Weekly Briefing – January 24-30, 2015

By Rachel Ehrenfeld
Saturday, January 31st, 2015 @ 2:05AM

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ISIS Advances – January 22-28, 2015 Rachel Ehrenfeld – As the White House claims its attacks on ISIS have weakened the barbaric jihadist movement, we are witnessing an expansion of its activities. In previously unseen coordinated attacks ISIS attacked Egyptian security forces in the Sinai Peninsula, killing 26 and wounding more than 60.  ISIS used simultaneously car-bombs and  mortars in attacks on the Northern Sinai provincial capital el-Arish, the nearby town of Sheik Zuwayid, and the town of Rafah bordering Gaza. “Hours before the attack, the ISIS affiliate in Egypt posted on its “official Twitter account” pictures of masked ISIS members dressed in black, carrying ISIS flags and rocket-propelled grenades to advertise the coming attack.  According to Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center – ISIS boasted that Chinese technology experts have joined the Caliphate: The ISIS forum website has announced that 400 Chinese missile and technology experts and engineers recently joined ISIS (Al-Minbar al-I’lami al-Jihadi, January 21, 2015). The figure is probably exaggerated, but it could indicate a trend on the part of ISIS to recruit experts in various fields, including military fields, to help strengthen its forces and its civil administration of the Islamic Caliphate. .…more

Obama’s Saudi “Balance”Rachel Ehrenfeld – Amnesty International has condemned the continuation of capital punishment under the new Saudi leader. Obama’s detour to Riyadh to pay tribute to the dead King Abdullah and congratulate the new King Salman may have succeeded in resetting his relations with the Saudis. Before his arrival in Riyadh, he let it be known that he would not discuss human rights violations with the new king. Instead, “The best way to deal with Saudi Arabia was [is] by applying steady pressure even as we are getting business done that needs to get done,” he explained  in a CNN interview. The progressive media (CNN, NPR, BBC and their ilk) chose not to worry about his callous disregard for human rights; and, perhaps to distract attention, came up with the non-story of Michelle Obama’s uncovered hair, supposedly in defiance of the Saudi law. “Sometimes we need to balance our need to speak to them about human rights issues with immediate concerns we have in terms of counter-terrorism or dealing with regional stability,” Obama elaborated. “Balance” is the key word here. This was not surprising. How could he condemn the barbaric Islamic law that dictates flogging and beheading, when he fails to identify Islamic terrorism? Thus, the timing of the first beheading under King Salman (one of three or on the day), which was carried out “as punishment for [the executed man’s] crime and as a lesson to others,” may have taken place during the President’s visit to the Wahhabi Kingdom to send a message to the U.S. to mind its own business, and was King Salman’s way of celebrating Obama’s acquiescence to Islamist beheading in favor of “balance.”…more

The Myth of Islamist “Lone Wolf”Rachel Ehrenfeld – So much for the Islamist “Lone Wolf” nonsense. ISIS propaganda is finally getting some attention. Even the New York Times published an op-ed asking “Why Tolerate Terrorist Publications?” citing “Patrick Henry’s famous liberty-or-death choice: “In the short run, one cannot enjoy freedom of speech, freedom to worship, freedom of the press unless one first enjoys the freedom to live.”  Yet, we let the Islamists abuse Americans’ right to free expression to incite their followers to shut us up for good. Congress should not wait until/if ever the president identifies (radical) Islam as the enemy. For whatever reason he considers their virulent propaganda as free speech.…more

Obama is CoolSol W. Sanders – No, I do not wake up in the morning with this question foremost on my mind. But rarely does a day pass without my putting it to myself: “Why does President Barak Hussein Obama still command the support of half the electorate?” Of course, one immediate response could be that the polls—given that they are largely in the hands of the Liberal Establishment who form the base of his support—may just not be accurate. But they are so consistent, sometimes reflecting a little downward movement in moments of particular crisis, that one pretty much has to accept that is the judgment of half the population which thinks at all politically, that is, that he is doing an adequate job after six years in training. One might well ask in riposte: Why is it important given that the President is now a lame duck with only two years to go in office and facing Republican majorities in both houses of the Congress? Theoretically, his ability to govern is going to be limited. The answer is, of course, were his popular following not so large, one might hope that he would be forced into taking a more conciliatory approach to opposition leaders—including some in his own party. That, rather than his confrontational style in full display in the state of the union message—how many times does he have to remind us he has veto power?—is further evidence that legislative progress will be negligible in finding solutions to the nation’s woes (in the narrow sense that is at all possible).…more

