September 5, 2019

In-Depth Issues:

Iran Lifts All Nuclear Research and Development Limits (AFP)
    Iran's President Hassan Rouhani on Wednesday ordered all limits on nuclear research and development to be lifted, including on the development of new centrifuges, in another step scaling down Iran's commitments to the 2015 nuclear deal.

IsraAID Deploys Response Team to the Bahamas - Omri Nahmias (Jerusalem Post)
    In the wake of Hurricane Dorian, IsraAID, the Israel-based humanitarian aid agency, decided Tuesday to send emergency support to the Bahamas.
    "Our emergency response team is ready and includes trauma experts, water engineers and disaster specialists," said IsraAID's co-CEO Yotam Polizer.
    It will provide emergency equipment such as water filters, blankets and tents.
    IsrAID has sent Israeli experts to 51 countries.

Erdogan Says It's Unacceptable that Turkey Can't Have Nuclear Weapons (Reuters)
    Turkish President Erdogan said on Wednesday it was unacceptable for nuclear-armed states to forbid Ankara from obtaining its own nuclear weapons.

Suicide Bombings in Gaza Were Part of Larger Attack Plan (i24News)
    The suicide bombings that killed three policemen in Gaza last week were part of a series of attacks that were supposed to take place, Palestinian sources told i24News Arabic.
    The foiled attacks included a plan to target a bus transporting Hamas internal security personnel.
    Several of those detained by Hamas in Gaza are senior members of the Islamic Jihad al-Quds Brigades.

ISIS Women Impose a Brutal Rule at Tent Camp in Syria - Louisa Loveluck and Souad Mekhennet (Washington Post)
    Die-hard ISIS adherents have come in the past few months to dominate parts of the al-Hol displacement camp in northeastern Syria, according to camp residents.
    About 20,000 women and 50,000 children who had lived under the caliphate are held at the camp, which is operated and guarded by 400 U.S.-supported Kurdish troops.
    With the men of ISIS imprisoned elsewhere, the women at al-Hol are reimposing ISIS strictures, enforcing them with beatings and other brutality and extending what residents and camp authorities call a reign of fear.

Israelis Say They Are Happy with Their Communities - Zeev Klein (Israel Hayom)
    Israel's Central Bureau of Statistics published a survey on Aug. 25 that found that 84% of Israelis were happy with their area of residence.
    83% of Israelis age 20 or older said they planned to live in their current communities for the next five years.

