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The Daily TIP: NYTimes: Iran is "Embedded" in Syria, Threatening Israel

Posted by Tip Staff - February 20, 2018

NYTimes: Iran is "Embedded" in Syria, Threatening Israel
Palestinians Angered over Ban Imposed on Launch of Women's TV Channel by Hamas
National Security Adviser McMaster: Time to "Cut Off" Funding for Revolutionary Guards
Israeli Skaters Achieve Personal Best Scores, but No Medals in Winter Olympics

NYTimes: Iran is "Embedded" in Syria, Threatening Israel

The recent infiltration of Israeli airspace by an Iranian drone and the subsequent Israeli counter-strikes draw attention to "to how deeply Iran has embedded itself in Syria,” The New York Times reported Monday.

This means that in a direct confrontation between Israel and Iran, Iran could call upon its "axis of resistance," as it refers to its "expanding network of militant proxies in multiple countries."

Iran's goal in establishing itself in Syria is "to make Syria a new front between Israel, Hezbollah and Iran,” in case of a new war, according to Amir Toumaj, a researcher who studies Iran.

Analysts cited by the Times said that Iran's strategy emphasized the building of alliances with local forces that could benefit from its training and financing, instead of just controlling territory. This approach has allowed Iran to "amplify" its power across the Middle East, threatening Israel, Saudi Arabia and American interests.

The emerging threat, according to the Times, is prompting Israelis to consider that it is threatened with its "First Northern War," that could see Israel facing attack from two fronts - Syria and Lebanon - on its northern border.

“Israel will face not only quantity, but the threat to vulnerable strategic sites,” said Yaakov Amidror, a former Israeli national security adviser and currently a fellow at the Jerusalem Institute for Strategic Studies. Referring to both the number and sophistication of weapons that Hezbollah and Iran's other allies have at their disposal, Amidror warned: “Each one is problematic; together, they are devastating.”

Palestinians Angered over Ban Imposed on Launch of Women's TV Channel by Hamas

Hamas, the Islamist terror group which is in complete political and military control of the Gaza Strip, on Sunday banned the launching of a new television station specializing in Palestinian women’s affairs, the BBC reported.

The new station, designed to “shed light on Palestinian women as an integral part of the social fabric, and the role of women in building society,” was due to air for the first time Sunday night with a special opening ceremony.

However, the Hamas-controlled Ministry of Information said Taif TV had not obtained the necessary licenses from the relevant authorities. "The management of the channel was asked to settle their legal status, to obtain licenses to start work and were notified of another licensed media organization of the same name," the ministry said.

The management observed that the channel was part of a program belonging to the Haifa Institute for Media and Communication, which already obtained a license from the Hamas ministry.

The ban of the channel prompted Palestinians to express their anger on social media. Palestinian journalist Alaa Helou commented: “Those who are ruling the Gaza Strip make us hate them every day. The boisterous [Hamas] regime has to leave its fingerprint.”

Facebook user Islam Zendah stated: “The doors of the Gaza Strip carry a sign that reads: Here live the [Hamas] dream-killers.” In another Facebook comment, Zeina Al Mashharawi said: “Regrettably, they [Hamas] haven’t left a corner where they haven’t sown hatred, animosity and oppression. There’s no justification for today’s ban.”

National Security Adviser McMaster: Time to "Cut Off" Funding for Revolutionary Guards

National Security Advisor H. R. McMaster called on the international community to stop funding Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), saying that it was time to "cut off funding" to the group during his remarks at the Munich Security Conference, Defense News reported Saturday.

When Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced the sanctions on the IRGC last year, he explained that "the IRGC has played a central role to Iran becoming the world’s foremost state sponsor of terror." He also warned "the private sector to recognize that the IRGC permeates much of the Iranian economy, and those who transact with IRGC-controlled companies do so at great risk.”

“When you invest in Iran, you’re investing in the IRGC. You might as well cut the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps a check and say, ‘please use this to commit more murder across the Middle East,’” McMaster said, addressing the threat of the IRGC. “And when we look at the biggest trading partners with Iran, we of course see Russia, we see China. But we also see Japan, South Korea and Germany. It’s time to focus business intelligence efforts to figure out who we are really doing business with, and cut off funding.”

McMaster also called on the world "to address serious flaws in the Iran deal and counter Iran’s destabilizing activities, including its development and proliferation of missiles, and its support for terrorist proxies and militias that fuel destructive conflicts across the greater Middle East.”

Israeli Skaters Achieve Personal Best Scores, but No Medals in Winter Olympics

Though Israelis can’t help feeling disappointed that the Israeli Olympic team does not seem likely to bring home any medals from the Winter Games in Korea, they’re still full of pride for Israeli figure skaters Alexei Bychenko and Daniel Samohin, who glided their way to the highest-ever ranking of Israeli Olympic skaters and achieved personal-best scores.

The flagbearer for Israel’s 10-person Winter Olympic squad at the opening ceremony in Pyeongchang, Bychenko placed 11th in the men’s single skating free skating finals on February 17. In the same event, 2016 World Junior champion Samohin finished in 13th place.

This was the first time Israeli skaters reached the top 15 in men’s singles at a Winter Olympics. The previous record was held by Michael Shmerkin, who placed 16th for Israel at the 1994 Winter Olympics.

Bychenko, 30, improved his personal best by 1.49 points. Samohin, 19, improved his personal best by 14.79 points.

Bychenko started strong at the Winter Olympics, finishing second in the men’s single skating short program team event at the Gangneung Ice Arena on the February 9, ranking higher than American skater Nathan Chen.

Next month, Bychenko will compete in the ISU World Figure Skating Championship in Italy.

Alpine skier Itamar Biran, 19, finished the men’s giant slalom in 49th place among 110 competitors, significantly placing this Israeli in the top half of Olympic skiers. He will compete again Thursday, in the slalom event.

(via Israel21c)

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