Eurasia Security Watch - No. 249

February 1, 2012

 Danny Ayalon, the Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister, declared recent cyber attacks emanating from a Saudi hacking group, “a breach of sovereignty,” equivalent to a, “terrorist operation.” The hacking group “Nightmare,” led by Ox Omar, claims to be a Wahhabi Saudi Arabian organization that has taken credit for attacks on the websites of the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange and El Al (the Israeli airline), which both went offline as a result of hacking attacks on January 17. While trading was not affected by this security breach, Ox Omar gained access to the Bank of Israel’s credit card and other personal information about Israeli citizens, posting it on the web earlier this month and causing concern for potential identity theft crimes that could result. Prime Minister Netanyahu created a National Cyber Directorate last year to protect Israel against these attacks and an investigation has been opened. (
CNN January 19, 2012)

 The U.S. has continued to provide protection and aid in the Persian Gulf, despite recent statements from the Iranian government that America should refrain from deploying warships in the region. Ironically, for the third time this month, the U.S. has come to the rescue of Iranian sailors in the Gulf. In the latest incident, U.S. troops brought food and medical supplies to members of an Iranian fishing ship that sank on Thursday. Calling the event a “humanitarian act,” the Iranian Foreign Ministry added, “we welcome such acts.” In early January, the U.S. Coast Guard saved six Iranian sailors from their sinking ship and the U.S. Navy thwarted the hijacking of an Iranian ship, arresting a group of pirates and rescuing 13 Iranian sailors. (
CNN January 19, 2012)

 A meeting scheduled for January 29 will determine the future of the controversial Arab League mission to Syria, which ended on Thursday. Opponents of the mission claim that it has been a “failure” because of its small scope, government resistance, and lack of protection of the citizens, while those working for the mission believe it has bolstered the morale of protesters and gathered valuable information about the conflict. Spokespeople from the Arab League predict the initial findings will report unfavorably on the Assad regime, despite popular belief among Syrians that the mission’s leaders are not true supporters of human rights and the Arab Spring. Lieutenant General Mohammed Ahmed Mustafa al-Dabi, the leader of the Syrian observer mission, is associated with accusations of war crimes in the Sudan. During the course of the mission, almost 50 monitors left due to safety concerns from the violence, and around 5,000 people are believed dead in the months-long civil conflict. (
Washington Post January 19, 2012)
 Recent talks between the leadership of the two most prominent Palestinian jihadi groups may lead to merger. The move by Hamas and the Islamic Jihad is intended to create greater unity, especially in politics and elections. Prime Minister Haniya and Al Zahar, two prominent members of the Hamas leadership, have come out in support of the negotiations, stressing swift transitions compelled by internal and external factors. These reports come after last year’s controversial reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas. (
Fars News Agency
January 21, 2011)

Related Categories: Middle East

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