To Bring the AMIA Bombers to Justice, Argentina Needs American Help

Jan. 20 2016

While Argentina’s new president, Mauricio Macri, has encouraged investigation of the 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish center in Buenos Aires, and the mysterious death of its lead investigator, Alberto Nisman, there are reasons to worry that nothing of substance will eventuate. Toby Dershowitz and Joseph Humire argue that American assistance can make a difference:

With a fresh investigation under new stewardship, Argentina should undertake—and the United States should support—an independent inquiry into whether Iran had any role in Nisman’s murder. Washington should share its intelligence on the role of Iranian networks in and around Argentina at the time of Nisman’s death. . . .

The lifting of trade, banking, and other sanctions as part of the implementation of the nuclear deal with Iran will make it more difficult for the new Argentine government to counter Iran’s influence in its borders. The influx of Iranian cash may be used to curry political and intelligence favors with Argentine industries that could be tempted to accept even uncomfortable offers because of their desperate economic situation. Iran has been known to provide commercial cover for some of its more nefarious objectives in the region.

The Macri government should therefore exercise due diligence on Iranian commercial activity and work with the U.S. and others to identify illicit behavior. The U.S. should use a “whole-of-government” approach to intelligence collection, mindful that Iran has used both commercial and cultural covers for its nefarious activities.

Read more at The Hill

More about: Alberto Nisman, AMIA bombing, Argentina, Iran, Politics & Current Affairs, U.S. Foreign policy


How Israel Can Break the Cycle of Wars in Gaza

Last month saw yet another round of fighting between the Jewish state and Gaza-based terrorist groups. This time, it was Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) that began the conflict; in other cases, it was Hamas, which rules the territory. Such outbreaks have been numerous in the years since 2009, and although the details have varied somewhat, Israel has not yet found a way to stop them, or to save the residents of the southwestern part of the country from the constant threat of rocket fire. Yossi Kuperwasser argues that a combination of military, economic, and diplomatic pressure might present an alternative solution:

In Gaza, Jerusalem plays a key role in developing the rules that determine what the parties can and cannot do. Such rules are designed to give the Israelis the ability to deter attacks, defend territory, maintain intelligence dominance, and win decisively. These rules assure Hamas that its rule over Gaza will not be challenged and that, in between the rounds of escalation, it will be allowed to continue its military buildup, as the Israelis seldom strike first, and the government’s responses to Hamas’s limited attacks are always measured and proportionate.

The flaws in such an approach are clear: it grants Hamas the ability to develop its offensive capabilities, increase its political power, and condemn Israelis—especially those living within range of the Gaza Strip—to persistent threats from Hamas terrorists.

A far more effective [goal] would be to rid Israel of Hamas’s threat by disarming it, prohibiting its rearmament, and demonstrating conclusively that threatening Israel is indisputably against its interests. Achieving this goal will not be easy, but with proper preparation, it may be feasible at the appropriate time.

Revisiting the rule according to which Jerusalem remains tacitly committed to not ending Hamas rule in Gaza is key for changing the dynamics of this conflict. So long as Hamas knows that the Israelis will not attempt to uproot it from Gaza, it can continue arming itself and conducting periodic attacks knowing the price it will pay may be heavy—especially if Jerusalem changes the other rules mentioned—but not existential.

Read more at Middle East Quarterly

More about: Gaza Strip, Hamas, Israeli Security, Palestinian Islamic Jihad