Hizballah’s American Sleeper Agents

Five years ago, the FBI arrested two Hizballah members operating on U.S. soil. The Iran-backed Lebanese group had tasked them not with causing Islamic State-style mayhem, but with carefully surveilling targets, collecting data, and planning attacks so that, when the time was ripe, Tehran could strike in the heart of America. Among the targets they studied were Israelis living in the U.S., locations linked to Israel, and the JFK airport. They also investigated attacks abroad, including against U.S. targets in the Panama Canal. Speaking with Emil Bove, Mitchell Silber, Rebecca Weiner, and Nathan Sales—all current or former counterterrorism professionals—Matthew Levitt tells the story of these operatives, and explains how they fit into Hizballah’s mission. (Audio, 32 minutes. A transcript and other information can be found at the link below.)
 

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Read more at Washington Institute for Near East Policy

More about: Hizballah, Iran, Lebanon, Terrorism, U.S. Security

 

Will Tensions Rise between the U.S. and Israel?

Unlike his past many predecessors, President Joe Biden does not have a plan for solving the Israel-Palestinian conflict. Moreover, his administration has indicated its skepticism about renewing the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran. John Bolton nevertheless believes that there could be a collision between the new Benjamin Netanyahu-led Israeli government and the Biden White House:

In possibly his last term, Netanyahu’s top national-security priority will be ending, not simply managing, Iran’s threat. This is infinitely distant from Biden’s Iran policy, which venerates Barrack Obama’s inaugural address: “we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.”

Tehran’s fist is today otherwise occupied, pummeling its own people. Still, it will continue menacing Israel and America unless and until the internal resistance finds ways to fracture the senior levels of Iran’s regular military and the Revolutionary Guards. Netanyahu undoubtedly sees Iran’s growing domestic turmoil as an opportunity for regime change, which Israel and others can facilitate. Simultaneously, Jerusalem can be preparing its military and intelligence services to attack Tehran’s nuclear program, something the White House simply refuses to contemplate seriously. Biden’s obsession with reviving the disastrous 2015 nuclear deal utterly blinds the White House to the potential for a more significant victory.

To make matters worse, Biden has just created a Washington-based position at the State Department, a “special representative for Palestinian affairs,” that has already drawn criticism in Israel both for the new position itself and for the person named to fill it. Advocated as one more step toward “upgrading” U.S. relations with the Palestinian Authority, the new position looks nearly certain to become the locus not of advancing American interests regarding the failed Authority, but of advancing the Authority’s interests within the Biden administration.

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Read more at 19FortyFive

More about: Benjamin Netanyahu, Iran, Joe Biden, U.S.-Israel relationship