A 1,600-Year-Old Roman Lamp Found in the Desert

On a hiking trail with his classmates in the Aravah desert, near the ominously named Scorpions Pass, an Israeli teenager recently came across an item that archaeologists identified as an ancient oil lamp. Gavriel Fiske writes:

The trail was once an ancient trade route connected to the copper mines in the region and was patrolled and secured by Roman soldiers, the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) said in a press release, and noted that an identical oil lamp was found in the same location 90 years before.

The oil lamp was produced in the ancient Nabatean city of Petra, in Jordan, in the 4th or 5th century CE, and similar lamps have been found in other sites in the area, the IAA senior researcher Tali Erickson-Gini said.

A line of forts was built along the route, garrisoned by Roman soldiers who patrolled the road on horseback, securing the important shipments of copper from the mines. “It is easy to imagine the lamp lighting up the darkness in the lonely, isolated fort manned by Roman soldiers,” Erickson-Gini explained.

Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Ancient Israel, Ancient Rome, Archaeology

Iran’s Program of Subversion and Propaganda in the Caucasus

In the past week, Iranian proxies and clients have attacked Israel from the West Bank, Gaza, Lebanon, and Yemen. Iran also has substantial military assets in Iraq and Syria—countries over which it exercises a great deal of control—which could launch significant attacks on Israel as well. Tehran, in addition, has stretched its influence northward into both Azerbaijan and Armenia. While Israel has diplomatic relations with both of these rival nations, its relationship with Baku is closer and involves significant military and security collaboration, some of which is directed against Iran. Alexander Grinberg writes:

Iran exploits ethnic and religious factors in both Armenia and Azerbaijan to further its interests. . . . In Armenia, Iran attempts to tarnish the legitimacy of the elected government and exploit the church’s nationalist position and tensions between it and the Armenian government; in Azerbaijan, the Iranian regime employs outright terrorist methods similar to its support for terrorist proxies in the Middle East [in order to] undermine the regime.

Huseyniyyun (Islamic Resistance Movement of Azerbaijan) is a terrorist militia made up of ethnic Azeris and designed to fight against Azerbaijan. It was established by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps . . . in the image of other pro-Iranian militias. . . . Currently, Huseyniyyun is not actively engaged in terrorist activities as Iran prefers more subtle methods of subversion. The organization serves as a mouthpiece of the Iranian regime on various Telegram channels in the Azeri language. The main impact of Huseyniyyun is that it helps spread Iranian propaganda in Azerbaijan.

The Iranian regime fears the end of hostilities between Armenia and Azerbaijan because this would limit its options for disruption. Iranian outlets are replete with anti-Semitic paranoia against Azerbaijan, accusing the country of awarding its territory to Zionists and NATO. . . . Likewise, it is noteworthy that Armenian nationalists reiterate hideous anti-Semitic tropes that are identical to those spouted by the Iranians and Palestinians. Moreover, leading Iranian analysts have no qualms about openly praising [sympathetic] Armenian clergy together with terrorist Iran-funded Azeri movements for working toward Iranian goals.

Read more at Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security

More about: Azerbaijan, Iran, Israeli Security