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What Hamas’s Massive Terror Tunnel Signifies

Jan. 17 2018

The IDF demolished a Hamas tunnel last weekend that stretched from Egyptian territory in the Sinai, underneath Gaza, to a point 180 meters into Israeli territory, adjacent to the sole border crossing that connects Gaza and Israel. To Ron Ben-Yishai, the tunnel’s existence demonstrates much about Hamas’s plans:

Hamas’s military wing likely counted on this tunnel for smuggling strategic weapons, possibly heavy precision-guided missiles that would be sent to the Strip from Iran through Sinai and serve Hamas in its next conflict with Israel. But that wasn’t its only purpose. Another purpose was to infiltrate Israel and to target the [nearby] communities of Kerem Shalom and Shlomit, and possibly also bomb the crossing on its Israeli side. . . . The [obvious] conclusion is that [Hamas] was willing to sacrifice the Gazans’ welfare and vital needs in favor of a “strategic surprise” for Israel in the Kerem Shalom area.

Those who wondered about Hamas’s leader Yahya Sinwar’s apparent moderation have now received their answer. The restraint practiced by the radical terrorist, [who was among many terrorists released in exchange for the captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit], was simply a way of covering up his intention to carry out a murderous attack in Israel and bypass the Egyptian measures aimed at disconnecting Islamic State in Sinai from Hamas and other Palestinian terror organizations in Gaza. . . .

Hamas and Islamic Jihad now understand, without a doubt, that they are about to lose all of their underground assets. Furthermore, the Egyptians are going to reevaluate their relationship with Hamas in Gaza. As a result, the probability is growing that the two largest terror organizations in the strip will initiate an escalation with Israel, before losing the ability to surprise us [altogether].

Read more at Ynet

More about: Egypt, Hamas, Israel & Zionism, Israeli Security, Sinai Peninsula

How the U.S. Can Strike at Iran without Risking War

In his testimony before Congress on Tuesday, Michael Doran urged the U.S. to pursue a policy of rolling back Iranian influence in the Middle East, and explained how this can be accomplished. (Video of the testimony, along with the full text, are available at the link below.)

The United States . . . has indirect ways of striking at Iran—ways that do not risk drawing the United States into a quagmire. The easiest of these is to support allies who are already in the fight. . . . In contrast to the United States, Israel is already engaged in military operations whose stated goal is to drive Iran from Syria. We should therefore ask ourselves what actions we might take to strengthen Israel’s hand. Militarily, these might include, on the passive end of the spectrum, positioning our forces so as to deter Russian counterattacks against Israel. On the [more active] end, they might include arming and training Syrian forces to engage in operations against Iran and its proxies—much as we armed the mujahedin in Afghanistan in the 1980s.

Diplomatically, the United States might associate itself much more directly with the red lines that Israel has announced regarding the Iranian presence in Syria. Israel has, for example, called for pushing Iran and its proxies away from its border on the Golan Heights. Who is prepared to say that Washington has done all in its power to demonstrate to Moscow that it fully supports this goal? In short, a policy of greater coordination with Jerusalem is both possible and desirable.

In Yemen, too, greater coordination with Saudi Arabia is worth pursuing. . . . In Lebanon and Iraq, conditions will not support a hard rollback policy. In these countries the goal should be to shift the policy away from a modus vivendi [with Iran] and in the direction of containment. In Iraq, the priority, of course, is the dismantling of the militia infrastructure that the Iranians have built. In Lebanon, [it should be] using sanctions to force the Lebanese banking sector to choose between doing business with Hizballah and Iran and doing business with the United States and its financial institutions. . . .

Iran will not take a coercive American policy sitting down. It will strike back—and it will do so cleverly. . . . It almost goes without saying that the United States should begin working with its allies now to develop contingency plans for countering the tactics [Tehran is likely to use]. I say “almost” because I know from experience in the White House that contingency planning is something we extol much more than we conduct. As obvious as these tactics [against us] are, they have often taken Western decision makers by surprise, and they have proved effective in wearing down Western resolve.

Read more at Hudson

More about: Iran, Israeli Security, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Syria, U.S. Foreign policy, Yemen