September 25, 2019

In-Depth Issues:

Exposing Hizbullah's Lies - Dr. Yossi Mansharof (Israel Hayom)
    Israel has an interest in seeing Hizbullah's image in Lebanon continue to erode and for pressure on the organization to increase.
    One of the biggest threats to Hizbullah's reputation is revealing to the Lebanese public how its statements of opposition to Israel are in effect pledges of absolute loyalty to Iranian interests, in direct opposition to the policies of the Lebanese government, which aspires to neutrality.
    In an interview, the deputy commander of the Revolutionary Guards in Tehran province revealed that in a meeting with an Iranian delegation, Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah had said he did not want to enter the Syrian civil war and explained that Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei had convinced and in fact forced him to do so.
    Israel is in possession of information that could interest Lebanon's citizens and its Shiite community, in particular, regarding events revealed by Hizbullah's patrons in the Revolutionary Guards.
    It is quite possible that this will also serve to reveal the names of Hizbullah operatives killed in Yemen.
    The time may have come for Israel to use this information to remove the mask from the organization that is terrorizing Lebanon.
    The writer is a researcher at the Ezri Center for Iran and Persian Gulf Studies at the University of Haifa.

Columbia University Invites Anti-Semitic Malaysian Leader to Speak - Carl Campanile (New York Post)
    Columbia University's World Leaders Forum has invited Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad to speak on campus Wednesday.
    He is infamous for claiming "Jews rule the world by proxy."
    World Jewish Congress President Ronald Lauder said the Columbia welcome mat for Mohamad is beyond the pale, but this is "the same institution that hosted the Jew-hating president of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad."
    "Columbia University should be ashamed of themselves. It is no surprise that incidents of anti-Semitism are on the rise in New York City when it is being preached from the stages of one of its premier universities," Lauder said.

Israel Air Force Pilot Becomes First Female Squadron Commander - Lilach Shoval (Israel Hayom)
    Lt.-Col. G., 35, became the first woman to command an Israel Air Force squadron on Wednesday, becoming commander of the Nachshon Squadron, which operates surveillance aircraft. G. served as deputy commander of the squadron from 2015 to 2017.
    IAF Commander Maj.-Gen. Amikam Norkin noted, "Lt.-Col. G., the mother of two boys, is a role model and an inspiration to thousands of women in the State of Israel."

