“The Strategic Genius Behind Allowing Qatari Suitcases of Cash into Gaza”

Via Lex:

Political analysts were likely no less surprised. I’m certainly one of them, having looked on in amazement ever since the reemergence of Hamas violence in early 2018 after three and a half years of quiet. Why did the Israeli government, with Benjamin Netanyahu firmly at its helm, tolerate renewed Hamas missile strikes, then missiles and incendiary balloons, then missiles and incendiary balloons and rioting along the fence dividing Hamas- controlled Gaza and Israel?
 
This is to say nothing of the high-profile visits of the Qatari special envoy, who brought suitcases full of millions of dollar bills to be placed in Hamas coffers—either directly or indirectly with Israel’s permission.
 
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The mystery was solved on the fourth night of the offensive, when the Israeli Air Force made aviation history by amassing, over the small space of Gaza, 160 fighter jets and other air vehicles to pound and destroy—over a mere 40 minutes—the “Hamas Metro”: a vast array of interlocking tunnels Hamas had dug to protect its command posts, ease the movement of its terrorists, and enable the transport of its missiles and other ordnance.
 
What Netanyahu and the IDF did unto Hezbollah on a much smaller scale two years ago they repeated successfully on a far larger scale against Hamas. Israel, having discovered and then meticulously monitored Hezbollah tunneling activities across the northern border, waited for the expensive tunnels to be dug and then destroyed them just as they were about to be completed. It was Hamas’s turn to be similarly duped.

Read the whole thing.

Is Free Speech Too Exhausting?

A group of Duke Law students, demanding the disinvitation of visiting speaker, used the phrase ‘we are tired.’  Jonathan Turley remarks:

Those three words sum up a great deal of the anti-free speech movement growing on our campuses. Students and faculty have grown tired of free speech. Opposing views are now treated as threats and intolerable for students.

It does seem that a lot of people these days–especially, perhaps, people of college age–find it incredibly wearying and even threatening to be presented with any views that contradict their own.  Reading the above, I was immediately reminded of a remark that a young woman made (to writer Ida Wylie) during the Nazi era:

We Germans are so happy.  We are free from freedom”

There definitely seems to be a reaction against free expression going on in America today…how strong it is and how deep it goes remains to be seen.  But as one indicator, a survey by YouGov shows that 43% of those who identify as Liberals favor firing an executive who *privately* donated money to Trump, and 22% of those who identify as Conservatives favor firing an executive who privately donated to Biden…the numbers are 50% and 36% for *strong* liberals and conservatives respectively.

What are the causes for the apparently-growing hostility toward free speech in the US?  Part of it, perhaps, is a hankering for security.  David Brooks suggests that:

The values of the Millennial and Gen Z generations that will dominate in the years ahead are the opposite of Boomer values: not liberation, but security; not freedom, but equality; not individualism, but the safety of the collective; not sink-or-swim meritocracy, but promotion on the basis of social justice…Distrustful people try to make themselves invulnerable, armour themselves up in a sour attempt to feel safe… start to see threats that aren’t there.

I’m not generally much of a fan of Brooks’ analyses and conclusion, but even a stopped (analog) clock is right twice a day.  Perhaps he has a valid point here?

Another factor, I suspect, is changes in family structure.  Kids who are put in a day-care situation at a very early age may develop a lifelong or at least long-term tendency to identify with the group…whatever that group might be…more than those who are raised in a traditional family situation, and especially so if there is only one parent in the home.  As one data point, here’s an interesting article by someone who was raised in a collective situation in an early Israeli kibbutz.

And perhaps the threats and realities of Islamic terrorism have also had an influence…for 20 years now, there has been a constant (if low-level) sense that ‘if you say anything that the radical Islamists don’t like, they may kill you.’  Has this led to a habit of speech-guarding that has been generalized into many aspects of life?

 

The Secret War between Russia and Iran’s Quds Force in Syria

There appears to be an on-going, unofficial, and secret war in Syria between Putin’s Russia and the Iranian Republican Guard Corps’ Quds Force involving do it yourself drones in the hands of  Syrian Islamic Rebel “deniable assets” attacking Russian interests, particularly at the Khmeimim airbase.
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First, look at this photo:
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It comes from this 7-6-2019 www.aljazeera -dot- com story:
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Saudi-UAE coalition says it intercepted Houthi drones
The Houthi drones were destroyed in Saudi Arabia’s airspace according to the military coalition.

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Now look at this BBC photo, which comes from my Chicagoboyz post here:

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The DIY ‘Assault Drone’ Siege of Russian Bases in Syria
Trent Telenko on August 26th, 2018

This is the bootleg 3D printed version of the Russian Elevon drone used by Syrian Rebels

