October 16, 2018

In-Depth Issues:

Report: Saudis to Admit Journalist Died during Interrogation - Clarissa Ward (CNN)
    The Saudis are preparing a report that will acknowledge that Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi's death was the result of an interrogation that went wrong, one that was intended to lead to his abduction from Turkey, according to two sources.

Report: Israel, U.S. Send Secret Delegation to Ukraine to Train Against S-300 (Times of Israel)
    Israel and the U.S sent a secret military delegation to Ukraine to test the Russian-made S-300 missile defense system, which Moscow recently provided to Syria, Israel's Hadashot TV reported Monday, citing Syrian and Russian news outlets.
    One Russian report said that F-15 planes are training in Ukraine against the S-300 as part of an international exercise that includes Israeli pilots.

Growing Resentment of Hamas in Gaza - Yaniv Kubovich (Ha'aretz)
    As Israel prepares to step up action against Hamas in response to the escalating events at the Gaza border fence, the intelligence assessment is that Gaza residents are actually resentful of Hamas' conduct and the fact that until now it hasn't achieved anything from the continuing riots.

UEFA Denies Ban on Israel Broadcasting Games in West Bank - Andrew Warshaw (Inside World Football)
    The Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) has denied reports that it has banned Israel's public broadcaster, Kan, from televising qualifying games to Jewish homes in the West Bank.

IDF Soldiers Hunt Gaza Terror Tunnels - Yossi Yehoshua and Reuven Weiss (Ynet News)
    At the IDF's technological laboratory to locate tunnels, soldiers use the combined analysis of three triggers - technological sensors, geological sensors, and intelligence - to locate terror tunnels from Gaza.
    So far, they've uncovered 15 tunnels.
    "At this stage we're holding onto information on several other tunnels Hamas has planned to use to carry out terror attacks inside Israel," a military official said.

New Archeological Site Opens in Hebron (Jerusalem Post)
    The Tel Hebron archeological site opened on Tuesday following extensive conservation work.
    The walls of the city from the Bronze Age were exposed, as well as buildings from the Early Roman period, including pottery vessels, jewelry and coins.
    In addition, wine and olive presses, pottery kilns and huge baths for the production of wine and oil were exposed from the First Temple period.
    Jars were found bearing an ancient Hebrew inscription with the words "to the king of Hebron."

