The Bloody and Futile Life of a Palestinian Terrorist Mastermind

In July, Ahmad Jibril, the founder and leader of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine–General Command (PFLFP–GC)—an offshoot of the once-Marxist PFLP—died in Syria of natural causes. Ksenia Svetlova, who interviewed him in 2006, reflects on his career:

Years before Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad were established, Jibril was the innovator and trendsetter among other terrorist organizations. His PFLP–GC was the first to use “living bombs” and to find a justification for suicide bombings in Muslim jurisprudence. In 1982 his organization demanded the release of 1,182 Palestinian and international prisoners in exchange for captured Israelis, setting a precedent that came to haunt Israel more than once since then. [He] ended up with the shadowy remnants of his once-proud organization fighting with Bashar al-Assad’s army against other Palestinians in Yarmouk camp [in Damascus] and dying an old man.

During the 1970s, when Palestinian terrorist organizations were operating freely from southern Lebanon, Jibril’s organization—believing that the PLO leadership was “too soft”—carried out several massacres [in northern Israel], notably the Avivim school-bus massacre in 1970 and the Kiryat Shmona massacre in 1974. During that interview in Damascus in 2006, Jibril’s eyes practically lit when he spoke of the Kiryat Shmona “operation,” in which terrorists from southern Lebanon entered a residential building and murdered eighteen men, women, and children.

While [Jibril] was busy producing advanced terror techniques and sending the bill to the Syrian regime, Israel was busy generating real innovations, in medicine, science, and high-tech. His political and military career had reached a cul-de-sac as his violent operations . . . did not promote the Palestinian cause of liberation and the establishment of an independent state even by one inch. His violent activity did not weaken Israel, and today the Jewish state is much more powerful—and accepted by much of the Arab world—than it was a few decades ago.

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Read more at Jerusalem Strategic Tribune

More about: Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Palestinian terror, PFLP, Syria

As Vladimir Putin Sidles Up to the Mullahs, the Threat to the U.S. and Israel Grows

On Tuesday, Russia launched an Iranian surveillance satellite into space, which the Islamic Republic will undoubtedly use to increase the precision of its military operations against its enemies. The launch is one of many indications that the longstanding alliance between Moscow and Tehran has been growing stronger and deeper since the Kremlin’s escalation in Ukraine in February. Nicholas Carl, Kitaneh Fitzpatrick, and Katherine Lawlor write:

Presidents Vladimir Putin and Ebrahim Raisi have spoken at least four times since the invasion began—more than either individual has engaged most other world leaders. Putin visited Tehran in July 2022, marking his first foreign travel outside the territory of the former Soviet Union since the war began. These interactions reflect a deepening and potentially more balanced relationship wherein Russia is no longer the dominant party. This partnership will likely challenge U.S. and allied interests in Europe, the Middle East, and around the globe.

Tehran has traditionally sought to purchase military technologies from Moscow rather than the inverse. The Kremlin fielding Iranian drones in Ukraine will showcase these platforms to other potential international buyers, further benefitting Iran. Furthermore, Russia has previously tried to limit Iranian influence in Syria but is now enabling its expansion.

Deepening Russo-Iranian ties will almost certainly threaten U.S. and allied interests in Europe, the Middle East, and around the globe. Iranian material support to Russia may help the Kremlin achieve some of its military objectives in Ukraine and eastern Europe. Russian support of Iran’s nascent military space program and air force could improve Iranian targeting and increase the threat it poses to the U.S. and its partners in the Middle East. Growing Iranian control and influence in Syria will enable the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps [to use its forces in that country] to threaten U.S. military bases in the Middle East and our regional partners, such as Israel and Turkey, more effectively. Finally, Moscow and Tehran will likely leverage their deepening economic ties to mitigate U.S. sanctions.

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Read more at Critical Threats

More about: Iran, Israeli Security, Russia, U.S. Security, Vladimir Putin