November 7, 2019

In-Depth Issues:

Should Israel Be Worried that Russia Might Have an Israeli Missile? - Hanan Greenwood (Israel Hayom)
    Following unconfirmed reports that an interceptor missile from Israel's David's Sling system had fallen into Russian hands, Dr. Uzi Rubin, former head of the Defense Ministry's directorate developing missile defense systems, said, "I assume that there are dozens of fragments of Israeli missiles in the areas where we have attacked."
    "Every army in the world takes into account that a missile fired at the other side will fall into enemy hands. In effect, the only surprise is that it fell into Russia's hands and not Iran's. This is good news for us."
    Rubin rejects claims that the Israeli interceptor landed without sustaining damage, calling such a scenario "virtually impossible." "There is no such thing as a missile that lands intact...it doesn't stay complete and hits the ground with immense force."

Al-Baghdadi's Brother Traveled to Istanbul as His Courier for Months - Jack Moore (The National-Abu Dhabi)
    Juma, a brother of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, traveled several times to Istanbul from northern Syria in the months before the terror chief's death, acting as a trusted messenger for information about the group's operations in Syria, Iraq and Turkey, according to two Iraqi intelligence officials.
    The ability of one of the most senior members of ISIS to commute to Istanbul freely to meet other ISIS members raises questions about the Turkish security services.

Intelligence Warning: Al-Qaeda, ISIS Planning Attacks on Jews, Israelis in India - Manish Shukla (DNA-India)
    Security agencies in India have been warned that terror organizations including al-Qaeda and ISIS are planning to attack the Jewish community in India and even kidnap Israeli tourists.

Gaza Protests Erupt after Police Throw Arrested Man Out the Window of His Home - Elior Levy (Ynet News)
    A rare public anti-Hamas protest took place in Gaza after three Hamas police officers threw Anan Abu Jameh, 28, out the window of his upstairs room after arresting him in Khan Yunis on Friday. He sustained a serious head injury and later died.
    During his funeral, participants chanted: "Hamas are murderers." 

NATO Recognizes Israel as Key Medical-Assistance Partner - Yaakov Lappin (JNS)
    NATO has recognized the Israeli Navy as a key medical-assistance partner in the Mediterranean following a drill held last month practicing emergency evacuation of personnel.
    In the drill, held on Oct. 13-23, NATO vessels from the UK, Greece, Romania and Bulgaria simulated medical emergencies at sea with the Israeli Navy.

