Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
To contact the Presidents Conference:
Egypt to Launch First Spy Satellite - Yaakov Katz (Jerusalem Post)
Israel Campus Beat
- January 14, 2007
Israel's Options Regarding Iran
Saddam Co-Defendants Hanged in Iraq - Joshua Partlow (Washington Post)
Iranian President Visits Venezuela to Strengthen Ties - Simon Romero (New York Times)
Egypt Finds Explosives Cache in Northern Sinai (Reuters)
SAS Hunts Fleeing Al-Qaeda Africans - Hala Jaber and Michael Smith (Sunday Times-UK)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
In an interview with Israel Channel 10 during a visit to Jerusalem, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Sunday: "There's been very little signs of Syria having anything positive to say. Syria is, after all, engaged in trying to undermine the government of Lebanon. Syria is, of course, continuing to play a negative role in the Palestinian conflict....There's just no indication that the Syrian government has anything but disruptive plans right now."
"I don't think we need to skip any phases of the roadmap. I think that the roadmap is intended to be a guide to get to a Palestinian state....But the roadmap needs to be fulfilled." (State Department)
See also Rice Begins Middle East Peace Effort - Glenn Kessler
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice embarked Saturday on a new push for Israeli-Palestinian peace but said she was coming to the region without a particular plan or proposal. Rice said she was hoping to "accelerate" the U.S.-backed peace plan known as the "road map." (Washington Post)
President George W Bush has ordered U.S. forces to launch a military offensive against Iranian officials and Revolutionary Guards officers behind a support and funding network for anti-American fighters in Iraq. Bush signed the clandestine directive after he was given new intelligence on the scale of Iranian operations to foment violence in Iraq. Alireza Jafarzadeh, the Iranian exile leader who first revealed Teheran's secret nuclear program, has compiled a dossier detailing the vast network run by the Revolutionary Guards' Quds (Jerusalem) Force in Iraq. Its operations are centered on Basra and Najaf, and use a series of supposed religious and cultural organizations as well as diplomatic consulates across the country to develop, fund and arm militia and rebel groups.
Thousands of Shia militiamen have reportedly traveled to Iran for training and indoctrination, while Quds sends millions of dollars cash in the other direction each month, through diplomatic pouches and border crossings it controls. Condoleezza Rice, the U.S. secretary of state, said Saturday: "I don't think there is a government in the world that would sit by and let the Iranians, in particular, run networks inside Iraq that are building explosive devices of a very high quality, that are being used to kill their soldiers." (Sunday Telegraph-UK)
See also Iranians "Trained Shia Militants" - Damien McElroy
The American military Sunday accused five Iranians detained by its forces in Iraq of helping to supply cash, weapons and training to Shia militias on behalf of the Iranian regime. "The five detainees are connected to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Qods Force, an organization known for providing funds, weapons, IEDs [roadside bombs], technology and training to extremist groups attempting to destabilize the government of Iraq and attack coalition forces," said a statement. (Telegraph-UK)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
Israel Defense Forces troops on Sunday killed two Palestinians approaching the Gaza Strip security fence carrying explosives. The two were crawling toward the fence south of Moshav Nativ Ha'asarah. There was a large explosion, apparently from the explosives the Palestinians were wielding, and they were killed. It is not clear if they had planned to cross the fence into Israeli territory or place the explosives next to the fence in order to target an IDF patrol.
IDF forces on Friday discovered a bomb weighing 23 kg. in the West Bank town of Hirbat al-Najr, south of Jenin. An even larger bomb weighing 60 kg. was found in a town west of the city last week. The IDF Central Command said there has been an increase in weight and quality of explosives being made by Palestinians in the West Bank. (Ha'aretz)
The IDF on Sunday praised the appointment of Italian Gen. Claudio Graziano as the new head of the UNIFIL peacekeeping force in southern Lebanon. French Maj.-Gen. Alain Pellegrini, whom IDF officers said was pro-Hizbullah, steps down in mid-February after three years in the post. IDF sources said Graziano "takes his job seriously and we expect to see a continued crackdown on Hizbullah under his command." Graziano commanded NATO's Kabul Multinational Brigade and has extensive experience in combating insurgency and terrorism. Northern Command sources also praised UNIFIL's 2,500-strong Italian contingent, saying it was working to prevent Hizbullah from returning to its outposts on the border. (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
When Carter loyalists such as former Ambassador William B. Schwartz Jr., scholars such as Kenneth Stein and Melvin Konner, public people never given to impetuousness such as former state Rep. Cathey Steinberg and former DeKalb CEO Liane Levetan, and others whose contributions to the betterment of this state and nation are renown, walk away from the most important figure most of them will ever know, the world should take notice. And ask why. "[Carter] has become a spokesman for the enemies of my people. He has become an apologist for terrorists," wrote Konner. Carter's book Palestine: Peace not Apartheid chooses sides with harmful and lasting consequence.
For me this is not a time to be equivocal, either about Iraq, Iran, Syria, Hizbullah, Hamas or our commitments to friends who believe in our word. For my part, there can be no "balance" in U.S. policy in the region. Retreating from Gaza in the summer of 2005, Israel did something this country would never have done, sending 25,000 soldiers to haul 8,500 of its citizens from their abodes, sacrificing their homes and land to the prospect of peace. What did they get in return? A rain of missiles. We have one permanent friend in the region and that is Israel. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
See also below Observations: The Carter Board of Councilors Resignation Letter (FOX News)
Why is Israel viewed so differently in Europe than in the U.S.? Prior to the Six-Day War in 1967, it was France which was Israel's primary military supplier. In the War of Independence in 1948-49, it was arms smuggled from Czechoslovakia that enabled the Zionists to fight on. Most European nations, including some Soviet satellites, supported the partition resolution in the General Assembly in November 1947. European nations supported Israel at the UN through the late 1960s and in some cases well beyond then. Clearly, some of this support was a reflection of European guilt over the murder of six million Jews in their midst. Today, that residue of sympathy for the plucky underdog nation of Israel has disappeared.
Western Europeans want to believe that all international disputes can be resolved amicably, or as they call it, diplomatically, and multilaterally. One explanation for this is that Europe is militarily and spiritually weak and willing to appease those who might threaten the European life style.
At least 20 million Muslims now live in Western Europe. According to Middle East scholar Bernard Lewis: given the comparative birth rates (white Europeans very low, Muslims very high) and immigration levels, soon enough Europe will be Muslim. The numbers provide important background to explain Europe's problems with Israel. (American Thinker)
The ancient antipathy between Sunni and Shiite has become a dynamic conflict, not just within Iraq but across the Middle East, and key protagonists on each side seek the support of American power. On Dec. 4, 2006, Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, head of Iraq's largest political party, the son of an ayatollah, and himself a lifelong militant cleric, went to the White House to plead his case with President Bush. The best ally of the U.S. in Iraq is Hakim's party, the SCIRI: the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq. At the same time, the prospect of a Shiite-dominated Iraq is forcing Sunni Arab states, especially Saudi Arabia, the Emirates and Jordan, to seek American help against the rising power of the Shiites.
Americans have no interest in the secular-sectarian quarrel, but there is a very real convergence of interests with the Sunni Arab states because Iran is the main enemy for both. The Iraq war has indeed brought into existence a New Middle East, in which Arab Sunnis can no longer gleefully disregard American interests because they need help against the looming threat of Shiite supremacy. The writer is a senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. (Wall Street Journal)
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