The Bible Teaching Ministry of David Hocking
“The Word of our God shall stand forever” Isaiah 40:8

TERRORIST ATTACKS IN SINAI

January 29th, 2015

TERRORIST ATTACKS IN SINAI
by Ben Ariel (Arutz Sheva News)

At least 26 people were killed on Thursday in a series of terrorist attacks targeting army and police positions in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, the website of the Al-Ahram newspaper reported.

The attacks included car bombs and mortar rounds, and civilians were among those killed, according to the report.

36 people were injured in the attacks in the town of El-Arish, in North Sinai, where the army is battling an Islamist insurgency that has spiked since the 2013 ouster of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi.

The terrorists fired mortar rounds and used car bombs in the attacks that targeted the headquarters of the North Sinai security directorate in El-Arish, a nearby army base, a hotel and several security checkpoints.

Walls of surrounding buildings were cracked and windows were smashed, as troops combed the area in search of suspects, according to Al-Ahram.

The El-Arish office of the newspaper, located near the targeted police building, was slightly damaged in the attack.

The military said in a statement that the violence came in response to the “successful” security campaign against terrorists in the restive province.

The Egyptian army has been waging war against jihadists in the restive Sinai, and has killed hundreds of terrorists.

The Sinai-based Ansar Bayt Al-Maqdis have declared responsibility for most of the attacks in the area. Among the attacks claimed by the group since Morsi’s ouster was the assassination of a top Egyptian police general, who was gunned down as he left his home in a west Cairo neighborhood, and a bus bombing on a tour bus filled with South Korean tourists in the Sinai.

The army imposed a curfew on the region on October 25, following two deadly attacks in El-Arish, which killed dozens of soldiers and were claimed by Ansar Bayt Al-Maqdis.

Following the attack, the government decided to create a buffer zone along the border with Gaza, explaining the move was necessary because Hamas terrorists had provided the weapons for the lethal attacks in El-Arish through one of its smuggling tunnels under the border to Sinai

IRAN RESPONSIBLE FOR ATTACK

January 29th, 2015

IRAN RESPONSIBLE FOR ATTACK
by Moshe Cohen (Arutz Sheva News)

Speaking at a memorial service for late Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, Netanyahu said that “Iran is the party that is arming, funding, and organizing the terror groups that operate on our border, in the north and the south.”

“This is the same Iran that is attempting to wrest a pacifist agreement on its nuclear program from the West,” Netanyahu noted.

“They want an agreement that will allow them to continue to develop nuclear weapons. We sharply oppose this agreement. We will continue to defend ourselves from all threats, near and far.”

Nuclear negotiators of Iran and the P5+1 countries – Russia, China, France, Britain, the US, plus Germany – wrapped up their second round of talks concerning Tehran’s nuclear program last week. They agreed to resume their discussions next month.

The talks, chaired by EU official Helga Schmid, are being held with the hope of achieving further progress towards a long-term comprehensive solution on the nuclear issue.

Under an interim deal, Iran’s stock of fissile material has been diluted from 20 percent enriched uranium to five percent in exchange for limited sanctions relief.

Speaking Thursday, Netanyahu urged world leaders to oppose a deal with Iran that allowed Tehran to continue its uranium enrichment program.

“We must realize that the world is reaching one of the most crucial moments in history,” he said. “The question is whether the world signs a bad deal with Iran and turns its back on its responsibility, or whether it presents a united front to hold back the fanaticism of Islamic radicalism before it is too late.”

“We must not have any doubts as to the dangers, and there is no doubt as to what must be done to prevent them from becoming reality. This is how we have acted in the past, and we will continue to do so.”

Two IDF soldiers, Major Yochai Kalangel and Sgt. Dor Nini, were killed Wednesday when Hezbollah fired anti-tank missiles at two IDF vehicles in the Har Dov area.

“Those who committed these acts will pay the full price for their actions,” Netanyahu said. “For a long time Iran has been using Hezbollah to establish a terror front against us on the Golan. We are aggressively acting to prevent this.

