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  DAILY ALERT Tuesday,
October 24, 2017

In-Depth Issues:

Report: Israeli Airstrikes Kill 10 ISIS-Linked Fighters in Southern Syria (AFP)
    At least 10 fighters from the Jaish Khaled Bin Walid group were killed on Monday by suspected Israeli airstrikes in the town of Sahm al-Jolan in southern Syria, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
    Several months ago 16 fighters from the group were killed in suspected Israeli airstrikes in the same area.
    The group is estimated to have 1,200 fighters and controls territory in western Daraa province along the border with the the Golan Heights.

Palestinians in West Bank Erect Memorial to Saddam Hussein (MEMRI)
    The city of Kalkilya in the West Bank unveiled a memorial to Saddam Hussein on Oct. 18, along with naming a street for him.
    The monument bears the slogan "Arab Palestine from the River to the Sea," referring to the territory between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea.
    Kalkilya District Governor Rafi' Rawajba said: "Saddam was an emblem of heroism, honor, originality and defiance."

Video: Minorities Speak of Their Appreciation of Israeli Society (Reservists On Duty)
    A Muslim woman, and Bedouin, Druze, and Christian men tell their personal stories as Israeli citizens.
    See also Video: Arab-Israeli Muslim Woman Proud to Live in Israel (Reservists On Duty)
    Dema Taya, an Arab-Israeli Muslim woman, tells an Israeli Arabic news channel: "I hope and wish for all the Arab countries, citizens, and societies to have a democratic state like the State of Israel."
    "I define myself as an Arab, a Muslim with Israeli citizenship, proud of my religion, proud of myself, and that I'm living in a country that respects my will and my rights."
    "I'm proud to stand up and speak for Israel and that I'm an integrated part of it....More than 90% of the citizens of Gaza and the West Bank wish they were living under such a government."

Germany's Domestic Intelligence Agency Warns of Returning ISIS Sympathizers - Marcel Furstenau (Deutsche Welle-Germany)
    Hans-Georg Maassen, president of Germany's domestic intelligence agency (BfV), said in Berlin on Wednesday that more than 950 Germans are currently in Syria and Iraq, and many will soon be returning to Germany.
    "We see the threat of children, socialized by Islamists, and thus accordingly indoctrinated, returning to Germany from a war zone."
    Some videos show children participating in executions, and Maassen says he fears "the possibility that a new generation of jihadis is being created."

