Spike in Gazans Joining Syrian Jihadis

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Today’s Top Stories

1. Amir Taheri details why the assassination of Iranian general Hassan Shateri was such a heavy blow to Hezbollah:

According to Tehran sources, Shateri used several funds amounting to $200 million a year to replace Hezbollah’s lost arsenal and rebuild its missile sites near the Israeli border.

As special representative of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, he sat on Hezbollah’s central committee and helped shape the party’s policies with advice from Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah.

Shateri’s key achievement was the creation of a mini-state within in Lebanon.

Taheri expands on the latter point, laying out Shateri’s role in the creation of Hezbollah’s independent fiber-0ptic communications network, real estate companies buying up southern Lebanese land, and a “business empire.” Read the whole thing.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad2. Ahmadinejad is threatening to cancel this summer’s elections. The Times of London describes a heckuva power struggle:

It is bad enough for Ayatollah Khamenei that Mr Ahmadinejad has signalled he will play an active role in the campaign. Worse still is the possibility that he could retain influence over the next President and even run again in four years time.

Iran’s constitution bars a president from serving more than two consecutive terms, but former leaders are permitted to return after four years out of office.

For months, Iranian officials have muttered that Mr Ahmadinejad plans to “do a Putin”, installing Mr Mashaei for a single term and running the Government behind the scenes before returning to the post himself, as Vladimir Putin did with Dmitry Medvedev in the Kremlin.

3. There’s a rising number of Palestinians from Gaza traveling to Syria to fight Assad. According to the Jerusalem Post, most are members of Salafi factions who are hooking up with Jabhat al-Nusra. But Gaza’s not the only source of Jihad Joes. The Media Line notes that the Libyan government is literally dumping its jihadis in Syria:

According to a Libyan General National Council (GNC) advisor in charge of Libya’s disarmament program, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitive nature of the subject, “getting weapons and radical Islamists out of Libya is our main concern, so now we have a disarmament program where part of it involves transporting weapons and fighters to Syria.”

4. PLO Wants to Roll Back the Clock: A top Palestinian envoy’s disingenuous op-ed wants to reset peace efforts as if nothing happened in the past decade.

Israel and the Palestinians

Ambassador Michael Oren responded on Facebook to 60 Minutes’ look at Iron Dome. Via Israel Matzav.

60 Minutes was right: The Iron Dome missile defense system does not take lives, it saves lives. But 60 Minutes missed the true connection between Iron Dome and settlements: Israel was compelled to build Iron Dome after it uprooted 21 Israeli settlements from the Gaza Strip and Hamas took over Gaza and used it to launch thousands of rockets at Israeli civilians.

Ariel Sharon’s former advisor told the Times of Israel that Sharon was drafting a plan to unilaterally withdraw from two-thirds of the West Bank when he had a stroke.

Sharon dubbed his plan “the mosaic separation,” because it left most Israeli settlements intact, allowing isolated Palestinian villages access to large urban centers through an intricate system of underpasses and tunnels.

Is territorial discontinuity a real obstacle to a Palestinian state?

Over at Fox News, Paul Alster slams Human Rights Watch’s report on the Gaza war, for essentially adopting Hamas’ version of the fighting, and hastily publishing it before the IDF could respond with its findings.

Gustavo Dudamel, the classical musical conductor, left Israel on a sour note. Blame Ben-Gurion Airport’s security, which subjected the Venezuelan-born director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra to extended questioning. Dudamel served as a guest conductor for the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra. The LA Times writes:

It appears that Dudamel, 32, is considering not returning to Israel based on the unpleasant experiences. The conductor was reportedly not carrying the orchestra’s letter of invitation and this was what led to the interrogations.

The Washington Post has some backstory on the Gaza war image that won World Press Photo‘s photo of the year award.

Rest O’ the Roundup

Hezbollah condemned for “attack on Syrian villages.”

There’s a rising number of Palestinians from Gaza traveling to Syria to fight Assad. According to the Jerusalem Post, most are members of Salafi factions who are hooking up with Jabhat al-Nusra. The Post adds that 70 Palestinian refugee families fleeing Syria have resettled in Gaza.

I’m all for Libya disarming its militias and getting rid of jihadis. Problem is, the government is dumping them in Syria. Towards the end of a story on foreign fighters in Syria, The Media Line writes:

According to a Libyan General National Council (GNC) advisor in charge of Libya’s disarmament program, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitive nature of the subject, “getting weapons and radical Islamists out of Libya is our main concern, so now we have a disarmament program where part of it involves transporting weapons and fighters to Syria.”

Israeli judge’s report on the Prisoner X affair says Ben Zygier killed himself, blames prison service shortcomings. Most notably, Judge Blatman Kedrai refused to close the case. Details at YNet.

(Image of Ahmadinejad via YouTube/Euronews, Dudamel via YouTube/Nationalorkestern)

For more, see yesterday’s Israel Daily News Stream.

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