“The government of Lebanon and the regime of Bashar al-Assad in Syria are responsible for attacks on Israel that emerge from their territory,” he added.

HEZBOLLAH ATTACKS ISRAEL ON LEBANON BORDER

January 28th, 2015

HEZBOLLAH ATTACKS ISRAEL ON LEBANON BORDER
by Gil Ronen (Arutz Sheva News)

Antitank missiles were fired at two IDF vehicles from the Har Dov area (Shebaa Farms) in a Hezbollah ambush Wednesday morning.

Six casualties in light to moderate condition have been taken to Ziv Hospital in Tzfat. Additional casualties were evacuated to Rambam Hospital, but so far, no information has been released about their condition.

Two soldiers were killed.

The IDF is certain that none of its soldiers was abducted.

Hezbollah has released photos that it says show the IDF’s vehicles after they were hit.

Hezbollah has claimed responsibility for the attack, initially through journalist Rassan Ben Jiddo, who is close to the terrorist militia. The terror militia issued an announcement shortly after 1:00 p.m., in which it said that a squad named for “the Martyrs of Quneitra” fired at an IDF convoy at 11:35 and caused casualties. The announcement was presented as “Announcement Number 1,” in a hint that additional operations could follow this attack.

As of 1:30 p.m., exchanges of fire between the IDF and Hezbollah were ongoing. IDF Spokesman Moti Almoz said that the IDF has not yet said the last word in its response to the attack.

Hezbollah has asked UNIFIL to tell Israel that it is asking for a cessation of fire, according to Channel 2.

A Spanish UNIFIL soldier was killed by the IDF’s fire into Lebanon, according to the UN Spokesman as quoted by Al Jazeera. He has been identified as a 36-year-old corporal, according to AFP. Spain’s Defense Minister Pedro Morenes, who was flying to India for a three-day visit, cancelled the trip and returned to Spain mid-flight, the ministry said; Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy expressed on Twitter his “great sadness at the death of a Spanish soldier in Lebanon.”

The IDF spokesman said that an antitank missile was fired at an IDF vehicle that was moving along the border. Channel 2 said there was also mortar fire at IDF outposts.

Speaking on Channel 2, Col. (res.) Kobi Marom called the incident “very serious” and said that it involved casualties and will require a harsh Israeli response.

In an initial reaction, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who was in Sderot, said: “Anyone who tries to challenge us in the north should look at what happened to Hamas, not far from here, which was recently dealt the hardest blow it has received since its creation.”

Residents of Metula were initially told to stay inside their homes but were later given the all clear.

The IDF has been firing at several targets in Lebanon in retaliation, since the incident bega

RUSSIA IN CRISIS: CAN PUTIN SURVIVE?

January 26th, 2015

RUSSIA IN CRISIS: CAN PUTIN SURVIVE?

Putin’s Russia seems to be under dire threat. Ukrainian sanctions by the European Union and the United States coupled with the plunge of oil prices could cost the Russian economy as much as $130 billion or $140 billion this year. This will likely push the Russian economy into recession and make its debt rating “junk.”

The open contempt shown by Western leaders – “bored kid in the back of the classroom” (US President Barack Obama), “only a regional power” (Obama), “Hitlerite” (Hillary Clinton”) and ”thuggish, dishonest and reckless” (British Ambassador to the United States Peter Westmacott ) – reflect the depth of Western hatred of Putin.

Russia seems vulnerable to following the path of the color revolutions that have overthrown authoritarian rulers in the former Soviet republics of Georgia (2003 Rose Revolution), Ukraine (2004 Orange Revolution) and Kyrgyzstan (2005 Tulip Revolution) and helped dissolve the Soviet Union (1991).

