- Hezbollah convoy of Hezbollah vehicles reportedly hit by Israeli airstrike, killing senior Hezbollah and IRGC commanders
- Editorial Boards take aim at President Obama's opposition to bi-partisan legislation aimed at Iranian nuclear program.
A convoy of Hezbollah vehicles traveling along the Israel-Syria border was hit by an Israeli airstrike on Sunday, according to reports, killing six Hezbollah members and several members of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), including senior commanders expert in missiles and cross-border raids. Israel has not formally taken responsibility for the strike, which occurred within the context of escalating Israeli-Hezbollah tensions and three days after Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah declared that Hezbollah would “enter into Galilee and…go even beyond the Galilee.” Israeli military analyst Amos Harel wrote an analysis last December indicating that Hezbollah has built up a terror infrastructure in the Golan Heights with Syrian and Iranian assistance. Among the dead was Jihad Mughniyeh, Hezbollah’s commander in the Golan Heights, a rising star in the organization and the son of Imad Mughniyeh, Hezbollah’s international operations chief who was assassinated in Damascus in 2008. Iran confirmed on Tuesday that one of the dead was Mohammed Ali Allahdadi, an IRGC general who had been consulting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad “on how to rid their country of Salafist terrorists,” according to Sepah News, the IRGC’s official news agency. He was reportedly a close confidant of Qassem Suleimani, the head of the IRGC’s Quds Force. Allahdadi was a ballistic missiles expert and was reportedly ordered to establish four Hezbollah missile bases on the Israel-Syria border. Israel’s Channel 2 said Tuesday night that the strike was targeting this project, which was being facilitated by Mughniyeh and another Hezbollah commander killed in the strike, Mohammed Issa. Another Iranian among the dead was Colonel Ali Tabatabai, the commander of the IRGC’s Radwan units in Lebanon, special forces that specialize in raids and small-unit tactics. Eyal Ben-Reuven, a retired Israeli major general, stated on Monday that the presence of the Iranian officials in the Golan Heights could mean that they were intent on “an operation against Israel on a high level.” Western intelligence officials were quoted as saying that Jihad Mughniyeh was planning future attacks against Israel. Hezbollah’s al-Manar TV reported that the convoy was conducting a “field reconnaissance mission.”
The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal editorial boards responded with skepticism over President Obama’s opposition to new conditional legislation that could impose economic pressure on Iran. Both pieces take aim at President Obama’s logic for threatening to veto legislation that would only take effect if nuclear negotiations fail while claiming that the bill itself would undercut the nuclear negotiations. The Washington Post, in its editorial piece on Saturday, wrote, “The logic of that argument has always been a little hard to follow, since the measure the Senate is likely to take up… would mandate new sanctions only if Iran failed to accept an agreement by the June 30 deadline established in the ongoing talks.” At his press conference on Friday, President Obama said that Iran could interpret new legislation as a violation of the Joint Plan of Action (JPOA) which might result in a collapse of the negotiations. However, The Washington Post challenges this view, asserting that “Common sense suggests the certain prospect of more punishment for an already-damaged economy would make the regime of Ali Khamenei more rather than less likely to offer the concessions necessary for a deal.” The Wall Street Journal wrote that “Passing the bill now could help persuade Iranian negotiators that they cannot string the West along indefinitely without paying a price. Would that cause Iran to walk away from negotiations? That’s a strange argument coming from an Administration that boasts that Iran agreed to the interim deal thanks to the bite of strong sanctions.” At the press conference, the President also expressed concern that the current sanctions imposed could unravel if talks were to collapse, which he claims would happen as a result of the new legislation. Obama said that America’s partners might not be willing to continue implementing sanctions. The Wall Street Journal responded with, “As for Western unity, it must not be all that firm if it would collapse following a display of Congressional support for the very goal the P5+1 claim to favor. Russia didn’t walk away from Iran negotiations even when it was hit with Western sanctions, so why would it do so on behalf of Iran?” The current legislation to increase the economic pressure on Iran enjoys significant bi-partisan support.
The Israeli company eyeSight Technologies, (with a 50-strong staff and offices in the US, Korea, Hong Kong and Japan) a leader in the field of computer- and machine-vision solutions since 2005, has just launched a new product that might make the clutter of multiple household remote controls a thing of the past. Onecue is a small, unobtrusive, standalone device that interfaces with TV sets, satellite and cable boxes, DVD and Blu-ray players, stereos, Xboxes and other remotely controlled electronic equipment or electrical appliances. Currently compatible with Apple TV, Nest Learning Thermostat, Philips Hue and a number of others, the new gadget — launched at the end of November and listed by CNN as one of 36 “coolest gadgets of 2014” — is a simple tool for today’s “smart” home. “Onecue actually simplifies and consolidates the whole command process,” CEO Gideon Shmuel tells ISRAEL21c at the eyeSight Technologies offices in Herzliya, while demonstrating how it works. With the opening and closing of his fist, or a wave of his hand, Shmuel changes screens on his computer, selects a TV station, turns it on, shuts it off – and even lowers the volume with a quick “shhhh” gesture of finger to lips. In fact, Onecue is built to enable users to turn on three separate devices simultaneously, all through the movement of one’s palm and fingers. Its technology is so advanced that it does not respond to random hand movements – or those made inadvertently by others in the vicinity – but recognizes the intentions of its user, conveyed by his or her specific gestures. (via Israel21c)