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 11, 2010
New Revelations about the UN Goldstone Report - Dore Gold and Jonathan D. Halevi (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
U.S. Penalizes Companies Tied to Iran Revolutionary Guards - Mark Landler (New York Times)
Israel TV Reports Allegations of Palestinian Corruption - Mohammed Daraghmeh (AP/Washington Post)
Report from the Herzliya Conference - Jamie M. Fly (Weekly Standard)
PA Minister: "Nobody Has the Right to Declare the End of Jihad" (MEMRI)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
President Ahmadinejad was quoted Thursday as saying his country had produced a first batch of uranium enriched to a level of 20%, taunting the West by declaring that if Tehran wanted to build a nuclear bomb, it would say so. Iran, he said, repeating an earlier assertion, was now "a nuclear state." "I want to announce with a loud voice here that the first package of 20% fuel was produced and provided to the scientists," he said. "In the near future we will treble its production." He continued: "We have the capability to enrich uranium more than 20% or 80%." (New York Times)
Iran is experiencing surprising setbacks in its efforts to enrich uranium, according to new assessments that suggest that equipment failures and other difficulties could undermine that nation's plans for dramatically scaling up its nuclear program. A new assessment, based on three years of internal data from UN nuclear inspections, suggests that Iran's mechanical woes are deeper than previously known. At least through the end of 2009, the Natanz plant appears to have performed so poorly that sabotage cannot be ruled out as an explanation, according to a draft study by David Albright, president of the Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS).
The ISIS study showed that more than half of the Natanz plant's 8,700 uranium-enriching centrifuges were idle at the end of last year and that the number of working machines had steadily dropped - from 5,000 in May to just over 3,900 in November. Moreover, output from the nominally functioning machines was about half of what was expected.
A separate analysis by the Federation of American Scientists also describes Iran's flagging performance. Ivan Oelrich, vice president of the federation's Strategic Security Program, said, "They are really struggling to reproduce what is literally half-century-old European technology and doing a really bad job of it." (Washington Post)
Iranian authorities clashed with opposition supporters Thursday as huge crowds rallied in Tehran to mark the 31st anniversary of the founding of the Islamic Republic. (VOA News)
See also Iran Arrests Reformists in Bid to Quell Protests - Michael Slackman
Iranian security officials have unleashed an epidemic of arrests in an effort to neutralize the political opposition, silence critical voices and head off widespread protests when the nation observes the anniversary of the revolution on Thursday. The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, based in New York, calculated that in the past two months at least 1,000 people have been imprisoned. The authorities seem to have singled out journalists and women's rights activists. (New York Times)
See also Iran Disrupts Internet Service Ahead of Protests - Nazila Fathi (New York Times)
Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri said Wednesday his government will support Hizbullah if a new war breaks out with Israel. Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman told Israel's Army Radio, "As prime minister, [Hariri] is simply a hostage of Hizbullah, which has veto power in his Cabinet." Like previous governments, Hariri's government endorsed Hizbullah's right to keep its weapons and has been loath to take any strong action against the group for fear of sparking a crisis. (AP)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
IDF Sergeant Major Ihab Khatib from the Druze village of Maghar was killed Wednesday after being stabbed while sitting in his jeep by Palestinian security officer Mohammad Khatib near Tapuach junction, south of the West Bank city of Nablus. The incident occurred while the jeep was stuck in traffic. The Palestinian stabbed the soldier twice in the chest through the open car window. (Ynet News)
See also Soldier's Murder Was Latest Terror Attack by PA Security Forces - Avi Issacharoff
Most of the fatal attacks against Israelis in the West Bank in recent years were carried out by members of Palestinian security forces. Two months ago a member of the PA's counterintelligence service was one of three Fatah men who murdered Rabbi Meir Chai near Shavei Shomron. In November 2007, three Palestinian policemen murdered Ido Zoldan, also from Shavei Shomron. A month later, two members of the Palestinian general intelligence service murdered two Israeli soldiers from Kiryat Arba who were hiking near Tarkumia. (Ha'aretz)
See also PA Prime Minister Fayyad Condemns West Bank Attack - Ali Waked (Ynet News)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
As President Obama adds economic pressure and military containment to force Iran's leadership to negotiate on its nuclear program, he is betting that he can win global agreement on a set of sanctions that are strong enough to convince Iran that its nuclear ambitions are not worth the price. He is also betting that he can win over the reluctant Chinese, by convincing them that sanctions are a better alternative than instability and oil cutoffs. Other elements of the strategy that the White House does not discuss publicly are: the placement of anti-missile defenses in four countries around the Persian Gulf, and stepped-up covert action against the country's nuclear program.
But "isolating" a country diplomatically does not necessarily translate into changing its behavior. North Korea, Cuba and Myanmar have been economically isolated for decades, with little effect. "The history of sanctions suggests it is nearly impossible to craft them to compel a government to change on an issue it sees as vital to national security," said Richard N. Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations. (New York Times)
The Obama administration named a new ambassador to Syria shortly before this Sunday's fifth anniversary of the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri. The previous U.S. ambassador was recalled after that killing, not to be replaced until now. The U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs, Jeffrey Feltman, who was the U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon at the time of the Hariri assassination, is a man greatly disliked in Damascus. Feltman, who witnessed Syrian violence in Lebanon from up close, will be an influential skeptic at the State Department. Syria still enjoys little goodwill at the State Department or in Congress. Its ambassador to the U.S., Imad Mustapha, is mistrusted in Washington and may soon be sent home.
On the Palestinian front, Syria supports Hamas at a time when the Obama administration is trying to restart negotiations between Palestinians and Israelis. The Syrians want control of the Palestinian card, especially the means to torpedo agreements with which they are unhappy, as leverage in their own track with Israel. (The National-UAE)
Goldstone Commission Military Expert's Anti-Israel Bias Documented - Anshel Pfeffer and Danna Harman (Ha'aretz)
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