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|
October 7, 2009
Iran: New Enrichment Plant to Use Advanced Centrifuges - Hashem Kalantari (Reuters)
Libya Asks for Security Council Meeting over Gaza Report - Patrick Worsnip (Reuters)
Israeli Shares 2009 Nobel Prize in Chemistry (Reuters-Ha'aretz)
More Iranian Nuclear Scientists Defect? - Meir Javedanfar (RealClearWorld)
In Face of Israel's Restored Deterrent Power, Hamas Turns to PR - Col. (res.) Moshe Elad (Ynet News)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
The Obama administration is working on a substantial sanctions package against Iran in case current diplomatic efforts to curb its nuclear program fail, top officials told Congress on Tuesday. Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg said one reason for the Obama administration's engagement toward Iran was to secure international support for sanctions if Iran continued to defy international demands. "By the end of the month, we will have some very clear indications of what their intentions are," he said.
Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.) said he planned to move forward this month on a proposal to expand financial restrictions, impose new sanctions on Iran's oil and gas sectors, and ban both the export of refined gasoline products to Iran and the import of Iranian goods. (CNN)
61% of Americans would support a military strike to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon, a Pew Research Center survey released Tuesday found. While 63% support direct U.S. negotiations with Iran to push the country to abandon its nuclear program, 64% said such efforts won't succeed. While 78% would approve tougher economic sanctions on Iran, 56% said they didn't expect the measures to persuade Iran to drop its nuclear program. (Bloomberg)
See also Is the U.S. Preparing to Bomb Iran? - Jonathan Karl
Is the U.S. stepping up preparations for a possible attack on Iran's nuclear facilities? Based on a little-noticed funding request recently sent to Congress, the answer appears to be yes. The Pentagon is shifting spending from other programs to fast forward the development and procurement of the Massive Ordnance Penetrator, a 30,000-pound bomb designed to hit targets buried 200 feet below ground. On Friday, McDonnell Douglas was awarded a $51.9 million contract to provide "Massive Penetrator Ordnance Integration" on B-2 aircraft. (ABC News)
On Oct. 5, 2009, Alarabiya.net posted an interview with an Arab Ahwazi man who was presented as a former undercover agent for the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps. He claimed that 40,000 well-trained operatives, mostly Shi'ites, are in the service of Iran in the Arab Gulf states - 3,000 in Kuwait alone.
This is in line with a July 14, 2009, intelligence report by the Ahwazi Islamic Sunni Organization (www.sonnaalahwaz.org) claiming that, according to classified Iranian Air Force information, Iran has a comprehensive military plan to attack the Gulf countries using the MiG-31 aircraft that it had purchased from Syria. Thus, it said, Iran is preparing secret airports and camps in Ahwaz province, as well as forces in the northwest of the province, in order to attack Iraq, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia. (MEMRI)
Thousands of Christian pilgrims from around the world marched through the streets of Jerusalem on Tuesday, chanting their support for Israel and praying for peace in the Holy Land. Marching under dozens of national banners, the pilgrims made their way from a park near parliament to the gates of the Old City. Many said the annual pilgrimage, organized by the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem, represented fulfillment of a biblical prophecy that all nations would gather in Jerusalem for Sukkot - the Feast of Tabernacles - which Jews celebrate this week. (AFP)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
Raed Salah, the outspoken leader of the Islamic Movement in Israel's northern branch, called Tuesday on all Israeli Arabs and residents of eastern Jerusalem to immediately make their way to the Old City and "shield the Aksa Mosque with their bodies." Salah's militancy continues to drive a wedge between those who say they believe in working within the Israeli political system and those advocating violent methods outside of it.
Prof. Yitzhak Reiter, of the department of Islamic and Middle Eastern studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, said: "In 2007, when Israel was working on the Mughrabi gate entrance, and Salah called on people to defend the mosque, few people actually came - even on the buses that he organized to come to Jerusalem - because they understood that he took one step too far." "He [Salah] works by building castles of conspiracy theories," explained Reiter. (Jerusalem Post)
See also Should Israel Outlaw the Islamic Movement? - Dan Izenberg (Jerusalem Post)
The policy staff in Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman's office has drawn up a plan for a new focus on three areas: expanding ties with the developing world, lowering international expectations of a breakthrough in negotiations with the Palestinians, and creating a "zero-tolerance" policy for anti-Semitic expressions worldwide.
The plan notes: "There is no replacement for Israel's special relations with the United States," calling America "without a doubt Israel's best friend in the world. But the lone dependence on the United States is unhealthy for either side and presents difficulties for the U.S. Israel must build coalitions with other states on the basis of shared interests. In this way, it will expand and strengthen the circle of support, something which will be a relief for the U.S. as well." "Only by building broad coalitions and through long-term investment in ties with continents and states that have been neglected for many years can Israel improve its ability to deal with the challenges ahead." (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
In the two years since it seized power in Gaza, the militant Hamas movement has undercut the influence of the Strip's major clans, brought competing paramilitary groups under its control, put down an uprising by a rival Islamist group, weathered a three-week war with Israel, worked around a strict economic embargo - and through it all refused a set of international demands that could begin Gaza's rehabilitation. That unwillingness to compromise has created a deep-seated stalemate that poses a steep obstacle for U.S. peace envoy George Mitchell.
Mitchell's eight months of talks about Israeli-Palestinian peace have been conducted, in effect, with only half of the Palestinian political leadership. Palestinian, Israeli and international diplomats and analysts see little sign that Hamas is ready to trade its clear control of Gaza for a seat at the negotiating table. (Washington Post)
As of June 2009, Iran consumed 408,385 barrels of gasoline per day. Iran currently imports 120-128,000 barrels per day. As of Sep. 2009, China exported 30-40,000 barrels per day to Iran. On Sep. 6, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez announced that Venezuela would provide 20,000 gasoline barrels per day to Iran.
Although the Dutch-Swiss firm Vitol may have decreased its involvement in the Iranian gasoline market since 2007, it and India's Reliance, along with France's Total, the UK-Netherlands' Royal Shell, Switzerland's Glencore, Switzerland's Trafigura, and Malaysia's Petronas remain some of the foremost foreign players in the Iranian market. Sanctions would most directly affect Reliance and the European firms, resulting in a potential deficit of roughly 88,000 barrels - the non-Chinese-originated portion - of Iran's daily imports.
Domestic backlash against a 2007 rationing plan made Iranian officials wary of further action, as protestors set fire to gas stations and attacked state-run banks and business centers. Proposed increases in gasoline rationing and prices could generate internal protests on a larger scale, setting fire to an already tense political atmosphere. (IranTracker-American Enterprise Institute)
Temple Mount Is Key to Israeli-Palestinian Peace - Marvin Hier and Abraham Cooper (Jerusalem Post)
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