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  DAILY ALERT Wednesday,
October 25, 2017

In-Depth Issues:

Saudi Crown Prince Promises "a More Moderate Islam" - Eliott C. McLaughlin (CNN)
    Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman vowed Tuesday to destroy "extremist ideologies" in a bid to return to "a more moderate Islam."
    "All we're doing is going back to what we were: a moderate Islam that is open to all religions and to the world and to all traditions and people."
    "We will obliterate the remnants of extremism very soon."

Israel, Jordan, Palestinian Authority Hold Joint Disaster-Response Drills - Kaamil Ahmed (Anadolu-Turkey)
    Palestinian, Jordanian and Israeli emergency services participated in joint exercises on Tuesday in southern Israel to prepare for region-wide natural disasters.
    The two-day exercise involves 400 firefighters, medics and first-responders.
    Israel's Foreign Ministry said the operation was aimed at "saving lives, irrespective of nationality."
    The exercise is partly sponsored by the Italian, Spanish and French governments.

5,600 Foreign ISIS Fighters Have Returned Home (BBC News)
    At least 5,600 Islamic State supporters have returned to their home countries and will continue to present a security challenge for years to come, the Soufan Center think tank reported.
    They include 400 from Russia, 760 from Saudi Arabia, 800 from Tunisia, and 271 from France.

Yad Vashem Honors Chilean Diplomat as Righteous Among the Nations - Tamara Zieve (Jerusalem Post)
    Israel's Holocaust center Yad Vashem on Sunday posthumously honored Chilean diplomat Samuel del Campo, who risked his career to help rescue over a thousand Polish Jews during the Holocaust.
    Del Campo served as Chilean Charge d'Affaires in Bucharest from 1941 to 1943 and issued Chilean passports to Jews of Polish nationality.
    Yad Vashem estimated that 1,200 Jews received Chilean passports, providing them with protection against deportation.

