Rockets Hit Hezbollah in Beirut

Arab Spring Winter

Worth reading: The Jerusalem Post takes an in-depth look at the Syria-Hezbollah arms pipeline over the last 20 years.

Israeli hackers fight back, peel away at the veil of Anonymous. If the info’s accurate, asks the Times of Israel, what’s the next escalation in the Israeli-Arab cyber wars?

The IEF’s latest gambit seeks to “rip the mask off the hackers attacking Israel,” the group says in a video. A message on a hacker site and in the IEF’s Twitter feed refers web surfers to a web page listing personal details of individuals the group says are key figures in the #OpIsrael hacking operations. The information was gathered, the group said, by hackers in its own organization, and with the help of a joint team of American and Israeli hackers . . .

“If Israeli hackers are revealing the names and phone numbers of Arab and Pakistani hackers, they might in turn target security personnel and publish details of top IDF generals, police officers, or even Mossad or Shabak [Shin Bet security agency] agents online.” Israel is known to have extensive networks of informers in the West Bank, for example; and if hackers specifically target the databases where that information is stored and release it, Israel’s intelligence operations could be severely hampered — not to mention the lives that would be lost, as the PA leadership executes the “collaborators” the hackers help uncover. “There’s no question that a border has been crossed,” said Pavel.

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Meet Mohammed Jaber, one of the Syrian businessmen Bashar Assad counts on to help the regime survive. The Wall St. Journal (via Google News) writes:

Mr. Jaber’s focus is energy. Syrian oil and gas production has fallen to a fraction of its level two years ago. Though Iran and Iraq provide supplies, chaotic conditions and rebel sabotage have crippled the ability to move oil products around Syria by pipeline or rail. Mr. Jaber has stepped in to organize tanker-truck convoys and provide them with armed escorts.

Israeli government assessment: Bashar Assad will remain in power for the foreseeable future. So what? asks McClatchy News:

For Israeli officials, the possibility that Assad will survive, at least for some period of time, is seen as both a positive and a negative.

The negative, officials say, is that the longer Assad stays in power and the stronger his position becomes, the more likely it is that violence will break out between the two countries. In the space of 24 hours this week, Israel’s top three defense officials all raised that prospect as news agencies reported exchanges of fire along the countries’ tense border in the Golan Heights . . .

The upside? As long as Assad remains in control of even a reduced part of the country – along with its vast weapons stockpiles and the newly acquired S-300 missiles – rebel groups will be more focused on battling his forces than on attacking Israel. Indeed, many senior Israeli political and defense officials now say that’s the preferred scenario.

Experts talking to the Jerusalem Post reject the idea that Israel will intervene in Syria, either by establishing a buffer zone or a proxy fighting force.

The Economist: Syria’s civil war is intensifying Palestinian divisions.

Iranian Atomic Urgency 

Ambassador Michael Oren got op-ed space in the Washington Post to take on the Iranian nuclear threat:

As world leaders deliberate whether and how to intervene in Syria, how to grapple with Iraq, how to shore up Jordan and Turkey, and how to engage the Russians, the Iranian nuclear program advances unchecked.

(Image of Assad via YouTube/Eretz Zen)

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

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