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April 18, 2014 / 18 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Special Forces’

Rare Look into IDF Simulated Takeover of Hezbollah Post (Video)

Thursday, January 30th, 2014

The IDF has released an exclusive video that offers a rare glimpse into advanced combat training to defend Israel against Hezbollah.

The footage shows the elite Combat Engineering Battalion 601 in a simulated takeover of a Hezbollah position. The simulation prepared soldiers for the moment of truth against Hezbollah, simulating the takeover of a terrorist stronghold and an attempt to kidnap Israeli soldiers.

Hezbollah continues to arm itself with long-range missiles and other weapons capable of striking any part of Israel. The terrorist army in southern Lebanon, armed by Syria and Iran and financed by Tehran, has an estimated 80,000-100,000 missiles.

The Israeli Air Force has carried out pre-emptive bombings of several convoys of advanced Soviet-made missiles that were destined for Hezbollah from Syria.

The IDF has developed sophisticated methods to stop Hezbollah, whose size and strength have grown dramatically since the 34-day Second Lebanon War in 2006.

“The best way to maintain our readiness and remain sharp is to train,” said the battalion’s commander, Lt. Col. Yanai Manor. “We try as much as possible to simulate events that could occur in reality.”

Egypt Sending 2,000 officers into the Sinai, Well Above Treaty Limits, to Fight Rampant Terrorism

Tuesday, April 10th, 2012

Egyptian Maj.-Gen. Ahmad Jamal said that Egypt’s Interior Ministry decided to send 2,000 officers and soldiers from the Special Forces to the north of Sinai, in order to increase security control of the area.

Jamal added that his forces would also send military vehicles, including armored vehicles and weapons, in coordination with the Egyptian Supreme Council of the Armed Forces.

He said the ministry has already sent 150 officers and the rest will be sent soon. The main reason for sending them is to implement security plans, especially plans to protect the natural gas line.

Egyptian security sources said that Israel has agreed to adding seven army battalions in the Sinai, which exceeds the limits set in the 1979 peace treaty. The Egyptians wish to propose changes in security arrangements set out in the peace treaty, which they claim has made it impossible for them to govern the northern Sinai, because of restrictions on their military operations.

An explosion hit the pipeline carrying gas to Israel and Jordan on Monday, for the 14th time since the uprising against Hosni Mubarak. The Egyptian government’s authority in Sinai has collapsed since the fall of Mubarak in February, 2011. No group has claimed responsibility for the attacks.

The pipeline has been shut down since another explosion hit it on Feb. 5. Al Ahram reported that Egypt’s 20-year gas deal with Israel, signed in the Mubarak era, is unpopular with some Egyptians, and its critics are accusing Israel of not paying enough for the fuel.

Last week, the IDF’s Head of the Military Intelligence Directorate, Maj. Gen. Aviv Kochavi, said that “Over ten terror infrastructure in Sinai were revealed and dismantled over the past few months.”

According to the Palestinian news agency Ma’an, four armed men robbed a fuel truck belonging to international peacekeeping forces in the Sinai on Monday.

An Egyptian security officer told Ma’an that gunmen stopped the truck in Sheikh Zuweid, a few kilometers from Gaza, and stole 50,000 liters (12,500 gallons) of fuel.

They stole the fuel in order to smuggle it into the Gaza Strip, the official said.

Assassinating Terrorist Leaders: The Killing of Osama Bin-Laden As a Matter of International Law