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Trump Blasts "Repressive" Iran at UN, Calls for Action Against Country's "Bloodlust"
    "One of the greatest security threats facing peace-loving nations today is the repressive regime in Iran," President Donald Trump told the UN General Assembly on Tuesday. "All nations have a duty to act. No responsible government should subsidize Iran's bloodlust. As long as Iran's menacing behavior continues, sanctions will not be lifted. They will be tightened."  (Radio Free Europe-Radio Liberty)
        See also At UN, Trump Calls on Mideast Nations to Normalize Ties with Israel - Eric Cortellessa
    Speaking at the UN General Assembly on Tuesday, President Donald Trump accused Tehran of trafficking in "monstrous anti-Semitism" and engaging in a "fanatical quest for nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them." "Thankfully, there is a growing recognition in the wider Middle East that the countries of the region share common interest in battling extremism and unleashing economic opportunity. That is why it's so important to have full normalized relations between Israel and its neighbors."
        "For 40 years, the world has listened to Iran's rulers as they lash out on everyone else for the problems they alone have created," he said. "Last year, the country's supreme leader stated that Israel is 'a malignant cancerous tumor that has to be removed and eradicated. It is possible, and it will happen.' America will never tolerate such anti-Semitic hate. Fanatics have long used hatred of Israel to distract from their own failures."  (Times of Israel)
  • Future U.S. Sanctions to Hit Hizbullah Benefactors
    U.S. Treasury Assistant Secretary for Terrorist Financing Marshall Billingslea met Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri and Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri in Beirut on Monday. He warned that future U.S. sanctions would target any party suspected of providing "material support to Hizbullah, be it through supplying weapons or money." But sanctions "will not target groups who are only tied to Hizbullah politically."  (AFP)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Despite Airstrikes, Iranian Base in Syria under Intense Construction - Rachel Wolf
    The Imam Ali military base, an Iranian base near the Syria-Iraq border town of Al-Bukamal, is "under intense construction," ImageSat International (ISI) reported on Tuesday. "New military infrastructures, such as fortification and revetments, access roads and trails within and around the base, are being built. Furthermore, construction is conducted near the destroyed fortified storehouses, within the bombed compounds. All the new infrastructures were constructed after the reported bombing" on Sep. 9. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Hamas Drives Christian Minority Out of Gaza - Ohed Hamo
    Since Hamas took over Gaza in 2007, the Christians who live there have become a scapegoat and target for attacks by both Hamas and radical Islamists. From a community that numbered 4,200 people, only a few hundred remain. (Mako-Channel 12-Hebrew)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • Europe Turns to U.S. on Iran - Editorial
    Tehran's attack on the global oil supply finally has moved Europe toward the U.S. position. That's the meaning of a joint statement Monday by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and French President Emmanuel Macron blaming Tehran for the Sept. 14 attack on Saudi Arabia. "It is clear to us that Iran bears responsibility for this attack. There is no other plausible explanation," their statement says.
        More significant, the Europeans call for "Iran to accept negotiation on a long-term framework for its nuclear program as well as on issues related to regional security, including its missiles program and other means of delivery." In other words, they want Iran to renegotiate the 2015 deal to include U.S. concerns about the accord's flaws, Iran's ballistic missiles and its regional imperialism.
        This is a major shift that further isolates Tehran. It suggests that Europe has abandoned its attempts to help Iran by working around U.S. financial sanctions. Iran will now face even greater pressure to renegotiate. (Wall Street Journal)
  • Is Egyptian President Sisi's Regime in Danger? - Yoni Ben Menachem
    In spite of the relatively small turnout, the demonstrations in Egypt on Sep. 20 should be a warning sign for President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. While the call to demonstrate came from wealthy Egyptian building contractor Mohamed Ali, in self-imposed exile in Spain, in Egypt many say that the power behind the incitement of the public is the Muslim Brotherhood. There were demonstrations against President Sisi's government in Cairo, Alexandria, and several outlying cities. However, these demonstrations were much smaller than the information about them posted by the Muslim Brotherhood.
        President Sisi should be most concerned by the fact that the Muslim Brotherhood has come back to life. This means that Egypt's security apparatus failed to quash the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, though they eliminated the senior and middle ranks of the movement. A new cadre of the Muslim Brotherhood is inciting the public against the regime in coordination with those of its leaders who are currently in Egyptian jails, and Turkey and Qatar. Sources in Egypt claim that opponents of President Sisi within the army are also cooperating with calls to demonstrate.
        President Sisi has created a positive relationship with Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE, which has benefited the Egyptian economy. He also supports the Palestinian political figure Mohammed Dahlan, who is today an adviser to the ruler of Abu Dhabi. Sisi sees him as the successor to PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas. Dahlan is considered to be a sworn enemy of the Muslim Brotherhood. (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

  • Ground-hugging swarms of drones and cruise missiles that decimated Saudi oil production facilities this month did billions' worth of damage and defeated U.S.-made Hawk and Patriot air-defense systems.
  • Washington Institute analyst Michael Knights wrote, "Many of the components needed to defend against a cruise missile swarm are in place - radars, missiles batteries, and anti-aircraft cannon - but they were evidently not alert enough or not handled boldly enough to parry this blow."
  • Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford said that U.S. air and naval forces in the region did not track the swarms. "We don't have an unblinking eye over the entire Middle East at all times."
  • Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) analyst Anthony Cordesman said the drones and cruise missiles hugged the ground to evade radar and had "the ability to home in remotely with great precision on key point targets that can include the most expensive fixed industrial, infrastructure and military targets and use comparatively small amounts of explosives to destroy key components."
  • CSIS analyst Seth Jones noted, "All of Saudi Arabia is threatened by Iranian missiles, and the number of Iranian missiles capable of reaching the country would overwhelm virtually any missile defense system."
    See also Under the Radar, Iran's Cruise Missile Capabilities Advance - Shahryar Pasandideh (War on the Rocks)
  • 18 Iranian-origin drones and at least seven cruise missiles were used in the recent attacks on oil facilities in Saudi Arabia. Iran has been quietly building up its cruise missile capabilities for over a decade, advancing under the proverbial radar.
  • A cruise missile is simply an unmanned aircraft used to attack a pre-programmed ground target. Because cruise missiles typically fly at low altitudes and are smaller than manned combat aircraft, they are generally difficult to detect with radar.
  • Whereas ballistic missiles fly on predictable trajectories, cruise missiles fly on flexible flight paths that helps them evade air defense systems. Cruise missiles are also relatively inexpensive.