Prepared for the |
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
View this page at www.dailyalert.org|
September 10, 2009
IDF Responds to New Claims of Civilian Casualties in Gaza War (IDF Spokesperson-IMRA)
Pakistani Nuclear Scientist Cites Help to Iran - R. Jeffrey Smith (Washington Post)
Al-Qaeda Terrorist Captured in Iraq: I Was Trained in Syria (MEMRI TV)
300,000 Palestinians Living in Chile - Gida Homad-Hamam (Santiago Times-Chile)
Archaeologists Find Coins from Bar Kochba Era in Judean Hills - Brian Blondy (Jerusalem Post)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
American intelligence agencies have concluded in recent months that Iran has created enough nuclear fuel to make a rapid, if risky, sprint for a nuclear weapon, but has deliberately stopped short of the critical last steps to make a bomb. Glyn Davies, the American ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency, declared on Wednesday that Iran now had a "possible breakout capacity" to enrich its stockpile of uranium to bomb-grade material. In interviews over the past two months, intelligence and military officials, and members of the Obama administration, have said they are convinced that Iran has made significant progress on uranium enrichment, especially over the past year.
In a 2007 announcement, the U.S. said Iran had worked on designs for making a warhead in a project that was halted in 2003. The new intelligence finds no convincing evidence that the design work has resumed. But Israel has cited evidence that the design effort secretly resumed in 2005, at the order of Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The Israelis have argued that there could be little or no warning time before Iran completes building an actual weapon - especially if Iran has hidden facilities. Israeli officials cite two secret programs in Iran, Project 110 and Project 111, the code names for what are believed to be warhead-design programs run by an academic, Mohsen Fakrizadeh. International inspectors have shown videos and documents suggesting that Fakrizadeh's group has worked on nuclear triggers, trajectories for missiles and the detonation of a warhead at almost 2,000 feet above ground - which would suggest a nuclear detonation.
Accurate intelligence about the progress of Iran's weapons programs has been notoriously poor. Much of the country's early activity was missed for nearly 18 years, until a dissident group revealed the existence of enrichment efforts. Israeli officials say privately that the Obama administration is deluding itself in thinking that diplomacy will persuade Iran to give up its nuclear program. Even inside the White House, some officials think Mr. Obama's diplomatic effort will prove fruitless. (New York Times)
Tehran employs a combination of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and the Lebanese terrorist group Hizbullah in its covert operations. The presence of both organizations in Latin America has substantially increased in recent years. For example, the IRGC is cooperating closely with Venezuelan intelligence agencies. Hizbullah has built a network of relations with Venezuelan citizens, making Caracas Hizbullah's gateway into Latin America. The U.S. Treasury Department says a Venezuelan diplomat accredited in Beirut, Ghazi Nasr al Din, provided support to Hizbullah, including help with setting up its fund-raising apparatus in Latin America.
Hizbullah's presence has been detected behind the proliferation of Shiite mosques in Ecuador. Hizbullah has been involved in contraband drugs in Colombia and in illegal immigrant traffic in Mexico. It is also expanding its presence in the region via proxies such as "Hizbullah Argentina" and "Hizbullah Venezuela." The writer is a professor at the School of Economy at Los Andes University in Bogota, Columbia. (Atlanta Journal Constitution)
The discovery of a weapons cache in western Afghanistan has raised concerns that Iran is interfering in that country, much like it did in Iraq, by supplying weapons used to attack and kill U.S. and coalition troops, U.S. officials say. Afghan and NATO forces uncovered the weapons cache on Aug. 29 in Herat. It included a small number of Iranian-made "explosively formed penetrators," hyper-powerful roadside bombs similar to the weapons used to kill U.S. forces in Iraq. Also seized were 107 Iranian-made BM-1 rockets and dozens of blocks of Iranian C4 plastic explosives. Other coalition countries allege the Iranian influence is even deeper and that Iranian intelligence is funneling money to Afghan President Hamid Karzai. (FOX News)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
Several hundred Jewish leaders and activists headed for Washington Thursday to urge Congress to pass a sanctions bill to pressure Iran to abandon its pursuit of nuclear capabilities that threaten Israel. The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations and other groups are part of the advocacy day. "A government that has so little regard for human life, truth and human rights as does the current Iranian regime must not be entrusted to possess the most powerful weapons known to humankind," the organizers said in a statement. (Jerusalem Post)
See also National Jewish Leadership Advocacy Day on Iran: Statement of Purpose (Conference of Presidents)
Danny Yatom, who was head of Mossad during Prime Minister Netanyahu's first term, told Israel Radio Thursday that Netanyahu then agreed to withdraw from the entire Golan Heights in exchange for a peace deal with Syria and the normalization of ties between Jerusalem and Damascus. (Jerusalem Post)
See also Netanyahu Never Agreed to Withdraw from the Entire Golan Heights - Dore Gold and Shimon Shapira
In 1998, when Netanyahu exchanged messages with Assad through Ronald Lauder, at no point did Netanyahu agree to withdraw from the Golan Heights, as has been suggested. Netanyahu refused to provide any map of withdrawal, let alone the line that Assad sought. At the end of these contacts, Assad inquired just where Netanyahu envisioned the future Israeli-Syrian border in relation to the 1967 line. He wanted to know how far east the final line would be: "Dozens of meters, hundreds of meters?" Netanyahu's answer was that the border would be "miles" east. Dore Gold was former foreign policy advisor and Brig.-Gen. (res.) Shimon Shapira was former military secretary to Prime Minister Netanyahu. (Foreign Affairs, March-April 2009)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez has clearly forged a bond with one leader who is as reckless and ambitious as he is: Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. In Tehran again this week, Chavez made clear that he shares Iran's view of Israel, which he called "a genocidal state." He endorsed Iran's nuclear program and declared that Venezuela would seek Iran's assistance to construct a nuclear complex of its own.
In the past several years Iran has opened banks in Caracas and factories in the South American countryside. Manhattan district attorney Robert Morgenthau believes Iran is using the Venezuelan banking system to evade U.S. and UN sanctions. Now Chavez is off to Moscow, where, according to the Russian press, he plans to increase the $4 billion he has already spent on weapons by another $500 million or so. He recently promised to buy "several battalions" of Russian tanks. Not a threat to the U.S.? Give him time. (Washington Post)
The Administration is hoping to announce the resumption of final-status negotiations over a two-state solution between Israelis and Palestinians later this month. "If Israel says, 'We'll put a moratorium on settlement activity, except for some exceptions,' it's something the Obama Administration achieves that their predecessors haven't," says Robert Malley of the International Crisis Group.
Furthermore, the Administration's efforts on the Israeli-Palestinian front may be shaped by U.S. priorities elsewhere in the Middle East - namely, getting Iran to scale back its nuclear ambitions. Washington's prospects for securing Arab cooperation on Iran are improved if Israeli-Palestinian peace talks are underway. But the threat of withholding Arab cooperation on Iran in the absence of a settlement freeze is not entirely credible, because Arab regimes have as much to fear from a nuclear armed Iran as does the U.S.
So Obama is likely to call the Arab-Palestinian bluff with the best deal he can get from Israel. More than six months after starting work on reviving the peace process, the White House needs to get past talking about talks and get to the business of negotiation. (TIME)
Taking Iran Seriously - Daniel R. Coats, Charles S. Robb, and Charles Wald (Wall Street Journal)
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