A Recent Shooting Is a Reminder of the Constant Threat of West Bank Terror

Dec. 13 2018

Monday night, a Palestinian terrorist opened fire at a bus stop in the Israeli town of Ofra, wounding seven people, including a pregnant woman whose baby, despite doctors’ heroic efforts, died yesterday morning. Just two months ago, a terrorist succeeded in killing two Israelis in the Barkan industrial zone. Yoav Limor writes that these attacks don’t reflect an “uptick” in terror but an ongoing problem:

On a nightly basis, dozens of army and police teams, mainly under the direction of the Shin Bet security agency, operate to thwart terrorist attacks. From the beginning of the year until Tuesday morning, over 530 significant terrorist attacks—bombs, abductions, car-rammings, stabbings, shootings—have been prevented, and more than 4,000 Palestinians have been detained. During this period, ten Israelis were murdered and 76 wounded in Judea and Samaria.

By comparison, although the northern and the southern sectors have occupied the most attention these past two months, [they have borne a much smaller death toll]. There have not been any casualties along the borders with Lebanon and Syria, while in the Gaza sector two IDF officers have been killed and a Palestinian living in Ashkelon was killed by a Hamas rocket attack.

While the potential for a dangerous escalation in the north and south is considerably greater, in Judea and Samaria the routine is one of consistent bloodshed. It is barely news when Molotov cocktails and stones are thrown at IDF troops, and localized clashes—some of them admittedly instigated by radical [Jewish] elements in the settlement movement—are hardly noticed. . . .

Hamas, via its headquarters in Gaza and Turkey, is investing tremendous energy in carrying out attacks. While the terrorist group has sought to reduce the flames in Gaza, it wants to ignite a powder keg in Judea and Samaria. To this end, it is trying to exploit a situation that is already unstable for numerous reasons: the lack of a successor to the Palestinian Authority’s President Mahmoud Abbas, the stalled peace process, economic frustrations. . . . There will always be that one cell or lone terrorist who sneaks through the cracks.

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Read more at Israel Hayom

More about: Hamas, Israel & Zionism, Israeli Security, Palestinian terror, West Bank

The Syrian Civil War May Be Coming to an End, but Three New Wars Are Rising There

March 26 2019

With both Islamic State and the major insurgent forces largely defeated, Syria now stands divided into three parts. Some 60 percent of the country, in the west and south, is in the hands of Bashar al-Assad and his allies. Another 30 percent, in the northeast, is in the hands of the mostly Kurdish, and American-backed, Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). The final 10 percent, in the northwest, is held by Sunni jihadists, some affiliated with al-Qaeda, under Turkish protection. But, writes Jonathan Spyer, the situation is far from stable. Kurds, likely linked to the SDF, have been waging an insurgency in the Turkish areas, and that’s only one of the problems:

The U.S.- and SDF-controlled area east of the Euphrates is also witnessing the stirrings of internal insurgency directed from outside. According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, “236 [SDF] fighters, civilians, oil workers, and officials” have been killed since August 2018 in incidents unrelated to the frontline conflict against Islamic State. . . . The SDF blames Turkey for these actions, and for earlier killings such as that of a prominent local Kurdish official. . . . There are other plausible suspects within Syria, however, including the Assad regime (or its Iranian allies) or Islamic State, all of which are enemies of the U.S.-supported Kurds.

The area controlled by the regime is by far the most secure of Syria’s three separate regions. [But, for instance, in] the restive Daraa province in the southwest, [there has been] a renewed small-scale insurgency against the Assad regime. . . .

As Islamic State’s caliphate disappears from Syria’s map, the country is settling into a twilight reality of de-facto division, in which a variety of low-burning insurgencies continue to claim lives. Open warfare in Syria is largely over. Peace, however, will remain a distant hope.

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Read more at Foreign Policy

More about: ISIS, Kurds, Politics & Current Affairs, Syrian civil war, Turkey