At Its Seventh Congress, Mahmoud Abbas’s Party Endorses Continued Low-Grade Violence

Dec. 22 2016

At the seventh congress of the PLO’s Fatah faction a few weeks ago, the Palestinian Authority (PA) president and other party leaders gave speeches endorsing “popular resistance” against Israel, the policy initiated at the previous congress in 2009. The Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center explains what this term signifies:

[While] “popular resistance” is represented as legal, unarmed, and peaceful, . . . developments on the ground since the sixth conference indicate that behind the term “peaceful popular resistance” hides support given by Mahmoud Abbas, Fatah, and the Palestinian Authority to terrorism, which again erupted violently in September 2015. . . .

As far as Fatah and the PA are concerned, “popular resistance” creates constant, monitored, [and] controlled tension between Israel and the Palestinians, used to exert pressure on Israel to the degree considered appropriate for the needs of the PA’s political campaign against Israel. [For] the PA and Fatah, “popular resistance” [is] an acceptable alternative to Hamas’s concept of “armed struggle,” which the PA and Fatah do not regard as useful at the present stage of the Palestinians’ anti-Israel struggle (although Fatah does not reject it in principle).

“Popular resistance” is not non-violent protest, as claimed by Mahmoud Abbas and the PA. It makes extensive use of violence, especially the throwing of stones and Molotov cocktails, as well as stabbing and vehicular attacks. . . . During the past year “popular resistance” . . . has caused the deaths of dozens of Israeli civilians and members of the Israeli security forces. . . .

[Nonetheless], the PA objects to the use of firearms and to turning “popular resistance” into a military-type intifada against Israel, as advocated by Hamas.

Read more at Meir Amit Center

More about: Fatah, Israel & Zionism, Knife intifada, Mahmoud Abbas, Palestinian terror

To Undermine Russian and Iranian Influence in Syria, the U.S. Must Go on the Offensive

March 22 2018

When Iranian-lead, pro-Assad forces attacked U.S. allies in Syria last month, they found themselves quickly overwhelmed by American firepower. The incident, writes Tony Badran, makes clear that the U.S. has the capability to push back against the Damascus-Tehran-Moscow axis. By taking a more aggressive approach while working closely with Israel, Badran argues, Washington can at once prevent Russia and Iran from cementing their control of Syria and avoid getting drawn into a wider conflict:

Israeli assets can augment U.S. capabilities considerably. A few days after the skirmish in Deir Ezzour in February, Iran flew a drone into Israeli air space. Israel responded by destroying the Iranian command center at the Tiyas military air base near Palmyra, and then proceeded to bomb a large number of Iranian and Assad-regime targets. The episode again underscored the vulnerability of Iran, to say nothing of the brittle Assad regime. Close coordination with Israel to expand this ongoing targeting campaign against Iranian and Hizballah infrastructure, senior cadres, and logistical routes, and amplifying it with U.S. assets in the region, would have a devastating effect on Iran’s position in Syria.

By going on the offensive, the U.S. will also strengthen Israel’s hand with Russia, reducing Jerusalem’s need to petition the Kremlin and thereby diminishing Moscow’s ability to position itself as an arbiter on Israeli security. For instance, instead of haggling with Russia to obtain its commitment to keep Iran five or seven kilometers away from the Israeli border, the U.S. could adopt the Israeli position on Iran’s entrenchment in Syria and assist Israel in enforcing it. Such a posture would have a direct effect on another critical ally, Jordan, whose role is of high importance in southern Syria and in the U.S. zone in the east.

Assad and Iran are the scaffolding on which the Russian position stands. Targeting them, therefore, undercuts Moscow and reduces its leverage. By merely forcing Russia to respect Israeli and Jordanian needs on the border, the U.S. would undermine Russia’s attempt, more generally, to leverage its position in Syria to make headway into the U.S. alliance system. In addition to adopting a more offensive military posture, the U.S. should also intensify the economic chokehold on Assadist Syria.

Read more at Caravan

More about: Hizballah, Iran, Israeli Security, Politics & Current Affairs, Russia, Syrian civil war, U.S. Foreign policy