Weekend long read

1) NGO Monitor has released a report documenting ties between the Palestinian NGO Al Mezan (which has featured in BBC content in the past) and the PFLP terrorist organisation.

“Al Mezan is highly active in anti-Israel lawfare campaigns and has made attempts to secure arrest warrants for Israeli officials for alleged “war crimes.” Al Mezan has submitted numerous documents to the International Criminal Court (ICC) requesting the investigation and prosecution of Israeli officials. During the 2014 Gaza War, Al Mezan provided UN-OCHA with casualty statistics that identified combatants and members of terror groups killed during the conflict as “civilians.” […]

Al-Mezan claims that it seeks to advance human rights. However, its officials and employees include members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and Hamas – both designated as terrorist organizations by the US and the EU.  Additionally, Al-Mezan officials and board members often speak at PFLP events, and many have posted material on their social media accounts promoting terror groups or utilizing antisemitic imagery and rhetoric.”

2) At WINEP, Matthew Levitt provides “An Inside Look at the Modus Operandi of Hezbollah’s Islamic Jihad Organization”.

“Hezbollah has run at least two distinct operational trend lines in the years since the February 2008 assassination of the group’s longtime terrorist mastermind, Imad Mughniyeh, in Damascus. One set of plots relates to Hezbollah’s stated desire to avenge Mughniyeh’s death, while the other set of missions began slightly later, as part of Iran’s shadow war with the West in the lead-up to the 2015 Iran Deal. The latter class of missions began in January 2010, when Iran created a new unit within the Qods Force—the external operations arm of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp (IRGC)—to carry out attacks against countries perceived as undermining Iran’s nuclear program. Complementary to the creation of this unit, Iranian officials tasked Hezbollah with carrying out attacks targeting Israeli soft targets—primarily tourists—in an effort to pressure Israel not to target people and places tied to Iran’s nuclear program.

Together, these two incipient events led Hezbollah to spot promising recruits for the group’s terrorist operatives units (the Islamic Jihad Organization (ISO), or External Security Organization (ESO), also known as Unit 910) from within its armed militia (effectively a sub-state army), the Islamic Resistance, and from the group’s other militant, political, social and youth branches. Once spotted—either for their existing skillsets, demonstrating particular promise, or having foreign passports and/or dual-nationalities—these recruits received training in the dark arts of espionage, countersurveillance, operational security, weapons training, and more.”

3) At the JCPA Yoni Ben Menachem reports on Egypt’s capture of a Muslim Brotherhood commander.

“On August 28, 2020, Egypt’s security forces achieved an important goal in its war against radical Islamic terrorism. After an intense seven-year search, they managed to arrest Mahmoud Ezzat, the interim leader of the Muslim Brotherhood and the head of its military wing responsible for a series of terrorist attacks in Egypt.

In 2013, following the arrest and imprisonment of Mohamed Badie, a previous Muslim Brotherhood leader, Mahmoud Ezzat took over the movement and led it from a Cairo hideout. Mahmoud Ezzat had been convicted in absentia on terrorism-related charges and twice sentenced to death and three times to life sentences.”

4) At the INSS Yoel Guzansky and Eran Segal analyse “Leadership Changes in the Gulf”.

“The hospitalization in July of the world’s oldest leaders, King Salman bin Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia, 84 years old, and Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah, the 91-year-old Emir of Kuwait, has rekindled fears regarding the stability of the six Arab monarchies in the Gulf. These monarchies are ruled by extended families that control most of the centers of power in their countries. As long as these families succeeded in cultivating consensus among their different branches, this centralized power has, over the years, contributed to the relative stability of the monarchies. However, struggles within the ruling families, especially regarding monarchial succession, constitute a weak point with the potential to endanger regime stability, particularly when the family in question is a large one. In some countries, the designated heir is not young or is not healthy, which could shorten the duration of his rule and spark an ongoing struggle over succession. In any event, in addition to the fear of Iranian aggression, the rise of a younger generation of leaders in the Gulf states appears to explain their policies, which are more assertive than traditional policies, and include an increasing openness and willingness to cooperate with Israel.”


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