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Poll: 70 Percent of Americans Support Renegotiating Nuclear Deal with Iran - Jonathan Easley
    According to a Harvard-Harris survey conducted Oct. 14-18, 70% of Americans said the 2015 Iran deal should be renegotiated and verified by Congress, including 85% of Republicans, 71% of independents and 57% of Democrats. 60% said the deal is a bad one for the U.S., with 2/3 saying Iran has not complied with the terms of the agreement.
        "Americans see Iran as a bad actor on all fronts and substantial majorities believe this agreement is being violated and never should have gone into effect without a Senate vote," said Harvard-Harris co-director Mark Penn. (The Hill)
  • U.S. Mideast Envoy Greenblatt: Hamas "Begging Iran" for Help
    Jason Greenblatt, the U.S. special representative for international negotiations, wrote on Facebook and Twitter on Monday: "Hamas, which has only brought ruin and misery to Palestinians, now begs Iran for help and again vows to destroy Israel. Palestinians deserve so much better than this. We must find a better path forward toward peace and prosperity."  (Facebook)
  • Israeli Defense Minister Praises New U.S. Iran Strategy - Barbara Opall-Rome
    Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman met Thursday with top U.S. security officials including national security adviser H.R. McMaster and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis after the White House unveiled a strategy to "neutralize and counter" all Iranian threats - and not just the nuclear threat.
        The Israeli defense minister warned that Iran aspires to deploy "tens of thousands of Shiite militia fighters" at air and naval bases in Syria, and vowed that Israel would do "everything that is appropriate to defend our interests, in accordance with our red lines, with persistence and good judgment."
      "Iran is the world's largest and most dangerous exporter of terrorism, and its Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) is the biggest and most dangerous terror organization in the world," he said. (Defense News)
  • Retreating ISIS Militants Kill Scores of Syrian Civilians - Anne Barnard
    Retreating Islamic State fighters killed as many as 128 civilians in the Syrian town of Qaryatayn in the past several weeks before they retreated, dumping some bodies into wells and leaving others in the street, local residents said Monday. (New York Times)
  • Maryland Bars State Business with Companies that Boycott Israel - Ovetta Wiggins
    Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan signed an executive order on Monday that prohibits the state from doing business with companies engaged in a boycott of Israel. "Boycotts based on religion, national origin, place of residence or ethnicity are discriminatory," Hogan said. "Contracting with businesses that practice discrimination would make the state a passive participant in private-sector commercial discrimination."  (Washington Post)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Israel Denies Arms Exports Linked to Myanmar's Treatment of Rohingya Minority - Herb Keinon
    Israel's Foreign Ministry on Monday vigorously denied reports linking Israeli arms sales to Myanmar with accusations of war crimes by the government against the Rohingya Muslim minority.
        According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, Israel sold two patrol boats to Myanmar in 2015 and were the only weaponry Israel has sold to the country since 2007. Over 93% of Myanmar's weapons imports come from China, Russia, and Belarus. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Former Defense Minister Ya'alon: Gaps between Israel and Palestinians "Not Bridgeable" - Chaim Levinson
    Former Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon said Thursday: "I don't see prospects for a [peace] agreement in the foreseeable future. The gap between us is not bridgeable. They have not agreed to any proposal to divide the land. They are not prepared even to accept a state along the 1967 lines and a division of Jerusalem....I don't foresee that they will have a leadership that will want to divide the land....We need to find a way for [the Palestinians] to live in political autonomy....There isn't peace now here. There won't be."  (Ha'aretz)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • Hamas Sees Reconciliation with Fatah as Step toward Destroying Israel - Yoni Ben Menachem
    Recent statements by Yahye Sinwar, leader of Hamas in Gaza, and Salah al-Aruri, deputy chairman of Hamas' Political Bureau, made clear that the goal of the reconciliation agreement with Fatah is not to take a softer line toward Israel on the path to some sort of diplomatic settlement but, rather, to pave the way for Hamas to "destroy the Zionist entity."
        Their words contradict the way in which Egypt has been portraying the reconciliation agreement to the Trump administration. The Hamas leadership, now that it has been taken over by the movement's military wing, sees the reconciliation process as an opportunity to synchronize with Iran and gain strength for the ongoing anti-Israeli struggle. It has no intention to moderate its positions and ideology. The writer, a veteran Arab affairs and diplomatic commentator for Israel Radio and Television, is a senior Middle East analyst for the Jerusalem Center. (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • Former Mossad Chief: U.S. Leaks of Israeli Intel Not Fatal to Relationship - Joe Uchill
    Tamir Pardo, the former director of the Israeli intelligence and counterterrorism agency Mossad, said that recent intelligence leaks would not have substantially hampered his relationship with his counterparts in the U.S.  Recent media reports about Kaspersky Lab's role in Russian espionage operations were based on alleged Israeli intelligence, and were leaked to the media by people in the U.S.  Pardo said, "I am not happy about it, but it does not stop our need to share intelligence."  (The Hill)
  • The Kurds' Right of Self-Determination - Zalman Shoval
    The Kurds have shown they can run an autonomous and democratic entity with economic viability, and they have been effective participants in the U.S.-led coalition against Islamic State. But only if the Kurds have the power to defend themselves will they ever have the chance of fulfilling their vision of self-determination.
        The military entities who have led the effort to derail the Kurdish bid for independence are spearheaded by Iranian-backed Shiite forces. They are definitely not conducive to President Donald Trump's efforts to prevent Iran's regional hegemony. In fact, they serve the exact opposite agenda.
        The U.S. has decided to stand idly by as Iran's proxies crush its ally's dream of independence. This not only sends the wrong message to other U.S. allies in the region, it also undermines Washington's own geopolitical posture in the Middle East. The writer is a former Israeli ambassador to the U.S. (Israel Hayom)

We Need a Better Strategy for Containing and Checking Iran - John Allen and Michael O'Hanlon (National Interest)

  • Many Americans reasonably wonder how we can reach an amicable agreement with Iran on nuclear matters while seemingly closing our eyes to Iran's lethal adventurism throughout the region.
  • This Iranian behavior, which is ongoing and unrelenting since the JCPOA was signed in 2015, also makes the nuclear deal's "sunset provisions" even more troubling, since there is no sign that Iran is becoming less dangerous with time.
  • In fact, over the last generation, no foreign government has more American blood on its hands than Iran's post-1979 revolutionary theocracy.
  • Teheran's ongoing efforts to foment trouble virtually wherever Shia live in the Middle East have worsened wars that have killed more than half a million and displaced more than 15 million since 2011.
  • Its ongoing lethal support for Hamas and Hizbullah put Israel at constant peril. So yes, we need a better strategy for containing and checking Iran, and it is needed now.

    The writers are senior fellows at the Brookings Institution.

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