Wednesday, May 18th, 2011
             Osama bin Laden was assassinated by U.S. Special Forces on May 1, 2011. Although media emphasis thus far has been focused almost entirely on the pertinent operational and political issues surrounding this “high value” killing, there are also important jurisprudential aspects to the case that require similar attention. Whether or not killing Osama was a genuinely purposeful assassination from a strategic perspective, a question that will be debated for years to come, we should now also inquire:  Was it legal?
             Assassination is ordinarily a crime under international law. Still, in certain residual circumstances, the targeted killing of principal terrorist leaders can be defended as a fully permissible example of law enforcement. In the best of all possible worlds, there would never be any need for such decentralized or vigilante expressions of international justice, but we don’t yet live in such a world. Rather, in our present and still anarchic global legal order, as President Obama correctly understood, the only real alternative to precise self-defense actions against terrorists is apt to be a worsening global instability, and also escalating terrorist violence against the innocent.
            Almost by definition, the idea of assassination as remediation seems an oxymoron. At a minimum, this idea seemingly precludes all normal due processes of law. Yet, since the current state system’s inception in the seventeenth century, following the Thirty Years’ War and the resultant Peace of Westphalia (1648), international relations have not been governed by the same civil protections as individual states. In this world legal system, which lacks effective supra-national authority, Al Qaeda leader bin Laden was indisputably responsible for the mass killings of many noncombatant men, women and children. Had he not been assassinated by the United States, his egregious crimes would almost certainly have gone entirely unpunished.
             The indiscriminacy of Al Qaeda operations under bin Laden was never the result of inadvertence. It was, instead, the intentional outcome of profoundly murderous principles that lay deeply embedded in the leader’s view of Jihad. For bin Laden, there could never be any meaningful distinction between civilians and non-civilians, innocents and non-innocents. For bin Laden, all that mattered was the distinction between Muslims and “unbelievers.”
            As for the lives of unbelievers, it was all very simple.  These lives had no value. They had no sanctity. 
            Every government has the right and obligationto protect its own citizens. In certain circumstances, this may even extend to assassination. The point has long been understood in Washington, where every president in recent memory has given nodding or more direct approval to high value assassination operations. Of course, lower-value or more tactical assassination efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan have become a very regular feature of U.S. special operations.
            There are some points of legal comparison with the recent NATO strike that killed Moammar Gadhafi’s second-youngest son and his three grandchildren. While this was a thinly disguised assassination attempt that went awry, the target, although certainly a supporter of his own brand of terrorists, had effectively been immunized from any deliberate NATO harms by the U.N. Security Council’s limited definition of humanitarian intervention.
            It is generally true that assassination is a crime under international law. Yet, in our decentralized system of world law, self-help by individual states is often necessary, and the only alternative to suffering terrorist crimes. In the absence of particular assassinations, terrorists could continue to plan havoc against defenseless civilians in America and elsewhere, and could do so with impunity. To be sure, they would be generally immune to the more orthodox legal expectations of extradition and prosecution. This is not to suggest that assassination will always work, but only that disallowing such killing out of hand could never be gainful.
            Assassinating bin Laden was consistent with the ancient legal principle of Nullum crimen sine poena, “No crime without a punishment.” Earlier, this core principle had been cited as a rationale for both the Tokyo and Nuremberg war crime tribunals, and was subsequently incorporated into binding customary international law. As to the foreign venue of the assassination, President Obama can find adequate legal support in certain relevant bilateral agreements with Pakistan, and also in pertinent provisions of the 1974 General Assembly Definition of Aggression. Although extra-territorial jurisdiction in any such matters would normally be unlawful, there are critical exceptions when a particular country (here, Pakistan) more or less allows its territory to be used as a base of operation for future terrorist crimes.
            By the codified and customary standards of contemporary international law, terrorists are Hostes humani generis or “Common enemies of humankind.”  In the fashion of pirates, who were to be hanged by the first persons into whose hands they fell, terrorists are international outlaws who fall within the scope of universal jurisdiction.  That bin Laden’s terror-crimes were plainly directed at the United States in particular removes any doubts about the geo-strategic reasonableness of America’s primary jurisdiction.
             Limited support for assassination can be found in the classical writings of Aristotle, Plutarch and Cicero, and even in American history.  Should the community of nations ever reject this right altogether, it would have to recognize, as a corollary, that such rejection could be at the expense of innocent human life. The existing law of nations must, at least on occasion, continue to rely on even the most objectionable forms of self-defense.
            International law is not a suicide pact. Assassination, always subject to the applicable legal rules of discrimination, proportionality and military necessity (it is vital that assassinations always seek to avoid collateral casualties) may sometimes be the least injurious form of defense and punishment.  Wherever additional terrorist crimes are still being planned, as was certainly the case with Osama bin Laden, the permissibility of assassination may be far greater.  
            In a better world, assassination could have no defensible place as counterterrorism. But we do not yet live in the best of all possible worlds, and the obviously negative aspects of assassination should never be evaluated apart from the foreseeable costs of all other options.  Such aspects should always be compared to what would be expected of these alternative choices.
            Assassination, even of a terrorist mastermind like Osama bin Laden, will almost always elicit some indignation, ironically, even by those who would likely find full-scale warfare appropriate.  Yet, the civilizational promise of universal reasonableness is unrealized, and imperiled states, including our own, must inevitably confront stark choices between employing assassination in limited circumstances, or renouncing such tactics at the expense of justice and security.  In facing such choices, these countries, including the United States, will always discover that viable alternatives to the assassination option also include large-scale violence, and that these alternatives may ultimately exact a substantially larger long-term toll in human life and suffering.

 

LOUIS RENÉ BERES was educated at Princeton (Ph.D., 1971), and is the author of many books and scholarly articles dealing with international law and terrorism.  His more than forty-years’ work on counterterrorism is well-known to America’s military and intelligence communities.  Professor Beres is Strategic and Military Affairs columnist for The Jewish Press.

