August 21, 2019

In-Depth Issues:

Mother of U.S. Terror Victim: "A Checkpoint Would Have Saved My Daughter" (Algemeiner)
    Frimet Roth, whose daughter Malki, 15, was killed in a Jerusalem terror attack in 2001, responded to Rep. Rashida Tlaib on Tuesday for her comments on Israeli security checkpoints.
    Roth tweeted, "Rep. Tlaib cried about her mother being 'dehumanized' at Israeli checkpoints. My child Malki, a U.S. citizen murdered at 15, would be here today had a checkpoint stopped her murderer and a 10 kg. bomb from entering Jerusalem."
    "Remind Tlaib: Checkpoints prevent terrorism - save lives."

Turkey Condemns Airstrike on Its Military Convoy in Syria (Hurriyet-Turkey)
    Turkey "strongly" condemned an air strike on its military convoy heading through Syria's Idlib province on Aug. 19, which killed three civilians and wounded 12.
    The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the attack was carried out by Syrian and Russian air forces, and was aimed at hindering the convoy's advance.
    Turkish defense officials said the attack was a violation of agreements with Russia.
    The Turkish convoy was attacked en route to one of its 12 observation posts in and on the edge of Idlib.

Jordan Parliament Calls for Expelling Israeli Ambassador - Khaled Abu Toameh (Jerusalem Post)
    Jordanian members of parliament and blocs held an emergency session on Monday attended by Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi and renewed their recommendation that the kingdom expel the Israeli ambassador in Amman to protest Israeli "violations" against the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem.
    The members called for closing the Israeli Embassy in Amman, cancelling the Israel-Jordan peace treaty, summoning the U.S. ambassador to Jordan to protest U.S. support for Israel, recalling the Jordanian ambassador to Israel, and halting "all forms of normalization" with Israel.

Australia to Join Defense Effort in Strait of Hormuz - Colin Packham (Reuters)
    Australia will join the U.S. in a coalition protecting oil tankers and cargo ships from threats posed by Iran in the Strait of Hormuz, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Wednesday.
    Iran's "destabilizing behavior is a threat to Australia's interests in the region," Morrison said.
    Australia will send a P-8A Poseidon surveillance plane to the Middle East for one month before the end of 2019, while an Australian frigate will be deployed in January 2020 for six months.

Two Lebanese Sentenced to 10 Years for Acquiring Israeli Nationality (Lebanese Ministry of Information)
    The military court, chaired by General Gerges Tahoum, on Tuesday convicted two Lebanese, Abdellatif Hammoud and Hoda Shaaban, over collaboration with the Israeli enemy and the acquisition of Israeli nationality.
    Both were sentenced to 10 years' imprisonment with hard labor.

