November 5, 2019

In-Depth Issues:

FBI Arrests White Supremacist in Plot to Blow Up Colorado Synagogue - Derek Hawkins (Washington Post)
    The FBI on Friday arrested Richard Holzer, 27, a self-proclaimed white supremacist who planned to blow up Temple Emanuel in Pueblo, Colo., and poison congregants, federal officials said Monday.
    An undercover agent reached out to Holzer on Facebook in September after investigators noticed a string of hate-filled, anti-Semitic posts he made on social media.

Hamas Leader Lauds Iran's Support (Asharq Al-Awsat-UK)
    Hamas chief in Gaza Yehya al-Sinwar stressed Monday that Iran "has the greatest credit in building our strength....It has provided us with weapons and money, without which we would not have reached this point."
    He said, "It is no secret that we have hundreds of kilometers of tunnels, thousands of ambushes, anti-armor and locally manufactured rockets."
    He added that Hamas has formed a joint operations room with 13 Palestinian factions to confront Israel.

Hamas Joins Iranian Plan to Foil Arabs' Anti-Corruption Protests - Khaled Abu Toameh (Gatestone Institute)
    Iran has enlisted Khaled Masha'al, former head of the "political bureau" of Hamas, to warn Arabs about the consequences of their demands for reform and democracy.
    Iran's leaders see Arab demands for reform as damaging Tehran's effort to dominate Arab countries and prepare for war against Israel.
    Speaking at the "Jerusalem Pioneers Conference" in Turkey this week, Masha'al expressed concern that the anti-corruption protests would divert Arab attention from the Palestinian issue.

A Surge of Oil Production Is Coming - Clifford Krauss (New York Times)
    A flood of crude will arrive, even as worldwide oil demand is slowing. It is coming from Brazil, Canada, Norway and Guyana.
    The four countries stand to add nearly a million barrels a day to the market in 2020 and nearly a million more in 2021, giving Western policymakers an added cushion in case there are renewed attacks on oil tankers or processing facilities in the Persian Gulf.

12,000 International Students Are Pursuing Higher Education in Israel - Abigail Klein Leichman (Israel21c)
    Currently, 11,853 international students are studying in Israel - 6,000 coming for a semester or summer courses and 5,000 studying for full degrees, including almost 800 PhD students.

