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  DAILY ALERT Tuesday,
October 31, 2017

In-Depth Issues:

Navy SEALs Capture Libyan Militant behind Murder of U.S. Diplomats in Benghazi (AP-New York Times)
    U.S. Navy SEALs operating in Libya have captured Mustafa al-Imam, accused of playing an instrumental role in the 2012 attacks on a U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi in which U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were killed, officials in Washington said Monday.

German Police Foil Bomb Attack by Syrian (AP-Washington Post)
    German authorities arrested a Syrian citizen on Tuesday in the northeastern city of Schwerin for planning a bomb attack with high explosives in order to kill a large number of people.
    Prosecutors said the man started to procure bomb-making materials in July and was motivated by an extremist Islamist ideology.

Israeli Ambassador Praises RAF Airmen: "I Wouldn't Be Here If It Wasn't for You" - Giles Sheldrick (Daily Express-UK)
    Mark Regev, the Israeli ambassador to Britain, maintains he and his three siblings are only alive because of selfless sacrifice made during World War II by the brave airmen of the RAF Bomber Command.
    Regev's grandfather, Joachim Freiberg, was a slave laborer in Magdeburg, Germany, which was bombed by the RAF on Jan. 16, 1945, enabling him to escape. He lived off the land for four months until liberation by the Americans.
    Some 55,573 RAF airmen were killed in action during the war.

Islamic State Threat Is Alive at Israel's Doorstep Despite Losses Elsewhere - Yaakov Lappin (
    In Egypt's Sinai Peninsula, the Islamic State-affiliated Sinai Province terror group continues to deliver deadly attacks on Egyptian security forces and occasionally fires rockets into Israel - including an attack in mid-October.
    Yoram Schweitzer, head of the Program on Terrorism and Low Intensity Conflict at the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv, said Egypt's counter-terror campaign "has some achievements, but not enough to solve the problem and to significantly lower ISIS' activities."
    "I don't think Sinai Province is getting stronger. To a certain extent, it is weaker, but not enough to be repressed."
    An Israeli security source familiar with the Sinai sector confirmed "tactical cooperation" between Israeli and Egyptian security forces on the border.
    She noted that Egypt's border police forces have constructed posts with openings facing the Israeli side. "They understand that Israel is the safe side."

