Syrian Rebels Thwart Islamic State Attempts to Reach Israeli Border - Alex Fishman (Ynet News)
Two attempts by Islamic State in Syria to take up positions along
the Golan Heights border with Israel have been thwarted in the past two
Two weeks ago, Syrian rebels overcame an armed group from the IS-affiliated Jaysh al-Jihad south of Quneitra.
Two days ago in the southern Golan Heights, the Free Syrian Army,
in cooperation with Jabhat al-Nusra, overpowered IS loyalists from the
Shuhada al-Yarmouk Brigades.
Israeli security officials said the Jabhat al-Nusra fighters
operating in the Golan are local residents who benefit from the
group's logistical and financial support.
ISIS Seizes Ancient Syrian City of Palmyra (AP-NBC News)
Islamic State extremists seized the ancient Syrian town of Palmyra
on Wednesday after government defense lines there collapsed.
Palmyra is famous for its 2,000-year-old towering Roman-era colonnades.
Palestinian Forces Fighting Alongside the Syrian Regime (MEMRI)
In addition to Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC),
Lebanese Hizbullah, and Shi'ite Iraqi, Afghani, and Pakistani militias,
Palestinian forces are also fighting alongside the Syrian regime.
The main Palestinian forces included the 60,000-strong Palestinian
Liberation Army - "the military wing of the PLO" - and Liwa Al-Quds,
led by Muhammad Sa'id, which comprises several thousand residents of
Palestinian refugee camps near Aleppo.
In recent days, a new Palestinian group has emerged, the Galilee
Forces (Quwat Al-Jalil) or Galilee Brigade (Liwa Al-Jalil). This group
is the military wing of the Palestinian Youth Return Movement, and is
led by Fadi Al-Mallah.
Imagine North Korean Nuclear Subs Off California - Uzi Rubin (Defense News)
On May 9, a beaming Kim Jong Un watched his country's first
sub-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) leaping out of the water after
being launched from a submerged North Korean submarine.
The thought that a rogue regime like North Korea's might eventually
send nuclear ballistic missile submarines to patrol the shores of Japan
and the U.S. surely sends shudders down the spines of Western analysts.
The writer is founder of Israel's Missile Defense Organization.
Report: Iran Stops Funding Palestinian Islamic Jihad - Khaled Abu Toameh (Jerusalem Post)
Iran has stopped funding Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), the Palestinian daily Al-Quds reported on Wednesday.
A dispute erupted after the group refused to issue a statement supporting the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen.
PIJ has been unable to pay salaries for the past four months and
its leader, Ramadan Shallah, has moved from Iran to Lebanon. Moreover,
PIJ has been forced to close its TV station, Palestine Today, due to the financial crisis.
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- Iran Wants 24-Day Notice Prior to Inspections of Nuclear Sites
Iran wants 24 days' notice before international inspectors could visit
its nuclear sites, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said
Thursday. Fabius cautioned that "a lot of things can disappear" in 24
- Bin Laden Raid Documents Disclose Terror Plots Aimed at Westerners, Jews - Nicole Gaouette and David Lerman
The U.S. on Wednesday released a trove of documents seized from Osama
bin Laden's hideout in Pakistan in 2011 that underscored his
preoccupation with attacking U.S. and Western targets.
A document labeled "Report on the external operations" said the
priority is "putting the Jews first" as targets and that there was
progress in "cooperating with two groups who are working in the same
- White House Steps Up Warnings about Terrorism on U.S. Soil - Brian Bennett
Alarmed about the growing threat from Islamic State, the Obama
administration has dramatically stepped up warnings of potential
terrorist attacks on American soil. U.S. authorities also have raised
defenses at U.S. military bases, put local police forces on alert and
increased surveillance at the nation's airports, railroads, shopping
malls, energy plants and other potential targets.
U.S. officials estimate the Sunni Muslim group has drawn 22,000
foreign fighters to Syria and Iraq, including about 3,700 from Western
nations. About 180 Americans have gone, or tried to go.
James B. Comey, the FBI director, warned this month that "hundreds,
maybe thousands" of Americans are seeing recruitment pitches from
Islamic State on social media. "It's like the devil sitting on their
shoulders saying, 'Kill, kill, kill,'" Comey said.
(Los Angeles Times)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
- Netanyahu to EU: "I Support the Vision of Two States for Two Peoples"
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told visiting EU High Representative
for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini on Wednesday
that Israel wants "a peace that would end the conflict once and for
all." "I support the vision of two states for two peoples - a
demilitarized Palestinian state that recognizes the Jewish state." (Prime Minister's Office)
- Arab Terrorist in Jerusalem Car Attack Affiliated with Hamas - Daniel K. Eisenbud
Amran Abu Dhein, 41, the Arab terrorist who drove his vehicle into
three Border Police officers in Jerusalem on Wednesday, "is affiliated
with Hamas' military wing and is related to Alaa Abu Dhein, who gunned
down eight yeshiva students from the Mercaz Harav Yeshiva in Kiryat
Moshe in March of 2008,"
police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said. (Jerusalem Post)
- Defense Minister Insists West Bank Bus Plan Not Segregation
Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon insisted Wednesday that a pilot plan he
initiated which would have prevented Palestinians from traveling on
buses with Israelis into the West Bank does not amount to segregation,
and was justified on security grounds. "There is no separation between
Arabs and Jews on public transportation," Ya'alon said. "Every state has
the right, and particularly in our delicate security situation, to
check those who are coming in and out. This is what it is, and nothing
At a Knesset hearing last October, Ya'alon cited a State
Comptroller report criticizing lack of Israeli oversight on illegal
Palestinian day laborers entering the country. Ya'alon said at the time,
"You don't have to be a security expert to realize that when you have
20 Arabs in a bus driven by a Jew, and maybe two or three other [Jewish]
passengers...you are guaranteed a terror attack." (Times of Israel)
- Saudi Arabia Takes the Initiative Against Iran - Mudar Zahran
Saudi Arabia's war on Iranian loyalists in Yemen, the Houthis, will have
a major influence on the region.
