Despite Its Involvement in at Least Two Attacks, Islamic State Still Has Little Influence in Israel

Although Hamas seems to bear primary responsibility for the violence on the Temple Mount last Friday, and for some of the terrorist attacks beforehand, these were preceded by two attacks in March perpetrated by Israeli Arabs affiliated with Islamic State (IS). Yoram Schweitzer, Ephraim Lavie, and Meir Elran analyze the two incidents, and the efforts of IS to make inroads in Israel:

An examination of previous . . . Islamic State activity in Israel shows that the organization has not gained a deep hold among the country’s Arab citizens. Since the establishment of Islamic State in 2014, no more than 100 Israeli citizens have been imprisoned for allegiance or any connection to the organization, including those who were arrested following the latest attacks. Thus, in spite of attempts by media identified with IS, primarily al-Naba, its most important publication, to exploit the “success” of the incidents in order to boast of its extensive activity against Israel, the facts show that apart from toxic rhetoric, the organization has not devoted many resources or much attention to planning terrorism in Israel. This also applies to its past actions and those of its allies in other parts of the world.

Even after [last month’s] attacks, there are no signs of a strategic change in IS priorities with regard to Israel. In its current media discourse, the organization continues to highlight its extremely negative attitude toward the Palestinian terrorist organizations of Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and toward Hizballah. This has not changed even though these groups praised recent IS-supporting terrorists in Israel, such as the Palestinian from Jenin who carried out the attack in Bnei Brak on March 29. As a rule, IS is careful to condemn strongly these organizations as collaborators with the enemies of Islam; it sees them as heretics and accuses them of helping to block its attempted jihad against Israel over the past decade.

The particularly strong Arab condemnation of the attacks carried out by IS supporters, which they defined as “terrorism,” derives from the fact that Arab society in Israel, as well as the majority of residents in Palestinian Authority areas, including those who support Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, are fiercely opposed to IS ideology and its association with the Palestinian national struggle.

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Read more at Institute for National Security Studies

More about: ISIS, Israeli Arabs, Palestinian terror

 

The New Iran Deal Will Reward Terrorism, Help Russia, and Get Nothing in Return

After many months of negotiations, Washington and Tehran—thanks to Russian mediation—appear close to renewing the 2015 agreement concerning the Iranian nuclear program. Richard Goldberg comments:

Under a new deal, Iran would receive $275 billion of sanctions relief in the first year and $1 trillion by 2030. [Moreover], Tehran would face no changes in the old deal’s sunset clauses—that is, expiration dates on key restrictions—and would be allowed to keep its newly deployed arsenal of advanced uranium centrifuges in storage, guaranteeing the regime the ability to cross the nuclear threshold at any time of its choosing. . . . And worst of all, Iran would win all these concessions while actively plotting to assassinate former U.S. officials like John Bolton, Mike Pompeo, and [his] adviser Brian Hook, and trying to kidnap and kill the Iranian-American journalist Masih Alinejad on U.S. soil.

Moscow, meanwhile, would receive billions of dollars to construct additional nuclear power plants in Iran, and potentially more for storage of nuclear material. . . . Following a visit by the Russian president Vladimir Putin to Tehran last month, Iran reportedly started transferring armed drones for Russian use against Ukraine. On Tuesday, Putin launched an Iranian satellite into orbit reportedly on the condition that Moscow can task it to support Russian operations in Ukraine.

With American and European sanctions on Russia escalating, particularly with respect to Russian energy sales, Putin may finally see net value in the U.S. lifting of sanctions on Iran’s financial and commercial sectors. While the return of Iranian crude to the global market could lead to a modest reduction in oil prices, thereby reducing Putin’s revenue, Russia may be able to head off U.S. secondary sanctions by routing key transactions through Tehran. After all, what would the Biden administration do if Iran allowed Russia to use its major banks and companies to bypass Western sanctions?

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Read more at Dispatch

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