Independence Is Possible Only Due to the Fallen
"I am sure we will know how to carry out our missions." — Israel Defense Force Chief of Staff Benny Gantz
In today's Middle East, radical forces, which thrive on chaos, are on the rise; and those who rule the Arab states are here today and gone tomorrow.
Independence Day in Israel, which this evening starts celebrations for the 65th year of Israel's Independence, takes place deliberately right after Memorial Day, dedicated to honoring Israel's fallen soldiers, so the Israeli public remains keenly aware that independence is possible only due to the sacrifices made by the fallen.
This year, however, looks set to be decisive – when the world finds out whether the international community's policy of engaging Tehran diplomatically, while applying biting economic sanctions, will work or not. Should the policy fail, military action remains a serious possibility.
Since Israel's founding in 1948, Israelis have sought peace and seized upon opportunities to make it when they arose, such as Israel's return of the Sinai Peninsula in 1979 in exchange for peace with Egypt, as well as departure from Southern Lebanon and the Gaza Strip.
"Despite everything," said newly appointed Defense Minister, Moshe Ya'alon, "despite so many elements that wanted to prevent this country's founding, and who continue to invest so much every day to destroy us – they arise here in our intelligence assessments, Iran, Hezbollah -- nevertheless, there is no doubt, that what stands between independence and a lack of independence is the shield of the IDF. "
"We have the great privilege of defending Israel and protecting its independence," Israel Defense Force Chief of Staff Benny Gantz concurred this week at IDF General Headquarters in Tel Aviv. "I wish us a successful year of independence, in the face of the challenges that are emerging before us. I am sure we will know how to carry out our missions."
While Ya'alon and Gantz have been studying the intelligence on the upheavals and multiple asymmetric threats developing on Israel's borders, Iran and its nuclear program remain at the top of the security agenda.
Although a collapsing Syria no longer remains a conventional military threat to Israel -- the Syrian army is engaged in fighting the rebels, while steadily losing its power -- the crumbling Middle Eastern old order is allowing for a plethora of terrorist organizations to grow on Israel's borders
Hezbollah, for example, an Iranian-backed Shi'ite terrorist group, remains with its estimated 80,000 rockets – an unprecedented number of projectiles – pointed at Israel.
Should Hezbollah initiate a future round of hostilities, the IDF has prepared a large-scale ground operation into Lebanon, aimed at extinguishing rocket attacks on the Israeli home front.
The Israel Air Force has also been busy preparing surprises for future conflicts. New technologies allow fighter jets to strike as many as 1500 targets in 24 hours. Israel's reply to Hezbollah aggression would be devastating.
Both Iran and Hezbollah are in the process of setting up a militia in war-torn Syria. This militia, made up of 50,000 fighters, will remain active in Syria even if the Assad regime is toppled.
Also in Syria, Al-Qaeda is planning to raise the flag of radical Sunni Islam, as its Syrian and Iraqi forces announce a merger.
In Israel's south, near the Gaza strip, the IDF is also closely monitoring Hamas, which, at least for the time being, has remained deterred by Israel. Next door, however, the Sinai Peninsula is filled with Al-Qaeda-affiliated jihadi fighters, who are planning their next cross-border attack.
The IDF is closely studying this complex map of threats, and making sure it is ready for the future. Today, with Israel's military is at its strongest, the country is capable of dealing with its highly chaotic and dangerous environment.
Comment on this item
by Alan M. Dershowitz
by Louis René Beres
Jihadi violence serves not only to advance the terrorist's delusion of immortality, but also to add, however perversely, an apparent and desperately needed erotic satisfaction, using religion as the justification.
Persuasive promises of immortality -- the desperate hope to live forever -- underlie virtually all major religions.
Washington and Jerusalem should finally address what needs to be done in addition to military remediation -- reinforcing efforts to convince these terrorists that their expected martyrdom is ultimately just an elaborate fiction.
by Gill Gillespie and Shabnam Assadollahi
The aim of the current Iranian regime is clearly to acquire a nuclear weapons capability and to retain as much territory in Iraq as possible under Shia Islamist rule, whatever the human cost. Those aims are also the reason Iran's regime is now trying to intervene in Iraq.
Iran will doubtless be demanding that any cooperation with the West be compensated for by "concessions" permitting its nuclear weapons program.
Involving Iran in Iraq at this point will merely alienate any Sunni allies whose assistance is much needed to defeat IS.
Many people inside Iran have alerted the U.S. Administration for over two years about other industrial facilities being secretly built in Iran and not declared to the International Atomic Energy. So far, all intelligence from within Iran has been wilfully ignored by the Obama Administration.
by Burak Bekdil
The Turkish government "frankly worked" with the al-Nusrah Front, the al-Qaeda affiliate in Syria, along with other terrorist groups.
The Financial Task Force, an international body setting the standards for combating terrorist financing, ruled that Turkey should remain in its "gray list."
While NATO wishes to reinforce its outreach to democracies such as Australia and Japan, Turkey is trying to forge wider partnerships with the Arab world, Russia, China, Central Asia, China, Africa and -- and with a bunch of terrorist organizations, including Hamas, Muslim Brotherhood, Ahrar al-Sham and the al-Nusrah Front.
Being NATO's only Muslim member was fine. Being NATO's only Islamist member ideologically attached to the Muslim Brotherhood is quite another thing.
by Samuel Westrop
British politicians seem to be trapped in an endless debate over how to curb both violent and non-violent extremism within the Muslim community.
A truly useful measure might be to end the provision of state funding and legitimacy to terror-linked extremist charities.