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • U.S. Calls for More International Cooperation in Curbing Iran's Malign Behavior - Margaret Besheer
    U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo urged greater international cooperation to stop Iran's objectionable behavior in the region and beyond while speaking in New York on Tuesday. He underscored Iran's recent resumption of uranium enrichment to levels exceeding internationally agreed to caps; its seizure of several tankers passing through the Strait of Hormuz; and the test-firing of a ballistic missile.
        "Failing to confront [the] Iranian regime's malign activities will only grow the regime's multicontinental body count spanning the last 40 years," Pompeo said. He also renewed his call for the Security Council to prevent an international arms embargo and a travel ban from expiring in 2020 under a provision of the 2015 nuclear deal. (VOA News)
  • Another Mysterious Airstrike Hits Iran-Backed Militia in Iraq
    Several blasts hit a weapons depot held by Iraqi Shi'ite paramilitaries next to Balad air base north of Baghdad on Tuesday, an Iraqi military official said. In recent weeks, mysterious attacks have hit weapons depots, bases or positions belonging to Shi'ite Muslim paramilitary groups supported and supplied by Iran. Witnesses said the explosions caused stored rockets to fly into nearby orchards and into Balad base itself. Last week, a blast at a weapons depot run by a paramilitary group sent rockets careening across southern Baghdad.
        Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi ordered all ammunition dumps to be moved outside of cities. He also cancelled all special flight permissions for foreign aircraft. Sorties by the U.S.-led coalition operating against Islamic State militants must be cleared in advance by the prime minister. (Radio Farda)
        See also Pro-Iran Militias Spooked by Targeting of Arms Depots in Iraq - Joyce Karam
    Mike Pregent, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, told The National: "Whether or not this is Israel or the U.S., the Iran Revolutionary Guard-linked militias are spooked by the targeting of weapons depots storing rockets and missiles in Iraq." Pregent said the IRGC could no longer protect weapons in Iraq that were destined for Syria, even as the stores were moved. (The National-Abu Dhabi)
        See also Report: Israel Attacked in Iraq with U.S., Russia Approval - Daniel Salami
    Israel has attacked Iranian targets in Iraq at least three times in the past few weeks as part of "understandings" reached with the U.S. and Russia, the Arabic-language Asharq al-Awsat reported Wednesday. The strikes targeted missile warehouses of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards. Sky News Arabia reported that at least 50 missiles had exploded at the warehouses that were targeted in the strikes. (Ynet News)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Danon to Arabs at UN: "Israel Is Not Your Enemy" - Tovah Lazaroff
    Israel's Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon told the UN Security Council on Tuesday: "Both Tehran and Ramallah's extremism are increasingly at odds with the growing sentiment among Arabs that Israel is, and will continue to be, a part of this region." He warned that the PA was trying to prevent normalized ties between Israel and its Arab neighbors. "Israel is not your enemy," Danon said, in a message that he repeated in Arabic and which he hoped was heard by Palestinians and "all the Arab people in the region."
        Danon explained that Iran contributes over $7 billion annually to terror groups. "Just two weeks ago, the Islamic Republic announced that they were increasing their financial backing of Hamas from $6 million to $30 million a month," he said.
        Danon said, "An unprecedented wave of normalization is sweeping the region, as Israel continues to develop and improve relations with our Arab neighbors." He painted the Palestinian leadership as one of the few regional governments that does not want to forge ties with Israel. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Israel Makes Red Lines Clear as Washington Prepares Peace Plan - Ariel Kahana
    "If the Trump administration's peace plan contains elements that run counter to Israel's interests, Prime Minister Netanyahu won't hesitate to oppose them," a senior Israeli official told Israel Hayom on Tuesday. Israel has made it clear to Washington that its red lines, among other things, include the "removal of even one Jewish community or person" from the West Bank (Judea and Samaria).
        Additionally, Israel will demand full security control over the area and seek to preserve a united Jerusalem. The senior official added that Israel won't accept the "return of even a single Palestinian refugee to its territory."  (Israel Hayom)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • How Israel Fights Lone-Wolf Terrorists - Arik Barbing
    Once again, Israel is facing terrorists known as "lone-wolves" who are "unaffiliated with a terrorist organization," who in most cases prey upon random victims without prior planning. The Israel Security Agency has discovered numerous and diverse ways of pinpointing these would-be attackers in the vast majority of cases.
        Tensions surrounding the Temple Mount are the main catalyst for mobilizing youths (even young women) to perpetrate stabbings and car-ramming attacks, but these same terrorists had already considered taking such action, usually due to personal problems connected to unrequited love, financial difficulties, low self-esteem, failures, low socioeconomic status, ostracization and more.
        The vociferous activity of many Palestinians on social media - who share and view video clips of cars ramming into civilians or of police officers being stabbed near the Temple Mount - serves as inspiration for those with a predilection for such acts.
        A combination of quality and pinpoint intelligence, deterrence through sanctioning the attackers' environment, protective measures on sensitive roads, and a broad security doctrine are the central components for coping with the variety of terrorist threats. The writer is the former head of the Jerusalem and West Bank sector at the Israel Security Agency. (Israel Hayom)
  • Iranian Threats Poised to Escalate - Abdulrahman Al-Rashed
    The death toll among the Houthi militia in Yemen is soaring. Front-line fighting has now moved to their stronghold of Sa'dah, near the Saudi border, where they have lost a large number of their leaders, most notably Ibrahim Al-Houthi, the brother of their commander.
        The Iranian tanker seized in Gibraltar and held for six weeks shows Iran's problems in transporting oil. Numerous marine service companies have announced the withdrawal of their registry flag from vessels linked to Iran, the latest being Panama's Maritime Authority, which forced Iran to raise its flag and change the name of the Grace 1 while it was still in custody.
        We will surely see more Iranian attempts to intimidate the world, as it did with Britain, which is actually an extension of four decades of a strategy that has made Iranian military activities the pillar of its foreign policy.
        Years of international inaction toward Iran's aggression have encouraged its military expansion, and its threats to the region and the whole world with nuclear weapons, terrorist operations, control of maritime corridors, and launching integrated wars. The writer is former general manager of Al-Arabiya and former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat. (Asharq Al-Awsat-UK)

A New Saudi Perspective for Peace - Abdul Hameed Al-Ghabin (Israel Hayom)
  • The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has taken a very open stance of seeking better ties to the Jewish people and to Israel. Some call this "normalization." I call it plain common sense.
  • Saudi Arabia is strong - financially, politically and militarily. We have the second-largest air force in the Middle East. We operate tactical fighter aircraft like the F-15 that provide air superiority and we have advanced long-range missile systems. Iran knows this.
  • We see Israel as a logical future partner for us as we have mutual enemies: Iran, the Muslim Brotherhood, al-Qaeda, and a handful of reckless rulers who remain in power in our region.
  • Sadly, the Kingdom of Jordan's state media and state-controlled writers have been attacking Saudi Arabia ever since the latter began seeking improved relations with Israel. Jordan's sidekick, the Palestinian Authority, has been doing the same.
  • Our message, as Saudis, is clear to everyone: We want a fair, just, lasting, and prosperous peace for the region. We want prosperity instead of misery, stability to replace unrest, and love to eradicate radical ideology. This could never be done without extending a peaceful hand to the Israelis.

    Abdul Hameed Al-Ghabin is a Saudi writer and a political and tribal figure.