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Rouhani: Iran to Resume Uranium Enrichment at Fordow
    Iran will resume uranium enrichment at its underground Fordow plant starting Wednesday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Tuesday, adding that Tehran will start injecting uranium gas into 1,044 centrifuges in the latest step away from the 2015 nuclear deal. (Al-Arabiya)
  • U.S. Sanctions Iranian Supreme Leader's Inner Circle
    The U.S. Treasury Department on Monday imposed sanctions on nine people close to Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, including his chief of staff, one of his sons and the head of the judiciary. It also blacklisted Iran's Armed Forces General Staff. (Reuters-New York Times)
        See also Treasury Designates Supreme Leader of Iran's Inner Circle Responsible for Advancing Regime's Domestic and Foreign Oppression (U.S. Treasury Department)
  • U.S.: Iran Worst State Sponsor of Terror
    According to the State Department's latest Country Reports on Terrorism 2018, published on Nov. 1, Iran "has spent nearly one billion dollars per year to support terrorist groups that serve as its proxies and expand its malign influence across the globe...[including] Hizbullah, Hamas, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. It also has engaged in its own terrorist plotting around the world, particularly in Europe."
        "Furthermore, Tehran continued to allow an al-Qaeda facilitation network to operate in Iran, which sends fighters and money to conflict zones in Afghanistan and Syria, and it has extended sanctuary to al-Qaeda members residing in the country."  (U.S. State Department)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Two Jordanians Held in Israel to Be Sent Home, Amman to Return Envoy - Adam Rasgon
    Heba al-Labadi and Abdel Rahman Miri, two Jordanian nationals detained by Israel on suspicion of ties to terror groups, will return home in the coming days, Israeli authorities confirmed Monday. Jordan recalled its ambassador to Israel, Ghassan Majali, last week to protest their detention. The Prime Minister's Office said, "Israel views the relationship between Jordan and Israel as a cornerstone of regional stability."  (Times of Israel)
  • Holocaust Survivors Reunite with Rescuer at Yad Vashem - Ilanit Chernick
    On Sunday, Melpomeni Dina, 92, reunited with siblings Sarah Yanai and Yossi Mor in an emotional meeting at Yad Vashem when they introduced their rescuer to almost 40 family members. During World War II, Dina and her older sisters risked their lives for almost two years to help the Jewish family in Veria, Greece, to hide from the Germans.
        Stanlee J. Stahl, vice president of the Jewish Foundation for the Righteous, said that "to the best of my knowledge, this is the last reunion [of rescuers and survivors] that will ever take place." She said that she has been organizing such reunions once a year since 1992, but today, either the rescuers have died, the survivors have died, or they are too frail to travel. (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • How Syria's Last Rebels Are Being Destroyed in Turkey's Operation - Seth J. Frantzman
    Very few Turkish soldiers have participated in Turkey's offensive into northeast Syria, with Ankara opting instead to use Syrian rebel forces to do the heavy lifting. These forces, who are a mix of jihadists and rabble, loot homes, murder civilians, mutilate dead bodies, and shout ISIS slogans about beheading infidels. They fire mortars at medics and at U.S. patrols. They even seized Syrian regime soldiers and Russia had to get them released.
        The "revolutionaries" who once fought Assad are being sent to attack Kurds in eastern Syria. Turkey purposely doesn't train or arm them well, leaving many of the factions to act like little more than armed gangs or militias. Turkey just wanted to give them some berets and redirect them to eastern Syria, hoping that they would fight to the death to smash the American-backed SDF. (Jerusalem Post)
  • The Missing Billions of the Palestinian Authority - Lt.-Col. (res.) Maurice Hirsch
    While the Palestinian Authority constantly complains about its financial difficulties, a look at the PA's own financial records for 2011-2018 shows that the PA transferred 7 billion shekels to the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), some of which was then given to terrorist organizations such as the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). While international donors have demanded that the PA show financial transparency, the PLO is not subject to any such demands.
        In that same period, the PA also spent 440 million shekels to fund non-functioning institutions. The PA Parliament has not met since the last elections in 2006. However, PA financial records show that for the years 2011-2018 the PA spent 104,566,000 shekels on its Central Election Committee and 336,746,000 shekels on the PA Legislative Council. The writer served for 19 years in the IDF Military Advocate General Corps, including as Director of the Military Prosecution in Judea and Samaria. (Palestinian Media Watch)
  • Saudi Arabia Is Changing Fast - Karen Elliott House
    Saudi Arabia, the most puritanical of Islamic societies, is increasingly mirroring Western mores. Teenage Saudi girls scream hysterically at a performance by a Korean band in Riyadh. Young Saudi women with bared faces run a 5K through city streets clad only in short-sleeved T-shirts and tight leggings. Groups of young men and women relax together in Starbucks. Hotels are no longer permitted to ask Saudi couples for proof of marriage at check-in.
        Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, 34, effective ruler of the kingdom, has decided to press ahead full speed with economic and social change, absolutely convinced his reforms are essential and urgent. The once-powerful religious authorities have been reduced to mouthpieces for the regime and are widely ignored by the public. The government is spending billions on bringing entertainment - wrestling, tennis, car racing, expensive restaurants, musical performers - to the kingdom to jump-start tourism. (Wall Street Journal)

Iraqis Rise Against a Reviled Occupier: Iran - Alissa J. Rubin (New York Times)
  • Last week more than 200,000 Iraqis marched in Baghdad, raging against the Iraqi government and a foreign occupier - Iran. "Free, free Iraq," they shouted, "Iran get out, get out."
  • The protests are part of a developing revolt against efforts by Iran to project its power throughout the Middle East.
  • Saad Eskander, former head of the Iraqi National Archives, said the protesters were fed up with corruption and the Shiite militias, some of which have evolved into mafias running extortion rackets.
  • The struggle is between those who have profited handsomely since the American invasion toppled Saddam Hussein, and those who are struggling and look on with fury as the political parties, some with ties to Iran, distribute payoffs to the well-connected.
  • As the U.S. retreated from Iraq after 2009, Iranian-linked parties extended their networks inside the government. Iran helped form militias to fight ISIS, and by 2018 they become so powerful that political parties linked to Iran became the kingmakers in the government.
  • It was Iranian Maj.-Gen. Qassim Suleimani who brokered the deal that created the current Iraqi government.