Monday, September 8, 2014

Global Impact: Tel Aviv Assisting in Flushing Out IS Threat Assessments

According to ReutersIsrael has provided satellite imagery and other intelligence in support of the US-led aerial campaign against IS in Iraq, a Western diplomat said on Monday (September 8).

Once "scrubbed" of evidence of its Israeli origin, the information has often been shared by Washington with Arab and Turkish allies, the diplomat said.
Israel's Defense Ministry neither confirmed nor denied involvement in any international efforts against the militant group.
"We don't comment on any assistance by us, or if there is such assistance, in the fight against ISIS," said Yaacov Havakook, spokesman for the Foreign Ministry.
The spread of IS in Syria and Iraq, the insurgent group's foreign volunteer contingent and the beheadings of two US journalists have jolted Western powers into military intervention.
Israel worried that IS could eventually reach its borders and are keen to repair international ties frayed by its policies towards the Palestinians, has offered to help.
COMMENT: The Western diplomat said Israeli spy satellites, overflying Iraq at angles and frequencies unavailable from US satellites, had provided images that allowed the Pentagon to "expand its information sourcing and get a better battle damage assessments" after strikes on IS targets.
Israel had also shared information gleaned from international travel databases about Western citizens suspected of joining IS, who could be potential recruits for future attacks in their native countries.
"The Israelis are very good with passenger data and with analyzing social media in Arabic to get a better idea of who these people are," the diplomat said on condition of anonymity.
Underscoring Israel's back-channel role, it is not among countries being visited by US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel this week as he builds the anti-IS coalition.
Yet, the Israeli-supplied intelligence would reach the US partner "with the Hebrew and other markings deleted" to avoid raising hackles among Arabs, Turks and perhaps even the Iranian forces who also view IS as a foe, the diplomat said.
Finance Minister Yair Lapid, a member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's security cabinet, told a conference hosted by the IDC Herzliya college near Tel Aviv that Israel should "build a coalition of sanity" in which Israeli intelligence "is part of the regional effort" against IS, Lebanon's Hezbollah group and al-Qaeda.