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|
December 3, 2009
Homeland Security Chief Warns of al-Qaeda Sympathizers in U.S. - Spencer S. Hsu
Somali Training Camps Fuel Threat of Attacks on U.S. - Mohamed Olad Hassan and Jason Straziuso (AP)
Iranian to Be Sentenced in U.S. Arms Smuggling Case - Carrie Johnson and Spencer S. Hsu (Washington Post)
Egypt Accuses Israeli Doctors of Stealing Palestinian Body Parts - Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik (Palestinian Media Watch)
See also Ukraine Academic: Israel Imported 25,000 Kids for Their Organs - Lily Galili (Ha'aretz)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Wednesday that his nation would produce a higher grade of nuclear fuel on its own. His declaration continued a daily drumbeat of defiant proclamations from the Iranian leadership, which has vowed to expand its nuclear plants and hone its capability to enrich uranium. "The Iranian nation will produce 20% fuel and anything it needs itself," Ahmadinejad told a cheering crowd in Isfahan. Uranium enriched to 20% can enable Iran to make a crude nuclear weapon. The bigger threat would be that its enrichment could quickly accelerate to 90%, typically used in modern nuclear warheads.
A diplomat in Vienna who works with the International Atomic Energy Agency and closely monitors the Iranian program said, "They're almost asking to be attacked....By definition, 20% is weapons-usable." (New York Times)
Inspectors from the United Arab Emirates found hundreds of crates containing 2,030 detonators for 122mm rockets, as well as a large quantity of solid-fuel propellant for thousands of short-range rockets, hidden on the freighter ANL Australia bound for Iran. A U.S. intelligence official acknowledged that U.S. spies "played a key role" in tracking the shipment.
The freighter was one of five vessels caught this year carrying large, secret caches of weapons apparently intended for Hizbullah, Hamas, or the Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps. In three cases, the contraband included North Korean- or Chinese-made components for rockets such as the 122mm Grad, which has a range of up to 25 miles and which Hamas and Hizbullah have fired into Israel. (Washington Post)
Lebanon's government has endorsed Hizbullah's right to keep its weapons for defense against Israel, according to a policy statement released Wednesday by the new government of Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri. (VOA News)
See also British Foreign Secretary Eyes Contact with Hizbullah
The British government is considering renewed contact with Hizbullah as the group gains political influence in Lebanon, British Foreign Secretary David Miliband told Lebanon's Daily Star. He said "carefully considered contact with Hizbullah's politicians, including its MPs, will best advance our objective of the group rejecting violence to play a constructive role in Lebanese politics." (UPI)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
France has "several strong reservations" about a draft resolution on the Middle East put forward by Sweden that would recognize eastern Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state, French Ambassador to Israel Christophe Bigot told the Jerusalem Post Wednesday. "Let us be clear: the text is not an EU text; it is a Swedish proposal looking for agreement by the 27 EU members of the Council of Foreign Affairs next Tuesday," Bigot said. As part of its diplomatic efforts to block acceptance of the document, Israel is in contact with the U.S., hoping that it will explain to key EU states that the text would only make the diplomatic process even more difficult than it already is. (Jerusalem Post)
Defense Minister Ehud Barak met with four West Bank council heads in his office on Wednesday, and stressed to them that "the settlement blocs are an inseparable part of Israel in all future negotiations with the Palestinians. The Jordan Valley and the Dead Sea are regions that are dear to my heart." (Ynet News)
See also Israel Cut Settlement Spending in 2009 (Reuters-New York Times)
Alberto Nisman, the Argentinean prosecutor who ferreted out Iranian links to the July 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish community offices in Buenos Aires and secured Interpol backing for the arrest of several Iranians, warned Wednesday of Tehran's growing terror network in Latin America. "The Iranians are moving fast....We see a much greater penetration than we did in 1994." He said that Iran, particularly through Lebanese proxy Hizbullah, has a growing presence in Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador and Nicaragua. Nisman called on other countries to refuse to welcome Iranian leaders to international forums like the UN until they adhere to Interpol-backed warrants and hand over the Iranians wanted by Argentina. (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
Nablus, the West Bank's largest city, is bursting with energy, life, and signs of prosperity in a way I have not previously seen in many years of covering the region. The shops and restaurants were also full when I visited Hebron recently, and life is even better in Ramallah, where it is difficult to get a table in a good restaurant. In Gaza too, the shops and markets are crammed with food and goods.
We had driven from Jerusalem to Nablus without going through any Israeli checkpoints. The government of Benjamin Netanyahu has removed them all since the Israeli security services were allowed to crush the intifada, restore security to the West Bank, and set up the conditions for the economic boom that is now occurring.
Nablus stock exchange head Ahmad Aweidah explained to me why there is no rush to declare statehood, saying ordinary Palestinians need the IDF to help protect them from Hamas, as their own security forces aren't ready to do so by themselves yet. The truth is that an independent Palestine is now quietly being built, with Israeli assistance. (Wall Street Journal)
See also Cooperative Israeli-Palestinian Project Plants Strawberry Fields (Huffington Post)
For more than half a century, Western politicians and diplomats have built upon a mirage: the belief that because we see peace as a benefit, everyone in the Middle East must see it that way, too. This assumption is mostly obviously false in regard to Hamas, which is fighting a jihad, a religious war. Its goal is the annihilation of Israel, an "infidel" nation occupying land Allah has endowed to the Muslims. A "two-state solution" or any other compromise is out of the question.
Any agreement Abbas might strike with Israel, no matter how advantageous for average Palestinians, would be denounced by Hamas as an act of treachery and apostasy. So Abbas pockets any Israeli concessions the Americans can wring out of the Israelis while dismissing them as woefully insufficient; refuses to negotiate; but behind the scenes works with the Israelis on security and economic development. The writer is president of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. (Scripps News)
Heightened fears about Iran's secret nuclear capabilities and stumbling nuclear talks point toward yet another round of UN sanctions. Previous U.S. and UN sanctions against Iran have been "smart" sanctions - targeting individuals and entities related to specific behavior. The next round, likely to involve restricting Iran's imports of gasoline, represents a different approach, designed to have a macroeconomic impact to change the strategic calculus of Iran's rulers.
However, despite Reliance (of India) cutting off gasoline sales to Iran, it is doubtful that Royal Dutch Shell, Total, Lukoil, Zhuhai Zhenrong, or any of Iran's other gasoline suppliers would sacrifice lucrative contracts with Iran because of a threat of being cut off from U.S. government contracts. Russia and China could lose economic investments in Iran if those countries participated in gasoline restrictions.
Any economic pressure, even if it is not decisive, is welcome. And producing consensus for another sanctions round is useful in case force has to be used later. But there is little leverage to compel international corporations to suspend gasoline sales to Iran, and Tehran has options for plugging the shortfall and dampening economic damage. The writer is professor emeritus of political science at the University of Michigan. (Middle East Strategy at Harvard)
The Illegal Settlements Myth - David M. Phillips (Commentary)
Unsubscribe from Daily Alert