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 17, 2009
The Tehran-Caracas Nuclear Axis: New Evidence of a Radioactive Relationship - Bret Stephens (Wall Street Journal)
Credit Suisse Hit with Record U.S. Fine for Violating Iran Sanctions - Sean Sinico (Deutsche Welle-Germany)
Iraqi Insurgents Hack U.S. Drones - Siobhan Gorman, Yochi J. Dreazen and August Cole (Wall Street Journal)
Jewish Town Makes Menorah of Terror Rockets - Aaron Klein (WorldNetDaily)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
Western governments united to denounce Iran's test-firing of a long-range ballistic missile Wednesday. Prime Minister Gordon Brown said: "This is a matter of serious concern to the international community and it does make the case for us moving farther on sanctions."
In Washington, Mike Hammer, the National Security Council spokesman, said: "At a time when the international community has offered Iran opportunities to begin to build trust and confidence, Iran's missile tests only undermine Iran's claims of peaceful intentions. Such actions will increase the seriousness and resolve of the international community to hold Iran accountable for its continued defiance of its international obligations on its nuclear program." (Times-UK)
See also Why Iran Test-Fired a Missile - Richard Spencer
Ahmadinejad's response to crisis is noise; Wednesday's missile launch is another example. So long as he is in the limelight, his nationalistic calls to arms make it hard for his opponents to turn on him. (Telegraph-UK)
Britain's attorney general will be asked to approve warrants before suspected war criminals can be arrested in the future under a plan being negotiated by the Foreign Office in response to the row over attempts to arrest Israel's former foreign minister. Discussions have begun on creating "safeguards" in criminal cases against visiting foreign leaders - not just those from Israel. "No one is talking about removing universal jurisdiction, but it's an anomaly that a magistrates court can issue an arrest warrant before a prosecutor has even said there is a case to prosecute. There need to be safeguards," said a senior Foreign Office source. (Guardian-UK)
Tunnel operator Abu Khaled shrugged off reports that the authorities were constructing an underground barrier to sever the tunnels into Gaza. "It shouldn't pose a problem," he said. The smugglers have long been accustomed to outwitting frontier guards. "They're taking American money and dumping it into the ground," said a smuggler named Mohammed.
"There's a whole cocktail of reasons why it won't work," said Abu Ahmed, a Bedouin arms trader. The police are corrupt, he says, the Bedouin and other smugglers are resourceful, and if Egypt cuts the underground lifeline to Gaza, people there may inundate Sinai as they did briefly in 2008 after Hamas blasted the border wall. "They used to want weapons. Now they have all the light arms they need, although Hamas is interested if you have something bigger. What they want is food and fuel," Abu Ahmed said.
A senior Egyptian security official said: "If you want to write that we are building an underground barrier, I won't stop you. It looks good for us. It looks like we're doing something." (Telegraph-UK)
See also Egyptian Daily: Gaza Barrier a "Sovereign Right"
"Egypt, which protects its sovereignty, has the right to develop the barrier separating it and Gaza," the state-owned Al-Gomhuria daily said Thursday in a front-page editorial. "Some people have tried to portray Egypt as playing a part in the blockade of Palestinians by tightening the openings used for smuggling weapons...but smuggling weapons through Sinai is a direct attack on the sovereignty of Egypt," the paper said.
"It is up to Hamas to agree on signing a reconciliation agreement which would guarantee a permanent opening of the borders including the Rafah border," between Egypt and Gaza, the paper said. "It is Hamas that stood against reconciliation." (AFP)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
"When the Arabs realized they cannot defeat us with their armies, they turned to terrorism and rockets," Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Yaalon said Wednesday. "Now they are realizing that they cannot defeat us this way either, so they are taking the path of de-legitimization." (Ynet News)
The PLO Central Council on Wednesday approved a resolution calling on PA leader Mahmoud Abbas to stay in power until new elections are held in the West Bank and Gaza. Hamas described the council's resolution as a "coup against the Palestinian constitution." Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said: "This is an illegal decision and a political bribe to cover up for the fact that Abbas' term in office had expired a long time ago." (Jerusalem Post)
The Global Forum for Combating Antisemitism opened a two-day international conference in Jerusalem on Wednesday with over 500 delegates from over 50 countries. (Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
In recent years, quite a number of experts have promised us that Hamas does not really mean it. Hamas is only playing tough, but its intentions are lofty: cease-fire, Green Line, coexistence. Yet what counts is the direct statement made by the Palestinian leader to his people. Standing before 100,000 people in the center of Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh this week declared the objective of the Hamas movement: not the total liberation of Gaza or a Palestinian state, but the liberation of all of Palestine. Hamas is demanding the entire land: the land on which the editorial offices of Ha'aretz are located, every piece of Israeli land on which any Israeli citizen lives, the land beneath our feet.
With Hamas controlling Gaza, arming itself to the teeth and enjoying the support of about one-third of the Palestinians, it has the right to veto any diplomatic progress. With Fatah unwilling to recognize the Jewish nation-state and objecting to a demilitarized Palestinian state, there is no chance for a peace treaty. (Ha'aretz)
Before the Iranian regime's brutal effort to crush the protests following the June 12 presidential election, an Iranian cab driver who couldn't buy gasoline would probably curse the Americans. After witnessing the brutal crackdown and his fellow citizens dying in the streets, he now might very well blame the regime. We suspect senior Iranian officials have been so loud in mocking the effectiveness of gasoline sanctions because the regime knows it still does not have the requisite reserve capacity to stop such sanctions from fomenting even more distaste for the regime on the Iranian street. (Foreign Policy)
In 1992, acquisition of a nuclear arsenal became one of the three pillars of Iran's "defense doctrine," alongside the creation of a mass infantry, the so-called 20-million-man army, and the largest missile stockpile in the Middle East. Iran's bomb will destabilize the region and speed up a nascent nuclear arms race in the Middle East. With most regimes in the region, including the Iranian one itself, facing internal revolts, the risk of nuclear material falling into terrorist hands is a concern.
It is still possible to raise the cost of Iran's nuclear ambitions by fully applying the sanctions already approved, but not implemented, by UN resolutions. These include tight control of exports of all dual-use material and equipment to Iran, the inspection and impounding of suspect cargos on board ships and aircraft, and the termination of Iranian access to credit facilities and banking services used for its illicit nuclear project. (Times-UK)
www.jihad.com - Thomas L. Friedman (New York Times)
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