Prepared for the |
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
To contact the Presidents Conference:
Israel Heading Toward Elections - Ronen Medzini (Ynet News)
Report: Iran Nukes Too Deep to Hit - Mark Hosenball (Newsweek)
PA Forbids Arab Residents of Jerusalem from Voting in Upcoming Municipal Election - Khaled Abu Toameh (Jerusalem Post)
Hamas Declares Cyber-War on Israel - Ramin Mostaghim
(Los Angeles Times)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
U.S. military helicopters attacked an area along Syria's border with Iraq Sunday, killing eight people, the Syrian government said. Four helicopters struck the Sukkariyeh Farm near the town of Abu Kamal. A U.S. military official in Washington confirmed the raid, saying the attack targeted elements of a robust foreign fighter logistics network and that due to Syrian inaction the U.S. was now "taking matters into our own hands." The official said the special forces raid targeted elements of a network that sends fighters from elsewhere in the Middle East to Syria, where elements of the Syrian military are in league with al-Qaeda and other fighters.
The flow of foreign fighters into Iraq has been cut to an estimated 20 a month, a senior U.S. military intelligence official said in July, down 50% from six months earlier, with 90% of the foreign fighters entering through Syria. Foreign fighters toting cash have been Al Qaeda in Iraq's chief source of income, according to U.S. intelligence. (AP/International Herald Tribune)
See also U.S. Takes to Air to Hit Islamic Militants Inside Pakistan - Mark Mazzetti and Eric Schmitt
The White House is intensifying a campaign of airstrikes by the Central Intelligence Agency against militants in the Pakistani mountains. According to American and Pakistani officials, attacks by remotely piloted Predator aircraft have increased sharply in frequency and scope in the past three months. (New York Times)
The Bush administration will announce in mid-November, after the presidential election, that it intends to establish the first U.S. diplomatic presence in Iran since the 1979-81 hostage crisis, according to senior administration officials. The proposal for an "interests section," which falls short of a full U.S. embassy, has been conveyed in messages to Tehran. Senior administration officials said the plan to open an interests section in Tehran isn't a move to closer government-to-government ties. Rather, they say, it is an effort to reach out to the Iranian people, many of whom are far less anti-American than their leaders. (McClatchy-Minneapolis Star Tribune)
See also Iranian President Denies Reports of Illness
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Sunday he was healthy, countering reports suggesting he was ill. (Reuters)
In an Oct. 18, 2008, article on the Iranian website Aftab, Wahid Karimi, director of the Europe and U.S. department in Iran's Foreign Ministry, recommends that Iran mark London as a target, since it is the capital of the country that is the U.S.'s closest ally in Europe. "The most appropriate means of deterrence that Iran has, in addition to a retaliatory operation in the [Gulf] region, is to take action against London." (MEMRI)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
Defense Minister Ehud Barak met Sunday with the commander of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon to protest Hizbullah's continued arms smuggling from Syria, in violation of Security Council Resolution 1701. Barak said Hizbullah has been gaining strength over the past two years, with close Syrian assistance. "The repeated violation of 1701 could lead us to the upset of the delicate balance that exists in Lebanon, and it poses a substantive danger to the entire region," he said. Resolution 1701 requires Hizbullah to disarm. (Ha'aretz)
Israeli authorities five weeks ago arrested a Hamas operative who infiltrated Israel from Gaza in a bid to kidnap Israel Defense Forces soldiers, it emerged Sunday. Jemal abu Duabah, a resident of the Gaza town of Rafah, was arrested after he illegally entered Israel from Sinai. An investigation revealed that the would-be kidnapper crossed into Sinai from Gaza via a tunnel. During his stay in Sinai, he made his final arrangements for the abduction of the troops, whom he planned to smuggle back into Gaza to use as bargaining chips for Palestinian prisoners held in Israel.
During his interrogation, Abu Duabah stressed that senior officials in Hamas' military wing trained him in Gaza. He said they also funded the training of the cell which was meant to assist him in planning and carrying out the kidnapping. (Ha'aretz)
IDF Home Front Command head Maj.-Gen. Yair Golan warned Sunday that Israel may face an increasing threat from rockets over the next few years. Golan said that "in the next five years, our enemies may fire 200-300 tons of explosives in rockets on Israel," adding that during the Second Lebanon War the rockets fired by Hizbullah at Israel totaled 30 tons of explosives. "The numbers may seem high but this isn't a catastrophe in waiting. We are more than capable of handling it," he said. (Ynet News)
If Israel's indirect talks with Syria were aimed at testing whether it might be possible to pull Damascus out of Iran and Hizbullah's orbits, then so far the test has failed, Military Intelligence chief Maj.-Gen. Amos Yadlin told the Israeli Cabinet Sunday. Despite the talks, Damascus has actually stepped up its cooperation with Hizbullah. (Jerusalem Post)
See also Military Intelligence: Assad Trusts Hizbullah More than His Own Army - Roni Sofer
Military Intelligence chief Maj.-Gen. Amos Yadlin told the Israeli Cabinet Sunday that Syria "has become the bargain basement for Hizbullah weaponry." He said Syrian President Bashar Assad "trusts Hizbullah more than he does his own troops" and that the Syrians "have made all of their strategic capabilities available to Hizbullah."
Syria is still as radical as Iran, Yadlin said. "Syria and Iran have bought the Lebanese regime. They keep pumping in cash to bribe statesmen and push shady deals....Iran's recent offer to help re-outfit the Lebanese army is nothing more than an attempt to take over Lebanon." As for the peace talks between Israel and Syria, Military Intelligence indicates that Assad would like to pursue the option, but only on his own terms. (Ynet News)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
The U.S. airborne raid into Syrian territory marks the culmination of years of frustration with Damascus' reluctance to police its own border with Iraq, the main point of entry for foreign jihadists. The Sukkariyeh Farm, which U.S. forces raided, is just over the border from the Iraqi city of al-Qaim, which, since 2003, has been a key funneling point for jihadists entering Iraq. A raid into sovereign territory would have needed high-level U.S. clearance and may have been intended as a warning to Syria that it is not inviolate and must choose carefully whom it supports. (Times-UK)
Israel is in contact with the government of Turkey regarding the construction of an infrastructure corridor called the Med Stream, which is planned to contain three pipelines. One is for crude oil, meaning that what arrives through the Baku-Ceyhan pipeline or the Samsun-Ceyhan pipeline will continue on to Israel. The second pipeline will be for natural gas. The third pipeline could be used for water, electricity, or even fiber optic communications.
Israel is one of the leading countries in the world in developing technologies to produce electricity through renewable energy, mostly in the solar field. We envision a plan up to the year 2020 that will guarantee energy in the coming decades based on 40 percent natural gas, 40 percent coal, and up to 20 percent renewable energy. (Institute for Contemporary Affairs-Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
Iran Will Be at the Top of the Next President's In-Tray - Con Coughlin (Telegraph-UK)
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