Following is a roundup of news from the world of Jihad which all seem to tie into one another and all of which impinge on the security of both Israel and the Western world.
Earlier in the week Hamas held it’s 25th anniversary party. I guess you could say it went off with a bang. Khaled Mashaal arrived from Damascus and gave a vitriolic speech:
“We are not giving up any inch of Palestine. It will remain Islamic and Arab for us and nobody else. Jihad and armed resistance is the only way,” Mashaal said, referring to holy war. “We cannot recognize Israel’s legitimacy.”
Mashaal said he would continue to secure the release of Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails — referring to a swap last year where an abducted Israeli soldier was exchanged for more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners.
“From the sea to the river, from north to south, we will not give up any part of Palestine — it is our country, our right and our homeland,” said the Hamas chief. “We are all one,” he added, referring to Palestinians residing in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and inside Israel. “We are all united in the way of resistance.”
“From the river to the sea” (or in the other direction if you wish) is code for the entire state of Israel, i.e. Hamas wishes to conquer/liberate/destroy the whole of Israel, not “just” the “occupied territories”, aka Judea and Samaria. Please keep that in mind next time someone suggests Israel ought to accept Hamas as the legitimate and democratically elected government of Gaza.
In a further inciteful speech on Sunday, and
exaggerating lying as usual, the Hamas leader Mashaal claims to have destroyed Ehud Barak’s home and warns that Netanyahu’s home is next. It’s pathetic but the masses in Gaza thirstily drink up this addictive poison.
And, oh joy, now Islamic Jihad want to get in on the act. Why should only Hamas’s leader be allowed to visit Gaza? So they threaten to break the ceasefire if their leader is not allowed entry into Gaza.
An official in the Islamic Jihad terror group on Sunday threatened to end a three-week ceasefire between Israel and the Gaza Strip if Israel prohibited its leader, Ramadan Shalah, from entering the Hamas-ruled Palestinian territory.
The threat appeared to be a response to an Israeli announcement last week that if Shalah accompanied Hamas political leader Khaled Mashaal on Mashaal’s visit to the Gaza Strip over the weekend, Israel would see it as a breach of the truce.
Islamic Jihad appeared to heed Jerusalem’s announcement, as Shalah was not on hand when Mashaal arrived in Gaza late last week. According to the Palestinian Ma’an news agency, the Islamic Jihad leader had decided to cancel his visit due to explicit Israeli assassination threats against himself and his deputy, Ziad Nakhaleh. Israel’s message was reportedly relayed to the group by Egypt.
I say let him in and don’t let him out. Same goes for Mashaal. And then we would have what is called “a target-rich environment” which I’m sure our security forces will know how to deal with.
Meanwhile Italian police intercepted an arms ship on its way to Egypt:
A shipment of weapons through Naples, likely headed to Egypt, was intercepted on Saturday by the Italian government, acting on information provided by Israel, the Italian news agency ANSA reported.
According to the report, which cited police sources, the Naples police arrested an Egyptian national on suspicion that he had attempted to smuggle five shipping containers, one of which contained a rocket launcher.
Moving on to Iran, this item goes together with that other paragon of world peace, North Korea: Iranian agents are reportedly on the site of a planned North Korean missile launch:
The Iranian agents are offering technical assistance on the launch, South Korea’s Chosun Imbo newspaper reported Monday. The experts are from Iran’s Shahid Hemmat Industrial Group, which developed the Shahab-3 intercontinental ballistic missile, the paper said, citing an unnamed Seoul official.
“Identifiable cars have been spotted traveling back and forth from the quarters to the missile launch site,” the government source was quoted by the paper as saying. “We believe they’re carrying Iranian experts.”
Iran and North Korea signed a technology and science cooperation agreement in early September, and according to Reuters, US officials believe that Iran acquired ballistic missile parts from North Korea in 2010.
The only question is who is teaching whom about their missile technology, and does the answer really matter when we are talking about two inherently irrational regimes? With Iran and North Korea cooperating on missile technology, the entire civilized world, from Asia to the Middle East to Europe to the United States is at risk. But where is the outcry? (I know, too busy condemning Israeli homes).
Meanwhile Iran is complaining that Azeri drones are patrolling their joint border under the watchful eyes of Israeli satellites.
