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Israel's Military Response to Iran's Rocket Salvo Was an Insufficient Deterrent

By DEBKAfile,, Reuters &

The four rockets fired from Syria into Israel's Galilee and Golan last Thursday were Iran's way of testing how far Israel's government and military leaders were willing to go militarily in support of their political campaign against a "bad nuclear deal" in the US Congress and Iran's bad intentions in general. Tehran needed to test the credibility of the warning issued by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu during his visit to the IDF Northern Command on August 18.

Seen in that light, Israel's artillery, missile and aerial strikes Thursday night and Friday against Syrian military targets in the Quneitra district and contradictory rhetoric were the right reaction. They were confused enough to leave the Iranians totally at sea, wondering if that was the sum total of Israel's response to the first unprovoked rocket attack from the Syrian Golan in 42 years.

But the Iranians chose to voice their thoughts in another arena. Saturday, they unveiled their new Fateh 313 short-range, surface missile, which is highly accurate at a range of 500 km (310 miles). They also displayed new satellite launch engines. Tehran clearly judged the Israeli response to the rocket attack to be deficient in strategic value and it stood ready for the next round.

The Fateh 313 is the 6th generation of the solid-propellant Fateh-series SRBM, which are considered the most accurate Iranian missiles. According to reports in Iran, the new missile is made of composite materials, making it lighter in weight than previous versions. It also uses synthetic fuel and is fitted with new sensors. The defense ministry said the Fateh 313, unveiled on Iran's Defense Industry Day, had already been successfully tested and that mass production would start soon.

Iran has one of the largest missile programs in the Middle East. It wants to export arms to its allies in the region and import anti-missile systems to prevent any possible attack by its arch-foe Israel. "In our aerospace industry we have various ballistic missiles with different ranges under production," Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan said on Friday. "We will continue this path with maximum power in line with our defensive needs and proportionate to threats ahead of us."

Fars news agency, which is close to the country's Revolutionary Guards, released a music video on Saturday praising Iran's missile capabilities. It contained pictures of what the agency called a new and unknown missile of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps. A senior IRGC commander said on Friday Iran would hold a large ballistic missile maneuver in the near future.

"Some wrongly think Iran has suspended its ballistic missile programs in the last two years and has made a deal on its missile program ... We will have a new ballistic missile test in the near future that will be a thorn in the eyes of our enemies," the commander of the aerospace division of the IRGC, Brigadier General Amirali Hajizadeh, said on Friday.

In the past, the Israeli Air Force was attributed with an attack on a shipment of Fateh 110 missiles on their way from Iran to Hizbullah. At the end of last year, senior Hizbullah officials and senior officials in the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps spoke a lot about the advanced surface-to-surface missiles Iran provided Hizbullah with, that would allow the Lebanese terror organization to accurately hit targets all over Israel. It is believed the model in question was the Fateh 110.

Earlier this year, Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah claimed that his organization has had Fateh 110 missiles that can reach Tel Aviv since 2006. While the new model's range is much bigger than that of the Fateh 110, Iran has repeatedly exaggerated the capabilities of the new arms it presented.

The Israeli response Thursday and Friday exposed the real muddle governing government Israel's policies for Iran and Syria. Official spokesmen first accused Iran of staging the rocket attack, then the Palestinian Islamic Jihad – funded and armed by Iran's Al Qods Brigades. Israel next leveled its counter-strikes against Syrian military positions around Quneitra. Why? Because the rockets were fired from territory controlled by Bashar Assad's army, the spokesmen explained.

But Assad's army has lost control of large stretches of Syria, and Israel claims that the Iranians alone call the shots in Damascus these days. Striking Syrian army positions on the Golan was therefore a pointless exercise. And if the real culprits were the Islamic Jihad – hence the Israeli air strike Friday which claimed to have killed the four-man rocket cell – then why not go for this terrorist group's primary bases in the Gaza Strip and Lebanon?

The Iron Dome batteries deployed last week to protect Ashdod and Be'er Sheva from Gaza rockets must have sent a strong message to Tehran that Israel prefers to avoid offensive action and would rather stay on the defensive against its enemies.

This Israeli posture has produced four repercussions: 1. Iran can continue to engineer rocket attacks from Syria against northern Israel and is in fact free to calibrate their intensity to suit its wider strategy. The first attack last Thursday deliberately targeted open ground and avoided causing casualties or major damage. But Iran's finger remains poised over the tuning button. 2. The Iranians and their Hizbullah pawns are not losing a moment's sleep over the damage Israel's counter-attacks inflicted on Assad's army.

3. Tehran has grounds to presume from the experience of the past seven years that Israel is highly reluctant to employ military action in support of its campaign against a nuclear-armed Iran. This conclusion is a crucial element in Iran's decisions to continue to pursue diplomatic steps against the US, military steps against Saudi Arabia and the rest of the Gulf emirates, and, above all, carry on with its nuclear aspirations undisturbed. 4. Domestic politics are a major contributor to the Israeli government's muddled policies. The rocket episode was still not resolved when a bombshell from past government controversies exploded Friday night.

TV Channel 2 aired tapes of Ehud Barak, former prime minister and defense minister, who was recorded as reporting that Israel had stepped back from attacking Iran's nuclear program three times in the past. Barak was heard accusing the incumbent Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon, and another minister Yuval Steinitz of voting against an attack in an inner cabinet forum, while Netanyahu and Barak himself were all for going ahead. The tapes were released by two writers of a new book.

DEBKAfile's political sources suggest that the leak came from a domestic political source bidding to discredit Ya'alon as too timid for the job. The culprit may even be Barak himself, who retired from politics last year and may be keen to get his old job back as defense minister in the Netanyahu government coalition.

