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|
February 10, 2010
Even If Reformers Win, Iranians Support Nuclear Program - Robert Wright (New York Times)
Iran Rewards Basij Militia with Political Clout (AP/New York Times)
Hamas Fails to Pay Salaries in Gaza - Roee Nahmias (Ynet News)
Gaza's Defiant Tunnelers Head Deeper Underground - Robert Fisk (Independent-UK)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
The Obama administration is working on a series of sanctions that would take aim at the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps of Iran, publicly singling out the organization's vast array of companies, banks and other entities in an effort to curb Tehran's nuclear ambitions. Senior White House officials described a "systematic" effort to drive a wedge between the Iranian population and the Revolutionary Guards, which the West says is responsible for running Iran's nuclear program.
President Obama said in a news conference on Tuesday: "We have bent over backwards to say to the Islamic Republic of Iran that we are willing to have a constructive conversation about how they can align themselves with international norms and rules and re-enter as full members of the international community....They have made their choice so far." He said the U.S. will be working on "developing a significant regime of sanctions that will indicate to them how isolated they are from the international community as a whole."
The goal would be to increase the cost for those who do business with Iran so much that they would cut off ties. Administration officials and European diplomats said they hoped that the package would include an expanded list of Iranian officials who are denied visas to visit the West and the curbing of investments in Iran's energy sector. (New York Times)
See also Text of Obama Press Conference (White House)
See also U.S. Unveils Offer to Help Iran Purchase Medical Isotopes - Glenn Kessler (Washington Post)
Nikolai Patrushev, the secretary of Russia's presidential security council and a close ally of Prime Minister Putin, said Tuesday there was a "limit" to how much diplomacy could be used to solve the crisis over Iran's nuclear program. He said: "The actions it is taking, including when it began enriching low-enriched uranium to 20%, raise doubts in other countries and those doubts are quite valid." He added: "Political-diplomatic methods are important for a resolution, but there is a limit to everything." (Financial Times-UK)
See also below Observations - Western Diplomats: Ahmadinejad's Move to Further Enrich Uranium Has Backfired (Financial Times-UK) and China Could Veto Sanctions Against Iran - But History Suggests It Won't (Times-UK)
Italy said Iran's hardline religious Basij militia tried to attack its embassy in Tehran on Tuesday. Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini told a Senate hearing: "About a hundred Basij dressed as civilians tried to assault the embassy shouting 'Death to Italy' and 'Death to (Prime Minister) Berlusconi'." He said the attackers hurled stones at the embassy, but Iranian police intervened to "stop a full-blown assault." "This type of demonstration is orchestrated by the regime," the Italian ambassador in Tehran, Alberto Bradanini, told Repubblica TV. (Reuters-New York Times)
Egyptian authorities arrested three senior leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood on Monday in the latest government crackdown on the country's most powerful opposition force. The Brotherhood, which has affiliates across the Mideast, advocates an Islamic state under Islamic law, in opposition to Egypt's secular, authoritarian regime. In parliamentary elections in 2005, candidates affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood, running as independents, captured 20% of seats, making them the country's largest opposition bloc. A new round of parliamentary elections is scheduled this fall. (Wall Street Journal)
See also Fighting the New Plague in the Land of Egypt - Zvi Mazel
Every Egyptian government since Nasser has been fighting the Brotherhood. The Brotherhood has called for the restoration of the Caliphate and the creation of a single Muslim nation under Sharia law, and allowing the killing of Muslims and non-Muslims to achieve this goal. The writer is a former Israeli ambassador to Egypt. (Jerusalem Post)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urged EU's ambassadors in Israel on Tuesday to disabuse the Palestinians of the notion that the international community will "deliver Israel," saying this Palestinian hope has led to 10 "wasted" months. "It is up to you to urge the Palestinian Authority to begin talks," he said. "We are pretty close, but a nudge from you can make it happen." He said that "proximity talks," whereby the U.S. would mediate indirect negotiations between Israeli and Palestinian teams, would be acceptable "as a corridor into direct talks." But ultimately, all the critical issues will have to be decided in direct negotiations, he said. (Jerusalem Post)
See also Abbas under "Intense" Pressure from EU to Return to Talks - Herb Keinon
PA leader Mahmoud Abbas is under "intense" pressure by the international community to return to negotiations, with every European leader he meets telling him he must renew talks, a senior European diplomat told the Jerusalem Post on Monday. European leaders are arguing that at the moment it is the Palestinians who are being perceived as the ones refusing the opportunity to negotiate over the future.
The EU gave the PA 500 million in 2009, with another 500 million contributed by individual European states on a bilateral basis, the senior European official said. "As long as there is hope that [a Palestinian] state will be formed, we are happy to do so, and we know that once it is established we will give more for security and to develop the economy. But now in Europe - in parliament and among taxpayers - people are asking how long we will do this....We can't continue to pay for the creation of a state when the state is not coming." (Jerusalem Post)
The Israeli Air Force targeted sites in Gaza Tuesday in response to Kassam rocket fire into southern Israel over the past few days. Since the start of 2010, more than 20 rockets and mortars have been fired into Israel from Gaza. (Ha'aretz)
"The IDF will continue to operate with resolve and force against any element that employs terror against the State of Israel, and it holds Hamas solely responsible for preserving the calm in Gaza," the army Spokesperson's Unit said. (Ynet News)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
Iran is still churning out enriched uranium and has now told UN inspectors that it is raising the level of enrichment - moving slightly closer to bomb-grade quality. Enough is enough. Iran needs to understand that its nuclear ambition comes with a very high cost. Iran is in such economic and political turmoil that its government may be more vulnerable to outside pressure.
Russia has signaled support for another resolution. If history is any guide, we fear Russia will sharply whittle down the impact. China, eager to buy ever more oil from Iran, is an even bigger obstacle. China needs to understand that ensuring reliable oil supplies would become a lot harder if the Middle East is roiled by a nuclear-armed Iran.
The more the Security Council temporizes, compromises and weakens these resolutions, the more defiant and ambitious Iran becomes. If the Security Council can't act swiftly, or decisively, the U.S. and its allies will have to come up with their own tough sanctions. They should be making a backup plan right now. (New York Times)
Young Iranians born into the country's clerical dictatorship tend to recount their bitter lives as follows: "When we finished high school, the Basij, the regime's paramilitary thugs, received preferential admission to the universities; when we graduated there were no jobs for us in this ruined economy; and when we fall in love, we are not even allowed to hold each other's hands in public."
Another Iranian revolution is simmering. The main forces behind this uprising are not just students and teachers but women of all social strata, as well as workers. The Islamic Republic is now preparing for a hard crackdown on Thursday's expected anti-government protests. Dictators in panic always resort to violence. But so far the regime's brutality has not silenced these brave Iranian protesters. Despite the beatings and killings, they have not given up on their goal to end this tyranny. History is on their side, as no tyranny lasts forever. (Wall Street Journal)
Western Diplomats: Ahmadinejad's Move to Further Enrich Uranium Has Backfired - Daniel Dombey, Najmeh Bozorgmehr, and James Blitz (Financial Times-UK)
Unsubscribe from Daily Alert