The Litvinenko InquiryJ. Millard Burr – Days before the opening of the a long-anticipated public inquiry into the circumstances of the murder of former KGB spy Alexander Litvinenko, in London, the Telegraph UK reported that “American spies” of the NSA had intercepted communications between London and Moscow, fingering those involved in his murder in November 2006, which they provided to British authorities.  The inquiry itself, much of which will be held in secret and will hear evidence inadmissible in a trial, is scheduled to last for two months. Litvinenko’s murder by poisoning with a difficult to detect, rare and highly radioactive isotope, polonium-210, was described by many as a “Russian-backed” state execution. The Russians did not hesitate to use this radioactive weapon on British soil, perhaps because they knew they could get away easily.…more

Cyber Information Sharing – A Multidisciplinary AnalysisAviram Zrahia@inss – “Is there a different paradigm in the world of information technology that would allow dealing with current and future cyber challenges without the need for sharing, or is there no choice but to join forces in the battle and rapidly adopt uniform standards for a sharing infrastructure? Either way, such an infrastructure must maintain a balance between individual rights and the state’s ability to defend its infrastructures, assets and citizens.” The emergence of the cyber threat phenomenon is forcing organizations to change the way they think about security. One of these changes relates to organizations’ policy on sharing cyber information with outside parties. This means shifting away from the view of the organization as an isolated, compartmentalized entity towards a view of the organization as a sharing one. Sharing generates a complex, multifaceted challenge to technology, law, organizational culture and even politics. …more

News & Analysis

A nuclear Iran threatening vital US interestsYoram Ettinger

Iranian Revolutionary Guard website calls for assassination of Netanyahu’s sonsMashregh News 

Obama’s shocking interference in the Israeli electionsBarry Shaw

As the Iranian Nuclear Talks Drag On, Congress Must Act. Two essential requirements: congressional approval of any deal and new sanctions if the negotiations failSen. Tom Cotton

Criminals, Terrorists Find Uses for Drones, Raising ConcernsWall Street Journal

Meet the ‘Khorasan Shura’: The Islamic State’s Leaders for South Asia. The Islamic State unveils a council of leaders in Afghanistan and Pakistan comprised of former TTP members Ankit Panda

Here’s what a Hamas training camp for teens looks likeWilliam Booth

Islamic State Calls on Western Muslims to Commit More Attacks Spokesman Said Any Loyalist Who Has Opportunity to ‘Shed Drop of Blood’ Should Do SoAP 

ISIS publishes female sex slave handbookIndia Today

Syrian spillover: Ignoring war doesn’t stop its spread Benny Avni

Egypt’s Sisi: Impersonating a DemocratEllen Bor

Westminster Abbey and Charlie Hebdo. False tolerance leads not to reciprocal tolerance but to jihadist mayhem.George Weigel

How Russian Trolls are Recruited, Trained and DeployedPaul Goble

Are Russia’s Black Widows Spreading?Andrew Fox

Capitol Hill

House—

Hearing: What are the Elements of Sound Data Breach Legislation?Energy & Commerce Committee, January 27

Hearing: Iran Nuclear Negotiations After the Second Extension: Where Are They Going?Foreign Affairs Committee, January 27

Subcommittee Hearing: Nigeria on the Brink?Foreign Affairs Committee, Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations, January 27

Subcommittee Hearing: The Expanding Cyber Threat – Subcommittee on Research and Technology (Committee on Science, Space, and Technology), January 27, 2015

Senate—

Hearing: Global Challenges and U.S. National Security StrategyArmed Services Committee, January 27

Hearing: Global Challenges and the U.S. National Security StrategyArmed Services Committee, January 29

Hearing: Protecting America from Cyber Attacks: The Importance of Information Sharing  – Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, January 28

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Categories: ACD/EWI Blog, Cyber, Cyber security, CyberAttacks, Egypt, El Sisi, Europe, Free Speech, Hacking, Hamas, Hamas/Gaza, Hezbollah, IDF, incitment, Internet recruitment, Iran, Iraq, ISIS/IS, Israel, Jihad, Latest News, Litvinenko, MENA Region, Middle East Conflicts, Mideast, Muslim Brotherhood, Nuclear Iran, Russia, Russia and East Europe, Saudi Arabia, Shia, Syria, U.S., U.S. Foreign Policy, U.S. Policy, UK, Ukraine