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Iran's Growing Influence in Syria Sparks Concern - Nisan Ahmado
    Iran's involvement and military footprints in Syria have some experts concerned that Tehran might establish a long-term presence in the country in an effort to project regional power. "Iran is solidifying its presence in Syria in three different approaches: militarily, economically and politically. Tehran is sealing long-term deals and agreements with the weak Syrian state to 'reconstruct the Syrian military industry,'" said Majid Rafizadeh, president of the International American Council on the Middle East. "This will give the IRGC [Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp], the Quds Force and Iran's intelligence the perfect excuse to remain in Syria, set up more military bases, and further infiltrate Syria's security apparatuses."
        The U.S. State Department reported earlier this month, "Since 2012, Iran has spent over $16 billion propping up the Assad regime and supporting its other partners and proxies in Syria, Iraq, and Yemen."
        Hanin Ghaddar, an expert at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, said, "Iran brought the families of its [Shi'ite] militias from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iraq to live in the properties that used to belong to the Sunni communities before displacing the Sunnis to other areas....There can be many steps taken to contain Iran at this point. The demographic changes need to be countered, the refugees return, containing Hizbullah in Lebanon, working with local allies, working with local tribes, cutting the land bridge" between Iran and Syria. (VOA News)
  • U.S. Cracks Down on Transnational Organized Crime including Hizbullah
    U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Monday said he had designated five groups, including Hizbullah, as transnational criminal organizations to target with tougher investigations and prosecutions by a special new task force. (Reuters)
  • South Korea's September Imports of Iran Oil Fall to Zero ahead of U.S. Sanctions - Jane Chung
    South Korea did not import any oil from Iran in September for the first time in six years, before U.S. sanctions against the Middle East country take effect in November, customs data showed on Monday. (Reuters)
  • Egypt Launches Development Projects in Sinai to Counter Effects of Terrorism
    The Egyptian government is constructing infrastructure for 11 agricultural communities in central Sinai financed by Arab funds. The communities will join farmers from the Delta and Upper Egypt with nomadic tribespeople. Sheikh Jazi Saad, a member of the Egyptian House of Representatives for central Sinai, said these projects are in areas suitable for agriculture and include roads, power lines, and deep water wells. The farms will include pomegranates, palm trees, olives, and vegetables, as well as fish ponds. (Asharq al-Awsat-UK)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Israeli Defense Minister: Gaza Border Violence "Cannot Continue" - Judah Ari Gross
    Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Tuesday that IDF commanders dealing with Gaza "all have reached the understanding that the situation as it is today cannot continue." Since March 30, Palestinians in Gaza have participated in a series of riots that have included shooting attacks and bombings as well as sending incendiary balloons and kites into Israel. In recent weeks the clashes have become a daily event.
        Lieberman said that "persuasion and international cooperation” have failed to bring about a negotiated armistice with Hamas and that "we have exhausted all other options in Gaza." "When Hamas says that it's going to continue rioting on the border until there's an end to the blockade, we need to accept that as it is, without interpretations," Lieberman said. A blockade is in place to prevent arms and hostile forces from entering Gaza. "Getting rid of the blockade has one meaning... allowing Hizbullah members and Iranians into Gaza."  (Times of Israel)
  • Israel Weighs Plan to Connect Jordan and Saudi Arabia to Israeli Ports - Eytan Halon
    There is "great interest" in a plan to give Jordan and Saudi Arabia access to the Mediterranean Sea through Israeli ports, Transportation Minister Israel Katz said Monday. Under the plan, the Haifa to Beit She'an train would extend across the border to Irbid, Jordan, and southward to Jenin in the Palestinian Authority. From Irbid, the train tracks would link with the existing Hijaz Railroad and planned lines extending into Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf. (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • Don't Ditch Riyadh in a Fit of Righteousness - Walter Russell Mead
    The murder of Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, was a horror. But the Muslim Brotherhood, Turkey's President Erdogan, and the ayatollahs of Iran are huddled over the corpse, hoping to turn a political profit from the death of an innocent man. After Mr. Khashoggi's death, even the most naive observer can see that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman is at best a modernizing autocrat, using dictatorial power to drag his country into the future.
        Saudi Arabia is not an authoritarian caterpillar metamorphosing into a liberal butterfly. But neither are Turkey and Iran. And on crucial issues, U.S. and Saudi interests are aligned. To do what the Iran-deal chorus and the Erdogan and Muslim Brotherhood apologists want - to dissolve the U.S.-Saudi alliance in a frenzy of righteousness - would be an absurd overreaction that plays into the hands of America's enemies. The writer is professor of foreign affairs and humanities at Bard College. (Wall Street Journal)
  • The Baloch People in Iran's Grip - Jamal Nasir Baloch
    Iran is a forced marriage of several nations. The Baloch people speak Balochi, a language linked with Kurdish. Balochistan is a vast landmass larger than France, currently divided between Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan. The Baloch nation successfully established a nation-state in the mid-17th century that governed all parts of Balochistan until 1839 when the British Empire attacked. Its western parts were merged into Persia in 1871, where the use of the Balochi language in schools was outlawed and expressions of Baloch identity were barred.
        The writer is an activist of the Free Balochistan Movement and a member of Chatham House, Britain's Royal Institute of International Affairs. (Jerusalem Post)

Telling the Truth about the IDF - Yoseph Haddad (Jerusalem Post)
  • Next week, Harvard University will be hosting the Israeli organization Breaking the Silence (BTS), an organization funded by anti-Israel groups that incites against the State of Israel and defames the IDF.
  • I served in the IDF during the Second Intifada. I also stood at checkpoints, stood guard, arrested people and fought in the Second Lebanon War. As an Israeli Arab and IDF solider in the Golani Brigade, I served together with Jews of all backgrounds, Druze and Bedouin. We were all equal, we were all brothers fighting side by side, and I can testify that I served in the most humane and moral army in the world, with the highest code of ethics and human values.
  • The IDF is an army that is level-headed and always keeps as its ultimate highest value human life. The IDF is an army that will bend over backwards to save lives and to ensure that innocent individuals are not harmed, even if it means complicating the military operation.
  • It is possible that there were incidents that did not live up to these standards, but these were the exceptions; they were not the norm and they were not the code by which the IDF is guided. They do not reflect the IDF nor the State of Israel.
  • During the Second Lebanese War, I was badly injured after I was hit by a Kornet missile that was fired by Hizbullah. My fellow soldiers saved my life while under attack; they risked their own lives to save mine.
  • Two days after BTS takes it stand at Harvard University, I will be there to speak to the students with Reservists on Duty. The truth will prevail.

    The writer, a resident of Nazareth, is an Arab Israeli Christian.