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Iran Failing to Cooperate with IAEA over Radioactive Samples Discovered at Site Identified by Israel - Jonathan Tirone
    The International Atomic Energy Agency's top inspector, Massimo Aparo, told diplomats in a closed-door meeting in Vienna on Wednesday that Iran is evading attempts to discover the source of uranium particles detected at a warehouse in Tehran earlier this year at a site identified by Israel. The findings threaten to open a new front in the confrontation over Iran's nuclear program.
        The IAEA has satellite images showing that the Turquz-Abad site where the particles were found was cleared out after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu presented documents that Mossad spies smuggled out of a secret warehouse in Tehran. (Bloomberg)
  • Iran's Network of Influence in Mideast Is Growing - Frank Gardner
    Iran has been able to successfully embed itself across the Middle East, according to a new 217-page report published Thursday by the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS). "The Islamic Republic of Iran has tipped the balance of effective force in the Middle East in its favor," says the report. It has achieved this "by countering superior conventional forces with influence operations and use of third-party forces."  (BBC News)
        See also Report: Iran's Networks of Influence in the Middle East
    Iran has developed a capability to conduct warfare in battlefields across the Middle East through third parties. In recent and ongoing conflicts, this effective force has given Iran a strategic advantage over adversaries reliant on conventional capabilities. Its deployment has encountered no effective international response but has consistently delivered Iran advantage without the cost or risk of direct confrontation with adversaries. It has become Iran's weapon of choice.
        When involved in conflict, Iran calibrates the level and tailors the style of its involvement in such a way as to avoid escalation that could endanger the regime. It has maintained plausible deniability while providing an enduring platform for influence. (International Institute for Strategic Studies-UK)
        See also Iran Is Winning the War for the Middle East, and the West Has No Convincing Response - Dr. John Chipman
    The writer is the Director-General and Chief Executive of the International Institute for Strategic Studies. (Telegraph-UK)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Israel Calls for Comprehensive Change at UN Palestinian Refugee Aid Agency
    Israel views with great concern the recently published findings of the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) investigation into UNRWA, the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesperson said Wednesday. These findings strengthen Israel's claims that deep and comprehensive change in the operational model of the agency is required. The recent developments prove that the automatic renewal of UNRWA's mandate for three more years is absolutely absurd, immoral, and unreasonable.
        Minister of Foreign Affairs Israel Katz stated: "UNRWA's conduct illustrates that the agency is part of the problem, and not part of the solution. The agency perpetuates the refugee issue in a political manner, and in doing so distances any possibility for a future resolution. The international community needs to find a new model that will provide humanitarian assistance to those who truly need it, and must remove from the agenda the futile idea of the return of the refugees."  (Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
        See also Head of UN Palestinian Agency Resigns amid Ethics Probe
    Pierre Krahenbuhl, a Swiss national who heads UNRWA - the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, has resigned amid an internal probe into alleged mismanagement and ethical abuses, the UN said Wednesday. According to an internal confidential report, the allegations include senior management engaging in "sexual misconduct, nepotism, retaliation, discrimination and other abuses of authority, for personal gain, to suppress legitimate dissent, and to otherwise achieve their personal objectives."  (AFP)
  • Israel: We Have Sent Humanitarian Aid to Syrian Kurds - Lahav Harkov
    Israel will help the Kurds in Syria in any way it can, Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely told the Knesset on Wednesday. "Israel has received many requests for aid in diplomatic and humanitarian matters. We are aiding them in various channels." In addition, the Foreign Ministry has helped non-governmental organizations send humanitarian aid to the Kurds.
        Israel's support for the Kurds is based on "historic ties...[and] shared and varied interests," she said. "There are many Kurdish Jews in Israel who maintained ties with their place of origin. Kurds are a moderate and pro-Western factor in the Middle East."  (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • Iran's Nuclear Escalation - Editorial
    The Iranian strategy has been to escalate its violations of the nuclear deal step by step, hoping to divide the U.S. from Europe. The strategy worked for a time, but then Iran attacked Saudi oil fields. German, French and British leaders responded in a statement that Iran should "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."
        Nothing would focus minds in Tehran more than Berlin, Paris, London and Washington coming together to reimpose the so-called snap-back sanctions that were supposed to be the response to Iranian nuclear escalation. The best response is for Europe and the U.S. to reforge a common front toward Iran that shows it will have to return to the negotiating table to have any hope of sanctions being eased. (Wall Street Journal)
  • Israel Can't Allow Those Who Call for Its Destruction to Remain - Ben-Dror Yemini
    The Israel Supreme Court has revoked the visa of Omar Shakir, the Israel director for Human Rights Watch. Shakir has demanded the recognition of the Palestinian right of return, which by its very nature abolishes the right of Israel to exist. There are tens of millions who have been displaced in wars, yet HRW didn't issue any demands supporting their right of return.
        Canada banned former British MP and vehement Israel-hater George Galloway; France banned Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi; Britain banned American anti-gay protester Fred Phelps; and recently, both the U.S. and Britain banned the entry of Omar Barghouti, the co-founder of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. Every country has the right to deny entry to agitators, and there's no country in the world that would allow a person who denies its right to exist to enter its borders. (Ynet News)

  • In September 2016, the U.S. and Israel signed a 10-year, $38 billion agreement on U.S. military assistance. One instruction President Obama never gave those of us conducting those negotiations was to try to attach conditions to the assistance over the Palestinian issue.
  • Obama saw benefits to U.S. interests in our closest regional ally being able to deter and defend against a wide range of threats having nothing to do with the Palestinians. Israel has faced threats from Iran, Hizbullah, Syria, ISIS, and other regional adversaries, in addition to those posed by Hamas and other terrorist groups in Gaza. Nearly all of the assistance the U.S. provides is deployed against those threats.
  • All of those actors also threaten U.S. troops, interests, and other allies, so Israel's capabilities serve our interests, as well as their own.
  • Furthermore, the assistance relationship is part of a broader security partnership in which the U.S. has access to top-notch Israeli intelligence, joint training with the IDF, and breakthrough technologies. Benefits flow in both directions.
  • The vast majority of Foreign Military Financing dollars flow back into the U.S. economy and support thousands of jobs in our defense sector. While generous on the part of American taxpayers, our aid is not altruism.
  • Obama also understood that the Palestinians bear significant responsibility for the political stalemate. He knew Israel could not end the conflict on its own.

    The writer, a former U.S. Ambassador to Israel, was Senior Director for the Middle East and North Africa on the National Security Council during the Obama administration.