Azerbaijani drones, constructed with the aid of Israel, are being used to conduct spy missions along the Azeri-Iranian border, Iran claimed.
According to a Saturday article in Iran’s state-sponsored Press TV, Azerbaijan has acquired a fleet of Orbiter ultra-light drones and Hermes-450 drones, the latter of which can be outfitted with missiles and electronic warfare capability, and are using them to monitor Iran’s northern regions.
Israel and Azerbaijan signed a $1.4 billion defense deal in February, which focused on drones and missile defense systems. Press-TV reported that Israeli satellites were being used in conjunction with the drones to run surveillance along the Iranian border.
Perhaps in order to counter Israel’s influence, Iran is wooing Azerbaijan in order to forge closer ties:
Iran is persisting in a strategy of courting deeper ties with Azerbaijan, as growing military, intelligence and commercial ties between its northern neighbor and Israel continue to be a source of deep concern to Tehran.
In Iran’s latest overture to Baku, its ambassador to Azerbaijan offered on Thursday to establish a joint Iranian-Azeri Chamber of Commerce, with the aim of deepening relations between the two countries, Azeri news agency Trend reported.
The Iranian Embassy in Baku said that Mohsen Pak Ayeen had told the head of Azerbaijan’s Chamber of Commerce that Iran also wants to develop private sector initiatives in both countries.
In recent weeks, Iran has made several gestures to Baku, including an offer to act as a mediator to help Azerbaijan settle its 20-year conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh and a proposal to create a new customs checkpoint on the Iranian- Azeri border to facilitate bilateral trade.
Notably, Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast went on record last month at his weekly Tehran press conference to say that ties between Azerbaijan and Iran were “good and extensive,” “based on common ground,” and urged both countries to develop them further.
Yet while Tehran has made sure to disseminate the message, including via reports in its Persian, Arabic and English state media, that its relations with Baku are warm, political, religious and cultural relations between the two countries remain deeply strained.
A leaked US diplomatic cable from 2009 described Azerbaijan’s relations with Israel as “discreet but close” and famously quoted Azerbaijan’s president, Ilham Aliyev, as saying his bilateral relations with the Jewish state were “like an iceberg, nine-tenths of it is below the surface.”
Azerbaijan is certainly Israel’s strongest Muslim trade partner, supplying a sixth of Israel’s oil.
Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman visited Baku in April to discuss bilateral cooperation.
Although Azerbaijan has downplayed its relations with Israel to avoid increasing tensions with Iran, Tehran has grown increasingly concerned not least because of reports of growing Israeli military cooperation with Azerbaijan.
While Iran seeks to mitigate its concerns about Azerbaijan by forging deeper bilateral ties, Tehran continues to pose a serious threat to its neighbor’s stability.
Since Azerbaijan’s independence from the USSR, Iran has attempted to subvert its secular regime via its Qods Force and proxies Hezbollah and Azeri pro-Iranian Shi’ite parties.
Tehran also increasingly uses Azerbaijan as a staging ground for its shadow war against Israeli, Jewish and Western targets.
On the subject of Iran’s nuclear weapons program, Israel has been accused of leaking information in order to gain the world’s attention:
Western diplomats believe Israel has been leaking sensitive information about Iran’s nuclear program in a bid to rally the international community to action, The Guardian reported Monday.
The report came as Israel renewed calls against the Iranian program, as Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Monday the problem would have to be confronted in 2013.
According to the Guardian report, Western diplomats suspect the Israeli moves have backfired, and have instead jeopardized the International Atomic Energy Agency’s investigation into the Iranian nuclear program. Diplomats said Israel was leaking the information because of an “impatience” over international delays to confront Iran.
Then again, since this report originates in the Guardian, known for its anti-Israel stance, I would take it all with a large sack of salt.
Still with Iran, Sudanese opposition groups have accused the regime in Khartoum of allowing Iran to establish a base in the Red Sea:
Anti-government newspaper Hurriyat Sudan cited an unnamed opposition source on Monday as saying that the Sudanese government had struck a deal with Iran for building a base on the Sudanese coast.
Meanwhile, Sudanese rebel group The Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) said on Sunday that Sudan’s President Omar Bashir has reached a “very advanced” arrangement with Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) to establish a naval base either in Port Sudan or elsewhere on the Red Sea, according to the Sudanese anti-government news outlet Al Rakoba.
