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Russia May Be Setting the Stage for Hizballah’s Next War with Israel

For several years, Hizballah forces have been deployed in Syria to defend the reign of Bashar al-Assad. The Iran-sponsored militia has thus become a de-facto ally of Russia in its fight against Syrian rebels. Jonathan Schanzer explains the implications for Israel:

Iran is . . . arming Hizballah in preparation [not just to fight in Syria but also] for the next conflict with Israel. In fall 2015, Israel’s military assessed that Hizballah had increased its rocket arsenal from an estimated 100,000 to roughly 150,000 since the Syrian war began. [In addition], Russia [has] established fusion centers so that it could coordinate its war effort with Iran, Hizballah, and the Assad regime. Hizballah has benefited from Russian air cover, and even fought alongside Russian forces against Syrian rebels.

Meanwhile Iran and its Lebanese proxy have tried to exploit both the Russian presence and the fog of war to move what Israelis have called “game-changing weapons” from the war zone to Lebanon. Israeli officials say the weapons they are attempting to acquire include long-range and high-payload rockets, lethal anti-ship missiles, and perhaps even sophisticated anti-aircraft systems. . . .

The longer Iran and Hizballah have to perfect their weapons-smuggling infrastructure, the higher the likelihood of a successful transfer of “game-changing weapons.” Hizballah already has tens of thousands of rockets, but a successful transfer of more advanced weapons would be a red line for Israel, prompting a pre-emptive strike before those weapons can be deployed.

The Israelis have warned repeatedly that the next war with Hizballah could be one in which Israel will seek nothing less than total defeat and ousting of Hizballah from Lebanon. Vladimir Putin’s foray into Syria has been described as an attempt to resurrect Russia’s past. But Soviet actions in the Middle East contributed inexorably to the Six-Day War and its own weakening in the region. Russia risks repeating the mistakes it made a half-century ago, mistakes that still have a profound impact on the region today.

Read more at Newsweek

More about: Hizballah, Iran, Israel & Zionism, Israeli Security, Russia, Syrian civil war

Why Israeli Arabs Should Drop Their Political Parties

Sept. 20 2017

Even as Israel’s Arab citizens enjoy rights, freedoms, and economic opportunities unrivaled in the Arab world, their political leadership is more intent on undermining the Jewish state than on serving their actual interests. Moshe Arens, a former Israeli defense minister, comments. (Free registration may be required.)

[T]he Knesset members of the [Arab] Joint List have nothing but criticism for Israel and praise for its enemies, be they Iran, President Bashar al-Assad in Syria, Hizballah in Lebanon, Hamas in the Gaza Strip, or Palestinian terrorists. . . . Although spanning the ideological spectrum from Communism (aside from the North Koreans, the only Communists still around), the Muslim Brotherhood (called the Islamic Movement in Israel), and Baathists (the Balad party), they are united in their hatred of Israel. Naturally, they do not call for Arab integration into Israeli society.

Those who oppose the polygamy rampant in the Arab community oppose Israeli measures to curb it. Those who are against the abuse of women and so-called honor killings think these are “local problems” that should be handled by the Arabs themselves. Nor do they want the Israel police to handle the crime running wild in Israel’s Arab towns. Keep Israel out of your lives, is their common motto. They oppose young Arabs volunteering for either military or civilian national service. . . .

Within Israel’s Arab community there is a struggle between those who insist on rejecting everything Israel stands for while supporting its enemies and those who want to integrate into Israeli society and take advantage of the opportunities it offers. . . . Can Israel’s Arabs become a beacon of democracy and modernity for the Arab world, or will they provide proof that Arabs are not yet prepared to enter the 21st century? . . .

[E]ach year, growing numbers of young Arabs volunteer for national service and join the ranks of Israel’s military and police. At the moment, the only way this trend can express itself politically is for these individuals to drop their support for the Joint List in favor of Israel’s existing political parties, and for these parties to welcome Arabs into their ranks.

Read more at Haaretz

More about: Israel & Zionism, Israeli Arabs, Israeli politics, Joint List