Putin’s Russia has no appealing ideology, such as communism, which helped the Soviet Union to survive for 74 years. It has the profile of a Third World country, exporting primary goods and importing secondary and tertiary goods. Russia has already had four successful revolutions since 1917 – February and October (1917), Stalinist Revolution From Above (1930s) and the Fall of the Soviet Union (1991) – so many ask why not a fifth one? Having lost 50 percent of its population in 1991, Russia has a $2 trillion economy, barely 14% the size of the American economy. It has never had an agricultural revolution, consumer revolution, modern middle class or significant Silicon Valley. Russia remains a kleptocratic authoritarian society without an independent judiciary, press freedom, or transition to democracy. It also suffers from recurrent capital outflow, which reached a stunning $150b. in 2014.

Russia was defeated in World War I (1914-1917), the Russo-Polish War (1920), the Cold War (1947-1987), Afghanistan (1979-1987) and First Chechnya War (1994-1996). Even its victory in World War II (the Great Patriotic War) came at the staggering cost of 17 million civilians and 10 million Red Army soldiers killed.

And yet, there is little likelihood that Russia and Putin will fold. Putin remains at a stunning 80% approval rating in Russia. His quasi-annexation of Abkhazia and South Ossetia (2008), Crimea (2014) and likely parts of Left Bank Ukraine (2015?) is very popular at home.

And Putin retains some key assets.

Russia, with one of the five permanent seats on the United Nations Security Council, has a large-scale arsenal of strategic and tactical nuclear weapons, equal to that of the United States. Russia spends $70b. on the military which, despite problems, remains the No. 3 military in the world. It has a reserve fund of nearly $90b. With almost a million scientists, technicians and engineers, Russia can place well in global defense technology.

Just as Westerners often disdain Russia, many Russians disdain the West, which gave them little credit for helping win World War II, beat them in the Cold War, provided no help in the transition after 1991 and hailed a highly corrupt capitalism in the 1990s. Putin’s conservative nationalism and support for the Russian Orthodox Church is very popular in the countryside and smaller towns.

The EU, with 1% GDP growth, minimal military spending (1.6% of GNP) and major internal problems, will not likely increase Ukrainian sanctions and needs Russian natural resources. Germany, the leader of the EU, is hobbled by having committed genocide in the Soviet Union during World War II and being a major trading partner of Moscow.

The United States, distracted by internal problems, Middle East terrorism and a lame-duck President, is not willing to take tough measures against the Russians. There is little Western enthusiasm for taking strong steps to salvage a poor ($4,000 GDP/capita), populous (46 million people) Ukraine with a significant pro-Russia element.

Aided by his first-rate foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov (whom I met twice in the late 1980s), Putin often plays chess while the West plays checkers.

Taking advantage of America’s semi-withdrawal from the region, Putin has made significant progress in the Middle East.

Russia’s $4.5b. in military equipment has turned Syrian President Bashar Assad from a likely loser in 2011 to a likely winner in key areas of Syria in 2015. Egypt, hostile under presidents Hosni Mubarak and Mohammed Morsi, now is friendly to Moscow, which has sold it over $2b. of weapons.

Israel, which Putin has visited twice, sells drones to Moscow and helps with commercialization of Russian technology at Skolkovo. Russia supplies Iran with 70% of its imported weapons and has built the Bushehr nuclear reactor.

Putin is also turning successfully to Asia. He has worked with Japan whose Prime Minister Shinzo Abe sat next to him at the Sochi Winter Olympics. He recently signed a massive natural gas deal with China worth hundreds of billions of dollars, while Russian oil exports to China have increased 50% in the past five years. Putin on a visit to India in December signed deals worth $100b., including sale of 12 nuclear reactors ($40b.) and increased exports of oil and natural gas ($50b.).

Putin, despite difficulties, is likely not only to survive but to continue successfully on the path of enhancing Russia’s power in the new post-Cold War era.

KING ABDULLAH OF SAUDI ARABIA DIES

January 23rd, 2015

KING ABDULLAH OF SAUDI ARABIA DIES

Saudi Arabia’s new King Salman appointed a grandson of the founding monarch into the line of succession for the first time on Friday, moving fast after the death of King Abdullah to quell fears of dynastic instability at a time of regional turmoil.

