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Israel Buys New Precision Rocket Arsenal to 'Cover Entire Region'

By Israel Hayom

The Defense Ministry announced Monday it had signed ?a deal worth hundreds of millions of shekels with ?Israel Military Industries for the development and ?acquisition of advanced precision rockets.? ?"This precision fire capability significantly ?improves the IDF's capabilities and allows for ?accurate strikes in remote launches, at immediate ?availability and lower costs compared to other ?combat systems," the Defense Ministry said in a ?statement.?

The new rockets will include advanced technological ?systems suitable for ?modern battlefields. ?The procurement follows a directive by Defense ?Minister Avigdor Lieberman to equip the IDF with an ?array of advanced rockets and missiles covering a ?range of 30-150 kilometers (18-93 miles). ?

"We are forging ahead with our plan to set up an ?array of precision rockets and missiles. Some of ?them are already in production, and some have entered ?their last research and development stages," ?Lieberman said Monday.? ?"We are acquiring and developing high-precision ??fire systems that will enable us to ?bolster the IDF's offensive capabilities. In a few ?years, the IDF will be able to cover every point in ?the region, be it near or far."

IMI Chairman Yitzhak Aharonovich said, "The ?innovative rocket systems the IDF will acquire in ?this deal demonstrate the technological capabilities ?of the company, which specializes in precision firepower for pinpoint strikes on a variety of ground ?targets."?

Defense officials said the deal, led by the Defense ?Administration for the Development of Weapons and ?Technological Infrastructure at the Defense ?Ministry, aims to provide the Israeli Air Force ?with sufficient ground-based support in case Israel's ?airports come under attack.?

The use of precision rockets on a large scale is designed to counter the threat posed by the ?Lebanon-based Hizbullah terrorist group as well as ?reduce the ground forces' overall dependence on the ?IAF, one defense official said. ?

Hizbullah Builds Mock Israel Village to Train Invasion Forces

By DEBKAfile & Israel Hayom

A chain of mock Israeli villages has sprung up on the Lebanese-Syrian border for training Hizbullah Special Forces in invasion tactics. They are copies of the mock Lebanese villages the IDF has set up on the Golan in case of another war breaking out with the Lebanese Hizbullah.

The imitation villages serve multiple Hizbullah purposes – as bases on the Syrian border and way stations for the fighters Hassan Nasrallah is gradually pulling back from the fighting in Syria. There, he can keep a close eye on the returning veterans to guard against signs of disaffection. The training exercises taking place in the fake villages will also keep Hizbullah fighters up to speed.

According to intelligence data, the Hizbullah chief has withdrawn so far 4,000 combatants – around half of the fighting strength he deployed to help the Syrian army quell the seven-year-long rebellion against the Assad regime. Most of the rest are on their way home after their officers were ordered to pull them out of Syrian towns and villages and assemble them on the Syrian-Lebanese border. But there are suspicions that the appearance of a full Hizbullah military evacuation from Syria may be faked for disguising Nasrallah's real intentions.

Nasrallah bragged Sunday that the Israeli military is suffering from a defeatist ?mentality and does not dare fight Hizbullah. In a message marking the first anniversary of Hizbullah's victory ?against Islamic State operatives on the Lebanon-Syria border, he claimed that the ?Israel Defense Forces is suffering from declining motivation among young Israelis to join combat units. ?

Since the Second Lebanon War in 2006, some 44,000 ?Israeli soldiers have sought psychological treatment, he ?said. ? ?"No one can wage war against us," Nasrallah ? ?boasted. ??"Israel is afraid, which is why it will not ?wage war ?against us." ?

"If we decide to wage a [new] ?large battle in Syria, our youths will only need a ?signal because they have devotion and clarity of ?vision," Nasrallah said. "For seven years we have ?been fighting, there was no objection, restlessness ?or annoyance from our base. There was only support."?

He also repeated Russian and Syrian claims that a ?possible chemical attack on Syria's Idlib province is being prepared as a pretext for a new U.S.-backed ?attack against Syria. He said this plot aims to ?prevent the Syrian government from completing the ?liberation of its territories.? Syria denies it has any chemical weapons left, after ?giving them up in a Russia-negotiated deal in 2013. ?Damascus and Moscow accuse rebels and their Western ?allies of staging all subsequent suspected chemical ?attacks.?

Iran Claims Control of Strait of Hormuz


Iran has seized control over the Strait of Hormuz, a major shipping lane through which one-third of the world's oil passes, an Iranian naval commander said Monday.