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • U.S. Won't Waive Sanctions to Allow French Plan for Iran Credit Line
    Brian Hook, the State Department coordinator on Iran, on Wednesday ruled out issuing waivers to Iran sanctions to permit a French-proposed $15 billion credit line for Tehran. "We are committed to this campaign of maximum pressure and we are not looking to grant any exceptions or waivers," he said. Hook warned, "There will be more sanctions coming."  (AFP)
        See also French Diplomat: No Trade Mechanism until Iran Passes Terrorism Financing Laws - John Irish
    A European trade mechanism to barter humanitarian and food goods with Iran will not work until Tehran meets international standards against money-laundering and terrorism financing, a French diplomatic source said. "The Iranian mirror structure is not operational. The day they have signed the necessary FATF (Financial Action Task Force) conditions, we'll talk about it, and the day that we are sure that the first transactions through Instex aren't put under American sanctions, we'll talk about it again," the source said. (Reuters)
  • U.S. Imposes Sanctions on Iranian Shipping Network - Alan Rappeport
    The U.S. on Wednesday imposed sanctions on an elaborate shipping network that Iran uses to sell oil, and unveiled a $15 million reward to anyone with information that disrupts the scheme. The Treasury Department placed sanctions on 26 individuals and "entities" affiliated with the Revolutionary Guards Quds Force, which has shipped $500 million worth of Iranian oil in the last year. The network is run by Rostam Ghasemi, Iran's former minister of petroleum. (New York Times)
        See also Treasury Sanctions Vast Iranian Oil Shipping Network (U.S. Treasury Department)
  • Syria Imported 17 Million Barrels of Iranian Crude in Past Year
    While the media spotlight is on the U.S.-blacklisted tanker Adrian Darya 1, which has gone "dark" off the coast of Syria, Syria has received Iranian crude oil in recent months from the tankers Argo 1 (700,000 barrels), Savior (one million barrels, pending delivery), Silvia 1 (one million barrels), Stark 1 (one million barrels, pending visual confirmation) and Sarak (one million barrels, pending delivery), according to TankerTrackers. Over the year ending July 2019, Syria has imported 17 million barrels of Iranian crude. (Maritime Executive)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Netanyahu: "We Will Remain in Hebron Forever"
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday addressed the state memorial ceremony commemorating 90 years since the 1929 disturbances in Hebron, speaking at the Tomb of the Patriarchs plaza in the city.
        "While we are not coming to banish anyone, neither will anyone banish us. To cite the late Menachem Begin and the late Yigal Allon: 'Hebron will not be devoid of Jews.' It will not be Judenrein. And I say on the 90th anniversary of the disturbances - we are not foreigners in Hebron, we will stay here forever."  (Prime Minister's Office)
  • President of Israel: Hebron Is a Test of the Ability of Jews and Arabs to Live Together - Tovah Lazaroff
    "Hebron is not an obstacle to peace. It is a test of our ability to live together, Jews and Arabs, to live decent lives side by side," President Reuven Rivlin said on Wednesday in Kiryat Arba. Rivlin recalled that he was one of the first soldiers to liberate the city and enter the Tomb of the Patriarchs during the Six-Day War.
        "Here in Hebron, the City of the Patriarchs, in a cave that was bought for full price, our right to this land was established as just and moral, a right to property over which is and will always be uncontestable," Rivlin said, as he referenced Abraham's purchase of the Tomb that is recorded in the Bible. "From that time and until the brutal massacre of 1929, the city was one of the four holy cities with continuous Jewish settlement that was renewed again after the victory in the Six-Day War."  (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • Behind Hizbullah's Response to Israel's Attacks - Yoram Schweitzer and Orna Mizrahi
    Hizbullah's limited response to Israeli attacks points to its desire to avoid, at this stage, a widening of the confrontation with Israel and preventing a calamitous war in Lebanon. Hizbullah is currently under political pressure: additional countries have designated it as a terrorist group, and Arab countries even accused it of irresponsible behavior for its attack on IDF vehicles at Israel's northern border. In addition, Hizbullah is in economic distress due to direct U.S. sanctions.
        Yoram Schweitzer heads the Program on Terrorism and Low-Intensity Conflict at INSS, where Orna Mizrahi is a senior researcher. (Institute for National Security Studies-Tel Aviv University)
  • Palestinian School Curriculum "More Radical than Before" - Talia Kaplan
    The Palestinian Authority's current school curriculum "is more radical than the curriculum that came before" and "is suffused with ideas of martyrdom [and] Jihad," according to IMPACT-se, a research institute that analyzes how textbooks measure up to UNESCO standards for acceptance, peace and tolerance. The curriculum encouraged children to martyr themselves, and even to count martyrs in math problems like most children would count apples.
        IMPACT-se's CEO Marcus Sheff noted that there "is a strategic decision by the Palestinian Authority to radicalize 1.3 million school children. This curriculum was not created by accident." He wants Palestinian children to be "taught that the way to resolve conflict is through peacemaking and not continual war."  (Fox News)
  • Palestinians: Why Allow Facts to Get in the Way? - Bassam Tawil
    When Rina Shnerb, 17, was killed in a bomb explosion when her family was visiting the popular Ein Buvin spring in the West Bank on Aug. 23, the official Palestinian Authority news agency WAFA reported that "a female settler was killed and others injured near the Dolev settlement." Other Palestinian new editors and journalists called her a "soldier."
        In fact, Rina was born and raised in the central Israeli city of Lod near Ben-Gurion Airport, had never lived in the West Bank, and was too young to be in the IDF. Palestinian media has again engaged in a campaign of fabrications and lies to justify the murder of an innocent Jewish teenager.
        In the eyes of Palestinians, all of Israel is "occupied" and a "settlement." When Palestinians fired three rockets at the Israeli city of Sderot in the Negev on Aug. 25, Palestinian media outlets reported that Sderot is a "settlement."  (Gatestone Institute)

Israel's "Campaign between Wars" to Counter Iran's Malign Regional Influence - Lt.-Gen. (ret.) Gadi Eisenkot and Col. Gabi Siboni (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
  • Most of Israel's current security challenges stem from Iran's aspirations for hegemony over the Middle East. To counter such threats, Israel's defense operations have been augmented by what the Israel Defense Forces call the "Campaign Between Wars" (CBW).
  • The nature of the threats to Israel's security have changed profoundly with the weakening of Arab states and their militaries. The rise of new challenges and the destruction wrought by the 2006 Lebanon war spurred the IDF to develop a concept of integrated, low-intensity, preemptive warfare.
  • The CBW strives for proactive, offensive actions based on extremely high-quality intelligence and clandestine efforts. The strategy's main goals are to delay war and deter enemies by constantly weakening their force buildup processes and damaging their assets and capabilities.
  • In Syria, the IDF has sought to prevent Iran from entrenching itself and its foreign proxies, deploying advanced weapons capabilities, and turning the Golan Heights into another front for striking Israel.
  • In Lebanon, the IDF has demolished the Hizbullah/Qods Force plan to attack the Galilee through underground tunnels, and is preventing the development of precision missile capabilities that would pose a serious strategic threat to Israel.
  • Israel has also made substantial contributions to the regional campaign against the Islamic State and al-Qaeda.
  • Israel's military and political leadership are well aware of the risks of a wider military confrontation or even full-scale war. Accordingly, Israel has implemented a stringent risk-management process to account for potentially rapid escalation. As ever, Israel must continue operating under the ancient adage: "If you want peace, prepare for war."

    Lt.-Gen. (ret.) Gadi Eisenkot served as IDF Chief of Staff (2015-2019). Col. (ret.) Gabi Siboni is director of the Military and Strategic Affairs Program at the Institute for National Security Studies at Tel Aviv University.