Praying For The Guy Behind You: Profile Of A Passionate Soldier

Wednesday, January 28th, 2009

Margalit Mogilevsky and I share a carpool to bring our daughters to school every morning. We speak occasionally about technical arrangements, usually light and insignificant talk about accommodating slight changes in our schedule. But this past week, when I called Margalit to ask her if she would talk to me about her son, Levi Yitzchak (ben Margalit) who is currently serving in the paratrooper’s unit that began the ground assault on Gaza, there was no light banter in our conversation.


 


“My stomach is always in knots,” the strain is apparent and Margalit’s voice sounds far away. “This is something that you live with, but you never get used to. You sleep with it; you wake up with it. It is a feeling that is always there. It never leaves you.” She sighs, but forces herself to continue a few seconds later, this time, her voice much stronger, “But I know that he’ll be ok. G-d is watching him.”


 


Margalit continues, “I just keep hoping that Israel will do what it has to do – completely destroy its enemies, so they don’t arm themselves again and again. I fervently hope that what Levi is doing will be made worthwhile. Then all this will be justified.”


 


In almost a conspiratorial undertone, Margalit confides in me Levi’s plans for the future, “You know, Chana, I’ve spoken to him often about his future. After all this is in his past, Levi wants to settle down and go back to yeshivah. One day, he hopes to become a shaliach, a Chabad emissary.”


 


At only 20 years old, Levi Yitzchak Mogilevsky is barely past his teens. Together with the rest of his family, he grew up in our quiet, almost sleepy, suburban Thornhill community. But there was a passion burning in him. Levi decided to join the Israeli army close to two years ago and trained in the Special Forces.


 


“Levi was always so passionate as a kid,” describes his older brother, Rafi who is 22. “He always wanted to do everything fully, 100 percent of the way. He translated his passion into the army. He wasn’t satisfied to just volunteer to join a unit; it needed to be the Special Forces. He trained for more than a year, as opposed to regular training of six to eight months. The training was mentally and physically grueling, but he was set on his goal.


 


“Levi loves people,” Rafi continues. “He is great at boosting the morale of everyone around him, helping them to get to the finish line.


 


“And he loves the Jewish people. He is passionate about defending his brothers and sisters…his land…our land. Levi`s got such a big heart,” the brotherly pride is evident in Rafi’s voice.


 


“The last time I spoke to him, Levi was on the Gaza border,” Rafi turns very serious. “He was in good spirits. Of course, he was rightfully nervous.”


 


Margalit interjects here, “But I sensed he was more worried about us being worried for him than he was about himself. That is Levi.”


 


Rafi continues, “Levi described how everyone in his unit was praying. ‘But they aren’t praying for themselves,’ Levi clarified. ‘All the guys are praying for one another. They pray that the guy behind him – and the guy in front of him – will come out of this ok.’


He described the amazing connection that they have for each other…the amazing quality only found in the Jewish people.”


 


And how is a brother who obviously has such love and pride for his younger brother coping right now?


 


“How do I cope?” Rafi asks. “I keep praying. We have a lot of faith. They’ll be ok. Levi is an avid believer in what he is doing. He wants to have a hand in protecting the Jewish people and G-d will protect him.”


 


“Levi’s younger brother, Avi, who is 19, is now in a yeshivah in Israel,” Margalit tells me. “Avi and Levi are very close. In every spare moment, Avi’s been going around encouraging as many Jews as he can to put on tefillin, as a spiritual protection for all the soldiers, beside for Avi’s own extra prayers and Torah studies.


 


“I just spoke with Avi,” Margalit continues. “He gave me so much encouragement. ‘Ma you must be joyful,’ he tells me. ‘We must have optimistic confidence that all will be good. Happiness breaks through barriers.’”


 


The struggle is almost evident in Margalit’s voice, the tension of a mother worried about her son; she totters at the precipice, vacillating between fear and faith, torn between terrifying worry and confident joy.


 


But the latter emerges victorious, as Margalit concludes confidently, “All will be good!”


It’s got to be good. Levi has many bright plans in store for his future.


 


Watch Chana Weisberg’s two minute videocast on www.chabad.org/intouch for your dose of weekly inspiration. Chana Weisberg is the author of several books, including Divine Whispers – Stories that Speak to the Heart and Soul and Tending the Garden: The Unique Gifts of the Jewish Woman. She is an international inspirational lecturer on a wide array of topics and an editor at chabad.org. She can be reached at chanaw@gmail.com.  

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/jewess-press/praying-for-the-guy-behind-you-profile-of-a-passionate-soldier/2009/01/28/

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