different religions, yet you continue to incite your younger generation to more terrorism."
        While the Israel-Palestinian conflict is generally on the assembly's official agenda, this year it was not. MK Nachman Shai (Zionist Union) said, "I see this as an important achievement....There is no reason to discuss Israel-related matters when there are events happening around us that are many times more important and significant."  (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • The New Bloc Against Tehran - Abdulrahman Al-Rashed
    Ever since Washington announced its decision against Iran's government, Britain and Germany shifted their stance from insisting on remaining loyal to the commitments of the nuclear deal to announcing that they support Trump's plan to confront Tehran's regime in the Middle East. It is unreasonable to let the regime loose in the region and allow it to spread chaos, threaten other regimes and dominate Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen.
        The wheel will begin to turn again to pressure Tehran's regime if it refuses to change its behavior and to suspend its militant activities in the region. Now that the political confrontation is back on, Tehran is faced with a new equation: stop wars or be sanctioned again. (Asharq Al-Awsat-UK)
  • Trump's New Strategy on Iran - Amir Taheri
    Trump's new strategy on Iran aims at a sophisticated and measured use of American economic, diplomatic and, yes, military power in pursuit of carefully defined objectives. "The United States' new Iran strategy focuses on neutralizing the Government of Iran's de-stabilizing influence and constraining its aggression, particularly its support for terrorism and militants," Trump said.
        He did not say the U.S. hopes to "moderate" Iran's behavior, as Carter, George W. Bush, Clinton and Obama did. He said the aim is to "neutralize" it. He also abandons the childish claim that Iran's aggressive behavior is the work of "certain groups within the Iranian regime," and not the totality of it. The writer was the executive editor-in-chief of the daily Kayhan in Iran from 1972 to 1979. (Asharq Al-Awsat-UK)
  • U.S. Policy on Iran: Getting Tough without Leaving the Nuclear Deal - Emily B. Landau
    The most notable feature of the new policy on Iran outlined by President Trump on Oct. 13 is that it covers the entirety of Iran's behavior that is viewed negatively by the U.S., beyond the nuclear program: Iran's missile program, support for terror, and regional aspirations that threaten the national security interests of the U.S. and its allies in the Middle East.
        Trump signaled that the U.S. will no longer refrain from pushing back against Iran's aggressions and provocations for fear of Iran exiting the nuclear deal. The writer is director of the Arms Control and Regional Security Program at INSS. (Institute for National Security Studies-Tel Aviv University)

The IDF's "War between Wars" Prevents the Next War - Brig.-Gen. Yitzhak Turgeman interviewed by Yossi Yehoshua (Ynet News)

  • Brig.-Gen. Yitzhak Turgeman, head of the IDF Operations Division, was a division commander in the 2014 Gaza war. He says that in Gaza "today we are dealing with a very complex constructed area, with a population that cannot be evacuated anywhere, and with a huge underground space." He is certain Hamas has been deterred since then. " [rockets and mortars] to make us target Hamas....Following every local incident Hamas goes out and acts against the rebels. Hamas understands that Israel will act aggressively."
  • Turgeman's great concern is the moment Hamas internalizes the meaning of the new underground obstacle being built on the Gaza border. "They're surprised by the scope. At first, we built opposite the communities. We wanted to [first] close the areas opposite the communities. Now...they're beginning to realize that this is going to shut off the entire strip."
  • "Hamas has realized that we have the Iron Dome [anti-missile] system, and I think that as soon as we harm its tunneling project, it will be much more deterred....The political echelon's instruction was: 'We want the obstacle to be completed by 2019.'"
  • On the northern front opposite Hizbullah, "Israel has unique intelligence capabilities, which give us a major advantage....We want to attack infrastructures like launching pads and warehouses, which will prevent Hizbullah from hitting our home front....Today we're talking about thousands of targets compared to 277 in the Second Lebanon War in 2006."
  • "The complexity in the Second Lebanon War was to act against an independent, decentralized terror organization." Today, Hizbullah "is starting to resemble an army, and that's where its weakness lies....When you're dealing with a [larger formation], the ability to hit is much more effective."
  • Turgeman is the manager of "the war between wars" - the operations aimed at preventing Hamas and Hizbullah from arming themselves. "At the end of the day, the 'war between wars' prevents the next battle. We work to prevent abilities that we don't want our enemies to have."
  • "Iran is investing hundreds of millions in funds and in war materials in Syria and in Lebanon....It supports our entire first circle of enemies - Hamas, the Islamic Jihad, Hizbullah and Syria. Iran is doing everything in its power to strengthen its presence in Syria...[including a] base, with planes that are deployed there. We'll do everything to prevent this from happening."
  • "We do everything in our power to clarify things and to avoid creating friction with the Russians in the 'war between wars.'...Moreover, we have an intelligence advantage, and when we detected a concrete warning of an attack against Russian forces, we informed them about it and prevented the attack. They were very grateful."

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