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|
August 16, 2010
Russia to Begin Activating Iran's First Nuclear Power Plant - Jeffrey Fleishman (Los Angeles Times)
Addition of Apaches, Black Hawks Swells U.S.-Saudi Arms Deal to $60 Billion - Adam Entous (Wall Street Journal)
Video Shows U.S. Student Was Hit by Ricochet (Mere Rhetoric-YouTube)
Lebanese Army Kills Top Islamist - Rana Moussaoui (AFP)
Secret U.S. Assault on Terrorism Widens - Scott Shane, Mark Mazzetti and Robert F. Worth (New York Times)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
President Barack Obama has personally warned Turkey's prime minister that unless Ankara shifts its position on Israel and Iran it stands little chance of obtaining the U.S. weapons it wants to buy. One senior administration official said: "The president has said to Erdogan that some of the actions that Turkey has taken have caused questions to be raised on the Hill [Congress]...about whether we can have confidence in Turkey as an ally. That means that some of the requests Turkey has made of us, for example in providing some of the weaponry that it would like to fight the PKK, will be harder for us to move through Congress."
Washington was deeply frustrated when Turkey voted against UN sanctions on Iran in June. When the leaders met later that month at the G20 summit in Toronto, Obama told Erdogan that the Turks had failed to act as an ally in the UN vote. He also called on Ankara to cool its rhetoric about the Gaza aid flotilla. (Financial Times-UK)
Some of the Israeli special forces showed me the wounds they received on board the Turkish ship Mavi Marmara. "I saw a knife in my abdomen and pulled it out," Captain R said. "The beating was continuous - and the cries of Allah Akbar." Israeli footage shows Captain R being beaten with bars by activists, stabbed and then thrown to the deck below. The commandos insist their lives were in danger and they were under attack when they opened fire.
"We have very clear evidence that in at least four cases the other side did use live fire," said retired IDF Maj.-Gen. Giora Eiland, who carried out the investigation into events on board the ship. "In some they used Israeli weapons stolen from our soldiers - in at least one case they used their weapon because we found bullets and shells not used by Israeli forces." He said that the Israeli commandos' use of live ammunition was justified. "These people came to kill and be killed," he said. (BBC News)
The Treasury Department released new regulations on Friday that could bar foreign banks or companies from accessing the financial system in the U.S. if they did business with entities or people subject to UN and U.S. sanctions. The regulations, which grew out of legislation Congress passed in June, effectively bar foreign banks from doing business in dollars if they engage in transactions with anyone suspected of involvement in Iran's nuclear or missile programs. The entities include Iran's Revolutionary Guards.
Administration officials have said they believe that the sanctions have already started to have an effect. The threat of being cut off from the U.S. economy adds a significant dimension, said Stuart A. Levey, Undersecretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence. (New York Times)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
Israel's inner cabinet decided Sunday not to agree to any preconditions by the Mideast Quartet regarding renewed direct negotiations with the Palestinians. The Quartet is expected to issue an announcement on the matter in the coming days. "The Quartet declaration will likely be a fig leaf for stipulating preconditions on the part of the Palestinians, and this is unacceptable to us," reported a senior official in Jerusalem. Israel will wait for a separate American declaration on the matter which will apparently not set any preconditions for launching direct talks. (Ynet News)
See also Hamas, Ten Other Palestinian Groups Reject Compromise with Israel
Eleven militant Palestinian groups based in Syria, including Hamas, warned on Sunday against a "concession and compromise" policy ahead of possible direct talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. (DPA-Ha'aretz)
Israel approved the purchase of 20 F-35 fighter planes on Sunday at a cost of $2.7 billion, for delivery between 2015 and 2017. The IDF had sought to install Israeli systems on the aircraft, but the Americans refused to allow those changes. "The F-35 is the fighter plane of the future that will allow Israel to maintain its aerial superiority and its technological advantage in the region," Defense Minister Ehud Barak said. The F-35 is a stealth-capable military strike fighter which can evade radar and anti-aircraft missile systems. (Ha'aretz)
Two Lebanese men convicted of conspiring to blow up the Israeli embassy in Baku may have been released in a prisoner swap between Azerbaijan and Iran. Al-Arabiya reported that Ali Hassin Najam Adin and Mohammed Karaki and 12 Iranians were swapped for two diplomats and an Azeri nuclear scientist, who were sent to Azerbaijan. The two Lebanese were arrested in 2008 and were convicted of planning to blow up the Israeli embassy in Baku in revenge for the assassination of senior Hizbullah commander Imad Mughniyeh. They also planned to destroy a radar installation in the north of the country and were convicted of spying for Iran. (Ha'aretz)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
Israel faces a campaign to delegitimize it in order to extinguish its capacity for self-defense. Note, Prime Minister Netanyahu says, the reflexive worldwide chorus of condemnation when Israel responded with force to rocket barrages from Gaza and from southern Lebanon. There is, he believes, a crystallizing consensus that "Israel is not allowed to exercise self-defense."
In southern Lebanon, UN Resolution 1701, promulgated after the 2006 war, has been predictably farcical. This was supposed to inhibit the arming of Hizbullah and prevent its operations south of the Litani River. Since 2006, Hizbullah's rocket arsenal has tripled. Learning from Hamas, Hizbullah now places rockets near schools and hospitals, certain that Israel's next response to indiscriminate aggression will turn the world media into a force multiplier for the aggressors. Any Israeli self-defense anywhere is automatically judged "disproportionate." (Washington Post)
In the next few weeks the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague is expected to reveal the names of nine members of Lebanese Hizbullah who participated in the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. Hizbullah is known for its iron discipline and highly centralized decision-making. It also has a seasoned intelligence service trained and supported by Iran. If someone high-level in Hizbullah knew of the plot, is it possible that Tehran was not informed? Would it go for such a high-risk operation without obtaining at least a nod from the "mother country"?
Judging by a series of recent statements from senior Iranian figures, the answer must be no. Here is Maj.-Gen. Hassan Firouzabadi: "Those who criticize our support for Hizbullah and Hamas do not understand what is at stake. We support [those movements] because they represent the first line of our own defense. They are fighting for our safety and security and the triumph of our revolution." Gen. Firouzabadi is Chief of Staff of the Iran's armed forces and a member of the High Council of National Security that ultimately sets the strategy for foreign radical groups supported by Iran. Awaz Heydarpour, a member of the Islamic Consultative Assembly's security commission in Tehran, added: "Wherever there is Hizbullah there is Iran. Our revolutionary movement is not limited by borders." (Asharq Alawsat-UK)
A few months ago, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal explained to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that sanctions against Iran did not offer the immediate solution required to stop the revolutionary regime's push for a nuclear weapon. This sentiment was echoed a few weeks back by the United Arab Emirates' ambassador to Washington, Yousef Al Otaiba, who calculated that bombing Iran was preferable to an Iranian bomb. Even as the ambassador later backtracked, the Middle East's worst-kept secret was now in the public record: the Arabs are even more concerned than the Israelis about an Iranian bomb. To preserve the American-backed regional order, Arab nations expect us to stop the Iranians, a security arrangement that has been clear since the Carter administration. What's new is that if the U.S. doesn't step up, the Arabs' unlikeliest ally, Israel, may have to do it. (Newsweek)
Israeli-Palestinian Negotiations and the 1967 Borders - Dore Gold (Washington Examiner)
Unsubscribe from Daily Alert