The Recent Terrorist Attack in Be’er Sheva Didn’t Happen in a Vacuum

March 25 2022

On Tuesday, a Bedouin citizen of Israel drove his car into one person and stabbed several others in the Negev city of Be’er Sheva, leaving four dead. The perpetrator was unusual in that he hailed from neither eastern Jerusalem nor the West Bank, and his sympathies lay with Islamic State (IS) rather than Palestinian organizations. But, writes Nadav Shragai, this should not be treated as an isolated event:

[T]his was not the first time an IS sympathizer killed Jews in Israel. [Such] terrorists, however, also do not fit the usual profile of the “lone wolf.” Most of them are over thirty, married with children, and hold respectable jobs, making them more financially secure. Many of them have become radicalized after falling under IS’s spell on social media or in mosques.

However, we should not be fooled by the fact that Tuesday’s terrorist attack was carried out by an IS terrorist. . . . The success of one attack spurs extremists in other organizations to stage similar attacks, known as copycat or inspiration attacks, and this phenomenon is of great concern for the defense establishment.

Israel has experienced seven stabbing attacks over the past three weeks. . . . Waves of terrorism are not created in a vacuum and they have the potential to evolve into a full-blown intifada. This is the terrorist groups’ way of employing the “reap what you sow” method, by which what is sown in terror is reaped in negotiations; and the harder you hit the Israeli home front, the less resolve we can show in negotiations.

We cannot be fooled again. We must remember that no good can come of making goodwill gestures during waves of terrorism and that there is little if any room to show consideration for sectors that breed terrorists, be they from the West Bank or the Negev.

Read more at Israel Hayom

More about: Bedouin, ISIS, Israeli Arabs, Palestinian terror


Leaked Emails Point to an Iranian Influence Operation That Reaches into the U.S. Government

Sept. 27 2023

As the negotiations leading up to the 2015 nuclear deal began in earnest, Tehran launched a major effort to cultivate support abroad for its positions, according to a report by Jay Solomon:

In the spring of 2014, senior Iranian Foreign Ministry officials initiated a quiet effort to bolster Tehran’s image and positions on global security issues—particularly its nuclear program—by building ties with a network of influential overseas academics and researchers. They called it the Iran Experts Initiative. The scope and scale of the IEI project has emerged in a large cache of Iranian government correspondence and emails.

The officials, working under the moderate President Hassan Rouhani, congratulated themselves on the impact of the initiative: at least three of the people on the Foreign Ministry’s list were, or became, top aides to Robert Malley, the Biden administration’s special envoy on Iran, who was placed on leave this June following the suspension of his security clearance.

In March of that year, writes Solomon, one of these officials reported that “he had gained support for the IEI from two young academics—Ariane Tabatabai and Dina Esfandiary—following a meeting with them in Prague.” And here the story becomes particularly worrisome:

Tabatabai currently serves in the Pentagon as the chief of staff for the assistant secretary of defense for special operations, a position that requires a U.S. government security clearance. She previously served as a diplomat on Malley’s Iran nuclear negotiating team after the Biden administration took office in 2021. Esfandiary is a senior advisor on the Middle East and North Africa at the International Crisis Group, a think tank that Malley headed from 2018 to 2021.

Tabatabai . . . on at least two occasions checked in with Iran’s Foreign Ministry before attending policy events, according to the emails. She wrote to Mostafa Zahrani, [an Iranian scholar in close contact with the Foreign Ministry and involved in the IEI], in Farsi on June 27, 2014, to say she’d met Saudi Prince Turki al-Faisal—a former ambassador to the U.S.—who expressed interest in working together and invited her to Saudi Arabia. She also said she’d been invited to attend a workshop on Iran’s nuclear program at Ben-Gurion University in Israel. . . .

Elissa Jobson, Crisis Group’s chief of advocacy, said the IEI was an “informal platform” that gave researchers from different organizations an opportunity to meet with IPIS and Iranian officials, and that it was supported financially by European institutions and one European government. She declined to name them.

Read more at Semafor

More about: Iran nuclear deal, U.S. Foreign policy