Both are identically produced drones made via a 3D laser scanned and 3D plastic body printed copy of a Russian Elevon Drone.   The top drone photo was involved in the just reported attack on Saudi interests by Houthi rebels on 7-6-2019. The bottom photo is from my report on D-I-Y drone attack on Russia’s the Khmeimim airbase in Syria during January 2018.
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By way of comparison, the photo below is of a Russian Elevon drone downed over Syria by the rebels there.  There is no 3D printing or duct tape on this drone:
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The common denominator for both D-I-Y drones is the presence of the Iranian Republican Guard Corps’ Quds Force in Syria and Yemen.  And the Quds Force has launched drone attacks on Israel from Syria and on Saudi Arabia from Yemen.
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Strategypage is currently reporting from IDF sources that Russian GPS jamming in Syria is aimed at “Syrian Rebel” D-I-Y drones to defend Khmeimim airbase, and from anything else that might be in Syrian skies.
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See:
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Israel has been accusing Russia of causing GPS signal disruption in northern Israel since early June. Russia denies any responsibility but it appears that Russian EW (Electronic Warfare) equipment in Syria causes intermittent disruption of commercial aircraft GPS navigation systems over Israel. While Russia has EW gear specifically for GPS jamming or spoofing (create false signals), that does not appear to be what is happening here.Israel believes the GPS disruption is an unintended side effect of Russia using EW equipment heavily to protect their bases from Islamic terrorists attack using explosives equipped commercial UAVs, as well as other EW equipment being tested against the American F-22 and Israeli F-35 stealth aircraft that regularly operate over SyriaRussia EW gear, even the impressive new stuff, still relies a lot on “brute force” solutions. That means sending out powerful, multi-frequency jamming signals rather than less intense but more focused signals (which Western EW gear favors). Russia depends on export sales of these new EW systems to pay for developing them. “Unfortunate side effects” are not what they want to be associated with their new EW equipment and would, as is their custom, prefer to believe the bad news does not exist or is propaganda spread by jealous Western rivals. Israel maintains good relations with Russia in Syria by not revealing flaws found in new Russian EW gear or any of the new systems Russia has used in Syria. But this Russian systems flaw is impossible to ignore or explain without going into detail about how Russian EW equipment works. Russian and Israeli negotiators are trying to work out a mutually acceptable solution, as they have done so many times before.  

Using Occam’s razor regards the origin of these drones, the simplest explanation is the Quds Force provided the same drone to both the Syrian Rebels that are fighting Assad and Russia and to the Yemen’s Houthi Rebels fighting the American supported Saudi Arabian Coalition in Yemen.
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It appears that Iran’s Quds Force and Russia are fighting a secret war in Syria and all the reports of heavy GPS jamming by Russia in Syria -ARE NOT- aimed primarily at Israel or the USA. It is aimed at IRGC facilities/forces in Syria.
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Photographic evidence says some of the D-I-Y drones attacking Khmeimim airbase are Iranian.
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QED.
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VALIDATING THE QED OF A QUDS FORCE/RUSSIA SECRET WAR
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There are two tests that Western and particularly Israeli intelligence agencies can do to validate there is in fact a secret war between Russia and Iran’s Quds Force, and both involve electronic intelligence (ELINT).
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The first test is to determine if the Russians in Syria are jamming &  spoofing their own GLOSNASS satellite navigation system as well as GPS.   The Russians jamming their own system is a solid indication they think someone with knowledge of how to weaponize GLOSNASS satellite navigation signals is behind the D-I-Y drones in Syria.

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While this is a possible intelligence indicator for Iran, since the Russians have sold Glonass guided weapons to Iran.  It is not proof positive.  A lot of commodity GPS receivers are “dual mode” i.e. they have embedded GLOSNASS capability.  Cheap Taiwanese made GPS receivers have had dual capability for years and some of the more expensive models also attempt to get a best solution by using both GPS/GLOSNASS C/A codes.  So jamming/spoofing against GLOSNASS exploitation by D-I-Y drone might simply be a case of through due diligence by the Russian Armed Forces in Syria.

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The second and definitive test involves mapping the jamming and spoofing signal strength of Russian anti-drone electronic warfare and then geo-locate Iranian Quds Force within that signal pattern.  If there is a close match of the strongest jamming/spoofing signal patterns to Quds Force.  It’s definitive.

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Invasive ELINT platforms — IDF F-35 and USAF F-22 mentioned in the Strategy page piece plus drones — can do this inside Syrian air space. However, it will not be as easy as a few flights in and out.  Mapping Russian radiated signal patterns will be tricky as radio signal ground bounce distorts what you see from an airborne platform.
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The Israeli Defense Forces are in the best position to accomplish this second ELINT test as their suite of drone capability likely includes more than a few multi-copter drones that can land disposable radio listening devices and other sensors near IRGC Quds Force facilities in Syria.
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Quote of the Day

Caroline Glick:

Trump scares the Europeans. He doesn’t scare them because he expects them to pay for their own defense. All of his predecessors had the same expectation. He frightens the Europeans because he ignores their rhetoric while mercilessly exposing their true policy and refuses to accept it. They are scared that Trump intends to exact a price from them for their weak-kneed treachery.

Intends to exact a price. That is what Trump’s political enemies really object to about him.

“If we want an intact Iraq, the price of having one without fostering long-term strife across the Middle East is pushing Iran back out of Iraq.”

J.E. Dyer: Turning point: Iran’s influence in Iraq tipping to dominance:

In 6 years, Iran has dramatically transformed the operational landscape of Mesopotamia and the Levant. For multiple purposes, she now dominates and/or can use territory more than 200 mi. closer to key locations on the Med. coast. She has also built a formidable outpost in Syria and Lebanon.

A troubling and I suspect accurate analysis. Worth reading in full.