Gen. Alireza Tangsiri, the head of Iran's Revolutionary Guards' navy, stated that Iran now controls the Strait of Hormuz and the entire Persian Gulf. "We can ensure the security of the Persian Gulf, and there is no need for the presence of aliens like the U.S. and the countries whose home is not in here," Tangsiri told the Tasnim news agency

According to the US Energy Information Administration, the vast majority of oil exported from Saudi Arabia passes through the Strait of Hormuz. Iran has threatened to take action against oil shipments in the Strait of Hormuz in retaliation for the re-imposition of US sanctions on the Islamic Republic. Any Iranian action against oil shipments in the Strait of Hormuz could significantly impact oil prices around the world.

Earlier this month, Iran held naval exercises in the Strait of Hormuz in which small Iranian vessels practiced "swarming" techniques for use against US ships. Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah has warned that if Iran cannot export oil as a result of US sanctions, no country in the Middle East would be allowed to export oil.

American Jewish Group Lobbies for Pakistan's Anti-Semitic, Pro-Jihad Prime Minister

By Yigal Carmon and Tufail Ahmad (WIN Commentary)

Imran Khan, the cricketer-turned-politician who is now Pakistan's prime minister, is in a win-win situation. To his Pakistani audiences, Khan blames "the Jewish lobby," the Jews, America, and Israel for the many ills that bedevil Pakistan. This earns him the sympathy and support of Pakistani voters. At the same time, a member of that "Jewish lobby" that Khan singles out for the attack is going to bat for him and advocating for US support for Pakistan.

"The Jewish lobby" is a blanket term used by Pakistani politicians, including Khan, who do not distinguish between Jews and Israel. Over the past decade and more, leaders in Pakistan have blamed the Jews for foisting Valentine's and April Fool's Days on Muslims; have dubbed the UN a Jewish conspiracy; have accused Jews and Israel of targeting Pakistan's nuclear weapons; have called Facebook – and polio vaccination campaigns – Jewish conspiracies, and so on. Khan's narrative is not exceptional in Pakistan's public discourse.

In 2011, Khan, the leader of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) party, began holding political rallies. In 2012, he was asked by Pakistan's Aaj TV to explain why media coverage of his political activities had declined. Khan responded by saying that the Jews control the global media:

"The problem is that our [party] is facing two governments: the central government… and the provincial government in Punjab. They have massive funds for advertising [in compliant newspapers and TV channels]… Advertisements play a big part, and because of this, a small minority, the Jewish lobby… controls the global media."

In a Dawn News TV interview, he explained the USUS agenda in Pakistan: "There is a very big lobby in America, and it's a very powerful lobby, and that's the Israeli lobby. It wants the Pakistani nuclear program rolled back. When they use the word `secure,' it basically means a rollback [of Pakistan's nuclear program]… And that lobby is very powerful. The one, which is trying to get an attack launched against Iran – that same lobby is after the nuclear program of Pakistan, and it is the Israeli lobby."

These are not isolated remarks by Khan. In August 2017, he blamed the US strategy for Afghanistan, which President Trump unveiled in August 2017, on "the Jewish lobby." According to a Pakistani media report, Khan "slammed the [Pakistani] government and its policymakers, asking where they were when the Jewish and Indian lobbyists were busy influencing the US government in Washington and devising that strategy [that is] primarily aimed at denuclearizing Pakistan."

Khan has accused the US of waging war not on terrorism, but on Islam, and has advocated jihad: "Jihad is a very simple thing. When I wage war for my freedom, it is jihad. It's a verse of the Koran; it's straight [and] clear. [When] one fights for his freedom, it's jihad. Those who are fighting in Afghanistan against foreign occupation, it's jihad."

Enter Jack Rosen, president of the American Jewish Congress (AJCongress), which is a member organization of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. When Khan refers to "the Jewish lobby," he means organizations such as these.

In late July 2018, Rosen published an article titled "Pakistan Deserves US Support," and also circulated it via email. In the article, he stated: "Khan's strong words against terrorism in the region align with US interests. Pakistan can be a valuable partner in the fight against terrorism and serves as a critical juncture in our efforts in Afghanistan." Really? Khan has said the very opposite.

Rosen writes that Khan should receive more US funds. But Khan has said: "Say `no' to [American] aid. We do not want this aid. It is destroying our country, " adding: "[If Pakistan] is perceived to be a stooge of America – taking dollars to be a hired gun for the Americans – then all we are doing is fanning extremism, and this is a never-ending war which will destroy Pakistan." Rosen does not explain the basis for his convictions and fails to mention Pakistan's role in helping the Taliban and in the killing of US soldiers in Afghanistan. He writes: "To say that Pakistan is not at the front lines of the fight against violent extremism is patently absurd… [There are] some in Washington who would deny Pakistan the tools it needs – regarding military hardware, financial support, and political encouragement – to bring terrorists to heel."