Not Striking Iran in Time 'Greatest Failure Ever'


The former National Security Advisor, Dr. Uzi Arad, said Sunday that the recordings in which former prime minister Ehud Barak spoke about the aborted plans for a strike on Iran's nuclear program appeared to expose a scandalous failure.

It is unacceptable, he said, for the prime minister and senior ministers to support an attack, and for the attack not to be carried out. "The question is, why didn't they apply their full weight on this matter," he said, according to Army Radio. "This question is important today because if Iran is in a position to have options to break out to a nuclear [weapon]... then this is the state's greatest failure ever."

Knesset member Tzahi Hanegbi (Likud), Chairman of the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, said Sunday the tapes should never have been made public. "Where the hell was the Military Censor? I asked myself, how is this possible, and in all of the inquiries I've made since then, I have yet to receive a real answer on this matter," he told Army Radio. "I am going to summon the Military Censor's people to talk with us at the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee," he promised. "We have been following the Censor's actions for years."

Barak said in the recordings – which were made public by a pair of biographers – that in 2010, the person who prevented a strike on Iran was then-Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi, who said that the military preparations were "not ripe," and that in 2011-2, it was Ministers Yuval Steinitz and Moshe Ya'alon who opposed it. The strike was supported, he said, by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman, and Barak himself, who was defense minister at the time. Steinitz and Ya'alon are considered to be the ministers closest to Netanyahu. It is therefore somewhat unlikely that they would oppose a strike if Netanyahu had put full pressure on them to support it.

Liberman told the military radio station that when top secret matters like this are discussed in the open, Israel projects an image that lacks credibility and seriousness. "That is one of the reasons why Iran is embraced by the international community and why we have been pushed into a corner," he said. "It raises questions, with other nations, to what degree Israelis can keep a secret, and to what degree you can share information with them."

Netanyahu's bureau responded Sunday evening to statements made by Barak, regarding missed opportunities to strike Iran's nuclear program, and Netanyahu's character. "It is time to stop the irresponsible talk about matters that are connected with state security," said the bureau. "Netanyahu continues to act aggressively for the security of Israel, with determination and decisiveness."

Barak set off a firestorm over the weekend when Channel 2 broadcasted recordings of him saying that Israel had three times been on the verge of attacking Iran only to cancel its plans due to either opposition in the cabinet or alleged IDF unpreparedness. Barak also analyzed Netanyahu's personality and said: "Bibi himself lives inside a cloud of deep pessimism and has a tendency... in the balance between fear and hope he prefers, usually, to be afraid; he once called it 'worried.'"

The Real War on Women

By Ed Ziegler (Commentary)

It has been well confirmed that many Muslims fanatics, such as members of ISIS, al Qaeda and Boko Haram have utterly no regard for anyone not a follower of Islam. By the standards of civilized people the following sample acts are barbaric.

It is estimated that Islamic terrorists have kidnapped 3,700 females as young as 10 and has made them into sex slaves. It was reported that one Yazidi women stated "I have been raped 30 times and it was not even lunchtime. I couldn't go to the toilet. Please bomb us."

When ISIS took over the town of Mosul. ISIS systematically killed Christian men, women and children without pity. Some women and children were sold like cattle in markets as sex slaves.

NBC News reported that an American UN aid worker, Kayla Mueller, was kidnapped in August 2013 and was made the property of ISIS' self proclaimed caliph (King) Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi. A Yazidi eyewitness said Kayla was repeatedly tortured and raped by al-Baghdadi.

The UN reports that ISIS militants have forced overly abused sex slaves to undergo virginity restoration. Such young girls with this surgery are gaining in popularity because they command higher prices on the market.

On Aug. 13, 2015 the New York Times reported "QADIYA, Iraq — In the moments before he raped the 12-year-old girl, the Islamic State fighter took the time to explain that what he will do was not a sin. Because the preteen girl practiced a religion other than Islam, he insisted the Quran not only gave him the right to rape her — it condoned and encouraged it. Then he knelt beside the bed and prostrated himself in prayer before getting on top of her."

Caliphate's Creed or Hebrew Hello?


Residents of Gardner, Louisiana were alarmed recently when a sign appeared in their small community they were convinced was written in Arabic and in support of the Islamic State.

According to a local report by KALB News Channel 5, several concerned citizens called the Rapides Parish Sheriff's Office and the KALB news station to report the suspicious sign, clueless that it was in fact, a friendly message of "Welcome Home Yamit" written in Hebrew.

Gardner is a small town near the city of Alexandria where the Sheriff's Office had to reassure the residents that the sign had nothing to do with the Islamic State or its wars in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Nigeria and definitely not Louisiana. It was unclear who wrote the Hebrew sign or who "Yamit" might be.

(Editor: Yamit was an Israeli settlement on the northwest coast of Sinai between El Arish and Rafah. The city, which Moshe Dayan projected its eventual population to be 250,000, was settled primarily by U.S. and Russian immigrants. The area was returned to Egypt as part of the Camp David Peace Accords with Egypt. Your Israel News Faxx editor, although he never moved to Yamit, was an original member of Garin Yamit--the American group.)

What Not to Ask on Your First Israeli Date


If you're looking for financial success in your potential Israeli partner, it's probably best not to bring it up on the first date according to a new survey by the Israeli dating website Alpha. According to the survey, "How much do you make?" is the most hated question for Israelis to be asked on a first date.

The questionnaire was based on the answers of 304 male and female participants between the ages of 25-45 and found that it is also better to avoid questions regarding previous relationships including when they ended and how long they lasted. Inquiries into previous relationships received the most negative reactions from women ages 31 and older.

`On a brighter note, your first date with an Israeli doesn't need to be overly extravagant according to the survey. The survey noted that street-side cafes and bars were the most desired spots for a first date while museums, bowling, picnics and an evening at home were ranked the lowest.

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