• Parliamentary elections cement Hezbollah’s hold over Lebanon

    The Iranian-controlled group Hezbollah and its political allies scored significant gains in Sunday’s parliamentary elections in Lebanon, the first to be held in nine years. “Hezbollah will continue to act, to behave as if there is no Lebanese state, as if there is no Lebanese government, as if it is an entirely independent entity,” says one expert.

  • Israeli rocket experience shows bomb shelters matter as much as interceptors

    The conflict between Israel and Iran emerged from the shadows early Thursday morning. Israel is worried about Iran’s deployment of missiles in Syria – and about Hezbollah’s 100,000 to 150,000 rockets. Other countries face rocket and missile threats too. It’s not surprising then that missile interceptors are in fashion. Israel credited its Iron Dome system with intercepting four rockets on Thursday. Civil defenses like warning sirens and bomb shelters receive less press coverage. Spectacular interceptor launches are more photogenic than concrete block houses. But Israel’s own experience shows civil defenses deserve at least as much attention as interceptors.

  • Hostility toward minorities may be contagious

    Whether in Bosnia, Liberia, or Rwanda, violent conflicts have suddenly broken out between ethnic groups that have lived peacefully together for a long time. So far, there is no satisfactory scientific explanation as to why aggression can repeatedly develop such a dynamic. In a recent study, researchers report their findings that if people act hostile toward other ethnic groups, they easily find imitators – much more so than when they exhibit hostility toward co-ethnics.

  • Hezbollah and allies win majority in Lebanon elections

    The steady growth of Iran’s influence in the Middle East is continuing. After the victories of Iran’s allies in Iraq and Syria, and the growing influence of Iran-supported groups in Yemen, Sunday brought more good news for Iran. The Iran-backed Hezbollah group and its allies are expected to take more than half the seats in Lebanon’s parliamentary elections. Reuters reports that results from Lebanon’s parliamentary elections indicate that the Iran-backed Hezbollah group and its political allies would gain a simple majority.

  • Assad will be killed, his regime toppled if Iran attacks from Syria: Israeli official

    An Israeli government minister on Monday threatened that Israel could kill Syrian President Bashar Assad if his government does not prevent Iranian forces from launching attacks against Israel from Syrian territory. “If Assad continues to let the Iranians operate from Syrian soil, he should know that he signed his own death warrant and that it will be his end. We will topple his regime,” Yuval Steinitz, a member of the security cabinet and a close ally of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said.

  • The crisis in Syria – and how to resolve it

    “Syria could have been the Arab Spring at its best,” says Stanford University’s Russell Berman. “It became complicated, however, because propping up Assad was necessary for Iranian expansionist ambitions, and this amplified the problem of a Shia-versus-Sunni conflict. What’s more, Iran’s entry took place at a point in time when the Obama administration was eager to avoid any conflict with Tehran, so it could negotiate the nuclear deal. This gave Iran and Assad a free hand. In other words, success with Tehran meant bloodshed in Damascus.”

  • U.S. citizens responsible for vast majority of Islamist terror plots in the U.S.

    The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) the other day released new data and analysis of 98 Islamist extremist plots and attacks in the United States over the past sixteen years. Among the key findings: the vast majority — a full 90 percent — of the plots and attacks were carried out by U.S. citizens or individuals living in the country with lawful permanent or temporary status.

  • “Assadism” is destroying Syria – here’s where it came from

    As Syrian president Bashar al-Assad prosecutes his 18th year in office, he is presenting himself as a secular leader in a sea of Islamist extremism and terror. But his record makes a mockery of that claim. However long he stays in office, he will forever be remembered a president who oversaw the devastation of his country and resorted to hideous attacks on civilians in order to remain in power. And as for Assad’s pretentions to secularism, the foundations of his government’s supposed ideology were cast away even before he succeeded his father as president.

  • Basque ETA separatists announce they are 'completely' dissolving

    The Basque militant group ETA has announced it would disband and end its “political initiative” after a 60-year campaign for independence of the Basque region from Spain and France. Spanish officials, however, said they would keep pursuing ETA “terrorists.”

  • Morocco cuts ties with Iran over Western Sahara independence

    Moroccow on Tuesday cut diplomatic ties with Iran after Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita accused Iran and its Lebanese Shi’ite ally, Hezbollah, of training and arming fighters of the Polisario Front, a Western Sahara independence movement, with surface-to-air missiles since 2016.

  • Climate change not the key driver of conflict, displacement in East Africa

    Over the last fifty years, climate change has not been the key driver of the human displacement or conflict in East Africa, rather it is politics and poverty, according to new research. “Terms such as climate migrants and climate wars have increasingly been used to describe displacement and conflict, however these terms imply that climate change is the main cause. Our research suggests that socio-political factors are the primary cause while climate change is a threat multiplier,” said one researcher.

  • ISIS not funded by oil: Study

    Oil was never as important to ISIS terrorists as many thought, despite media reports of an oil-related income of as much as $28 million a week, according to a new study. This knowledge supports efforts to weaken terrorist organizations like ISIS, by first understanding how they are funded and how financially stable they are.

  • Muslim radicalization in Britain

    “It is difficult to quantify the extent of Muslim youth radicalization in Britain. Also, we have to be clear about the definition of radicalization. Are we talking about people who are joining extremist organizations or those who just have extremist views? But I agree that there is definitely a general sense that things are not going well here” says an expert on radicalization. “There is no single factor that is driving the youth toward extremism. The issues of identity, alienation, peer pressure, search for a cause, frustration with modernity and acceptance of certain mythological aspects of the Muslim history are all contributing factors.”

  • Attacks on healthcare in Syria are likely undercounted

    Attacks on health facilities and health workers in Syria are likely more common than previously reported, and local data collectors can help researchers more accurately to measure the extent and frequency of these attacks, according to a new study. The researchers found that in 2016 alone, there were more than 200 attacks on healthcare-related targets in four northern governorates of Syria, with 176 of the attacks targeting hospitals and other healthcare facilities.

  • Israeli air strike destroys Iranian missile storage facilities in Syria

    An overnight Israeli air strike destroyed more than 200 Iranian mid-range missiles which Iran stored at Syrian military bases near Hama. These missiles were more accurate, and were capable of carrying a bigger warhead, than other missiles available to Hezbollah and the Syrian military. The attack killed 26 military personnel, including 18 Iranian officers. Bashar-al-Assad’s victory in the civil war in Syria has opened the door for Iran, his main ally, to try and turn Syria into an Iranian forward military base against Israel.