Unstable Neighborhood: Terrorist Groups Encircle Israel
Translations of this item:
Smaller Gazan terror groups have taken to "sub-contracting jobs" to terrorists in the neighboring Sinai Peninsula, to avoid exposing Hamas in Gaza to Israeli retaliation. Hamas and Islamic Jihad use the she same "trick". It also allows them to build up their own rocket arsenals to prepare for a future clash with Israel.
A breakdown in state sovereignty among Arab countries bordering Israel has created a vacuum eagerly filled by radical non-state actors.
In lawless areas around Israel, both Sunni and Shi'ite terrorist organizations are reaching out across borders and moving personnel and weapons. This means that an eruption of violence in one area carries the potential to ignite other arenas around Israel.
To Israel's south and west, Al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorist networks are growing. They operate in both the Gaza Strip and in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula, and maintain a relationship with Gaza's rulers – Hamas – as well as with Islamic Jihad.
Smaller Gazan terror groups, such as the Popular Resistance Committees (which are heavily involved in firing rockets at Israel) have taken to "sub-contracting jobs" to terrorists in the neighboring Sinai Peninsula, to avoid exposing Hamas in Gaza to Israeli retaliation.
Hamas and Islamic Jihad use the same "trick" when they wish to attempt low signature terror attacks. It also allows them to build up their own rocket arsenals to prepare for a future clash with Israel.
The transnational terror networks in Gaza and Sinai will likely soon link up with extremist jihadi groups in Syria and Lebanon, meaning that pro-Al-Qaeda elements can be expected to pose a tactical threat to four of Israel's borders: Egypt, Gaza, Syria, and Lebanon.
To Israel's north, Shi'ite Hezbollah has sent large numbers of fighters to Syria: at the moment, in addition to its traditional bases in southern Lebanon, the Iranian-backed terror organization, armed with some 100,000 rockets and missiles, can use Syria as a staging ground for future attacks on Israel. In the same vein, terror networks link the Gaza Strip to the West Bank.
Both Hamas and Islamic Jihad are actively trying to construct terror cells in the West Bank and east Jerusalem; so far, these efforts have been successfully stopped by Israel's domestic intelligence agency, the Shin Bet .
Even if efforts by Gazan terrorists to orchestrate attacks in the West Bank fail, however, a future flare-up in Gaza will likely lead to a rise in spontaneous violent disturbances in the Palestinian territories of the West Bank, as already occurred during a 2012 conflict in Gaza between Hamas and Israel.
Egypt's ongoing lack of stability has made it difficult for Cairo to exercise control over the Sinai Peninsula, despite the best efforts of the Egyptian military to combat the threat. Under the leadership of its military chief, Field Marshal Mohamed Fattah Al-Sisi, Egypt, like Israel, views the Gaza Strip as a national security threat, due to the movement of hundreds of Salafi jihadi terrorists and weapons between Gaza and Sinai through underground tunnels. It is these terrorists who are now frequently attacking Egyptian security forces there.
Meanwhile, to Israel's north, Syria has, to all intents and purposes, imploded, with the Assad regime controlling, according to some estimates, no more than 40% percent of the country. Syria has also become the world's top recruitment area for Al-Qaeda-affiliated groups; some 30,000 jihadi fighters are thought now to be active there.
The IDF's Rimon special-forces unit conducts a training exercise in the Golan, near the Syrian border, on Feb. 2. (Image source: IDF)
Lebanon, which has hinged its existence as a state on a delicate sectarian balance, is reeling from the war exploding in next door Syria -- a conflict that has seen over a million Syrian refugees, as well as radical Sunni groups, move into Lebanon.
It is this uncertain reality for which the IDF is preparing. These initiatives include enhanced intelligence, strengthened border security, improved surveillance capabilities, and swift responses to any sudden eruption of conflict on multiple fronts.
The dramatic changes in the region have prompted the Israel Defense Forces to put a special focus on its intelligence and precision-fire capabilities.
Hi-tech intelligence-gathering techniques give Israel a superior chance of receiving a prior warning before threats materialize, while precision-guided weapons, which can be deployed by the air force or from ground-based platforms, enable the IDF to strike targets both near and far at a moment's notice.
Israel is prepared, even if it hopes that these preparations will not be necessary.
Comment on this item
by Soeren Kern
Hamas would likely resort to violence to thwart any attempts to disarm the group. It is therefore highly unlikely the Europeans would confront Hamas in any meaningful way.
Spanish intelligence agents met secretly with Hezbollah operatives, who agreed to provide "escorts" to protect Spanish UNIFIL patrols. The quid pro quo was that Spanish troops would look the other way while Hezbollah was allowed to rearm for its next war with Israel. Hezbollah's message to Spain was: mind your own business.
If the European experience with Hezbollah in Lebanon is any indication, not only will Hamas not be disarmed, it will be rearmed as European monitors look on and do nothing.
What is clear is that European leaders have never been committed to honoring either the letter or the spirit of UN Resolutions 1559, 1680 and 1701, all of which were aimed at preventing Hezbollah from rearming.
by Debalina Ghoshal
According to former Bush administration official Stephen Rademaker, for the United States to respond to Russian violations of the treaty by pulling out of it would be "welcome in Moscow," which is "wrestling with the question of how they terminate [the treaty]" and thus, the United States should not make it easier for the Russians to leave.
by Guy Millière
Belgian security services have estimated that the number of European jihadists in Syria may be over 4000.
European leaders have directed their nastiest comments against the Jewish state, none of them has asked why Palestinian organizations in Gaza put their stockpiles of weapons in hospitals, homes, schools and mosques, or their command and control centers at the bottom of large apartment buildings or underneath hospitals. None of them has even said that Hamas is a terrorist organization despite its genocidal charter.
The majority of them are wedded to the idea of redistribution. Their policies are anti-growth, do not afford people any economic opportunity, and are what caused these economic crises in Europe in the first place. The United States seems to be following these thoroughly failed policies as well.
"Europe could not stay the same with a different population in it." — Christopher Caldwell, Reflections on the Revolution in Europe.
by Raymond Ibrahim
"I abducted your girls. I will sell them on the market, by Allah... There is a market for selling humans. Allah says I should sell." — Abubakar Shekau, leader of Boko Haram.
Hillary Clinton repeatedly refused to designate Boko Haram a terrorist organization.
In Malaysia -- regularly portrayed in the West as a moderate Muslim nation -- any attempt to promote religions other than Islam is illegal.
"The reason they want to kill me is very clear -- it is because of being a convert to Christianity." — Hassan Muwanguzi, Uganda.
by Dexter Van Zile
Rev. Hanna Massad does not mention that perhaps Hamas actually wants the blockade to end so it can bring in more weapons and cement to build attack-tunnels so it can "finish the job."
Hamas does not just admit to using human shields, it brags about using human shields. Why does Massad have to inject an air of uncertainty about Hamas's use of human shields when no such uncertainty exists?
The problem is that any self-respecting journalist would confront Massad with a follow-up question about Hamas's ideology and violence, but not the folks at Christianity Today.