The appointment of Interior Minister Prince Mohammed bin Nayef as Deputy Crown Prince was highly unusual for its speed, Saudis said, ahead of the burial of the monarch due on Friday afternoon following his death in the early hours. Such appointments normally take several days.

Mohammed bin Nayef becomes the first grandson of the kingdom’s founding monarch, King Abdulaziz, known as Ibn Saud, to take an established place in the line of succession.

All Saudi kings since his death in 1953 have been his sons and the move into the next generation had raised the prospect of a palace power struggle. King Salman also appointed his own son Mohammed bin Salman Defense Minister and head of the royal court.

Salman, thought to be 79, now takes over as the ultimate authority in a country that faces long-term domestic challenges compounded by the plunging price of oil and the rise of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria, which vows to toppled the Al Saud.

In his first speech as king, shown live on Saudi television on Friday, Salman pledged to maintain the same approach to ruling the world’s top oil exporter and birthplace of Islam as his predecessors and also called for unity among Arab states.

“We will remain, God willing, holding the straight course that this country has walked on since its establishment by the late King Abdulaziz,” he said.

Salman must navigate a white-hot rivalry with Shi’ite Muslim power Iran playing out in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Lebanon and Bahrain, open conflict in two neighboring states, a threat from Islamist militants and bumpy relations with the United States.

Reputedly pragmatic and adept at managing the delicate balance of clerical, tribal, royal and Western interests that factor into Saudi policy making, Salman appears unlikely to change the kingdom’s approach to foreign affairs or energy sales.

But oil prices jumped on Friday as news of Abdullah’s death added to uncertainty in energy markets already facing some of the biggest shifts in decades.

By immediately announcing the appointment of his youngest half-brother Muqrin bin Abdulaziz as Crown Prince, King Salman moved decisively to end speculation about the direction of the royal succession and splits in the ruling family.

However, Saudi analysts pointed out that despite this move to demonstrate a smooth succession and respect the wishes of Abdullah, who had decreed that Muqrin should follow Salman, it is not clear how much power he will have as crown prince.

“Muqrin is not as conservative as Salman, but we will see how much of a role he will play in the new reign. According to the Basic Law, the crown prince cannot do more than what he is assigned to by the king,” said Khalid al-Dakheel, a political science professor in Riyadh.

REFORM LEGACY

Many Saudis in a country with a young population will be unable to recall a time before King Abdullah’s rule, both as monarch from 2005 and as de facto regent for a decade before that.

His legacy was an effort to overhaul the kingdom’s economic and social systems to address a looming demographic crisis by creating private sector jobs and making young Saudis better prepared to take them.

“I think (Salman) will continue with Abdullah’s reforms. He realizes the importance of this. He’s not conservative in person, but he values the opinion of the conservative constituency of the country,” said Jamal Khashoggi, head of a news channel owned by a Saudi prince.

However, Abdullah’s reforms did not stretch to politics, and after the Arab spring his security forces clamped down on all forms of dissent, imprisoning outspoken critics of the ruling family alongside women drivers and Islamist militants.

As the Saudi population grows and with the sharp decline in oil prices globally, the Al Saud will increasingly struggle to maintain its generous spending on social benefits for ordinary people, potentially undermining its future legitimacy in a country where there are no elections, analysts say.

King Salman has previously spoken against the idea of introducing democracy in Saudi Arabia in comments to American diplomats recorded in embassy cables later released by WikiLeaks.

UNMARKED GRAVE

In keeping with Muslim traditions, Abdullah’s body, clothed in white and shrouded in a simple cloth, will be carried on an ambulance stretcher by relatives to rest in the mosque before being borne to the cemetery and buried in an unmarked grave.

Prayers in the mosque will be led by King Salman and attended by Muslim heads of state and other senior figures, including President Abdel Fatteh al-Sisi of Egypt, one of Abdullah’s closest allies after the Arab spring uprisings.

Non-Muslim dignitaries will visit to pay respects to the new monarch and crown prince, and other members of the Al Saud dynasty, in the coming days.