Israel to Sell Maritime Patrol Radar for Canada's Search and Rescue Efforts - Shoshanna Solomon (Times of Israel)
    Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) has won a contract from Airbus Defence & Space SAS to supply it with maritime patrol radars.
    Canada is acquiring 16 planes from Airbus Defence that will be equipped with advanced sensor systems to support search and rescue operations.
    The radar helps detect, classify and track maritime vessels in all weather conditions, including low visibility, day and night.
    To date, IAI has sold 250 ELM-2022 Maritime Patrol Radars to customers in 25 countries.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Pro-Government Iraqi Militias Continue Offensive Against Kurds
    Iraqi pro-government paramilitaries launched an offensive against Kurdish troops on Tuesday in Rabi'a, 40 km. south of the Fish-Khabur area near the Turkish border. The area is strategically vital because oil from both Kurdish and government-held parts of northern Iraq cross at a pipeline there into Turkey, the main route for international export. Baghdad says the oil export pipeline hub must come under its control, but Fish-Khabur is located within the Kurdish autonomous region and has been under Kurdish control since 1991. (Reuters-CNBC)
  • Netanyahu: World Should Take Care of Kurds' Future
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday said Israel had "great sympathy" for Kurdish aspirations and that the world should concern itself with their wellbeing. Speaking at a memorial ceremony for Israeli tourism minister Maj.-Gen. Rehavam Zeevi, assassinated by Palestinians in Jerusalem in 2001, he said Zeevi went on a secret mission to Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region in the 1960s and supervised setting up an Israeli army field hospital there.
        "The visit made a deep impression on him. He came face to face with warm expressions of support for Israel which continue to this day. The Kurds demonstrate national maturity and international maturity. We have very great sympathy for their desires and the world needs to concern itself with their safety and with their future."  (AFP-Daily Mail-UK)
  • Iranian Official Claims: "Iran Spoiled a Plot to Create Second Israel in Iraq"
    Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and the Quds commander Qassem Soleimani have spoiled an American-Israeli plot to create a second Israel in the Kurdistan region, Mohamadi Gulpaigani, the chief of staff of Iran's Supreme Leader, said on Tuesday. Kurdish officials have repeatedly said that the Iranian Revolutionary Guards played a key role in the week-long military incursion into Kurdish-controlled territories in Kirkuk. Kurdish officials say about 600 civilians were killed during the Iraqi advances, while the peshmerga reported losing 30 soldiers in Kirkuk and Pirde.
        Kurdistan does not have direct diplomatic relations with Israel, but the two enjoy relations that go back decades. Israel was the only country that publicly supported the Kurdish independence referendum. (Rudaw-Kurdistan)
  • Russia Vetoes Extension of Chemical Weapons Probe in Syria
    Russia cast a veto at the UN Security Council on Tuesday preventing the renewal of the mandate for a mission investigating the use of chemical weapons in Syria. Eleven countries voted in favor of the text, Bolivia joined Russia in voting no, and China abstained.
        U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said, "Russia has once again demonstrated it will do whatever it takes to ensure the barbaric Assad regime never faces consequences for its continued use of chemicals as weapons."  (Reuters-New York Times)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Israel and Germany Sign MOU for Three Submarines - Herb Keinon
    Israel and Germany signed a memorandum of understanding on Monday paving the way for the sale of three submarines to Israel. The German government is subsidizing 27% of the cost of the deal. The submarines are scheduled to arrive in a decade. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Hamas Chief Says Armed Wing Must Be Under PLO Control
    "We cannot surrender our weapons," Hamas leader in Gaza Yahya Sinwar said Tuesday, but "our weapons must be under the umbrella of the Palestine Liberation Organization," the Palestinian news agency Ma'an reported. "The weapons of the Qassam Brigades [Hamas' military wing] belong to the Palestinian people," and are meant "to be used for the liberation effort, and not for internal conflict." He added that the Palestinian Authority would be taking charge of all border crossings in Gaza on Oct. 31.
        In recent days, PA President Mahmoud Abbas said he intended to collect Hamas' weapons and unite all Palestinian armed forces under the umbrella of the PA, Israel Radio reported. (Times of Israel)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • I Choose the Kurds - Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.)
    The United States offered arms and training to the government of Iraq to fight the Islamic State and secure Iraq from external threats - not to attack Iraqi Kurds, who are some of America's most trusted and capable partners in the region. For decades, the United States' alliance with the Kurds has protected them from attacks, both from within and outside Iraq, while furthering American national security interests. In the past few years, the Kurds have become even closer allies, fighting alongside the United States against the Islamic State.
        If Baghdad cannot guarantee the Kurdish people in Iraq the security, freedom and opportunities they desire, and if the United States is forced to choose between Iranian-backed militias and our longstanding Kurdish partners, I choose the Kurds. (New York Times)
  • Deconstructing and Countering the Iran Threat Network - IDF Major Omer Carmi
    Since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, Iran has invested a great deal of money and effort into developing a complex network of allies, partners, and surrogates worldwide, enabling it to project influence throughout the region and beyond. Iran is more an opportunistic player than an actor implementing a grand strategy regarding where to get involved, although it does have a grand strategy aimed at promoting its vision of Islamic revolution. It probes for vacuums in fragile states, seeking to exploit sectarian conflicts to increase its influence abroad and using Shia populations as change agents within foreign countries.
        Any policy designed to contain Iran's activities abroad and constrain the players known collectively as the Iran Threat Network (ITN) must hold Iran accountable for the actions of its partners, establish efficient information sharing with other countries regarding the network, and demonstrate to Shia communities worldwide that Iran is exploiting them. The writer is a 2017 military fellow at The Washington Institute. (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
  • The "Palestinian Martyrdom" Effect on Arab-Israeli Negotiations - Charles Bybelezer
    Israel has long slammed the Palestinian Authority for naming squares, parks and summer camps after "martyrs" in order to indoctrinate a generation of youth with Jew-hatred. According to Dr. Irwin J. Mansdorf, who heads the Israeli-Arab studies program at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs and conducts research on the political-psychological dynamics of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, "the notion of 'resistance,' essentially a vow to destroy Israel," is pervasive in Palestinian culture. He believes that the Palestinian leadership must therefore launch a "cultural reeducation" program as a prerequisite to achieving peace.
        "The Jewish People suffered the greatest genocide at the hands of the Germans, and yet two generations later the relationship between Israel and Germany is very strong. If you deny the Holocaust there you go to jail. When you work towards a common goal, eventually the hatred goes away....The Palestinians are still focused on liberation even while they have had multiple opportunities to gain statehood."
        Mansdorf stresses that there remains so much cultural reinforcement in the Palestinian territories that any rapprochement, while not impossible, will take a long time. This, more than anything else, accounts for the lack of progress on the Israeli-Palestinian front. (Media Line-Jerusalem Post)

U.S. Must Curtail Iran, Sanction Hizbullah - Gens. Klaus Dieter Naumann and Lord Richard Dannatt (The Hill)

  • Neither Iran nor Hizbullah have any remotely credible reason for their enmity of Israel today - yet they are engaged in an implacable campaign of deadly hatred animated by their version of radical Islam.
  • Our new report for the High Level Military Group makes clear that Israel is prepared for a renewed assault from Lebanon and will be forced to take drastic action to protect its civilian population.
  • We are satisfied that Israel would act in accordance with the legal and moral standards our own militaries adhere to. But as a matter of deliberate strategy, Hizbullah hides its operatives, weapons and other military assets among the civilians of Lebanon, a war crime that exposes the population to extreme danger in case of conflict.
  • It is imperative the U.S. and its allies take clear and immediate action to avert a new war. Sharp diplomatic pressure must be brought on the authorities in Lebanon, whose president recently described Hizbullah as "an essential part of Lebanon's defense." Severing the Lebanese state's connections with Hizbullah, especially those maintained by the Lebanese Armed Forces, should be a priority.
  • Finally, America and its allies must stand with Israel, clearly and vocally, making clear that Iran and Hizbullah's campaign of terror against Israel will be met by an insurmountable response, politically, and if unavoidable, by Israel's fully legitimate military reaction. Such a deterring message will contribute more to peace now than lamentations once hostilities have been instigated by Hizbullah.

    Gen. Klaus Dieter Naumann is the former Chief of Staff of the Bundeswehr and Chairman of the NATO Military Committee. Gen. Lord Richard Dannatt is the former Chief of the General Staff of the British Army. They are both members of the High Level Military Group.

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