More than Half of Israeli Judges Are Women - Greer Fay Cashman (Jerusalem Post)
    Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked said Monday that 54% of judges in Israel are female, and that there have been three women presidents of Israel's Supreme Court.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • U.S. Presses Allies to Tighten Iran Sanctions - Ian Talley
    The Trump administration wants to work with Washington's allies to ramp up sanctions on Iran, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in an interview Monday. In meetings this past week in Saudi Arabia, Israel, the UAE and Qatar, Mnuchin tried to ratchet up the pressure on Iran and crack down on terror financing in the region. Earlier this month, President Donald Trump vowed to end U.S. participation in the nuclear deal unless Congress and U.S. allies are able to deliver on new measures targeting Tehran's expanding missile program, its support for regional militant groups and any future nuclear activities.
        "Everywhere we go, we send the message that Iran is a top priority for us and we want them to join us in squeezing them," said Sigal Mandelker, the Treasury's sanctions chief. For banks, firms and individuals, keeping ties to the sanctioned arms of the regime could expose them sanctions, she said. (Wall Street Journal)
  • Australian Prime Minister Turnbull Lauds Strong Relationship with Israel
    Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull hailed Australia and Israel's deep ties and shared values after meeting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem on Monday. Turnbull said their shared values were being tested by "militant Islamist terrorism" - both in the Middle East and the Philippines. "It is a threat to Israel, it is a threat to Australia, it is a threat to all who value and cherish freedom," Turnbull said. "We have a vital interest in working more closely and intensely together to keep our people safe from terrorism."
        Turnbull's visit is linked to the commemoration on Tuesday of the centenary of the Battle of Beersheba during World War I, when Australian horsemen helped liberate Palestine from the Ottoman empire. "It was a great victory - the last successful cavalry charge in military history," Turnbull said.
        Netanyahu said "the rebirth of the Jewish people...would not have been possible without the heroism and sacrifice of Australian troops who liberated this land from 400 years of Ottoman rule with tremendous courage."  (Australian Associated Press-Guardian-UK)
        See also Netanyahu Thanks Anzacs as Thousands of Australians Mark the Battle of Beersheba (ABC News-Australia)
        See also New Zealand's Role in World War I Israel Campaign Remembered (Television New Zealand)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • IDF Blows Up Terrorist Tunnel Running within Israel - Elior Levy
    The IDF said Monday it destroyed a new terrorist tunnel from Gaza running from Khan Yunis under the border fence and approaching Kibbutz Kissufim in Israel. IDF Spokesperson Brig. Gen. Ronen Manelis said, "This is a clear violation of Israeli sovereignty that we will not allow. We had been monitoring this tunnel for a while." Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, "Any government's first responsibility is to protect its citizens. Whoever tries to hurt us, we hurt them."  (Ynet News)
        See also 7 Terrorists Killed, 11 Wounded in IDF Tunnel Blast - Elior Levy
    Palestinians in Gaza reported Monday that 7 people were killed and 11 wounded in an IDF explosion of a recently discovered tunnel which had penetrated into Israeli territory. Some of the Hamas and Islamic Jihad militants may have been killed in secondary blasts from explosives inside the tunnel. (Ynet News)
        See also Netanyahu Hails "Breakthrough Technology" in Discovery of Palestinian Attack Tunnel - Marissa Newman
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday that Israel's long-rumored advanced technology to locate attack tunnels had been utilized in the recent operation. (Times of Israel)
  • Kremlin Sources: Russia Will Not Allow Syria to Become a Base for Attacks on Israel - Anshel Pfeffer
    Russian President Vladimir Putin will be in Iran on Wednesday for a trilateral summit along with Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev. Sources close to the Kremlin have said in recent months that Putin is not planning to demand that Iran remove its military advisers or the Shi'a militias it controls from Syria, as they are among the main factors in ensuring the survival of the Assad regime. However, Putin is interested in preventing a major Israeli intervention in Syria and is prepared to guarantee that Syria will not become a base for attacks on Israel.
        While Iran has grand plans to build its own airbase and seaport in Syria, Israel's policy is to increase the pressure against base-building. Israeli intelligence analysts believe that a final decision on bases has yet to be made in Tehran. (Ha'aretz)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • What Raqqa Says about Gaza's Death Toll - Evelyn Gordon
    According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, over 3,000 people were killed in Raqqa, including about 1,130 civilians, during the course of a four-month battle. In the 2014 Gaza war, according to UN figures, 2,251 Palestinians were killed. But a comparison of raw numbers is meaningless; the relevant comparison is casualties as a proportion of the population.
        According to the New York Times, Raqqa had a population of 300,000 when ISIS took it over. In comparison, Gaza's population in 2014 was 1.79 million, according to official Palestinian statistics. In other words, the casualties in Raqqa represented 1% of the city's pre-ISIS population. The casualties in Gaza represented 0.12% of the population. Thus, as a proportion of the population, casualties in Raqqa were 10 times higher than those in Gaza. Moreover, roughly 6% of buildings in Gaza were destroyed or badly damaged. New York Times reporter Ivor Prickett wrote last week, "when I visited eastern Raqqa, it was hard to find a street or building that had not been damaged by the fighting."
        ISIS and Hamas employed virtually identical tactics. Both dug extensive tunnel networks under civilian buildings, wired civilian buildings with explosives, stockpiled arms in civilian buildings and fought from the midst of a civilian population. Yet despite the enemy's similar tactics, Israel produced vastly lower casualties as a proportion of Gaza's population and much less property damage than the Western coalition against ISIS did. In other words, the very Western countries that accused Israel of "disproportionate" and "excessive" harm in Gaza were guilty of far greater harm in Syria and Iraq. (Commentary)
  • Israel Reaches Out to Its Syrian Neighbors - Neri Zilber
    On any given night, the IDF is active on multiple points on the Syrian frontier, interacting with locals on the other side. At the operations hub of the Good Neighbor administration on the Golan Heights are metal shipping containers brimming with spaghetti, baby formula and diapers, warm clothing and blankets, school supplies and fuel jerrycans.
        Children in need of specialists are bused to Israeli hospitals, sometimes daily. "For a five year old who has only known war, that day in Israel might be the best of their lives," said Lt. Col. E, commander of the Good Neighbor administration. "They see that the Jews treat them with respect. They're my ambassadors." "If we weren't doing this, someone else would be," E said, alluding to Hizbullah. "There's no such thing as a vacuum in this region." The writer is an adjunct fellow of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. (Politico)

Is Iran in Compliance with the Nuclear Agreement? - Yigal Carmon and A. Savyon (MEMRI)

  • Iran is refusing to allow the International Atomic Energy Agency to carry out inspections in accordance with Section T of the JCPOA, which prohibits Iran from "designing, developing, fabricating, acquiring, or using multi-point explosive detonation systems suitable for a nuclear explosive device."
  • Iran is building and operating larger numbers of advanced centrifuges than are allowed by the agreement.
  • The 8.5 tons of enriched uranium shipped out from Iran according to the JCPOA are not being monitored by the IAEA, and in fact the shipment disappeared in Russia. The possibility that Russia, Iran's ally, has returned it to Iran should not be discounted.
  • The IAEA cannot conduct real inspections in Iran, and therefore its confirmation that Iran is complying with the JCPOA is invalid. IAEA inspections are carried out solely in the limited areas where Iran allows inspection. No other sites in Iran, including military sites, are included.
  • The IAEA carried out a scandalous inspection at the Parchin military site that was aimed at closing Iran's Possible Nuclear Dimensions file in accordance with a predetermined political decision. IAEA inspectors did not themselves visit Parchin, and the samples from these sites were taken by the Iranians themselves.

    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 Iran Media Project.

        See also 20 Former Government Officials and Iran Experts Support Efforts to Fix Iran Nuclear Deal
    More than 20 former government officials and Iran experts issued a statement Monday expressing support for addressing the nuclear deal's deficiencies. They said the JCPOA "puts Iran on a legal glide path to a nuclear weapons arsenal."  (Foundation for Defense of Democracies)

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