For the first time in this century, an Arab state took the initiative to
attack Iran's interests. Saudi deputy crown prince and defense minister
Muhammad bin-Salman, 34, convinced the Saudi monarchy to fight Iran.
Iran has been verbally threatening everyone in the region in
recent years, but Salman has slapped Iran in the face without worrying
about any consequences. Iran's loyalists have never been in a more
fragile position - not because of Saudi Arabia's military might, but
because Saudi Arabia has public Arab support for its military operations
in Yemen. In fact, Arab social media has been overflowing with praise
for Salman and Saudi Arabia.
Before the Saudi operations began, many called Israel crazy for
wanting to counter Iran's hostility with military action. Now Saudi
Arabia has set an example of possibly the best method to silence Iran.
Also, Salman has established himself as a man willing to take the fight
to Iran rather than just await Iran's actions. (Jerusalem Post)
- Ramadi Is Only Part of the Problem with Iraq - Anthony H. Cordesman
The U.S. urgently needs far more realism in shaping its military
The U.S. cannot focus on the Islamic State as if Iraq and Syria were not
failed states with far deeper problems. The Iraqi defeat at Ramadi is a
warning, but no more of a warning than the supposed Iraqi "victory" at
Tikrit last month.
Tikrit was a defeat because it was fought by an Iraqi Army that had to
rely on Shiite militias.
The Obama administration's limited U.S. effort did keep Americans
from suffering casualties, but they also did more in Iraq to empower
Iran than win support for the U.S. The Iraqi Army and Ministry of
Defense are still broken, unmotivated, and incompetent. A U.S. military
effort cannot work unless Abadi's government becomes strong enough to
heal the gap between Arab Sunni and Arab Shiite, and limit the role of
Shiite militias and Iran. Moreover, there is no solution to Iraq without
a solution to Syria.
The writer holds the Arleigh A. Burke Chair in Strategy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
- Why the Iran Nuclear Deal Could Be Catastrophic for Israel - Emanuele Ottolenghi
The Islamic Republic openly calls for Israel's destruction while
investing considerably in those who fight Israel at its borders. Iran
possesses dangerous capabilities and proven intentions to use them.
Last October, Iran organized an international gathering of Western
Holocaust deniers. This month, Tehran is hosting the second
international Holocaust cartoon contest. In September 2013, when CNN
anchor Christiane Amanpour confronted Iranian President Hassan Rouhani
over Holocaust denial, he dodged the question by pontificating that the
Holocaust deserves more historical scrutiny to determine what really
happened. What would cause Iranian leaders to defame the memory of the
Holocaust so obsessively, other than deeply malevolent intentions?
The writer is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.
UN Failure in Southern Lebanon Will Lead to Future Civilian Casualties - Dore Gold (Facebook)
- In recent days, the New York Times and other major media ran
stories detailing how Hizbullah was building up a vast military arsenal
in hundreds of Shiite villages just north of the Israeli-Lebanese
- After the Second Lebanon War in 2006, the UN Security Council
adopted Resolution 1701, which established in southern Lebanon -
between the Israeli-Lebanese border and the Litani River - "an area free
of any armed personnel, assets and weapons" other than those of the
Government of Lebanon or the UN. In other words, Hizbullah was supposed
to be kept out of this area - not only its fighters but also its
thousands of rockets aimed at Israel.
- Today, Hizbullah - supplied, trained, and funded by Iran - is
building new military strongholds in Lebanese border villages. By doing
so, Hizbullah has turned Lebanese civilians into human shields - much
like Hamas did in Gaza. Hizbullah's rearmament is a blatant violation
of Resolution 1701. Is anyone stopping this?
- UNIFIL, the UN force in Lebanon, was supposed to oversee the
implementation of Resolution 1701. But does anyone think UNIFIL is going
to enter a Shiite village in southern Lebanon and remove rockets stored
- The UN is thus leaving Israel with a horrible choice if war
breaks out again: Either the IDF will have to destroy the weapons now
being stored in southern Lebanon, or let Hizbullah fire thousands of
rockets into Israel.
the laws of war, Israel will have every right to destroy a house that
has become a legitimate military target. Shouldn't the UN avert this
outcome by taking action now? Don't hold your breath.
The writer, a former Israeli ambassador to the UN, is president of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.