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April 1, 2015 / 12 Nisan, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Sinai Peninsula’

Obama Aides Lay Groundwork to Betray Israel at UN Security Council

Saturday, March 21st, 2015

Aides to President Barack Obama told media Friday the U.S. will “reassess” its relationship with Israel in the wake of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s re-election to an historic fourth term.

A White House official couched the nasty reality in more diplomatic language, saying the president had told the prime minister “we will need to re-assess our options following the prime minister’s new positions and comments regarding the two-state solution.”

An official statement distributed following the call said the president had emphasized the U.S. “longstanding commitment to a two-state solution” during his conversation with Israel’s prime minister.

Earlier in the day on Thursday, Netanyahu clarified his position on the issue, explaining his reasons for a statement during the campaign in which he told supporters he would not back the establishment of a Palestinian state during his fourth term. In that clarification Netanyahu talked about the present realities in the Middle East with which Israel has to contend. He also noted that he supports the same conditions for negotiating a sustainable peace that he had set forth in his speech at Bar Ilan University in 2009: a demilitarized Palestinian state led by a government willing to recognize the Jewish State of Israel.

But he pointed to changes on the ground that cannot be denied – or ignored – and that present a real threat.

Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has united his government in Ramallah with that of Gaza’s ruling Hamas terrorist organization, which is allied with the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and the Lebanon-based Hezbollah. All three are faithful proxies of Tehran. In addition, Gaza is now home to bases for a number of Salafi global jihad terrorist groups. Among them are the Army of Islam, Al Qaeda, and Daesh, also known as ISIS or the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

Iran and its proxies are also literally parked on Israel’s borders, in Lebanon, Syria, the Syrian side of the Golan Heights and the Sinai Peninsula. A new Palestinian state would be ripe for the picking as well, creating for Israel an existential threat that no leader could allow.

None of which has impressed Obama. At a briefing on Friday, White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters: “Now that our closest ally in the region – and one of the two parties who would be responsible for negotiating a two-state solution – has withdrawn from their commitments, to that ideal, it means that we need to rethink the kinds of policy decisions that we’re going to have to make going forward.”

Never mind the fact that the Palestinian Authority – the first of the two parties responsible for negotiating the two-state solution — withdrew from its commitments several years earlier.

Obama has entirely ignored the fact that the PA, via the PLO, unilaterally dropped out of the internationally-recognized Oslo Accords. He has also turned a blind eye as the PA abandoned its moral and legal obligations to negotiate a final status agreement with Israel, using the United Nations as an excuse to break that deal. The General Assembly of the United Nations participated, allowing itself to be so used by granting the entity non-member observer nation status, which opened the door for the PA to join hundreds of international treaties.

Some members of the American media are also using a double standard to judge Israel’s decisions on its national security and foreign policy.

CNN news anchor Wolf Blitzer interviewed Israeli Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz as part of Israel’s “Likud-led government” and baldly demanded to know: “Do you support what’s called a two-state solution, Israel living alongside, the new state of Palestine.”

Obama Let 40-Year-Old Oil Supply Guarantee to Israel Expire in November 2014

Tuesday, March 17th, 2015

Originally published at Liberty Unyielding

The Obama administration should give lessons in passive aggression.

Eying the impending Israeli election as a political influence operation wasn’t the only thing it was doing in November 2014. It was also letting a 40-year-old strategic guarantee to Israel expire.

The guarantee, which says the U.S. will ensure that Israel has access to oil in case of security emergencies, dates originally to September 1975, when Israel and Egypt were negotiating elements of an Israeli withdrawal from the Sinai after the 1973 War. Throughout those negotiations, which culminated in the 1979 peace treaty, the status of the Sinai oil fields was a core issue. Israel had obtained oil from them since occupying the Sinai after the 1967 War, when an Arab coalition attacked, and Israel seized territory to maintain a defensive perimeter.