But Adm. Mike Mullen, at the time chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, testified otherwise in a September 2011 U.S. Senate hearing: "[The Afghan Taliban's] Haqqani network acts as a veritable arm of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence [ISI]." The ISI, he added, played "a direct role in supporting the [Taliban] insurgents who carried out the deadly attack on the American Embassy in Kabul."

US investigators at Guantanamo Bay have classified the ISI as a terrorist group, listing it "alongside Al-Qaeda, Hamas and Hizbullah in Lebanon as threats." The November 2008 Mumbai attackers received instructions by wireless from their leader in Karachi – including in their raid on the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, in which 31 were killed, and on Chabad's Nariman House, where they tortured and murdered the rabbi and his wife. Osama bin Laden found haven in Pakistan, "hiding out" for five years in a villa less than a mile away from the Pakistan Military Academy in Kakul, Abbottabad.

And recently, Michael Morell, former acting CIA director, noted that "Pakistan's support to jihadists – in short, its support to terrorists fighting India… bleeds over to extremists who want to overthrow the Pakistani state itself, including Al-Qaeda and the Pakistani Taliban." He continued: "This anti-state jihadist extremism is growing in Pakistan, creating the nightmare society down the road – an extremist government in Islamabad with nuclear weapons."

The AJCongress's advocacy for US economic support to Pakistan creates a dangerous situation. US funds go through the Pakistani military, with a sizeable portion being diverted to the ISI to fund jihadi organizations such as the Afghan Taliban, Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), and Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM). Adnan Rasheed, a Pakistani Taliban commander who previously worked for the Pakistan Air Force, revealed that the Pakistani military had established a jihadi unit called "Idarat-ul-Pakistan… to prepare mujahideen in all three forces – Army, Navy and Air Force – for a future takeover. But until then, its mission was to get training from the JeM and to fight in Afghanistan.

Indeed, the JeM – described by Adnan Rasheed as a sub-unit of ISI – continues to train a new generation of jihadis. JeM members are fighting against India in Jammu & Kashmir, and the organization boasts proudly of its achievements in its Urdu weekly Haftroza Al-Qalam, published and sold openly in the streets of Pakistan. From its headquarters in the Pakistani city of Bahawalpur, JeM annually holds a series of events across Pakistan at which jihadi clerics preach the "jihadi verses" of the Koran right under the noses of the Pakistani army; in the first four months of 2018 alone, these events were held at 54 locations.

The Pakistani military approach is to curtail and control all terror groups in Pakistan that neither do its bidding nor act inside Pakistan – but to support and facilitate all terror groups that work outside Pakistan: the Afghan Taliban in Afghanistan and Jaish-e-Muhammad and Lashkar-e-Taiba in Indian Kashmir. This is not the first time that Jewish leaders have acted on behalf of their organization in areas unrelated to Jewish life in the US, either out of ignorance or in blatant disregard of the facts. Earlier this year, Jewish leaders, including from the Conference itself, involved themselves in a dispute between two Arab countries that had nothing to do with them or with their organizations and in which they had no business interfering.

This was particularly unfortunate since Qatar – whose side they took by the fact that they went there without setting preconditions for their visit– hosts the notorious anti-Semitic Muslim Brotherhood leader Sheikh Yousuf Al-Qaradawi, who has said that Allah imposed Hitler on the Jews as "divine punishment" and that "Allah willing, the next time will be at the hand of the [Muslim] believer. Qatar is also a known supporter of terrorism, as MEMRI has written at length, and in recent months its state-owned Al-Jazeera TV channel has stepped up its broadcasts of anti-US content.

It is the unchallenged right of any private American citizen, including businessman Rosen, to act as a foreign agent, provided they abide by the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) – even when doing so is blatantly against the interest of the US or of their community. But using their organization as a cover for doing so is wrong and damaging. Yet the Conference has not spoken out against this practice.

This laissez-faire approach on the part of the Conference allows enemies of the Jews to argue that this is how the Jewish community in America and "the Jewish lobby" act. While the Conference may not have the authority to impose policy, it needs at the very least to firmly distance itself from such rogue activity – which is nothing less than self-inflicted anti-Semitism.

Yigal Carmon is the President of MEMRI; Tufail Ahmad is Senior Fellow for the MEMRI Islamism and Counter-Radicalization Initiative.

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