Iran Has Set Up Shop in Israel’s Backyard

In the summer of 2018, Bashar al-Assad’s forces seized the Syrian portion of the Golan Heights from rebel forces after several years of fighting. Jerusalem had hoped, writes Alex Fishman, that this development would at least bring some stability to the area. Instead, the threat to Israel from Iran has increased, and stability is nowhere in evidence:

Syrian media [last] week reported that Israeli aircraft had dropped leaflets on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights, warning local residents and members of the Syrian Army’s 1st Corps stationed there that anyone who assists the Hizballah terror organization in acts of aggression towards Israel would be targeted by the IDF. . . . The leaflets were dropped a day after another Syrian news report that the IDF fired an anti-tank rocket at a target [in the area] and hit Hizballah and other pro-Iranian fighters.

[Meanwhile], the fighting continues. Pro-Assad forces, anti-Assad fighters, pro-Iran Hizballah proxies, and others are all fighting each other. Dozens of fighters are killed each month and occasional crossfire even crosses the border into Israel. . . . There is no normal civilian life on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights today. There are only fighters battling for territory and influence; some Syrian civilians are paid as little as $30 by Iran and Hizballah to attempt attacks on Israel.

The Iranians have been increasing their efforts to entrench themselves within the Syrian military [with the aim of] executing what it calls the “Golan file”—an effort to build a network of terror cells along the Israeli border on the plateau. The plan also includes establishing branches of Hizballah’s southern command to lay the groundwork for a second front against Israel, [in addition to the Israeli-Lebanese border], in a future war.

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Read more at Ynet

More about: Golan Heights, Hizballah, Iran, Israeli Security, Syria

How the Death of Mahsa Amini Changed Iran—and Its Western Apologists

Sept. 28 2022

On September 16, a twenty-two-year-old named Mahsa Amini was arrested by the Iranian morality police for improperly wearing a hijab. Her death in custody three days later, evidently after being severely beaten, sparked waves of intense protests throughout the country. Since then, the Iranian authorities have killed dozens more in trying to quell the unrest. Nervana Mahmoud comments on how Amini’s death has been felt inside and outside of the Islamic Republic:

[I]n Western countries, the glamorizing of the hijab has been going on for decades. Even Playboy magazine published an article about the first “hijabi” news anchor in American TV history. Meanwhile, questioning the hijab’s authenticity and enforcement has been framed as “Islamophobia.” . . . But the death of Mahsa Amini has changed everything.

Commentators who downplayed the impact of enforced hijab have changed their tune. [Last week], CNN’s Christiane Amanpour declined an interview with the Iranian president Ebrahim Raisi, and the Biden administration imposed sanctions on Iran’s notorious morality police and senior officials for the violence carried out against protesters and for the death of Mahsa Amini.

The visual impact of the scenes in Iran has extended to the Arab world too. Arabic media outlets have felt the winds of change. The death of Mahsa Amini and the resulting protests in Iran are now top headlines, with Arab audiences watching daily as Iranian women from all age groups remove their hijabs and challenge the regime policy.

Iranian women are making history. They are teaching the world—including the Muslim world—about the glaring difference between opting to wear the hijab and being forced to wear it, whether by law or due to social pressure and mental bullying. Finally, non-hijabi women are not afraid to defy, proudly, their Islamist oppressors.

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Read more at Nervana

More about: Arab World, Iran, Women in Islam