Islamic State Confirms Death of Military Commander "Omar the Chechen" - Felicia Schwartz (Wall Street Journal)
Islamic State on Wednesday acknowledged the death of a top military
commander known as "Omar the Chechen," a red-bearded militant the U.S.
had targeted on March 4.
France's Mutating Terror Threat - Nicholas Vinocur (Politico)
Attacks in Paris and Brussels relied heavily on suicide missions that left most assailants dead.
Now terrorists will probably seek to use car bombs and
remotely-detonated devices (IEDs) in order to save operatives and strike
repeatedly, Patrick Calvar, the head of France's DGSI domestic security
agency, told a closed-door parliamentary hearing on May 24, according
to Le Figaro, which published a report on the testimony Tuesday.
U.S. Field Artillery Targets ISIS - Kyle Jahner (Army Times)
More than 600 of the Army's field artillery soldiers are back home
after a nine-month deployment in which they fired precision missiles at
Islamic State targets.
The unit fired GPS-guided rockets launched from Medium Tactical
Vehicles, potentially from hundreds of miles away from the target.
While the deployment was based in Jordan, the unit was spread across
five different countries to support attacks in northeastern Syria,
currently an Islamic State support zone.
Gaza Mosque Served as Entrance to Terror Tunnel that Reached Israel - Capt. (res.) Itamar Segal (Israel Hayom)
I had the privilege of fighting shoulder to shoulder with the
soldiers of a reserve combat battalion in the Paratroopers Brigade
during the 2014 Gaza war.
For about 30 days, we pursued elusive tunnel openings, located enemy command centers, and fought Hamas terrorists.
In the middle of one neighborhood - a major Hamas stronghold - combat engineering soldiers were ordered to blow up
an enormous mosque and the water tower next to it.
A year ago in Tel Aviv, representatives of the group Breaking the
Silence were handing out postcards depicting the "crimes" of the IDF. I
immediately recognized the mosque and water tower.
"I was there," I told anyone who wanted to listen. The water tower had
been used as a Hamas lookout point, and the mosque covered the entrance
to a huge terror tunnel that started inside the mosque and ended inside
one of the kibbutzim on the Israeli side of the border fence.
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
- Iranian President Rouhani Threatens to Renew Nuclear Program
On Wednesday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said that Tehran could
quickly restart uranium enrichment if the P5+1 countries breached their
commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)
announced in Vienna last year.
- Obama's Syria Plan Teams Up American and Russian Forces - Josh Rogin
The U.S. is proposing joining with Russia in coordinated air attacks
against Jabhat al-Nusra, al-Qaeda's Syria branch. While this would
expand the U.S. counterterrorism mission in Syria, it would also be a
boon for the Assad regime, which could see the forces it is fighting
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
- Israel: Palestinian Preconditions for Cairo Talks a Non-Starter - Herb Keinon
Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu is willing to go anywhere to meet PA
President Abbas to negotiate, but setting preconditions for such
talks is a non-starter, an Israeli government source said Wednesday amid
discussions of a summit in Cairo hosted by Egyptian President Sisi.
When Egyptian Foreign Minister Shoukry visited Ramallah on June 29, he
was presented with a list of demands as preconditions for such a summit.
An Israeli government official said the preconditions were a way to
avoid negotiations. (Jerusalem Post)
- Israel to UN: Hizbullah Has Turned South Lebanon into a Terror Stronghold - Itamar Eichner
Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon told the UN Security Council on
Tuesday that south Lebanon has been turned into a Hizbullah terror
stronghold, during a discussion marking ten years since the Second
Lebanon War and UN Security Council Resolution 1701 which ended it.
an aerial photograph of the Lebanese village of Chaqra marked to show
Hizbullah infrastructure in the village. "One out of every three
buildings has been appropriated by Hizbullah, and includes rocket
launching positions, weapons storage facilities, and more."
Resolution 1701 called for having the UN force in Lebanon (UNIFIL)
assist the Lebanese government in preventing the entry of weapons into
south Lebanon except for those of the Lebanese army. Danon noted that
Hizbullah has a larger missile stockpile than all of the European NATO
countries combined, with more than 120,000 missiles pointed at Israel.
"It is the responsibility of the UN Security Council to get Hizbullah
out of south Lebanon," he said. (Ynet News)
- Former Palestinian PM Fayyad Draws PA Fire for New Reconciliation Plan - Avi Issacharoff
On Tuesday, former PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad presented a plan to
end the split between Fatah and Hamas and open a path intended to lead
to the establishment of a Palestinian state. On Wednesday, the official
PA news agency described Fayyad's plan as an "attempt to destroy
decades of Palestinian struggle." Fayyad's plan envisioned a prolonged
ceasefire with Israel.