Later, following the evening prayer an hour after sunset, King Salman and Crown Prince Muqrin will receive pledges of allegiance from other ruling family members, Wahhabi clerics, tribal chiefs, leading businessmen and other Saudi subjects.

In the kingdom’s strict Wahhabi sect of Sunni Islam, ostentatious displays of grief are frowned upon: after previous deaths of Saudi monarchs and other top royals, there was no official period of mourning and flags hung at full mast.

Despite a surge of sorrowful messages from Saudis on social media, that religious constraint on public commemorations meant there were no signs in Riyadh’s streets early on Friday that the country’s long-time ruler had died.

ISIS HINTS IT WANTS TO DEPOSE HAMAS AND PA

January 23rd, 2015

ISIS HINT IT WANTS TO DEPOSE HAMAS AND PA
by Dalit Halevy & Ari Yashar (Arutz Sheva News)

The Islamic State (ISIS) branch in “Bayt al-Maqdis,” an Arabization of the Hebrew Holy Temple and a term for Jerusalem, has started distributing publications explaining ISIS’s platform, in a campaign to expand its influence in Gaza, Judea and Samaria.

On the opening page of the publication by ISIS in “Palestine” is written “this is our position, this is our worldview, these are our founding principles. …The liar will not be left with an excuse, and the supporters will not be left with doubt.”

A large ISIS symbol is drawn on the center of the page, including the oath of allegiance to Islam that reads “there is no God but Allah.” Along with it appears a ring of Mohammed, the founder of Islam, with three words on it: Allah, Prophet, Mohammed.

Jihad holy war in the path of Allah is a commandment for all to “liberate the Muslim lands,” states the publication, emphasizing that there’s an obligation to fight the police and army of “the rule of tyranny and heresy.”

From the statement, it can be inferred that ISIS is calling for its followers to attack the Palestinian Authority (PA) in Judea and Samaria, and Hamas in Gaza, framing such a coup as a religious command.

The publication stresses that Jews and Christians will no longer enjoy “defense” among the Muslims as it claims was practiced in the past, calling for the non-Muslims to reach a new agreement with the Islamic State that aims for global domination.

Addressing the PA, the local ISIS branch added that any agreement reached with the “occupier” does not obligate Muslims, and is completely worthless.

The threats on the PA and Hamas come as Israeli security sources estimate hundreds of Hamas terrorists have been steadily switching over to ISIS, viewing Hamas as “too moderate” in comparison.

An ISIS terror cell was recently busted in Hevron too, in an area controlled by the PA.

ISIS already reportedly has a foothold in Gaza where it took an active part in last summer’s terror war against Israel, and where it claimed a bombing attack on the French Cultural Center last October.

MOVING ISRAEL FROM EUROPE TO ASIA

January 22nd, 2015

MOVING ISRAEL FROM EUROPE TO ASIA
(Jerusalem Post Article)

Israel feels a deep connection to Europe, but should remember that its affection for Europe has a lot in common with Stockholm Syndrome. Israel considers itself part of the Western cultural tradition, and of course it is; along with Greece, it is the birthplace of the Western cultural tradition. Israel should remember that it is much less a product of European culture than Europe is a product of Israeli and Judean culture.

After the Second World War, Western Europe was temporarily sympathetic to Israel out of guilt; in the ‘70s, it mostly shifted its sympathies to the Arabs, because its guilt was outweighed by its desire to ensure a steady supply of oil. Gradually, Europe’s leaders’ desire for oil was supplanted by their desire for Muslim votes.

Who can blame them? That’s how democracy works. But no concession Israel makes will win the approval of Europe’s multitude of radical Muslim voters – so no concession Israel makes will win the general approval of Europe’s politicians. Such is European realpolitik. So Israel should stop trying.

And forget sucking up to European’s affected concern for Palestinian statehood. Israel should switch its diplomatic focus to Asia.

Asia’s support for the Palestinians began as a matter of non-alignment, and Asia retains some non-alignment momentum.

