A Year after the Assassination of Soleimani: Iran Faces Many Challenges, But Determined to Cement its Regional Influence

Over the year that has passed since the assassination of the Commander of the Qods Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), Qasem Soleimani, Iran faced growing challenges to its regional ambitions. The death of Soleimani, who was the central executioner of Iran’s efforts to increase its influence the Middle East, and raised question marks with regard to Iran’s ability to continue to entrench its hold over the region.

The Palestinian Authority plans to pay prisoners and the families of shaheeds three months in advance to gain time to find ways to circumvent the Israeli ban.

Israel recently informed the Palestinian Authority (PA) that on January 1, 2021, after a number of postponements, the banks in Judea and Samaria would be banned from providing banking services to the families of shaheeds, prisoners and released prisoners who receive monthly payments from the PA. That means that any bank that transfers funds or anyone who receives funds for the aforementioned persons exposes himself to confiscation, forfeiture and legal suits.

The Spread of Covid-19 in Judea and Samaria (Updated to December 28, 2020)

The situation in the Gaza Strip: The number of active Covid-19 cases in Gaza is still very high. Between December 22 and 28, 2020, 4,735 new cases were detected. The number of active cases currently stands at 10,729. There have been 340 deaths, up from 271 on December 22. On December 28 there were 327 hospitalized patients, 195 in serious condition. The situation in Judea and Samaria: This past week the rate of infection declined slightly, but the number of active cases is still high. On December 28 the number stood at 11,322, down from 13,529 a week ago. Of the daily tests administered, 22.3% were positive, down from 23.3% a week ago. The Nablus district remains the district with the highest number of cases in Judea and Samaria, followed by the Ramallah-al-Bireh district.

The civilian infrastructure established by Hezbollah among the Shiite population in Lebanon: the city of Bint Jbeil as a case study

Since its inception, Hezbollah, with massive Iranian assistance, has invested considerable resources in deepening its influence among the Shiite population in Lebanon. This is in order to turn the Shiite society into a “resistance society,” i.e., a society that will unite around Hezbollah, support its military activity against Israel and simultaneously strengthen its political influence in the internal Lebanese arena. During nearly 40 years of existence, Hezbollah has devoted considerable resources to turning the Shiite community into a “resistance society” through the establishment of an extensive infrastructure of civilian institutions that assist the population in all areas of life.

The Spread of Covid-19 in Judea and Samaria (Updated to December 21, 2020)

In light of the significant rise in the number of Covid-19 cases, over the weekend severe restrictions were placed on Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip, although (so far) a general lockdown has not yet been imposed. Despite the restrictions, the number of active cases and percentage of positive test results continue climbing.

Iranian Subversion in Bahrain: The United States designates the Saraya al-Mukhtar as a Bahraini terrorist organization handled by Iran

On December 15, 2020, the American State Department announced it was designating the Bahraini terrorist organization Saraya al-Mukhtar as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist organization. According to the announcement, the organization receives "financial and logistic support" from the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps. The organization's "self-described goal is to depose the Bahraini government with the intention of paving the way for Iran to exert greater influence in Bahrain" (State Department website, December 15, 2020).

Previous years bulletins