However, Palestinian sources said the plan was interpreted by PA
leader Mahmoud Abbas as a direct challenge to his rule, and sources
close to Abbas were quick to attack the plan. (Times of Israel)
- International Funding for Salaries and Benefits to Terrorists - Amb. Alan Baker
Funding from foreign governments (including the U.S., the UK, Denmark
and other EU countries) transferred to official Palestinian governing
bodies has been used for salaries and other benefits to Palestinians
serving prison sentences for acts of terror. The Guardian reported that about 6% of the Palestinian budget is diverted to prisoner salaries.
Clearly, the channeling of donor funding to compensate terrorists and
thereby to encourage further terror raises serious legal and moral
questions. Financial or other support for terrorists is a clear
violation of PLO obligations pursuant to the Oslo Accords. Channeling
donor funds to terrorists is contrary to the national law in the donor
countries as well as to international counter-terrorism law.
The writer, former legal adviser and deputy director-general of
Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, participated in the drafting of
the Oslo Accords with the Palestinians.
(Institute for Contemporary Affairs-Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
- Iran's Airbridge to Syria - Paul Bucala and Ken Hawrey
Boeing and Airbus are set to sell nearly 200 aircraft to Iran's state
airline, Iran Air, despite indicators that Tehran is already using the
airline's aircraft to support its efforts in Syria. Since June 2015, 31
airplanes belonging to Iran Air and the private airline Mahan Air have
departed from airports in Iran and landed in Syria, according to public
flight-tracking data from Flightrader24.com.
Tehran appears to have developed an expansive network of repurposed
commercial aircraft to supply its expanding war effort in Syria. Tehran
would be unable to conduct this resupply effort without the use of
commercial aircraft. If the U.S. is serious about pressing Iran to
curtail its backing of Assad and other terrorist proxies in the region,
then preventing Tehran from increasing its ability to maintain its
airbridge should be a priority.
(American Enterprise Institute)
See also Why Boeing Shouldn't Do Business with Iran - Jonathan Schanzer and Amir Toumaj
A year ago, it would have been unthinkable for major U.S. corporations
to do business with the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism. Yet
aircraft juggernaut Boeing is now poised to sell planes to the Islamic
Republic. American companies should know better.
The financial risks of dealing with Iran are well-established.
Iran ranks 130 out of 168 on the corruption index at transparency.org.
The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps controls roughly 35% of the formal
economy and wields significant influence over the black market, too. Jonathan
Schanzer, a former terrorism finance analyst at the U.S. Department of
the Treasury, is vice president for research at the Foundation for
Defense of Democracies, where Amir Toumaj is a research associate.
- New UK Foreign Minister a Friend of Israel
Former London Mayor Boris Johnson was appointed Britain's foreign
minister on Wednesday. Johnson visited Israel most recently in
November, during which he dismissed those behind the anti-Israel
boycott campaign. "I cannot think of anything more foolish" than to
boycott "a country that when all is said and done is the only democracy
in the region," he said.
(Times of Israel)
U.S. Military Aid to Israel Is an Investment in America's Own Self-Defense - John Golan (Jerusalem Post)
The U.S. does not provide aid to Israel out of charity. Rather, it
is a strategic investment, closely tied to U.S. interests in the region:
safeguarding the only reliable ally that the U.S. has in that corner of
the world; deterring Israel's neighbors from resorting to war; and
doing so without requiring the direct intervention of U.S. troops, as
has been necessary in virtually every other conflict zone in the world.
The U.S. has received more than its money's worth.
Of the $3.1 billion in annual military aid that Israel
currently receives, 3/4 is spent in the U.S., while 1/4 is spent on
procurement of goods and services in Israel, including the procurement
of unique weaponry available nowhere else. Exercising this spending
power locally is not only more cost-effective, due to lower Israeli
labor rates, but also provides specialized weaponry that often goes on
to benefit both Israel and the U.S.
For decades, Israeli arms developers have pioneered
technologies that have provided the Israeli armed forces with unique
capabilities. Combining Israeli innovation with production
capabilities in the U.S. has benefited the defense industries of both
Time and again, Israeli-developed weapons have stepped in to
bridge gaps in the U.S. arsenal: from the "Popeye" air-to-ground
missile, developed in Israel and manufactured in the U.S. by
Lockheed-Martin for use by American armed services, to helmet-mounted
sights and displays that were designed, developed and battle-tested in
Israel before being transferred to the U.S. for production under a joint
venture with the U.S. armed forces.
Procurement of services and technologies in Israel needs to
remain part of the next 10-year security assistance package because it
advances the technological capabilities of both nations. Shutting down
America's access to this innovation pipeline would be foolhardy.
this summer the U.S. Army will be evaluating Israel's battle-tested
Trophy active defense system to protect armored vehicles against
anti-tank missiles, after repeated attempts to develop a similar
capability in the U.S. have failed.