The U.S. oil guarantee was instrumental in giving the Israelis a secure basis for withdrawing from the Sinai. The use of the oil fields was one aspect of that dynamic; another was Egypt’s closure of the Suez Canal from 1967 to June 1975. The Canal closure affected trade of all kinds, and specifically had the potential to disrupt Israel’s energy supplies – as effectively, by driving prices up, as they would be disrupted by an actual cut-off.

Because of this dual vulnerability, the U.S. guarantee looks not only at whether Israel is able to obtain oil, but how much it costs her to. The guarantee can kick in for either reason. (It entails ensuring that Israel can buy oil; it’s not a guarantee that the U.S. will supply oil for free.)

A Congressional Research Service study done early in 2014, before the most recent agreement expired, can be found here. It outlines the history of the guarantee. The agreement was formalized in 1979, with an initial period of 15 years, ending on 25 November 1994. It was extended twice after that, each time for 10 years, and most recently expired – without renewal – on 25 November 2014.

Interestingly, Reuters cited an unnamed State Department official on that date claiming that State was “working on” renewing the agreement. It never happened, however, and on 12 March, Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Mark Warner (D-VA) sent a letter to John Kerry requesting that he attend to the matter immediately.

It’s not clear what “work” would have to be done to renew this agreement. It is clear, on the other hand, that it’s an agreement that was made for important reasons, and that those reasons are not only still valid: they are more of a concern today than they were 10 years ago. Since the last renewal in November 2004, Israel has pulled out of Gaza; the Arab Spring has thrown the region into tremendous turmoil; the threat of terrorism and guerrilla action in the Sinai has increased; and Iran’s navy has extended its operations dramatically, into the Red Sea and even the Eastern Mediterranean. The potential threats to Israeli trade, and specifically to Israel’s energy imports, have increased significantly since 10 years ago.

Israel has huge reserves of natural gas, but remains dependent on foreign sources for oil. The U.S. guarantee has never had to be invoked, but keeping it in place is far from an academic exercise. The Globes report quotes an Israeli source:

Israel has never invoked the agreement, but Israel sources say that its importance lies in its very existence. An Israeli source compared the oil supply agreement to the loan guarantee agreement between the two countries that enables Israel to obtain commercial loans at low rates of interest. “Israel used the loan guarantee agreement very sparingly, but it is important that the loan guarantees agreement should exist, and the same applies to the energy agreement that guaranteed a regular supply of oil,” the source said, “We never used it, but it’s important that it should lie signed in a drawer.”

Egypt Cites ‘Existential Threat’ from ISIS, ‘Terror Groups’

Thursday, March 12th, 2015

Egyptian Interior Minister Magdi Abdel Ghaffer warned in a speech Wednesday that his nation is facing an “existential war” in its battle against “terrorist groups.”

Speaking to a meeting of Arab interior ministers in Algeria, Ghaffar urged Arab nations to use all their resources to counter the imminent danger. The terrorist organizations, he said, “not only aim to come to power but also to divide Arabic countries and destroy their military and security capabilities…”

The danger posed by fighters from Daesh, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), has escalated after local-area terror groups pledged allegiance to the organization, the state-run MENA news agency reported.

The Sinai-based Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis and similar local groups in Libya are now linked to Daesh, with Ansar having since changed name to “Sinai Province.”

Egypt proposed creating a joint Arab force to preserve Arab national security. The proposal is to be presented again at the Arab Summit, slated to take place later this month.

IDF Preparing for Possible Jihadist Attacks along Egyptian Border

Tuesday, February 17th, 2015

Israeli military officers say it is only a “matter of time” before Islamic State-affiliated jihadist groups attack Israeli towns along the Egyptian border.

According to Lt. Col. Gilad Avralinzi, an engineering officer with the IDF’s 80th division, the IDF Engineering Corps has spent the past year preparing the Sinai Peninsula border fence in anticipation of hostile actions from jihadist groups in the region.

Avralinzi said the IDF will bolster the border fence during the next year with sophisticated electronics and surveillance equipment, including cameras, optics, and radars.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi has waged a massive campaign to destroy Sinai-based terror groups such as the Islamic State-affiliated Wilayat Sinai (Province of Sinai), which was formerly known as Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis.