Now, with the Soviet Union gone, “globalization” on the rise and a host of rapidly industrializing economies, Asia – like 1970s Europe – supports Palestinian interests chiefly to guarantee oil supplies. But Asian reliance on Arab oil is diminishing, as American and Canadian oil extraction is boosted by hydraulic fracturing techniques – “fracking” – which allow the tapping of hitherto untapped, and massive, North American petroleum reserves. Canada is already a major oil exporter; four years from now the United States will be exporting as much oil as Kuwait. Combined with Russian supplies, this will make Arab exporters much less willing to withhold energy exports for political purposes: you can’t assert a monopoly without a monopoly to assert.

And unlike Europe, east Asian governments (aside from Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei) aren’t greatly influenced by their Muslim populations. In the oriental democracies, there are few Muslim voters; in the dictatorships there are no voters, Muslim or otherwise. Bangladesh is a Muslim country which doesn’t recognize Israel – but in India, (pro-Israel) Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata party has shown that you can win India-wide elections with limited Muslim support.

ISRAEL IS a technology giant, and one of the world’s top technology exporters.

As the power of Arab and Persian oil is diminished, the relative geopolitical power of Israeli technology will increase. Every country in Asia needs technology that Israel can provide. As global tech competitiveness becomes a necessity for developing countries, the benefits of closeness to Israel will outweigh closeness to Arabs via the Palestinian Authority. (Leviathan gas joining the market will just be a bonus.) Israel should cultivate its Asian alliances along these lines; to begin with, Israel should make support in the UN a condition for large foreign-government contracts, along with recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. It should also begin floating the idea of Asian countries recognizing a prospective annexation of Area C.

As regards the old countries: Israel should keep in mind that, in the long run, Europe will need Israel more than Israel needs Europe. Eastern and Central Europe’s scientific establishments were decimated by the ‘30s’ Jewish exodus; it was largely Hungarian, Polish, German Jews who were responsible for splitting the atom and inventing the computer – but they made their ultimate breakthroughs in the United States.

As more and more West European Jews make aliya, western Europe’s tech industries will take comparable hits.

It also bears mentioning that, like east Asian dictatorships, west Asian Arab dictatorships don’t have to worry about the views of voters, short of revolution-level offenses. And in the long run, they too will have to weigh Palestinian sympathy against Israeli technology (only Iran is whole-heartedly invested in the ideological side of things). But that’s a few steps down the road.

PALESTINIANS CELEBRATE TEL AVIV BUS STABBING

January 21st, 2015

PALESTINIANS CELEBRATE TEL AVIV BUS STABBING
by Israel Today Staff

Average Palestinians and those in positions of power again demonstrated their commitment to and desire for peace with Israel by praising and celebrating a brutal terrorist attack in Tel Aviv on Wednesday morning, when a 22-year-old Arab man boarded a public bus and stabbed 17 Jews.

Hamas official Izzat al-Rishq took to Twitter to hail the attack as “heroic and daring.” Another Hamas leader, Husam Badran wrote on Facebook that the group “praises this extraordinary act and calls for more devotion, as well as individual and collective resistance.”

It should be noted that Hamas is the ruling authority in Gaza, and is still being courted by “moderate” Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas in order to form a unity government.

Speaking of Abbas, who by mid-morning had failed to condemn the Tel Aviv attack, Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said that he and his regime in Ramallah were as much to blame for the bloodshed as anyone.

“They are all part of a process of undermining the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish state, and it doesn’t matter to them whether it’s in Judea, Samaria, the Negev, the Galilee, Tel Aviv, or Jerusalem,” wrote Lieberman. “Therefore we must act with determination against all those people, who are operating under different names and at different levels, but they all have the same target: To kill Jews and destroy Israel.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu likewise pointed an accusatory finger at the Palestinian Authority.

“The attack in Tel Aviv is the direct result of the poisonous incitement spread by the Palestinian Authority toward the Jews and their state,” he said in an official statement. “The ones who rushed to praise this attack are Hamas, Abbas’ partners in the unity government.”

