Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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U.S.: Terrorists' Use of WMD "Only a Matter of Time" - Con Coughlin (Telegraph-UK)
Israeli Experts Urge Covert Ops against Iran Nukes - Yaakov Katz and Arieh O'Sullivan (Jerusalem Post)
Fury over Austrian "Super" Rifles for Iranians - Thomas Harding (Telegraph-UK)
Emir of Kuwait Dies - Hassan M. Fattah (New York Times)
Martin Luther King: "Modern-Day Prophet" - James Morrison (Washington Times)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
Russia and China affirmed Monday that Iran must resume its freeze on certain nuclear activities, but refused a call by the Americans and the Europeans for the issue to be put before the UN Security Council. The Russian and Chinese positions were laid out during five hours of high-level talks in London that brought together the five permanent members of the Security Council - the U.S., Russia, China, France, and Britain - and Germany in an effort to forge a common position after Iran's resumption last week of nuclear work at three sites. (New York Times)
See also Global Powers Agree to Turn Screw - Richard Beeston
Britain, France, and Germany announced Monday that they would seek an emergency meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency early next month to have Iran referred to the UN Security Council. The big diplomatic hurdle facing the West is to persuade Russia and China to back the move. Javier Solana, foreign policy chief of the EU, said he was confident Moscow and Beijing were on board. "We have very close positions on the Iranian problem," said Russian President Putin after a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. (Times-UK)
Republican and Democratic senators said on Sunday the U.S. may ultimately have to undertake a military strike to deter Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons, but that should be the last resort. "Everything else has to be exhausted. But to say under no circumstances would we exercise a military option, that would be crazy," Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona told CBS's "Face the Nation." McCain said "there is only one thing worse than the United States exercising a military option, that is a nuclear armed Iran."
Democratic Sen. Evan Bayh of Illinois, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said on CNN's "Late Edition" that there are sensitive elements of Iran's nuclear program which, if attacked, "would dramatically delay its development." Another Senate Intelligence Committee member, Republican Trent Lott of Mississippi, said that despite a massive military commitment in Iraq, the U.S. has the capability to strike Iran. (Reuters)
Lebanese Druze leader Walid Jumblatt's invective against President Bashar al-Assad of Syria was flowing. "The only way to topple this guy is to try him like Milosevic," he said. Jumblatt believes "there is no difference in essence between the Iraqi Ba'athists and the Syrian Ba'athists...the worst regimes are the Ba'athist regimes." Under the Syrians, he said, "tens of thousands of people were imprisoned. Intellectuals and politicians from Syria, from Lebanon, from Palestine were killed, executed." They include Jumblatt's father Kamal, murdered in 1977. He urged the Syrian opposition to seek Western support to help topple the Damascus regime. "I am not calling for military intervention in Syria, but I am asking the Syrian opposition to decide that without Western help there can be no change - without [it] they will be in jail or exiled and will be blackmailed and killed." (Telegraph-UK)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
An IDF force Tuesday killed Sabat Iada, 24, the head of Hamas' military wing in the West Bank town of Tulkarm. Forces deployed around the building in which Iada, who was on the IDF's most wanted list, was staying. At one point he attempted to escape and shot at the troops, who returned fire. A search of the house revealed an explosives lab and explosive devices. One soldier was lightly wounded in the operation. (Ynet News)
Europe will have to reevaluate its links with the Palestinians in the event of a Hamas victory in next week's legislative elections, Spain's Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos said Monday. Last month, EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana said the EU, the largest donor to the PA, would find it very difficult to channel funding to a group which appears on its terrorist blacklist. (AFP/Jordan Times)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
Israel is finding itself facing three of the most serious strategic threats it has known in the past ten years: Anarchy in the PA and continual strengthening of Hamas, a steady flow of global jihadists into Israel and the territories, and Iran's nuclear program, accompanied by explicit threats against Israel. The reduction in Palestinian terror is temporary, Even if the unexpected occurs and Hamas decides to continue the cease-fire, other organizations will continue their attempts to stage terror attacks.
Signs are growing that al-Qaeda, Iraqi terror leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, and other organizations are trying to focus their terror activities on central Asia and the Middle East, and as usual, Israel finds itself right in the eye of the storm. Zarqawi's activists and others have ratcheted up their presence in countries bordering on Israel - Jordan, Lebanon, and Egypt.
The vacuum created in the Gaza Strip after Israel's departure and Abbas' failure have allowed global Jihad to increase its terrorist abilities in Gaza, and eventually they will probably do so in the West Bank as well. Iran could - were its installations attacked by any outside power - support or even demand that its proxy organization, Hizballah, use its missiles against Israel. The writer is deputy dean of the Lauder School of Government and Diplomacy at the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya. (Ynet News)
See also Al-Qaeda, Zarqawi, and Israel: Is There a New Jihadi Threat Destabilizing the Eastern Front? - Dore Gold and Lt. Col. (res.) Jonathan D. Halevi (JCPA)
See also Deterrence Instability: Hizballah's Fuse to Iran's Bomb - Gerald M. Steinberg (JCPA)
The Bush administration has taken a first step toward adjusting its relationship with Egypt following President Mubarak's flagrant violation of his promises to lead a transition to democracy. An Egyptian delegation that was to visit Washington this month to discuss a free-trade agreement has been disinvited, and the agreement itself was put on hold. For Egypt's business community and the reformist technocrats in its cabinet, the message should be clear: Egypt won't join the global economic mainstream unless it abandons its corrupt dictatorship.
Egypt has brazenly petitioned the U.S. for hundreds of millions of dollars in new aid this year - over and above the $1.8 billion Egypt regularly receives - ostensibly in compensation for its efforts to maintain security in Gaza. U.S. officials say this request will be rejected - as it should be. Instead, Egypt's standing aid allocation and, in particular, its military component should be subjected to a rigorous review by the administration and Congress. (Washington Post)
On Sept. 28, 2001, bin Laden called for financial jihad against the U.S. Although the Saudis claim bin Laden is their enemy, many of them continue to follow his agenda. In an interview with Arab News in May 2002, Prince Alwaleed bin Talal said that if the Arabs "unite through economic interests," they would achieve influence over U.S. decision-makers. Government sources estimate Saudi holdings in the U.S. at $400 billion to $800 billion.
Recently the prince purchased 5.6% of voting shares in News Corp., the world's largest publisher of English newspapers. Moreover, Reuters reported on Dec. 5 that the prince announced his plan to "spread the right message" via a new television channel, "The Message," to broadcast to the U.S. within two years. While under the "International Investment & Trade in Services Survey Act," the U.S. Treasury Department tracks foreign portfolios, and Commerce tracks direct investments, this information is unavailable for Saudi Arabia or the Gulf states, at their request. (Washington Times)
The Iranian Tipping Point - Frederick Kempe (Wall Street Journal, 17Jan06)
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