Wilayat Sinai was behind a recent series of attacks that killed 30 Egyptian security personnel. This week, the group released a video showing the decapitation of 10 men whom it accused of spying for Israel and Egypt.

 

 

Egypt Security Forces Kill 2 Smugglers at Israel’s Southern Border

Tuesday, February 10th, 2015

Egyptian security forces opened fire Tuesday morning and killed two cross-border smugglers who apparently tried to bring “illegal goods” into Israel, security sources said.

According to Channel 10, which quoted an IDF source, bags of illegal drugs were found near the scene where smugglers crossing the border from Egypt were met by a second set of smugglers on the Israeli side.

It is not clear which smugglers were hit by the Egyptian gunfire, nor have the identities of any of the smugglers been made clear.

IDF soldiers reportedly fired warning shots after hearing the gunfire near the border town of Nitzana, and are investigating reports of smugglers being wounded in the shootout with Egyptian security personnel.

IDF soldiers have also recovered the bodies of the two dead smugglers. An investigation into the incident is underway.

Despite numerous efforts to plug the holes in the Israel’s long Sinai border with Egypt, incidents like this are not uncommon.

Of more concern to the security establishments in both nations are the efforts of regional terrorist proxies for Iran and now Daesh (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria) to move weapons, ammunition, money and operatives themselves) across the border as well.

Egypt’s Pres. Sisi Urges Clerics, ‘Confront Misleading Islamic Ideology’

Thursday, January 1st, 2015

In a statement clearly intended to end terror recruitment at home and abroad, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi urged clerics Thursday to confront “misleading ideologies harming Islam and Muslims worldwide.”

Many terrorist groups broadcast radical Islamist sermons via the Internet and satellite television as well as social networking sites in order to recruit new members to their jihadist cause. At least one produces a full-fledged Internet magazine.

Egyptian military and police forces have been focusing their efforts on eliminating terror bases and training camps embedded in the Sinai Peninsula over the past several years.

The local Al Qaeda-linked Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis recently swore allegiance to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terror organization. Also in Sinai are Hamas, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad and Army of Islam terror bases, among others.

Sisi also told the clerics at al-Azhar and the Awqaf Ministry it is important to renew “religious discourse” and spread moderate teachings of Islam, and urged Muslims to “follow the prophet.”

The Egyptian leader offered his greetings Muslims and Christians on the occasion of the birthday of the prophet Muhammed, founder of Islam, and on the New Year.

He praised efforts by the country’s armed forces and the police to provide security and defend the nation. Sisi underlined in particular the importance of fighting terrorism, which he pointed out “tarnishes the image” of the greater Islamic nation in the world.

The Egyptian leader made the statements during the Awqaf Ministry’s celebrations of the anniversary of the birthday of the prophet Muhammed, the founder of Islam. The Awqaf is the ministry of religious endowments; in Israel it is known as the “Waqf.” The Cairo-based Al-Azhar, founded in 970 CE, is known as the primary global center of Islamic and Arabic learning.

Sinai Terror Group Pledges Loyalty to ISIS

Monday, November 10th, 2014

A terrorist group operating in the Sinai Peninsula has formally pledged loyalty to ISIS.

The Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis swore allegiance to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) according to an audio clip posted on its Twitter account.

The 9-minute, 26-second clip was posted early Tuesday morning last week on an account that calls itself the “official mouthpiece” of the Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis group.

A week ago, the group had denied a statement reported by the Reuters news agency pledging loyalty to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, chief of the ISIS terrorist group. The statement was released in the name of the Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, the news agency reported.

There appears to be some internal conflict taking place within the Sinai-based terrorist organization, which has been linked in the past with Al Qaeda.

Al Qaeda, for its part, has distanced itself from ISIS, charging the group with being “too brutal” in its methods although willing to maintain loose ties in the goals of the two organizations.

Egypt has increased the number of military forces in the Sinai Peninsula in an effort to root out the terrorist groups building bases in the region; Israel has reluctantly agreed to the move in agreement with Cairo’s goals.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/sinai-terror-group-pledges-loyalty-to-isis/2014/11/10/

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