The accusations came after two Iranian naval vessels, the 1,400-ton frigate Jamaran and the 4,700-ton support ship Bushehr, docked in Port Sudan on Saturday morning.
Mahjoub Hussein, a spokesman for the Justice and Equality Movement, said that the visit of the Iranian warships, the second in recent months, was not intended as a message to Israel but rather to test regional opinion regarding the establishment of an Iranian military base.
The Iranian Navy has also extended its reach throughout the Strait of Hormuz, the Bab el-Mandeb strait in the Red Sea, the Suez Canal and the Strait of Malacca.
By extending its naval presence as far as Sudan and the Red Sea, Iran would gain several advantages, including in regards to combating Somali pirates in the Gulf of Aden but also in gaining control over the Red Sea shipping route, part of the channel through which Iran ships arms to the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip. An Iranian naval presence in Port Sudan would also upset Iran’s Sunni rival Saudi Arabia, located just across the Red Sea.
Assuming these accusations are true, this represents a serious escalation of the danger emanating from Iran. Is anyone paying attention? Will any action be taken – assuming this is feasible?
Meanwhile in Syria, reports emerge that Israeli special forces are tracking the movement of Syria’s chemical and biological weapons:
“For years we’ve known the exact location of Syria’s chemical and biological munitions,” an Israeli source said, according to The Sunday Times. “But in the past week we’ve got signs that munitions have been moved to new locations.”
However a Defense Ministry source says that Israel does not have to be too concerned at the moment:
Syrian chemical weapons are still under the control of President Bashar al-Assad, contrary to reports saying Damascus could lose such arms in the chaos of civil war, Amos Gilad, head of the Defense Ministry Diplomatic-Security Bureau, said Sunday.
“As far as my assessment goes, the weapons are still secure and have not been moved, but we need to monitor this at every moment,” Gilad said. “Israel needs to monitor it, and it has been doing so.”
As Syria’s southern neighbor, Israel feels at risk from the deepening conflict and has said it would intervene to stop jihadi rebels or Lebanese Hezbollah terrorists from seizing Assad’s chemical weapons.
Echoing Gilad’s remarks that the regime is still in control of the weapons, Vice Prime Minister and Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe (Bogie) Ya’alon told Israel Radio on Sunday, “On these matters, we have to be prepared to protect ourselves, by ourselves. … At this time, we see no sign that this weaponry is being pointed at us.”
The security situation in Syria itself is in melt-down. From the above article:
Meanwhile, as the civil war in Syria continues, the fighting spilled over once again into neighboring Lebanon on Sunday. Gun battles in the northern city of Tripoli between supporters and opponents of Assad’s regime left four dead.
Nine Syrian judges and prosecutors also defected to the opposition. It was the latest setback for the regime, which appears increasingly embattled with rebels making gains in northern Syria and near Damascus, the capital.
The implications for Israel of the fall of the Syrian regime are huge. The Jihadists aim to rule the whole region across from the Golan Heights:
Jihadist victories on the Syrian battlefield may put them side-by-side with Hizbullah, Hamas and Muslim Brotherhood as Israel’s neighboring regimes.
Read it all for an alarming and depressing insight.
As for our own local jihadists, the Palestinian Authority (PA) has issued an ultimatum to Israel: Talk or else.
The Palestinian Authority, feeling it is fully armed diplomatically after it won informal UN recognition, now says Israel has six months to talk – or else.
Flying the “peace process” slogan despite Fatah’s unity with the Hamas terrorist organization, Palestinian Authority negotiator Saeb Erekat told PA radio the “peace process” is a golden principle but then incorrectly stated that “according to all previously signed agreements and international law, [it] is the withdrawal of Israel to the June 4, 1967 borderline, including Jerusalem.”
Erekat did not say what would happen if the deadline passes, but the Palestinian Authority is feeling its oats following its support in the United Nations and is banking on international pressure to force Israel’s hand.
This ultimatum, or extortion, taken together with all the other jihadists attempting to wrest power across the Middle East, does not make this a comfortable atmosphere for Israel to make concessions. And if anyone still thinks Israeli housing is the source of the entire problems of the Middle East, they have not been paying attention to the news.