Seth Frantzman Profile picture
Middle East security analyst, photog., Phd, Exec Director @MidEast_Center Founder @GulfIsrael; bylines @defense_news @Jerusalem_Post @TheNatlInterest
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18 May
Thread: Every once in a while when I tweet critique of Ankara I get replies about how Israel supported Ankara. This is not accurate since 2010. Israel has had terrible relations with the regime in Ankara for a decade. And Israel has openly opposed its policies.
There is one strange exception (and I don't mean trade, trade is normal). The exception is a small group of pro-Ankara voices in the US who are also pro-Israel and have sought to muddy the waters, pretending there is some "reconciliation" or Ankara is "against Iran".
It may be true that Turkey and Israel 20 years ago had good relations. Those relations led to bad bedfellows, like some pro-Israel folk going to bat for Ankara against recognition of the Armenian genocide. It also led to other denials about the nature of Ankara's new regime.
Read 7 tweets
18 May
Will Turkey lead a new axis of far right religious extremist regimes against Israel? Will the Ankara DC Lobby that did interference for the war on Armenia and the mercenaries in Libya and Syria help Ankara or be too afraid since they worked so long to also be against Iran 🤔
One of the largest foreign policies lies and propaganda spread in recent time is the one that tried to sell us that Ankara’s regime is “against Iran”...well look...Iran is part of the alliance with Turkey. We were lied to, including in major publications by the Ankara Lobby
They tried to sell us, partly in order to please the Trump admin into giving Ankara an ethnic cleansing blank check...that Ankara is “geopolitics” against Iran...it is not.
Read 5 tweets
18 May
By the way (עמק המעיינות) is the same area that the drone flown by Iran from T-4 in February 2018 entered Israeli airspace, at the time an Apache shot it down. Today another drone shot down there as well. REMEMBER: reuters.com/article/instan…
IDF: Earlier this morning, a UAV approaching the Israeli border in the Emek HaMaayanot area was intercepted after being monitored by the Israeli Air Force.
The UAV fragments were collected by security forces.
Read 4 tweets
18 May
Thread: This is the most wrongheaded analysis of the current Israel-Hamas conflict, arguing that being able to defend against terrorism somehow makes conflicts longer. Image
It shows zero understanding of the need to have security against terrorism. Clearly most other societies have things like airport security, is the argument that having airport security after 9/11 was bad because it saved lives and left little incentive for a deal with Al Qaeda?
Second it ignored historic fact. Israel's conflicts with Hamas are not worse today because of Iron Dome...in fact casualties are LESS and conflicts are SHORTER after Iron Dome was invented.
Read 17 tweets
17 May
Thread: Israel worked hard to avoid civilian casualties in Gaza as it has increasingly done since 2014; but something has changed a bit over the last years. Israel’s attempt to manage the conflict with Hamas led to a desire for not having casualties among low level Hamas members
Israel says that it works hard, often with a lot of time invested in warning people to leave buildings before they are struck, which means Hamas members leave too. Israel says it does everything it can to avoid hurting civilians.
But the time taken to evacuate buildings means civilians and Hamas members evacuate. What’s strange is that there are mistakes where civilians are hit. It does appear Israel has worked hard to not have large numbers of militant casualties also.
Read 7 tweets
15 May
Want to know Iran's plan for the Hamas war on Israel. First of all the short article about IRGC Quds Force head Email Ghaani speaking with Hamas leader Haniyeh is one indication: tasnimnews.com/fa/news/1400/0…
However the BIG news is this article at Tasnim revealing the Iran war plan against Israel air defenses "therefore in the event of a multi-front war, this system will not be able to respond to rocket and missile attacks." tasnimnews.com/fa/news/1400/0…
This is no small report above, this is a sophisticated explanation of how Iran sees the war Hamas launched on May 10. Iran is testing Israel and it is using Hamas to do this. This is not just some "by chance" Hamas strikes here and there. This is a sophisticated war plan.
Read 4 tweets
15 May
...the whole idea of purposely destroying a large building where the international media are...so they can all film it...how exactly does it hurt Hamas and help Israel...or is the goal of Israel's leaders just to kind of erode Israel's image internationally. Unclear.
...it seems to me Hamas has continued to rain down rockets on Tel Aviv...and Israel's "answer" is to blow up some building so it can be filmed...like that doesn't stop the rocket fire...
Read 6 tweets
15 May
THREAD: Can someone explain how this supposed Israeli "deception" using media worked to lure Hamas into tunnels?

Here's what we know, and the QUESTIONS it raises about timing and Hamas intel and what did/did not happen.

jpost.com/israel-news/id…
This is now becoming controversial because of allegations the IDF spokespeople misled foreign journalists (they didn't provide the same info to local journalists);
Prior to the evening's controversy, Israel had called up 9,000 more reservists "units from three brigades are readying plans for a ground incursion, pending approval by Israel's political leaders"...a ground attack plan was put in place, theguardian.com/world/2021/may…
Read 21 tweets
15 May
🧵 when there is a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas...and both will claim “victory”...what exactly was achieved.

Nothing.

We will hear analysis about how Israel achieved “quiet” and Hamas was able to test Israel’s defenses at the behest of Iran.