Opposition leader Isaac Herzog, whose Labor Party is predicted by some to score an upset victory in the upcoming election, said the attack highlighted that under Netanyahu, “There is not a feeling of security for Israeli citizens, not in Jerusalem, the Gaza region, or Tel Aviv.”

Wednesday’s attack, which left at least four in life-threatening condition, was halted by officers in a Prison Service’s vehicle traveling behind the bus. They noticed it had started driving erratically and followed closely before seeing the terrorist leap from the bus as he tried to flee the scene.

One of the Prison Service’s officers quickly responded by shooting the terrorist in the leg. The assailant was captured by police and interrogated at the scene.

It was later reported that the bus driver had struggled with the terrorist, accounting for the erratic driving. The driver suffered a stab wound to the liver, and is one of those listed in serious condition.

ARAB-ISRAELI CONFLICT

January 20th, 2015

ARAB-ISRAELI CONFLICT
by Jerusalem Post Staff

Calling the strike that killed one Iranian general and a key Hezbollah figure an “intelligence and operational success,” former Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) chief Yaakov Peri still refrained from attributing the hit to Israel in name.

Speaking in an interview with Army Radio on Tuesday, the Yesh Atid MK suggested that Hezbollah’s presence so close to the mountainous border with Israel was a preparatory measure.

“In my analysis this was meant to facilitate a series of terrorist attacks inside Israeli territory,” Peri said, adding that he suspects that the identities of those killed in the strike was not necessarily a mystery to the involved intelligence actors prior to the mission.

Jihad Mughniyeh, son of former Hezbollah chief Imad Mugniyeh, as well as 11 others were killed in the airborne attack, including six Iranians, one of them a general. Iranian state sources confirmed the identity of the senior Revolutionary Guard officer, naming him as General Mohamed Allahdadi. Another key figure killed in the attack was identified as Mohammed Issa, the head of Hezbollah’s operation in war-torn Syria and Iraq.

The former Israeli spymaster also weighed in on another senior defense figure’s reported speculation that the timing of the Golan strike was politically convenient.

Former candidate for IDF chief of staff Yoav Galant had linked the attack on the Hezbollah convoy to the political climate surrounding the upcoming Israeli elections, saying that “from past events you can learn that sometimes there is timing that is not unrelated to campaigns.”

Though Galant later retracted the comment, the retired head of the southern command and current number two in Koolanu’s list came under scrutiny from his colleagues who called his comments “disappointing” and “unnecessary.”

Peri echoed the sentiment though his words were more measured.
“There is no doubt that when an operation like this rises to levels of national significance, all the consequences must be checked and weighed”, Peri said, adding that such conspiratorial thinking does not play into his understanding of the motives behind the Sunday operation. “I believe there is no political connection.”

Though he lauded the tactical circumstances of the strike, Peri also stated that there is an emotional element for Hezbollah in losing such high ranking figures and that the consequences of such a powerful blow must be weighed by the security establishment and not taken lightly.

Speaking on the Prime Minister, Peri claimed that while he diverges on diplomatic decisions, when it comes to strategic decisions he trusts Netanyahu.

KURDS CAPTURE STRATEGIC HILLTOP IN KOBANE

January 19th, 2015

KURDS CAPTURE STRATEGIC HILLTOP IN KOBANE
by Arutz Sheva News Starr

Islamic State jihadists slowly being pushed from Kobane; Mishtenur hilltop gives Kurds line of fire over entire strategic town.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the Kurdish People’s People Units (YPG) had seized the Mishtenur hilltop after fierce clashes overnight.

“The military operation led to the deaths of at least 11 Islamic State fighters, and the seizure of large quantities of weapons and ammunition,” the Observatory said.

Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman said the advance was a key strategic victory for the YPG, putting ISIS resupply lines to Aleppo in the west and Raqqa in the east within their line of fire.

ISIS has been battling to capture Kobane, on the Syrian-Turkish border, since mid-September, and at one point seemed poised to overrun the Kurdish town.

But Kurdish fighters backed by massive air raids by the US-led coalition against ISIS have gradually pushed back the jihadists, who now hold around 15 percent of the town.


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