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|
October 4, 2010
The Latest Al-Qaeda Alarms - Bruce Riedel (Daily Beast)
Iran, Egypt to Resume Direct Flights after 30-Year Break - Borzou Daragahi and Amro Hassan
(Los Angeles Times)
Persian "Blogfather" Sentenced to 19 Years - Meris Lutz
(Los Angeles Times)
Israeli "Aid Ship" Sends Zoo Animals to Turkey - Melanie Lidman (Jerusalem Post)
Two IDF Soldiers Convicted of Overstepping Authority (Jerusalem Post)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
The State Department issued a "travel alert" Sunday, cautioning American travelers of potential dangers in Europe after what U.S. officials said was an assessment of information that al-Qaeda appeared to be plotting attacks on cities there. Britain raised its threat level for Germany and France to "high." The threat level for England had been raised earlier to "severe." In addition, thousands of U.S. troops based in Germany were placed under a curfew Friday night and were told not to wear their uniforms off base. (Washington Post)
See also Text of U.S. Warning
The State Department alerts U.S. citizens to the potential for terrorist attacks in Europe. Current information suggests that al-Qaeda and affiliated organizations continue to plan terrorist attacks. U.S. citizens are reminded of the potential for terrorists to attack public transportation systems and other tourist infrastructure. (AP-Washington Post)
See also Dozens of Europeans in Terror Training in Pakistan - Kathy Gannon
Dozens of Muslim militants with European citizenship are believed to be hiding out in the lawless tribal area of northwestern Pakistan, Pakistani and Western intelligence officials say, training for missions that could include terror attacks in European capitals. Al-Qaeda would likely turn to such extremists for a European plot because they can move freely in and out of Western cities. (AP-Washington Post)
In response to U.S. statements that the military option against Iran is still on the table, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Sunday: "May the undertaker bury you, your table and your body, which has soiled the world," using language in Iran reserved for hated enemies. Ahmadinejad also questioned once more who was behind the Sept. 11 attacks in the U.S. and said they gave Washington a pretext for seeking to dominate the region and plunder its oil wealth. (AP)
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad assured his Iranian counterpart Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Saturday during a visit to Tehran that their ties were solid - a view unlikely to please Washington which is working to isolate the Islamic state. Ahmadinejad awarded Assad Iran's highest medal of honor in recognition of his resistance to "global arrogance" - a term which usually refers to the U.S. and its allies. (Reuters)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
Prime Minister Netanyahu began efforts to persuade cabinet members to support a deal with the U.S. in which Israel would limit construction in settlements for 60 days in return for American promises, including upgrading the IDF, letting the army remain in the Jordan Valley following an Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank, and a promise not to ask Israel for a further moratorium. However, after a number of ministers publicly expressed opposition to restarting the construction freeze, Netanyahu has little to no chance of passing such a proposal in the cabinet.
A strong majority of Israelis support continuing West Bank construction, a Dahaf Institute poll broadcast on Channel 2 on Sunday found. 54% said the government should be building in the West Bank and only 39% support a further moratorium. (Jerusalem Post)
See also Poll: Half of Israel Cabinet Opposes Settlement Curbs
Half of Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu's government opposes the extension of a settlement moratorium, a poll in Yediot Ahronot showed on Monday. According to the poll, 15 of the 30 ministers in the cabinet are opposed to any extension of the partial freeze. 8 said they would back such a move, with the remaining 7 undecided. The survey also showed that 8 of the 15 members of the security cabinet were against any move to halt West Bank construction, with 4 in favor and 3 undecided. And among members of the inner cabinet, the Forum of Seven, 4 were against and 3 in favor. (AFP)
One Israeli government source said Netanyahu is not actively lobbying ministers yet to support a two-month extension of the settlement freeze in exchange for various U.S. security and diplomatic commitments because there is no concrete proposal yet on the table.
U.S. envoy George Mitchell said that both Israel and the PA "have asked us to continue these discussions in an effort to establish the conditions under which they can continue direct negotiations....They both want to continue these negotiations, they do not want to stop the talks." (Jerusalem Post)
See also Too Early to Discuss New Freeze - Jonathan Lis
"The pressure is directed at Israel at the moment, and it's heavy pressure," a senior political source said Sunday. "The Americans keep talking to Netanyahu, trying to persuade him to adopt a compromise that would allow for a return to negotiations with the Palestinians. But it's clear to us the pressure will shift to the Arab states by the weekend, to have the Arab League order the Palestinian Authority to resume negotiations with Israel." (Ha'aretz)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Saturday: "The way to achieve an historic peace agreement between our two peoples is to sit around the negotiating table, seriously and continuously, and not to leave it, because it is the place to resolve the disputes between us. Just one month ago, the Palestinians entered into direct peace talks, without preconditions, after my government carried out a series of unilateral gestures in order to advance these talks. In the previous 17-year period, the Palestinians held direct talks with Israeli governments while construction was being carried out in Judea and Samaria, including in the last year of the previous government. I hope that they will not now turn their backs on peace, and will continue the talks in order to reach a framework agreement within one year." (Prime Minister's Office)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
Even if the settlement issue were resolved today, Israeli-Palestinian negotiations would still confront another galactic challenge: a crisis within the Palestinian national movement, with two authorities governing two discreet areas with two different security services, two different patrons and two different visions of the Palestinian future. The upshot of the battle between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority is that without a monopoly over the forces of violence in Palestinian society - without one authority to silence the guns and rockets - no agreement can be implemented.
The idea that the U.S. can pummel a close ally, Israel, into accepting a deal that undermines its security or political interests is flat-out wrong. The Middle East is littered with the failed schemes of great powers that tried to impose their will on small tribes. The writer has advised several U.S. secretaries of state on the Middle East peace process. (Washington Post)
See also Obama Administration Faces Steep Price to Save Talks - Lachlan Carmichael
The Obama administration may have to pay a steep price to rescue the fledgling Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations. Aaron David Miller, a former Middle East peace negotiator, said the administration "hyped, I think probably unnecessarily, the relaunch of the negotiation in Washington. They now need to pay or are considering paying both parties for simply sitting down at the table....If the price is this steep this early on, you can only imagine what will be required when they truly run into an impasse on the substance." (AFP)
A computer worm may be bringing Iran's nuclear program to an at-least-temporary standstill, something that repeated "red line" declarations from Washington, four sanction resolutions from the UN Security Council, and IAEA inspections and safeguards have failed to do. As one digs into the likely origins and motivations behind the "Stuxnet" computer worm, at the top of the list of obvious suspects would be the U.S. and Israel. But they are not the only suspects.
The Russians have shown increasing unease at the prospects of an Iran that would really have nuclear weapons. The Chinese have well north of $100 billion invested in Iranian oil and gas, and an attack by the U.S. and/or Israel on Iran and the chaos likely to ensue could well render these investments worthless and be a serious brake on the Chinese economy.
For the first time Iran must confront the logic of asymmetrical warfare against itself. If the Stuxnet worm can be inserted by stealth into the prized jewels of Iran's nuclear program, who can assure the Iranian leadership that the son of Stuxnet is not quietly sitting in the guidance- and flight-control systems of Iran's missile-delivery capability? The good news is that someone has shown a way other than sending in the bombers to give pause and buy time in confronting Iran's nuclear challenge. (National Interest)
See also Iran Arrests "Nuclear Spies" Accused of Cyber Attacks (BBC News)
U.S. Assurances and the Settlement Freeze - Barry Rubin (Jerusalem Post)
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