People suffered and died
This entire Gaza conflict was driven by Hamas, from the first rocket on Jerusalem, a carefully executed plan exploiting tensions. Israel walked into it, or rather slouched into it amid an internal political crisis and bad planning about how tensions in Jerusalem would boil over
A public recently released from lockdowns with simmering tensions was RADICALIZED by images on social media spread by both sides, youth went to fight, lunch and burn cities while authorities fiddled.
Read 8 tweets
14 May
Iran's Press TV appears to have inside info on Hamas tactics, going beyond most media reports about its strategy of trying overwhelm Iron Dome, and its attempt to hit infrastructure and airports
Iran says the "balance of power" has shifted, an indication of how closely it is watching Hamas tactics; presstv.com/Detail/2021/05…
Read 4 tweets
13 May
A lot of great threads out there on Hamas showcasing its drone capabilities; let me mention them first and then add a few things. video and it comes in the wake of Iran apparently using drones to attack Israel; Iran has used UAVs in the past #dronewars
What's new in the Hamas Shehab may be the design which is linked heavily to Iran's Ababil (ابابیل) and the Houthi Qasef, note @CalibreObscura explanation
Read 10 tweets
13 May
🧵 The Iran #dronewars capabilities and tech export concepts are part of the overall context of Hamas using more drones
May 12 “IDF: A short while ago, the Iron Dome Aerial Defense System intercepted a Hamas UAV that crossed from the Gaza Strip into Israeli territory.”
May 12 “IDF strikes a squad of Hamas terrorists operating UAV launchers...a squad of terrorists operating explosive UAV launchers belonging to the Hamas terrorist organization in the Gaza Strip. The squad was struck while they were preparing to launch the UAV into Israel”
Read 5 tweets
11 May
Some of the more wild videos of the rocket fire on Israel...this one shows a man who keeps eating falafel all through the attack
This one shows dozens of interceptions, I dont recall ever seeing so many at one time
Number 3; the airport video of interceptions
Read 5 tweets
11 May
Lod in Israel is the scene of clashes and riots and unfortunately these scenes will remind some of the West Bank and Jerusalem...because also unfortunately some politicians have long wanted to blur the line of Israel and the Palestinian Authority areas; it serves some interests
I would argue that there is a right wing lobby that sought to “annex” part of the West Bank...they say they want to export “sovereignty” but what they ALSO want to do is bring the chaos and clashes of the West Bank into Israel. Instead of stability they want a wider conflict
These are the same voices that oddly advocated for years to encourage destabilizing Jordan...their bizarre goal despite being far-right “pro-Israel” was to create a mass of conflict and blurred borders.
Read 4 tweets
11 May
Most of those who shared the video of the people cheering at the Kotel with what appeared to be flames near Al-Aqsa mosque yesterday did so knowing it was a misleading image designed to incite and by doing so they may have contributed to violence.
Many people irresponsibly shared the images with quotes or claims that had nothing to do with the reality of a fire that was caused by mistake and an ending of Jerusalem Day that happened to coincide. They implied a connection.
Many of those who shared it didn’t bother to share any actual reporting by people on the ground, they wanted to spread hate and extremism, their sole goal was to find one of the most extreme images to share.
Read 12 tweets
11 May
Now #happeningnow #breaking; several interceptions as rockets fired over Zikim toward Ashkelon
Another rocket intercepted in the area between Zikim and Ashkelon fired from Gaza
Numerous interceptions now south of Ashkelon
Read 11 tweets
10 May
Palestinian demonstrators near Damascus Gate cheer the sirens and apparent boom of interceptions in Jerusalem
Israel police advance toward demonstrators near Old City #happeningnow
Israel police use the “stink” tank to spray people
Read 4 tweets
9 May
Thread: I'm interested in the tendency of some major media to use the term "blast" for planned terror bombing attacks. The use of the term appears to be a way to make it as innocuous as possible as in "blast near girls school kills 50"...which makes it sound like an accident ImageImage
I believe this is on purpose and that it is often used to reduce coverage of mass murder in the global south and poorer countries. In essence, the same media that was perfectly capable of calling the US capitol riot an insurrection, calls the targeted murder of 50 a "blast"
The same media that seems capable of naming a lynching a lynching, not "man killed by rope", can't seem to use the term "bombing"...or "murder" or terms that indicate human involvement and perpetrators.
Read 13 tweets
8 May
One issue I've learned during the pandemic is how powerless consumers are. Once I booked a vacation to the Seychelles and the airline arbitrarily changed the dates so I couldn't travel and said I couldn't cancel it either. There was zero recourse to get a refund.
Now I've had a booking I made request to cancel the booking...tell me my confirmed booking requires an arbitrary prepayment and that anyway they are full..."whoops" they listed it online but it's not there...with no recourse to do much about it.
Of course you can leave bad reviews or whatever. But in the end you're just totally powerless. Of course you can be wary of prepayments or read small print about cancellation policies. But that doesn't help when arbitrary changes are made.
Read 8 tweets
5 May
Long thread: In 2019-2020 Turkey met senior Hamas leaders twice, in a red carpet welcome in August 2020 and with Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at Dolmabahçe Palace in Istanbul on December 14, 2019.
Now, that timeline, the December meeting was just after Turkey had threatened the US and basically got a green light for an invasion of Syria to attack the US-backed SDF; abandoning US posts which Russia would soon enter and sign a deal with Turkey; bbc.com/news/world-mid…
So let's understand the context. Back in 2019 Turkey had such a hold over US policy, via pro-Ankara individuals who wanted to outsource the "anti-ISIS" campaign to Ankara, even though we know Ankara had done nothing against ISIS...and ISIS members had mostly fled to Turkey.
Read 28 tweets
4 May
Netanyahu never really tried to form a government, he never even bothered to really discuss this issue with voters or Israel as a whole...because it never mattered to him. He kept on governing even with endless elections. He saw not building a Coaliton as a success. Not a failure
All the shenanigans over the last two years, whether annexation or nonsense about direct elections of a PM, or trying to even pass bizarre legislation shielding people from prosecution, or the justice minister thing or Edelstein or whatever...it was all a game of distraction
There was one goal: break the center, exploit sectarian parties enough to create a right wing and religious block for any other type of government.
Read 8 tweets