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 16, 2010
U.S. Hunts for English-Speaking Bombers - Eli Lake (Washington Times)
Five Australian Muslims Jailed in Terror Plot - Mark McDonald (New York Times)
U.S. Envoy Appointed as Link to Muslims - Helene Cooper (New York Times)
Middle East Talks Charade - Editorial (Arab News-Saudi Arabia)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
As a presidential candidate, Barack Obama declared himself open to dialogue even with intransigent states like Iran. But there is little diplomatic nicety to be seen these days, as the administration presses tough new sanctions aimed at the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps in Iran, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned Monday of a drift toward a military dictatorship in Iran. White House officials maintain that they have not abandoned Mr. Obama's pledge of engagement, but the administration is now coming to terms with the limits of its engagement policy, many foreign policy experts say.
Ray Takeyh, a former Iran adviser to the Obama administration, said, "There was a thesis a year ago that the differences between the United States and Iran was subject to diplomatic mediation, that they could find areas of common experience, that we were ready to have a dialogue with each other," but "those anticipations discounted the extent of how the Iranian theocracy views engagement with the United States as a threat to its ideological identity."
Administration officials say the biggest benefit of Mr. Obama's engagement policy now is a defusing of a worldwide view that the U.S. is part of the problem, and a demonstration that the problem is Tehran's intransigence. "What the president has achieved is that he has outed Iran," a senior administration official said Friday. He said Iran, by refusing to respond positively, had exposed itself as uninterested in a better relationship with the U.S. (New York Times)
See also Clinton: Iran's Government Being Supplanted by Revolutionary Guards - Mark Landler (New York Times)
See also U.S. Launches Diplomatic Offensive to Isolate Iran with New Sanctions - Tim Reid
The Obama administration started an intense diplomatic push Sunday to achieve global isolation of Iran over its nuclear weapons program. The move was spearheaded by Hillary Clinton, who landed in the Middle East to confer with Arab allies. (Times-UK)
Jihadi Salafis, as they are known, have organized into small, shadowy armed groups that have clashed with Hamas forces in Gaza. Besides resuming rocket fire on Israel in recent weeks, they blew up the car of a Hamas chief outside his southern Gaza home. The violent Salafi groups are inspired by al-Qaeda but are not formally affiliated with it, according to a January study by the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, a U.S. think tank, co-authored by Yoram Cohen, a former Israel Security Agency official. It said al-Qaeda has not established an affiliate in the region nor accepted any of its "locally radicalized, globally inclined jihadists." The U.S. think tank, citing Israeli officials, estimated that 30 to 50 fighters from Yemen, Egypt, France and elsewhere have slipped into Gaza, either to train Salafi fighters or to wage holy war. (AP)
Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg said Friday, "I have decided that Jenny Tonge will stand down as Liberal Democrat health spokesperson in the Lords following her unacceptable comments suggesting an inquiry into highly offensive allegations against the IDF humanitarian operation in Haiti....The comments were wrong, distasteful and provocative." In 2004, she was sacked as a spokeswoman on children's issues after she told a pro-Palestinian meeting she could consider becoming a suicide bomber. (Guardian-UK)
See also Lady Tonge and a Blood Libel - Uri Dromi
Just when we thought we heard everything, there comes Lady Tonge, the Liberal Democrat peer in the British House of Lords, calling for Israel to set up an inquiry to disprove allegations that its medical teams in Haiti "harvested" organs of earthquake victims for use in transplants. Attacking Israel's policies is one thing; insinuating that the army of the Jewish state is stealing organs is to repeat what anti-Semites were saying about the Jews in the darkest periods of history. A blood libel, in short. (Guardian-UK)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on Monday assured Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that Russia would hold off on its contract to sell the advanced S-300 air defense system to Iran. "On this issue Russia is taking into consideration the need for stability in the region," Netanyahu said. "What is needed now is very tough sanctions that can influence this [Iranian] regime and severe sanctions that will considerably and convincingly harm the import and export of oil." (Ha'aretz)
See also Netanyahu Meets with Russian President Medvedev in Moscow (Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman on Monday told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that the Palestinian Authority is sponsoring worldwide campaigns to delegitimize Israel, campaigns that were partially financed by "the funds that we transfer to the Palestinians." "The majority of claims against senior IDF officers worldwide are funded and initiated by the PA," he said.
The Palestinians begin every conversation with international sources by saying they do not believe in the honesty of Israel's stated intentions, he said. "I do not honestly believe theirs in light of their initiatives for boycotts on Israeli goods, as well as the litigations. We need to check, as a society, whether we are willing to accept conditions such as these - that on one hand, they will hold negotiations with us, while on the other hand they devote a significant amount of their resources to opposing us....It cannot be that we cooperate with the Palestinians on security and economic issues, and they continue to file claims against us and to incite against us." (Jerusalem Post)
Adm. Michael Mullen, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, met with members of the IDF's humanitarian delegation to Haiti on Monday, telling the soldiers, "the important work you did with your delegation will not be forgotten, not by us and not by the residents of Haiti." Mullen, who had requested the meeting during his three-day visit to Israel, said, "I want to express my admiration for you....You created hope and a future for those people, and humanity is proud of you." (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
What did the world see as Iran celebrated the 31st anniversary of its Islamic revolution on Thursday? A hollowed-out regime that is better at repressing its own people than at governing. The Iranian regime's success in intimidating demonstrators was a show of strength, but only superficially. "It's the Enron of governments," says Karim Sadjadpour of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. "If Iran were a stock, nobody would buy shares in it." It's a safe bet this regime will eventually break down, but the process could take years. If you want an example of how long a hollowed-out, repressive regime can last, just look at the Soviet Union.
Compared with a year ago, Iran is far more divided internally; it has lost much of its legitimacy within the Muslim world, with the regional balance of power tipping the other way for the first time in years; and it is more isolated internationally, no longer able to count on Russia as a reliable patron. (Washington Post)
Professor Asa Kasher suggested at a recent conference at the Institute for National Security Studies that there is a difference between "regular wars," in which the enemy accepts the burden of the laws of warfare, and "irregular wars," in which the enemy doesn't accept those obligations. During the Second Lebanon War and the Gaza operation, the enemy did not adhere to the laws of war.
In a future confrontation with Hizbullah or Hamas, Israel can announce that because of the lack of reciprocity in accepting the laws of warfare, it will take into account the moral principles of the doctrine of just warfare, but will adopt measures necessitated by the lack of reciprocity. The writer heads the military research program at the Institute for National Security Studies at Tel Aviv University. (Ha'aretz)
See also A Moral Evaluation of the Gaza War - Asa Kasher (ICA-Jerusalem Center)
Facing Insolvency, Ahmadinejad Will Cut Popular State Subsidies - Katie Engelhart (Macleans)
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